UC Davis Chancellor Survives No-Confidence Vote Following Pepper Spray Incident

DAVIS (CBS/AP) – Nearly three months after campus police pepper-sprayed a group of peaceful Occupy protesters, UC Davis faculty members voted against a motion that would have expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of the school’s chancellor to lead the campus, university officials said Friday.

Members of the University of California, Davis Academic Senate had two weeks to vote on a motion that would have expressed “no-confidence” in Chancellor Linda Katehi’s leadership after the widely condemned pepper-spray incident.

The final tally showed faculty members voted 697-312 against the motion, officials said.

In a companion motion, faculty voted 586-408 in favor of expressing confidence in Katehi’s leadership but condemning the use of pepper spray during the Nov. 18 incident.

The motions are nonbinding but could influence UC leaders as they consider the future of the 57-year-old Katehi, who became chancellor of the 32,000-student campus in 2009.

The faculty vote came three months after a campus police officer doused pepper-spray on sitting students who had set up an Occupy Wall Street encampment on campus. Widely circulated videos of the incident sparked national outrage and a debate over the use of police force in responding to Occupy protests.

After the incident, Katehi apologized to the campus community for the “appalling use of pepper spray.” The Greek-born chancellor said she had ordered police to remove the tents but avoid arrests and violence.

The vote prompted a contentious debate among faculty members, but UC spokesman Steve Montiel released a statement late Friday describing President Mark Yudof as “gratified” by the results and expressing his support of Katehi.

During the voting period, philosophy professor David Copp urged his colleagues to approve the no-confidence measure. “A wise leader would not have ordered the police to act against non-violent demonstrators,” he wrote in a statement supporting the motion.

But Tilahun Yilma, a professor of veterinary medicine, had called the motion “unwise and destructive.” In a statement, he wrote: “We are very fortunate to have a person of her caliber in a leadership position to help make our university one of the leading universities nationally and internationally.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Tours Martel

    National outrage? Only amongst the media and a few others, the rest could hardly care less. The youth of the pampered elite experienced momentary discomfort is more like it.

  • PLW

    There was no National outrage, except for the outrage of a few that the media played up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The majority of America believed the students should have obeyed the Law and Law Enforcement Officers.

  • Milan Moravec

    Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. The sky will not fall when Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) ‘honorably’ retires.
    Opinions to UC Board of Regents, email marsha.kelman@ucop.edu
    Every qualified Californian must get a place in public University of California (UC). That’s a desirable access goal for UC. However, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for higher education at Cal. with foreigners paying $50,600 tuition.
    Paying more is not a better education. UC tuition increases exceed the national average rate of increase. Birgeneau has doubled instate tuition/fees. Birgeneau jeopardizes affordability to Cal by making it the most expensive public university.
    UC President Mark Yudof uses tuition increases to pay for faculty & administrator salary increases. Payoffs like these point to higher operating costs and still higher tuition and taxes. Instate tuition consumes 14% of Cal. Median Family Income. President Yudof is hijacking our families’ and kids’ futures: student debt.
    I agree that Yudof and Birgeneau should consider the students’ welfare & put it high on their values. Deeds unfortunately do not bear out the students’ welfare values of Birgeneau, Regent Chairwoman Lansing and President Yudof.

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/02/22/students-sue-uc-davis-over-pepper-spraying-on-campus/ Students Sue UC Davis Over Pepper Spraying On Campus « CBS San Francisco

    […] week, UC Davis faculty members voted against a motion that would have expressed a lack of confidence in the ability…, Linda Katehi, to lead the […]

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