Protests: Occupy Wall Street and UC College Campus

Like many of you, I have been seeing a lot of coverage regarding the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Although, I sympathize with the main goals of the movement (that the current corporate culture is not constructive toward building a better, stronger America), I have been put off by the inclusion of some groups that are essentially “professional protesters.”

UC Davis Pepper Spary
Pepper Spraying Students at UCDavis

Worse than the protests themselves, has been the police reaction to many of these protesters. In New York city there is corroborated video evidence of  police reaction that was inappropriate in scale and force. VIDEO.

In the (formerly) great state of California, we have one of the premier public university systems in the nation. The ten campuses in the UC system consistently rank in the top forty in almost every listing with several of the campuses almost always in the top five.

In the last few years, California has hit a speed-bump economically (like most other states). That has resulted in cuts to public education which include, not only the UC, but the wonderful California State University  system, local community colleges and the local school districts.

My children have had the privilege of attending UC Campuses. This is no mean feat, as admission to these campuses is reserved for those students who finish in the top 10% of students within the state. These campuses are research-oriented and employ many distinguished professors in a wide variety of areas of study. To see a Nobel laureate walking across campus is not uncommon.

In the last two years, there has been a 30% increase in tuition for attending these campuses. This is a drastic increase, out of line with the amount of services the state has had to cut elsewhere. To add insult to injury, these increases in tuition have come with increases in pay to chancellors, regents and campus presidents throughout the system.

This is not acceptable. Increases in tuition, should be met with decreases in compensation for the people administering the campus organization itself. But much like the people that OWS is trying to shame (to no avail), the chancellors, regents, and campus administrators seem to have their human sense of shame removed.

Yesterday, on the campus of UC Davis, a student protest was met with a disproportionate police reaction. VIDEO.

But enough is enough. A professor on campus, has sent an open letter to the Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi spelling out in no uncertain terms why she MUST resign. I agree wholeheartedly. My students have benefited from the time they spent on this campus. For a Chancellor to put students in harm’s way, for any reason, is not acceptable.

As an insult to the intelligence of the people who have seen the video of the incident, Katehi has sent out an email that is nothing short of outrageous. EMAIL

Am I advocating for the sort of out-of-control actions that we have seen elsewhere? Absolutely not. But I am advocating for the end of disproportionate response to what was (until then) a truly peaceful protest.

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