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Clearly, Utica Club is the Better UC
November 19, 2011 1:45 PM   Subscribe

While the nation's attention has been recently drawn to the student protests at UC-Davis after video showing UCPD pepper-spraying a group of peaceful students went viral, this is merely one incident in a wave of student activism over the last three years with the goal of "reclaiming" the University of California for students. Some place the beginning of this mass student movement around the 2009 decision to implement a 32% tuition hike, which led to protests that drew over 5,000 students and a damning expose and condemnation from the President of the UC Faculty Association. (Budget Cuts Previously)

The movement has steadily maintained its momentum despite a rash of arrests and acts of violence, and has used successfully used direct action, building occupations and inventive tactics such as occupying a building ledge. They're a movement that stands in solidarity with the much discussed OWS, but predates it. They have drawn the support of luminaries such as Robert Reich, fmr. Secretary of Labor, and have seen faculty join their protests, including a letter from an untenured faculty member calling for Chancellor Katehi's resignation. The students have made the UC Board of Regents - who raised their own salaries while hiking fees - a target of their ire, and have staged a fake resignation of President Yudof, disruptive speech-actions in conjunction with local unions support of employees arrests and suffered large numbers of arrests. This course of action has led the Regents to cancel their latest meeting after no protest-free locations could be found. In light of their inability to meet physically because of student objection, their meeting will now be held by virtual teleconference. In recognition of the sweeping protests, they've expanded public comment from 20 minutes to one hour of their normally two day meetings.

Comprehensive coverage of further developments specifically on the allegations of brutality at the UC-Davis protest can be found at Prof. Angus Johnston's running article on the incident. If you can only read a single link, make it that. This post owes a great deal of gratitude to his attention to the UC student movement.

Related previously(s): Irvine 11
posted by Chipmazing (674 comments total) 135 users marked this as a favorite

 
the 1% covered wagons have been circled. If you can't take out all the rackets, they just repopulate legislatively, usually overnight.
posted by Fupped Duck at 1:50 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


In recognition of the sweeping protests, they've expanded public comment from 20 minutes to one hour of their normally two day meetings.

How generous. When the Board of Governors for my institution was last planning something controversial, they turned their normal 2 hour meeting into a 3-4 hour public comment session.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:52 PM on November 19, 2011


Excellent post, Chipmazing! Cheers!
posted by Asparagirl at 1:56 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really would encourage people to read the link to the report on tuition usage authored by Prof. Meister and released by the Council of UC Faculty Associations. It is very illuminating about how even these protests are intrinsically tied to the finance industry through bond pledging, and the pivoting of higher education away from a public good to a business venture.
posted by Chipmazing at 2:01 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Incidentally, The police officer shown in the video calmly walking up to the seated protesters and spraying them in the face made $110,243.12 last year for the privilege. The assistant professor calling for the chancellor's resignation is risking only a little more than half of that.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:02 PM on November 19, 2011 [52 favorites]


Can anyone provide more context to the pepper-spraying video? The students seem to be blocking a passageway of some kind. What is it? Where is it on campus? Where does it go to/from?
posted by falameufilho at 2:02 PM on November 19, 2011


Thank you, the Johnston link is invaluable. I was so upset by the UC Davis images that I havent been able to get them out of my head. I was hoping to get more context. Now that I have.... Well, I am just hoping that people start suing soon so I have somewhere to send my cash.
posted by bq at 2:05 PM on November 19, 2011


There will probably be a wave of firings in response to this. Unfortunately, that wave is likely to consist of Nathan Brown, Assistant Professor, getting fired, and then again and again, symbolically.

It wasn't here yesterday, but now it's probably here to stay ...

Utica Club, Utica Club!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Falameufilho, they appear to be surrounding a small collection of tents in the middle of an open field. See the photos at the top of this article. They don't appear to me to be blocking anything that couldn't be walked around.
posted by KathrynT at 2:09 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Excremental Virtue: I only got through the first 30 seconds of this video the first time, but I do recommend watching the whole thing. It’s a novel experience, to watch the police behave absolutely abhorrently, then retreat in the face of a clearly superior moral imperative.
posted by gerryblog at 2:14 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


My wife watched and wept. Excellent post.
posted by uraniumwilly at 2:15 PM on November 19, 2011


I graduated from UCD a while back, but here is the geographic details. Here is the google map location. The quad is an open area and the path splits it running North to South. It is a pretty, but functionally useless sidewalk that runs fron the Coffeehouse on the north to what used to be the main entrance to Shield Library about 20 years ago or so, so other than a pretty walkway through open space, that leads nowhere. The protesters are sitting in or around the circle in the middle. They are not blocking anything important, so it is largely symbolic.
posted by Badgermann at 2:19 PM on November 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


they've expanded public comment from 20 minutes to one hour of their normally two day meetings.

What I have seen happen at shareholder meetings during their 20 minute shareholder comment time, is that they have a pet crank whom they let go first every meeting, and he rambles on about tinfoil hat things until 15 minutes are up, and then the legit shareholder actions fight over the remaining 5 minutes.

I would be surprised if the Regents didn't have similar pet cranks they can use to undermine any actual dialog, so a full hour might actually be a lot more time than it sounds.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:20 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


gerryblog: "then retreat in the face of a clearly superior moral imperative" -- did you see the same video I saw? They did the damage and left. I am refraining from applying choice epithets to their mothers.
posted by homerica at 2:23 PM on November 19, 2011


Incidentally, The police officer shown in the video calmly walking up to the seated protesters and spraying them in the face made $110,243.12 last year for the privilege.

Anyone making more than $100,000 a year is in the top 6% of all US incomes.
posted by hippybear at 2:25 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


This happened about 200 yards from my office, though I was off on friday. The students were on the Quad. It's approx the size of four football fields. They were not blocking the path to or from anything.

This is really awful. Things have been tense enough on campus because of some admin changes that will result in a lot of lost jobs. The next few months are going to be hard and weird around my place of work.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:26 PM on November 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


The police did the right thing, the kids had them surrounded and trapped. The only possible way out was to step out over the protesters and pepper spray a way out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:30 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Those puny little ants outnumber us 100 to 1, and if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 2:31 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


There is a petition to have the chancellor resign that is very rapidly taking off within the campus community.
posted by markkraft at 2:32 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Everywhere I go online these days, if there's news about OWS, it tends to show the disproportionate means of dealing with what seems to be passive resistance and civil disobedience. Has anyone yet written an overview on this and why its happening ? I did come across something on the coordinated timing of the nationwide attempt to break up the protest locations, but was the force of the response also coordinated, and if so, why?
(asking as someone outside of the US and not finding anything on regular media)
posted by infini at 2:32 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm asking for the "Understand OWS for dummies" bit, because in a country where freedom of speech in enshrined and defended, why are peaceful protests illegal?
posted by infini at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you want to understand the mindset of the people that run large universities these days, you probably ought to read A Primer for University Presidents: Managing the Modern University by Peter Flawn. (Scroll down a bit for a bit of a review.) Short version: A university is big business involved in a lot of stuff that happens to have, as some sort of weird historical accident, a bunch of annoying students hanging around. Here's how to keep them under control.

As if to drive the point home, my own university has these weirdly massive concrete planters surrounding the main administrative building. The layout is specifically designed to keep large crowds from forming.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:37 PM on November 19, 2011 [24 favorites]


The police did the right thing, the kids had them surrounded and trapped. The only possible way out was to step out over the protesters and pepper spray a way out.

Is this sarcastic?
posted by ignignokt at 2:38 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


why are peaceful protests illegal?

Snarky response: peaceful protests are only regulated when they get in the way of the status quo and bring to light the uncomfortable truths about the unscrupulous decisions being made by people in power.


ignignokt, yes.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm asking for the "Understand OWS for dummies" bit, because in a country where freedom of speech in enshrined and defended, why are peaceful protests illegal?

Well, the protests themselves aren't illegal. If you notice a lot of the rhetoric which is being used when the Powers That Be speak about breaking up the Occupy protests, they aren't saying that they're breaking up the protests... they're saying that there are "health and safety concerns" or whatnot which necessitate the action.

Basically, the Establishment feels threatened by the movement, and is doing whatever it can to preserve itself. There's no basis for them breaking up the protests per se, but there are plenty of OTHER reasons they can come up with to keep the protests from continuing in the form they've taken.

It's all bullshit, basically. The floundering tentacles of a great beast while it struggles to protect itself.
posted by hippybear at 2:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [24 favorites]


It's satisfying to read that in Prof. Johnston's Tenth Update:

Tenth Update | Here’s a federal court ruling from 1997 which appears to indicate not only that yesterday’s pepper spray incident was an violation of the activists’ constitutional rights, but that Lt. Pike would be unable to hide behind “qualified immunity” in any court proceeding, and would thus be subject to suit as an individual.


Of course, as a police officer it's unlikely he will actually be punished, but I certainly hope that he is taken to court.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 2:41 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Non-snarky response: as hippybear noted, there are ways to bend some regulation or find some rule to break up public gatherings or demonstrations.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:42 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


infini: anything which is "enshrined in the constitution" is a red-letter item that the State is forbidden from doing. As such, these are the things that the state will try to find every possible avenue into doing.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:46 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This could have so easily been a crappy outrage-filter SLYT. Nice job turning it into damn fine post.
posted by klarck at 2:46 PM on November 19, 2011 [21 favorites]


As if to drive the point home, my own university has these weirdly massive concrete planters surrounding the main administrative building. The layout is specifically designed to keep large crowds from forming.

I wonder if this evolved from the Sixties and into ways and means of managing the future, if ever, of student uprising (something that is almost by default , common most everywhere else). I mean students revolt, its their job kind of :)

Snarky response: peaceful protests are only regulated when they get in the way of the status quo and bring to light the uncomfortable truths about the unscrupulous decisions being made by people in power.

On preview, added

Non-snarky response: as hippybear noted, there are ways to bend some regulation or find some rule to break up public gatherings or demonstrations.


In a sad kind of way, all this 'democracy in action' sheds the very worst light on all the principles that the nation stands for, I wonder if they realize how badly it hurts their own propaganda and global image in today's hyperconnected world? and makes them sound like hypocrites as they support the same across Africa?
posted by infini at 2:46 PM on November 19, 2011


It seems like more and more the police do this sort of, well, frank and callous exercise of disproportionate power in spite of the fact they know they are being filmed.

This, more than anything, speaks to their profound sense of impunity, and their absolute certainty that they will be protected by the system.

It thereby eloquently affirms, moreso than any verbal expression or manifesto, that the police are knowingly Doing the Will of the One Percent.
posted by Rumple at 2:52 PM on November 19, 2011 [24 favorites]


LastofhisKind, I found the paragraph after the review a little more enlightening while I scrolled down your link:

But an excerpt from Ronnie Dugger's Our Invaded Universities should suffice to explain why Connally deserves scorn and not honor on this campus: "Early in 1972 William Arrowsmith, speaking in Cincinnati, charged that John Connally, then President Nixon' s secretary of the treasury, had, when governor of Texas, initiated a political takeover of the University of Texas through the regents, all nine of whom he had appointed. Connally, Arrowsmith charged, acted through [then-Board of Regents chairman Frank] Erwin and the regents to replace key administrators with a bunch of political operators 'who wouldn't make successful Shinola salesmen' because the university system represents 'a third of a billion dollars in patronage' in contracts and thousands of jobs.'"
posted by infini at 2:53 PM on November 19, 2011


The contemptuous brandishing of the pepper spray 7 seconds into that video is the icing on the cake.
posted by sciurus at 2:54 PM on November 19, 2011


Lobbying firm's memo to American Bankers Association outlines plan to investigate, undermine OWS protests

Key parts:
Leading Democratic party strategists have begun to openly discuss the benefits of embracing the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House next year.

This would mean more than just short-term discomfort for Wall Street firms. If vilifying the leading companies of this sector is allowed to become an unchallenged centerpiece of a coordinated Democratic campaign, it has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.

Well-known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of where OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and the radical right are channeling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual frustration over TARP and other perceived bailouts. This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.

It may be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protestors but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media, coordinating third party support and engaging officeholders to do their bidding. To counter that, we have to do the same. Putting the cornerstone elements of a plan in place right now will prepare firms to respond quickly and collectively at the earliest and most influential point when embracing OWS goes from concept planning to execution. The cornerstone elements of a plan include: survey research and message testing, opposition research, targeted social media monitoring, coalition planning, and advertising creative and placement strategy development.
Strategies planned include targeting next year's swing states (Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico), opposition research on OWS luminaries, an anti-OWS advertising deluge (thanks, Citizens United!1), and "targeted social media monitoring." Protip: stop organizing your super-cool anti-establishment activities on fucking Facebook, you (inspiring) putzes.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:57 PM on November 19, 2011 [23 favorites]


At least as far as Berkeley is concerned, the Regents ought to ignore these protests, which are absurdly off-base.

There is no reasonable expectation that the state will be able to restore old levels of funding. The people have rejected tax increases, and the interest groups that hold Sacramento captive have other spending priorities.

In light of that that, Berkeley simply must defend its world class status with tuition increases and cuts to non-academic personnel and programs. It's insane to trade a tuition discount for a diploma whose competitive value is even more discounted because of deterioration of the institution.

Most Berkeley students are from wealthy or well-off families, and can easily afford it. Higher tuition levels can support a decent return to aid for needy students, too. The campus also needs a far more effective program of alumni development; it does nothing to encourage giving and the endowment is paltry as a result.
posted by MattD at 2:59 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


the 1% covered wagons have been circled. If you can't take out all the rackets, they just repopulate legislatively, usually overnight.

one of my issues with the 1%/99% framing is that it obscures crucial problematic policies that have majority support amongst the electorate, across a wide range of socio-economic demographics. In California, this kind of situation has been worsened and entrenched with too much commitment to direct democracy.

California desperately needs Proposition 13 - passed in 1978 - to be repealed as a first step to reforming and creating a healthy state political and economic system but, 30 years, after it was passed, 57% of Californians still support Prop 13 whilst only 23% oppose.
posted by Bwithh at 3:00 PM on November 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


What kind of action would have to take place for Occupiers to think "Good, now we're getting somewhere!" I have only heard really broad strokes demands like "We want change!" or such things. What kinds of concrete changes are the thoughtful protesters after?
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 3:00 PM on November 19, 2011


Watching the police slowly retreat withdraw, I was imagining the commander's thought was: "if we don't move out calm and slow, the mob is going to charge us."
posted by zippy at 3:01 PM on November 19, 2011


ThatCandianGirl, reinstating Glass-Steagall and prosecuting the financial industry's fraud would be a good first step. Longer term goals include ameliorating credit card and student loan debt, and getting actual universal health care in place.

Fun fact: we could have wiped out every single dollar of mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt in this country for less than we spent on the bank bailout.
posted by KathrynT at 3:02 PM on November 19, 2011 [58 favorites]


Most Berkeley students are from wealthy or well-off families, and can easily afford it

Got a cite for that 'most' claim?
posted by zippy at 3:03 PM on November 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


Excellent post. I'm a UCD grad and wanted something about this on MeFi. You have done much better than I could have!

MattD, the UC system is not just Berkeley. And the 32% tuition increase, link above, comes after many, many other tuition increases and radical increases in salary and benefits for UC admins and Regents.
posted by apricot at 3:04 PM on November 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Most Berkeley students are from wealthy or well-off families, and can easily afford it.

I'd like to see some citation for this assertion, as I'm not sure I'll believe it otherwise.
posted by hippybear at 3:05 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's a rare day when I can link political action to a relevant advice animal
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on November 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


What kinds of concrete changes are the thoughtful protesters after?

If my computer breaks, and I take it in for repair, my responsibility to accurately describe the symptoms. Experts have the responsibility to come up with a good repair plan and execute it correctly.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:05 PM on November 19, 2011 [48 favorites]


But who are the experts and are they preparing a plan if/when OWS goes through with any measure of success or will they be running around trying to make it happen (without the support of global concerned nations, unlike other recently successful populist demonstrations against the entrenched power structure) and thus frittering away their in the moment advantage?
posted by infini at 3:08 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


My son is currently on an exchange semester at UCLA (San Diego) from New Zealand. When asked why he wanted to study in America, one of the reasons he gave was to see "the wounded beast up close before it falls". The image of the "wounded beast" is particularly apt when I see images such as these.
posted by vac2003 at 3:12 PM on November 19, 2011 [26 favorites]


Why does anyone expect that the police will act any other way? What's to stop them? If they need fear neither the protestors, nor even the mildest consequences, why wouldn't they act according to any whim of the moment?

If my computer breaks, and I take it in for repair, my responsibility to accurately describe the symptoms. Experts have the responsibility to come up with a good repair plan and execute it correctly.

The "experts" are the experts in politics here. They say it's user error, and pepper-spray you to go away.
posted by tyllwin at 3:14 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I just want to say those students are heroes now. Very brave to sit peacefully, quietly, in the face of that kind of threat and brutality.

I am disgusted by the police actions and overjoyed that it was all caught on video. I think this will galvanize the movement.
posted by darkstar at 3:14 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Regardless of the family income of Cal students, MattD, do you just not know that these fee hikes apply across the UC system?
posted by rtha at 3:16 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


My son is currently on an exchange semester at UCLA (San Diego)

There is UCSD, which is its own school and not a separate campus of UCLA.
posted by LionIndex at 3:17 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Most Berkeley students are from wealthy or well-off families, and can easily afford it.

It always saddens me when people think that everyone at rich schools are rich. I went to an ivy - my family is poor, I'm still poor, fwiw.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:17 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Can anyone provide more context to the pepper-spraying video? The students seem to be blocking a passageway of some kind. What is it? Where is it on campus?

It's just like that photo of the South Vietnamese policeman executing a Viet Cong, where what you can't see is, just out of the frame, the mutilated corpses of the policeman's wife and children BECAUSE THE EVIL COMMUNISTS KILLED THEM ALL.
posted by acb at 3:17 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


What kinds of concrete changes are the thoughtful protesters after?

I think they are protesting the spirit of lazy ambivalence which has led to what they see as a rigged system. They are saying that you are being nickeled and dimed to death and you're not doing anything about it.

And questions like yours are saying, "Explain this to me in terms of nickels and dimes."
posted by fleacircus at 3:18 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Relevant cross-posts from the OWS thread:

Congress responds to pepper spray usage against protesters at U.C. Davis. (satire)

Students are treated for the pepper spray by the Davis Fire Department.

charlie don't surf: "The police brutalized and hurt the students, so firemen gave them medical help. What the hell has happened to this country?"

Your tax dollars at work.

And I hope the situation at the UC campuses don't escalate into another Kent State tragedy; the protestors have shown remarkable restraint in the face of outrage.
posted by DaShiv at 3:18 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why does anyone expect that the police will act any other way?

Because for those of us outside the US, not every country in the world has armed policemen, and often, peaceful mediation is first choice over use of violence. I believe this aspect also came up when the Norway situation was reported earlier in the year. Am I imagining I saw something on the blue about the increasing paramilitarization of the US police or was that elsewhere, quite recently?
posted by infini at 3:20 PM on November 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Finally, after seeing that image on congress responds link of DaShiv, and the news bits surrounding it, I am curious to know whether this might be a crime against humanity or do you need to escalate it up a notch to qualify?
posted by infini at 3:22 PM on November 19, 2011


That 32% tutition increase NYT article in the FPP is from 2009. The current number is (apparently) a worst-case scenario 81% increase implemented over four years.

The four-year budget plan was intended to tackle a looming gap of $1.5 billion over the next four years, about a third of which UC says is needed for higher pay, and a quarter for retiree health and pension benefits. This year's tuition increase and cutbacks have resolved an additional $1 billion shortfall, officials said.

The idea was that a steady flow of tuition hikes would help pay these costs. Tuition would rise more in years when the state gave less, and vice versa. In the worst-case scenario - if the state provided no increase - basic tuition would rise by 16 percent a year, reaching $22,200 by fall 2015, not including mandatory campus fees, room and board. That's 81 percent higher than the current $12,192.

posted by Rumple at 3:25 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


My son is currently on an exchange semester at UCLA (San Diego) from New Zealand.

Sorry, but I can't let that one pass: he's either at UCSD (UC-San Diego) or UCLA (UC-Los Angeles). San Diego's the eighth largest city in the United States and has more than a few colleges and universities, including its own UC.

As for tuition increases at the UCs, I can't help but feel a little bitter and a lot sympathetic to emerging grads and current student. My own campus, UCLA, was already in the red when the financial crisis hit. That meant INCREDIBLY painful cuts were absolutely inevitable.

Tuition increased an obscene percentage the year after I graduated and this has happened three or four times MORE in three years. And the tuition raises are especially painful at a time when other sources of grants, like Pell Grants, are getting harder to earn.

Folks are graduating with thousands of dollars of debt for an undergrad degree at an institution that is coasting on past glories. I wonder what will happen when folks realize that?

Also, I will note that I'm surprised that Davis of all places was where students got sprayed. It's the ag school, for god's sake--if you want social activism, look at Berkeley (pretty much always Berkeley, bless 'em), Santa Cruz, sometimes San Diego or Los Angeles or Santa Barbara. Not Davis. That kind of worries me, too.

If Davis is protesting, that means the situation is really bad. Bad in a way that's the difference between intellectually knowing the facts and then sort of being forced to gut-accept them. I wish the UC students the best and sympathize in a 'I'm in $[x]0,000 of debt to the UCs for my grad degree so I hear ya, guys!' kind of way.
posted by librarylis at 3:26 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dumb-ass Training and the U.C. Davis Pepper Spray Incident: Thoughts From an Ex-cop.
posted by homunculus at 3:28 PM on November 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Even with an 81% increase, the UC system would still be a very good deal compared to other universities in the US of similar (outstanding) quality. Which unfortunately says a lot more about the rest of the country than it does California.
posted by miyabo at 3:29 PM on November 19, 2011


Nice tagline on your website, UC Davis. Just wait 'til someone on the internet changes yo -- Oh, there we go.
posted by Bukvoed at 3:31 PM on November 19, 2011 [54 favorites]


I guess I'm asking for the "Understand OWS for dummies" bit, because in a country where freedom of speech in enshrined and defended, why are peaceful protests illegal?

Because in America, freedom of speech is only enshrined and defended only in books and political speeches. The ugly truth of this country for well over a decade is that our civil rights are severely repressed and protest that threatens to awaken the rest of the populace to the realities of their situation is opposed by overtly violent means.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:31 PM on November 19, 2011 [23 favorites]


I hate to just repeat something from the previous (deleted) thread on the subject, but I do think The Clash summarized it well:

Number 3
You have the right to free
Speech as long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


What kind of action would have to take place for Occupiers to think "Good, now we're getting somewhere!" I have only heard really broad strokes demands like "We want change!" or such things. What kinds of concrete changes are the thoughtful protesters after?

Reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, as mentioned, and undoing the damage done by Citizens United, are the two most concrete, clearly definable goals. That'd be a starting point. I don't know that I'd be ready to say "oh, okay, well, that's good enough then" after just those two things, but I'd start to feel like some progress had been made and the people in power were actually listening and cared.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


Short version: A university is big business involved in a lot of stuff that happens to have, as some sort of weird historical accident, a bunch of annoying students hanging around.

Case in point: cover-up the Penn Sate child sex abuse scandal for years, so as to keep the $70 million annual revenue-generating football program secure.
posted by ericb at 3:37 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just want to say those students are heroes now. Very brave to sit peacefully, quietly, in the face of that kind of threat and brutality.

Agreed, but the real heroics were after the pepper spray. The students could have delivered a much-deserved ass-kicking to the police. Instead, they turned the other cheek and allowed the police to walk away. If you watch the video without volume, you can really focus on the police officers' faces. Some of them look quite confused by the students' generosity. In the end, the students were the powerful ones.
posted by Houstonian at 3:38 PM on November 19, 2011 [35 favorites]


What kind of action would have to take place for Occupiers to think "Good, now we're getting somewhere!"

Full campaign finance reform which removes all donations from the system, institutes public-only funding, and eliminates all PAC actions.

This would level the playing field between candidates and prevent corporate/1%er dominance of the system which all the rest of us right now have to pretend we have a part in, when really it's currently all about the money and who can make the best promises to those with the most financial power who have the distinct advantage.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


Sorry, but I can't let that one pass: he's either at UCSD (UC-San Diego) or UCLA (UC-Los Angeles). San Diego's the eighth largest city in the United States and has more than a few colleges and universities, including its own UC.

and

There is UCSD, which is its own school and not a separate campus of UCLA.

Apologies, I meant University of California, San Diego.
posted by vac2003 at 3:43 PM on November 19, 2011


Bukvoed's linked image of the UC Davis website shows something interesting as well - the whole bunch of Chinese students, learning its no different on this side of the pond.
posted by infini at 3:44 PM on November 19, 2011


Most Berkeley students are from wealthy or well-off families, and can easily afford it.

Um ...
Some 64% of [Berkeley] undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. For example, in 2008-09, 37 percent of all Berkeley undergrads were eligible for Pell Grants (family incomes generally less than $45,000 a year). Berkeley educates more of these economically disadvantaged students than all of the Ivy League universities combined. Some 5,700 undergraduates received a total of $33 million in scholarships, many of them privately funded."
posted by ericb at 3:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [33 favorites]


How do you know they're Chinese?
posted by tigrefacile at 3:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree hippybear. Campaign finance reform is at the heart of it all, and I don't see anything changing in any arena from climate change to foreign wars until it happens.

Can someone tell me who (a president or founding father) formulated the adversarial principle of American public life? I think it gets called The Somebody Somebody principle.

That is: you want something, someone else doesn't want it; you both go to your government, and out of the push and pull, fairness results.
posted by Trochanter at 3:48 PM on November 19, 2011


Fun fact: we could have wiped out every single dollar of mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt in this country for less than we spent on the bank bailout.


Fun, but not true.

US consumer credit outstanding (ie mortgages, student loans, credit cards, car loans) is $2.4 Trillion. How much do you think was "spent" on the bank bailout? Also, you know that almost all of which was paid back, right?
posted by shothotbot at 3:49 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


That police officer on the left there as they finish backing off the lawn? Being able to see the moment where she recognizes defeat right before turning around is classic.

Maybe I'm seeing what I want to see, but what I see is great.
posted by giantfist at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2011


The image of the "wounded beast" ...

James Fallows | The Atlantic:
"I can't see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute and think how we'd react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We'd think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. That's what I think here."
posted by ericb at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2011 [67 favorites]


That is: you want something, someone else doesn't want it; you both go to your government, and out of the push and pull, fairness results.

Do you mean Dahl's pluralism?
posted by Jehan at 3:52 PM on November 19, 2011



Because for those of us outside the US, not every country in the world has armed policemen, and often, peaceful mediation is first choice over use of violence.

Ah. Thank you. Living in the US, I do sometimes require a level check from outside. What I think of as "normal" here is not world-wide normal. Indeed, I should instead have asked "Why would any American expect that the police would act any other way, and why would any non-American expect the US police to act differently?"
posted by tyllwin at 3:52 PM on November 19, 2011


Fee increases at UC have had exactly the effect predicted: the lower and upper class students are squeezing out the middle class. Berkeley fully funds students with families below a certain income level, so the students truly affected by the increases are the middle class, who can't afford a doubling in their tuition the way upper income families can.
posted by one_bean at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because for those of us outside the US, not every country in the world has armed policemen ...

Forbes: Police Militarization in the Decade Following 9/11.
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) has introduced a constitutional amendment to ban corporate money in politics.

The amendment, Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED), seeks to overturn the Citizens United decision, re-establishing the right of Congress and the states to regulate campaign finance laws, and to effectively outlaw the ability of for-profit corporations to contribute to campaign spending.
posted by FireballForever at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2011 [41 favorites]


Jehan, I'm unfamiliar with Dahl's pluralism. It may describe the principle, but this was someone like Madison or somebody.
posted by Trochanter at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2011


How do you know they're Chinese?

I wish I could dig it up, but there was an FPP on differentiating faces (and I scored reasonably well for an Asian/but not the American kind), there are millions who are better than I, but three decades in South East Asia in international schools does permit the development of more or less being able to identify provenance.
posted by infini at 3:59 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jehan, thanks for the pluralism term. It was Madison. From the Federalist Papers.
One of the earliest arguments for pluralism came from James Madison in The Federalist Papers #10. Madison feared that factionalism would lead to in-fighting in the new American republic and devotes this paper to questioning how best to avoid such an occurrence. He posits that to avoid factionalism, it is best to allow many competing factions to prevent any one dominating the political system. This relies, to a degree, on a series of disturbances changing the influences of groups so as to avoid institutional dominance and ensure competition.
That's from wiki-thingy. It's important these days. The professor I first heard it from was worried about how too much money on one side or the other would destroy the whole principle.
posted by Trochanter at 4:05 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I believe that some of what we're seeing from police is the belief that they can do whatever they deem necessary under any circumstances, including ignoring the court order that reopened Zuccotti Park. And I firmly believe that that attitude is rooted in the last decade of glorification of authority, at the expense of individual rights and the law.
posted by etaoin at 4:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is Berkley actually making deep enough cuts into non-academic staff though, MattD? As a rule, universities cut academics and raise tuition before cutting the expensive non-academic staff near the President, athletic program, etc. As a start, they might lay off any Berkeley cops with even a whiff of police brutality on the record, cut any expensive contracts with a hint of graft, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:09 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


UC Davis is roughly 1/3 Asian American students.
posted by wuwei at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fun fact: we could have wiped out every single dollar of mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt in this country for less than we spent on the bank bailout.

Yeah, gonna need a cite for this. I agree with the emotional thrust of this comment but the level of outstanding debt in those three areas is in $15 trillion range, I think.
posted by downing street memo at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2011


Let's see how a mainstream media outlet like CNN describes the video footage of the pepper spray incident.
posted by stagewhisper at 4:17 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's important these days. The professor I first heard it from was worried about how too much money on one side or the other would destroy the whole principle.

You might want to read the work of C Wright Mills and Stephen Lukes. The idea of pluralism has been thoroughly shot through. Arguably OWS aren' attempting to force decisions, rather to set the agenda.
posted by Jehan at 4:18 PM on November 19, 2011


As a start, they might lay off any Berkeley cops with even a whiff of police brutality on the record

Fat chance of that happening - I'm almost certain they're unionized.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:19 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"PEPPER SPRAY IN YOUR FACE!"

What the FUCK, CNN?
posted by defenestration at 4:21 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm almost certain they're unionized.

The entire UC system apparently employs 227 police officers who are represented by the Federated University Police Officers Association.

I'm guessing if there are any other security officers employed by various UC campuses, they aren't actually police officers, and may not be unionized, but I'm not sure.
posted by hippybear at 4:23 PM on November 19, 2011


OWS and what happened at UCD remind me of the riots that happened in Isla Vista on February 25, 1970. Back then it was the capitalist class and the Vietnam War that energized the students.

I was a UC Santa Barbara student in the mid-80s and things like protest and the like just didn't wasn't a part of daily life. My "social environment" prof gave a lecture with lots of photos of the day. It started when a cop thought a student with a bottle of wine had a molotov cocktail after returning from a peaceful rally. People were incensed and took to the streets and ended up burning down the local Bank of America branch. The story was wild on so many levels. In the mid-80s UCSB and Isla Vista seemed to be the most mellow place on earth. The BofA building was a giant fortress (although they vacated before I got there with only a Versatel machine and the tenants of a building was a giant nightclub and a gym... in class the prof said the new BofA was built like a fortress so those hippy kids couldn't burn it down again). Reagan was governor in 1970 and called it a state of emergency but was the old doddering president in 1985. Cops patrolling the streets in riot gear. A protestor was shot! The UC police at UCSB were not much more than over glorified meter maids (with guns). We only learned of the student protests at Berkley in high school. It was unimaginable that such a thing could happen there.

I feel the same way after seeing what is happing at UCD. I almost wend to UCD and it had a pretty mellow vibe to it as well. You just don't expect peaceful protestors getting sprayed so brazenly.

There's something really, really broken right now. If I were a current student I'd be protesting the tuition hikes (I paid less than the tuition hikes alone -- let alone how it was before -- than current students in the UC system are having to pay. And they're getting less due to the cuts.
posted by birdherder at 4:23 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: The police did the right thing, the kids had them surrounded and trapped. The only possible way out was to step out over the protesters and pepper spray a way out.

Probably should have nuked the students from orbit - it's really the only way to be sure.

falameufilho: Can anyone provide more context to the pepper-spraying video? The students seem to be blocking a passageway of some kind. What is it? Where is it on campus? Where does it go to/from?

I heard someone say they were blocking the only entrance to a burning nursery for orphan infants, but that might just be a rumor.
hamburger

On a more serious note, if we had any reactionaries in our midst, I bet they'd be all riled up by the fact that there's no real, sane justification for the police brutality in plain view in this case.
posted by syzygy at 4:24 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is just so disheartening on so many levels for me as an American. I know it's not the noble, or even rational response; but when I look at the overwhelming amount of ways in which our system is so fucked I keep coming back to "fuck it. burn it down."
posted by Roman Graves at 4:24 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


but the level of outstanding debt in those three areas is in $15 trillion range, I think.

Again, consumer credit outstanding is about $2.4 Trillion.
posted by shothotbot at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's something really, really broken right now.

You bet there's something broken. The police forces in our cities and university campuses are not our friends. They never have been. They are occupying armies who are tools of the Establishment, and they will not hesitate to use force against you if they feel they themselves or the Establishment is being threatened.

It's a bit of a hippie rant, but I've never found that it's steered me wrong to continue to believe that the cops are not my friends. They serve someone else, and they will seek to bring me down if they have the least excuse.
posted by hippybear at 4:26 PM on November 19, 2011 [17 favorites]


Again, consumer credit outstanding is about $2.4 Trillion.

Not sure how the Fed defines "consumer credit", but it must not include mortgage debt.
posted by downing street memo at 4:28 PM on November 19, 2011


I keep coming back to "fuck it. burn it down."

I don't. Our situation is fucked up, but nowhere near as bad as it can be, and I think a full-on revolution would make things a whole lot worse with only a chance of improvement afterwards. Consider, those people were sprayed, then treated afterwards (by the state!). They weren't thrown in jail to rot, or shot outright. Their families will not fear reprisals from the police. We need to change for the better, but we also need to be aware that things could be much, much worse.
posted by hattifattener at 4:29 PM on November 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Consider, those people were sprayed, then treated afterwards (by the state!). They weren't thrown in jail to rot, or shot outright. Their families will not fear reprisals from the police.

I'll wait to see whether or not the families need to fear reprisals until the lawsuits are taken to trial. There are ways the Establishment can act against transgressors which aren't necessarily embodied by uniformed thugs appearing on the door stoop.
posted by hippybear at 4:31 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the heads up, wuwei.

Btw, see The Independent and all these usual international sources - they point out what happened yesterday in Tahrir square where the quote is that the police are thugs etc whereas the Wall Street reportage quotes the police and the mayor.

/thankful I found the blue
posted by infini at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oops, my bad, downing street memo
posted by shothotbot at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2011


Not sure how the Fed defines "consumer credit", but it must not include mortgage debt.


