UC Davis students put up new encampment
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — Students have again put up tents near the site where University of California, Davis police used pepper spray on seated protesters in a conflict that has sparked outrage and calls for the school chancellor’s resignation.
The encampment was again erected Monday, hours after the campus police chief was put on administrative leave and the chancellor was shouted down at a demonstration while trying to apologize for the incident that happened at a protest held Friday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Two officers also were placed on administrative leave after the students were sprayed.
University spokeswoman Claudia Morain said the school was monitoring the protest and did not say whether the students would be allowed to camp overnight. She said the school will take action “step by step” to balance campus security with people’s right to protest.
Chancellor Linda Katehi made a brief appearance, facing students, faculty and community members chanting slogans and pressing for her to step down.
“I’m here to apologize. I feel horrible for what happened Friday,” Katehi told the crowd. “If you think you don’t want to be students of the university we had on Friday, I’m just telling you, I don’t want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday.”
She asked the assembly to work with her as she strives to earn the trust of the campus. Then, as the demonstrators yelled at her to step down, staff members escorted Katehi away to a car.
University officials and campus police have been the target of angry reprisals since widely circulated videos showed riot police dousing pepper spray on a row of students while they were sitting passively on the ground with their arms linked.
Meanwhile, demonstrators at the University of California, Berkeley, pledged to sleep overnight at Sproul Plaza, though they did not plan to set up tents. A heat lamp was set up in the plaza, and student protesters called the demonstration a “pajama party” rather than an encampment.
University of California President Mark G. Yudof called the chancellors of all 10 campuses and reminded them of the right to protest peacefully.
“We cannot let this happen again,” he said, according to a statement from the president’s office.