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Student protestors pepper-sprayed on campus

November 19, 2011

Riot police in California pepper-sprayed peaceful student demonstrators on Friday night (18  November) at University of California’s Davis campus. The students were protesting against rising tuition fees and had followed the example of the Occupy movement, setting up a camp. When they refused to take it down, the Chancellor, Linda P.B. Katehi, invited the police onto the campus to clear the protestors.

A video shows police pepper spraying peaceful, seated students but there are also reports that some students were held down, their mouths forced open and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Many students have been hospitalised. Others have been seriously injured.

Nathan Brown, an Assistant Professor in the Department of English has called for Chancellor Katechi’s resignation. I wonder that people aren’t calling for her head!

The action of the UC Davis Chancellor and the behaviour of the cops is utterly repugnant. I simply cannot find the words to express my contempt for a university regime that thinks it proper to set armed police upon its own students. However, the events at UC Davis strike me as indicative of something more general. Universities are increasingly driven by the maintenance and pursuit of their own selfish, corporate interests. They already have bad reputations earned through the bullying and harassing of staff. It seems now that universities are capable of treating students with brutality, although that’s not something you’ll be reading anytime soon in university prospectus (or should that be prospectuses, or prospecti?).

Fancy enrolling at UC Davis, anyone?

I’ve just added this:

As I said, I cannot find the words to express my contempt… The clip below shows that you don’t need words. The silence that Chancellor, Linda P.B. Katehi, is treated to as she walks to her car speaks volumes…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 5:14 pm

    Rab – have just been reading about this on a site called Student Activism ( and left a comment on it. Truly appalling, but as I pointed out, it has historical precedent in US history, including the state’s response to industrial action and student protests in the 1960s and 1970s, e.g. the shooting dead of 4 students at Kent State University in 1970. There’s nothing quite like the wrath of capital scorned.

  2. November 21, 2011 8:27 pm

    That silence was truly devastating!

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