Quite. Nor would one expect it to.
posted by howfar at 4:36 PM on November 19, 2011


Did anyone see the press conference? Anything interesting?
posted by Think_Long at 4:37 PM on November 19, 2011


The chancellor has a message on the UC Davis website about this. Relevant bit:

During the early afternoon hours and because of the request to take down the tents, many students decided to dismantle their tents, a decision for which we are very thankful. However, a group of students and non-campus affiliates decided to stay. The university police then came to dismantle the encampment. The events of this intervention have been videotaped and widely distributed. As indicated in various videos, the police used pepper spray against the students who were blocking the way. The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this.

To this effect, I am forming a task force made of faculty, students and staff to review the events and provide to me a thorough report within 90 days. As part of this, a process will be designed that allows members of the community to express their views on this matter. This report will help inform our policies and processes within the university administration and the Police Department to help us avoid similar outcomes in the future. While the university is trying to ensure the safety and health of all members of our community, we must ensure our strategies to gain compliance are fair and reasonable and do not lead to mistreatment.

posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 4:38 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


They are occupying armies who are tools of the Establishment, and they will not hesitate to use force against you if they feel they themselves or the Establishment is being threatened.

I'm with you. But why not call a spade a spade, and call it the State?

Our own government is attacking its citizenry.
posted by edguardo at 4:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


we also need to be aware that things could be much, much worse.

Absolutely. I don't want to sound spoiled and white, I know where we are in the world. Mostly I'm saying that 1) those students are all better than me because I would have reacted, and 2) I'm not entirely advocating revolution but I don't believe much of anything will be accomplished within the framework of the system. But I'm just some guy on the internet.
posted by Roman Graves at 4:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


If Davis is protesting,that means the situation is really bad.

Well, here's the full context for the UCD situation. About a month ago, the 'occupy' solidarity began with a colorful chalking of the sidewalk outside of the memorial union, which is adjacent to the quad where kids were sprayed. The chalkings were AWESOME. They were very positive. They were empowering. They were the first time I felt that the OWS movement might actually be communicating an actual message. And then the cops showed up. They threatened the kids with the chalk. The bldg manager complained about the cost of having top get someone out to remove the 'graffiti'. (I mean, come on, it's chalk.)
That's an AggieTV report on the chalk somewhere online.

Last week, a group of a few hundred students held a noontime rally on the quad. A smaller number of them marched d to the administration building and camped in the lobby overnight. When business resumed the next morning, there were fewer than a dozen kids left. They moved all nonessential meetings out of Mrak that day. The provost held his meetings in my building instead because of the threat of a handful of peaceful students.

This past Thursday, I heard the chief rabble-rouser announce the occupation via ThePeople's Mic. There were maybe 100 people around him. It was the week before thanksgiving. Ten or so tents were set up.

This is the level of vitriol and demonstration that prompted pepper spray. I saw it. It was tiny. It was SAD tiny. But it was still quashed.

There is something very, very wrong here. I have never used the phrase 'police state' in my life, but this hits close to home.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [71 favorites]


Congress steps in with a solution to the problem.
posted by scalefree at 4:41 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


But why not call a spade a spade, and call it the State?

I call it the Establishment because there are a lot of non-State actors who equally have much at stake in keeping the Occupy movement at bay. Corporate interests, 1%ers, etc... none of them are elected, all of them have power and influence which the 99% cannot imagine having. They are part of the Establishment but not part of the State.
posted by hippybear at 4:42 PM on November 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm with you. But why not call a spade a spade, and call it the State?

Our own government is attacking its citizenry.


Because the government in this situation is a tool of the establishment. If I set my dog on you, it is accurate to say that the dog attacked you, but it is a far from satisfactory description of what happened.
posted by howfar at 4:43 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


During the early afternoon hours and because of the request to take down the tents, many students decided to dismantle their tents, a decision for which we are very thankful. However, a group of students and non-campus affiliates decided to stay. The university police then came to dismantle the encampment. The events of this intervention have been videotaped and widely distributed. As indicated in various videos, the police used pepper spray against the students who were blocking the way. The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this.

To this effect, I am forming a task force made of faculty, students and staff to review the events and provide to me a thorough report within 90 days. As part of this, a process will be designed that allows members of the community to express their views on this matter. This report will help inform our policies and processes within the university administration and the Police Department to help us avoid similar outcomes in the future. While the university is trying to ensure the safety and health of all members of our community, we must ensure our strategies to gain compliance are fair and reasonable and do not lead to mistreatment.


Even more telling -- not a word about suspending the officer who is clearly depicted (and identified in many sources) brandishing proudly a bottle of pepper spray and spraying passive students in the face with its contents. Nor a word about suspension or any kind of punitive action being taken against the other officers who were present for the assault against the students and did nothing to stop it.

Who do you protect, who do you serve... indeed.
posted by hippybear at 4:45 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is an excellent post. I saw part of the video of the pepper spraying earlier today. I was only able to get through about half of it, as it put me dangerously close to tears. I really appreciate having more context about what is happening at UCD.

Mods, please ignore the double post flag at approx 7:39 EST. I selected the wrong option.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:46 PM on November 19, 2011


I call it the Establishment because there are a lot of non-State actors who equally have much at stake in keeping the Occupy movement at bay. Corporate interests, 1%ers, etc... none of them are elected, all of them have power and influence which the 99% cannot imagine having. They are part of the Establishment but not part of the State.

That's fair, and I don't mean to split hairs when we're ultimately saying the same thing. I tend to conflate the State and the corporations that comprise it, but if you like to use a finer brush for that sort of thing, of course that's okay. :)

Because the government in this situation is a tool of the establishment. If I set my dog on you, it is accurate to say that the dog attacked you, but it is a far from satisfactory description of what happened.

Agreed. The police are all tools.
posted by edguardo at 4:46 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Translation of the chancellor's message: The fact that there was a lot of video shot of this incident and it became national news is embarrassing, so I suppose I should condemn it in the most equivocal way possible.

I'm going to call an ineffective committee to write a report, and I'm going to give them three months because I want the heat off as long as possible.

Because it's a very difficult research question whether using chemical weapons on unarmed people sitting in the middle of a field is ethical or not. We don't want to rush to any judgment here.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [55 favorites]


none of them are elected, all of them have power and influence

Its all the Greek influence

Btw, with regard to the Chancellor's message, I found that Angus Johnstone link in the FPP to be most enlightening,

Snarky ironies aside, though, there’s not much of substance in Katehi’s new letter. The task force she’s establishing won’t report for 90 days, and won’t have any power then. There’s no indication elsewhere in the statement that Katehi is considering any disciplinary action against Pike or Spicuzza. Her review of encampment policies is intriguing, particularly given the larger climate relating to campus occupations in the state and nation, but it could easily come to nothing.

The statement is clearly intended to buy Katehi some breathing room. Whether it will do that remains unclear.

posted by infini at 4:49 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I hope the situation at the UC campuses don't escalate into another Kent State tragedy; the protestors have shown remarkable restraint in the face of outrage.

As with the Kent State tragedy, it's probably not the protestors' ability to exercise restraint that we need to be worried about.

Tin soldiers and tear spray coming...
posted by fuse theorem at 4:49 PM on November 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


Katehi is an idiot. All I ever get from her are random emails exhorting me not to go to the strikes and walkouts on campus, or BS "Welcome Back Aggies" stuff in the fall. she came in with a salary higher than her predecessor's, and is entirely worthless as far as I ( a Davis student) can tell.

Did anyone see the press conference? Anything interesting?

It ended early due to protests. Not sure what was said.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:50 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I tend to conflate the State and the corporations that comprise it

Well, see, in theory, the State is actually a government comprise of the people, by the people, and for the people. The corporations may have somehow magically achieved personhood status, but they aren't actually part of the state.

The situation which you describe, and which is much more closely aligned with reality, is that we live in a corporatocracy, where the interests of corporations are those which are aligned with the government to the exclusion of the interests of the individuals who live in the country.

So, you're not wrong in your conflation. I just try to make clear what the intent is behind our government and not to surrender the concept of the State into the concept of what we are currently living under, because I want to pry it apart at some point and restore it to its true form and not the current bastardization we find exists now.
posted by hippybear at 4:51 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is Berkley actually making deep enough cuts into non-academic staff though, MattD?

I'm not sure what you mean by "non-academic staff," but I can confirm that cuts to staff in my department have been deep enough to make day-to-day business basically grind to a halt.
posted by one_bean at 4:53 PM on November 19, 2011


So, you're not wrong in your conflation. I just try to make clear what the intent is behind our government and not to surrender the concept of the State into the concept of what we are currently living under, because I want to pry it apart at some point and restore it to its true form and not the current bastardization we find exists now.

Well, that's admirable. But I feel the same way about the state as most people do about anarchism: that it could never really work. ;)
posted by edguardo at 4:56 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


What are the weapons the campus police are carrying that have hoppers like paint ball guns?
posted by bq at 4:57 PM on November 19, 2011


What are the weapons the campus police are carrying that have hoppers like paint ball guns?

I believe they are, and loaded with these.
posted by edguardo at 4:59 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Davis Faculty Association is calling for Katehi's immediate resignation.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [17 favorites]


Occupy UC Davis stream.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently Katehi said at the press conference that she won't resign.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:08 PM on November 19, 2011


For what it's worth, if she'd stop sticking up for the perps and start telling the truth, I'd be happy to see her keep her job.

There's no evidence I've seen that she had anything to do with the attack until after the fact, when she started pitching in to try to bury the story.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:12 PM on November 19, 2011


In addition to being sadistic, the pepper spraying was one of the most idiotic and ineffectual things I've ever seen. Also, the pointing of paintball guns at the kids.

Watching them retreat was pretty awesome, though.
posted by snofoam at 5:13 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The untenured prof, Nathan Brown, who wrote the ballsy open letter to the Chancellor referenced in the FPP, also has set up an Amazon Wish List to have tents delivered to UCD. Looks like about 40 tents have been bought so far.

What we need now is more of what the administra​tion cannot tolerate: TENTS. Hundreds of tents. Please use this page to order tents, which will be shipped to Davis. They will be used to cover the quad, in an ongoing demand for Chancellor​ Katehi's resignatio​n. And they will cover the quad again, every time they are removed by the police.
posted by Rumple at 5:16 PM on November 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


"Even with an 81% increase, the UC system would still be a very good deal compared to other universities in the US of similar (outstanding) quality."

The UC system is excellent, granted. A big part of the reason for that is that Berkeley was the first university in that system, and is a successful academic model for the rest. However, the California State University system is pretty damn good too. You can go to humble San Jose State University and have access to the 7th best engineering program in the nation, the 4th highest ranked undergrad Computer Engineering program, an awesome digital art & design program that rivals what is available at CalArts, etc.

I won't deny the quality of California's public universities, but the fact remains... they are PUBLIC universities, paid for by the people of California, primarily for the education of their students. Perhaps paying $20k a year for a private college is "a very good deal" for some, but the fact is, we pay taxes here to support our higher education, specifically with the goal of making it accessable to our fellow Californians... and it certainly hasn't hurt our economy any to do this, if you haven't noticed.
posted by markkraft at 5:17 PM on November 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


"What we need now is more of what the administra​tion cannot tolerate: TENTS. Hundreds of tents. Please use this page to order tents, which will be shipped to Davis. They will be used to cover the quad, in an ongoing demand for Chancellor​ Katehi's resignatio​n. And they will cover the quad again, every time they are removed by the police."

Damn, I'll be keeping an eye on his career, if only to see what I'd be able to expect if I ever swing anything near to the big brass academic ones he is throwing around.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:21 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


WTF? Any school I've gone to would have seen this as a laudable civics role-playing educational adventure. They were ON CAMPUS. They were in the supposedly and hopefully protected bubble of academic inquiry.

If the police are invited or requested to intervene by the school administration, in something like this, then someone is missing the point of undergraduate education.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:22 PM on November 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


They were in the supposedly and hopefully protected bubble of academic inquiry.

You went to school in Castalia, didn't you?
posted by edguardo at 5:23 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Occupy Oakland is doing its thing again (live).
posted by lamp at 5:25 PM on November 19, 2011


I remember being confused the first time a former boss and the Dean of a reputed grad level institution rejected any formal assistance in resume development and job searches for the students. His key emotion was fear - fear that they'd hold us responsible in case anything went wrong and then there'd be trouble. I was told that if I must help the students then it would have to be after hours and voluntarily. The whole atmosphere of the administration was hands off, come here, show up, give us our tuition and graduate, quietly and asap please. I can imagine him pulling this kind of passive aggressive BS

Oh and they tend not to be referred to as students but as FTEs (full time equivalents).
posted by infini at 5:28 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Next major escalation: a total west coast port shutdown?

This is what those in power should expect to see happen when non-violent protests near city halls and in universities are met with violence.
posted by markkraft at 5:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


A flood of outside money, the corrupting influence of lobbyists and the endless shouting of TV news pundits has turned many people off the whole system. A poll last month put the approval rating of Congress at just 9%. To put that into context, during Watergate Richard Nixon's approval rating was 24%. BP, during the Gulf oil spill, hit 16 %. This year Rasmussen pollsters asked Americans if they approved of the US going communist. A full 11% said they were OK with that; two points ahead of Congress.
posted by infini at 5:42 PM on November 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


If any of you has some time, you might contact the Regents of the University of California and pressure them to demand Katehi's resignation.

Also, the Davis students should start protesting in the Chancellor's office.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 5:44 PM on November 19, 2011


The untenured prof, Nathan Brown, who wrote the ballsy open letter to the Chancellor referenced in the FPP, also has set up an Amazon Wish List to have tents delivered to UCD. Looks like about 40 tents have been bought so far.

The Internet just sent him another.

posted by argonauta at 5:44 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


I believe they are [paintball guns], and loaded with these.

Pretty much - pepperball cartridges are rigid and brittle rather than gelatinous, so you aren't meant to load them into paintball guns or vice versa, but they have the same caliber as a paintball projectile. You're meant to aim them at people's chests, but the dispersion is wide enough that leg shots and shots into the ground or against nearby walls also works to some degree.

They might have been loaded with dye to mark out perpetrators for later arrest, but I'd imagine it was capsaicin powder.

Given the violation or alteration of the rules of engagement with pepper spray we've seen, I would be worried about officers shooting at the head or eyes with these guns, while panicked by the threat of the sitting-down teenagers; this can cause fatalities.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Oakland is doing its thing again (live).
posted by lamp at 5:25 PM on November 19 [+] [!]

uh, "this live stream has ended"... got another link?
posted by rebent at 5:48 PM on November 19, 2011


Upstream someone asked if there was a consolidation point of media stories about brutality by police towards Occupiers. Here's a few:

Caught on Camera: 10 Shockingly Violent Police Assaults on Occupy Protesters

A Children’s Treasury of American Cops Brutally Attacking Citizens

The Guardian covers Occupy Wall Street

We must demand that the police in this country be demilitarized. At this point they have proven that enough of them are enemies of the citizens and they cannot be trusted with these weapons.

If American troops did this to any citizen of any other country in the world, that soldier would spend the rest of his or her life in military prison. American police should not have the power to do that to American citizens. Those police need to be stripped of weapons, rank, and uniform, and should be tried as criminals.
posted by dejah420 at 5:52 PM on November 19, 2011 [36 favorites]


Can we just remove "to protect and serve" from the side of the fucking armored cruisers already...I am dangerously angry at that smug prick spraying the students. I guess that's the level of quality policing you get for your mere $110K a year. (Why do cops in that situation even have weapons at all, in that situation?)

Someone else brought up the point: The police no longer give a shit about following laws or trying to "police," that is, to ameliorate disputes and see that no one gets hurt. They strap on all their military equipment, manfully snap those clips into their weapons and go marching out to bust heads, knowing they will not, ever, be called to the carpet no matter what they do, up to and including rape and murder. It doesn't matter if later on the courts, after bankrupting you with legal fees, agree you were right. The damage was done. At the very least, you've probably lost your job, you've definitely lost time, you are probably hurt and you might be dead. This is not a war. Or it shouldn't be.

This is why I'm of the opinion there isn't a single good cop on the UC Davis police force. They should be appalled at this behavior, anxious to make it right, and quick to condemn the appalling use of force. But we'll hear not a word, and I bet they'd be out there tomorrow, maybe with a new "homeland security" tank to simply run over the protesters this time; diesel is probably cheaper than pepper spray.
posted by maxwelton at 5:57 PM on November 19, 2011 [21 favorites]


Does anyone know if there is (or could be) one of those fancy White House petitions asking the Administration to condemn the ridiculously excessive use of force by American police against peaceful protesters, and take steps to ensure that the basic human rights and Constitutional freedoms of protesters in this country are defended?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 5:59 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has any white house ever in history condemned the actions of the police or military in any circumstance?
posted by Think_Long at 6:00 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have to say, I admire the dedication to nonviolent principles here. I don't know if I could restrain myself after watching cops behave like that. As much as I want to congratulate UC Davis, I inwardly yearn for Occupy MIT.
That's right...Occupy MIT. *One* cop maces *one* kid. Suddenly, the air is filled with the deafening strains of "Ride of the Valkyries" in Dolby 7.1 surround sound, as a cloud rises from the rooftops of the college buildings, slowly resolving itself into an enormous army of WiFi-enabled, laser-sighted, flamethrowing, cop-homing heli-robots and when they bark, they shoot bees at you, and they've never heard about Asimov's first law of robotics, either.
99% of cops don't deserve that kind of treatment, of course. It's too bad about the 1% that ruin everything.
posted by uosuaq at 6:01 PM on November 19, 2011 [38 favorites]


If any of you has some time, you might contact the Regents of the University of California and pressure them to demand Katehi's resignation.

The Regents are the 1%
posted by zomg at 6:02 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Doesn't mean they can't listen or think. Rich and powerful people sometimes do the right thing — either for good reasons, or for selfish reasons like fear of bad press. Putting pressure on them makes it easier for them to do the right thing.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:04 PM on November 19, 2011


From the fpp link again, after reading running order squabble fest's comment and link:


Here’s how Nathan Brown, a Davis faculty member who was on the scene, describes what happened next:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Not all of this account is corroborated by video, but much of it is. Cameras caught police kneeling on students’ backs and spraying them directly in the face. This video shows police roughing up a student who was laying face down on the ground as his friends shout “he’s not resisting!” One journalist reported that a female student was taken from the scene in an ambulance “for treatment of chemical burns,” while another said that eleven students were treated by paramedics at the scene and that two were transported to a local hospital. (That second report also notes that university staff and administrators watching the protest “did not seek medical assistance for those hurt until asked.”)

posted by infini at 6:05 PM on November 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


LIVESTREAM 1

LIVESTREAM 2
posted by spitbull at 6:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


zomg,

Yes, I realize that. They are definitely, firmly the 1%. But to some degree, when we protest the 1%, we are asking -- at least at this stage -- that they police themselves a bit. We are asking nicely that they consider our grievances and make some adjustments to their behavior. If they are wise, they will realize that making some small sacrifice now is much better than letting things escalate to the point that people really become violent.

Insofar as one thinks peaceful protest might work, petitioning the UC Regents to reign in some of this nonsense ought to be tried.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:08 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's been pointed out elsewhere that there's no video evidence for the pepper-spray-down-the-throat part of the story. But there are apparently other eyewitnesses who support it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:08 PM on November 19, 2011


I posted this in the other thread, but I think there's a good and unreported story in here somewhere.

Chancellor Katehi was born in 1954, so she was earning her degree in the early 1970s. In Greece. At the same school that is known for the student uprising against the military junta that ended in 1974. Kids were killed. A tank drove through their gates. The junta was ultimately ended.

Greece observes this day on November 17, with schools either closed on that day or holding commemorations in honor of the fight for democracy. Does Katehi not feel a sense of irony here?

Can anyone find any comment from Katehi about that uprising in Greece, or about her participation (or lack of participation)?
posted by Houstonian at 6:09 PM on November 19, 2011 [19 favorites]


Has any white house ever in history condemned the actions of the police or military in any circumstance?
posted by Think_Long at 6:00 PM on November 19 [1 favorite +] [!]


Lincoln condemned a large part of the military for joining the South during the Civil War (and then later issued a blanket amnesty for them).

Otherwise, no.
posted by Avenger at 6:11 PM on November 19, 2011


The earlier student livestreamer, brwnjeanette, could teach CBS a thing or two about how to cover this kind of event.
posted by argonauta at 6:14 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


A fair point Avenger.
posted by Think_Long at 6:14 PM on November 19, 2011


dejah420 - thank you! Oddly I had my reading glasses on when I looked the Guardian and still never saw that... here's the roundup I found at IPSNews,

In numerous cities from coast to coast, the police have been cracking down on peaceful protestors, prompting hundreds to march with signs picturing riot police under the words, "to understand who is looking for a riot – see who came dressed for a riot".

In Philadelphia, home to the world's biggest prison population, protestors today carried signs proclaiming, "We are the 98 percent – one percent of us are in prison."


[...]

Students from Occupy California joined Occupy San Francisco for a march through San Francisco's financial district, targeting a member of the regents of the University of California, who also sits on Bank of America's board of directors.


and a small heh heh for this snippet,

Addressing an assembly at the People's University in Washington Square Park Wednesday, the internationally acclaimed author Arundhati Roy told the occupiers, "What you have achieved since 17 September, when the Occupy movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language into the heart of empire; you have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerised into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment."
posted by infini at 6:15 PM on November 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


I don't know, Avenger. I seem to remember a recent President calling the Cambridge police "stupid" for something or other ...
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:17 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm really quite glad I wasn't there, as I wanted to fucking destroy all living things within reach just after watching this.

And it isn't stopping, the governing powers can't tell that the lids about to boil over (thinking back to previous revolutions, you really don't need 50% of the population to be on side, eh?), and more people everyday are having this explained to them in very simple terms.

My big question: Will we be able to win without a couple of Whiskey II's?
posted by Slackermagee at 6:20 PM on November 19, 2011


I wonder if this evolved from the Sixties and into ways and means of managing the future, if ever, of student uprising

When I took an urban planning class as an undergrad, I was told this is exactly why pretty much every urban university with buildings dating from the 60's have that hard urban design. Including the one I was attending at the time. Harder to burn down, easier to control the masses.
posted by loriginedumonde at 6:24 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone know Davis and where one might go about ordering pizzas for these kids?
posted by spitbull at 6:27 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know, Avenger. I seem to remember a recent President calling the Cambridge police "stupid" for something or other ...
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:17 PM on November 19 [+] [!]


You may recall that there was enough uproar in favor of the police officers in that case that Obama basically fell over himself to backtrack from his statements, eventually (and sheepishly) inviting the professor and the arresting officer to the White House for some beers.

In fact, the backlash and political damage from that particular episode may have genuinely dampened Obama's public rhetoric when it comes to crime/domestic law enforcement, etc.
posted by Avenger at 6:29 PM on November 19, 2011


Authorities assaulting citizens is the most photographed barn in america, and I don't imagine this will change for some time.
posted by localhuman at 6:30 PM on November 19, 2011


Now I know why I have been so ignorant of late, there's nothing in Sub Sahara and there were 20 people for less than a day in Singapore.
posted by infini at 6:30 PM on November 19, 2011


In numerous cities from coast to coast, the police have been cracking down on peaceful protestors, prompting hundreds to march with signs picturing riot police under the words, "to understand who is looking for a riot – see who came dressed for a riot".

Reminds me of that old classic by Five Iron Frenzy
posted by rebent at 6:33 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Avenger,

I agree with you about the political fallout. And I seriously doubt that the President will condemn the violence, even though he very strongly condemned similar violence against peaceful protesters in Egypt back in January. However, you alleged that Presidents have never called out the police or the military -- except for that one time with Lincoln. Even though it was politically bad for Obama at the time and may be keeping him from doing what he ought to do now, it is still a counter-example to your claim, no?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:33 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can anyone find any comment from Katehi about that uprising in Greece, or about her participation (or lack of participation)?

There's the tiniest bit here:

Q: You were studying at the NTUA during a period of high polarization in Greek politics where the students at NTUA were very active politically. Were you involved in politics at the time?

A: Yes. In 1973, all students at the NTUA were involved in politics. It was a turbulent time in Greek politics… [ellipsis in original]
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:35 PM on November 19, 2011


This is pretty much a repost from the other occupy thread, but it's really deep in there and super relevant here. And I've added a couple paragraphs. but here goes anyway.

---

Davis, California is an absolutely fantastic place, and one of the things that makes is fantastic is an incredibly active student population that takes on big projects and sees them through. When people say that horizontal action and consensus government can't go anywhere, I will point squarely to the amazing accomplishments of the Davis community.

I lived in a consensus-run cooperative of 28 people for four years, down the street from three other student cooperatives with a combined 30-36 people. People who graduated from the University sometimes stayed in Davis and started off-campus cooperatives, as well as a loose-knit system of named houses with coop-y sentiments. As a result, the cooperatives in Davis are a pretty large scene, especially relative to other cities its size.

The coop I lived in was a collection of 14 fiberglass domes that had been built by students in 1972. Today it's a completely other-worldly space, which you walk into and immediately start to wonder that such a thing could exist. It's a place where students come in and say, 'Hey, wow, wonder what I can do here...' In the time that I lived at the domes, residents ran a volunteer bike shop, the Davis Feminist Film Festival, hosted a long-running slam-poetry group, built a community structure, ran the huge Whole Earth Festival event, and stopped the university from shutting down the Tri-Cooperatives down the road. In my last months in Davis, we were working like hell to keep the University from shutting down the Domes; the community recently hosted a work party in which 450 people came out to help, and we're hopeful that the Domes will be open to residents again by January. We work hard on building community and doing our best to keep it healthy, while simultaneously keeping up with student work at both undergrad and graduate levels.

The student government in Davis has also accomplished some really stunning things. The most incredible is that the ASUCD runs the entire bus system for the city of Davis, with students driving all the buses. They also have the largest student-run cafeteria in the country.

This is a place where students organize, dream, and make those dreams turn into reality. The strength of the cooperative communities drives this work; the cooperatives give us a space to talk to other people about our ideas, and a mass of people to draw on to get excited with us and work alongside us to see projects through. So when I see the horizontal organization in Occupy, I think back to Davis, and how important it is to have that kind of incubating space, to share ideas and find allies. And it's easier to work in consensus when you've been doing it for a while, with people you've come to know and truly love; Occupy will only provide a stronger base of support as it goes longer, and social ties and contracts between activists grow stronger.

For about two and a half years I was a liaison between the Domes and the UC Davis student housing division, which has been moving strongly in the direction of bottom lines and streamlining. UCDSH has a primary business model involving building large dormitories, bringing through piles of freshmen, charging a pile of money, and doing it again the next year. Freshmen don't have a trong voice, aren't connected to their space, and so by comparison, the 60-ish on-campus cooperative residents are a huge pain in the ass, full of expectations. We pay for that privilege, of course, but as SH has moved to an industrial model, it's been looking for ways to get out of its legacy of supporting affordable cooperative housing. So we've been working like hell to preserve these spaces.

And it's a microcosm of what's going on in the larger university sphere. The whole uni is going the way of privatization, building these top-heavy bureaucracies, choosing administrators with business degrees and needless construction projects over the academic mission. Two years ago, 'fees' in the UC system were raised by 33% for undergraduates, sparking some pretty large protests. At Davis, 52 students were arrested one night, one of them assaulted by police officers and charged with assault herself. Of those 52, about half came from the cooperative communities, which provided jail support, hot meals, a phone number to coordinate legal aid, and so on, for everyone involved with the protests. The people who knew that their community was behind them all the way were able to step forward bravely and lead in the protest movement, knowing that they had a kind of family to support them.

The use of pepper spray - a chemical weapon - on peaceful student protesters speaks volumes about the University administrations' dedication to heavy-handed policy over engagement with community. When violence is perpetrated by the campus police against students, or against campus communities by university bureaucracies, the administration uniformly responds with cries for health and safety, and the actions of 'non-UC Davis affiliated individuals.' Another description for those individuals is 'the broader community,' people concerned with the direction of the University and the implications for the larger society that they occupy. We are all invested in the public education system, because the quality of its output has massive effect on the quality of our world.

Keep occupying, keep building this community, and keep up the work, even when it gets hard. It will pay off.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:36 PM on November 19, 2011 [58 favorites]


There has already been a defense of Occupy Phoenix by a right-wing "Border Patrol" type group, uosuaq.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:37 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, wasn't one of our rationalizations for going to war against Saddam Hussein that he "had used chemical weapons on his own people?"

Just saying.
posted by spitbull at 6:38 PM on November 19, 2011 [17 favorites]


Let's see how a mainstream media outlet like CNN describes yt the video footage of the pepper spray incident.

Oh, well if you listen to the CNN anchor, he mentions the police were concerned for their own safety. You see, everyone, the dozens of armed, uniformed men in body armour and backup ready were concerned that the people sitting on the ground posed a threat to them. When you put it that way, it all makes sense.

I have a theory that in every social situation, there is one magic phrase, one particular sequence of words that acts to allow you to pass Go and collect your $200. When people are dealing with therapists or mental health professionals who are reluctant to prescribe the treatment the patient is seeking, the magic words are "I can't do this any more." A genuinely nice cop friend of mine once advised a friend of ours who was having trouble with a creepy ex-boyfriend that the magic words if she had to call 911 were "I don't feel safe." I suppose above we see the magic words that will excuse any treatment of protesters no matter how bad it may look on camera.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


CNN? They are completely caught up in Natalie Wood and Demi and Ashton.

The revolution may be livestreamed. It won't be on cable.
posted by spitbull at 6:43 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Arundhati Roy's full speech at The People's University.
posted by markkraft at 6:44 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone know Davis and where one might go about ordering pizzas for these kids?

When I'm in town, I like Woodstock's. Greasy and hearty.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:44 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


There has already been a defense of Occupy Phoenix by a right-wing "Border Patrol" type group, uosuaq.

Your right-wing thugs seem to be more reasonable than Britain's right-wing thugs; elements of the anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim English Defence League are now attacking Occupy protesters and unionists.
posted by acb at 6:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your right-wing thugs seem to be more reasonable than Britain's right-wing thugs; elements of the anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim English Defence League are now attacking Occupy protesters and unionists.

England's, the Scottish and Welsh Defence Leagues are organized separately, if at all.

/derail

posted by Jehan at 6:53 PM on November 19, 2011


Occupy Oakland has just occupied a park & vacant lot right next to an art school and some mixed-income apartment buildings* without consulting with the community. I think this was a dreadful decision, tactically as well as symbolically.

Very disheartening. I suspect they'll lose a lot of local support over this.

*Full disclosure: I live in one of the buildings.
posted by brundlefly at 6:57 PM on November 19, 2011


The Village Bakery pizzaria is fantastic, but a bit spendy. Woodstock's is probably the most community-happy chain restaraunt I've ver been to.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:59 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has any white house ever in history condemned the actions of the police or military in any circumstance?

I think it happened quite a bit in the civil rights era.
posted by empath at 7:00 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your right-wing thugs seem to be more reasonable than Britain's right-wing thugs;

Gun advocates in the US are a mixed bunch and not always NRA-Republican freepers. If you go into Humboldt county where a huge amount of pot is grown, you will meet a fair number of old hippie gun nuts.
posted by benzenedream at 7:00 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


goddamit, wrong thread. but still good pizza advice, if you want to send a pie to occupy davis.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:01 PM on November 19, 2011


brundlefly, why?

That lot has been a deadzone for ages, right there between Flora and the Fox and everything.
posted by migurski at 7:01 PM on November 19, 2011


Guns and Weed: The Road to Freedom
posted by 445supermag at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2011


US consumer credit outstanding (ie mortgages, student loans, credit cards, car loans) is $2.4 Trillion. How much do you think was "spent" on the bank bailout? Also, you know that almost all of which was paid back, right?

Sorry, this is not true at all. Yes, much of the widely cited 700bil in TARP money was repaid, but TARP itself was only a tiny portion of the actions taken by the federal reserve to move private debts off the books of troubled Wall St. entities and onto the public balance sheet.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Jonathan Livengood (and everyone), I did just draft a petition really quickly on the White House website. They say that if it reaches 25,000 signatures before 12/19, they officially give an administration response, so... spread it around? I'm going to my local Occupation tomorrow, but I hate that I have to think "okay, so I'll dress for rain and pepper spray."
posted by verbyournouns at 7:04 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Confirmed: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) coordinating Occupy raids
posted by dejah420 at 7:07 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


We should email the local weathermen around Oakland, NYC, and other police violence enforcing cities to forecast "cloudy with a chance of pepper spray in the late evening" before the next crackdown.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:07 PM on November 19, 2011


Is this where we sing, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"?
posted by Houstonian at 7:09 PM on November 19, 2011


Yes, much of the widely cited 700bil in TARP money was repaid

Look, if you're really going to get into this... most of the widely cited $700billion in TARP money was never given out at all. Only $245billion was ever given out to banks, and of that, about $170billion had been paid back, as of the last time the pertinent section of this Wikipedia article was edited.
posted by hippybear at 7:10 PM on November 19, 2011


verbyournouns, done. Thanks.
posted by annsunny at 7:12 PM on November 19, 2011


dejah420, I'm working on throwing together a quick post on PERF related links for a front page post but got sidetracked. I may still do so, there's a lot to chew on there.
posted by stagewhisper at 7:13 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


verbyournouns,

Fantastic! Very nicely worded. I've signed it, and I'll be passing it around. Thanks.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:14 PM on November 19, 2011


migurski, because it's surrounded on two sides by apartments and one side by a public school. It's a big disruption for people who are absolutely not in the 1%. No banks. No city hall. No seats of power.

A proposal was presented at last night's General Assembly to NOT occupy this space and to put together a committee to find a better location, but it was greeted with a lot of hostility and did not pass. Here's that proposal (sorry for the length):
Downtown Oakland residents, citizens, parents, teachers, principals, artists, small business owners, and fellow occupiers have spoken and do NOT want to see the Occupy Oakland Encampment moved to 19th and Telegraph. As of 2:30 pm today (Nov. 18) 201 people have signed a petition expressing their concern on the issue. See this link to the petition for an up to date count:
http://www.change.org/petitions/occupy-oakland-facilitators-provide-an-opportunity-to-re-vote-on-where-the-next-encampment-will-be

We are not against choosing a different location, or even maintaining the location right here, at Oscar Grant Plaza, but we feel it is important to develop a committee to thoroughly research this decision from all angles.

When the proposal was originally voted upon, it was clear that many of the key individuals impacted by this decision where not in attendance at that night’s General Assembly. We believe the following facts and concerns should have been addressed more thoroughly:

Facts concerning the proposed encampment site @ 19th and Telegraph:
1) The new location is next door to the Oakland School of the Arts. This is a middle/high school serving children between the ages 10 – 18.
2) Families, administrators, and teachers of the adjacent school were not contacted for their feedback on the proposal
3) The new location is adjacent to an affordable housing complex and residents were not contacted for their feedback on the proposal
4) The new location will occupy the proposed and federally funded art and sculpture garden soon to be constructed

Key Concerns:
- No community outreach that we know of was conducted prior to the proposal being voted upon, yet this is a move directly into a primarily residential area
- 19th and Telegraph does not impact the 1%, but would place hardships on working families and students
- Innocent children will be put in the crossfire between OO and OPD without parents being given a voice or choice in the decision to involve their children
- As experienced by another neighborhood public high school, Envision Academy @ 15th and Webster - we know that police altercations within and around the Occupy Oakland encampment have a negative impact on schools, the school’s attendance and budget suffer, schools must close early or open late, and parents are fearful of their children’s well being
- We also know that police blockades and forced closures of BART make it difficult if not impossible for children to get to school
- 19th and Telegraph falls within a drug free school zone thereby putting the Police into a position of “protectors” of the peace and safety of a community
- The community previously fought for funding to convert this lot into a community park and art space, police response could endanger funding and construction of this project
- Once the decision was released into the community, an outpouring of responses from families and community members started surfacing and it is essential that Occupy Oakland remain responsive to community concerns and interests in order to maintain a strong and mutually beneficial working relationship

In light of these concerns, we ask that you vote to NOT move the encampment to 19th and Telegraph, but instead agree to create a committee to thoroughly research and suggest an appropriate location for the encampment.
posted by brundlefly at 7:14 PM on November 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Look, if you're really going to get into this...

