UC Davis chancellor forms task force in wake of pepper-spraying
The chancellor of U.C. Davis announced Saturday that she will form a task force to investigate the pepper-spraying of Occupy Davis protesters by campus police this week.
An officer’s spraying of the sitting students, who had locked arms, Friday afternoon in an attempt to clear the last of an Occupy encampment was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube and other social media sites.
Friday “was not a day that would make anyone on our campus proud,” wrote Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi in a letter posted to the school’s website. “The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this.”
Katehi wrote she was forming a task force of faculty, students and staff to look into the episode and develop policies over the next 90 days for the administration and Police Department “to help us avoid similar outcomes in the future.”
She said the university is committed to remaining a place where students were free to express their concerns and opinions. However, she also insisted that though “the university has the responsibility to develop the appropriate environments that ensure the practice of these freedoms, by no means should we allow a repeated violation of these rules as an expression of personal freedom.”
-- Sam Quinones
Video credit: KTXL Fox Channel 40, Sacramento