Chancellor's message to UC Davis students
Dear UC Davis students:
As many of you prepare to leave campus for time with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to personally wish you well and explain the difficult and fast-moving events of the past week.
Like the entire UC Davis community, I was appalled by the use of pepper spray against peacefully protesting students. I am truly sorry for what happened and will do everything in my power to make sure nothing like it ever occurs again on our campus.
In my position as Chancellor, there is no responsibility I take more seriously than the safety, protection and well-being of our students. Multiple investigations and reviews are underway to learn why police – despite my explicit instructions that no force be used in removing tents and other equipment from the area – elected to employ pepper spray. But let me again be clear: it was absolutely wrong and unnecessary.
We have placed the police chief and two officers involved in the incident on administrative leave pending the outcome of these investigations.
All criminal charges against those arrested last Friday are being dropped. I am eternally sorry for any injuries and harm we caused those young people. The university will pay related immediate medical and emergency bills.
The challenge before us now is to show the world the best of UC Davis, to reunite our campus and make whatever changes are needed in university policies regarding peaceful assembly and overall campus security.
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. You have no bigger ally than me in your fight against higher tuition and I will continue to work for and speak out with you in favor of greater financial support for higher education in California.
I know that I need to spend more time with students, listening to their concerns, answering their questions and simply getting to know them better. As chancellor of such a large and busy university, I have many obligations and responsibilities but none are more important than working with you directly to make your time at UC Davis as enjoyable and fruitful as possible.
I have been meeting with many student groups both large and small in the past week and will do much more in the coming months. We must never lose sight of the fact that serving students is the reason we are all here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing more of you in the weeks and months ahead.
Linda P.B. Katehi
Chancellor, UC Davis