The claim was basically: 'we could've repaid all consumer debt for the same price'. There's 2.4T or so consumer debt, various bailout/monetary actions committed the government to well in excess of that amount, to the almost exclusive benefit of Wall St. Without starting a derail, that claim appears true. The government could've bailed out Main St. for roughly the same as it spent on bailing out Wall St. It chose the bailout of the 1% over the bailout of the 99%.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:19 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, that I agree with. I've long felt that the choice to bail out the banks by moving the bad mortgages off their books was a bad move. All the talk about "you can't reward bad behavior" only seemed to apply to those who had taken out the mortgages, and not at all to those who were granting the mortgages in the first place. Imagine how much better a financial situation the US would be in today if the decision had been to pay off the bad mortgages at the household level, rather than at the banking level. We'd have whole neighborhoods which would still be lived in, a whole lot of people who still had their own homes rather than fighting foreclosures or struggling to surviving after repossession, and a lot of stability instead of the ever-looming crash of the 7 million homes which still haven't arrived on the housing market.
posted by hippybear at 7:24 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


verbyournouns, that is a really well written petition and I will be promoting the hell out of it. Thank you for writing it up!
posted by lriG rorriM at 7:24 PM on November 19, 2011


verbyournouns: Signed. Thanks for creating it.
posted by defenestration at 7:25 PM on November 19, 2011


verbyournouns: " I'm going to my local Occupation tomorrow, but I hate that I have to think "okay, so I'll dress for rain and pepper spray.""

Yeah, I had planned on taking my son with me, and heading down with sandwiches and water for the long-timers holding the fort, but after reading how coordinated these attacks on citizens are, via the PERF report I posted a bit ago, I'm going to leave him at home.

Which...astounds me. During the Vietnam protests; despite being a military family with a proud roster of officers going all the way back to the War of Independence, my parents took me to protests and sit ins, and demonstrations, because it never occurred to them that things like Kent State could happen...and hell, I've spent 40 years believing it could never happen again.

But now? I believe that the cops are going to kill someone in these protests. They'll claim it was an accident, they'll say they don't know how it could have happened...and unless there's footage showing a cop executing someone like that picture from Vietnam, most of the population will never believe that the "boys in blue" have become the bad guys.

My sister is a forensic pathologist for a crime lab in florida. (No, she doesn't wear heels and white pants to work...stupid csi) She works with cops. Lots of cops. She's *not* a cop, but she's as deeply entrenched in the system as you can be without being one of them. She says that the cops now are not the cops my generation grew up with. These new cops are the guys who were bullies in school. They joined the cops because it's a free pass to be an asshole. They get to beat people up, they get to taze people, they get to "confiscate" stuff that never makes it to the police evidence locker...we have institutionalized bullies and given them all the weapons they need to terrorize the population.

It has to stop. We have to demand that the 1997 law that makes the Pentagon give the cops all their old equipment be repealed. We need to claw back the machine guns and the tanks and the tear gas and the bayonets, and melt them down. We need to remove police organizations that are just a way to get around the Posse Comitatus.

If this coordinated police attack on civilians is what happens when we try to load democracy on to a corporatist system...then it's time to fdisk the system and start from scratch.
posted by dejah420 at 7:26 PM on November 19, 2011 [64 favorites]


Yes, credit card debt is mostly unsecured, meaning the debt might lose all value. All mortgages are basically secured, perhaps the asset has devalued, but they're still secured debt.

In the Bank Transfer Day thread, we discussed how Bank of America recently moved trillions of Merrill Lynch's bad derivatives onto the books of retail accounts, meaning they wrote themselves an extra-gvernmental bailout using ordinary people's money. THe FDIC opposed this of ocourse, but the Fed made it happen.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:29 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you for the link, dejah420, NGOs around the developing world have always been active in raising consciousness about human rights, pity its the reverse in this case.
posted by infini at 7:30 PM on November 19, 2011


It's horrifying that the cop sprays the students sitting on the ground, but even worse is that he does it knowingly in full view of many cameras. No repercussions.
posted by theredpen at 7:34 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Very disheartening. I suspect they'll lose a lot of local support over this.


Stop your NIMBY. I work across the street from a local OWS camp - reports of their degeneracy lawlessness and unsanitary conditions are either over reported our outright lies. They have a farmer's market and food trucks right next door most days, and they and their patrons don't get harassed, working folks in the area don't get harassed, it's pretty damn civil and organized.

I say, welcome them and make it work.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:42 PM on November 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


Just checked my work email. Here's the note that came from on high at 12:30 this afternoon.\
Dear Member of the UC Davis Community,

Yesterday was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud; indeed the events of the day need to guide us forward as we try to make our campus a better place of inquiry, debate, and even dissent. As I described in my previous letter to the community, this past week our campus was a site of week-long peaceful demonstrations during which students were able to express their concerns about many issues facing higher education, the University of California, our campus, our nation, and the world as a whole. Those events involved multiple rallies in the Quad and an occupation of Mrak Hall which ended peacefully a day later.

However, the events on Friday were a major deviation from that trend. In the aftermath of the troubling events we experienced, I will attempt to provide a summary of the incident with the information now available to me.

After a week of peaceful exchange and debate, on Thursday a group of protestors including UC Davis students and other non-UC Davis affiliated individuals established an encampment of about 25 tents on the Quad. The group was reminded that while 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.

On Thursday, the group stayed overnight despite repeated reminders by university staff that their encampment violated university policies and they were requested to disperse. On Friday morning, the protestors were provided with a letter explaining university policies and reminding them of the opportunities the university provides for expression. Driven by our concern for the safety and health of the students involved in the protest, as well as other students on our campus, 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.

During the early afternoon hours and because of the request to take down the tents, many students decided to dismantle their tents, a decision for which we are very thankful. However, a group of students and non-campus affiliates decided to stay. The university police then came to dismantle the encampment. The events of this intervention have been videotaped and widely distributed. As indicated in various videos, the police used pepper spray against the students who were blocking the way. The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this.

To this effect, I am forming a task force made of faculty, students and staff to review the events and provide to me a thorough report within 90 days. As part of this, a process will be designed that allows members of the community to express their views on this matter. This report will help inform our policies and processes within the university administration and the Police Department to help us avoid similar outcomes in the future. While the university is trying to ensure the safety and health of all members of our community, we must ensure our strategies to gain compliance are fair and reasonable and do not lead to mistreatment.

Furthermore, I am asking the office of Administrative and Resource Management and the office of Student Affairs to review our policies in relation to encampments of this nature and consider whether our existing policies reflect the needs of the students at this point in time. If our policies do not allow our students enough flexibility to express themselves, then we need to find a way to improve these policies and make them more effective and appropriate.

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. At the same time, our campus has the responsibility to ensure the safety of all others who use the same spaces and rely on the same facilities, tools, environments and processes to practice their freedoms to work and study. While the university has the responsibility to develop the appropriate environments that ensure the practice of these freedoms, by no means should we allow a repeated violation of these rules as an expression of personal freedom.

Through this letter, I express my sadness for the events of past Friday and my commitment to redouble our efforts to improve our campus and the environment for our students.

Sincerely,

Linda P.B. Katehi
Chancellor
posted by mudpuppie at 7:43 PM on November 19, 2011


Even the Sesame Street gang agrees with Ice Cube, Fuck the Police.
posted by 445supermag at 7:46 PM on November 19, 2011


New Video of Police Brutality at Occupy Oakland
(via the Zuccotti Park eviction thread)
posted by jeffburdges at 7:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's horrifying that the cop sprays the students sitting on the ground, but even worse is that he does it knowingly in full view of many cameras. No repercussions.

Yes, but the real repercussion is that it's horrifying enough to galvanize upstanding citizens to add to the protest.

As a populace becomes increasingly united by an escalating cause, gathering increasing steam, at some point either the necessary changes are made before the boiler explodes. Or after.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2011


This isn't super relevant, but wow kaibutsu, those domed houses are terrific. I laughed when I saw their location: "Baggins End."
posted by JHarris at 7:49 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slap*Happy: "Stop your NIMBY. I work across the street from a local OWS camp - reports of their degeneracy lawlessness and unsanitary conditions are either over reported our outright lies."

Did you see anything in that proposal about degeneracy, lawlessness and unsanitary conidtions? Cause I sure as hell didn't. I've spent a lot of time at the original OO camp in Oscar Grant Plaza, and thought it was great. But the new location makes no sense, and the way it was handled makes it even worse.
posted by brundlefly at 7:50 PM on November 19, 2011


And to be clear, these objections are coming from within Occupy Oakland as well.
posted by brundlefly at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2011


What if the cops go crazy in an area where there are schoolkids?
posted by infini at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Which...astounds me. During the Vietnam protests; despite being a military family with a proud roster of officers going all the way back to the War of Independence, my parents took me to protests and sit ins, and demonstrations, because it never occurred to them that things like Kent State could happen...and hell, I've spent 40 years believing it could never happen again.

This needs to be said to anyone claiming that these protesters are nothing compared to the Civil Rights era protesters. In some ways, they have it worse.
posted by JHarris at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2011


When I took an urban planning class as an undergrad, I was told this is exactly why pretty much every urban university with buildings dating from the 60's have that hard urban design. Including the one I was attending at the time. Harder to burn down, easier to control the masses.

Would you have any reading material to link to on this topic?
posted by infini at 7:53 PM on November 19, 2011


Reality Catcher has posted information on the commanding officer, complaint forms and other info about the cops who were terrorizing citizens here.

Not, mind you, that it's going to do any good, unless we get rid of her too. UCD Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, told the Davis Enterprise that she’s “very proud” of her officers. “I don’t believe any of our officers were hurt,” she says, “and I hope none of the students were injured.” (source)
posted by dejah420 at 7:55 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


“I don’t believe any of our officers were hurt,” she says, “and I hope none of the students were injured.”

None of her officers were hurt because of the outstanding professionalism shown by the students.

Students were injured due to the outrageous unprofessionalism of her officers.

In this instance, to pat her troops and herself on the back for the merciful actions of morally better people, is pretty weak.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:07 PM on November 19, 2011 [31 favorites]


Katehi's silent walk of shame.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:08 PM on November 19, 2011 [51 favorites]


Watching the ridiculous force the police used to clear Zucotti pissed me off, and this just takes it to the next horrible level.

Obviously the peaceful non-violent occupations have not been working quickly enough, so the good folks of various police departments have decided to take matters into their own hands to thrust these stories into the public spotlight and galvanize public opinion to support the Occupy movement.

Previously, activists have used spray paint on walls to get their message out to the public, here the fine police officers are finding a much more effective spray can to piss people off and get the message out there that something is seriously f'ing wrong.

It's such an idiotic and surreal over-reation that it almost seems like the Occupy groups hired actors to play cops to stage an over-the-top production of what could happen if you left the establishment go too far. Unfortunately, it seems that this really happened.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 8:08 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


The schoolkids issue around the new Oakland encampment is a bit overblown - after all, we’re talking about a high school in a busy urban area with a full bar and concert venue on its ground floor. I'm not impressed with how they handled the move (thanks for pasting that proposal, brundlefly) but I think it's a fine location for the encampment. Certainly in a more visible location than Snow Park and the presence of the various Uptown business might cause OPD and the Mayor to think twice before they unloading the tear gas and pepper spray.

Back on topic, I don’t think I’ve ever deliberately referred to a police officer as a “pig” until seeing that UC Davis video. Apparently there’s a first time for everything.
posted by migurski at 8:12 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


In this instance, to pat her troops and herself on the back for the merciful actions of morally better people, is pretty weak.

Yeah, to be clear, flashmobs with shotguns could happen. But they won't. OWS have demonstrated themselves to be morally superior... even going as far as confronting, condemning and ejecting Black Block and other vandal elements. There is going to be no phsycial danger to the cops, ever. They will be arrestred, tried, and imprisoned for their crimes, tho. Not tomorrow, or even next year... but this stuff causes loooooooong memories to form. Illegal use of force will be punished by the law, believe it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:15 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I might feel differently if I understood the point of the new location, migurski. City government has made it clear they don't want the encampment at 19th & Telegraph any more than they want it in front of City Hall. That being equal, why not re-take Oscar Grant Plaza. It has actual symbolic weight, which is necessary if the Occupy movement is to be about something more than urban camping.
posted by brundlefly at 8:19 PM on November 19, 2011


I guess the point is the Occupy protests don't have to explicate a message, because this and similar incidents are direct performances of the very problems they are protesting about. The overreaction in execution, the lack of leadership and proper checks. The system is rotten.
posted by polymodus at 8:21 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Robert Hass, 70-year-old former U.S. Poet Laureate, writes in the New York Times about being beaten by police at Occupy Berkeley. After reading his account, I couldn't be prouder to be one of his former student poets. Beat poets indeed.
posted by DaShiv at 8:21 PM on November 19, 2011 [17 favorites]


I think urban camping is enough for now, maybe just basic presence offset by the occasional beating. That Kotehi video is an astonishing demonstration of this.
posted by migurski at 8:24 PM on November 19, 2011


I was on my phone earlier and couldn't look for/type the link for the chalking video.

Here it is. Please watch. Please listen to the description of 'vandalism.'
posted by mudpuppie at 8:26 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey, wasn't one of our rationalizations for going to war against Saddam Hussein that he "had used chemical weapons on his own people?"

Just saying.


Please don't take this as me supporting the Iraq war or republicans in any way, but that was mustard gas, sarin and VX, not pepper spray. He killed 5000 Kurds. Why compare that to this? Easy lolhypocrites?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 8:44 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Slippery slope and all.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 8:49 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Students are treated for the pepper spray by the Davis Fire Department.

charlie don't surf: "The police brutalized and hurt the students, so firemen gave them medical help. What the hell has happened to this country?"

Your tax dollars at work.


Ha, that was the exact phrase I wrote, then I thought it was too harsh, so I wrote "what the hell has happened" instead.

It is my understanding that none of the pepper-sprayed students were jailed, they were all ticketed and released. I'm trying to get confirmation. If that's true, that makes the police violence even more sickening, to assault peaceful protesters for such a minor offense.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:49 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


from an anonymous voice in the admin levels education about the walk of shame video

"Creepy. She is done for. No board of trustees is going to touch her now. This is radioactive."
posted by The Whelk at 8:51 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Even the Sesame Street gang agrees with Ice Cube

Cops would never let Frog-On-The-Street Kermit get away with that. They don't like members of the press either.
posted by daisystomper at 8:54 PM on November 19, 2011


She is done for. No board of trustees is going to touch her now. This is radioactive.


That's what "consultant" positions in right-wing think tanks are for, silly.

Katherine Harris taught us that public officials caught commiting crime in the name of the financial class is rewarded with political and private sector sinecures worth millions. Sell out today! Avoid the rush!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:56 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Robert Hass, 70-year-old former U.S. Poet Laureate, writes in the New York Times about being beaten by police at Occupy Berkeley.

"Another of the contingencies that came to my mind was a moment 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan’s administration made it a priority to see to it that people like themselves, the talented, hardworking people who ran the country, got to keep the money they earned. Roosevelt’s New Deal had to be undealt once and for all."


It occurs to me that Reagan would have absolutely hated the OWS movement.

Reagan, Hoover and the UC Red Scare
posted by homunculus at 8:57 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


from DaShiv's link,

My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down.

Oh my...

You know who else did that and then what happened?
posted by infini at 8:58 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Copied from elsewhere; forgive me for that. Just noting that Daniel Davies called it in the air:
And so that brings me to a useful piece of advice for any readers who are aspiring dictators, one that the Communists knew, Suharto knew, but that some modern day tyrants seem to have forgotten. There is always a level of civil unrest that outstrips the capability of even the most loyal and largest regular armed forces to deal with. In all likelihood, as a medium sized emerging market, you will have a capital city with a population of about five or six million, meaning potentially as many as three million adults on the streets in the worst case. Your total active-duty armed forces are unlikely to be a tenth of that. When it becomes a numbers game, there is only one thing that can save you.

And that is, a reactionary citizens' militia, to combat the revolutionary citizens' militia. Former socialist republics always used to be fond of buses full of coal miners from way out the back of beyond, but the Iranian basijis are the same sort of thing. Basically, what you need is a large population who are a few rungs up from the bottom of society, who aren't interested in freedom and who hate young people. In other words, arseholes. Arseholes, considered as a strategic entity, have the one useful characteristic that is the only useful characteristic in the context of an Egyptian-style popular uprising - there are f---ing millions of them.

This is my advice to any aspiring dictator; early on in your career, identify and inventory all the self-pitying, bullying shitheads your country has to offer. Anyone with a grievance, a beer belly and enough strength to swing a pickaxe handle will do. You don't need to bother with military training or discipline because they're hopefully never going to be used as a proper military force - just concentrate on nurturing their sense that they, despite appearances, are the backbone of the country, and allowing them to understand that although rules are rules, there are some people who just need a slap. The bigger and burlier the better, but when the time comes they'll be fighting in groups against people weaker than themselves, often under cover of darkness, so numbers are more important than anything else. The extractive industries are indeed often a good source, as are demobbed veterans (Zimbabwe) or the laity of an established religion.

I think this is my new rule for assessing the stability of any dictatorship around the world, and I am on the lookout for any Francis Fukuyama-style book contracts. The key factor in determining the survival of repressive regimes isn't economics, religion or military success. It's arseholes.
Familiar, no? It's that sentence near the end there - "The bigger and burlier the better, but when the time comes they'll be fighting in groups against people weaker than themselves, often under cover of darkness, so numbers are more important than anything else" - that makes it so horribly prescient.
posted by mhoye at 8:58 PM on November 19, 2011 [39 favorites]



That's what "consultant" positions in right-wing think tanks are for, silly.

Katherine Harris taught us that public officials caught commiting crime in the name of the financial class is rewarded with political and private sector sinecures worth millions. Sell out today! Avoid the rush!


I think we need to be careful with how we're treating the chancellor here. Do you know she is actually a conservative? I personally don't know anything about her, but I would just be careful.
posted by Think_Long at 9:01 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't matter what she says she is. Only matters what she actually is.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


charlie don't surf: The police brutalized and hurt the students, so firemen gave them medical help. What the hell has happened to this country?

I was talking with a former fire man earlier this year, well before OWS and other protests. He said that the police are only called in when someone might be breaking the law, and you're only safe from them when they're not pointing guns at you, and even then you can't be sure if you're safe. On the other hand, he said that fire departments have been called upon to cover more and more of the emergency services required of a city. I thought he was being overly critical of police at that time, but it's seeming more apparent that he spoke the truth.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:06 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


The police did the right thing, the kids had them surrounded and trapped. The only possible way out was to step out over the protesters and pepper spray a way out.

That's not quite true, even in jest. The way it looks from other videos taken after the spraying, and from other reports, is that the police were surrounded by over 200 students who gathered after the pepper spray incident. They were angry and encircled the scene, then the police brandished their spray and pepper ball guns outwards toward the crowd around them. It seemed like a riot was about to break out, then a student peacekeeper did a mic check, announcing to the police "you are free to leave. We won't stop you." The crowd was calmed and the police retreated. I'm looking for further corroboration of this, I'm drawing this together from sketchy details.

That being said, it is clear from the Police Chief speaking at the press conference, that she was referring to the circle of seated students. It appears she doesn't know what the hell happened, and has misunderstood reports from the officers on the scene. She is blindly defending the officers, and claiming their actions meet the highest standards for excellence.


And the email from Chancellor Katehi is sickening:

Yesterday was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud;

The students who were assaulted by police, and met that assault with nonviolence, have great reason to be proud for their behavior. Every person on campus should be proud of them. I am saddened that the Chancellor is not proud of them too.

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.

So they students were pepper sprayed and assaulted to insure their safety.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:07 PM on November 19, 2011 [18 favorites]


When I took an urban planning class as an undergrad, I was told this is exactly why pretty much every urban university with buildings dating from the 60's have that hard urban design. Including the one I was attending at the time. Harder to burn down, easier to control the masses.

Would you have any reading material to link to on this topic?


Haven't found much definitive on the web, but the Ellicott dorm complex (really the whole Amherst campus) at University of Buffalo is prime example of this sort of design thinking. Some quick google searching will give you tidbits.
posted by meinvt at 9:24 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks meinvt

this sort of design thinking

cringes
posted by infini at 9:28 PM on November 19, 2011


They were angry and encircled the scene, then the police brandished their spray and pepper ball guns outwards toward the crowd around them.

No, I do not think the police were surrounded after the spraying; they kept the path clear back to the cars then performed a slow retreat.
posted by fleacircus at 9:33 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard the design of post-60s campus buildings as a way to control students and prevent mass action but it was always as a rumor, I don't think I got any concrete (ha) facts on it. I could be mistaken.


I feel it is good to reflect upon Mefi's own Zompist "The Last Century, What Happened?" A bit out of date but an okay primer for what I think is happening I;E all these right wingers that want to undo the State and why there was (is) this hatred of the public by the ruling class.

Where did all these conservatives come from?


I think I wasn't alone in being surprised at the '80s. Hadn't liberal capitalism produced general prosperity? Was anyone really against civil rights and unions, or for pollution and robber-baron economics? I knew, of course, of dinosaurs like Goldwater and McCarthy; but the emphasis was on the past tense. Richard Nixon, if you put aside the little matter of the war, was no Reaganite; indeed, he helped build the welfare state that Reagan attacked. We used to have flip-a-coin choices like Ford vs. Carter, for heaven's sake.

Well, I was young. The consies were there all along, but they were divided and marginal and hadn't taken over the Republican Party yet. In fact, they were hardly a 'they' yet; the present coalition hadn't yet been assembled.
Did the '60s beget the '90s?

Conservatives usually talk as if the '60s were the decade when Western Civilization went to hell. However, a case can be made that the Right learned its essential strategies from the Left.

If there's an essence to the '60s, it's Question authority. Radicals despised bourgeois sensibility and routinely called the republican US a fascist regime. This attitude has been taken up lock, stock and barrel by conservatives, right down to the accusations of fascism (remember the NRA's "jack-booted government thugs").
The conservatives obviously learned much from the near-impeachment of Richard Nixon-- not about his abuses of power, but about how a presidency can be derailed by insistent congressional investigation.
Likewise, though they decried the "high-tech lynching" of Clarence Thomas, they learned the use of a powerful political tool: seamy sexual allegations irrelevant to any rational qualifications for office.
Conservatives opposed measures pioneered by liberals to clean up government, such as independent prosecutors and strengthened sexual harrassment laws-- and protested fiercely when they were the targets-- but were happy to use them against the Clinton administration.
Liberals like to take the side of victims, and the standard political move for the last couple of decades has been to assume the status of a victim. (Perhaps that seems eternal, but it's not. Contrast it with the strategy of (say) Booker T. Washington: to assume the status of a human being, out-virtuing one's oppressors.) Conservatives learned to talk like victims as well, decrying prejudice against Christians or conservatives or white males.
After years of complaining about the "liberal media", conservatives figured out what the hippies learned in the sixties: you can only get media you like by creating it yourselves. There is now a well-funded industry cranking out right-wing magazines, newspapers, think tank pieces, websites, and radio shows. You used to have to live in Reaganesque denial to swallow whoppers like the "fact" that the US has spent trillions of dollars on the poor with no result. Now you can read it in the (right) papers.

For more similarities between right and left, see my page on Left and Right: Birds of a feather?

In short, the sixties shattered the American social compact that dated from the New Deal-- a near-consensus on the goodness of our bedrock institutions: benign government, tireless industry, a prospering middle class, strong but apolitical churches; political parties that increasingly resembled each other.

The '60s radicals scorned all of these, talked of revolution and spiritual transformation, and spotlighted the dark side of traditional wisdom. The '80s conservatives continued this rejection of the common good, denying any connection to the poor, feeling no need to share the wealth generated by industry, and pressing their own vision of a morally bankrupt nation.

Not that the left invented a distrust of the state, of course. Anti-statism is a long tradition in American politics-- see Garry Wills's A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government (1999)-- but since the Civil War it had been relegated to the fringe. The '60s made it fashionable, and the '80s made it part of the mainstream.


The social contract has been broken, and the neo-con 80s and 00s pushed it off the cliff, what we are seeing is the reaction to this, that a society can not, will not, should not, be run this way.
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


Confirmed: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) coordinating Occupy raids

The scary thing about the coordinated raids to this Canadian is that both Toronto and Vancouver Occupy sites were also raided by police on the same day as the U.S. raids. I had previously thought there might have been a difference between U.S. and Canadian policing. Apparently the Canadian forces can't wait to emulate their brethern to the south.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:42 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


“I don’t believe any of our officers were hurt,” she says, “and I hope none of the students were injured.”

The job of the police is to protect the citizenry and uphold the law, but it seems that Spicuzza thinks their primary job is to protect themselves. Considering she can't even get the job description right, she should probably resign as Chief and save herself more embarrassment.

Generally speaking, I am sympathetic to the fact that being a cop is difficult, and often puts you in harm's way. I looked up to cops when I was a little kid for the same reason I looked up to firefighters and soldiers and astronauts -- I admired their courage and commitment to public service. But Spicuzza's cops? The ones who were afraid of unarmed students? Who embraced their fear, and hid behind it as a justification for unprovoked, unresisted violence? They are cowards, every one of them. They bring shame to their entire profession.

The UC Davis police officers are public servants, not a private militia for the Chancellor. Spicuzza has forgotten that. She should step down, or be fired.
posted by Commander Rachek at 9:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [18 favorites]


No, I do not think the police were surrounded after the spraying; they kept the path clear back to the cars then performed a slow retreat.

It doesn't look like they were cut off at any point - certainly they weren't cut off when the spraying happened, which is what Spicuzza appeared to be saying, and at 1:49 or so of the 8-minute video the UCPD can be seen dragging protestors along a long, clear pathway, unobstructed.

It's possible that Katehi was badly briefed going into this, both as to the circumstances and to the likelihood that the announcement of a 90-day process of investigation by a task force was going to calm the situation down. It's also possible that Spicuzza hadn't seen the video, and was relying on misleading briefings from the officers on site - in which case she was badly misled and her authority undermined, perhaps fatally. At this point, they both look not just wrong but ridiculous, and I'm not sure how they could pull it back. UCLA had a relatively minor version of this with the library tasing, but that was one person, and the video taken of it was far less clear. And, you know, it's UCLA. Davis is not such a big draw even before you start blinding your students
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:55 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


That video is stunning, and I hope it is played on every local television newscast all over the country so Americans can see what an unreasonable use of force looks like. The way the officer is spraying the pepper spray like it's a can of Lysol or bug spray so aggresively... it literally looks like the officer is trying to exterminate the protesters.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:58 PM on November 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bob Ostertag is, among other things, a professor at UC Davis, and he just wrote this article on the militarization of campus police. It's worth reading.

"I teach at UC Davis and I personally know many of the students who were the victims of this brutal and unprovoked assault. They are top students. In fact, I can report that among the students I know, the higher a student's grade point average, the more likely it is that they are centrally involved in the protests."
posted by gingerbeer at 10:19 PM on November 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Driven by our concern for the safety and health of the students involved in the protest, as well as other students on our campus, 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."

We were concerned about their health and safety so we pepper sprayed them to maintain it what the fuck?
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure if many people have gotten to the end of the video. The crowd follows the police officers chastising them with a chant of "SHAME ON YOU" when the same deuchebag pulls out two pepper spray cans akimbo and brandishes them at the still totally peaceful crowd. The crowd, having threatened nothing but any hope they had of moral superiority, quickly starts chanting "YOU CAN GO" just in case they feel trapped. The deuchebag, now perceiving no possible shred of an excuse for force on this polite and fucking generous crowd, then turns around and they all walk away.

The Chancellor is incredibly wrong, UCDavis has so very much to be proud of. With students like that, why could they possibly need police?
posted by Blasdelb at 10:20 PM on November 19, 2011 [21 favorites]


It's interesting that the Policeman, Lieutenant Pike, is listed as the "Records Unit Manager" of the UCD Police. I wonder if he is a desk jockey completely out of his depth. It might just be that if he is a keyboard warrior he somehow felt his manliness was more at stake than if he was more of a beat cop. Idle speculation of course.

On the gawker story someone linked earlier, a cop makes some kneejerk comments, and some interesting ones, including that Pike would have been equally vilified had he looked angry, or had he looked like he was enjoying it, than had he looked as impressively impassive as he did.

Of course, Pike seemed to be a bit of a ringleader for the pepper spraying, so, while Pike's affect is a sort of lightning rod, no matter his facial expression, it's the details of his actions which people are pointing out when breaking down the video that will really, I think, make him feel some pretty hot water in the days to come.

(And how many more videos will come to light - look at all those cameras).
posted by Rumple at 10:35 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Powerful (in my opinion anyway) video of the Chancellor's silent walk of shame.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:39 PM on November 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


including that Pike would have been equally vilified had he looked angry, or had he looked like he was enjoying it, than had he looked as impressively impassive as he did.

There's also the option of looking apologetic, or disgusted at himself, or of just not doing it at all.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:43 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rumple: "The untenured prof, Nathan Brown, who wrote the ballsy open letter to the Chancellor referenced in the FPP, also has set up an Amazon Wish List to have tents delivered to UCD. Looks like about 40 tents have been bought so far.

What we need now is more of what the administra​tion cannot tolerate: TENTS. Hundreds of tents. Please use this page to order tents, which will be shipped to Davis. They will be used to cover the quad, in an ongoing demand for Chancellor​ Katehi's resignatio​n. And they will cover the quad again, every time they are removed by the police.
"

It's now up to 65 tents ordered.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:47 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tenth Update | Here’s a federal court ruling from 1997 which appears to indicate not only that yesterday’s pepper spray incident was an violation of the activists’ constitutional rights, but that Lt. Pike would be unable to hide behind “qualified immunity” in any court proceeding, and would thus be subject to suit as an individual.
Just to clarify for everyone: The individual officer may be immune in most cases (but not all) but the institution, be it a university or city won't be. So UC Davis might have a lawsuit on their hands.
In a sad kind of way, all this 'democracy in action' sheds the very worst light on all the principles that the nation stands for, I wonder if they realize how badly it hurts their own propaganda and global image in today's hyperconnected world? and makes them sound like hypocrites as they support the same across Africa?
I think it's unlikely that most Americans would even think about it that way. They see these protests as totally different then what happened in Egypt, Tunesia, etc. If you go on reddit you see people saying it's completely ridiculous to make comparisons like that, even though I've seen some of the Egyptian activists say that OWS is actually kind of similar.

On the other hand OWS has been much more non-violent then the Egyptians needed to be. You saw plenty of rocks and Molotov's on Al-Jazera, and protesters don't need to worry about being tortured after they're arrested (other then being held in captivity, if you read about the 2004 republican convention confinement, for example)

So I think the level of antagonism, on both sides isn't comparable.

Which of course makes the violent police responses even more ridiculous.

But yeah people in other countries aren't going to get that nuance, they're just going to see cops cracking heads, and yeah, it's not going to make America look good. At least not the American government. Hopefully people will realize that lots of Americans don't support the excesses of their government.
"PEPPER SPRAY IN YOUR FACE!"

What the FUCK, CNN?
At least they are identifying the protesters with the viewers, rather as dirty hippies or something. Don Lemon actually asked the chancellor if she was going to resign later on. She said no.
I don't know, Avenger. I seem to remember a recent President calling the Cambridge police "stupid" for something or other ...
When an actual friend of his got manhandled, and he backed off after a day. Maybe the president can call for "Beer Summits" for all the OWS protestors and NYPD, the students at berkely, UC Davis, etc. Oh and Scott Olsen and the cop who shot him... when he gets out of the hospital, of course.
In the Bank Transfer Day thread, we discussed how Bank of America recently moved trillions of Merrill Lynch's bad derivatives onto the books of retail accounts, meaning they wrote themselves an extra-gvernmental bailout using ordinary people's money. THe FDIC opposed this of ocourse, but the Fed made it happen.
The FDIC insures deposits, not institutions. Bank of America would have to be taken over by the government in order for the FDIC to start making payments.
posted by delmoi at 11:00 PM on November 19, 2011


It's now up to 65 tents ordered.

For anyone interested in a tent for actual camping, the Mountain Trails tent is more of a 2-kids tent than a 2-adult tent. The Coleman tent, however, seems to get nearly universal acclaim.

Of course, both are adequate for covering the UCD quad...
posted by dirigibleman at 11:00 PM on November 19, 2011


Here is a video from a different angle of Lt. Pike spraying people. In this video another officer is seen doing the same.
posted by finite at 11:08 PM on November 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has any white house ever in history condemned the actions of the police or military in any circumstance?>

Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1965 after Alabama state troopers brutally stopped the first attempt of a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:14 PM on November 19, 2011


But yeah people in other countries aren't going to get that nuance, they're just going to see cops cracking heads, and yeah, it's not going to make America look good. At least not the American government. Hopefully people will realize that lots of Americans don't support the excesses of their government.

I don't think it will be anything but sympathy for the American people, rather I wonder what those who will also see these videos and news articles on Monday will make of all this. Here's what I found when I was googling for a snippet for this comment:


Uncle Sam tells you what you want to hear

Uncle Sam has a long history of supporting regime change in various parts of the world from Cuba to Iran, Iraq and Pakistan as well as Egypt. There is always a catch though – the support of populist movements by the US is often clothed in idealistic rhetoric but the rationale is always underpinned by realist political thought.

The talk coming out of the White House, at least from President Obama, ticks all the boxes that would thrill an idealist:

Freedom? Check.

Power to the people? Check.

Respect the human and political rights of protestors? Check.

Democracy? Check.

Hillary plays ‘bad cop’

Look again though, and you will see Hillary Clinton piping up with a different tune: that America would be unhappy with an Islamist or rightist movement coming into power in Egypt. Now, I would be the last person to argue for an Islamist government based on my political leanings but I find it unproductive for the United States to say one thing and mean another.

Such realpolitik may have been acceptable in an era when the average citizen was less aware and had less access to media, but not today. When an Egyptian sees the US president’s support for their freedom movement to rid themselves of a despot, he also hears a pre-emptive judgment passed by Clinton, on who the US would not want to see filling that power vacuum.

posted by infini at 11:15 PM on November 19, 2011


The Portland Police news release someone linked really suggests that the police are very very anxious now about the UCD press, and probably afraid that they can't control their officers:

The past six weeks have strained police resources. During this time many officers, sergeants, detectives, and command staff have worked long hours with little time off. We are working hard to provide the quality service the public has come to expect, but it is sometimes a struggle. I also know from talking personally to many of the protestors, that they too are tired from the unique challenges of this unprecedented movement.

