Riding on the tail of the casual pepper spraying of peaceful students, Occupy UC Davis protestors will have an opportunity to vent their anger at the University's board of regents. The incident, in which Lt. John Pike slowly up and down the line of students sitting on the ground, spraying the orange substance in abundance into their faces, drew the ire of a nation shocked at such callous use of a substance that can cause more harm than even tear gas. Today, students and faculty alike are staging a strike in an effort to draw attention to the grievous wrongs committed by high-level campus executives and the campus police.
Even though Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza, Lt. Pike, and another officer involved were either suspended or put on administrative leave, both students and faculty are livid at the fact that the police were even called, much less showed up in riot gear. Why show up in riot gear to a protest where the the activists are sitting down and doing nothing? Is there some sort of inherent threat in someone sitting on their ass? Of course not, but the university Chancellor, Linda Katehi, thought it was a great idea to call the cops on them and have them clear away the rabble using whatever means necessary.
The regents are meeting today to discuss with the San Francisco campus via teleconference, whether they should ask the state for more money in order to avoid tuition raises. Tuition fees were at the core of student protests, as the cost of higher education in California (and across the nation) has grown dramatically in recent years, forcing some students to give up their hopes of obtaining a degree. Another point of contention is the fact that while tuition has tripled in the last ten years, academic department budgets have actually decreased. So...where has the money gone, if not for academics? The answers appear to be obvious; high-paid campus executives like Katehi are reaping the benefits of increased tuition costs while faculty and students suffer from tightening budgets.
The Occupiers have vowed a campus-wide strike, where they attempt to prevent anyone from attending class or teaching. It's an attempt to bring more people to rallies, to show other students and faculty members just what is going on with the school. The English Department has even shown its support for the Occupy movement by calling for the resignation of Katehi. On the department's welcome page reads:
The faculty of the UC Davis English Department supports the Board of the Davis Faculty Association in calling for Chancellor Katehi's immediate resignation and for "a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus."
Image: Screen cap of UC Davis English Department homepage.
Â©2011 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.