UC-Davis Chancellor and Faculty Speak Out

The "Occupy" movement has spread to college campuses, with UC-Davis students protesting tuition raises and education cuts. Videos showed campus police pepper-spraying students, which led to an outcry from students and some faculty.

In a short speech to students, Chancellor Linda Katehi apologized to students, saying "I am here to apologize" and "I feel horrible for what happened."

English professors have posted a statement on the department website, calling for Chancellor Katehi to resign and for the UC Police Department to be disbanded. [ View website image.] (The police chief is now on administrative leave.)

Cynthia Carter Ching, an associate professor of learning and mind sciences, wrote a letter to students apologizing "Because we left the wrong people in charge." She explains her view in one part of the letter:

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.

Discussion Starters:

  • Assess the three messages mentioned here: the Chancellor's apology, the English Department's webpage statement, and the professor's letter. What persuasion tactics does each use? Which do you consider the most and least effective?
  • What else, if anything, should UC-Davis communicate at this point? What messages are important for the administration to convey?