Mistermix already linked to the walk of shame video, and it should be clear to anyone watching that the kids have better organizational and critical thinking skills than the administration. I particularly liked the fact that she attempted to claim that she was threatened by the kids, turning herself into the victim to save her ass and her job. At any rate, we’ve now progressed in the ass-covering to the stages where we start chucking minions overboard:
The University of California at Davis placed two police officers on administrative leave after they pepper-sprayed non-violent protesters at point-blank range, the school announced Sunday.
Video of the Friday incident has led to calls for the resignation of UC-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who made the announcement of the officers on leave in a written statement Sunday afternoon. Katehi said she shares the “outrage” of students and was “deeply saddened” by the use of the chemical irritant by campus police.
“As chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident,” she said. “However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again.”
It’s important to remember the evolution of Katehi’s doublespeak in this fiasco. First, she was trying to blame the students:
I am writing to tell you about events that occurred Friday afternoon at UC Davis relating to a group of protestors who chose to set up an encampment on the quad Thursday as part of a week of peaceful demonstrations on our campus that coincided with many other occupy movements at universities throughout the country.
The group did not respond to requests from administration and campus police to comply with campus rules that exist to protect the health and safety of our campus community. The group was informed in writing this morning that the encampment violated regulations designed to protect the health and safety of students, staff and faculty. The group was further informed that if they did not dismantle the encampment, it would have to be removed.
Following our requests, several of the group chose to dismantle their tents this afternoon and we are grateful for their actions. However a number of protestors refused our warning, offering us no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal. We are saddened to report that during this activity, 10 protestors were arrested and pepper spray was used. We will be reviewing the details of the incident.
This then progressed to the blue-ribbon fact-finding task force supercommittee dialogue encouraging investigation to find out just what happened, when everyone on the planet knows what has happened because we saw the damned video, and the following mealy-mouthed bullshit:
During the early afternoon hours and because of the request to take down the tents, many students decided to dismantle their tents, a decision for which we are very thankful. However, a group of students and non-campus affiliates decided to stay. The university police then came to dismantle the encampment. The events of this intervention have been videotaped and widely distributed. As indicated in various videos, the police used pepper spray against the students who were blocking the way. 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.
To this effect, I am forming a task force made of faculty, students and staff to review the events and provide to me a thorough report within 90 days. As part of this, a process will be designed that allows members of the community to express their views on this matter. This report will help inform our policies and processes within the university administration and the Police Department to help us avoid similar outcomes in the future. While the university is trying to ensure the safety and health of all members of our community, we must ensure our strategies to gain compliance are fair and reasonable and do not lead to mistreatment.
It was chilling! It raises questions! We must form a task force to find out what happened!
This would be funny if it were not so pathetic, but people were not fooled by her nonsense, so she has moved on to the next stage in ass-covering- firing the minions. Notice that now she has pinned this on the rent-a-cops, she can find time to be outraged. Just two days ago, she was blaming the students. Sure, she says she is willing to take full responsibility for the events that transpired, but she doesn’t mean it. Quite simply, she just doesn’t get it. But when I looked at her expression as she did the walk of shame, I think it might be starting to set in. She’s in clearly over her head, and there is no way out this time. No level of administrative doublespeak is going to get her out of this mess.
Which leads me to what bothers me the most, which is the failure of leadership in every institution in this country. Can’t we do better than this? Can’t we do better than pay 400k to someone who doesn’t have an instinctive gut rejection of the idea of macing a bunch of kids sitting on a sidewalk. Can’t we do better than that? Shouldn’t we be able with that kind of money and benefits and perks to find someone who would immediately recoil at the thought of sending riot police with batons and chemical weapons to go thump the kids paying 35,000 a year for the privilege to sit in that public space? Can’t we find people whose immediate response to everything is not the application of force and a reliance on police brutality? Are we really this lost as a nation that our academic institutions are run by sociopaths with no problem solving skills? It’s just fucking amazing, whether it be UC Davis or Penn State or Wall Street or the Catholic Church or, well, wherever.