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Police officers put on administrative leave

November 20, 2011

Two UC Davis police officers have been placed on administrative leave following their use of pepper spray in the Friday arrests of 10 protesters on campus, university officials said today.

“I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi. “I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident. However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again. I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place."

Katehi also accelerated the timetable for a task force to investigate the events surrounding the arrests, including communications from the police to the administration. She set a deadline of 30 days for the task force to issue its report. Katehi said the task force, which will include representatives of faculty, students and staff, will be chosen this week and will convene immediately.

At the same time, the chancellor is moving forward with plans to hold a series of meetings and forums with students, faculty and staff to listen to their concerns and hear their ideas for restoring civil discourse to the campus.

Videos taken during Friday’s arrests showed that the two officers used pepper spray on peacefully seated students.

Ten protesters were arrested Friday in connection with an overnight encampment of about 25 tents on the campus Quad. The protesters were cited and released on misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and failure to disperse. Eleven protesters were treated on site for the effects of the pepper spray, including two who were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released.

“These past few days our campus has been confronted with serious questions which will challenge us for many months and years to come,” Katehi said. “We have created great universities which are challenged in their capacity to accommodate our human needs of expression, anger, frustration and even civil disobedience together with the need to feel safe. We need to find a way to change that while at the same time remaining true to our mission of teaching, research and service. We need to think hard and together on how to accomplish this.”

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