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UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Sued Over November Pepper-Spray

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Puzzlingly still-employed UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, of last fall’s infamous “silent treatment” walk of shame (and worst Buick Enclave commercial ever), has been sued for infringing on the free speech rights of students pepper-sprayed during campus #Occupy protests by campus police.

The suit names UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi as a defendant, along with several other campus administrators and campus police officers. It details allegations against campus Police Lt. John Pike, who the suit says sprayed the seated or crouching protesters at a distance of one to two feet, causing burning pain to their eyes and faces.

The federal lawsuit, filed by 19 students and alumni with the help of the ACLU of Northern California, seeks both financial damages and changes to policy and procedures at UC Davis:

“Our goal in this lawsuit is to ensure the university makes a clear commitment to protect free speech on campus and prevent this from ever happening again,” said Michael Risher, a staff attorney with American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, which is helping to represent the students.

A University spokesman couldn’t comment on the case as he had not seen it yet.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Moonlighted Abroad to End Campus Anti-Austerity Demonstrations — in Greece

1:18 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

University of California Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi won’t resign her post because, she says, she needs to earn the students’ trust. Somehow, she proposes the University heal with her remaining at its helm.

“I really feel confident at this point the university needs me,” she told GMA …. “There are so many critical issues to be addressed and we really need to start the healing process and move forward.”

Her leadership at Davis is not, however, Linda Katehi’s first experience suppressing student dissent. She appears to have a global reputation in the field. She was a member of a Committee of Experts that recommended the Greek government abolish its University Asylum Law, enacted in 1973. The law’s central purpose was to protect students from police brutality during on-campus intervention in protests.

From John Quiggen at Crooked Timber:

A Greek friend has sent me lots of information on links between the suppression of dissent at UC Davis and similar events in Greece from the days of the military junta to the present.
. . .
Among the legacies of the [1973] uprising was a university asylum law that restricted the ability of police to enter university campuses. University asylum was abolished a few months ago, as part of a process aimed at suppressing anti-austerity demonstrations. The abolition law was based on the recommendations of an expert committee…

Quiggen’s Greek friend helpfully provides a translation of part of the experts’ report:

University campuses are unsafe. While the [Greek] Constitution permits the university leadership to protect campuses from elements inciting political instability, Rectors have shown themselves unwilling to exercise these rights and fulfill their responsibilities, and to take the decisions needed in order to guarantee the safety of the faculty, staff, and students. As a result, the university administration and teaching staff have not proven themselves good stewards of the facilities with which society has entrusted them.

The politicizing of universities – and in particular, of students – represents participation in the political process that exceeds the bounds of logic. This contributes to the rapid deterioration of tertiary education.

Recall how Chancellor Katehi, just before she unleashed her brutal militarized force on students whom she is bound to protect, used similar language about the Davis Quad being “unsafe,” something disputed by Davis #Occupiers:

They dismissed the chancellor’s stated concerns that their encampment was unsafe, in part because nonstudents were involved, and Spicuzza’s partial explanation for the pepper-spraying that students had encircled the officers.

The Occupy camp had recycling bins, study space and students playing music, they said. And, yes, they encircled police who had arrested and bound the wrists of some of their friends, but the videos clearly show Pike walking around them to pepper-spray them at close range.

David Buscho, a senior, described what happened to seeing his friends arrested and thinking, “This is not right. This is not OK. We’re kids. We’re just kids.”

This alignment of Chancellor Katehi’s statements this week and the Greek report that ended the protection of Greek students from police forces is no coincidence.

Among the authors of this report – Chancellor Linda Katehi, UC Davis. And, to add to the irony, Katehi was a student at Athens Polytechnic in 1973.

Even more striking, on the very Davis quad where Linda Katehi’s subordinate, the pepper-spraying Lt Pike, unleashed his terror on her students stands a monument to her schoolmates killed in Athens almost forty years ago as the junta unleashed campus horror in its death throes. And Chancellor Katehi, an author of this recent expert report that Greek authorities commissioned to end student anti-austerity protests, hypocritically cited this commemoration on the Davis campus when she spoke to the General Assembly:

As is the custom at general assemblies held by Occupy group, Katehi waited her turn to speak. She spoke for no more than two minutes, with her husband, Spiros Tseregounis, standing behind her.

Her voice broke as she referenced a plaque on the Quad commemorating what Greeks call simply, “17 November,” the day in 1973 when a tank crashed through the gates of National Technical University of Athens to put down a student-led uprising against the military’s dictatorship. More than two dozen protesters were killed.

“I was there, and I don’t want to forget that,” she said. “So I hope that I will have a better opportunity to work with you, to meet you, to get to know you. And there will be many opportunities in the next few weeks to do that.”

Linda Katehi, global handmaiden to authoritarianism, who was commissioned only recently by the current Greek government to help overturn the reforms that followed the junta’s collapse, now pretends to stand in the penumbra of her former schoolmates’ martyrdom, martyrdom commemorated on her own campus right where her own military forces so recently lashed out.

This ain’t Linda Katehi’s first time at this rodeo.

Do you believe that Chancellor Katehi deserves to retain her position, especially in light of her authorship of the report used to shut down student anti-austerity protests in Greece? Sign the petition here to remove her if you haven’t already.

(I am extremely grateful to MyFDL commenter cbl for bringing the Crooked Timber story to my attention.)

UPDATE
: Much more here at Naked Capitalism.