Showing posts with label pepper spray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pepper spray. Show all posts

Monday, March 7, 2016

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi accepted compensation from a textbook publisher: She should be fired

Both hands in the cookie jar . . .

Linda Katehi, Chancellor of UC Davis, received $70,000 for serving on the corporate Board of DeVry Education Group, the owner of a for-profit college being scrutinized by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. In addition, her DeVry position entitled to her to $100,000 in stock, according to the Sacramento Bee.  Not bad for part-time work.

Since then, the public has learned that Katehi received $420,000 in income and stock for serving on the board of John Wiley & Sons, a textbook publisher.  All of this is in addition to her Chancellor's salary of more than $400,000 a year.

What an outrage! And what is Chancellor Katehi's response to the uproar? She resigned from both her DeVry position and her Wiley position, and she promises to donate her Wiley stock to a student scholarship fund.

Katehi: "sincerely regret . . ."

And then of course Katehi released the standard mea culpa press release in which she said this:
I take my responsibilities as Chancellor of UC Davis, and the entire University of California, very seriously and sincerely regret having accepted service on boards that create appearances of conflict with my deep commitment to serve UC Davis and its students.
Note that she admits to accepting service on corporate boards--not that she accepted money.  And she expresses regret, which is far different from apologizing. And she acknowledges the appearance of a conflict--not an actual one. Yeah, I'd say a university president who takes four hundred grand from a textbook publisher has an appearance of conflict.

This lady needs to be fired. In fact, she should have been fired after the UC Davis pepper spray incident of 2011, when university police officers pepper sprayed a group of seated and nonthreatening student protesters. Katehi said she didn't know police were going to use pepper spray on the students, which is something of an excuse, I suppose.

But UC Davis police officers were sued  for firing pepperballs at student bystanders at an outdoor drinking bash that took place in 2004. One victim lost the use of an eye. The Ninth Circuit ultimately ruled that the police had used an unconstitutional level of force against the students.

So if there is anything this overcompensated clown should have gotten right while serving as UC Davis's chancellor it was control of the campus police. Yet an independent report found that UC Davis police were not authorized to use the specific type of pepper spray that they inflicted on students in the 2011 incident and were not trained to use it correctly.

Blah, blah, blah from UC President Napolitano

Incredibly, Katehi's venality is not exceptional. According to a fine article  written by Diana Lambert and Alexei Koseff for the Sacramento Bee, nine UC chancellors accepted $1.5 million in cash compensation from outside corporations during the  years 2012-2014--and that doesn't include stock options or deferred  compensation!

What does UC President Janet Napolitano have to say about Katehi's behavior? "I deeply value Linda's strong record in helping to make UC Davis a world-class center of scholarship and research, and continue to believe in  the value of her contributions to the University."  Blah, blah, blah.

What Napolitano is really saying is this: The University of California protects its insiders.

It is a pity that UC chancellors are not treated like UC students. If there were any justice in the world, all nine moonlighting UC chancellors would be put before a hand-picked squad of untrained UC Davis police officers and assaulted with pepper spray.

Image result for uc davis pepper spray image

References

Diana Lambert and Alexei Koseff. UC Davis chancellor apologizes, will donate textbook stock to student scholarships. Sacramento Bee, March 4, 2016. Accessible at http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/article64041327.html

Nelson v. City of Davis, 685 F.3d 867 (9th Cir. 2012).  Accessible at http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/07/11/10-16256.pdf

Teresa Watanabe. UC Davis chancellor apologizes for controversial moonlighting activities. Los Angeles Tims, March 5, 2016. Accessible at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-davis-chancellor-20160304-story.html

Christopher Edley & C. F. Robinson 2012). Response to Protests on UC Campuses. University of California. http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu/documents/protest-report-091312.pdf
 Richard Fossey. Nelson v. City of Davis: Campus Police Officers Who Injure Nonthreatening Student with Pepper Spray May be Committing a Constitutional Offense. Teachers College Record Online, October 5, 2012. Accessible at: http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=16894

Gordon, L. (2012, September 13).
UC to pay settlement in Davis pepper spray case. Los Angeles Times (online edition). http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/13/local/la-me-uc-pepper-spray-20120914