This may be an opportunity for us to collectively take a pause and reassess the way the police and protestors have been approaching this situation, to find a uniquely Portland solution. Today, we tried something new. Our Incident Commander Mike Leloff met with protestors before a march and asked if they wanted a police escort. When they told him no, he asked that they self-police their event and obey the law; police would only respond if there were complaints. The march participants agreed, and the event proceeded without any problems, or a police presence.

This is a model of cooperation that we could build upon for future events, and I want to thank today's marchers for making this possible. We all share a responsibility for public safety and respecting the rights of everyone in our community. I look forward to further dialogue with Mayor Sam Adams and Occupy Portland protestors about how we can maintain a safe and welcoming

community, while respecting the right to free speech.


I mean it's laudable, but also telling.
posted by Rumple at 11:28 PM on November 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Cameras caught police kneeling on students’ backs and spraying them directly in the face. This video shows police roughing up a student who was laying face down on the ground as his friends shout “he’s not resisting!” One journalist reported that a female student was taken from the scene in an ambulance “for treatment of chemical burns,” while another said that eleven students were treated by paramedics at the scene and that two were transported to a local hospital. (That second report also notes that university staff and administrators watching the protest “did not seek medical assistance for those hurt until asked.”)

See now that's begging for an attack. A few cops move in and assault unarmed members of the public while their buddies stand by armed and ready. It's fucking sickening.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:17 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The video of the UCD students silently protesting the chancellor is one of the greatest things I've seen. I want to shake each of those kids' hands personally for having the guts to do it the right way.
posted by auto-correct at 12:35 AM on November 20, 2011 [21 favorites]


From Securitizing America, a source for The Atlantic article "Why I feel bad for the pepper-spraying policeman" linked by Bwithh in another thread:
during the negotiated management period, police stated that their highest priority was to respect the First Amendment even for those that expressed unpopular messages (McPhail et al. 1998). Now, when applying strategic incapacitation police openly declare that only protesters who agree in advance to engage in the permitting process and follow police-determined guidelines will be accorded protection of their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. . . . Preemptive arrests neutralize both individuals and organizations whose actions police cannot predict with certainty. . . . Such pro-active policing detains potentially disruptive actors from protest situations and sends a message to all others that regardless of their actual actions they are targets for arrest if they fit the profile of a transgressive protester. . . . [regarding specific post-9/11 cases] police appeared to pre-emptively use non-lethal force to neutralize threats, perceived or actual, posed by transgressive protesters. Quite often bystanders and contained protesters acting within the limitations of their protest permits were also incapacitated as the effects of such non-lethal weapons spilled over beyond their intended targets . . .

Does [strategic incapacitation's] use make our society safer or merely cultivate the perception of reduced risk? Does the profiling, labeling and sorting of activists favor some messages over others? To what extent does police management of both space and the media affect public opinion? Does the normalization of strategic incapacitation have a chilling effect on protest or drive it underground where it becomes more radicalized?
[emphasis mine]

Normalization of granting First Amendment rights ONLY to people conforming to police-determined behavioural guidelines restrictions (and only those bystanders prudent enough to keep well clear of nonconformers). Whom does this protect and serve, indeed. #democracyfail [x-posted in PERF thread]
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:30 AM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Better video of the walk of shame, with pledge at the beginning.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:59 AM on November 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


Please don't take this as me supporting the Iraq war or republicans in any way, but that was mustard gas, sarin and VX, not pepper spray. He killed 5000 Kurds. Why compare that to this? Easy lolhypocrites?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe


The point is semantic. Capsicum may not be immediately lethal but it is toxic, and it is a chemical weapon, and calling it "pepper spray" makes it sound like someone is asking if you'd like some on your salad. And besides, a police force willing to spray capsicum into the open eyes and mouths of innocent non-violent protesters who pose no threat is certainly capable of upping the ante, as is their government, which no doubt has nastier chemicals at the ready.

I'm sort of tired of having people wag fingers at every example of rhetorical hyperbole (which is just a trope) on Mefi as if Godwin's Law extended to any effort to make a serious point by mentioning that slopes are slippery and hypocrisy is rampant. I wasn't equating Davis cops with Saddam directly. I was pointing out that you could get the American public all lathered up over phony nukes and the use of chemical weapons (years ago, with our actual support in the war against Iran) by a dictator in the middle east, so why shouldn't we call "pepper spray" what it is, which is a "chemical weapon" that is, in fact, being "used on our own people?" If you can't parse that comparison without seeing an equivalence to Sarin and VX being made, you need to read more poetry.
posted by spitbull at 3:55 AM on November 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


Thanks for that version, kim. It was great to see how they organized that moving, silent response to the chancellor. Does anyone know who's the student speaking/leading?
posted by marsha56 at 3:56 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Auto-correct: The video of the UCD students silently protesting the chancellor is one of the greatest things I've seen. I want to shake each of those kids' hands personally for having the guts to do it the right way.

It's an astonishing thing really, and trying to decode and unpack it's many levels of meaning has my brain buzzing hard, it just strikes me as so unprecedented and unique, and a harbinger of new paradigmatic manifestations of power structures and understanding of where true authority is contained...
posted by Skygazer at 3:59 AM on November 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah the new video is much better in showing how deliberate the silence was, and how disciplined the protesters really were.

If I'm an administrator at any other university, I'm seeing myself in that video right now and getting on the line to my police/security director to make sure s/he's seen it too. I didn't realize that was Spicuzzi walking next to Katehi. Walk of shame . . . brilliant.
posted by spitbull at 4:09 AM on November 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Apologies in advance, this is probably very inappropriate and unhelpful, but the more footage I see, and the more camera angles, I can't help but be struck by the sheer casual callousness on display by the cop. I feel slight echoes of the awefulness at the pit of my stomach when finding out the details of that psychopath in Norway.

I'm not trying to compare the gravity, or the relative destructive results, but rather I just feel the need to share my emotional response seeing and not understanding the actions of a fellow human being. I'm dumbfounded again.
posted by panaceanot at 4:20 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if many people have gotten to the end of the video. The crowd follows the police officers chastising them with a chant of "SHAME ON YOU" when the same deuchebag pulls out two pepper spray cans akimbo and brandishes them at the still totally peaceful crowd. The crowd, having threatened nothing but any hope they had of moral superiority, quickly starts chanting "YOU CAN GO" just in case they feel trapped. The douchebag, now perceiving no possible shred of an excuse for force on this polite and fucking generous crowd, then turns around and they all walk away.
I was struck by this too. When Two-Pepper-Spray-Douche brandishes arms akimbo it is so hokey and cheesy. What? He's some kind of fucking badass action hero ready to go to war against a bunch of college kids? What was that? His pride was hurt?

Fuck him. What a tool. That right there should be an offense worthy of termination or serious disciplinary action. Having his pride hurt is NOT in his fucking job description and in fact as a "professional," he should know that sort of hubristic swagger, gung-ho pride, and obvious scorn for these students has no business ever being manifested while on duty. IF ever.

And that's the thing, a lot of these extreme display's of violence towards OWS from police forces, has expressed at it's root: Scorn towards their constituents AND over-developed, overly coddled sense of PRIDE.

And it comes from two places: The authoritarianism of the Right as spewed endlessly by the Roght wing mouthpieces and the egregious, yet lingering, development of this Law-Enforcement "Hero-class," that is way way past it's freshness date, and overstayed it's welcome and obviously, as shown by the actions in NYC, Oakland, UC Davis, San Fran, and countless other places around the country and in Canada as well, an entirely bankrupt idea.

Cops, are cops, they are not de facto heroes. And in fact many are the furthest thing from heros possible as shown by the pepper spray Douche in that UC Davis Video. Who is clearly an unthinking thug and a coward. The sooner they understand they themselves aren't above reproach, the better for everyone.
posted by Skygazer at 4:26 AM on November 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


On a lighter note, there were a bunch of cops at the back of the crowd last night where the Flaming Lips were playing taking photos with their camera phones and obviously enjoying the show and spectacle.

They were probably a bit dumbfounded too...
posted by panaceanot at 4:27 AM on November 20, 2011


Even just the amazingly weasel-worded "I don’t believe any of our officers were hurt, and I hope none of the students were injured.", with its 'hurt' vs. 'injured' word choice/standard should be a cause for resignation. The PR style elision of the fact that the students were hurt and the failure to admit any responsibility with a cowardly surreption of passive voices just adds insult to injury hurt.


Also, re the militarization thing, one of the things that really boggled me was that this is a campus police force?! Why the hell do they have gear like that in the first place? Not just inhaler style mace, but the actual junta size fire extinguishers full of it?

Then, I looked on Wikipedia, as one does, and apparently some campus police dept's actually have their own SWAT units... So, not so big on the whole duty of care thing I guess. [To be fair, the grandfatherly security/groundskeeper guys at Stirling uni sometimes don't actually wave as I go past, so they can be badass over here too].

Seems to me a lot of what makes a police state isn't just what the police actually do, but what the people will accept as normal and reasonable. Or indeed, necessary and worshipful (the militarisation of the zeitgeist, where those in uniforms can do no wrong and should be honoured by default).

The whole slew of comments (not here, facegoogle and the like) stating the belief, to paraphrase one: 'It was their own fault; when the police tell you to move, you move.' are abhorrent, the words of small mealy minded subjects, not citizens.
posted by titus-g at 4:48 AM on November 20, 2011 [15 favorites]


I too was struck by the use of 'hurt' vs. 'injured'. One describes a the action plus its impact on the receiver, the other just the outcome without regard for the receiver's perspective or evaluation, as if they have no agency. When you say an animal is hurt, it implies that the animal is suffering from the thing that caused it. When you say an animal is injured, it implies that something happened and that the resulting injury is an incidental outcome or secondary to the thing that happened. Furthermore, to place the two words in contrast like she has done sets up a hierarchy, where police have the capacity to get hurt (which includes their mental and emotional states in addition to the physical), but students can only get injured (which is limited to their physical state).
posted by iamkimiam at 5:09 AM on November 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


I could absolutely rip apart that awful email from Katehi, but I won't. Except for these two bits:

"After a week of peaceful exchange and debate, on Thursday a group of protestors including UC Davis students and other non-UC Davis affiliated individuals established an encampment of about 25 tents on the Quad. The group was reminded..." (emphasis mine)

With this opening construction of "After a week of peaceful exchange and debate" everything following is set up to be interpreted as in opposition to "peaceful exchange and debate". The first subject that follows is going to be assumed to be the instigators of the change (but not in a positive light, as framed by Katehi). Then paragraphs of stuff that make my blood boil, of which I'm exercising restraint in not sinking my analytical claws into.

But it all ends with "Through this letter, I express my sadness for the events of past Friday and my commitment to redouble our efforts to improve our campus and the environment for our students."

It's neither true nor sincere. It's not through the letter that she is expressing sadness...it's through the statement "I express my sadness..." There is nothing else written in the letter that expresses her sadness. And it's pathetic that that expression isn't even a standalone sentence, but it's conjoined with her final point about her commitment to redouble efforts (also, police speak, blech), etc. Which places her front and center and makes the sentence less about expressing sadness and more about recourse. Not to mention that her expression of sadness is not about anything more specific than "the events of past Friday". Who the hell knows what that means? Maybe she went to get a tea at lunchtime and they were out of her favorite flavor. A sad event indeed.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:26 AM on November 20, 2011 [20 favorites]


Well observed, iamkimiam. We really need to do concerted semantic analysis like that on everything the authorities say right now. They are so clearly manipulating language to try to keep stories within defined law-and-order frames of their liking. Meanwhile, all the sheep with authoritarian personalities (the "you don't take a cop's order, you deserve to be 'injured', dirty fucking hippies, amirite?" types) don't have their own narrow little frames broken or distorted.

Those are the same people who say "if you have nothing to fear, why do you object to be randomly stopped and searched.?"

If you have to ask whether a citizen has a right to stand up to a cop giving an unlawful or unreasonable order, or not to expect to be assaulted with chemicals for non-violent protest in general, you're no patriot. You don't even deserve to call yourself an American.
posted by spitbull at 5:27 AM on November 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


If anyone needs a bit of dramatic irony with their Sunday brunch, the UC Davis law school is named after Martin Luther King.
posted by Kattullus at 5:54 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


And to be fair, a bunch of folks from UCD Law School showed up in green hats last night in the nick of time as legal observers.

A lot of really great folks at Davis. I know a lot of faculty there. I have two siblings who are alumni, and a relative who taught in food science there for decades, now retired. I've been on a dissertation committee there, given two talks there, and visited the town and campus numerous times. It's a beautiful progressive and hard-working campus community. That's why I think the shit has hit the fan there. This stuff was happening at other California campuses over the last few days (they are protesting not just the general OWS stuff, but specifically against another round of tuition increases). Something about *Davis* being the place where the police brutality finally crossed the line from outrage to atrocity is significant. The place is normally so damn mellow and progressive -- that's why this is so shocking. Under its progressive surface, the same old authoritarian exploiters still call the shots.

You can, by the way, still freely leave comments and links on the official UC Davis Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/UCDavis

I wonder how long they'll allow that to continue. Someone posted this hilarious graphic.
posted by spitbull at 6:05 AM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would point out how quickly the Davis faculty have mobilized in support of the students. I'm proud of my colleagues there. Getting a resolution out of the faculty association in a matter of hours is not as easy as it sounds in most cases. If you think MeFites like to split hairs, stand on supercilious principle against any compromise, concern troll, etc., you should see most online discussions involving large numbers of professors.
posted by spitbull at 6:08 AM on November 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


We must demand that the police in this country be demilitarized.

If you hang pepper spray on the wall in the first act...
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:27 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wish that in order to enter the police force (or stand for political office) applicants should have had at least 5 years experience as a firefighter, medic or community worker of some kind. I can't think of a single country that would do it though.
posted by dickasso at 6:35 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another UCD alum checking in to say, excellent post. I had sort-of been following the story of all these tuition hikes and protests, but not terribly closely. When I went to UCD in 1998, it cost about $1500 per quarter, and my Pell Grants and Cal Grants paid for ALL of it, with money left over for most of my books and supplies. I owe the state of California many thanks for a free education, because at the time my other options were to join the military or not go to college at all.

The UC system is (was?) great because it provides top-rate education without Ivy League pricing -- I went to school with kids from tiny farm towns as well as the inner-cities (like myself) and most of us would never, ever have been able to go to school there at whatever the current prices are -- especially if the funding is also drying up at the same time.

This is outrageous, the whole system is breaking down, and sitting here watching it all happen makes me feel like we're living in V for Vendetta, for reals. Great post, and thanks to Mudpuppie for the explanation of what the past week(s) have been like on campus.
posted by polly_dactyl at 6:38 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


so why shouldn't we call "pepper spray" what it is, which is a "chemical weapon" that is, in fact, being "used on our own people?" If you can't parse that comparison without seeing an equivalence to Sarin and VX being made, you need to read more poetry.

Not sure how "poetry" gets you to "hey, it's literally true even though the connotations are utterly misleading." I would have thought that anybody who read a lot of poetry would actually be pretty quick to pick up the significance of the full range of a term's meanings and be judicious about how they employ those terms.

Calling pepper spray a "chemical weapon" is a nice gift to those who would want to minimize this incident. It's eye-roll fodder for the Bill O'Reillys of this world.
posted by yoink at 7:07 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe you've never been pepper sprayed?
posted by spitbull at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2011


It's actually a natural weapon - oleoresin capsicum has replaced chemicals like phenacyl chloride ("Mace classic") in the composition of personal defence sprays, because it works faster.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:29 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, what *isn't* eye roll fodder for the Bill O'Reillys of this world? Like I care?
posted by spitbull at 7:29 AM on November 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Chemicals are natural too.
posted by spitbull at 7:29 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And you know, when Jonathan Swift suggested eating babies as a solution to the Irish famine, he wasn't *literally* suggesting infants be placed on the grill. That's my point about poetry.
posted by spitbull at 7:31 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


So's hemlock and black widow venom!
posted by lumensimus at 7:32 AM on November 20, 2011


when Jonathan Swift suggested eating babies as a solution to the Irish famine, he wasn't *literally* suggesting infants be placed on the grill.

He wasn't?

(Casts eyes with embarrassment to the Hibachi.)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:34 AM on November 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Chemicals are natural too.

Sure, and you get capsaicin through a chemical process - it's not just a matter of grinding chilis into a paste and diluting in water. I just think it's ironic that nature has provided a more fast-acting and vicious disabling agent than science managed. Nature is absolutely terrifying.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:42 AM on November 20, 2011


Interview with student who was pepper sprayed, as well as pictures of these kids coated in this military grade pepper spray that it supposed to be used from 15 feet away.
posted by dejah420 at 7:45 AM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


marsha56: Thanks for that version, kim. It was great to see how they organized that moving, silent response to the chancellor. Does anyone know who's the student speaking/leading?

It looks he is a student who had been pepper-sprayed and met with Katehi (prior to "the walk"), asking for her resignation.
posted by argonauta at 7:46 AM on November 20, 2011


The chemical weapons convention bans the use of pepper spray in warfare under article 1.5.

"5. Each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare."

Bizarre.
posted by knapah at 7:46 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bizarre in that it is fine to use it to control a riot, but not in a war where it is acceptable to kill your adversaries.
posted by knapah at 7:52 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


So's hemlock and black widow venom!


Next up - YouTube footage of campus police emptying buckets of poisonous spiders over protestors.

Chancellor says "It was very sad, and very chilling to watch, and we absolutely hope to have an answer from the task force within a month of the spider eggs in the students' brains hatching out."
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:56 AM on November 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Egyptian military use #OWS brutality to justify own crackdown

I'd like to pass on my congratulations to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Police commissioner Ray Kelly, the White Shirts of the NYPD. Chancellor Katehi and Chief Spicuzza and her crack pepper spraying troops and other OWS oppressing politicians and law enforcement professionals, and authoritarian supporters in the GOP and all over this nation for making the grade as world class oppressors giving the Egyptian military the powerful inspiration and example, for crushing a nascent democracy movement as they install themselves as a permanent government with broad dictatorial powers.

Well done ladies and gentlemen. You are truly visionaries and bold pioneers and the despots everywhere hold you in esteem.
posted by Skygazer at 8:33 AM on November 20, 2011 [30 favorites]


Anyone know if the UC Davis students were trained in non-violence techniques? If not and they did this on their own, that's amazing. Either way they are heroes.
posted by desjardins at 8:35 AM on November 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


I was watching this live, and when Katehi's mediator demanded that the students be silent if the chancellor was to leave the building and stop misrepresenting herself as being a captive, I was incensed. Really, you're going to tell these free citizens to shut up, as if you were their mommy?

But wow--just look at how they turned that silence into a powerful indictment of how the administration and campus police have wronged the students and failed their own supposed ideals and obligations. These students are smart and disciplined. Their chancellor and campus police could learn a lot from them.
posted by Scram at 8:42 AM on November 20, 2011 [25 favorites]


Why so angry officer? Steroids
posted by pianomover at 9:12 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work at UC Davis about a hundred yards away from the quad. One thing I'd like to share is that the quad is not trafficked space. Nobody goes through it in a hurry to get anywhere. Students head out there to eat their lunch, and play a little bit of frisbee, and once a year it's home to a bunch of hippies at the Whole Earth Festival, and that's about it for its normal use. It's a completely different space than Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, which sits astride the south entrance to campus. The walkway the students sat down on is a walkway to nowhere. They put it in a couple years ago: I'm not sure why. It runs from the south side of the student union to the north side of the library. The trouble is that the entrance to the library is on the west side of the building, so anyone in a hurry to get to the library from the student union will cut diagonally across the quad and not use the walkway.

If Chancellor Katehi has any sense at all, she will cede the quad to the students. They will be back in numbers, and the campus police clearly has no ability to diffuse the situation without causing an international news incident. (I was very happy to see this morning that this story got picked up by the BBC.)
posted by Numenius at 9:18 AM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Army vs. People in Egypt
posted by homunculus at 9:20 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone know if the UC Davis students were trained in non-violence techniques? If not and they did this on their own, that's amazing. Either way they are heroes.

About six months ago, prior to another march, we ran a couple non-violence trainings but they weren't very well attended. During the 2009 occupation of the administration building, we ran non-violence and know-yr-rights workshops in the occupied space. I moved away from Davis a few months ago, but I am pretty sure that non-violence and know your rights workshops would have occurred.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:28 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


UCPD have been surrounded before without having to resort to pepper spray.

There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.

UC System remember.
posted by Edward L at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


this story got picked up by the BBC

That photograph is going to become iconic - a true visual unphotoshopped representation to the rest of the world of what's going on.


Just heard felool on State TV say, “In the West they suppress protests, so why can’t we do it here?” #OWS #tahrir

The idea that people in Egypt are completely divorced from what’s happening in the US simply doesn’t stand up any more.


Sadly, this is what I was afraid of...
posted by infini at 9:56 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Here is a video from a different angle of Lt. Pike spraying people. In this video another officer is seen doing the same."

that is an accurate description of the video, but I'm not sure its the most salient one. Sure there is that second cop brutally spraying students at the same close range after the first's gigantic bottle runs out, but something else really stuck out to me. Just after the middle, a man (in the grey hoodie) from the audience sees what is happening and calmly walks into the think of it to wrap his body over three of the protestors to protect them from more spraying. He sees injustice and responds by placing his body between its source and the object of it.

UCDavis really does have a lot to be proud of.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:01 AM on November 20, 2011 [27 favorites]


Just after the middle, a man (in the grey hoodie) from the audience sees what is happening and calmly walks into the think of it to wrap his body over three of the protestors to protect them from more spraying. He sees injustice and responds by placing his body between its source and the object of it.

This is the most beautiful thing I've seen throughout this whole movement and I have tears streaming down my face. Please everyone watch this.
posted by desjardins at 10:17 AM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


We should stop saying simply 'excessive force' though. Lt. Pike has committed aggravated assault, a felony worth two to four years in prison in California.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:21 AM on November 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


Interviewed at a hospital by a local newspaper, The Davis Enterprise, one of the protesters, Dominic Gutierrez, said that he had been sprayed while trying to shield others.

“When you protect the things you believe in with your body, it changes you for good. It radicalizes you for good,” he said.

posted by infini at 10:23 AM on November 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


@BreakingNews: "2 UC Davis police officers placed on administrative leave following use of pepper spray in Friday's arrest of Occupy protesters - @KCBSNews"
posted by defenestration at 10:24 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


And you know, when Jonathan Swift suggested eating babies as a solution to the Irish famine, he wasn't *literally* suggesting infants be placed on the grill. That's my point about poetry.

Swift's "Modest Proposal" isn't a poem, and nor is his language in that piece particularly "poetic." He's not suggesting that what the English are doing to the Irish is morally indistinguishable from eating babies. The equivalent of Swift's satiric language would be suggesting that the UC cops should have used guns because that worked so well at Kent State. Hysterically claiming that pepper spray is "ZOMG chemical weapons!!!!" is just self-defeating hyperbole. What the UC Davis cops did was incredibly stupid and will almost certainly lead to disciplinary action. Pretending it was the same as a war crime simply makes it look relatively tame by comparison with the appalling evil you evoke.

If you accuse people of the wrongs they have genuinely committed, you have the moral highground. If you accuse someone of being "just like Hitler" because they parked in a handicapped space, you cede the moral highground back to them.
posted by yoink at 10:27 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


In chemistry, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. ... Chemical substances are often called 'pure' to set them apart from mixtures. A common example of a chemical substance is pure water;

A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm (either physical or mental) to living beings or artificial structures or systems. In human society weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, fighting, self-defense, crime, law enforcement, and war.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:31 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am so moved by that guy in the hoodie mentioned above that if his identity is determined by the media I will personally contact him and reward him. If you see his name or know him please memail me.
posted by desjardins at 10:36 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


In chemistry, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. ... Chemical substances are often called 'pure' to set them apart from mixtures. A common example of a chemical substance is pure water;

A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm (either physical or mental) to living beings or artificial structures or systems. In human society weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, fighting, self-defense, crime, law enforcement, and war.


Oh FFS. I said in my first comment that the term is "literally true." That's not remotely the point. We all know what the term "chemical weapon" refers to. There are chemicals in gunpowder, that doesn't make rifles "chemical weapons." There are chemicals in spit, that doesn't mean that if your four year old spits on another kid he's just assaulted him with a "chemical weapon."

Yes, pepper spray is made of chemicals and yes it is a weapon. Calling an incident of cops using pepper spray an example of the deployment of "chemical weapons" remains an example of stupid hyperbole that cannot possibly help the cause of the sprayees.
posted by yoink at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2011


Thank you infini for the article, I think its worth the full quote:

Kristin Koster, a post-doctoral lecturer, used a scarf dipped in another home remedy, Maalox and water, to help Dominic Gutierrez, who was barely able to open his eyes.

He was sprayed, he said, when he tried to shield others with his jacket.

Koster said that she was “horrified” by both the actions of police and the inaction of staff and administrators standing nearby who did not seek medical assistance for those hurt until asked.

“In a way it’s very abstract to be protesting about money or debt,” Koster said. “There’s really nothing like the moment when they find out that the university — and all these smiling ladies, who are supposed to be there to protect you — will protect the university from you, with pepper spray and guns. They will injure you and injure your friends.

“When you protect the things you believe in with your body, it changes you for good. It radicalizes you for good.”

[Dominic] Gutierrez, a junior mechanical engineering major from Sacramento, had never been much of a protester until he saw the video of Berkeley police striking students and professors.


desjardins, I think this is the same guy
posted by Blasdelb at 10:46 AM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


... development of this Law-Enforcement "Hero-class," that is way way past it's freshness date

And Officer Pike is viewed as a 'hero' by his colleagues for one past act: UC Davis Cop in Pepper Spray Controversy Was a "Hero" 4 1/2 Years Ago.

Perhaps an inflated sense of ego and power at play this past Friday, Officer Friendly Asshole?
posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on November 20, 2011


Incidentally, it looks like he has been wronged by the campus before, if you want to contact him a little googling should do the trick. If you have trouble MeMail me.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:54 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Calling pepper spray a "chemical weapon" is a nice gift to those who would want to minimize this incident. It's eye-roll fodder for the Bill O'Reillys of this world.

Eh, it definetly a chemical weapon in the sense people generally think of chemical weapons. Unlike spit or bullets, it is a gas that does damage by skin contact and inhalation.

I agree the comparison to Saddam style stuff is off base, that would be like saying shooting rubber bullets at a crowd is like shooting real ones. Both problematic, but the scale is way off.

But again, pepper spray is a chemical weapon by any common definition.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:55 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, here's a photo of Dom from earlier in the rally. Long-time co-opper and an awesome human being. Facebook status after the incident was 'So pepper spray hurts...'
posted by kaibutsu at 10:55 AM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bizarre in that it is fine to use it to control a riot, but not in a war where it is acceptable to kill your adversaries.

Well, technically, it is a loophole in the Chemical Weapons Convention specifically to legitimize its use in law enforcement.

But again, pepper spray is a chemical weapon by any common definition.

Yes, technically capsicum is a "chemical" being used as a "weapon", but the legal fact is that it is not scheduled under the CWC. It is a riot control agent. Its use is specifically exempted by the convention, so it is not a war crime. This isn't a matter of opinion; it's international law.
posted by dhartung at 10:56 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


More of an aerosolized liquid then a gas? I dunno, point stands.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:57 AM on November 20, 2011


The Atlantic: Too Much Violence and Pepper Spray at the OWS Protests: The Videos and Pictures.
posted by adamvasco at 10:57 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, technically capsicum is a "chemical" being used as a "weapon", but the legal fact is that it is not scheduled under the CWC. It is a riot control agent. Its use is specifically exempted by the convention, so it is not a war crime. This isn't a matter of opinion; it's international law.

I'm not debating international law. I'm debating the quotation marks and "technically" here. It is a chemical weapon, by the common definition, full stop. No quotation marks.

List of chemical warfare agents: Harassing agents

These are substances that are not intended to kill or injure. They are often referred to as Riot Control Agents (RCAs) and may be used by civilian police forces against criminals and rioters, or in the military for training purposes. These agents also have tactical utility to force combatants out of concealed or covered positions for conventional engagement, and preventing combatants from occupying contaminated terrain or operating weapons. In general, harassing agents are sensory irritants that have fleeting concentration dependent effects that resolve within minutes after removal. Casualty effects are not anticipated to exceed 24-hours nor require medical attention.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:02 AM on November 20, 2011


In that video, I see at least two people attempting to protect those being sprayed. Beginning at 0:28, a person approaches and throws their jacket over the students. This happens on the left. Beginning at 0:47, another person places their body over protesters.
posted by moira at 11:03 AM on November 20, 2011


In Ostertag's article, he brings out an interesting point regarding the casual use of this pepper spray:

The only thing that involved a "serious health and safety concern" at Davis yesterday was the pepper spray. I just spoke with a doctor who works for the California Department of Corrections, who participated in a recent review of the medical literature on pepper spray for the CDC. They concluded that the medical consequences of pepper spray are poorly understood but involve serious health risk. As with chili peppers, some people tolerate pepper spray well, while others have extreme reactions. It is not known why this is the case.

As a result, if a doctor sees pepper spray used in a prison, he or she is required to file a written report.

And regulations prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force. Even in the case of a prison riot in which inmates use extreme violence, once a prisoner sits down he or she is not considered to be an imminent threat. And if prison guards go into a situation where the use of pepper spray is considered likely, they are required to have medical personnel nearby to treat the victims of the chemical agent.

Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not.

posted by infini at 11:06 AM on November 20, 2011 [46 favorites]


Have there been any well-known or somewhat well-known singers or bands that have become involved with the 'Occupy' movement? I wold have thought I would have heard of one or more getting involved by now...
posted by NormsAndNedums at 11:16 AM on November 20, 2011


Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel played OWS a month or so ago, but i'm having trouble finding the video now.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:19 AM on November 20, 2011


Talib Kweli Shows Solidarity at OccupyWallStreet.
posted by Kattullus at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's eye-roll fodder for the Bill O'Reillys of this world.

Agreed.

We won't get much traction out of the "gassing our citizens" argument. Civil disobedience works best when the protesters endure oppressive tactics with dignity and sense of purpose.

Let the brutality speak for itself speak for itself.

(This in no way diminishes the absolute blind rage I would feel if I saw a fellow citizen being pepper sprayed; that would definitely test my commitment to passive resistance).
posted by ducky l'orange at 11:30 AM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am as outraged as any about this jackass pepper-spraying passive resisters.

But I'm not really sure I understand the calls for the Chancellor's resignation. Hear me out:
She's not, like, the Commander-in-Chief of the campus police, right? She's not a sworn law enforcement officer, while the police are.

So if she orders: Police, clear the camp.
Then they have to: Try to enforce that policy in a way that's consistent with their oath(s).

If she orders: Pepper-spray the ever-living shit out of any snot-nosed student you see.
Then they have to: Say, "Ma'am, we have use-of-force guidelines and we will only pepper-spray those who pose an imminent threat and need to be immobilized [or whatever the equivalent guideline is]"

It's not like she brought the football coach in and said, "go for it on every 4th down or you lose your job" -- the football coach isn't a sworn, oath-taken peace officer.

Can anyone maybe fill me in on how the chain-of-command does work? In what sense do these campus police answer to or take orders from the Chancellor?
posted by secretseasons at 11:45 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that she stood up for the police instead of the students.
posted by empath at 11:47 AM on November 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yeah. The problem isn't what happened beforehand; the problem is what happened afterwards. She made a decision that went badly, and she stood behind both that decision and the people who caused it to go badly.
posted by KathrynT at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2011


I found this on twitter, I'd credit it but I'm confused so if you recognize it as your tweet, thanks
posted by infini at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's not suggesting that what the English are doing to the Irish is morally indistinguishable from eating babies.

I think you need to read up on your history a little. Massive famine and impoverishment caused by brutal government policies kills babies too. Which was part of Swift's point. But I digress.

I've written a little bit about chemical weapons (ah freelancing spec jobs) and one of their (useful to the users) properties is that they are not always fatal, but often simply disabling. So you may only kill 20 people, but you can sicken and weaken all the surivivors who were sprayed as well.

There is a line between pepper spray and chemical weapons, but it's not such a thick line that it renders the comparison ridiculous. At least some of those injured in the protests will have lifelong injuries or health issues as a result. Given that the protests are continuing, there may well be deaths.
posted by emjaybee at 11:51 AM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Council of UC Faculty Associations demands an end to police violence against peaceful student protesters.
posted by unsub at 11:51 AM on November 20, 2011


empath: "The problem is that she stood up for the police instead of the students."

Oh, yeah, absolutely I agree with that as a problem. But before that, there were calls for her resignation claiming she was directly responsible for what had happened. That's what I'm wondering about.
posted by secretseasons at 11:52 AM on November 20, 2011


Yes, technically capsicum is a "chemical" being used as a "weapon", but the legal fact is that it is not scheduled under the CWC. It is a riot control agent. Its use is specifically exempted by the convention, so it is not a war crime. This isn't a matter of opinion; it's international law.

Nobody is saying it is a war crime, but they are saying that it is a chemical weapon. A claim backed up by the fact that it is mentioned in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

I'm also very aware that it is a loophole, but was just noting how strange it is that to use it against your mortal enemy (whom you seek to kill) is against the convention, but to use it to control your own citizens in a 'public order' situation is not. One would assume that you would be even less inclined to use a particular weapon against your own population if it was considered problematic to use against your enemy in war.
posted by knapah at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


@BreakingNews: "2 UC Davis police officers placed on administrative leave following use of pepper spray in Friday's arrest of Occupy protesters - @KCBSNews"

UC Davis Pepper Spraying: Cops Suspended
Two campus police officers caught on video using pepper spray on seated Occupy protesters at University of California, Davis, have been put on administrative leave, the school announced today.

"I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage," UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement released today. "I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident.

"However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again," she said. "I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place."

Katehi said that she had also accelerated the timetable for a task force to investigate the events surrounding the arrests, including communications from the police to the administration. She set a deadline of 30 days for the task force to issue its report.

Katehi said the task force will be chosen this week, and will include faculty, students and staff.

Katehi's announcement comes as faculty and students began calling for her resignation over the incident, which occurred Friday and was captured on video that was postd on YouTube.
posted by ericb at 11:59 AM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a chemical weapon. It's not mustard gas, but it's still a chemical weapon, in the plain english sense of both words.
posted by empath at 11:59 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Capsicum may not be immediately lethal but it is toxic, and it is a chemical weapon, and calling it "pepper spray" makes it sound like someone is asking if you'd like some on your salad.

Pepper Spray: A chemical weapon for the common man (and woman).
posted by ericb at 12:01 PM on November 20, 2011


The head of a University sets policy. They also get to sit down with the head of police and say "let's talk about how we will handle particular situations."

The state or University system (a part of the state) apparently claims tents are not OK on campus.

So by default, the police will attempt to clear tents to maintain 'the peace' (law and order).

You can bet however that if the Chancellor has a sit down with the Chief of Police and says "you know, these tents aren't blocking anything, let's talk about how to deal with it," it is unlikely the Chief of Police will feel the need to make the 10 tent encampment that's not blocking anything a use of force situation.

So:

1) State and Chancellor fail to perform correct calculus on policy to deal with protests before the fact.

