Archive for 2011
The following “Faculty Fact Sheet” responds to the “Fact Sheet on Recent Campus Demonstrators” issued by the office of the Chancellor on November 27, 2011. This document was not prepared by the DFA but is rather the work of several individual faculty, as specified in the document. It is posted here for the information of our members:
For comparison, the Chancellor’s “Fact Sheet” is at:
On December 1st, a University-wide email was sent out by VR Election Services on behalf of the University of California, demanding faculty follow a link and electronically sign their names to an amendment to the 1997 UC Patent Agreement.
While the systemwide Academic Council seems to consent to the changes, they indicate UC should not require all faculty to sign:
Several faculty members have blogged their concerns about the contractual changes:
We note that the deadline that UC has set for the current signature gathering effort is not until February 29.
We recommend that all faculty put off signing this patent amendment until independent counsel has had a chance to advise us on the issue.
On November 19, 2011, in the immediate aftermath of the pepper-spraying of non-violent UC Davis students protesting tuition increases, the DFA board issued a statement calling for the immediate resignation of Chancellor Katehi, and calling for an end to “the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protestors by police.”
In the last two weeks, we surveyed the DFA membership for their opinions of the board’s action. Sixty-four members responded (out of a total membership of 145). On the first question, regarding our call for an end to the policy of using the UCD police to suppress demonstrators, 58 members approved and 4 did not approve. On the second question, regarding our call for the Chancellor’s resignation, 34 members did not approve, and 29 approved. (A few respondents did not answer both questions.) The opinions expressed in the comment portion of the survey varied widely. Some members expressed enthusiastic support for the Board’s action, praising the DFA for assuming a leadership role in this pressing issue. Some others expressed strong disapproval of the Board. In particular, some members claimed the Board’s decision was “premature,” suggested that the membership ought to have been surveyed first, or noted the fact that some media outlets reported that this was an action of the DFA in general.
Several members asked for more information about the Board’s process. It should be noted that the DFA acts by majority vote of its Board in accordance with the organization’s by-laws. In this specific case, on the Saturday following the pepper spray incident, the Board debated its response via email. A majority voted to release the statement on the DFA website, in response to what we deemed an extremely urgent and quickly-evolving situation.
In making this decision, the Board majority took into strong consideration the initial statement of Chancellor Katehi in which she blamed the protestors for the violence, as well as her second statement in which she acknowledged ordering in the police. We also took into consideration a similar, less publicized event that took place in 2009 where UCD police in riot gear were sent in to Mrak Hall to remove peaceful protestors of tuition increases and faculty and staff furloughs, resulting in several injuries and 52 arrests.
Finally, we were especially mindful of the brutalization of students and faculty at another peaceful demonstration at UC Berkeley nine days earlier. In the wake of this event, it seemed to us that the Chancellor had every reason to anticipate something similar here, and that, under these circumstances, her decision to order armed police onto the campus in the context of a peaceful demonstration was absolutely unacceptable.
The DFA Board’s action, was, to our knowledge, the first explicit statement of faculty solidarity with the students involved, and was portrayed in the initial wave of press reports as representing faculty support for their students. Some reports simply ascribed the statement to “the DFA,” whereas the statement itself clearly notes that it comes from “the board of the DFA.” It should be noted, however, that according to our by-laws, the elected board does have the duty to act for the Association.
The Board has met twice to evaluate developments since its statement on November 19. A majority continues to stand by its initial statement to uphold its support for the student movement in general. We are not encouraged by the Chancellor’s statements and apologies, which appear to have shifted according to the needs of the moment, nor by the revelation of a new Chancellor’s “advisory board” filled with corporate CEOs. Chancellor Katehi has already publicly stated that she is fully responsible for the pepper-spraying incident. We agree, and therefore continue to call for her resignation.
(The information in this post was originally added as updates to our earlier post, however, as the list has gotten longer, it makes sense to make it into its own post.)
After the DFA Board called for Chancellor Katehi to resign, a number of other organizations made similar calls:
UC Davis Department of English: http://english.ucdavis.edu/
UC Davis Department of Physics majority: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/11/22/uc-davis-physicists-to-chancellor-katehi/
A statement from the UC Davis Department of Comparative Literature: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9806378/Comp%20Lit%20Letter.pdf and a demand that the Chancellor resign, based on a unanimous vote: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/9806378/Comp%20Lit%20Statement.pdf
UC Davis Professors of History: http://bicyclebarricade.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/historians-for-the-resignation-of-the-chancellor/
A letter from several Middle East/South Asian Studies faculty members: http://mesa.ucdavis.edu/community/open-letter-calling-for-resignation
A no-confidence letter, signed by dozens of faculty members, published in the Davis Enterprise December 7th: http://www.davisenterprise.com/opinion/letters/faculty-have-no-confidence-in-katehi/
The outgoing chair of the UC Davis Graduate Student Association: http://gsa.ucdavis.edu/2010-2011_GSA_Chair
Faculty Statement of Solidarity and Academic Boycott Pledge: http://www.newappsblog.com/2011/12/take-the-pledge-support-uc-davis-colleagues-demand-katehis-resignation.html
The Occupy UC Davis General Assembly: http://occupyucdavis.org/category/general-assembly/
Tens of thousands of students, faculty, alumni, and others: http://www.change.org/petitions/police-pepper-spray-peaceful-uc-davis-students-ask-chancellor-katehi-to-resign
On November 27, 2011, the Council of UC Faculty Associations (the UC systemwide organization of faculty association chapters) delivered the following letter to UC President Mark Yudof:
Dear President Yudof,
The Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) protests your decision to hire the Kroll Security Group, and its Chairman William Bratton, to conduct what you call an independent investigation of police violence at UC Davis. We take no position here on Mr. Bratton’s personal qualifications; our objection is to the conflicts of interest of Kroll Security itself, which is already a major contractor with UC on security matters. According to its website, Kroll’s services are not confined to securing databases and facilities from attacks by criminals and terrorists. It also protects many global financial institutions and other multinationals against threats to “operations” that may come from public criticism and direct political action.
