Protesters Rebuild Encampment At UC Davis

DAVIS (CBS SF) – Students at the University of California, Davis once again set up camp on the quad overnight  near the site where university police used pepper spray on seated protesters last week.

The encampment was again erected late Monday after the campus police chief was put on administrative leave and the chancellor was shouted down at a demonstration while trying to apologize for Friday’s incident during an event in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Two officers also were placed on administrative leave after the students were sprayed.

University spokeswoman Claudia Morain said the school was monitoring the protest. She said the school will take action “step by step” to balance campus security with people’s right to protest.

Earlier Monday, an angry crowd of more than 2,000 people heckled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi off the stage Monday when she tried to apologize for campus officers using pepper spray on seated student protesters.

University officials and campus police have been the target of angry reprisals since video surfaced of riot police dousing pepper spray on a row of students while they were sitting passively on the ground with their arms linked.

Mechanical engineering student David Buscho, 22, of San Rafael, described being paralyzed with fear as he felt the spray sting “like hot glass.”

“I had my arms around my girlfriend. I just kissed her on the forehead and then he sprayed us,” he said. “Immediately we were blinded … He just sprayed us again and again and we were completely powerless to do anything.”

Before the assembly broke up, the crowd voted to hold a campus-wide strike on Nov. 28 to coincide with a meeting of the University of California governing board.

Nine students hit by pepper spray were treated at the scene, two were taken to hospitals and later released, university officials said. Ten people were arrested.

Katehi also set a 30-day deadline for her school’s task force investigating the incident to issue its report. The task force, comprised of students, staff and faculty, will be chosen this week. She earlier had set a 90-day timetable.

The UC Davis faculty association called for Katehi’s resignation, saying in a Saturday letter there had been a “gross failure of leadership.” Katehi has resisted calls for her to quit.

The pepper-spraying has also prompted the president of the University of California system to call for an assessment of law enforcement procedures on all 10 campuses.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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