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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Open forums held to further discuss Reynoso Report

In the second question-and-answer session last Thursday, members of the Reynoso Task Force, Penny Herbert, William McKenna and Katheryn Kolsar, met with a small number of community members to further discuss the findings that were publicly released on April 11.

Around 10 members of the community attended the public forum, raising questions about the police force, the administration’s decision-making and what is to come of the task force’s recommendations.

Richard Grotjhan, UC Davis professor of atmospheric science, started the forum with questions about the lack of records regarding the process that the administration took in relations with the protesters.

According to Herbert, the task force found that there were various times when key constituents were not making informed decisions and there was a great deal of inconsistency.

“That’s what we did try to point out [in the findings], that there wasn’t this clear communication, because that’s what we saw as the biggest error,” Kolsar said.

In a meeting between the task force and UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi last Tuesday, it was made clear by both Katehi and the task force that the structure of future conferences needed changing.

According to McKenna, it wasn’t clear who was on the conference calls before the pepper spray event and there were no documents saying what was discussed or decided.  Katehi made it clear to the task force that the process was changing and the leadership team is starting to go into regular meetings with the possibility of having a scribe at each one.

The findings of the task force also concluded that there was not a valid legal basis for the action to arrest the protesters.

Other members of the community raised concerns about changes that they believed would need to happen with the police force on campus.

While the task force could not comment on the resignation of former Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, they did mention that there is a need for a new police chief who will be engaged in upholding the report’s findings.

“As far as making sure the recommendations are followed, we’ve talked as a task force about how to follow up. We’re still trying to figure out how to best follow up, but that is one of our priorities,” Kolsar said.

Interim Police Chief Matthew Carmichael was sworn in for a year-long term as the new chief of police last Thursday afternoon.

Marline Williams, a former professor and advising director at UC Davis,  mentioned that before any restorative justice can be had, the administration would have to take responsibility.

“I think the people that made the judgment to put the police there are the people who need to be responsible and accountable to the campus before any restorative justice or reconciliation can happen,” she said.

Furthermore, Kolsar emphasized the importance of the Davis community in making sure that this incident isn’t forgotten and that recommendations are followed.

“You are the ones that are here and you’re the ones that [see] students, faculty and staff a lot more regularly. We’re going to rely heavily on the community,” she said.

MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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