A UC Davis programs director and associate professor has released a heartfelt statement apologizing on behalf of the school's faculty for not doing more to stop UC Davis police officers from pepper spraying nonviolent student protesters in the face as they sat on the school's quad Friday afternoon.
The blog post appears to be the first instance of a member of the UC Davis faculty or administration publicly accepting even partial blame for the police violence that took place Friday afternoon.
The faculty member, Cynthia Carter Ching, posted a statement on her blog Sunday detailing what she describes as a failure on the part of herself and other UC Davis professors and leaders to ensure the safety of students. She goes on to explain her belief that too often university administrators spend little time in classrooms and are more concerned with the bottom line than with educating students.
A lot has been said so far about who is responsible for the horrific violence on campus last week. A lot of blame is being passed around, and it's all pretty accurate. But I'd like to take a different approach, if I may, and offer our students, my students--and yes, you are all my students whether I've had you in class or not--an apology on behalf of the faculty, Ching writes in her statement, going on to say, So, to all of you, my students, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry we didn't protect you. And I'm sorry we left the wrong people in charge.
The school's chancellor Linda Kotehi has issued two statements since the pepper spraying incident took place, but in neither one did she explicitly apologize to students or accept personal blame. She has said she will not step down, but is expected to speak publicly Monday.
The use of pepper spray as shown on the video is chilling to us all and raises many questions about how best to handle situations like this, she said in her second, more conciliatory statement, adding later, Through this letter, I express my sadness for the events of past Friday and my commitment to redouble our efforts to improve our campus and the environment for our students.
Ching's blog's post also goes on to issue a call to arms for all UC Davis faculty members to to join with me in rolling up our sleeves, gritting our teeth, and getting back to the business of running this place the way it ought to be run.
Ching plans to read her statement--which goes on to call on her fellow faculty members to make sure the inhuman brutality that happened on our campus last Friday can never happen again--during a protest rally scheduled for 12 p.m. Monday in the same quad where two students were sent to the hospital and ten were arrested Friday after being pepper sprayed in the face by UC Davis Lt. John Pike.