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New campus task force launched to assess post-Nov. 18 reforms

11.2.2012

By Mitchel Benson

THE MEMBERSHIP

Here is the list of everyone who has been asked by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to serve on the Review Committee on Post Incident Reforms. Gloria Alvarado, president of the Retirees Association, has agreed to serve as the committee chair.

  • Gloria Alvarado, president, UC Davis Retirees Association
  • Ellen Bonnel, chair, UC Davis Academic Federation
  • Nathan Brostrom, executive vice president, Business Operations, UC Office of the President
  • Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice, California Supreme Court
  • Paul Cappitelli, executive director, California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST
  • Meredith Niles, chair, External Affairs, UC Davis Graduate Student Association
  • Dianne Gregory, chair, executive committee, UC Davis Health System Staff Assembly
  • Rob Kerner, chair, UC Davis Staff Assembly
  • Joe Krovoza, mayor, city of Davis
  • Bruno Nachtergaele, chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
  • Chuck Nichols, president, Cal Aggie Alumni Association
  • Bob Powell, chair, UC's systemwide Academic Senate, and former chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
  • Michael Risher, staff attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
  • Rebecca Sterling, president, ASUCD
  • Lynn Tierney, associate vice president, UCOP
  • John Vohs, president, UC Davis Emeriti Association
  • Lois Wolk, state senator from Davis
  • Mariko Yamada, state assemblywoman from Davis

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, state legislators Lois Wolk and Mariko Yamada, and a prominent ACLU staff attorney have been invited to join UC Davis faculty, staff, students, alumni and others on a new task force to evaluate the campus’s progress on reforms and recommendations following the Nov. 18, 2011, pepper-spray incident.

In all, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has invited 18 people to serve on the Review Committee on Post-Incident Reforms, a panel that she says “reflects the diversity and richness of our campus and surrounding community.” See box for the complete membership.

In a Nov. 1 letter to the prospective members, Katehi urged them to “engage in a rigorous and independent evaluation of our progress on recommendations issued in the wake of” last November’s incident on the Quad.

The incident — in which campus police pepper-sprayed demonstrators who had refused to disperse — prompted a federal lawsuit and four major investigations, reports and reviews. Those inquiries resulted in dozens of recommendations that range from improving police training and tactics to educating campus leadership about emergency response and more clearly defining what constitutes free speech and peaceful protest. The Reynoso, Kroll, UC Davis Academic Senate and Robinson-Edley reports provided the bulk of the recommendations.

Since those reports were issued, UC Davis has taken steps to enact many of the recommendations, and has established timelines to implement many others. A comprehensive matrix, prepared by the university and posted online, gives the origin and status of each recommendation, and identifies who or what office is responsible for acting on it. The recommendations are grouped into four categories: administrative and leadership decisions, protest policies and management, police operations, and community engagement.

More information on demonstration reviews.

Some of the major recommendations and reforms already under way include:

The establishment of a new Office of Ombudsperson to provide confidential and independent conflict resolution services to staff and faculty. UC Davis began recruiting for the post on Oct. 26. See separate story.

The campus Police Department and UC Davis students have developed an information card to distribute during demonstrations and protests prior to direct interaction with police, offering advice on what students should do and expect during such incidents. Student participation helped ensure that the information on the card was presented in the clearest possible manner.

All Police Department operations plans now identify the difference between passive and active resistance and are specific as to the appropriate use of force in each category. In addition, all operations plans are required to be completed and reviewed by the provost or other designated campus executive prior to the Police Department’s implementing any plan.

All members of the Council of Vice Chancellors, and the Event and Crisis Management Team (40 people in all) have completed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS-100, for Higher Education.

All police officers completed use-of-force training in September 2012. Officers were taught an innovative approach to control and restraint called the CDT System — which stands for Compliance, Direction and Take Down. CDT, a “soft-handed” control-restraint system that is easy to learn, maintain and apply, addresses personal well being and subject safety while decreasing the liability factors of all concerned.

The Police Department has contracted with a nationally recognized expert in the areas of accountability and police oversight to engage members of the campus community in a discussion of establishing a police commission or police auditor position. An on-campus meeting was held last month. Additionally, the Office of Student Affairs is reviewing the campus’s Student Judicial Affairs processes to determine if and how they can effectively be used as an appropriate and effective alternative to police intervention. 

Even with the numerous signs of progress, Katehi and other campus leaders believed that an independent set of eyes was necessary and beneficial to ensure that UC Davis is taking the appropriate steps on the most important recommendations and reforms in the swiftest manner possible, and that no effective alternatives are being ignored.

The chancellor expects the newly created committee to review documents and invite presentations by university staff and faculty who are engaged in and knowledgeable about specific tasks related to ongoing recommendations and reforms. In addition, she called on the committee to create “a detailed review of our progress to date and an analysis of where we should continue to focus or expand responsiveness to specific recommendations.” By doing so,” the chancellor wrote, the committee “will assist the campus in continuing to improve the quality of its operations and ability to respond effectively, efficiently, and appropriately to campus events.”

The chancellor asked the committee to issue a draft report in March and a final report by June 30, 2013, after which the committee will be disbanded. The committee’s reports will be made available to the public, and the committee itself will operate and conduct its review in an open and transparent manner.

Meanwhile, the executive council of the Academic Senate has appointed its own committee to continue to monitor the campus’s progress and comprehensively review the status of the Kroll, Reynoso and Academic Senate’s report recommendations.


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