For the Week of November 28, 2011
|Most university news last week focused on UC’s crackdown on dissent, and the fallout when images of UC Davis students being pepper-sprayed went viral and took on a life of their own. As the story spread globally, administrators shifted their positions – until finally UC president Mark Yudof “promised to convene all 10 university chancellors to figure out how to ensure an appropriate law enforcement response to nonviolent protest.”
To the American Civil Liberties Union and many UC faculty, the use of pepper spray “as a crowd-control device, particularly when those crowds are nonthreatening, is an excessive and unconstitutional use of force and violates the right to peaceably assemble.”
Today, students and others from the ReFund California Coalition temporarily shut down three of the four UC Regents teleconference meetings – at Davis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco-Mission Bay. Last week, CSU faculty and staff had joined protests throughout the state to call for taxing the wealthy to balance the budget instead of cutting public services.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports today that “the union representing UC Berkeley police officers released a statement in which it told regents and UC administrators not to ‘ask us to enforce your policies, then refuse to stand by us when we do.’"
Also today, the UC Berkeley Academic Senate will consider a request for a vote of no confidence in the university's leadership. UCB anthropology professor Rosemary Joyce said, “If we [faculty] want leadership, it is time for us to provide it.”
The events of the past few weeks have called into attention university leadership as well as the public starving of education at all levels. One of the articles in a Washington Post roundtable on higher education leadership explains why bold change for the survival of higher education is both needed and unlikely. Another decries the leadership vacuum in higher education.
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