ISSN 2330-717X

UC Davis: The Power Of Silence – OpEd


After the UC Davis pepper spraying, a string of lies and vacuous declarations:


“The students had encircled the officers,” UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said. “They needed to exit. They were looking to leave but were unable to get out.”

As the video below shows, police officers were able with perfect ease to step over the peacefully sitting demonstrators whenever they chose to do so.

“I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage. 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,” Linda P.B. Katehi.

I take full responsibility has been turned into a phrase whose meaning extends no further than its utterance.


There was a day these words would preface a tangible demonstration of their meaning: “I take full responsibility and have therefore tendered my resignation.”

“I am appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons on our campuses.

“I intend to do everything in my power as president of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in non-violent protest.

“Chancellors at the UC Davis and UC Berkeley campuses already have initiated reviews of incidents that occurred on their campuses. I applaud this rapid response and eagerly await the results,” said University of California President Mark G. Yudof today.

Nothing is more predictable in the practice of damage control than the promise of an inquiry — bury the story in the mud of time and deadening bureaucratic detail.

“I will be asking the chancellors to forward to me at once all relevant protocols and policies already in place on their individual campuses, as well as those that apply to the engagement of non-campus police agencies through mutual aid agreements.

“Further, I already have taken steps to assemble experts and stakeholders to conduct a thorough, far-reaching and urgent assessment of campus police procedures involving use of force, including post-incident review processes.

“My intention is not to micromanage our campus police forces. The sworn officers who serve on our campuses are professionals dedicated to the protection of the UC community.

“Nor do I wish to micromanage the chancellors. They are the leaders of our campuses and they have my full trust and confidence.”

Yudof might trust Katehi but the students in her university do not.

After a news conference on Saturday she was presented with an instant report on the conduct of her administration. The text was scornful silence.

“Corporate America is using our own police departments as hired thugs, and that’s a disgrace,” says Retired Captain Ray Lewis from the Philadelphia PD.

And if we need any further reminders that the police in the US have indeed become hired thugs, here’s another view of their assault on peaceful protesters in Berkeley.

Paul Woodward - War in Context

Paul Woodward describes himself by nature if not profession, as a bricoleur. A dictionary of obscure words defines a bricoleur as “someone who continually invents his own strategies for comprehending reality.” Woodward has at various times been an editor, designer, software knowledge architect, and Buddhist monk, while living in England, France, India, and for the last twenty years the United States. He currently lives frugally in the Southern Appalachians with his wife, Monica, two cats and a dog Woodward maintains the popular website/blog, War in Context (, which "from its inception, has been an effort to apply critical intelligence in an arena where political judgment has repeatedly been twisted by blind emotions. It presupposes that a world out of balance will inevitably be a world in conflict."

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