2) Chancellor fails to intervene or manage situation closely with police (or worse, encourages aggressive police action)

3) Police use force according to guidelines which are wholly inappropriate here

4) Chancellor does not immediately come down on police, instead proposing a wishy-washy committee that will take three months to act, because the Chancellor and the police are friends and both part of the system and they want to get along and god help her the next time the police union is at the table for negotiations, and hey, she doesn't want to stir things up because she's got a $400k/year position at a State School, and you don't get there by being a problem ,,,

5) Which is a supreme miscalculation because the galvanizing effect of the Chancellor's failure to call a wrong a wrong is far worse than union negotiations a year or two off.
posted by zippy at 12:02 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


A claim backed up by the fact that it is mentioned in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Look, I'm on the same side here, but this is egregious sophistry. Capsicum is not listed or mentioned in the chemical weapons convention by name. It therefore falls under the definition of "riot control agent" by that convention's wording, which is semantically distinguished from the "chemical weapons" that it regulates. It is only "mentioned" in the sense that it is excluded from the definition.

If there is to be any traction against this sort of tactic against unarmed, non-violent protesters, it needs to be within a legal framework that has valid application under domestic law. Trying to pretend it is something it is not is a non-starter that marks you as cavalier on legal points which are, as it happens, rather important here.
posted by dhartung at 12:03 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two campus police officers caught on video using pepper spray on seated Occupy protesters at University of California, Davis, have been put on administrative leave, the school announced today.

So, is this the kind of administrative leave where they don't come in to work but still get a paycheck? That seems to be common with cops who have done bad things -- they get a paid vacation while the situation gets swept under the rug.
posted by hippybear at 12:03 PM on November 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


The Chancellor wasn't directly involved with the police brutality or the decision to use pepper spray. The pepper spray isn't why she should resign. She should resign because her response to the incident was to form a committee that would spend 3 months deciding whether or not it was appropriate to pepper spray students in the face at point blank range.
posted by mediated self at 12:04 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Katehi said the task force will be chosen this week, and will include faculty, students and staff.

Uh, huh.

In college, my friends and I used to run a friend of ours for president of the student government. We claimed he was a deity and that we were a cult. Whenever he didn't have a snappy answer for a question at a debate, he always answered, "I would form a committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff to look into the issue and come to a resolution we can all agree upon."
posted by ignignokt at 12:06 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pepper spray is not a chemical weapon, it is a vegetable.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:07 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, is this the kind of administrative leave where they don't come in to work but still get a paycheck?

This is all but certainly a requirement by contract with the union pursuant to a dismissal process that includes a hearing. It is, after all, an innocent-until-proven-guilty thing, preventing summarily firing someone for flimsy reasons. Don't hate on labor rights when they apply to people you don't like.
posted by dhartung at 12:07 PM on November 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


There is also the fact that this chancellor had an opportunity to see what happened down the highway last week at UC Berkeley when police were told to remove tents from a public space. So she should have been quite aware of the potential consequences of clearing those tents - namely, police brutality. That she obviously didn't incorporate concern for student safety into her plan for police action against her students is another notch in her resignation belt.
posted by one_bean at 12:10 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


""I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage," UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement released today. "I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident."

This is plainly unacceptable for a whole lot of reasons. Both because her leadership has been transparently flawed, unself-reflective and heartless but also because she can no longer remain and continue to plausibly stand for university self governance or academic independence. The students, staff, and faculty are all plainly united in their lack of confidence in her ability to stay and she doesn't care. She could only possibly hope to stay as a tyrant dictating her presence, this is where the board of trustees meets and steps in to kick her out less gracefully.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:11 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


That she obviously didn't incorporate concern for student safety into her plan for police action against her students is another notch in her resignation belt.

See, she couldn't be concerned about student safety because getting rid of the tents was needed to ensure student safety.

---

In non-snarky news, this situation is exactly why many governments have passed laws that make it a crime to record the police. When you hear people say "the police need to feel free to do their job," this is the sort of job they're talking about. To whit, this is not an isolated incident - its par for the course.

In my brain, I equate it with "embedded news teams" in war and not wanting to show pictures of the returning coffins. You don't want people to see what they're actually supporting or they might think about it and not support it anymore.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:14 PM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


She could only possibly hope to stay as a tyrant dictating her presence, this is where the board of trustees meets and steps in to kick her out less gracefully.

The sad part is that the trustees may not find anything to complain about - recall that at least one of them is working for Bank of America. The other sad part is that she is a CEO of a profitable organization, and student welfare may be low on the list in the context of what was discussed much earlier in this thread about the shift in urban design principles after the 1960s and the then student uprisings. There may be numerous policies in place. This where the challenge of business vs academia within the context of the university system will play out.
posted by infini at 12:22 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let the brutality speak for itself speak for itself.
"... [I]t’s the excessive police actions that help add fuel to the very movement they're attempting to quash. Bringing the protests back into the media spotlight and lending them a great deal of public sympathy is probably not what police have in mind when they pepper-spray a line of peaceful protesters, but it’s exactly what happens.

... Just as the OWS folk start to dip in public opinion polls, the cops make martyrs out of them."*
posted by ericb at 12:22 PM on November 20, 2011


My point was not to compare the cops or Katehi to Saddam Hussein, for one last attempt at clarity. My point was that there is something particularly repugnant about spraying people with pain-inducing chemicals to subdue them, most certainly when they represent no physical threat to you. I would be no less appalled had cops used batons or tasers, in principle. But the act of spraying people who are seated until they are covered in burning foam is gratuitous and indiscriminate, and with respect to indiscriminacy in particular, the excessive use of force lies in the disproportionality of the force used.

I don't think cops should spray shit on seated, non violent protesters. That simple.
posted by spitbull at 12:25 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I'm not really sure I understand the calls for the Chancellor's resignation.

Speaking for myself, I think she should resign for the following reasons:

(1) She called for police to break up a peaceful protest on campus. Universities are supposed to be places for free inquiry and free expression of ideas. To call for the police to break up a peaceful demonstration is a betrayal of the most central ideals of the university. And as the head of her university, the Chancellor should be defending those ideals first and foremost. For this reason alone, she should resign.

(2) Given other police actions on university campuses, especially recently, and given the co-ordinated reaction to Occupy protesters by police, the Chancellor could reasonably have foreseen that calling police to campus would result in injuries to students. Since the police would not have come but for her calling them, her calling them was a cause in fact of any injuries suffered by the students. After defending the university as a space for free inquiry and free expression of ideas, the second duty of the Chancellor is to defend the well-being of the students, faculty, and staff. She failed to do that. Again, for this reason alone, she should resign.

(3) After having had the entire thing blow up in her face, she misrepresented the facts of the case in order to make the students into the villains, and for all practical purposes, she excused the actions of the police. Rather than apologize and assure the academic community that the ideals of the university and the safety of students, faculty, and staff would be safe-guarded in the future, she showed no remorse for her actions nor did she take any responsibility for the foreseeable consequences of those actions. For this, she should resign.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:35 PM on November 20, 2011 [26 favorites]


I think you need to read up on your history a little. Massive famine and impoverishment caused by brutal government policies kills babies too. Which was part of Swift's point. But I digress.

If Swift had thought the two things were morally equivalent (and if his audience had been expected to think so) the piece would have failed utterly as satire (it would be as if he had written a satire of police excessive use of bean bag ammunition by comparing it to police excessive use of rubber bullets). The whole point of the satire is to shock the conscience by comparing something obviously morally repugnant with a situation that is much less obviously so. It works to the extent that the comparison helps us see certain similarities between the two situations (that the babies of the poor are dying and that we are using a complacently distancing language of political economics to rationalize that fact away).

This does not mean, however, that Eighteenth century English policies towards Ireland are morally indistinguishable from butchering Irish children for meat. It is a singular misunderstanding of Swift's satire to claim that that is his point.
posted by yoink at 12:36 PM on November 20, 2011


I'm on my phone so can't link this, but here is the full text of a note posted on Facebook by Kristin Stoneking, the woman walking Katehi to her car in tbe silent protest video. (I'm so glad that wasn't really the UCD police chief!) I think (hope) the next words from Katehi will be quite a bit different from her earlier ones. We'll see.

"    At 5pm, as my family and I left Davis so that I could attend the American Academy of Religion annual meetings in San Francisco, I received a call from Assistant Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro informing me that she, Chancellor Katehi and others were trapped inside Surge II.  She asked if I could mediate between students and administration.  I was reluctant; I had already missed a piece of the meetings due to commitments in Davis and didn’t want to miss any more.  I called a student (intentionally not named here) and learned that students were surrounding the building but had committed to a peaceful, silent exit for those inside and had created a clear walkway to the street.  We turned the car around and headed back to Davis.

    When I arrived, there was a walkway out of the building set up, lined on both sides by about 300 students. The students were organized and peaceful. I was cleared to enter the building along with a student who is a part of CA House and has been part of the Occupy movement on campus since the beginning.  He, too, was reluctant, but not because he had somewhere else to be.  For any student to act as a spokesperson or leader is inconsistent with the ethos the Occupy movement.  He entered as an individual seeking peace and resolution, not as a representative of the students, and was clear that he had called for and would continue to call for Chancellor Katehi’s resignation. 

Once inside, and through over an hour of conversation, we learned the following:

The Chancellor had made a commitment that police would not be called in this situation
Though the message had been received inside the building that students were offering a peaceful exit, there was a concern that not everyone would hold to this commitment
The Chancellor had committed to talk with students personally and respond to concerns at the rally on Monday on the quad
The student assistants to the Chancellor had organized another forum on Tuesday for the Chancellor to dialogue directly with students
    What we felt couldn’t be compromised on was the students’ desire to see and be seen by the Chancellor.  Any exit without face to face contact was unacceptable.  She was willing to do this. We reached agreement that the students would move to one side of the walkway and sit down as a show of commitment to nonviolence. 

    Before we left, the Chancellor was asked to view a video of the student who was with me being pepper sprayed. She immediately agreed.  Then, he and I witnessed her witnessing eight minutes of the violence that occurred Friday.  Like a recurring nightmare, the horrific scene and the cries of “You don’t have to do this!” and students choking and screaming rolled again.  The student and I then left the building and using the human mike, students were informed that a request had been made that they move to one side and sit down so that the Chancellor could exit.  They immediately complied, though I believe she could have left peacefully even without this concession.

   I returned to the building and walked with the Chancellor down the human walkway to her car.  Students remained silent and seated the entire way.

    What was clear to me was that once again, the students’ willingness to show restraint kept us from spiraling into a cycle of violence upon violence.  There was no credible threat to the Chancellor, only a perceived one.  The situation was not hostile.  And what was also clear to me is that whether they admit it or not, the administrators that were inside the building are afraid.  And exhausted.  And human.  And the suffering that has been inflicted is real.  The pain present as the three of us watched the video of students being pepper sprayed was palpable.  A society is only truly free when all persons take responsibility for their actions; it is only upon taking responsibility that healing can come.     

    Why did I walk the Chancellor to her car?  Because I believe in the humanity of all persons.  Because I believe that people should be assisted when they are afraid.  Because I believe that in showing compassion we embrace a nonviolent way of life that emanates to those whom we refuse to see as enemies and in turn leads to the change that we all seek.  I am well aware that my actions were looked on with suspicion by some tonight, but I trust that those seeking a nonviolent solution will know that “just means lead to just ends” and my actions offered dignity not harm.

    The Chancellor was not trapped in Surge II tonight, but, in a larger sense, we are all in danger of being trapped.  We are trapped when we assent to a culture that for decades, and particularly since 9/11, has allowed law enforcement to have more and more power which has moved us into an era of hypercriminalization. We are trapped when we envision no path to reconciliation.   And we are trapped when we forget our own power.  The students at UC Davis are to be commended for resisting that entrapment, using their own power nonviolently.  I pray that the Chancellor will remember her own considerable power in making change on our campus, and in seeking healing and reconciliation."
posted by apricot at 12:43 PM on November 20, 2011 [84 favorites]


Students silently rebuke Chancellor Katehi.

I went to Davis and this makes me proud.
posted by fshgrl at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


FYI, I am not FB contacts with Kristen Stoneking. One of my many UCD grad student friends shared it on his wall.
posted by apricot at 12:47 PM on November 20, 2011


From Twitter:

Here's a detail: Lt. Pike, who sprayed them at zero range with military-grade pepper spray? He knew the kids by name, from night before.
Xeni Jardin
- - - -

“Students offered Pike food, coffee, spoke to him when he & other police were monitoring them setting up Occupy tents Thu night. #UCDavis
posted by spitbull at 12:56 PM on November 20, 2011


Jonathan Livengood: "But I'm not really sure I understand the calls for the Chancellor's resignation.

Speaking for myself, I think she should resign for the following reasons:
"

I totally agree with your reasons 1 and 3. But on 2, I think the sworn police officers are responsible for their own actions. If she had called them in and one of them had gone completely crazy firing his sidearm into the crowd I don't think it would be fair to say, "Since the police would not have come but for her calling them, her calling them was a cause in fact of any injuries suffered by the students."

But I don't really know why I'm arguing and I apologize to the thread for making it seem like I'm defending these heinous actions. I agree that her leadership has been flawed and she is not defending the ideals of open inquiry that any and all UC campuses ought to stand for.
posted by secretseasons at 12:59 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


btw, don't be surprised this happened at Davis, either the initial protests, the cops overreacting or the fact that people are willing to work together to solve problems. That's very Davis, imho. It's primarily a science and engineering school with a lot of good useful student run institutions*. Planning and carrying out solutions is what Davis students do. And the campus cops have always had a reputation for being the ones no real police department wants**.

*the Davis students run their own bus service for instance. By which I don't mean they pay someone to do it for them. They drive the buses. They also largely staff the fire department on campus so no shock that they were the first responders.

**direct quote from a CHP friend circa 1996.
posted by fshgrl at 1:02 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If she had called them in and one of them had gone completely crazy firing his sidearm into the crowd I don't think it would be fair to say, "Since the police would not have come but for her calling them, her calling them was a cause in fact of any injuries suffered by the students."

But you see, this was not a cop going crazy-off-the-rails. This is the way these guys are trained to be, this is the way these guys are. And this kind of aggressive escalating "obey my every command, no matter how illegitimate, or you will be brutalized" policies that police are in love with these days is exactly what the protestors were protesting in the first place.

It would be like if someone was calling you all the time screaming that your cops are crazy guys who will fire their sidearms into the crowd, then you send your cops over to stop the harassing phone calls—and lo, your cops go crazy firing their sidearms into the crowd. Yes, it was irresponsible for you to send them over like that.
posted by fleacircus at 1:10 PM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


But you see, this was not a cop going crazy-off-the-rails. This is the way these guys are trained to be, this is the way these guys are.

Exactly. To use a trite construction, the brutality isn't a bug; it's a feature.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:12 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the sworn police officers are responsible for their own actions.

Two things here. First, the fact that the police officers are responsible for their own actions does not mean that the Chancellor is not also responsible for their actions. Second, the fact that the Chancellor caused harms to the students might not be enough by itself to make her responsible for the harms. That is why I also included the bit about those harms being reasonably foreseeable. One difference between a cop going berserk and shooting people with live bullets versus the violence we saw at Davis is that the berserker cop is probably not foreseeable in the way the pepper spray was foreseeable.

Anyway, I didn't see the question or the follow-up as apologetic for the Chancellor. Nor is it really a thread derail. The questions simply ask those of us calling for her resignation to be clear about why we are doing so. That seems totally fair to me.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:14 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does the Kristin Stoneking's statement mean that the Chancellor had not seen the pepper-spraying video before then?? please tell me I'm reading that wrong
posted by argonauta at 1:14 PM on November 20, 2011


argonauta, that's definitely how I read it. Which is. . . I don't know. How is it possible that she hadn't seen that video?
posted by KathrynT at 1:16 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that she hadn't seen that video?

It wouldn't surprise me at all if she hadn't seen (or even known about) the video. It wasn't on the 6 pm news. It was circulated mainly through Twitter (Nate Silver, in particular, has a far/wide reach) and sites like this one and Boing Boing. If she's not web-saavy, I see no reason for her to have even known about it prior to meeting the student. After all, she was likely meeting with police/students/her staff all day - face to face meetings leave little time for even reading your email.
posted by anastasiav at 1:21 PM on November 20, 2011


I think it's unlikely that most Americans would even think about it that way. They see these protests as totally different then what happened in Egypt, Tunesia, etc.

I think that alternative media are letting more Americans see the bigger picture that the corporate media does not show them, and coming to realize that America is not automatically seen by other nations as a model of democracy. As an older fellow, and not an American, I am reminded of seeing film of schools in China in the 60s under Mao where all the little identically-dressed kids were obliged to recite sayings from Mao's little red book, and seeing film of schools in the US where all the little identically-dressed kids put their hands on their hearts and recited the pledge of allegiance, and thinking "what's the difference?" Perhaps only a slightly subtler way of training to conformity.
posted by binturong at 1:23 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Peaceful occupation on ideological grounds is a worthy cause, so why is it that in many cases it is a risky business? I feel that crushing freedom of opinion is actually a very practical example of suffocating critical thinking and true education overall. Crushing freedom of opinion does not coincidentally happen at the same moment in which most countries decide to cut down on education or welfare to get them out of an economic crisis. Educated citizens will question regulations and policies, and powers that be do not like to be questioned no matter what era, what region.

Being critical is a human asset which lifts all of us

Being critical, demanding transparency of policy makers and the powers that be is a very democratic action. Strange enough, it is also mainstream corporate action, for transparency allows for improved business action. So why are demands for financial transparency that affects citizens then crushed by people in power positions? For it is simply a sound policy action. Unfortunately the action is undertaken by non-policy people (or mostly).

Being critical, engaging in discussion to enable mutual growth and free speech is at the basis of us human beings, it is also at the core of education. It demands looking into current situations, analyzing it for its strengths and weaknesses and coming to conclusions on which you or we want to act. To me it is the basis of any critical learning of any movement to strengthen our evolution towards becoming more human. Crushing down on a small group of people, simply because they use their voice to get their opinions out in the open, is a brutal yet very open act of censorship and of what some powerful people feel should be numbed. How can transparency and human, peaceful action ever be a bad thing?
Via
posted by infini at 1:32 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that she hadn't seen that video?

That point intrigued me too. My initial thought was that it was impossible for Katehi not to have seen the video, so this was just a student request that she see the video and then walk in front of the students who were pepper sprayed.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:33 PM on November 20, 2011


Chancellor Katehi probably hadn't seen the video because she was relying on her "Activism Response Team" for information:

According to documents released in response to a filing under the California Public Records Act, UC Administrators established the “Activism Response Team”– a network of student leaders, high-ranking administrators and police leadership – in the fall of 2010 to keep peaceful protesters under the administration’s control through direct communication with university leadership, including Chancellor Linda Katehi. The group served to “accompany students” throughout protests, “observe the [protest] situation,” “update staff” about the situation, and “point out safety issues and risks to students,” according to an agenda schedule from August of last year.

Within the program, a “Leadership Team” was established that included many top-ranking UCD administrators, including Vice Chancellor Fred Wood, Vice Chancellor John Meyer, former Provost and Current Dean of the College of Engineering Enrique Lavernia and Assistant Executive Vice Chancellor Robert Loessberg-Zahl. According to program documents, this group “makes decisions in communication with Chancellor [Katehi], Chief of Police [Annette Spicuzza], and Assistant Vice Chancellor [Griselda Castro]“. The documents do not address the potential political implications of allying the chancellor and police against student protestors.


posted by oneirodynia at 1:39 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


B-b-but, it was a Saturday, presumably one when she spent the majority of the day in damage control meetings about "the events." She issued a public statement about it. She gave a press conference about it. I cannot fathom how or why she, and/or her staff, did not insist that she see ithat video before doing any of those things.
posted by argonauta at 1:39 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Email from a student who was part of the protests and outside Surge II when Katehi was giving a presser:



Then, it took an unexpected turn. Instead of leaving from either side of the building, the chancellor decided to trap herself in building & create a fake hostage situation depicting the students as hostile, violent, & unreasonable. All the media personnel from the news stations safely exited the building w/o any incident. After this the students decided to form a walk path for her to leave, we stood there for 2 hours and 30 minutes. We didn't use any violent chants. She was also concerned about her car being vandalized which was not. I was only a few feet away from it & no damage was done to it. Among our chants were "resignation," "we paid for that car", "you can walk home," "we want accountability", "this is not a hostage situation", "no need for negotiation", etc.

posted by oneirodynia at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


Hmm.. after rereading that account, she clearly stated that Katehi was watching the video in the presence of a student that was pepper sprayed, and he was facilitating her safe passage from the building. Now that is a bold statement in itself.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


That pepper spraying was not a couple of sadistic cops satisfying their perverse yearnings in a situation where they thought they had immunity (a la Sandusky).

It was a coldly considered strategic move in a chess game for which the prize is control of public opinion.

Those cops were making a deliberate attempt to provoke a violent riot by the students.

If the students had rioted-- and I think their 60s counterparts almost certainly would have-- those cops could have done whatever they needed, or wanted, to do to remove the protesters, and it would have been justification for similar acts by authorities throughout the country.

I'm dumbfounded by the intelligence and self-restraint displayed by these students.
posted by jamjam at 1:46 PM on November 20, 2011 [49 favorites]


She even said in her email before the press conference, "The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all." Which, if she didn't actually see it, makes the semantic posturing in that email even more disgusting.
posted by fleacircus at 1:48 PM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jonathan Livengood: "That is why I also included the bit about those harms being reasonably foreseeable. One difference between a cop going berserk and shooting people with live bullets versus the violence we saw at Davis is that the berserker cop is probably not foreseeable in the way the pepper spray was foreseeable."

I've had a "click" in my mind and it's weird now: I can see this in two completely opposite ways.

One way is, I think, what you are saying: That this is exactly the kind of thing that happened on other campuses and at other Occupations, so it was entirely foreseeable that it happened here.

But the other way to look at it is: Knowing that this protest was, in part, against police brutality, any "reasonable" person would expect the police to have been especially careful in playing by the use-of-force rulebook.

I had been thinking of it in the latter way -- that only an idiot wouldn't be especially careful about the use-of-force guidelines in this situation -- but then it clicked that maybe the former way was the right way to think of it -- that these police are, a priori, no different from the other police who've made bad decisions, and so are just as likely to make bad decisions themselves.
posted by secretseasons at 1:52 PM on November 20, 2011


I think it's possible that she had seen the videos before (because it only makes sense, out of her own sense of curiosity and self-preservation if nothing else) and that the student asked her to watch it again, anyway. The purpose would be two-fold:
- Empowerment of the student. He's been attacked. He wants that recognized.
- Shame of the accused. Just like her walk in silence, with everyone watching but nobody saying anything. They didn't have to say anything. She stands accused.

It's one thing for her to watch the video while surrounded by her staff and friends, with everyone making excuses which make her feel better. It's quite another to watch it in front of a man with chemical burns still pink on his face and hands, knowing that he knows you were in charge.
posted by Houstonian at 1:59 PM on November 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Here's an interesting comparison in an open letter to Katehi from a postdoc student:

You paid Lt. Pike $110,000 last year. You paid you paid his commanding officer, Police Chief Annette Spicuzza $140,000.

You paid Dr. Nathan Brown, an Assistant Professor of English $64,000. You paid me, as well as my a postdoctoral colleagues, approximately $38,000. You paid my wife, a graduate student and English instructor $20,000.


It's extra troubling to know that my tuition contributes to a system in which a police officer is paid twice as much as a professor.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:59 PM on November 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


It was a coldly considered strategic move in a chess game for which the prize is control of public opinion.

Those cops were making a deliberate attempt to provoke a violent riot by the students.


seems actually to make far more sense in light of what was known to have happened at Berkeley and other locations
posted by infini at 2:07 PM on November 20, 2011


any "reasonable" person would expect the police to have been especially careful in playing by the use-of-force rulebook.

According to their statements, the Chancellor and police chief stood firm because they don't think they broke any guidelines and policies. They were pretty sure they did follow the use-of-force rulebook. I don't think they were covering their asses over a bad decision. I think they really thought the use of pepper spray was warranted.

It's one thing for her to watch the video while surrounded by her staff and friends, with everyone making excuses which make her feel better.

Yeah at one point in the press conference, after it had been disrupted but before someone thought to turn off the laptop broadcasting the feed, one of the admin types trapped inside said that he'd been pushed by a student. He complained in a snarky, whiny tone that he'd been "brutalized", and got some sympathy from some other person. They were not taking it seriously.
posted by fleacircus at 2:15 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Especially because only about half of those postdocs and grad students can expect to wind up as a professor making a whole $64,000 a year at the Assistant (pretenure) level, in a place where, at that income, you'd have a hard time buying a house or paying for your own kid to attend the state institution where you teach. And one reason they can pay the professors so little is that there is so much surplus labor that is systematically drawn on for part-time and non-tenure-track faculty who don't get benefits and have no job security. So it's a vicious circle.

But the cops must be paid top professional level salaries if they are to be entrusted with the dangerous job of policing a bunch of college students, yes sir. And of *course* the CEO Chancellor deserves to be paid 5.5 times what the assistant professor makes for making The Big Decisions (like when to pepper spray and when to leave the students unseasoned), and 4 times what the cop makes.

Of course if you believe that with great responsibility should come great compensation, then there's no question who should take the fall for this atrocity, Chancellor Katehi.

She'll end up on her feet. She is apparently a very accomplished engineer with numerous patents to her name. Maybe she could design a better technology for subduing students, or better yet, shutting off all the video cameras when you do it.
posted by spitbull at 2:15 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's extra troubling to know that my tuition contributes to a system in which a police officer is paid twice as much as a professor.

The UC Police have a hell of a Union.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:19 PM on November 20, 2011


Especially because only about half of those postdocs and grad students can expect to wind up as a professor making a whole $64,000 a year at the Assistant (pretenure) level, [...] And one reason they can pay the professors so little...

Um... making $65000 in a year places a worker in the top third of US incomes. That's not being paid little. That's being paid quite a bit compared to 2/3 of the rest of the population.
posted by hippybear at 2:21 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I have no problem with a professional police officer making $100K. None at all. I have a problem with a professor making $64K, and a really big problem with a part-time instructor with no benefits being paid $5K a class so the university doesn't have to hire any more $64K professors and can afford more $100K cops and $400K administrators (and their Lexuses, or is that Lexi?)
posted by spitbull at 2:21 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


hippybear, that's a middle class income. I'm not saying the professor isn't privileged, but it's not a whole hell of a lot to live on in a place like Davis (even less so the stipend for grad students or the salary for postdocs). My subsequent point, in fact, was that that $64K f/t tenure track professor *is* privileged by comparison to many of her/his colleagues and of course by comparison to the proletarian workers in the university kitchens and laundries and grounds crews. No question about it.

The point is not to drag people down from a living wage. It's to bring everyone below that level up. But we can't do that if administrators get to make 3 or 4 or 8 times a living wage.

The inequity between the cop and the professor is of less concern to me than the inequity between both and the Chancellor's salary. I think, as I said, that being a cop can be tough and dangerous work, and deserves to be well compensated when it's done professionally.
posted by spitbull at 2:24 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


and their Lexuses, or is that Lexi?

It's just such a good thing that her husband didn't get a car from his job/employer. It just would not have played well if she hopped into a Rolls Royce.
posted by Houstonian at 2:28 PM on November 20, 2011


Why should the state of California provide a car to a university administrator, along with housing, on top of a $400K salary? And why should that car, if it is purchased with state funding, not be made by an American company?
posted by spitbull at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Um... making $65000 in a year places a worker in the top third of US incomes. That's not being paid little. That's being paid quite a bit compared to 2/3 of the rest of the population.

Um... no. Have you not been listening to this 1% vs. 99% thing at all? Perhaps this article from the NY Times will explain, Older, Suburban and Struggling, 'Near Poor' Startle the Census:

All told, that places 100 million people — one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it.

You can be the sole breadwinner for a typical family of 4 and earn $65k in an expensive place to live like California, and live in poverty.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:31 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


And no one in the administration stops to think that a policy that sends in cops with fire-extinguisher size cannisters of pepper spray might be the teensiest bit fucked.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:33 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And why should that car, if it is purchased with state funding, not be made by an American company?

Or a Californian company? Although I don't know how a Tesla Roadster would play...
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:33 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ten Things You Should Know About Friday’s UC Davis Police Violence
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:34 PM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why should the state of California provide a car to a university administrator, along with housing, on top of a $400K salary? And why should that car, if it is purchased with state funding, not be made by an American company?

Even better, why should she have a car at all? The Chancellor's residence is on campus. She should ride a bike like everyone else does*. If she needs a car for something off campus, there should be a car-sharing pool.

* and like the last chancellor, Larry Vanderhoef (now Plant Biology faculty), did. Though he probably had a car, too.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:38 PM on November 20, 2011


You can be the sole breadwinner for a typical family of 4 and earn $65k in an expensive place to live like California, and live in poverty.

Um... no. The living wage for Davis, CA for a family of 4 is $60,000. That's not poverty. That's making a living wage.

Poverty is a specific measure of income, and for the contiguous US states, that level is determined by those who decide such things as being $22,350 for a family of 4.

If you're making $65K in Davis, you're doing fine. You're not flourishing, but you're NOT in poverty.
posted by hippybear at 2:39 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The inequity between the cop and the professor is of less concern to me than the inequity between both and the Chancellor's salary. I think, as I said, that being a cop can be tough and dangerous work, and deserves to be well compensated when it's done professionally.

Just $.02 you don't often hear on this topic -- one of the considerations behind judges' salaries is that you want to put them in a position where corruption is less likely. That's a continuum, obviously, and an addiction or other problem can't be overcome that way, but something similar should probably be kept in mind for cops.

That being said, $110k? Considering how it stacks up against other jobs risk-wise (ie: safer than many) that's pretty steep. For that much, you should be ensured some quality mofo police with educated, sound judgment. Not what we see here.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:41 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


More relevant, the professor has spent 4 to 8 years and tens of thousands of dollars obtaining an expensive degree that gave him only a 50% chance of getting that living wage position.
posted by bq at 2:45 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald, on "The roots of the UC Davis pepper spraying."
posted by gingerbeer at 2:47 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because I believe in the humanity of all persons. Because I believe that people should be assisted when they are afraid. Because I believe that in showing compassion we embrace a nonviolent way of life that emanates to those whom we refuse to see as enemies and in turn leads to the change that we all seek. I am well aware that my actions were looked on with suspicion by some tonight, but I trust that those seeking a nonviolent solution will know that “just means lead to just ends” and my actions offered dignity not harm.

I am so proud of these young people I could cry. I remember the Sixties, and I remember feeling as inspired by the Civil Rights movement, and nonviolent resistance and protest; I was very young myself-- under ten-- but my parents explained to me what was happening, and what was right and what was wrong. To see the students enacting such patience, compassion, and discipline is utterly moving.
posted by jokeefe at 2:48 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Especially because only about half of those postdocs and grad students can expect to wind up as a professor making a whole $64,000 a year at the Assistant (pretenure) level

(emphasis mine)

Half expect pretenure professorships at $64k per year? That is a much higher rate than I would have guessed. Are you sure that's not including dead end and much lower paying lecturships?

It was more like 1 in 10 to 20 would get tenure track jobs when I was in grad school, and I was in CS, a field with great demand. I would imagine openings for tenure track English and Art History professors were even rarer.
posted by zippy at 2:48 PM on November 20, 2011


The UC President says something:

"University of California President Mark G. Yudof today (Nov. 20) announced the actions he is taking in response to recent campus protest issues:

I am appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons on our campuses.

I intend to do everything in my power as president of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in non-violent protest.

Chancellors at the UC Davis and UC Berkeley campuses already have initiated reviews of incidents that occurred on their campuses. I applaud this rapid response and eagerly await the results.

The University of California, however, is a single university with 10 campuses, and the incidents in recent days cry out for a systemwide response...."
posted by gingerbeer at 2:56 PM on November 20, 2011


If you're making $65K in Davis, you're doing fine. You're not flourishing, but you're NOT in poverty.

You obviously didn't read the article.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:57 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another iconic 'pepper spray' photograph from Occupy Portland which is going viral.
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now I feel glad that I'm not employed by a major university, despite years of trying to land a tenure-track academic job (in two different fields consecutively). I find it hard to believe that the professors are siding with the police, but you never know these days.
posted by bad grammar at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2011


If you're making $65K in Davis, you're doing fine. You're not flourishing, but you're NOT in poverty.

You obviously didn't read the article.


You obviously didn't read my link about living wage, either.

Anyway, "poor" is not equal to "poverty". And your article is about people being near poor, not being in poverty, and you used the terms interchangeably with your remark about making $65K in Davis, and you were wrong to do so.

I'm done with this derail now.
posted by hippybear at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2011


Where do you see professors siding with the police, bad grammar? I haven't seen any indication of that.

And speaking of that, it's nice to see Chancellor Yudof has received the message as well. Here is what I wrote to him earlier today (and various of my colleagues have written similar things) minus a few identifying details:

Dear Chancellor Yudof,
Having familiarized myself with the details of the pepper-spray assault carried out against peaceful, nonviolent student demonstrators at UC Davis on Friday by Lt. John Pike and other officers under the orders of Chief Anette Spicuzza and, ultimately, under the responsibility of Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi, and having watched the several videos of the incident in question that have been widely disseminated, and having heard the nonsensical explanations and excuses proffered by Katehi, Spicuzza, and other Davis spokespeople, I have come to the conclusion that a serious crime was committed by UC Davis police, and ordered and abetted by their superiors. It is unconscionable that a university in the United States would deploy such disproportionate use of force against its own students for acts of conscientious civil disobedience that were completely non-violent in spirit and execution.

As an academic myself, I resolve to do *no business of any sort* with any branch of the University of California system until
a) Chancellor Katehi is fired or resigns
b) Chief Spicuzza resigns, is fired, or faces significant discipline
c) Officer Pike and any others who used pepper spray in the above-described incident are fired and/or severely disciplined, and criminally charged if appropriate
d) Students who were assaulted receive apologies and compensation for their injuries

Until these things happen, I won't serve on any UC dissertation committees, I will not act as a tenure referee for any UC system tenure cases, I will not recommend any students for graduate programs in the UC system, and I will not give any talks or attend any conferences at any UC campus (which means, among other things, canceling an upcoming talk at [UC Campus XXX]). Nor will I review any manuscripts for UC press or its journals. Many of my colleagues at [XXXXX university] and around the country are considering similar stances. It is incumbent on the UC system administration to take vigorous control of this situation, require Chancellor Katehi's resignation, investigate promptly, discipline all the perpetrators of this assault, and apologize to the victims of this assault as well as compensate them fairly (including expunging any arrest records related to this protest).

Sincerely, etc.
posted by spitbull at 3:12 PM on November 20, 2011 [58 favorites]


way to go spitbull, I hope that your requests are met.
posted by jonbro at 3:16 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's extra troubling to know that my tuition contributes to a system in which a police officer is paid twice as much as a professor.

That's exactly why the Occupy movement has taken traction: economic inequality and a misguided sense of priorities.
posted by ericb at 3:27 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


spitbull and any other academics here,

Yale philosopher Matthew Smith has an open letter to Chancellors and Presidents of American Universities from their Faculty (warning, the link is to a pdf) and is looking for signatures. The letter is not directed at the UC system specifically but rather is designed to forestall similar incidents at other institutions.

