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John Felde | University of Maryland | USA

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Recent Events at UC Davis

By now, I would imagine anyone tech savvy enough to be following this blog site has been exposed to the chilling stories, images, and videos of the events which took place last week at my university.

Not surprisingly, the actions of the university police, called for by the administration, have greatly enraged the students, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends of UC Davis.  A rally was held yesterday on the main quad to demonstrate, in overwhelming numbers, the disgust and shame felt by our community in light of these events.

In response to these events the undersigned faculty of the UC Davis Physics department have prepared a statement (original here):

Chancellor Linda Katehi                                     November 22, 2011

UC Davis

Dear Chancellor Katehi:

With a heavy heart and substantial deliberation, we the undersigned faculty of
the UC Davis physics department send you this letter expressing our lack of
confidence in your leadership and calling for your prompt resignation in the wake
of the outrageous, unnecessary, and brutal pepper spraying episode on campus
Friday, Nov. 18

The reasons for this are as follows.
•   The demonstrations were nonviolent, and the student encampments
posed no threat to the university community. The outcomes of sending in
police in Oakland, Berkeley, New York City, Portland, and Seattle should
have led you to exhaust all other options before resorting to police action.

•   Authorizing force after a single day of encampments constitutes a gross
violation of the UC Davis principles of community, especially the
commitment to civility: “We affirm the right of freedom of expression within
our community and affirm our commitment to the highest standards of
civility and decency towards all.”

•   Your response in the aftermath of these incidents has failed to restore
trust in your leadership in the university community.
We have appreciated your leadership during these difficult times on working to
maintain and enhance excellence at UC Davis. However, this incident and the
inadequacy of your response to it has already irreparably damaged the image of
UC Davis and caused the faculty, students, parents, and alumni of UC Davis to
lose confidence in your leadership. At this point we feel that the best thing that
you can do for this university is to take full responsibility and resign immediately.
Our campus community deserves a fresh start.


Andreas Albrecht                Glen Erickson                   Lori Lubin
(chair)                         Chris Fassnacht                 Markus Luty
Marusa Bradac                   Daniel Ferenc                   Michael Mulhearn
Steve Carlip                    Ching Fong                      David Pellett
Hsin-Chia Cheng                 Giulia Galli                    Wendell Potter
Maxwell Chertok                 Nemanja Kaloper                 Sergey Savrasov
John Conway                     Joe Kiskis                      Richard Scalettar
Daniel Cox                      Lloyd Knox                      Robert Svoboda
James P. Crutchfield            Dick Lander                     John Terning
Mani Tripathi
David Webb
David Wittman
Dong Yu
Gergely Zimanyi


Myself, along with many graduate and undergraduate students, stand with our faculty, and appreciate their strong voice on our behalf.