Steve Gorman. University of California cop who pepper sprayed student protesters awarded $38,000. Reuters, October 23. Accessible at: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/23/21105239-university-of-california-cop-who-pepper-sprayed-student-protesters-awarded-38000
Judy Lin. Linda Katehi, UC Davis Chancellor, Apologizes for Pepper Spray Incident. Huffington Post, November 22,2013.  Accessible at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/linda-katehi-uc-davis-cha_n_1107303.html

Jennifer Medina. Campus Task Forces Criticizes Pepper Srpaying of Protesters. New York Times, April 11, 2012. Accessible at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/us/task-force-criticizes-pepper-spraying-of-protesters-at-uc-davis.html?_r=0

Cruz Reynoso. UC Davis Taskforce Report, March 12, 2012.  Accessible athttp://ahed.assembly.ca.gov/sites/ahed.assembly.ca.gov/files/hearings/1.%20Reynoso%20Task%20Force%20Report.pdf

Smith, D. (2012, September 20). Yolo DA won’t file charges in UCD pepper-spraying. Sacramento Bee (online edition).  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/20/4836866/yolo-da-wont-file-charges-in-ucd.html#mi_rss=Our%20Region


Stripling, J. (2012, April 11). Scathing report on UC-Davis pepper-spray incident faults chancellor and police.Chronicle of Higher Education (online edition). http://chronicle.com/article/UC-Davis-Pepper-Spray-Report/131496/

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Things Universities Don't Want to Talk About: It's Time for a Freedom of Information Act for American Colleges That Participate in the Federal Student Loan Program

LSU President King Alexander recently told a Rotary Club audience that the cost of attending Louisiana State University is very reasonable.  For the many students who receive one of Louisiana's TOPS scholarship, the cost is only about $1,000 a year for housing and other costs, according to President Alexander.
LSU President King Alexander:
It only costs a TOPS student a thousand bucks a year to attend LSU.  Really?
But that's not accurate. In a letter to the editor of the Baton Rouge Advocate, Elizabeth Welsh, a Baton Rouge homemaker, corrected LSU's president.  The true cost for a TOPS student attending LSU is between $2,000 and $3,000 per semester, Welsh pointed out--at least four times President Alexander's figure. 

How did Ms. Welsh figure out Alexander's numbers were wrong? By drawing on her family's own experience with a child in college and by looking at housing costs posted online at LSU's web site.

President Alexander's recent misstatement is just another example of the modern university's tendency to hide the truth.  LSU, after all, is the same university that refuses to disclose the names of people who applied for the LSU president's job that Alexander now holds.

Some more examples? George Washington University recently admitted that it had not told the truth when it represented that it had a needs-blind admission policy.  Sorry about that.

UC Davis refused to explain the circumstances under which Lieutenant John Pike, the guy who pepper-sprayed non-offending students in November,2011, left university employment.  Was he fired? Did UC Davis pay him off? Who knows? UC Davis won't talk.

And then there's Ohio State University, which was embarrassed to disclose how much it was paying OSU President Gordon Gee.  It took an Ohio newspaper about a year to pry that information out of the university after it filed a Freedom of Information request.

And remember Harvard Law School's refusal a few years ago to disclose which of its professors was a Native American, although it represented that one faculty member was an Indian? Why the reticence? I suspect it was because it was counting Professor Elizabeth Warren as a Native American, when in fact she is not.  Oops!

Finally, there's the College Board, which speaks for higher education in general.  In a report issued earlier this month, it actually represented that the cost of attending a private nonprofit college had  gone down over the past ten years, in spite of the fact that tuition at a private college has gone up almost every year for the past 30 years.

How did the College Board justify that whopper?  By distinguishing between the sticker price of attending college (going up) and the so-called net price, which the College Board said has gone down a bit after tax benefits, grants, scholarships, and inflation are taken into account. Of course not every student gets those scholarships, grants, and tax breaks.  You--Mr. and Ms. sucker--are probably paying the sticker price.

Why do colleges and their constituent organizations continually hide the facts about their activities? Two reasons.  First, they are accountable to no one and don't care if they get caught in a misstatement or an embarrassing activity. Do you think King Alexander cares about being corrected by a Baton Rouge homemaker?

