Archive for December, 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