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UC’s Yudof to convene advisory panel to review Nov. 18 events on UC Davis campus

November 22, 2011

University of California President Mark G. Yudof agreed to establish an advisory panel to study the Nov. 18 events on the UC Davis Quad that led to the pepper-spraying of protestors and the arrest of 10 individuals, UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced Tuesday.

Yudof’s office also announced Tuesday that it has reached out to William Bratton, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on law enforcement, to lead an independent review of the Nov. 18 events and prepare a report to be presented to the president and the advisory panel.

Bratton is a former New York City police commissioner, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Boston police commissioner. Bratton, who now heads the New York-based Kroll consulting company, also is a renowned expert in progressive community policing.

“My intent,” Yudof said, “is to provide the chancellor and the entire University of California community with an independent, unvarnished report about what happened at Davis.”

At the same time, UC Davis had two other major announcements Tuesday related to the Nov. 18 events at UC Davis:

The chancellor has asked Acting UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael to work with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office to drop all criminal charges against the 10 individuals — nine of them students — who were arrested that day. The individuals were arrested on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and lodging without permission of the owner.

UC Davis has decided to pay immediate medical and emergency bills of students who were pepper-sprayed by police. In order to facilitate the process, claims for medical and emergency bills can be reported to the university’s claims administrator, an outside company that processes claims. UC Davis will provide details on the website tomorrow for students to process their claims.

The advisory panel that Yudof is assembling will consist of a cross-section of students, faculty, staff and other UC community members. The panel, whose members will be announced at a later date, will review Bratton’s report and make recommendations to Katehi on steps that should be taken to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters on campus. She will then present her implementation plan to Yudof.

Tuesday’s announcement about the Yudof advisory panel brings to three the total number of investigations, inquiries and reviews now launched regarding the Nov. 18 events on the Quad.

The chancellor has also called on the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office to conduct a criminal investigation of the Police Department’s use of force. The district attorney’s office has agreed to conduct a review in collaboration with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department.

And the UC Davis Academic Senate — the largest faculty organization on campus, representing 1,200 active and emeriti faculty members — is conducting its own inquiry independent of the campus administration.

“I eagerly await the timely results of all these reviews and investigations,” Katehi said. “I am confident that we will be presented with recommendations that I intend to act quickly to implement, reforms that will safeguard the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in nonviolent protest.”

In a Nov. 21 letter to Yudof requesting his participation, Katehi called on the advisory panel to develop “recommendations to enhance the safety and security of all members of the UC Davis campus community.”

In the chancellor’s letter to Yudof, she encouraged the UC president to include in the advisory panel “representation from key members of the UC Davis campus community, including the UC Davis Academic Senate, the Associated Students of UC Davis, the UC Davis Academic Federation and the UC Davis Staff Assembly.” She announced the advisory panel last weekend, saying at the time that she took full responsibility for the incident.

During a teleconference Monday with the chancellors of all 10 UC campuses, Yudof asserted that they must do everything possible to protect the rights of students, faculty and staff to peaceful protest. He reiterated that he was appalled by the images of students being doused with pepper spray at UC Davis and jabbed with batons at UC Berkeley. “We cannot let this happen again,” he said.

Katehi said she looked forward to receiving the advisory panel’s findings “as swiftly as possible, ideally” by Dec. 21, or within 30 days of the date of her letter to Yudof.

Tuesday’s announcement follows the chancellor’s appearance on the Quad early Monday afternoon, during which she apologized for the Friday incident.

“I’m here to apologize,” told the crowd of more than 2,000 people in the largest showing to date in a week of protests tied to tuition increases and the national “Occupy” movement — and now the campus Police Department’s alleged excessive use of force.

“I really feel horrible for what happened on Friday,” she said. “If you don’t want to be students at a university that treats its students like this, I don’t want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday.” Later, she added, “It is my responsibility to earn your trust.” The chancellor’s appearance on the Quad went off without incident.

Earlier Monday, Katehi directed that UC Davis administrators place Police Chief Annette Spicuzza on administrative leave, which followed by one day Sunday’s announcement that the university had put two police officers on administrative leave for their role in the pepper spraying.

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