If you want to add your signature, send email with your name, rank, and affiliations to matthew [dot] noah [dot] smith [at] yale [dot] edu.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 3:29 PM on November 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Jonathan Livengood, consider it done, and circulated to a mailing list of several hundred colleagues of the radical belief that free speech and freedom of assembly are important. Thank you!
posted by spitbull at 3:32 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The petition verbyournouns drafted is gaining some traction, but I'd like to see it get 150 signatures by the end of the weekend, so it'll be publicly searchable. It seems worse and worse to me that the Obama administration hasn't already taken a stance on the crazy amounts of violence that are being used against people exercising their rights to assemble and speak.
posted by lriG rorriM at 3:38 PM on November 20, 2011


A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of UC Davis
posted by Flunkie at 3:39 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


"It's extra troubling to know that my tuition contributes to a system in which a police officer is paid twice as much as a professor."

Yeah, but a professor generally won't spray a peaceful student in the face with a chemical irritant. You have to pay extra for that lack of humanity.
posted by klangklangston at 3:45 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apologies for the above statement; I hadn't found out about the faculty resolution. I meant that I would be unhappy about taking the pay of an university where the administration authorized and condoned things like this, or even supported other schools that did.
posted by bad grammar at 3:45 PM on November 20, 2011


spitbull, Yudof is the President of the University (system as a whole). Chancellors are the administrators in charge of the (~10) individual campuses in the system. Cheers.

/uc graduate (twice)
//two kids currently enrolled at a uc
///10 year employee (sigh)

My comment earlier about the Regents being the 1% has a lot of context. They have been lobbied by reasonable people for a long time trying to get them to behave like human beings, all in vain. They're behaving toward the University as the corporate executives that they are. And like all corporate executives in this country for the last couple decades, all they know how to do is cut costs. So that is all they do. They are not advocates for the university in Sacramento or anywhere. It's a shameful situation.
posted by zomg at 3:49 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


What does a Californian take home from a $64K base? $40K if s/he's lucky? Probably more like $30-35K, after taxes and deductions for health coverage and pension contributions.

What does a 2 bedroom apartment (let's say she's a single mom with one kid) cost in Davis, about $1500 a month? Maybe a little less, so let's call it $1200. So there's $14K of the $35K. That leaves $21K, or about $1700 a month for everything else. Car payment and insurance? Down to $1300. Day care or school fees? It's gone, basically. Allow $30 a day for food and you're already in negative territory. Sure, you can live without a car in California, maybe. In Davis anyway. (Ironically, of course, only if you are willing to pay more for housing, in most cities.) You can't not have your toddler in day care or preschool if you're a young assistant professor trying to earn tenure. You damn sure aren't saving anything other than the bare minimum pension contribution you make out of each paycheck.

I know so many people in this situation. And many of the ones I know are earning $60-70K and trying to maintain a family in New York City. Yeah, it can be done if you've got a working spouse, or a full-time caregiver at home for the kids, or can tolerate low quality schools, and eat crappy food most of the time. On top of that, many young faculty members also have student loan debt to cover.

It's not poor. But it's paycheck to paycheck, I assure you, even for a single person.
posted by spitbull at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah zomg, sorry, I caught that actually, but too late. I'm used to universities having presidents and systems having chancellors (from the two public university systems in which I trained and taught before arriving at the private university where I now work).
posted by spitbull at 3:57 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does a Californian take home from a $64K base?

spitbull, don't forget we're talking here about a UC Assistant Professor earning $64k, who presumably is a PhD with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt. I used the Direct Loans repayment calculator and plugged in a randomly chosen $50k student loan debt (probably low for a PhD, or even an MA). Using the defaults, it produces monthly payments of between $283 and $575. Let's split the difference, call it an average of $430. Add that to your monthly budget and you are underwater before you pay for food or a car.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:12 PM on November 20, 2011


It's not poor. But it's paycheck to paycheck, I assure you, even for a single person.

Indeed. And the hell of it is, even if you do manage to squeeze your pennies enough to save some, it goes nowhere - bank savings interest is less than inflation of a lot of basic prices (food, fuel, etc., I'm not talking about consumer electronics) and other markets are riskier than ever. It's not an environment that's conducive to getting ahead. Unless, of course, you're already rich, then it's pretty easy.
posted by zomg at 4:17 PM on November 20, 2011


Also, I'm willing to bet that under union rules, a campus police officer works a 40 hour week and is paid overtime for anything above that. I know many people think professors have an easy job, but when I was an untenured assistant professor, I worked 60-80 hours *most* weeks trying to do my job and be productive enough to eventually get tenure. For the same salary I'd have gotten for phoning it in.
posted by spitbull at 4:19 PM on November 20, 2011


$64k is not even the starting wage for UC professors in the English department. I know because I looked up the professors who I know are recent hires! It's more like $40k.
posted by apricot at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, in my own approach to such things, I model the financial prospects of a junior faculty member factoring in only undergraduate debt, which is usually deferred through grad school. Most PhDs who make it to faculty positions had pretty full support in grad school (it's one of the hidden inequalities in higher education that having to work outside of your specialization or take on debt in grad school makes it harder to get a job later, or tenure). However, "full support" usually means $20-25K plus tuition, for a lot of labor at that (teaching usually). Many take on additional debt just to get to a poverty level income. If you want to have a family early in your career, you almost have to get out of academia. And all this presumes you do move quickly into a f/t job after earning the PhD (a 5-7 year investment for most people, with opportunity costs that go well beyond debt burdens). Of course, that's by no means assured and even those who do wind up with f/t tenure-track jobs often spend several years holding it together with part-time and low paid work.

Most professors are solidly middle class. But less solidly so than many others who make similar incomes with less initial investment of time, debt, or other resources.
posted by spitbull at 4:25 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The police officer is Congress. Our banks. Our clerics.

The students are us.

If I had to sum up the attitude of America's governing classes in one word, I would say: contempt.


(From Psychology Today (!). If mainstream USA doesn't get the video on their news channel, they might just stumble across it in their middlebrow mainstream magazines. )
posted by Rumple at 5:17 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tweeted by Xeni Jardin: In a word, yes. “@Black_Kali: @xeni: Is #UCDavis threatening to expel students who talk to press sources? Where is this fear coming from?”
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:18 PM on November 20, 2011


Good to see a complement of current and ex-Davisites here. If you're interested, the Davis Wiki has a good summary of media links and local actions. As far as pizza, yes Woodstocks and Steve's Place are local businesses that deliver.
posted by foonly at 5:26 PM on November 20, 2011


Where is this fear coming from?”

from Homunculus' link in the police thread,

The intent and effect of such abuse is that it renders those guaranteed freedoms meaningless. If a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist. Every time the citizenry watches peaceful protesters getting pepper-sprayed — or hears that an Occupy protester suffered brain damage and almost died after being shot in the skull with a rubber bullet — many become increasingly fearful of participating in this citizen movement, and also become fearful in general of exercising their rights in a way that is bothersome or threatening to those in power. That’s a natural response, and it’s exactly what the climate of fear imposed by all abusive police state actions is intended to achieve: to coerce citizens to “decide” on their own to be passive and compliant — to refrain from exercising their rights — out of fear of what will happen if they don’t.

The genius of this approach is how insidious its effects are: because the rights continue to be offered on paper, the citizenry continues to believe it is free. They believe that they are free to do everything they choose to do, because they have been “persuaded” — through fear and intimidation — to passively accept the status quo. As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

posted by infini at 5:43 PM on November 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Seurat and Pepper Spray (In the Park On the Campus)
posted by Skygazer at 5:48 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


A statement from UC's newest campus, with a very different approach:

Chancellor Leland Statement on Protest Incidents
November 20, 2011
Chancellor Dorothy Leland of the University of California, Merced, has issued the following statement on recent protest incidents at other UC campuses:

“Free speech and nonviolent protest have an honored place in American society and on college and university campuses. In light of recent incidents on several sister University of California campuses, I met last week with senior leadership to review our protocol for managing protests on campus and to plan for a campus teach-in related to the concerns of the Occupy movement.

“In 1962, President Kennedy famously said, ‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’ I have made it very clear to UC Merced personnel that I will neither order nor condone police aggression or force during a protest on campus in the absence of an imminent and substantial threat of harm to persons or property.

“Regardless of your political views, I call on every member of the university community to honor our country’s tradition of nonviolent protest and free speech. As stated in our campus’ Principles of Community, ‘We are a community comprised of individuals with multiple cultures, lifestyles and beliefs. We celebrate this diversity for the breadth of ideas and perspectives it brings.’”
posted by gingerbeer at 5:59 PM on November 20, 2011 [11 favorites]


Following a link from Rumple's link - Why This is a Gettysburg Address Moment for Higher Education :


[...]
The point? Students are not the enemy of administrators and faculty unless we invite them to be.

posted by infini at 6:01 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


BTW the issue of compensation at UC has been really hot in recent years. UC has been forced to reveal salaries and benefits of the highest-paid employees (which is why Officer Pike's salary has appeared on the web so promptly). At the same time UC administrators were taking home huuuge non-salary compensations, assistant professors at places like UCSB were leaving even before tenure review because they couldn't afford to buy a house. This article links a bunch of news items that are related, and presents some analysis.
posted by zomg at 6:24 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, that article. Pretty appalling website. Sorry.
posted by zomg at 6:27 PM on November 20, 2011


One thing I forgot about yesterday: The UC Davis "Principles of Community," which is actually taken really seriously (inasmuch as a Pollyanna statement of intent can be taken seriously by a large, bureaucratic institution). New hires are required to sign a pledge to adhere to the Principles of Community. Posters with the Principles of Community are posted on office bulletin boards. People who violate ethical boundaries and students who get in trouble with Student Judicial Affairs may be encouraged to take an in-person class on the Principles of Community.

The Principles of Community are pasted, verbatim, below.
The Principles of Community

"The University of California, Davis, is first and foremost an institution of learning and teaching, committed to serving the needs of society. Our campus community reflects and is a part of a society comprising all races, creeds and social circumstances. The successful conduct of the university's affairs requires that every member of the university community acknowledge and practice the following basic principles:

* We affirm the inherent dignity in all of us, and we strive to maintain a climate of justice marked by respect for each other. We acknowledge that our society carries within it historical and deep-rooted misunderstandings and biases, and therefore we will endeavor to foster mutual understanding among the many parts of our whole.

* We affirm the right of freedom of expression within our community and affirm our commitment to the highest standards of civility and decency towards all. We recognize the right of every individual to think and speak as dictated by personal belief, to express any idea, and to disagree with or counter another's point of view, limited only by university regulations governing time, place and manner. We promote open expression of our individuality and our diversity within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect.

* We confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, status within or outside the university, or any of the other differences among people which have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension or hatred. We recognize and cherish the richness contributed to our lives by our diversity. We take pride in our various achievements, and we celebrate our differences.

* We recognize that each of us has an obligation to the community of which we have chosen to be a part. We will strive to build a true community of spirit and purpose based on mutual respect and caring."
posted by mudpuppie at 6:32 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the Chancellor has to sign something like that too?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:40 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


mudpuppie, I'm reminded of something my mother said when my older brother and I decided to pay for our younger sibling's trans-inspired boobectomy surgery when our mother refused, still seeing our younger sibling as the baby she meticulously dressed up as Tinkerbell for Halloween. She told my brother and I, who can't really afford it and really don't give a shit, that we were living her values better than she ever could.

I think there is a lot of truth in that, and that this is exactly what these students are doing, living their elder's values better and more truly than they ever could.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:47 PM on November 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


Berkeley Anthropology Professor Rosemary Joyce writes:

Because that is what pepper spray is: a chemical agent that Fairness and Accuracy in Media notes cannot be used in war. Under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, it is classified as a riot control agent, which while prohibited in war, is allowed in use for riot control. So perhaps we are seeing a new definition of riot, in which the rioters sit calmly on the ground.

How did we get to a point where this substance is used routinely, casually, against motionless, unthreatening students?

posted by Rumple at 7:27 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I can't stop thinking about the UC Davis students in the context of this scene from Gandhi (couldn't find the clip online, alas):
WALKER: "They walked, with heads up, without music, or cheering, or any hope of escape from injury or death." (His voice is taut, harshly professional.) "It went on and on and on. Women carried the wounded bodies from the ditch until they dropped from exhaustion. But still it went on."

He shifts the mangled notes and comes to his last paragraph. He speaks it trying only half successfully to keep the emotion from his voice.

WALKER: "Whatever moral ascendance the West held was lost today. India is free for she has taken all that steel and cruelty can give, and she has neither cringed nor retreated." (On Walker close. His sweating, blood and dirt-stained face near tears.) "In the words of his followers, 'Long live Mahatma Gandhi.' "
posted by argonauta at 7:51 PM on November 20, 2011


This is the scene from Gandhi that you may be referring to.
posted by infini at 8:02 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


infini, yes, thank you!
posted by argonauta at 8:15 PM on November 20, 2011


As long as we're sharing inspiring links, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper have been providing me with a certain amount of solace (if that's the word). "I Hate Banks."
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:35 PM on November 20, 2011


mudpuppie, you failed to include the seemingly ironic and undercutting disclaimer at the bottom of that page:
The Principles of Community are not official University of California, Davis policy; nor do they replace existing policies, procedures or codes of conduct.
posted by arm's-length at 8:40 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


> BTW the issue of compensation at UC has been really hot in recent years. UC has been forced to reveal salaries and benefits of the highest-paid employees (which is why Officer Pike's salary has appeared on the web so promptly). At the same time UC administrators were taking home huuuge non-salary compensations, assistant professors at places like UCSB were leaving even before tenure review because they couldn't afford to buy a house.


As employees of the state of California, the salaries of all UC employees are a matter of public record (e.g., Lt. Pike's pay in 2010). My own total pay as a lowly student employee will be published at the end of the year. Professors' pay for teaching summer classes, etc. is usually qualified as "other pay" - I don't doubt that high-level administrators get outrageous bonuses in a way that it doesn't count as their salary, but not everything in that column is inherently sleazy as the above article suggests.
posted by Condroidulations! at 8:44 PM on November 20, 2011


Oh, great timing to go out of town this weekend and not be able to post here. I am going to attempt to be vague in order to cover my ass:

(a) People in Davis have been protesting at an amount that I would estimate as roughly every other month during the regular school year for the last few years. Mrak is usually the target area and it goes along the lines of Tuesday's protest, minus the sleepover. People occupy the lobby from around noon-whenever p.m., usually busting up somewhere between 5 and 8. People just didn't care that it had been going on here because we're not Berkeley. And hell, except for on the 18th, any time I tried to find much information on Davis protests, I'd get "Berkeley Berkeley Berkeley Berkeley Berkeley UCLA UCLA Berkeley Berkeley" sort of results. Nobody has cared about what goes on here before the pepper spray busted out. I guess we trumped Berkeley on that?

(b) There is no way in hell students would be able to protest in the chancellor's office. It's on the fifth floor. Every time someone posts a protest on Facebook, there's a rally elsewhere on campus, or a giant horde of students walk up chanting "Whose university? OUR university!," every floor but the first floor is locked down tight. I would strongly bet that the chancellor is nowhere on campus once they hear of a protest either.

(c) I am at a complete loss as to why Katehi let the protesters sleep in Mrak Hall overnight or why she allowed them to sleep in tents overnight if this is not considered okay by the university. From the articles I've read, it mostly sounded like they were trying to avoid arrests. The Mrak Hall occupation sounds like it was broken up peacefully. But I guess they gave up on that? I don't really get the logic behind leaving them alone overnight and then forcibly making people leave rather than just not allowing it in the first place.

http://www.theaggie.org/2011/11/17/students-occupy-mrak-hall-over-night-2/
http://www.theaggie.org/2011/11/18/protesters-face-off-with-uc-davis-campus-police/
http://www.theaggie.org/2011/11/19/community-responds-to-police-actions-supports-non-violent-protesters-httpgoo-gl3bjgu-occupyucdavis-ucdavis/

(d) Interestingly enough, the local Occupy Davis movement hasn't nearly caused well, any drama. The police have basically indicated as of Tuesday that they weren't really worried about it as long as property damage wasn't happening. I can say from my own eyewitness account Friday morning passing by both sites that the UCD site already had a bunch more tents than the Central Park one did.

http://www.theaggie.org/2011/11/15/occupy-davis-continues-to-camp-in-central-park/

(e) You know, I have no effing idea how you'd remove protesters without having this sort of thing happen. I haven't been pepper sprayed so I can't speak for the awfulness of it, but it seems like you'd get even worse drama/possible injury/lawsuits if the cops were physically dragging people out of there. I guess you're just supposed to leave them there for the next however many months and pretend they're okay with it? I can see reasons why it would not be considered cool and froody to leave people camping on the Quad. I know everyone's pissed at Katehi/etc. and I'm not all "woo pepper spray" myself, but I haven't seen too many people offer suggestions as to what you would do as a cop/chancellor under those circumstances, other than "let them occupy forever" sorts of things. If "let them stay" isn't an option, how would you do it?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:18 PM on November 20, 2011


This is the scene from Gandhi that you may be referring to.

That scene has been playing through my mind too, ever since I saw the Davis students being attacked. That film clip is the "Dharasana Satyagraha" in action. So as the Occupations started, I read about Gandhi and his philosophy of Satygraha. It's pretty damn amazing. Here's a quick summary:

"The Satyagrahi’s object is to convert, not to coerce, the wrong-doer." Success is defined as cooperating with the opponent to meet a just end that the opponent is unwittingly obstructing. The opponent must be converted, at least as far as to stop obstructing the just end, for this cooperation to take place...

...The essence of Satyagraha is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves, as opposed to violent resistance, which is meant to cause harm to the antagonist. A Satyagrahi therefore does not seek to end or destroy the relationship with the antagonist, but instead seeks to transform or “purify” it to a higher level. A euphemism sometimes used for Satyagraha is that it is a “silent force” or a “soul force” (a term also used by Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous “I Have a Dream” speech). It arms the individual with moral power rather than physical power.


This was the Davis Satygraha. The students transformed the antagonist to a new level, where the Chancellor and Police must respond to the students' moral power by purifying themselves and transforming their relationship with the students into one of right relations and right actions. These people were not even aware they were setting out conditions to brutalize their students until they saw what happened. And the more punishment the students are willing to take, the stronger their transformative force becomes, not just for them, but for all people.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:30 PM on November 20, 2011 [15 favorites]


(e) You know, I have no effing idea how you'd remove protesters without having this sort of thing happen. I haven't been pepper sprayed so I can't speak for the awfulness of it, but it seems like you'd get even worse drama/possible injury/lawsuits if the cops were physically dragging people out of there.

What would probably happen is that police would be more reluctant to do that. Since, like, they couldn't subdue a person with the push of a button.

As for letting them occupy forever, well, my answer to that is to fix the things that give students the impulse to occupy.

Of course there are certainly cases where people protest silly things, but this does not seem to be one of them, which is why there are so many people are protesting. Eventually you reach a point where you have to change the system to appease them, if just because a large portion of the people you're supposedly acting on behalf of are the ones protesting.

If it's one or two people lying on the sidewalk, it's not hard to just physically remove them. If it's a thousand, it becomes impossible to remove them without overwhelming numbers, violent response -- or weapons like pepper spray. So, the existance of pepper spray has caused the police to look at larger numbers of protesters as analogous to crazy individuals, because their power to control has increased.
posted by JHarris at 10:37 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why would protestors not actually inhibiting the day-to-day operation of a university in anything other than a minor inconvenience way need to be removed?
posted by maxwelton at 10:45 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


If "let them stay" isn't an option, how would you do it?

I'm answering this in a generic way, not about this specific protest but about any occupation.

Ask them what they want. See if you can negotiate a deal with them--if they leave, you'll do something in exchange. Which doesn't have to be completely giving in to their demands, it could be agreeing to a public discussion or debate.

If that kind of direct communication fails, seek an outside mediator. Is there someone who who both sides trust? Maybe that person can arrange a deal.

If they're completely refusing to negotiate, I would step up my offers to make some concessions, and do it in a highly visible, public way. The goal here would be so that everyone can see that my side is willing to come to the table, to put pressure on the occupiers to either do so themselves. If they won't, they look increasingly unreasonable.

Make some clear, public deadlines with clear consequences for failing to comply. That's easiest if the occupiers are students of course. You can threaten them with fines for public disruption or something along those lines. Even if they aren't students, you can probably charge them with some civil infraction that will result in fines.

Continue to escalate the consequences. For students, this could include expulsion. For non-students, this could potentially include being arrested. Make very certain that the occupiers have a chance to respond--this would include things like hearings or trials, in which they have the opportunity to defend themselves.

Then, if you've done all that, and they still won't leave, well, hey, there will more than likely by a judge willing to issue a warrant for their arrest. Probably they will already have been declared in contempt of court. You can then use the force of the police knowing that you're doing so in a legal way!
posted by overglow at 10:46 PM on November 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Other folks are offering long-term answers to jenfullmoon's question, which is awesome.

But there's also a straightforward short-term answer. If you're a police officer and you absolutely need to remove a non-violent protester right now, today? You get another officer or two to help you out. And then together, you pick up the protester and you carry him or her to a paddy wagon. Repeat N times for N protesters.

If they'd done that, they'd still be hearing grousing from a few of us cranky ACLU types. (And rightly so! Arresting peaceful protesters is still a sleazy thing to do!) But they wouldn't have an international PR fiasco on their hands; there wouldn't be thousands of people calling for the administration to resign; and they wouldn't be facing the tremendous lawsuits that they are surely about to face.

Basically, even once they decided to shut down the protests, they had a perfectly good time-tested nonviolent option. They went straight for violence instead. That's why this is a big deal.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:56 PM on November 20, 2011 [13 favorites]


I have no effing idea how you'd remove protesters without having this sort of thing happen

Let's assume that you have a legitimate need to clear the walkway. Then I think the answer is: "exactly like the cops tried to do after the pepper-spraying." If you watch the video, you see the cops (post-spraying) go up to the line of students, pull them apart, and arrest some of them.

I mean, what's the argument here? Once you spray someone, going home isn't going to get them un-sprayed. Spraying them doesn't remove them from the walkway. You're just hoping that you've inflicted so much pain that this person -- who presumably knew that they faced a significant risk of arrest -- will just leave. Arresting someone, on the other hand, does remove them from the sidewalk, and is at least capable of being a less painful process.
posted by Serf at 11:19 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not all "woo pepper spray" myself, but I haven't seen too many people offer suggestions as to what you would do as a cop/chancellor under those circumstances, other than "let them occupy forever" sorts of things. If "let them stay" isn't an option, how would you do it?

The use of the pepper spray in this case was completely incidental to any objective. They were there to remove tents, not remove students. They could have done everything exactly the same except step over the students, then leave. They could have shown up without the riot gear in the first place. They could have engaged with students a lot more first. They could have not given permission to camp the previous day and then turn around and be unflinchingly authoritarian the next day.

I may be "woo pepper spray". I am against law enforcement using pain to get compliance from someone who is not a threat. To me that's only a hair's breadth from torture. I don't want "I could do this the hard way, or I could just apply intense pain to the subject" to be in the cop playbook at all. Not only is it inhumane and disgusting, but I think it delegitimizes them.

Also, I don't know about the law, but if one of those Davis kids had reacted to being pepper-sprayed by lashing out with his fist at the source of the pain, and breaking Lt. Pike's nose, I wouldn't even want to call that assaulting an officer. So I'm probably some crazy pinko.
posted by fleacircus at 11:22 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


People in Davis have been protesting at an amount that I would estimate as roughly every other month during the regular school year for the last few years. Mrak is usually the target area and it goes along the lines of Tuesday's protest, minus the sleepover.

I can personally attest that students have been doing that since at least the mid-90s. Mrak and the Law School were both shut down one day. No one got pepper sprayed or arrested.
posted by fshgrl at 11:37 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read that the pepper sprayed students weren't even arrested in the end, but issued with some kind of ticket? Which casts into sharper relief how low the legal stakes were and how disproportionate the response.

Cops are increasingly using pepper spray and tasers as easy ways out. As pointed out, they could be (and maybe are, though these are campus cops, not sure what they get) trained to nonviolently pry apart lines of passively-resisting protestors and carry them to the paddywagon. That's the alternative for these kinds of demonstrations, not batons, not guns, but intelligent use of those big strong policeman arms and backs.
posted by Rumple at 11:52 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Egyptian military use #OWS brutality to justify own crackdown

This Is How Terrifying Cairo Is Tonight
posted by homunculus at 12:53 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


jenfullmoon, it's a good thing you're not a cop then, since you have no effing idea how to control crowds without escalating conflict. Although apparently UCD police can use your services anyway. Tell you what, if the pepper spray don't work, just try firehoses and dogs, ok?

Here's what the Washington Post has this morning:

The clip probably will be the defining imagery of the Occupy movement, rivaling in symbolic power, if not in actual violence, images from the Kent State shootings more than 40 years ago.


The Washington Post. On Friday, no one knew about this incident. This morning it is a global outrage.
posted by spitbull at 3:03 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The thing is, the people have something more powerful than your effing pepper spray: video cameras.
posted by spitbull at 3:07 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


"2 UC Davis police officers placed on administrative leave following use of pepper spray in Friday's arrest of Occupy protesters"

A paid vacation without a travel bonus?

Wow, that's harsh...
posted by markkraft at 3:47 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Typically thoughtful and well-spoken commentary from Bob Ostertag in this ABC TV news interview regarding the absurdly heavy-handed campus police response to the demonstrators at UC Davis.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:02 AM on November 21, 2011


Those police need to be stripped of weapons, rank, and uniform, and should be tried as criminals.

Yes. That man in the picture is a common criminal and he should be in jail.

Police officers who commit crimes - and assaulting a peaceful demonstrator with pepper spray absolutely should be considered a crime - must face immediate and severe personal consequences. They are in a position of trust, which means that they must be held to a higher standard than other citizens, not a lower one.

If they commit crimes, they absolutely must be punished, as a deterrent to other police officers who might be tempted to abuse their position.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:07 AM on November 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


Spicuzza has been placed on administrative leave.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:56 AM on November 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Katehi told "Good Morning America" this morning that she won't resign: "I really feel confident at this point the university needs me."
posted by argonauta at 7:05 AM on November 21, 2011


"I really feel confident at this point the university needs me."

That's it, she's done.
posted by empath at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This video is horrible," Katehi told "GMA." "It really shows a face for the university that we don't have..."

It showed the university's real face.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:16 AM on November 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


Anybody have a list of like time-travel "Neutralization" targets? I think Daryl Gates w/his militarization of the police force/SWAT strategy may have been on my list.
posted by symbioid at 7:39 AM on November 21, 2011


It showed the university's real face.

Defiant and orange.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:41 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Aggie TV interview of Linda Katehi on November 20.

She is still insisting that the police actions were within protocol, though the protocol should not have been followed. She does not seem to understand the craziness of campus police strapping on riot gear and wielding giant cans of pepper spray before an interaction with peacefully protesting students. Why is that the protocol in the first place?
posted by apricot at 7:50 AM on November 21, 2011


Also, there is a rally being held on the Davis quad at noon today. Katehi has promised to address students then. The university radio station, KDVS, will broadcast the rally live at kdvs.org.
posted by apricot at 7:57 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


She's going to be on a live call-in show at 10 am Pacific on KQED, our local public radio station. One can also email in questions and comments.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:08 AM on November 21, 2011


Anybody have a list of like time-travel "Neutralization" targets? I think Daryl Gates w/his militarization of the police force/SWAT strategy may have been on my list.

I am trying to calm myself, since I was peripherally involved with the Rodney King incident and incarceration of the LAPD 4 who beat him. So I will try not to get too engaged here.

This all goes back to Rodney King. Daryl Gates' conclusion was that the beating occurred because the LAPD officers used insufficient force to take King down quickly. One of the officers had trouble completing his baton proficiency course, he could not hit hard enough. He was blamed for not taking down King in one baton strike.

Daryl Gates once said that it should be a requirement for all students, in order to graduate from High School, to take a course in how to be properly compliant when being arrested.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:18 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Daryl Gates once said that it should be a requirement for all students, in order to graduate from High School, to take a course in how to be properly compliant when being arrested.

Unbelievable.

There is a course I want to suggest he should have taken, but I'll refraining from lowering the discourse.

But, really. What kind of tool looks at the Rodney King footage and decides the problem was that, not enough force was used??
posted by Skygazer at 8:23 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a note from a professor on campus, which she's hoping to read at the rally today:
An Open Letter to My Students and Colleagues at UC Davis:

A lot has been said so far about who is responsible for the horrific violence on campus last week. A lot of blame is being passed around, and it’s all pretty accurate. But I’d like to take a different approach, if I may, and offer our students, my students—and yes, you are all my students whether I’ve had you in class or not—an apology on behalf of the faculty.

That’s right. An apology. Not just because there weren’t as many of us with you on Friday, getting arrested and pepper spray down our throats, as there were at Berkeley. But because of something bigger.

Because we left the wrong people in charge.

You see, with few exceptions, the people running this campus up in Mrak Hall think of themselves as administrators, not as educators. Because, with few exceptions, these are people who haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in years, if not decades, if ever. These are people who don’t have you guys. They don’t have students to remind them every single day on this campus why they are here, simply by stopping by their offices with a friendly, “Hey, Professor, I just had a question about something…” These are people who don’t have you all to keep them humble by (to use a personal example) reminding them that they almost forgot to collect the paper that’s due in class today, or pointing out the typos on their final exams.

No, instead, what we have are people who end up thinking of you as data points and dollar signs, rather than as whole human beings, whose hearts and minds we as a faculty have the honor and privilege of shaping into the future of our state, our nation, and our world. (And I assert that no one who thought of you as whole human beings could possibly have called in armed riot police to deal with a peaceful protest, tents or no tents.)

So how did it get this way? Of course it’s complicated, but one answer is that, as faculty, we’re busy. I know, you hear that a lot, right? “We’re busy.” But it’s true. We expend a lot of energy on our research. And the vast majority of us put a lot of time and effort into our teaching too. Because we care about you. We do. But there’s a whole host of other things, administrative things, that go into running a university, that we as a faculty have had less and less to do with over the years. Things like budgets. And efficiency reports. And “Resource Management.” And the truth is that most of us hate those things, and we’re perfectly happy to let someone else deal with all of it.

As it turns out, though, there’s a kind of power in those things. Big power, actually. Money power. And in many cases that power wasn’t just taken from us, we gave it away, all too gladly.

You know, it wasn’t malicious. We thought it would be fine, better even. We’d handle the teaching and the research, and we’d have administrators in charge of administrative things. But it’s not fine. It’s so completely not fine. There’s a sickening sort of clarity that comes from seeing, on the chemically burned faces of our students, how obviously it’s not fine.

So, to all of you, my students, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry we didn’t protect you. And I’m sorry we left the wrong people in charge.

And to my colleagues, I ask you, no, I implore you, to join with me in rolling up our sleeves, gritting our teeth, and getting back to the business of running this place the way it ought to be run. Because while our students have been bravely chanting for a while now that it’s their university (and they’re right), it’s also ours. It’s our university. And as such, let’s make sure that the inhuman brutality that occurred on this campus last Friday can never happen again. Not to our students. And not at our university.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:55 AM on November 21, 2011 [42 favorites]


Just to give full attribution, Mudpuppie's post is from Cynthia Carter Ching, UCD Associate Professor of Learning and Mind Sciences and Director of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Education, and is taken from her blog post here.
posted by apricot at 9:00 AM on November 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Here's a full account from one of the people who were sprayed. He asked to have his name withheld, but said I could forward it on.
Hey everyone,

Here is my account of the past week. I speak for myself and not for Occupy/Decolonize UC Davis. These are my observations, opinions and memories. Enjoy!

On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, students and faculty gathered on the quad to discuss the police brutality that occurred at UC Berkeley days before. Hundreds stood together in solidarity while faculty members, graduate students and undergraduates spoke about the proposed 81 percent fee hike over the next four years within the UC system, and the detrimental effects it would bring.

Students spoke confidently about how the capitalist system not only divides the rich from the rest, but a fee increase would eliminate the diversity our university has strived for. Capitalism divides people into classes, and those who identify as queer, groups of color, and women struggle to remain on the periphery of this system.

In response to the hate crimes at the annual Students of Color Conference, we discussed the lack of support from not only the police, but from those in power. In particular, we brought to light the lack of support from Chancellor Linda Katehi.

After numerous speeches, we began to march. We peacefully walked to Olson Hall and made our way through the Starbucks chain at the Silo, finally ending the march at Mrak Hall, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions building. There, hundreds of students occupied the building, chanting.

That night we slept in Mrak Hall. I left to help cook food for the estimated hundred people occupying Mrak, and about 60 students slept there on Tuesday night. There were a few police, two upstairs, and two by the front entrance outside, who eventually left. They were friendly, we exchanged some conversation, and I eventually went to bed. Linda Katehi allowed us to sleep in Mrak. She publically dismissed University policy, and relayed the decision to the occupiers.

I woke up on Wednesday morning and went to San Francisco for the UC-wide march against the proposed 81 percent tuition increase. The UC Regents cancelled the meeting a few days prior to our march, knowing that we would shut it down.

That day in San Francisco, hundreds of students marched through the financial district, ending up at the Bank of America on California and Davis. We entered the bank and asked through a “mic check” that Monica Lozano “Refund the UC system.” Although we were met with opposition from riot police, 14 people from Davis stayed and were arrested; we shut down the bank. I was outside, forming a human chain in the street so that the police would not leave the premise. Several of my housemates were arrested.

On Thursday, we held a GA on the quad on campus, and the overwhelming attendance confirmed that we would start our occupation once again. So, we set up about 35 tents, got a food station together, provided food and even a proper dishwashing system. We set up on both sides of the bicentennial walk, it was a beautiful site to see. We knew we were breaking University policy.

The next morning, Friday around 11am, a letter circulated regarding the dismissal of our encampment. Katehi wrote that if we did not remove the tents, at 3pm she would order a peaceful dismissal. I don’t have the paper with me, but her orders implied a non-violent approach.

At 3pm, I was washing the dishes from the night before, when I heard that the police would shortly be at the quad. I immediately went with two friends to the quad, where students were playing guitar and singing, holding hands in a circle.

We moved the tents to the middle of the quad, and began to form a huge circle around the tents. The police eventually came and began to destroy our tents. The mass group of students holding hands in the circle, probably around 50 by then, moved the tents hastily. We kept chanting. The one I liked the most was: “You’re sexy, you’re cute, take off your riot suit!”

We quickly retreated while a few students and two UC Davis alumni were arrested. They were handcuffed with zip-ties that were attached too tightly. One student, a friend of mine, still can’t feel his left hand. He is left-handed. Another alumni was threatened by a cop because his hand was swelling from the pressure. The cop in riot gear had to cut the tie off, threatening: “Don’t move, or you’ll get stabbed.”

The police came at first encircling us on our own campus. After the tents were taken away, we, the students, hand in hand peacefully walked around the police, allowing for an entrance. I know this because I was at the end of the line, and there was about ten feet of space between both sides.

Picture this: the students surrounding police, who were all in riot gear, and the police holding two students captive, one laying on his side on the pavement, like prisoners. We chanted “Let them go” and “You can leave.” We were all sobbing, sitting down peacefully, asking the police to get off of our campus.

“Don’t shoot students.”