By deepening UC’s links to Kroll, you would be illustrating the kinds of connection between public higher education and Wall Street that the Occupy UC movement is protesting. Kroll’s parent company, Altegrity, provides data-mining, intelligence and on-the-ground security to financial institutions and governments seeking to head off and defeat both private sabotage and public protest. In addition, Altegrity’s parent company, Providence Private Equity, is a major global investor in for-profit higher education companies that benefit from the decline of publicly funded higher education.
We already know that Kroll has provided security services to at least three UC campuses for the past several years. This in itself would disqualify Mr. Bratton from participating in the investigation you propose, even if the role of Kroll and its affiliated companies in defending the financial sector against OWS did not raise further questions about its pro-Wall Street and pro-privatization bias.
A truly independent investigation that would allow UC to provide a credible response to the events at Davis (and the other campuses) needs to address several questions that would not be seriously considered if you hire Kroll.
* What was your role and that of UC General Counsel in the events at Davis? Did you, as a distinguished first amendment scholar, tell chancellors and campus police chiefs that protests (especially protests against UC’s own policies) are “part of the DNA of this University” that should not be addressed using the same techniques that UC has developed (likely with the help of Kroll) to deal with terrorists, shooters, and cyber-saboteurs? (Even if you have been a zealous defender of the rising student movement to restore public higher education, such a conclusion would not be credible coming from an investigation tainted by Kroll’s conflicts of interest outlined above.)
* What was and is the role of Kroll in helping banks and public institutions (including UC) investigate and defeat movements such as OWS and their campus counterparts? Is Kroll now acting as a liaison between universities, city governments and the Department of Homeland Security in defending the financial sector against protests occurring on what used to be considered public spaces? Are protests against Wall Street in such spaces now considered a threat to the security of the nation, the city and the public university? (The growing securitization of public space has been a major obstacle to first amendment activity since 9-11.)
* How much money has UC and its individual campuses paid to Kroll for security services? Were these contracts issued as sole source contracts or was there open bidding? Were Kroll’s services confined to protecting, for example, the privacy and integrity of data systems and faculty and staff conducting animal research or did they extended to what Kroll’s website calls “organizational threats” arising from “the dynamic and sometimes conflicting needs of the entire campus population?” (This could be a description of the student protests that you rightly regard as “central to our history” as a university.)
* What led to the issuance of false and misleading statements by University of California officials (Chancellors and their assistants, spokespeople, and police chiefs) in the aftermath of police violence at Berkeley and Davis? Did you encourage these efforts at spin control? (Dishonest statements seriously damage the university as an institution devoted to truth and protect only the individuals whose decisions are in question.)
The broader issue is how protest can be part of what you characterized as “our university’s DNA” when the right to protest is not formally recognized within the university’s own codes of student and faculty conduct. It could be and should be. The CSU student code states explicitly that “[n]othing in this Code may conflict with Education Code Section 66301 that prohibits disciplinary action against students based on behavior protected by the first amendment.” If such language were included in the UC code of conduct, students would have a clear first amendment defense against disciplinary action arising from peaceful political protest-and there would be strong grounds for questioning the legality of a police order to disperse a peaceful protest from a public site on a public university campus. The explicit incorporation of constitutional limits on UC’s power to break up demonstrations that threaten its march toward privatization would go a long way toward recovering UC as a public, rather than a private, space. We urge you to see that the UC codes of conduct are amended to parallel those in place at CSU.
Events at Davis and the other campuses have shown the University of California in a negative light, and we agree strongly with the need for an independent investigation. We believe, however, that your appointment of Kroll to investigate the university’s response to last week’s protest could itself become a basis for new protests, and that you should ask Speaker Perez (or someone unaffiliated with the University) to appoint a genuinely independent committee with representatives from student, faculty, staff and civil liberties groups. Such a committee should be given a specific charge to investigate and report on all of the questions set forth above.
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor History of Consciousness and Political and Social Thought, UC Santa Cruz