Second, the upper echelons of American higher education are contemptuous of the American people.  Like Colonel Jessup who screamed "You can't handle the truth!" in A Few Good Men, they don't think Americans deserve to know the facts about the way their universities are being run.

That's why we need a federal Freedom of Information Act that requires all colleges and universities receiving federal funds to publicly disclose a whole range of their activities including the way they choose their executive leaders, their affirmative action practices, their admissions policies, and the way they distribute scholarships and student aid.

Until they are required by law to do so, American universities will continue to behave like Lois Lerner, the IRS administrator who assured Congress she had nothing wrong and then took the Fifth Amendment.
 
Lois Lerner of IRS
Not taking any questions

References

Koran Addo. LSU President calls for reinvestment in higher education. The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, October 17, 2013. Accessible at: http://theadvocate.com/home/7336360-125/lsu-president-calls-for-reinvestment

Elizabeth Welsh. LSU cost numbers don't add up. The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, October 29, 2013, p. 8B.

 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lack of Accountability in Higher Education: Revisiting the UC Davis Pepper-Spray Incident

People complain all the time about American higher education. They say it is too expensive and the quality is declining. Reports come out frequently that unfavorably compare the skill level of American workers to the skill levels of workers in other countries. Nevertheless, for the past 30 years, the cost of higher education in the U.S. has risen faster than the annual inflation rate.


I contend that a lot of higher education's troubles stem from lack of accountability.  Colleges and universities demand more and more every year, and yet we don't hold college and university leaders accountable for their actions. The UC Davis pepper spray incident supports my point.

You recall what happened. In November 2011, Lieutenant John Pike, a UC Davis police officer, pepper-sprayed non-threatening students who were sitting on a sidewalk as part of an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.  The incident went viral, and a You Tube video of the event was visited more than a million times.

The  University of California produced two lengthy reports to examine what happened, one at the campus level and one by the UC system.  Experts and lawyers were hired, and both reports concluded that UC Davis officers acted wrongly when they pepper sprayed students.  In fact, the officers had not be trained how to use the  particular form of pepper spray that was used in the attacks.

The student victims sued, and UC settled with them for about $1 million.  Lieutenant John Pike, the chief offender, was put on administrative leave and later left university employment under undisclosed terms.  The local district attorney determined there were insufficient grounds to prosecute him.

And now we learn that the University of California paid Lieutenant Pike $38,000 in settlement of his Worker Compensation claim.  Yes, Pike filed a claim for unspecified psychiatric and nervous system damages arising from the pepper spray incident that he himself initiated.  Lieutenant Pike should have been fired.  Instead he gets a check for $38,000.

Of course this is outrageous.  And it is also outrageous that UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi was not held accountable for this shameful incident.

UC Davis had already been sued for misusing pepper spray in a 2004 incident in which Timothy Nelson, a UC Davis student, lost sight in one eye after being hit by pepper spray projectiles fired by UC Davis police officers.  The Ninth Circuit ruled that reasonable law enforcement officers would have known in 2004 that it was constitutionally unreasonable to fire pepper spray projectiles at nonthreatening college students.

Apparently UC Davis learned nothing from the 2004 incident because in 2011 UC Davis police used pepper spray again on nonthreatening students--pepper spray UC Davis had not trained its officers to use.

No one was held accountable for this disgraceful event, although President Katehi did apologize. "I feel horrible for what happened Friday," Katehi told a group of students.  "If you think you don't want to be students of the university we had on Friday, I'm just telling you, I don't want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday."  Then she lawyered up and appointed a commission to study the event.

So if you want to know why American higher education is in trouble, just reflect on the UC Davis pepper spray incident.  A university president should be held accountable for incidents like the one that happened in November 2011.  Yet President Katehi is still in charge. 

And what is Chancellor Katehi's salary? She makes about $400,000 in base salary, twice as much as the Governor of California.

