Ask Katehi

The following appeared in The Aggie’s “Ask Katehi” column. We’ve edited it to make reading easier.

If a student has concerns regarding is pissed off at the administration, what’s the best route to take?

I would like to think we start with the basics: us talking and you listening. Perhaps Jim Leach, chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, put it best during his April visit to our campus last spring to launch the Chancellor’s Colloquium series. He emphasized that we you all need to listen respectfully. Many concerns and misunderstandings can be resolved when we keep this in mind. And so I encourage administrators to make themselves available to students, listen respectfully until the cops arrive and address their concerns arrest them directly and promptly.

Student leaders can help, too. ASUCD and the Student Assistants to the Chancellor all represent domesticated student voices and provide liaison with valuable intelligence to administrators. Students Melissa Muganzo and Justin Gold invite you to connect with them at sac@ucdavis.edu. These student assistants regularly host dialogues that bring students, faculty and staff together to discuss issues prevent them from doing anything we actually disagree with.

There are a variety of other forums in which students can share their concerns and contribute to decision-making form useless committees which we can control, too. For example, last year we introduced the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Board. The board of nine students – including the two student assistants to the chancellor – advises the administration on major initiatives including enrollment, research, international experiences and other aspects of undergraduate student life.

To help work out problems, we also have formal procedures. Part of the mission of Student Judicial Affairs is to uphold student rights and respond to student grievances. The other part is to boot your ass out of school if you misbehave. Students can receive informal assistance or file a formal grievance against faculty or staff, among others, or about a university policy, procedure, practice or department. UC Davis Mediation Services and the Graduate Student Association also help graduate students resolve issues involving departments or administrators, among others. This ensures that graduate students never involve their union in contract enforcement or, even worse, take direct action to improve their working and learning conditions.

And, of course, students can always contact Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Fred Wood at vcsa@ucdavis.edu or get in touch with me directly at chancellor@ucdavis.edu. Our assistants will send you a brief, polite reply that will make you feel all warm inside.

Got a question for the chancellor? Send it to campus@theaggie.org.

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