DAVIS (CBS13) — University administrators shelled out $100,000 for a media expert to help them manage the fallout from a videotaped confrontation with protestors that sparked outrage around the globe.
In the weeks following the November raid on Occupy UC Davis demonstrators that ended with police pepper-spraying students at close range, the University of California paid for the crisis consultant to handle public communications for Chancellor Linda Katehi and the administration as pictures and video spread.
Members of Occupy UC Davis, who are continuing to camp on campus, said the high price tag only makes university officials look worse in their eyes.
“I would have rather the money go towards education,” said Occupy participant David Roddy. “I think it just reinforces the position of the protestors here that the administration is willing to throw money around as long as they don’t face the actual problems that are facing students.”
Vice president of communications Lynn Tierney said they money didn’t come from students’ tuition and was pulled from a reserve fund to handle insurance claims.
“We had parents, students, legislators, public officials, the campus community at Davis, and we wanted to ensure that we told them what steps we were taking, how we were taking them, and that everything was coordinated,” Tierney said.
University officials recently announced a system-wide review of police protocols and a study into the health effects of pepper spray in response to the incident.
The public report on the November 18 incident is expected to be released on February 21.