I saw some students in the middle start to cover their faces with the few sweaters or bandanas they had, and everyone in the circle followed. I shut my eyes and heard screams from the crowd. My eyes burned, but the tears made it worse.

We marched the police off the quad, everyone. Even those who had just been pepper sprayed. We were chanting at full force, still peaceful and non-violent. We marched the police out of the quad and made them leave. It was a win, and we all could feel it.

I am in solidarity with all of the occupy movements on college campuses around the world. I participate in this struggle for accessible public education for anyone who dreams of going to college in the future. We must preserve our rights to free speech and public education. We are together in this, and we will continue non-violently to protect these institutions. Cops off campus.

In solidarity and with love,
[name witheld]
posted by kaibutsu at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


The Chancellor is on KQED right now.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:08 AM on November 21, 2011


"They were not supposed to use force. They were not supposed to limit students."
posted by mudpuppie at 10:08 AM on November 21, 2011


In this interview that Katehi gave with AggieTV, you can just see the polite and patient contempt that even the interviewer has for the chancellor as she continues to dig herself and the institution deeper. She still hasn't apologized for her part in this, or for the institution's part in this. She hasn't acknowledged the amazing heroism and dignity that the students showed in response to her horrific decisions and she doesn't seem to get that this is an internationally relevant incident that will rip apart the campus so long as she is still there.

"Interviewer: So do you feel that the campus is currently an unsafe place for the rest of the student population?

Katehi: Maybe for some. Because when events happen here is where I am thinking. When you have a demonstration, when have a gathering and there is a lot of emotion, the situation becomes very volatile. Nothing may happen, and we have, have seen cases where nothing has happened or a lot can happen and we have seen cases in the last years where a lot can happen and students can get hurt. And you never no which way it is going to go it is very unstable when it happens, that even if one student gets hurt its a big price.
"

These are students old enough to make a decision to die for their country, vote for its governance, and live as free citizens in it. Even if that were the decision being made, it is not up to her to decide for them between freedom and death. Make no mistake that the accessibility, the value and the academic independence of the UC system is freedom. That she is still treating these students who whose leadership is so plainly morally superior to hers as children in need of her protection is telling. They are trying to protect themselves and their future from the State, the Board of Regents and from her.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:11 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


She's already talking about how we "need to move forward" and bring the campus together.

The campus is already together, hello, and they seem to be together in demanding a full investigation and your resignation.

To be super fair, she is also calling what happened appalling and unnecessary and shouldn't have happened.
posted by rtha at 10:15 AM on November 21, 2011


Yeah, the "move on" stuff is crap.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2011


Wow, she came across as out of touch and lacking in empathy on that live interview on KQED.

Krasny should have asked her about wishy-washy original 90 day committee deadline she called for.
posted by zippy at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2011


Any recordings/transcripts of Katehi's statements on KQED? I tuned in in time to hear Nathan Brown (~10:15 Pacific), and it seems that they've moved to the call-in part... but without Katehi there to respond. It strikes me as cowardly, but sadly not unexpected -- I'm sure that was the advice of UCD's counsel -- but anyway, I'm curious what she said.

(on preview -- ~10:30 KQED host said that UCD police declined invitation to speak. Understandable; it's scary to have to defend oneself against opponents whom one can't pepper-spray.)
posted by Westringia F. at 10:38 AM on November 21, 2011


The cop has become a meme.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:41 AM on November 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Katehi is a bureaucratic through and through. Most college administrators are, because they're the ones who're are super-cautious and super political in all they do. It's just the nature of the beast, and a part of me wants to understand that she's become this thing because it's what the job requires, but when this thing, becomes casually and unthinkingly repressive, violent and barbaric in its response, it is time for this thing to resign. She's lost touch with what's real and what the principles of the institution truly are, and worse than that she's stopped seeing the students as human beings, rather than numbers on a spreadsheet that need to be moved along and processes with an education and dealt with.

KATEHI MUST RESIGN!
posted by Skygazer at 10:49 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


More on the police chief suspension.
She flat-out lied and should lose her position, period.

Yudof surprised the hell out of me yesterday by making a statement that could be construed as not 100% in support of the chancellors and the police. I suspect, however, that that is as far as he will go, he will not demand Katehi's resignation. The Davis Academic Senate might, however, and that might push things ahead.
posted by zomg at 10:58 AM on November 21, 2011


The cop has become a meme.

The Seurat one made me laugh so hard I almost nosebooted the water I was drinking.

The Guernica one might be my favorite, though.
posted by rtha at 10:58 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was too harsh in replying to jenfullmoon above, and I apologize. I am having trouble seeing the shades of gray she helpfully painted in her post because my eyes are only seeing yellow-orange spray.
posted by spitbull at 11:01 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, she came across as out of touch and lacking in empathy on that live interview on KQED.

Damn, I missed the interview. I wanted to see her give the obligatory non-apology, she is sorry that people are angry.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:12 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Davis Academic Senate might, however, and that might push things ahead.

Their executive council is meeting at 1:00 today. A colleague of mine serves on the committee.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:14 AM on November 21, 2011


Interesting development. I happen to have elderly parents. Both of who lived were born (1928 and 1934) and lived as young children under Mussolini. They've seen the video footage of Pike pepper spraying the students with that brown orange stuff, and they're both pretty profoundly upset by it.

My mother in particular is livid. She called Pike, the pepper spraying thug, her harshest insult: Salami da beach (Her way of pronouncing "Son of a Bitch," English being a second language, obviously), and now both of them are very concerned, and downright afraid of my continuing to take part in any OWS events.

As working class people who luckily belonged to a Union (which improved things for us immeasurably), they understand the importance of strikes and protests, but that footage has upset them in a profound way.

My parents. Survivors of Mussolini's repressive government (the trains really did run on time) and WWII.

Living to see, once again, jackbooted techniques, but this time in America, the land we came to for "Freedom" and opportunity.
posted by Skygazer at 11:26 AM on November 21, 2011 [18 favorites]


"I take full responsibility for the events on Friday and am extremely saddened by what occurred," Katehi said in the release.

I'm curious to see what her definition of "taking full responsibility" is. When do we find out?
posted by albrecht at 11:27 AM on November 21, 2011


Poor choice of words on Katehi's part. "Move on" used to represent a left-wing website run by the Flying Toaster screensaver guys. After Obama started using it, it now means "let's ignore blatantly criminal activities in the previous administration, to protect people of our own class".
posted by benzenedream at 11:29 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess the cops on campus never heard of Kent State. At Kent, there were bondfires, bottles thrown, etc. as "just cause" for bringing in the cops and shooting the students (even passersby).

Here, kids were sitting down, locking arms, heads down. No one touched a cop or an object to threat. If they cops couldn't get by the protesters, seems that this cop had a pretty easy time going aroudn them. Spraying was excessive, brutal force and to me, (if someone had asthma) a possible case of attempted murder/harm.

So stupid.
posted by stormpooper at 11:36 AM on November 21, 2011


spitbull: no offense taken. Everyone's doing that these days.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:40 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Katehi told "Good Morning America" this morning that she won't resign: "I really feel confident at this point the university needs me."
OK.

Who, specifically, is in a position to fire her?
posted by Flunkie at 11:56 AM on November 21, 2011


Skygazer, my 90 year old great aunt said, and I quote, "I did not sacrifice my husband and my son in two wars so that thugs in uniforms could do that to American children." She herself is making sandwiches and her church ladies, all of whom are ww2 widows, are headed down to theory local OWS protest. She said she will stand in front, and shame the police if they try anything. And she would too. A spine of steel, that woman.

When the 1% and their jackbooted enforcers have lost the old guard Republican women, they have lost the war.
posted by dejah420 at 12:04 PM on November 21, 2011 [48 favorites]


Thanks jenfullmoon. Peace out.
posted by spitbull at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2011


There's so much that we're blaming Katehi for, yet I want to take a moment to explore why she's coming across this way - is it her specifically or is it that she has become her role and her position (and the voice of the Regents and the establishment) and so, almost forced to become this caricature by all the forces out of her control? Iam not defending her here in that sense, but trying to understand how a human being could lose their sense of integrity - I've worked in University admin and know that students are indeed only seen as data points and tuition figures, and I've fought for them as human beings for whom the school exists.

In way, her inability to step outside of her proscribed role and thus her script in answering is a better example of what all you are struggling against in the OWS.
posted by infini at 12:30 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flunkie,

As I understand it, her immediate boss is the President of the University of California system, Mark Yudof, and his bosses are the Regents of the University of California. Here is a handy organizational chart. (Fair warning, this is a pdf.)
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:37 PM on November 21, 2011


Skygazer, my parents were also born in 1928 and 1934, and grew up in WW2 Europe. They are equally disgusted by this brutality.
posted by maxwelton at 12:42 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like Lt. Pike, in other words, Katehi is just doing her job and following orders?

No, they pay you $400K plus housing, travel, and car to take responsibility right? Didn't she take full responsibility? I wonder where she will put it when she finishes contemplating it?
posted by spitbull at 12:55 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alright, so I'm actually in Davis right now.

We drove down over the weekend from Seattle because we had plans to share Thanksgiving with some old friends who are now in Davis for vet school and work.

Unfortunately, I need to be online working remotely through Wednesday, so I won't be able to take part in any mid-day demonstrations until after then. I know there's one that started at noon that seems to have a large turnout. I'll try to take part in some later this week and periodically post back in the thread.

What I do know is that the students/residents are largely disgusted by the actions, and specifically at the Chancellor. It's a common topic I keep overhearing in conversations and talking to people.

As an aside, somewhat amusingly, our first road getting into Davis from I-80 was Mace Blvd.
posted by formless at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would be great if all these leaders would show some leadership, but that's not what is actually wanted; it's not what they are hired for. As infini points out, the hierarchy exists not so that layers can think and improvise but only to implement received wisdom. They're all jackbooted thugs, though not all of them wield pepper spray and PR-24 nightclubs; indeed it can be said that far more "just following orders" cruelty has been delivered at the stroke of a pen than any other weapon yet devised.

I would say I loathe them and I hate them but the truth is that administrators are perfectly adequate 98% of the time. So, why would a bureaucratic organisation pay for the deadweight of a real decision maker when there really aren't any decisions to be made during the course of ordinary business?

Why indeed.... and I imagine an aircraft carrier with no Captain, only an XO. 6000 people just following the rules. Perfectly fine... until something happens that's not in the rule book.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2011


infini, I'm all about watching out for the fundamental attribution error too, but the fact that university administrators at other large state institutions have chosen to deal with protesters without escalating into violent confrontation1 suggests that this is not just a consequence of her position. She was capable of other choices then; she is capable of other choices now; and as chancellor she is obligated to reflect upon those choices and consider the impact they will have on the freedom of thought and expression for the academic community in her stewardship.

1Case in point: when the Graduate Employees' Organization at University of Illinois occupied a campus building as part of an ongoing struggle for collective bargaining rights, the administration chose to seek a resolution by dialogue rather than force.
posted by Westringia F. at 1:21 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


stormpooper

Don't give them any ideas!
posted by stargell at 1:40 PM on November 21, 2011


Westringia F. I do agree, and perhaps I didn't articulate it as well as I should have, when I was contemplating her loss of integrity in this regard. (was her position/perks/pay more important than standing up for what was the right thing to do and this was simply the easy way out or was it that like a certain former Dean I am only too familiar with, she was actually a mealy mouthed wimp? )
posted by infini at 1:42 PM on November 21, 2011


Just got back from the rally, which is still going on. There were several thousand people. Faculty, staff, students, and Davis residents who are incensed that this happened here. The Chancellor did speak after about an hour and was present for the entire rally, standing just off to the left of the stage. The assistant prof who wrote the open letter to demand for her resignation spoke, and he spoke directly to her (via the people's mic). It was actually kind of awkward. (He went on to demand that the UC police department be disbanded, which seemed a bit of a stretch, honestly.)

When the Chancellor spoke, she apologized. Her voice was shaking. She promised to make things better. The crowd knelt or sat [in the cold, wet grass] while she spoke and was concertedly hushed.

When she left the stage, people began shouting for her to outline specific plans. Then they booed. An enormous crowd of media and students followed her from the quad, presumably all the way back to Mrak. I'm sure there must be footage of that walk back online, though I haven't seen it yet.

Things aren't any more settled than they were a few hours ago. If anything, I'd say that the situation is now worse. It's tenser around here, for sure.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:45 PM on November 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


The video of the UCD students silently protesting the chancellor is one of the greatest things I've seen. I want to shake each of those kids' hands personally for having the guts to do it the right way.

Apparently, I'm a day late to being in awe of this protest. That is Ghandi-level stuff right there. Frankly, I don't know how she made it to her car without breaking down.
posted by dry white toast at 1:50 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's her speech from the rally.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:52 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really don't know what Katehi can be thinking at this point. Numerous people across the country are calling for her resignation. It is clear that her continued presence on the campus is provocative, at the very least. The police officers and the chief have been placed on administrative leave. Katehi says the university needs to heal and move forward, and I agree. But how exactly does she think that happens without her resignation?

If you have a thorn stuck in your foot, you can only really heal and move forward after removing the thorn.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:02 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to make any excuses for Katehi - she has made her bed and now has to lie in it, and all the criticism she gets is deserved - yet I still feel a twinge of compassion for her. I guess I am a sucker for a trembling voice and her ashamed look as she walked back to her car.
posted by desjardins at 2:09 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Andy Baio synced together four versions of the UC-Davis pepper spray incident.
posted by fings at 2:14 PM on November 21, 2011 [26 favorites]


Ditto, desjardins.

My personal feeling, which I think is a minority view around here, is that she's the one who needs to fix this. I don't think that her resignation is prudent. Her abject humility IS, but her resignation, no. Because what then? Someone steps in in the interim with no experience and without the relationships that could be used to heal this? Or a lengthy recruitment takes place (with an increased salary, no doubt) while there's no leadership anywhere?

I don't believe that she ordered the pepper spraying. I do believe her when she says there was not supposed to be force. (One of my colleagues was actually in a meeting with her when this happened. He said she was constantly checking her phone and seemed very concerned about what was happening.) I believe she is ultimately -- but not personally -- responsible. And I believe that means she is responsible for fixing it.

But, after attending the rally, I think I must be the only one who feels that way. Everyone else around here seems to be seeing it in absolutes of black and white, where I'm only seeing way too much gray.

First thing that needs to happen is that the cops who made the decision to use force should be fired. And then Spicuzza should be fired -- not because she did anything wrong herself, but because she stood up for her cops and professed to being proud of them. Those were not actions in which anyone should take pride, so she should go. Those are the things that need to happen first, but what people don't get is that there is a crappy, union-mandated administrative process that must be followed. Police officers and police chiefs don't just get fired one day. First step is administrative leave. And that's where it will sit for a while (unless they resign, which is extremely likely in this case). But people see it as inaction. It's not, per se. It's more like red tape.

And then, we go from there. Except the 'there' in this case is going to take so long, and people want something done now.

Sigh. My knees are cold and wet from kneeling on the quad, and I should probably get some work done during this short holiday week.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:25 PM on November 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


Typed up from mudpuppie's link, Katehi's rally speech:
I am here to apologize. [crowd cheers] I really feel horrible for what happened on Friday. If you feel you don't want to be students at a university like we had on Friday, I'm just telling you, I don't want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday. [applause, cheers, calls of "resign!"] Our University needs to be better than it is, and it needs all of the community to come together to do that. We need to work i-- together. And I know you may not believe anything that I'm telling you today, and you don't have to; it is my responsibility to earn your trust. I only have to say one thing: [voice cracking] there is a plaque out there [gestures] that speaks about seventeenth of November of 1973. [voice shaking] And I was there. And I don't want to forget that. So I hope I will have a better opportunity to work with you, to meet you, to get to know you. And, uh, ah, there will be many opportunities in the next few weeks to do that. Thank you.
(17 Nov 1973 was the Athens Polytechnic uprising that Houstonian mentioned upthread.)
posted by Westringia F. at 2:28 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Andy Baio synced together four versions of the UC-Davis pepper spray incident.

Holy fuck! Everyone should see this compilation. It should be required viewing for everyone of the investigative panel. Thugs. Pure and simple. Pacing back and forth, looking at the crowd and shaking the pepper spray cans ... arrogantly and casually. Holy fuck!
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


mudpuppie, I kind of agree. Also, I highly doubt the regents/Yudof would hire someone who would act drastically differently from any other leader in charge if she resigned. Leader-types do fit a certain mold these days.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:44 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Picture of the UC Davis quad today. Wow.
posted by desjardins at 2:46 PM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


So I hope I will have a better opportunity to work with you, to meet you, to get to know you.

She left out "And to protect you, and to do everything in my (substantial) power to guarantee that your civil rights are upheld, and celebrated, on this campus."

Or something like that.
posted by argonauta at 2:46 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pretty unimpressive speech she gave there.
posted by phenylphenol at 2:54 PM on November 21, 2011


As an aside, somewhat amusingly, our first road getting into Davis from I-80 was Mace Blvd.

One of the signs at the GA today said "Only Mace Boulevard".

I was actually surprised at how poor Katehi's speech was. I feel for her; she had to talk after thousands of people called for her dimissal. But there was nothing in her speech about how problems were going to be addressed, what she was planning to do, nothing proscriptive. I know many students and faculty were offended by the two mealy-mouthed emails they received over the weekend, and this seemed to be more of the same, though at least she apologized. However, there was nothing to inspire confidence in her ability to suddenly start paying attention to students.

Also, I highly doubt the regents/Yudof would hire someone who would act drastically differently from any other leader in charge if she resigned. Leader-types do fit a certain mold these days.


The UC Merced Chancellor at least says the right things, though I don't have experience with her personally, so I really think we can do better.

"I have made it very clear to UC Merced personnel that I will neither order nor condone police aggression or force during a protest on campus in the absence of an imminent and substantial threat of harm to persons or property."
posted by oneirodynia at 2:56 PM on November 21, 2011


mudpuppie, I don't think the focus should be on her. I'm not from UCD, but:

Her first statements went out in support of the police, and almost all of the statements since have seemed completely out of touch with what is/has actually happened at UCD. "[A]ll of the community [needs] to come together to do that", from her latest address ignores the actions of the students and faculty, who over the last few days have come together. It all feels like she's reading from a script that was written months ago, then stamped "in case of riot".

Before you can fix something you have to know what's broken. Katehi isn't irreplaceable and shouldn't be. She almost certainly has a second in command who can handle things for a few days, and there seems to be no shortage of faculty at UCD with the vision to do a much better job.

The lesson that should be learned here isn't one involving her rising to these challenges and becoming a better person.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 2:58 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Picture of the UC Davis quad today. Wow.

That's only about half the crowd. The other half is out of frame on the left side of the shot.

Want a double wow? It was taken by a kid in a tree. There are some 60-foot pine trees on the quad. The one nearest me had kids standing in the branches, all the way up to the crown of the tree. The lightest moment of the rally?

Kid in tree: "Mic check."
Crowd: "Mic check!"
Kid in tree: I propose...
Crowd: I propose...
K.I.T: ...that you turn around...
Crowd ...that you turn around...
K.I.T.: ...and face me...
Crowd (turns around and faces him): ...and face me...
K.I.T.: ...so I can take your picture!
Crowd of 5000 erupts in laughter and waves at the kid in the tree as he takes the crowd's picture.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:01 PM on November 21, 2011 [32 favorites]


There was some balloon aerial photography going on as well via the Geography Graduate Group, should be some awesome pics when those are posted.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:03 PM on November 21, 2011


The cop has become a meme.

The Joy of Viral Art Inspired by UC-Davis Pepper-Spray Video --- "LeDejeuner sur L'herbe," images of the Founding Fathers, even the Sistine Chapel. None has been immune from being pepper-sprayed by the now virally famous police officer at the University of California, Davis.
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


mudpuppie, I agree that it would be irresponsible for her to pack up her desk and leave immediately without any other consideration. However, to stay in the face of so much student, faculty staff, local and international opposition, much less her growing collection of failures in leadership, is at least as irresponsible. She could go to the board and if there is an appropriate Vice Chancellor in the wings that could work, or she could resign effective 6 months from now. Either way it would take the focus off of her where it doesn't belong and onto the University and the path forward.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:08 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, Blasdelb, I hear you.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:09 PM on November 21, 2011


Mudpuppie, did you notice the balloon? A couple of geography grad student colleagues of mine deployed it to try to take aerial photographs of the crowd -- my guess is that it was about 400' high off the ground. (One of those students uses kite-aided aerial photography in her research, and arranged to deploy the camera using a helium balloon rather than a kite).
posted by Numenius at 3:10 PM on November 21, 2011


Yes, I saw it. It was very cool! I'm glad it was geography students. For a while I was worried it was Mrak or UCPD.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:14 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems there ought to be some sort of clause in the union agreement that provides for swift action in the case of clear cut and especially serious infraction, to bypass or shorten the administrative leave part. I think such a thing could be crafted without undermining the essence of the union and collective bargaining.

Mudpuppie you do make a good point about what resources Katehi might be able to bring to bear on a real solution, and I don't think her ouster is necessarily the one and only way forward. But her staying would have to be contingent on some stronger analysis on her part than I've heard yet. She would need to convince people that she is passionate about making deep philosophical and operational changes, and making them stick. Perhaps in that case she should be given a month in office after which a vote of confidence would be held.
posted by maniabug at 3:16 PM on November 21, 2011


I'm having trouble following/hearing what is going on, but there seems to be trouble at Baruch College in NYC - twitter reports beatings and arrests. Tim Pool is on it. (ustream)
posted by desjardins at 3:20 PM on November 21, 2011


They have a sneak preview from the balloon posted already! More to follow once they stitch photos together.
posted by Numenius at 3:20 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sounds to me like she's signed up with some PR consultants and she's following their script.
posted by night_train at 3:23 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


ok, who's going to volunteer to hand-count the crowd in that photo?
posted by kaibutsu at 3:24 PM on November 21, 2011


Signed up with? UC Davis actually has a permanent PR division, as we know from past encounters where they've hiked tuition and shut down student spaces.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:25 PM on November 21, 2011


Kathei: If you feel you don't want to be students at a university like we had on Friday, I'm just telling you, I don't want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday.

Gee that's too damn bad, because you WERE the Chancellor of the university on Friday. That statement was a classic attempt to distance herself from the events, like they erupted spontaneously without anyone being responsible for them.

seanmpucket: I would say I loathe them and I hate them but the truth is that administrators are perfectly adequate 98% of the time. So, why would a bureaucratic organisation pay for the deadweight of a real decision maker when there really aren't any decisions to be made during the course of ordinary business?

Why indeed.... and I imagine an aircraft carrier with no Captain, only an XO. 6000 people just following the rules. Perfectly fine... until something happens that's not in the rule book.


I've heard it said that flying a big passenger airplane is 99% boredom interspersed with 1% moments of absolute terror. To use this like your analogy, what good is a pilot who loses control in those few moments of danger, when immediate action must be taken by a firm hand on the controls?

The measure of one's character is revealed in moments of crisis. Kathei showed her true character. Her groveling speech, with appeals to empathize with her because she "was there" at N17, 1973, is not going to earn anyone's trust.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:26 PM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


But her staying would have to be contingent on some stronger analysis on her part than I've heard yet. She would need to convince people that she is passionate about making deep philosophical and operational changes, and making them stick.

I absolutely agree. The apology was necessary, and I'm glad she extended it, but it's been an unnecessarily long road from the two emails she sent Friday/Saturday to here. The first email was victim-blaming. The second took a step back and showed more regret, but no apology. There was then a very slow transition throughout the subsequent communications from defensiveness toward the apology she made today. The trajectory is there, at least, but she's needed to get from point A to point B much more quickly, and I worry that door has closed.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:27 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Photos from the local paper.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:29 PM on November 21, 2011


Thanks Houstonian and Westringia F. for catching this connection to the violently-repressed student uprising Katehi was a part of when she was a student in Greece. Interesting that she referenced it so directly. I hope a journalist asks her about it, and what her role was when she was a student there.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:29 PM on November 21, 2011


Really honestly I do believe she didn't want any of this either, I mean she was at Athens Polytechnic back in the day. When the military Junta of the time stormed the campus with a tank killing at least 24 in order to punish students and silence a makeshift radio station made out of lab equipment. She lived through something much worse than this, but shes got to understand that things were able to get better then because leadership changed.

She has got to go not as much because of what she did as what she failed to do but really mostly because its not about her. She is a problem and the university has much bigger problems than her but she need to step aside if only so that that it can address them.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:44 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ACLU has sent a letter to the chancellor. pdf, via
posted by annsunny at 3:51 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


What are the shapes in this image from mudpuppie's link?
posted by desjardins at 3:53 PM on November 21, 2011


Really honestly I do believe she didn't want any of this either, I mean she was at Athens Polytechnic back in the day. When the military Junta of the time stormed the campus with a tank killing at least 24 in order to punish students and silence a makeshift radio station made out of lab equipment. She lived through something much worse than this, but shes got to understand that things were able to get better then because leadership changed.

When we leave our homelands and come as adults to a nation, which, from the outside has always shone a beacon of light as the land of the brave and the free, where merit and the American Dream went hand in hand and that there was a vast land of opportunity for the hard working, it may be difficult to imagine that its not very different from anywhere else in the world where such things can and do happen (if only in the matter of degree. )
posted by infini at 3:54 PM on November 21, 2011


Kid in tree: "Mic check."
Crowd: "Mic check!"


I want to go back in time and attend UC Davis.
posted by desjardins at 3:55 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


What are the shapes in this image from mudpuppie's link?

My uninformed speculation is wireframe symbolic tents. They appear to be right on the part of the sidewalk where the spraying took place.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:56 PM on November 21, 2011


this one has a heart <3
posted by desjardins at 3:58 PM on November 21, 2011


Yeah, there was a sign next to them that said "Make a tent."

Now, after most of the crowd has dispersed, there are about a dozen real tents on the quad. And a geodesic dome is being erected. I also counted more than one ukelele.

Pic.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:59 PM on November 21, 2011


I really don't know what Katehi can be thinking at this point.
One simple possibility, of course, is "My salary is $400,000 a year."
posted by Flunkie at 3:59 PM on November 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


The ACLU has sent a letter to the chancellor.

Oh! Oh! Not just a letter, but a declaration that they are conducting an investigation, and a request for all the info they will need for that investigation. With a 10-day deadline.
posted by Houstonian at 4:01 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The livestream posted above by desjardins is back up.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:03 PM on November 21, 2011


(the livestreamer has moved to The New School in NYC.)
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:05 PM on November 21, 2011


She has become a symbol of the atrocity. She has defended it, minimized it, and tried to brush it away. She gave the order to clear the quad. She has lost the confidence of the faculty. Thousands around the world are calling for her resignation. In that situation, a leader should know to step aside. She is not irreplaceable. She has an entire staff of administrators below her, many of whom know the inner workings of the university, and President Yudof also has the option of appointing a distinguished outsider or a prominent member of the faculty as an interim chancellor.

Feel sorry for her? Are you kidding? She'll get a golden parachute, move to a tenured engineering position somewhere else (or a lower profile admin position) and be just fine. Of course she might end up having to pay for her own house, car, and personal services. God forbid.
posted by spitbull at 4:11 PM on November 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


The Academic Senate's executive council met this afternoon. They are forming their own taskforce to investigate independently of any efforts undertaken by the Chancellor, and it will include student, Academic Federation, and community members. The report isn't due until January. At this time they do not appear to be taking a position on the Chancellor's future.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:25 PM on November 21, 2011


They have a sneak preview from the balloon posted already! More to follow once they stitch photos together.

Ah, it is Stewart's balloon. I recognized it from helping him with some Lake Merritt kite photography a few months ago. The plastic soda bottle is characteristic. :)
posted by oneirodynia at 4:39 PM on November 21, 2011


They have a sneak preview from the balloon posted already! More to follow once they stitch photos together.

That's me in the blue jacket!

posted by mudpuppie at 4:48 PM on November 21, 2011


I admit I just spent five minutes looking for myself, my friends, and the professor who let us out of class an hour early and came with us. I think I found me, though it's hard to tell for sure.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:57 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


> They have a sneak preview from the balloon posted already! More to follow once they stitch photos together.

Nerds are awesome.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:01 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I found me, though it's hard to tell for sure.

Metafilter is awesomer, thanks guys!
posted by infini at 5:02 PM on November 21, 2011


My personal feeling, which I think is a minority view around here, is that she's the one who needs to fix this. I don't think that her resignation is prudent. Her abject humility IS, but her resignation, no. Because what then? Someone steps in in the interim with no experience and without the relationships that could be used to heal this? Or a lengthy recruitment takes place (with an increased salary, no doubt) while there's no leadership anywhere?

Even so I think in the big picture she needs to go. This is bigger than what is convenient for UC Davis to heal. This is institutional. Chancellors must have skin in the game. Institutional fields in which heads do not roll - or are not seen to roll - become unaccountable and sociopathic.

I do not think that the USA and UK would have invaded Iraq on rubbish pretences if Bush and Blair knew without a shadow of a doubt that starting a war of choice would immediately finish them at the next elections. But instead, they knew from history that they could do these things with some degree of impunity.

She has already been paid to resign. (She earns in the top 1% yet her job is administrative work - that doesn't make sense unless she is paid a premium for being the place where the buck stops.)

She should lose her job over this, if only so that chancellors everywhere learn they have skin in the game, and must care about the difference between what they actually do and lip-service PR.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:05 PM on November 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


But instead, they knew from history that they could do these things with some degree of impunity.

I'm fond of the language used for this sort of thing in Spanish. Sometimes you'll hear complaints about corrupción política; but the usual word, at least in Central America, is just impunidad. There is, I think, some clarity that comes along with the use of that word. The biggest problem isn't just that powerful people do awful shit — since that's true always and everywhere, at least to some extent. Rather, the problem that there's an institutional inability to impose limits or consequences on them for the awful shit they do.

Of course, the impunidad is orders of magnitude worse in Central America than it is in the US. But I think it's still a concept that we would do well to import as a category for analysis.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:32 PM on November 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


Andy Baio synced together four versions of the UC-Davis pepper spray incident.

Holy fuck! Everyone should see this compilation. It should be required viewing for everyone of the investigative panel. Thugs. Pure and simple. Pacing back and forth, looking at the crowd and shaking the pepper spray cans ... arrogantly and casually. Holy fuck!


Absolutely!!!

One of the things this compilation does a great job of showing is that it wasn't a lone psychopath cop - there were at least two cops sadistically spraying the protesters at the same time. Single videos make this unclear.
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really honestly I do believe she didn't want any of this either, I mean she was at Athens Polytechnic back in the day. When the military Junta of the time stormed the campus with a tank killing at least 24 in order to punish students and silence a makeshift radio station made out of lab equipment. She lived through something much worse than this..

Objection, assumes facts not in evidence. She said she "was there." What that means is anyone's guess.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:22 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here are some great photos from the rally today.
posted by apricot at 7:32 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


From digby:
"The hideous pepper spraying of college students at UC Davis yesterday reminds me of a similar case in the 90s, which I've written about several times before.

"In 1997, environmentalists were staging a sit-in against the cutting of old forest in Humboldt county. The police sprayed pepper spray directly into the protesters eyes in similar fashion to what happened in UC yesterday and then used liquified pepper spray and applied it directly to the protesters eyes with q-tips. I'm not kidding. There's video.
This video is absolutely horrific - and a good reminder that this sadism has been with us for quite awhile.
posted by odinsdream at 7:42 PM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Andy Baio synced together four versions of the UC-Davis pepper spray incident.

Oh holy crap. That is amazing. It has one video I haven't seen before. In that video, for a brief moment you can see a group of student Peacekeepers standing side by side with their arms spread, putting themselves between the crowd and the police, facing the police group. I learned that at Peacekeeper training, except they taught us to face away from the police so they don't think you're an active threat. You face the crowd of people you're defending. For a moment, I thought they were doing this all wrong, and then I realized, they were defending the police.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:42 PM on November 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


Fuck yes to that compilation video once again for showing the amazing de-escalation. I mean, truly, the headline should be reading: Students Peacefully Remove Violent Police from Campus
posted by odinsdream at 7:48 PM on November 21, 2011 [22 favorites]


Dear UCD - Here in Madison - the Police show how you do it right.
posted by symbioid at 7:52 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Katehi and Athens Polytechnic:

"You were studying at the NTUA during a period of high polarization in Greek politics where the students at NTUA were very active politically. Were you involved in politics at the time?

Yes. In 1973, all students at the NTUA were involved in politics. It was a turbulent time in Greek politics…"
posted by gingerbeer at 7:53 PM on November 21, 2011


Yes. In 1973, all students at the NTUA were involved in politics. It was a turbulent time in Greek politics…

Note: ellipsis in original. She can't even speak clearly about her own life experiences, she merely echoes that all students were "involved in politics." What the hell does that mean? She voted? She manned the barricades?
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:27 PM on November 21, 2011


I think all of this Occupy stuff has taught me two things. First of all, there is hope. Second of all, I am an extremely bad person and need to spend a lot of time examining myself.

Because when these kids threw themselves in the path of pepper spray, or chanted 'SHAME' so perfectly that the pigs literally shrank and aged before your eyes, or, after getting personally brutalized, implored a crowd to take the peaceful route and merely silently sit in judgement of Katehi, destroying her and defeating her without a word, all I could think of was going down to the Los Angeles beach, picking the perfect, roundest fist-sized stone, keeping it warm with my hands all the way through airport security, getting on a plane to New York or Davis or Portland, and throwing it, like a pitcher, full force in the face of the first abusive corrupt piece of shit cop I saw.

So I am super glad, in a conflicted way, that there are children without half the life experience I have, that are way more mature and reasonable and sensible than me, and who believe in their cause so purely that they aren't moved to possibly self-defeating and certainly non-productive action. And that are so fucking organized and disciplined and strong in spirit.

I don't have the money to afford a symbolic tent for Davis's quad right now, although I wish I did. But I want to know, what can I do to help.
posted by felix at 8:37 PM on November 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


Yeah, it seems to be an interesting thing to leave unsaid there, especially considering she was giving the interview to a Greek paper, where the context would be obvious.

I'm kind of fascinated by this whole connection, since she directly referenced 1973 today, as quoted above, and it seems like that was one of the most emotional parts of her speech (for her.)
posted by gingerbeer at 8:38 PM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


what can I do to help

Give money, time or supplies to your local Occupy movement.
posted by desjardins at 8:54 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you afford a pizza, felix? If so, you could have one delivered.

Incidentally, I'm making a big pot of chicken soup tonight. I'm going to take it over to them sometime tomorrow -- lunchtime, or after, if there's a rally at lunch. I've asked my coworkers to join me, but I haven't got much response yet.

Best thing you can do is show SOME modicum of support. Pizza Guys is a local pizza joint that usually has some $10 specials (cheaper than Woodstock's).

It's also pretty chilly this week, and it's going to start raining again on Wednesday. Anything you can send to manage to keep the kids warm would be good as well.

Incidentally, all UCD mail goes to One Shields Avenue (which is a nonexistent address). If you want to order anything to be sent to the protesters, address it to UC DAVIS QUAD, OCCUPY CAMP and send it via UPS or FedEx. It won't go through campus mail that way, and will actually get to them.

