November 21st, 2011
Firing college presidents: Katehi deserves Spanier’s fate
A tale of two college presidents questioning whether the decision to inflict campus violence by Linda Katehi chancellor (president) of the University of California, Davis campus is equivalent to the failure to act by Graham Spanier at Penn State University, for which Spanier was fired.
After a terror-filled Friday Nov. 18 afternoon in Davis, California during which peaceful, seated campus protestors were maliciously pepper-sprayed by police in riot gear, the video went viral (identifying Lt. John Pike as the major offender who was suspended WITH PAY). On the video clip, skip to timemark 4:05 to see the full context of the police action. Campus police chief Annette Spicuzza claimed that the police were surrounded and could not escape!! She is temporarily suspended (probably with pay).
Katehi conducted a press conference that night. Students surrounded the building. She remained inside for two hours before she was told the students would not interfere with her exit. She then walked the “walk of shame” between two lines of silent, seated students.
Katehi announced the formation of a “task force” to take 90 days to review the cops’ actions.But she cannot investigate herself! In her blog, she included standard CYA language for her involvement in the violent disruption of the student protests: “the university provides an environment for students to participate in rallies and express their concerns and frustrations through different forums, university policy does not allow such encampments on university grounds,” and “I made the decision not to allow encampments on the Quad during the weekend, when the general campus facilities are locked and the university staff is not widely available to provide support,” (fyi: riot police≠support) “Our campus is committed to providing a safe environment for all to learn freely and practice their civil rights of freedom of speech and expression,” blah, blah, blah.
The faculty association called on her to resign. One brave untenured assistant professor, Nathan Brown, wrote an open letter admonishing his boss. But on Mon. Nov. 21, the arrogant Katehi told ABC News that the “university needs me.”
Here’s an odd juxtaposition of events. On Oct. 26, Katehi celebrated the launch of the UC Davis “Civility Project.” She espoused some lofty-sounding hyperbole. “We are a campus known for its civility and our commitment to respect, equality and freedom of expression runs deep … to engage members of the UC Davis community in an examination of how incivility has been and continues to be manifested on campus and to explore alternative engagements in the future … to help build on UC Davis’ growth as an inclusive environment.”
Are we to assume civility enforcement is handled by heavily armed riot police? Are unarmed, peaceful protesters creating a safety hazard to campus civility and Katehi’s tender sensibilities?
Mark G. Yudof, chancellor of the 10-campus, once-great University of California system needs to fire Katehi and not wait on her internal 90-day delaying tactic.
While he is at it, Yudof should also fire Robert Birgeneau, UC Berkeley campus chancellor.
At Cal Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, the 1964 home of the Free Speech Movement, campus police (only a few miles north of the Occupy Oakland location), goons with batons beat back peaceful, non-aggressive protesters.
Graham Spanier was fired on Nov. 9. Penn State University’s president since 1995 and in office during the initial revelations about Jerry Sandusky’s abuse allegations was ousted by the Board to mitigate PR damage (both he and his wife taught at PSU, fates of professorships unknown).
The appearance of treating with indifference repeated allegations of child abuse on campus (when Sandusky brought young boys onto campus) is sufficient to end an administrative career. As the top administrator, PSU’s most senior manager, Spanier was made to fall on his sword.
Anyone wishing to share their opinion with Linda Katehi can do so here firstname.lastname@example.org
This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 2:16 pm and is filed under Fairness & Social Justice Denied. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.