Sacto 9-1-1
April 17, 2012
Katehi takes 'full responsibility' for UC Davis pepper spray confrontation

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi made her first public comments today on last week's pepper spray report, saying she accepts full responsibility for last November's confrontation between campus police and protesters and promising changes to ensure "that something like this does not happen again."

In her annual State of the Campus address to the Academic Senate, Katehi was expected to focus largely on other campus issues and return to the body later with her full assessment of the report compiled for former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.

Reynoso's report found communication failures within the police department and all the way through the administration to her own office, and found those failings led to the pepper spraying of students last fall.

Katehi has insisted she approved the police operation to remove tents from the Quad at the time, and that she wanted no force to be used.

But she acknowledged today that the report found serious problems that need to be addressed.

"As I said in November and I repeat now, I take full responsibility for the event and I consider myself accountable for all of the actions that have to be taken to ensure our campus is safe," she said.

Katehi also has said there will be a top-to-bottom review of police department actions and the "dysfunction" the Reynoso report found existed within the force.

She said there is consideration of forcing a police review commission, but added that reviews of how the administration functions also will be conducted.

Katehi's remarks before roughly 80 faculty members who sat quietly listening to her speak, and there was no sign on campus today of the turmoil that enveloped it last fall during "Occupy" protests aimed at tuition hikes.

The Quad today was the scene of a tug-of-war competition in preparation for Saturday's annual "Picnic Day," and tomorrow there is a cow-milking competition scheduled.

There are no longer tents on the Quad and the scene today on a glorious Spring days was typical for any college campus.

The chancellor, who has made it her mission to brand UC Davis as a world-class institution, noted that challenges remain but was upbeat about the future.

"I just want to say that despite the many challenges wse face, the state of the campus is very strong," she said.

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