UC DAVIS (CBS13) — Students at UC Davis are refusing to back down in their fight to have Chancellor Linda Katehi fired, even as the university threatens disciplinary action, including dismissal, if the students don’t leave voluntarily.
On the fourth night of the occupation, the walls outside the chancellor’s office were decorated with anti-Katehi messages.
“There’s a long history of Katehi not representing students,” said student Kyla Burke.
After three days of occupying the chancellor’s office, Burke says the pressure is now on students to leave.
But what has Rachel Houtz more upset is a letter issued to the protesters threatening disciplinary action if students decide to stay.
The vice chancellor wrote in part, “It is the University’s preference that you leave the fifth floor voluntarily rather than sending a referral to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs … ….Disciplinary consequences can range from a formal reprimand to probation, suspension or dismissal.”
Katehi is under fire for her work as a paid board member for a textbook publisher and for-profit school DeVry University.
But PhD student Hakeem Nein cites the 2011 incident where UC Davis Police officer John Pike pepper-sprayed a group of Occupy demonstrators seated in the campus quad.
“I remember Katehi came out on that quad with like a huge number of the students, promised she will take care—a lot of empty promises at that time,” he said.
Public affairs consultant Doug Elmets says the campus problem is now becoming a public relations problem for the university.
“Ultimately in situations like this, the fish rots from the head,” he said. “This is not something that’s going to go away overnight. This is something that’s probably only going to resolve itself when she ends up resigning.”
Katehi has offered to meet with students by appointment only. The students demand a meeting on their terms.
“We want her to come here, where we would be on equal footing here,” Burke said.