After the fire died and the dust slowly began to settle from the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident, students and faculty alike began to take further action — determining what can be done to ensure history is not repeated.
A panel headed by Cruz Reynoso, a former California Supreme Court justice, investigated the causes of the event and published their findings in April. Their work, also based on a private investigation by Kroll and Associates, made several recommendations to the UC Davis Administration and UC Davis Police Department (UCDPD) on how to best prevent another event like the pepper spraying.
The Reynoso Report argued that the administration and leadership groups of UC Davis should develop a broadly accepted agreement on policies that regulate campus protests and times of civil disobedience that is consistent with free speech. It also stated that a distinction should be made between “non-violent” protests versus “active resistance” and “violent” demonstrations.
The much larger and more detailed Kroll Report added several key suggestions.
“[Recommendations include] redefining our leadership team and training all members of that team on the incident command system, as well as the California Standardized Emergency management concepts and guiding principles,” the report stated.
The report also recommended reorganizing all of the UC system police departments into one centralized police force.
Since April, several committees have been formed to begin analyzing and implementing the recommendations from the Reynoso and Kroll reports.
According to Gina Anderson, executive director of the UC Davis Academic Senate, a senate council attempted to examine both reports from a campus perspective. The Academic Senate subsequently drafted an executive council resolution which called for the censure of Chancellor Katehi and the formation of several committees to ensure response to the reports were proper and put into effect.
The first committee, called the Administrative Oversight Committee, is charged with forming quarterly updates on the chancellor and all campus progress in response to Reynoso and Kroll. They then report their findings to the Academic Senate, and a written report to the systemwide UC Academic Senate.
Currently, several recommendations from the committee have been implemented by the administration, including the formation of a campus community council with representation from ASUCD, students and faculty and the formation of a crisis management team. The committee also suggests that the administration make continued efforts to create a more open dialogue with the community.
The other committee, called the Freedom of Expression Committee, will serve for one quarter and conduct a scholarly review of freedom of expression on campus. So far their evaluation is still underway and their findings should be made public this December.
Andre Knoesen, chair of the Administrative Oversight Committee, is satisfied with the response from the administration.
“Most [of the] recommendations we’ve made have been implemented, and now we must see [that] these measures are effective,” he said. “A number of procedures have been put in place, and this committee is overseeing and taking note of all of them at this moment. We are satisfied with the response of [Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi]; we met with her at one meeting, and at this moment we just need to see if those procedures are going to be effective.”
Knoesen is confident in the ability of the committee’s watchdog position to stop administrative overreach.
“If we see a problem, we’ll raise a red flag, and other committees will take action,” Knoesen said.
This winter, the committee will hold a meeting with the chief of police to evaluate efforts taken since last November.
ADAM KHAN and JOANNA JAROSZEWSKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.