Reposted from Remaking the University
The Davis Senate concluded its vote Friday on the motion to declare no confidence in Chancellor Katehi. The motion failed 697-312. A second motion–the “Five Points” motion–that criticized the use of police force against the demonstrators but affirmed confidence in Katehi’s responses to the police violence and her “impeccable performance of all her other duties” passed 586-408. UCOP declared itself “gratified” by the results.
Clearly the Davis faculty is deeply split: about the campus leadership, about how to respond to the police violence, and about the general direction that Davis is moving. Slightly more Faculty cast votes on the clear no-confidence motion than on the “five points” motion and Katehi’s support on the latter dropped over 100 votes. That the majority of the Senate Faculty are unwilling to break with the Chancellor is clear. Beyond that how Davis responds in the future or to the reports about police violence on campus in the future is unclear.
This ambiguity is especially clear if you read the “five points” motion. Here is the language:
Be it therefore resolved that the Davis Division of the Academic Senate:
Condemns both the dispatch of police in response to non-violent protests and the use of excessive force that led to the deplorable pepper-spraying events of November 18, 2011.
Opposes all violent police responses to non-violent protests on campus.
Demands that police deployment against protesters be considered only after all reasonable administrative efforts to bridge differences have been exhausted, including direct consultation with the leadership of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate.
Accepts Chancellor Linda Katehi’s good faith apology.
Expresses confidence in Chancellor Linda Katehi’s leadership and efforts to place UC Davis among the top 5 public universities in the nation.
As both David Copp and Daniel Cox have pointed out, the “five points” motion is internally incoherent. On the one hand, it “condemns” the sending in of the police and their use of “excessive force” on November 18th but doesn’t acknowledge that they were sent in by Chancellor Katehi. On the other hand it “expresses Confidence” in her leadership. The first 3 points raise serious questions about the Chancellor’s judgment. The last 2 suggest that in the end these questions don’t really matter.
In other words, violence against students is “deplorable” but let’s put it into perspective. It was really a blip in Davis’s rise to prominence. Let’s put it behind us. Senate Faculty who did not think that the police violence was sufficient to declare no-confidence in the Chancellor had the option of simply voting no. Given that, the “five points” motion appears to be an effort to appear to care about the violence to students without thinking that it matters all that much.
What message does that send to students?