Come Monday, if the kids are still out there, I'll also be happy to arrange delivery of anything anyone wants to send. My office is half a block away. MeMail me.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:10 PM on November 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oops -- Zip code 95616
posted by mudpuppie at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2011


charlie don't surf: then I realized, they were defending the police.

That'd be the upper left hand video starting at 5:25 ?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:02 AM on November 22, 2011


That'd be the upper left hand video starting at 5:25 ?

Yes indeed, that is the spot. You only see them for a brief moment, but it's clear what they're doing.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:12 AM on November 22, 2011


I wouldn't have picked up on it. Thanks for pointing it out, charlie.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:08 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


digby is so great.
posted by fleacircus at 1:23 AM on November 22, 2011


Vaseline may be counterproductive, trapping the spray rather than just acting as a barrier.

A full latex bodysuit might be an idea, but is going to make protests with police involvement look like a Berlin nightclub.
posted by titus-g at 4:35 AM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's early for me, so this isn't entirely together. I apologize. But a long long time ago, we had sacrificial kings. Basically, the health of the king was the health of the land, a healthy king meant the land was doing well. But that went the other way as well. And if there was just a bit too much catastrophe, well that meant the gods were displeased and the only way to fix that was to sacrifice your king to earn back their favor. That's what the kings were there for.

We hopefully live in less superstitious times. But that's still what leaders are there for. She works an administrative job for a large salary and a great deal of benefits. She doesn't have a specialized job that can only be done by someone with thirty years of training, I dare say that if she was gone for a week things would still run smoothly, that's why you have a bureaucracy in the first place. So why is she getting that salary and those benefits? Because when something goes wrong, it's her responsibility, and she takes the hit for it.

Look, you can argue that she shouldn't be responsible for the actions of a lone psycho or sociopath, that she cannot be responsible for the rain and the winds. I'm not arguing that, I agree. But the issues at UC-Davis are institutional, they are issues of a sick system, one that says that aggression and militarization are the proper response. One that says that deference to authority is important, and lack of that deference is to be met with overwhelming force. That's sick, that's broken, and it has been exposed for the world.

And that's what leaders are there for. The UC-Davis community, and the UC system in general needs to sacrifice their leader. Because it's ultimately the only way to move forward, you can't heal the gaping wound in your thigh if you don't remove the spear first. It might be more humiliating for her to remain in power with no respect, but she'd still be in power. Fuck her, I'm not interested in punishment, at least not punishment that does not first concentrate on fixing things. Worry about punishment after you've changed the system.

Blah, that's probably barely understandable by a brain that has had more than three hours of sleep. And the last statements seem to suggest that bad people should not be punished, when I am definitely in favor of throwing some banksters in jail. But it's too damn early for me.
posted by X-Himy at 4:42 AM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


From John Quiggin of Crooked Timber: Athens Polytechnic comes to UC Davis:
Among the legacies of the uprising was a university asylum law that restricted the ability of police to enter university campuses. University asylum was abolished a few months ago, as part of a process aimed at suppressing anti-austerity demonstrations. The abolition law was based on the recommendations of an expert committee, which reported a few months ago ....

Among the authors of this report – Chancellor Linda Katehi, UC Davis. And, to add to the irony, Katehi was a student at Athens Polytechnic in 1973.
The article has a bit more, plus links to the document.
posted by nangar at 6:25 AM on November 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Here's the thing about her resignation: even if one approaches from the premise that it was not her fault; and even if one thinks that her resignation as a demonstration of responsibility-taking would be nothing more than falling-on-sword theatrics; and even if one believes that she is sincere in her desire to repair the community --- there is still the simple fact that she has lost the confidence of the faculty and students at Davis (as well as that of the larger academic community). Without that trust, she simply cannot lead.

She knows this at some level; she herself says that it is her responsibility to earn back the community's trust. Earning the community's support will be hurdle for any chancellor, but surely she must understand that the bar is higher for her than someone new: that it will take more time, that it is less likely to work. If for no other reason, she should resign simply because she is now no longer able to do her job effectively. It's not clear to me why this isn't apparent to her, or why she doesn't recognize that digging in her heels only demonstrates that she is out of touch with her constituency and makes her less likely to succeed in earning the trust she seeks.

Unfortunately, I fear what's being eroded now is the community's faith in the system and its willingness to accept the person appointed as her successor. Confidence in Katehi is already gone, and the longer she stays in her role without being advised/pressured/removed by forces above, the more it demonstrates that the university administration is perfectly OK with an untrusted Chancellor. After that, why would anyone believe that her successor will be more responsive to the community's needs?
posted by Westringia F. at 6:36 AM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


nangar, thanks for that link. If I understand it correctly, Katehi helped write a report in Feb 2001 that advocated for weakening Greek universities protection against police invasion, and the recommendations were implemented. Incredible.

Now perhaps this might explain the complete absence of details from Katehi about her activities during N17, 1973. She merely says "all students were politically active." Based on her current political activities, I'd have to guess that she was politically active against the interests of the students, and for the Greek military junta.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:43 AM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Last year she joined the FBI's advisory board on higher education. I wonder if she will be asked to step down from that.
posted by jann at 7:27 AM on November 22, 2011


OMG, she's a cartoon villain, dammit. Now I really want her gone.
posted by spitbull at 7:29 AM on November 22, 2011


Good video of UC-D professor (who wrote the letter demanding his Chancellor's resignation) addressing the rally.
posted by Rumple at 7:58 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


From John Quiggin of Crooked Timber: Athens Polytechnic comes to UC Davis:

Among the legacies of the uprising was a university asylum law that restricted the ability of police to enter university campuses. University asylum was abolished a few months ago, as part of a process aimed at suppressing anti-austerity demonstrations. The abolition law was based on the recommendations of an expert committee, which reported a few months ago ....

Among the authors of this report – Chancellor Linda Katehi, UC Davis. And, to add to the irony, Katehi was a student at Athens Polytechnic in 1973.

The article has a bit more, plus links to the document.


Holy fuck. This person needs to be fired immediately.
posted by odinsdream at 8:07 AM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Good video of UC-D professor (who wrote the letter demanding his Chancellor's resignation) addressing the rally.

Wow. This is history in the making. What a fantastic speech.
posted by odinsdream at 8:14 AM on November 22, 2011


Disregard what I said before about feeling any sort of compassion for her. Fuck her. She needs to leave.
posted by desjardins at 8:15 AM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think this may have been linked to here already, but Kostas Kallergis' article on The eXile, November 17: Why this day is so important for Greeks, talks a bit about students who were involved in the 1973 uprising who later became politicians and how their politics changed over time.
posted by nangar at 9:00 AM on November 22, 2011


The cop has become a meme.

And the meme has become a new thread that could use more discussion of the actual assault and the movement it has galvanized to counterbalance the inherent triviality of the "meme" meme. Just sayin.
posted by spitbull at 9:02 AM on November 22, 2011


Thanks for those links, nangar.

There are certainly people in the US who were radicalized as students and took part in all kinds of activism who now find themselves in positions of authority and power, and defending a more conservative stance than they would have envisioned then. Interesting to see the differences in how that plays out in other countries as well. I still really want someone to ask her all of this. What she was doing then, how it's affected her now, etc.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:43 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's also worth noting that after she joined the FBI advisory board, Katehi authorized a special program of surveillance of student activism.
posted by jann at 9:48 AM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's hard to say whether it elucidates her politics in anyway, but she grew up working class on an island where most of the work was at a navy base. In this interview on taking the Chancellorship, she makes virtually no mention of her experience at Athens Polytechnic. What was a transformative political experience for many was for her: "When I went to college, really, I thought I was going to finish and then go to work."
posted by dhartung at 10:03 AM on November 22, 2011


It's also worth noting that after she joined the FBI advisory board, Katehi authorized a special program of surveillance of student activism.

Oh my god this person!! I'd shifted from the "should resign" column to the "should be fired column." Please move me to the "should be prosecuted and jailed" column.
posted by odinsdream at 10:12 AM on November 22, 2011


Katehi has posted a message to UC Davis parents.

Looks like she's been getting some better advice on her talking points... but I suspect it's too little too late.
posted by argonauta at 10:13 AM on November 22, 2011


She's also hosting a Town Hall meeting this evening and will be present. It's in a space that holds about 1,300 people. It will be interesting to see if it fills up.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:29 AM on November 22, 2011


It's in a space that holds about 1,300 people. It will be interesting to see if it fills up.

Sounds like it could be a health and safety issue.
posted by Elmore at 10:50 AM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, when they said "health and safety issue," the first thing I thought was "They lock the buildings at 10 p.m., where are people going to go to the bathroom between then and 7 a.m.?" They now have some Porta Potties located at one end of the quad...so I think they've accepted that these people are here for the duration.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:59 AM on November 22, 2011


Sounds like it could be a health and safety issue.

Seriously. Let's see if the Fire Marshall is the next to go....

The Quad today.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:00 AM on November 22, 2011


Oops, wrong link, unless you like looking at pictures of mushrooms.

The Quad today.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:01 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So just to recap what we know about Katehi's service to UC Davis --

- In August 2009, Katehi started work as Chancellor of UC Davis of UC Davis, a position she accepted earlier that year with lofty goals for the campus (and leaving behind concerns about her involvement in the clout admissions scandal at UIUC which occurred during her tenure as Provost for Academic Affairs);

- In October 2010, Katehi was appointed to the FBI's higher-ed advisory board [h/t jann];

- In February 2011, Katehi served on a nine-member international committee that recommended the reversal of the Greek university asylum law restricting police activity on university campuses which was then abolished on those recommendations [h/t nangar];

- In March 2011, Katehi authorized a special program of surveillance of student activism that included infiltration of student groups [h/t jann];

And now this.
posted by Westringia F. at 11:44 AM on November 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


- In March 2011, Katehi authorized a special program of surveillance of student activism that included infiltration of student groups [h/t jann];

Campus policy actually reversed on that one. Shortly after that occurred (I think it was in relation to the protest that shut down Old Davis Road), the administration announced that staff or administrators present at protests in order to report back on their activity were required to wear name badges.

That said, I didn't see any name badges yesterday.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:53 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Five coworkers and I just took a pot of soup over to the protestors. They're pretty well set up with a common food tent. They had an odd collection of things that people had dropped off -- several cartons of persimmons (they're in season), a 50 lb bag of flour (what are they supposed to do with that?), a large hotel pan full of undressed salad greens (sitting on the ground under the table), and a few boxes of sugary cereal.

It's not like they're starving -- the MU is right there and has a perfectly serviceable food court -- but if anyone wants to send in some food, my guess is it would be appreciated. Again, UPS and FedEx are your best bets.

It's also about to get cold and wet. Ponchos (or trash bags) and those little hand warmers would also be a good idea.

Apparently the Chancellor went and spoke to them, but we got there too late to hear her. The Enterprise indicates that they weren't too happy with what she had to say.

A faculty member I know had dinner at her house last night -- something that had been scheduled for a long time. The report back was that the Chancellor is adamant that the police did the wrong thing (she called Pike "crazy"), but that she wasn't at all reflective about how to move forward and heal the campus. She did a lot of talking, but no listening.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks, mudpuppie -- that's good to know [re monitoring student activism]. After reading your comment, I found what looks to be the current policy. The transparency is an improvement, at least....

... through perhaps the more important part in this context is where Katehi/UCD admin stood with regard to the policy. What brought on the change? From what I can glean from other Aggie articles, it seems that the "student activism team" had actually been in place since 2010, but it wasn't till March that it was formalized and things erupted, prompting Chancellor Katehi to issue this statement in response to the March 10 piece linked above. This Enterprise article seems to suggest that the nametags were a compromise in response to a potential ACLU suit.
posted by Westringia F. at 12:46 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prominent statement on UC Davis English Department page (screenshot)
posted by desjardins at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


So just to recap what we know about Katehi's service to UC Davis --

I don't know if its been highlighted, but somewhere, a link to Senator Yee's press release brings this to light about her performance prior to Davis, imho, it does not reflect well at all on her :

Two years ago, Yee asked Yudof to rescind Katehi’s contract offer after evidence showed her involvement in a University of Illinois scandal. While she was campus provost overseeing the admissions department, students of influential people were admitted despite weak academic records.
posted by infini at 1:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the more compelling characters to emerge from the OWS movement, especially in light of the resulting focus on excessive use of force by police, is former Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis. He was mentioned a few times in the earlier OWS thread, but for those who aren't familiar, he retired from the Philly PD a while back to the Catskills in New York, but after learning about OWS via the Internet, decided that he had to drive down to NYC to be with the protesters, where, while wearing his full police uniform, he was eventually arrested by the NYPD. He's done a couple of TV interviews, and I've found his perspective on the movement itself, and the actions of the police, to be very insightful.

He was on Maddow last night, and after a brief introduction to the various non-lethal means cops are using willy-nilly on protesters these days, offered his thoughts on the UC Davis incident specifically, and the increased use of these "non-lethal" tools as a compliance tool. He then went on to talk more generally about his involvement with OWS, and how he thinks they can do better with their interactions with the cops in the future.

He also appeared on Up with Chris Hayes last weekend, an I think that segment is worth watching as well. With so many current and ex-cops coming out of the woodwork to defend the actions of the UC Davis cops (and the excessive use of force by police against other Occupy protesters throughout the country) it's good to get a dose of sanity from a guy who knows what it's like to wear the uniform and be confronted with the decision to use force.

I know OWS is supposed to be leaderless, but the movement would do well to follow this guy's advice on dealing with cops, and to use him in some capacity as a public representative, so they can prevent the conversation about economic injustice from being derailed by all of these violent confrontations.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:56 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Another violent confrontation with campus cops, this time at CUNY.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:06 PM on November 22, 2011


Iconic Ray Lewis arrest photo
posted by bq at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


My local NPR station isn't broadcasting any shows that are addressing the OWS (UC Davis etc) movement. Has anyone else found this to be true? I waited all day on Monday to hear something but nada. Perhaps I heard a small blurb but that was it. I also tuned into msnbc last night hoping to hear some coverage and was disappointed by what was offered. Chris Matthews turned the UC Davis incident into a discussion about Gingrich. Bleh. Why isn't this being covered thoroughly? Or is it just me missing the relevant broadcasts?
posted by futz at 2:38 PM on November 22, 2011


This is what I found on NPR's website.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2011


- In March 2011, Katehi authorized a special program of surveillance of student activism that included infiltration of student groups [h/t jann];

I posted that same link on Sunday. It would be awesome if there was someway to index all links in threads someplace on the page for easy access, especially when you want to return to something in a super long thread and can't find it.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


futz, it was part of their regular news coverage on All Things Considered yesterday, but I didn't hear any in-depth segments.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2011


Anonymous targets pepper-spraying policeman.
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And the meme has become a new thread that could use more discussion of the actual assault and the movement it has galvanized to counterbalance the inherent triviality of the "meme" meme. Just sayin.

That's the most ridiculous anti-MetaFilter statement I've ever read.

There are threads to discuss the assault. Such as this one. That thread is to discuss the meme. LET THE THREADS BE ABOUT THE TOPIC OF THE POST. That's the best way to play MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 3:05 PM on November 22, 2011


@oneirodynia
I missed that, despite having read the whole thread. Sorry. Long threads are definitely a bit confusing.
posted by jann at 3:09 PM on November 22, 2011


@oneirodynia

Oh wait, I saw it. I just forgot I saw it. Apologies.
posted by jann at 3:11 PM on November 22, 2011


Oh for the love of capsicum, it's not anti-Metafilter. The topic of "is the pepperspraycop meme" taking away from a focus on the incident itself or its political context" is enriched by a discussion of the incident itself. It's not like I'm suggesting we take a discussion of Nyan Cat into a Talking Husky Dog thread.
posted by spitbull at 3:15 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Egypt using US as stellar example of democracy:
Two people were killed in Cairo and Alexandria this weekend as Egyptian activists took the streets to protest the military's attempts to maintain its grip on power. And guess how the state is justifying its deadly crackdown.

"We saw the firm stance the US took against OWS people & the German govt against green protesters to secure the state," an Egyptian state television anchor said yesterday (as translated by the indispensable Sultan Sooud al Qassemi; bold ours).
posted by symbioid at 3:19 PM on November 22, 2011


oneirodynia: "It would be awesome if there was someway to index all links in threads someplace on the page for easy access, especially when you want to return to something in a super long thread and can't find it."

Metalinks?

Wonder if anyone w/mad skills could make some sort of page scraper w/links for greasemonkey. A sidebar w/links in the page may be interesting. Hmm...
posted by symbioid at 3:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also - went to make a pony request but due to, ahem, a certain someone and a certain set of back and forths in the other thread and me "Taking it to MeTa" means that I've used my quota, so, if anyone wants to post the request to meta that would be killer - I kinda like the idea of a scraped set of links sidebar.
posted by symbioid at 4:16 PM on November 22, 2011


The scraped links thing would be an easy greasemonkey script for someone so inclined. I think otherwise, waiting until after Thanksgiving (US-Style) would be kinder for the mods.

On topic, this is a good blog post from Duke University's Cathy Davidson

The issues students are protesting today are not just student issues. They are wide social issues that hit students with particular force and emphasis. These issues include the radical economic disparity of rich and poor that leaves a depleted middle class, a compromised future of productive possibility for work, escalating educational costs and decline support for public education, and the irrelevance of much of the current educational system (K-20) for the 21st century that students today face.

I do not believe there is an administrator in America today who could not rattle off these issues. So why, when our students are peacefully sitting in the quads of universities all over America, expressing these serious concerns, are so many universities reacting by sending in the police? Equally important, why are some other universities willing to listen to the protestors–often with very good, “teachable” results from which everyone learns?

posted by Rumple at 4:44 PM on November 22, 2011


I know her.
posted by spitbull at 5:00 PM on November 22, 2011


A statement from Occupy UC Davis, put out about an hour ago:

AS VOTED UPON BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The General Assembly of Occupy UC Davis convened and formally voted that it has no-confidence in Linda Katehi to continue to act as Chancellor of the University of California, Davis. Her actions have stripped her of the legitimacy required to continue to rightfully wield the authority of that office.

The General Assembly of Occupy UC Davis has voted and reached consensus to issue an official, formal demand. We demand change in the institution of the Office of the Chancellor itself. We demand the democratization of that Office, to begin with the implementation of a recall mechanism that will allow a sitting chancellor to be removed from office by democratic means.

These are official demands of the students of Occupy UC Davis as voted upon by the General Assembly.

posted by markkraft at 5:00 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. That demand should actually be pointed at the Regents. I don't think that change can be made at campus-level. It might even be a legislative issue.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:03 PM on November 22, 2011


The demand doesn't appear to be "pointed" specifically anywhere. It's a demand for a specific action.
posted by odinsdream at 5:05 PM on November 22, 2011


The Town Hall meeting just started. The rules prohibit filming or photographing after 6:00 p.m. (one hour into the meeting). That must be when they're going to get to the meat of it that they don't want reported.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:06 PM on November 22, 2011


Had an interesting conversation with a cop (who is a friend, or at least work friend) today, which I started with showing him the famous video. It seemed to make complete sense to him, based on protocol and levels of force and minimizing harm to both resister and cop. (Nevermind that they were sitting peacefully.) But he started to see it my way, I think, once I pointed out that pepper spray was essentially a weapon (which he characterized as a "means of control" or somesuch). But then we got to talking about what the movement is about--he asked what they had been protesting, anyway, so I told him about tuition specifically and the movement more broadly--and he found himself agreeing completely that money has undue influence in politics. I found it pretty encouraging and now I find myself wanting to talk to everyone about this.
posted by manguero at 5:23 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Apologies, oneirodynia, I totally missed it when you posted it.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:24 PM on November 22, 2011


"It would be awesome if there was someway to index all links in threads someplace on the page for easy access, especially when you want to return to something in a super long thread and can't find it."

Metalinks?

Wonder if anyone w/mad skills could make some sort of page scraper w/links for greasemonkey. A sidebar w/links in the page may be interesting. Hmm...
Here's a Greasemonkey script to do this. Warnings:

(1) It might suck. Memail me with any suggestions to make it suck less.

(2) When I uploaded the script to Greasespot, Greasespot immediately told me that the script is "unlisted", so I don't know if anybody but me can actually see it.

It tells me that a script will be "unlisted" if it is not a real Greasemonkey script, if it doesn't contain a useful summary, or if it contains a dirty word. I don't know, I'll email the admins and see what the deal is, but maybe you can get to it in the meantime anyway as long as you have the direct link.
posted by Flunkie at 5:58 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is anyone liveblogging the town hall?
posted by odinsdream at 6:34 PM on November 22, 2011


Stream.
Twitter feeds.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"it is the silent majority we need to reach out to"

--Chancellor Katehi's last words at the townhall meeting streamed above

Well, if that want her to resign they should start to float a petition among the general student body, see if they can get majority of signatures.
posted by Shit Parade at 7:39 PM on November 22, 2011


"it is the silent majority we need to reach out to"

Seriously? She invoked Nixon?!? No. Come on.
posted by argonauta at 7:48 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


The lurkers support her in email.
posted by hades at 8:07 PM on November 22, 2011


Matt Taibbi: UC Davis Pepper-Spray Incident Reveals Weakness Up Top
posted by homunculus at 9:04 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This appears to be a saved liveblog.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:38 PM on November 22, 2011


"it is the silent majority we need to reach out to"

Seriously? She invoked Nixon?!? No. Come on.


Tin soldiers something something
posted by jokeefe at 9:59 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


An alleged antigay slur by Pike . . . figured in a racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit that a former police officer filed against the department, which ended in a $240,000 settlement in 2008.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:37 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Flunkie, I think that sounds marvellous, but A. userscripts.org wouldn't let me install an unlisted script without being logged in, then B. after I created an account specifically to install that script, THEN it told me that hotlinking to unlisted scripts isn't allowed! THANKS A HEAP USERSCRIPTS.ORG
posted by JHarris at 3:01 AM on November 23, 2011


Taibbi is dead right in that one. Good link homunculus!
posted by JHarris at 3:07 AM on November 23, 2011


Prominent statement on UC Davis English Department page (screenshot)

The UC Davis physics department did something similar, and posted a short description of their response and two letters. The department's letter calling for Katehi's resignation was also posted to the general physics blog Cosmic Variance. I've sometimes found science departments to be less amenable to political statements than the social sciences and humanities, so I'm glad to see them putting this out there so boldly.
posted by Schismatic at 3:25 AM on November 23, 2011


Flunkie, I think that sounds marvellous, but A. userscripts.org wouldn't let me install an unlisted script without being logged in, then B. after I created an account specifically to install that script, THEN it told me that hotlinking to unlisted scripts isn't allowed! THANKS A HEAP USERSCRIPTS.ORG
Yeah, sorry about that. I'm trying to get it, uh, de-unlisted, and if the userscripts.org admins get back to me on that, I'll post something here about that. After that you should be able to install it easily.

I have no reason to believe that they won't - they say they get a bunch of false positives and that if you write them about one they'll gladly de-unlist.
posted by Flunkie at 6:05 AM on November 23, 2011


Former LAPD chief to head pepper-spraying probe
posted by arm's-length at 6:31 AM on November 23, 2011


"it is the silent majority we need to reach out to"

Seriously? She invoked Nixon?!? No. Come on


One of the last students to ask a question during the town hall used that phrase to refer to what he described as the large number of students who haven't been vocal in the protest but who would still benefit from having a more direct relationship with the chancellor. He said he was a junior CS major who didn't know anything about politics and that this was the first time he had ever seen Katehi in person. He also made some wacky suggestions about how she should have her staff meetings in the cafeteria so everyone could hear what they were up to. Basically, it was a series of sweet and kind of naive things to say, and I really doubt he knew what "silent majority" referred to in the Nixonian sense. I think Katehi was just parroting back his language to him, although she probably should have known better given the loaded history of the phrase, specifically in the context of anti-government protests. At any rate, a very minor slip-up with no malicious intent, I don't think.
posted by albrecht at 6:52 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting choice...

Just to tie this together, that's Bill Bratton, former two-time president of PERF, and vice-chairman of the DHS Advisory Committee.

His most famous previous involvement with police overreach was the McArthur Park incident, where LAPD officers broke protocol by firing foam rounds directly into the bodies of Latino Americans campaigning for a visa amnesty (rather than bouncing them off the ground), and struck non-resisting members of the protest with batons. He had severe and trenchant critcism of the command failures that led to this, but the officers involved kept their jobs (apart from the incident commander, who retired rather than be demoted). However, $13 million dollars was paid out in compensation to victims.

So, if this goes according to the form book, everyone gets to keep their job and a small number of lucky students get a lot closer to the 1%. Possibly Spicuzza takes early retirement and moves into private security.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:54 AM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the backstory, albrecht. That makes much more sense.
posted by argonauta at 7:32 AM on November 23, 2011


the McArthur Park incident

I'll never have that recipe again.
posted by hippybear at 7:38 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the background on Bratton, running order squabble fest. At the meeting last night Katehi mentioned something about President Yudof bringing in to join his investigatory task force the top law enforcement expert in the country. I didn't like the sound of that then, and now far, far less.

This is Not Good. Not Good At All.

I fear that in all the debate about Katehi's culpability and the responsibility of the top administrator at an institution we (and by we I especially mean the university community) are losing sight of the necessity and the opportunity to change the culture of policing away from brutality. Any UC Office of the President task force headed by the likes of Bratton is needless to say not going to do that.
posted by Numenius at 8:19 AM on November 23, 2011


"Former LAPD chief to head pepper-spraying probe"

Heh.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:23 AM on November 23, 2011


Bratton and PERF are discussed in this other recent thread about the 'military industrial police complex', for those who may be interested in additional related background info.
posted by syzygy at 8:29 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


His most famous previous involvement with police overreach was the McArthur Park incident

Yes, thanks for bringing that info here directly, running order squabble fest. Also mentioned in that same article:
More recently, Bratton has launched a global security firm, Altegrity Risk International, and been tapped by British Prime Minister David Cameron for advice in curbing gang violence in that country.

Bratton’s selection to lead the review may prove to be a controversial one with student protesters.

Speaking in an August interview with The Telegraph newspaper, after rioting in England, Bratton said police should have "a lot of arrows in the quiver." He advocated a doctrine of "escalating force" with weapons including rubber bullets, Tasers, pepper spray and water cannons, the paper reported.

"In my experience, the younger criminal element don’t fear the police and have been emboldened to challenge the police and effectively take them on," Bratton told The Telegraph.
posted by arm's-length at 8:37 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other news, the CEO of Bank of America has, after an independent inquiry, decided that nothing untoward happened in 2008 and that everyone should just move along and there's nothing to see here. And that means you too, you dirty jobless hippy.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:38 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, if this goes according to the form book, [...] a small number of lucky students get a lot closer to the 1%.

It appears that UC Davis is currently interested in something a little more cost-effective:
[Katehi] also announced that she will request that the charges be dropped against the 10 protesters arrested by university police. In addition, she said any medical expenses incurred by those hurt will be refunded.
posted by arm's-length at 8:41 AM on November 23, 2011


(On an anecdotal level, I saw Bratton speak a couple of weeks ago. He's clearly smart, and takes policing very seriously - on the other hand, he is all about control, isolating incidents and going in hard at preindicators or early causes. Still absolutely committed to Broken Windows, and convinced of its effectiveness.)

I did like Sir Hugh Orde's epic diss of Bratton's competence to advise the British police on gangs:
I am not sure I want to learn about gangs from an area of America that has 400 of them. It seems to me, if you've got 400 gangs, then you're not being very effective.
Burn.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:43 AM on November 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Fuck that. Counter with a demand that they bring in Rodney King himself.
posted by spitbull at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


From a pure crime perspective, Bratton is one of the few cops I think has made a difference, and whose ideas seem to work, both in NY and LA. He seems to advocate targeting areas of likely criminal activity and blanketing them with attention by having the police act in a slowly escalating manner that fits the crime, so that the population trusts the cops better and the criminals aren't allowed to foster a culture of further criminality.

Problem is, that's a little disjunct from the Occupy situation. Those aren't areas of criminality, those are areas of protest. Even if you take the 'omg smelly rape hippies' viewpoint the core problem is a political issue that transcends police work. Yes, the cops can 'do better' at working with and/or addressing the protests, but at the end of the day, the intent of the protestors is to run the authorities out of options, and there will be nothing the police can do about that except crack heads a la NY.
posted by felix at 9:14 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Former LAPD chief to head pepper-spraying probe
posted by arm's-length


Flagged as bullshit.
posted by spitbull at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2011


I will remind everyone that the "broken window theory" was bullshit. Crime went down nationwide in the 90s due to macro-socioeconomic factors, not any major change in police strategy. And as a serious reminder, the NYPD was exceptionally corrupt and violent all through those years of supposed "success," which mostly involved targeting young minority men, not broken windows, with brutal force and presumption of guilt.

It remains brutal and corrupt today, of course, as a long string of recent indictments prove.
posted by spitbull at 9:17 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


OK, it looks like the Greasemonkey script that some people in this thread have asked for is now de-unlisted, so you should be able to install it easily from the link.

It searches for all links in comments on the current page (with the exception of the stuff like "posted by Somebody at 12:34"), and copies them to a sidebar, on the right, under the tags (and whatever else might be in that area). Also, if you hover over one of the links (in the sidebar), a popup will open that will show you the full text of the comment that the link was from (in a very poorly-formatted manner, sorry).

As I said before, it might suck; Memail me with any suggestions on how to make it suck less.
posted by Flunkie at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Image as interest: How the Pepper Spray Cop could change the trajectory of Occupy Wall Street
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Image as interest: How the Pepper Spray Cop could change the trajectory of Occupy Wall Street

An analyst on CNN the other day said that images from the UC Davis pepper spray incident will endure and become as iconic as the Flower Power image during the Vietnam war protests.
posted by ericb at 10:33 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it just me or does the guy in the Flower Power photo look like he has 1990s hair?
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: "OK, it looks like the Greasemonkey script that some people in this thread have asked for is now de-unlisted, so you should be able to install it easily from the link.

It searches for all links in comments on the current page (with the exception of the stuff like "posted by Somebody at 12:34"), and copies them to a sidebar, on the right, under the tags (and whatever else might be in that area). Also, if you hover over one of the links (in the sidebar), a popup will open that will show you the full text of the comment that the link was from (in a very poorly-formatted manner, sorry).

As I said before, it might suck; Memail me with any suggestions on how to make it suck less.
"

<3 <3 <3!!!! Thanks Flunkie! This is so fuckin' sweet! Can you post it to projects?
posted by symbioid at 11:14 AM on November 23, 2011


That's fantastic Flunkie. Thanks.
posted by Elmore at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2011


Mark Ames: How UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Brought Oppression Back To Greece’s Universities
posted by gingerbeer at 2:36 PM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks, glad you like it. And OK, I'll post it to Projects.
posted by Flunkie at 4:41 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mark Ames: How UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Brought Oppression Back To Greece’s Universities

I foresee a future position at the head of PERF's Special Campus Committee for her.

Jesus H. F. Christ.
posted by AugieAugustus at 5:33 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Posted five minutes ago, to the Occupy UC Davis Facebook page:

It is raining on us now and quite cold.

This Thanksgiving, when you are warm, inside, together with your families, won't you please think of us, and talk about the problems with our higher education system that brought us out here?

On Monday, the UC Regents will vote to raise tuition by 81%. Among degree holders under 25, 22% are unemployed and a further 22% have a job that does not require a college degree. Student debt is out of control. We are burdening our youngest generation so heavily that it will hurt us all, as a nation. We are out here for you. Please consider donating to help us continue to speak out.

General Donations: https://www.wepay.com/x10s4bv Food Donations: https://www.wepay.com/x6bx8bw


Light rain and misty tonight. 41 degrees.

If I had a son or daughter camping out there, I would be pretty damn proud of them right about now. Hell, I think Thanksgiving would become a family picnic out on the lawn, with lots of turkey, hot food, and libations for everyone.
posted by markkraft at 6:53 AM on November 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Drawings of Tuesday's Occupy UC Davis General Assembly by Davis urban sketcher Pete Scully. He previously has sketched the Occupy Davis encampment which is located in the city's Central Park three blocks away.
posted by Numenius at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Two Scandals, One Connection: The FBI Link Between Penn State and UC Davis
posted by gingerbeer at 12:54 PM on November 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Katehi's story just keeps getting better (or worse, I guess). I'm half expecting to read that she ritualistically eats puppies next.
posted by odinsdream at 5:03 PM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:00 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pepper-Spray Creator Decries Use of Chemical Agent on Peaceful Occupy Wall Street Protesters
posted by homunculus at 9:24 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Police use tent to cover Occupy Houston protestors
posted by Sailormom at 5:27 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have got to be kidding me. It's like the police are commodifying their own hypocrisy.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:40 PM on December 12, 2011


I can't believe it's come to this, but people need to start sitting in geometric shapes that don't allow for placement of the tent.

This has to be massively illegal, right? Trapping people in a public space under a tent so you can privately arrest them? Are we going to start seeing cops carrying around self-erecting tents so that they can, you know, protect the privacy of those they arrest while serving their duties at concerts, on streets, any outdoor space? This is like the opposite of the cameras in police cruisers, right?

I realize what I sound like here, what with the catastrophizing, but I'm kind of beyond myself on this one. The whole thing just breaks my brain.

A tent. They used a friggin' tent.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:03 PM on December 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


OK, the news article about the tent in Houston gives a reasonable explanation for the tent. The protesters used PVC pipe to chain themselves together. They were laying down on the exit ramp of a really busy highway that goes to the Port of Houston. We've not gotten much rain this year, so the roads are pretty dirty with motor oil and the sides of the road are really dry with dead plants. The police cut the PVC off the protesters, and the tent was to prevent sparks.

This actually makes sense to me (although of course it's ironic). Nobody was injured, the 20 laying down on the road were arrested, the other 80 went on to continue their protest. Honestly, the protesters are lucky nobody got run over -- laying down on an exit ramp is foolishly dangerous.
posted by Houstonian at 4:44 AM on December 13, 2011


They were what???? Ok, now my brain REALLY hurts, because oh thank god the police came along with a giant, obvious tent to arrest them all in. (I'm being serious, because, FFS they could have been easily run over, GAHHHH)

This just makes me so confused and unhappy and grateful nobody got hurt.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:28 PM on December 13, 2011


the tent was to prevent sparks

Could you just reach over there and pull that for me? No, not that one, the other one, it's got bells on.
posted by howfar at 12:46 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The police cut the PVC off the protesters, and the tent was to prevent sparks.

Cutting plastic with a rotary saw doesn't generate any sparks.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:39 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


OK, the news article about the tent in Houston gives a reasonable explanation for the tent. The protesters used PVC pipe to chain themselves together. They were laying down on the exit ramp of a really busy highway that goes to the Port of Houston. We've not gotten much rain this year, so the roads are pretty dirty with motor oil and the sides of the road are really dry with dead plants. The police cut the PVC off the protesters, and the tent was to prevent sparks.

That this is a bullshit excuse should be very obvious if you just take a minute to think about it.

As charlie don't surf said, sparks aren't generated by cutting PVC. You also don't even need a saw to cut PVC - you can use a short length of braided wire.

More importantly, though, it should be obvious that this is a bullshit excuse because the more likely reason is to hide arrests from public view, which a tent accomplishes excellently.
posted by odinsdream at 10:03 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Future Riot Shields Will Suffocate Protestors with Low Frequency Speakers
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


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