References

Christopher Edley & C. F. Robinson 2012). Response to Protests on UC Campuses. University of California. http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu/documents/protest-report-091312.pdf
 Richard Fossey. Nelson v. City of Davis: Campus Police Officers Who Injure Nonthreatening Student with Pepper Spray May be Committing a Constitutional Offense. Teachers College Record Online, October 5, 2012. Accessible at: http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=16894

Gordon, L. (2012, September 13). UC to pay settlement in Davis pepper spray case. Los Angeles Times (online edition). http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/13/local/la-me-uc-pepper-spray-20120914
Steve Gorman. University of California cop who pepper sprayed student protesters awarded $38,000. Reuters, October 23. Accessible at: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/23/21105239-university-of-california-cop-who-pepper-sprayed-student-protesters-awarded-38000
Judy Lin. Linda Katehi, UC Davis Chancellor, Apologizes for Pepper Spray Incident. Huffington Post, November 22,2013.  Accessible at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/linda-katehi-uc-davis-cha_n_1107303.html

Nelson v. City of Davis, 685 F.3d 867 (9th Cir. 2012).
Smith, D. (2012, September 20). Yolo DA won’t file charges in UCD pepper-spraying. Sacramento Bee (online edition).  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/20/4836866/yolo-da-wont-file-charges-in-ucd.html#mi_rss=Our%20Region
Stripling, J. (2012, April 11). Scathing report on UC-Davis pepper-spray incident faults chancellor and police.Chronicle of Higher Education (online edition). http://chronicle.com/article/UC-Davis-Pepper-Spray-Report/131496/


Monday, May 7, 2012

What should a university do when its employees attack peaceful students with pepper spray? Why, issue a report, of course.

The University of California gained a lot of experience dealing with student protesters during the Free Speech movement of the 1960s. One would think its institutional memory would include some protocols about how to handle peaceful student protesters.

Apparently not. After campus police officers pepper sprayed peaceful students at UC Davis last November, the president of UC Davis commissioned a report, which was recently released. Prepared with the aid of a former California Supreme Court justice and a consulting firm, the report weighed in at 190 pages long.

This week, the University of California issued another report, only 150 pages long, entitled "Response to Protests on UC Campuses, put together under the leadership of UC's general counsel and a law school dean. This report found--and I know you will find this shocking--that pepper spray is harmful to people's health. Yes, it is all there in the report. Pepper spray can damage people's eyes, respiratory systems,and skin.  The report, which contains 50 recommendations, cost about $300,000 to produce.

The University of California's response to the UC Davis pepper spray incident illustrates what is wrong with American higher education. In the wake of a shocking assault, the University of California commissioned high-paid administrators, consultants and lawyers to put together two reports. As far as I know, no one who perpetrated those outrages upon UC Davis students has been punished.

Meanwhile, tuition goes up every year, and students are expected to pay their bills by taking out larger and larger student loans. No wonder students are angry.

References

Edley, C.F. & Robinson, C. F. (2012). Response to Protests on UC Campuses (Draft). University of California. http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu/documents/Robinson-Edley-Report-043012.pdf




Monday, April 30, 2012

Cal State Students Plan Hunger Strike to Protest Tuition Hikes: Let's Hope They Don't Get Pepper Sprayed


"Let them eat pepper spray"

According to the Los Angeles Times (Rivera, 2012), students at six Cal State campuses vow to go on a hunger strike Wednesday in protest of rising tuition costs.  Their demands are quite reasonable. They want tuition costs frozen for five years and a rollback on excessive administrators’ salaries.

 A Cal State spokesperson, displaying the tone-deaf response so typical of California university administrators, said the hunger strikers don’t understand the issues.  This reminds me of what Marie Antoinette is said to have remarked about the poor people of Paris: “Let them eat cake.” 

We should give these courageous students all our support.  And let us hope university police officers won’t pepper spray them.

