Since the Nov. 18 pepper spraying of protesters, Chancellor Katehi has received pressure to resign. Most of the press associated with the event has been directed toward Katehi and she has become the face of this issue. If Katehi were to resign, it would not revolutionize the way this campus is run, it would merely be a symbolic gesture to help the university progress past recent events.
In response, the Aggie Editorial Board has a list of steps for her to protect the university, as we remember that one of the main points of recent protests is that tuition is too high. Should Katehi not resign, we’d like to see her implement the following changes.
1. Katehi should actively fight against tuition increases and explicitly state that she is an advocate for lower student fees. She also needs to restructure the way money is spent at UC Davis by reducing non-essential bureaucracy. We want to see funding go toward our education, not paperwork.
2. She should cut her own salary to show students her commitment to directing funds toward education.
3. Reforming the campus police force is necessary, as they have proven themselves to be harmful. The campus police department should be merged with the city police forces. This seems reasonable, as shown by the recent consolidation of the campus and city fire departments. Furthermore, UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, and both officers involved in pepper spraying, should be fired immediately.
5. Katehi should make more of an effort to meet students on campus. Katehi doesn’t have a good track record of being seen outside of Mrak Hall, but she has a reputation of calling police to campus on multiple occasions. To turn this around, she should continue reaching out to student organizations and clubs, and increasing her visibility on campus.
6. It’s important that Katehi take forums seriously and make changes based on student and faculty concerns. These meetings should not simply just be held to blow off steam.
7. Katehi needs to reach out to donors, some of whom say that they will no longer give to our university while she still holds the position of chancellor.
Similar actions should be taken by UC chancellors, including UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, as he allowed for police violence against protesters this past month. With winter break two weeks away, Katehi and other university leaders should not assume the UC Occupy movement and remembrances of the events of Nov. 18 will die out. We will not let go of what happened to our fellow students or our fight for an affordable public education. Things are going to change and this is only the beginning.