On November 18th, we, alumni of UC Davis, watched in dismay from all over the world as our university became a spectacle of injustice. We write this letter in support of current UC Davis students who have bravely voiced their beliefs, to formally request that you take significantly stronger steps towards addressing the failures that led to police brutality and initiate real and substantive reform...
On November 18th, we, alumni of UC Davis, watched in dismay from all over the world as our university became a spectacle of injustice. We write this letter in support of current UC Davis students who have bravely voiced their beliefs, to formally request that you take significantly stronger steps towards addressing the failures that led to police brutality and initiate real and substantive reform addressing the foundation of the Occupy UC Davis students’ concerns.
We were outraged by your initial decision to have this inspiring and peaceful assembly of students suppressed. We denounce the UC Davis Police’s blatant violence against peaceful, non-violent student protestors to carry out your decision and your obvious lack of leadership in ensuring that UC Davis would protect its own students.
We demand that the officers who pepper-sprayed students and Chief of Police Annette Spicuzza be fired. While we agree with your decision to convene a review of the circumstances leading up to last Friday’s events, given the officers use of excessive force on a non-hostile crowd of students and Chief of Police Annette Spicuzza’s delegation of authority, we see no choice but to terminate all three officers. In addition, we believe that free medical care and counseling should be provided to all affected UC Davis students.
We also insist that a clear protocol is developed to ensure that the UC Davis Police Department will protect, instead of infringe, on students’ legal rights and that training is implemented to ensure that these practices are consistently followed in the future. We ask that it be clearly stressed that the right to dissent is protected in the U.S. Constitution. Students should feel free to protest without fear of being terrorized and attacked by the same department that should be protecting their right to free speech.
Separate from the issue of excessive force, we must remind ourselves of why students are protesting. The issues being raised by the students of Occupy UC include: affordable tuition, quality public education, diversity in admissions, fair compensation to staff, graduate students and faculty, and resources for first generation and low-income students of color on campus. These are all matters of great urgency for all students and alumni of UC Davis.
We write this letter to assure the UC Davis community that we share these concerns and believe that they are reflective of a deeper crisis. Our public universities, especially UC Davis, must immediately alter its policies to represent the needs of the entire public and not only the most wealthy and privileged among us—the 1%. We believe that student discontent understandably stems from the dramatic increase in tuition and fees at a disproportionate rate to average household income. As alumni, we recognize the value of education at an institution like UC Davis and request that you immediately engage with the UC Regents to ensure that affordable access is provided for generations to come.
We write this letter because we believe in public universities, their staff and their students. However, we believe that UC Davis, much like other UC schools, has been transitioning away from its core purpose of providing quality public education for all students. If you, Chancellor Katehi, cannot provide the leadership, commitment, creativity and vision needed to make UC Davis a university representative of the 99%, you should immediately resign.