References

Rivera, C. (2012, April 29). With tuition hard to swallow, Cal State students to go hungry. Los Angeles Times.  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0429-hunger-strike-20120429,0,6584621.story


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident and the Boston Massacre: Universities Should Respond Quickly to Outrageous Conduct on Their Campuses

More than one million people have viewed the You Tube video showing UC Davis police officers pepper-spraying peaceful students on the UC Davis campus last November. Any eight-year old who views that video can tell you that the police used unnecessary force against university students who were peaceful protesting economic conditions as part of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. 
But apparently UC Davis does not have the capacity to respond quickly and decisively when their own employees assault students in broad daylight on the University’s own campus. Almost five months after its students were attacked, the University issued a 190-page report prepared by a 13-member committee and chaired by a former California Supreme Court justice. Evidently, the committee thought the incident was too complicated to be investigated by laypeople, so it hired an outside consulting firm to find out what happened. To no one’s surprise, the report concluded that University officials made lots of mistakes.
In some ways, the UC pepper spray incident is like the Boston Massacre of 1770, in which a squad of British soldiers fired into a crowd of belligerent citizens and killed five people. Both incidents sparked a nationwide sense of outrage. But the official response to the Boston Massacre was quite different from the way UC Davis responded to the pepper spray incident.
Almost immediately after the Boston killings, all the soldiers who participated in the shootings were arrested, along with their commanding officer; and they were tried for murder. Captain Preston, the officer in command, was acquitted. The jury believed Captain Preston’s testimony that he gave his soldiers no order to fire on the crowd. In a separate trial, most of the soldiers were acquitted as well, although two were convicted of manslaughter. The soldiers were pinned into a corner by a threatening mob when they fired their guns and probably feared for their lives.
The point of my comparison is this. After the Boston Massacre, local officials responded quickly and forthrightly. British soldiers who participated in the incident were arrested and tried in a criminal court. In contrast, all UC Davis has done in response to the pepper-spray outrage is issue press releases, suspend some of the employees who were involved in the incident, and write a 190-page report.
If you disagree, look again at the You Tube video. Shouldn’t someone be punished?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Pepper Spray Incidents at UC Davis and Santa Monica College: Universities Need to Listen to Students' Concerns about the Rising Cost of a College Education

Earlier this month, campus police at Santa Monica College pepper-sprayed more than two dozen students who were trying to enter a Trustees meeting to protest a tuition hike.  Chui L. Tsang, the college’s president, defended the police officers’ conduct, insisting that police used appropriate restraint and did not arrest anyone.  (Rivera, 2012).
Last fall, campus police at UC Davis pepper-sprayed students who were peacefully participating in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. A video of this incident, posted on You Tube, shows a helmeted police officer calmly pepper spraying students who are passively huddled on a campus sidewalk.
What’s going on here?  Don’t colleges realize that students are the customers? Don’t they understand how bad they look when people view these incidents on You Tube? How many UC Davis students and Santa Monica College students who witnessed their classmates being pepper sprayed are going to donate money to their alma maters after they graduate?
Campus police should not pepper spray anyone—student or nonstudent—who is not behaving violently or physically threatening other people.  The students at UC Davis and Santa Monica College were not behaving violently (although some of the Santa Monica College students were a bit rowdy), and they should not have been pepper sprayed. 
Instead of pepper spraying their students, colleges and universities should listen to student protests about the rising cost of tuition and burgeoning student-loan debt; and they should demonstrate that they are taking action to address their students’ concerns.
What should they be doing?
  • First, colleges and universities should stop raising tuition while they continue paying extravagant salaries to college presidents and senior executives. They should freeze or reduce the salaries of their highest paid employees—at least until the national economy recovers-- instead of tacking the cost of these excessive compensation packages onto students’ tuition bills.
  • Second, college and university trustees should cap tuition and fees until the economy improves, and they should work harder at making their institutions more efficient.
  • In addition, higher education should demonstrate their empathy for overburdened student-loan debtors by urging Congress to amend the Bankruptcy Code to give overburdened student-loan debtors reasonable access to the bankruptcy courts. They should also support legislation that would stop the federal government from garnishing the Social Security checks of elderly people who defaulted on their student loans. 
The cost of higher education is out of control, total student-loan indebtedness approaches one trillion dollars, and student-loan default rates are alarmingly high. Colleges and universities need to show students that they are helping to solve these problems.  Pepper spraying student protesters is the wrong thing to do.
References
Rivera, C. (2012, April 4). College president defends pepper spray against 'unlawful' crowd. Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/04/students-unlawful-pepper-spray-santa-monica-college-president.html