A Few Observations about Occupy UC Davis

The calendar favors waiting out the occupiers, not confronting them.

In my first post on the police confrontation with UC Davis students, I pondered the notion that it might have been better for the administration to allow the occupation to die of inertia, rather than sending in the police.

Since then I have learned (as noted in another post) that the events of Friday had been preceded by police violence (with batons) against peaceful protestors on Tuesday, which in turn inspired students to continue their protests).  As such, the Chancellor and campus police were acting in  a fashion that any reasonable observers could have seen was likely to escalate the situation (which it has) rather than deescalating it.  These events suggest that, indeed, it might have been wiser to let inertia win out, rather than trying to force the hand of the students.

Another fact hit me a little while ago:  next week is Thanksgiving Break, which is a week during which college campuses become ghost towns.  While some dedicated occupiers might stay during the holiday, the odds are quite good that a lot of them would have abandoned their tents for the chance to go home to family, food, and football (indeed, the families in question would likely have been more persuasive in getting their children to return home than the police have been to date).

Beyond that, in consulting the UC Davis calendar, the Fall Quarter is about to be over.  Classes end on December 2nd, and final exams are over on the 9th.  Again:  college students tend to very much like vacating campus for the holidays.  Even if some of the occupiers are die-hards, the rest of the student body (i.e., the audience for the occupiers) isn’t going to stick around (meaning some substantial amount of the incentive to occupy will be gone).

While it is reasonable to assume that some of the occupiers might stick out the holidays, it is highly unlikely that large numbers would do so.  Just let these things run their course—it is a wiser policy than bringing out the batons and the pepper spray (especially since those actions appear to have motivated the occupiers, rather than having dissuaded them).  And while it does not get as cold in California, it is the rainy season in December, and in general there are a number of reasons  to think that time could solve the occupy issue better for UC Davis than police action.

At a minimum, there are now more people upset with UC Davis than was the case before the week started.  As policy/administrative moves go, Davis Chancellor Katehi laid an egg here.

FILED UNDER: Education, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Without question this was handled badly by college authorities and the police. It harkens to some of the themes about the militarization of police practice that have been talked about for years now, which means I don’t think it was directed against the Occupy movement in particular but that it’s representative of a more disturbing trend in law enforcement.

    I guess the only thing that surprises me is that this was campus police that did this.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    It’s not about reasonableness for people like Ms. Katehi, or for Mayor Bloomberg, or for the mayor of Oakland, etc… It’s about looking and acting tough. We are enamored of toughness as a virtue and rather less with patience or even cunning.

  3. OzarkHilllly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, there is a reason the Civil Rights protests of the early 60’s moved to Bull’s Birmingham. What ought to disturb people is that now protests need move no further than UC Davis…. and the authorities KNOW cameras are watching and do it anyway.

  4. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Yeah, you can’t be seen as “tough on crime” or regulations or fairness or whatever if you let scofflaws stand around doing whatever they want to do hoping that nature will take its course.

    “We’re Americans dammit; we don’t plan–we act!”

  5. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @OzarkHilllly: Well, so did Bull. When you know that you are on the side of the angels, you have the strength of thousands. And if you don’t think these yahoos believe that about themselves, go back and read the comments thread on James’ post earlier.

  6. OzarkHilllly says:

    Tonight’s low in St Louis: 39 degrees…. after a full day of rain. It only gets worse in December. What does it hurt to wait?

    Me… a cop… 1/24/12…. “Hey, it is going to get down to 12 below tonite and this snow and ice isn’t going anywhere…. How’s about a nice cup of soup? hey ain’t that good? Look, I can give you a nice warm bed too… Not tonight? OK. I’ll check with you tomorrow night.”

    Honey…. works better than vinegar every time. Do you think the police state (small “p”) will figure that out? Not a chance.

  7. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It is about the rules. If you start letting the OWS types break rules with no downside, then others will break even more rules.

    Either the law means something or it does not. Believing that one does not have to pay attention to the rules when you do not want to follow them is the ultimate in hypocracy.

    Why should anyone listen to the OWS propose far reachng new financial regulation when the idiots cannot even comply with the rules for having a protest?

  8. OzarkHilllly says:

    @Just nutha ig’rant cracker: My point exactly…. except that now Bull Connors tactics are employed by UC Davis…. a supposed “Liberal” Institution….

    This country has indeed moved to the “right”.

    (in quotes for a reason. There is nothing conservative about this sh*t)

  9. OzarkHilllly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    It is about the rules. If you start letting the OWSWall Street types break rules with no downside, then others will break even more rules.

    Fixed that for you SD…. Ohhh ….. wait a minute…. you said,

    “Break the rules”

    I thought you meant “Rig the Rules”…..

    My bad. To me? They are the same thing. To you??????

    I await an answer.

  10. OzarkHilllly says:

    @OzarkHilllly:

    And just for the record, I am not a cop, I was putting myself in the position of a cop… Why not wait?

  11. Delmar says:

    I would be supporting these people if I heard that they were protesting: the high price of gasoline that is breaking the middle class people, the high price of food (bag of chips over $3 !), high prices of doing anything (movie tickets and popcorn for example), crime rate, violent abuse of women and children (including the Penn State tragedy), corruption and scandals in Washington – demand honesty and moral behavior, and intrusive government that wants to dictate every aspect of our lives; including what we eat. These are the things that the middle class, the real 99% are upset about.

  12. Console says:

    @Delmar:

    Meh, for the most part this is because the middle class is pretty short sighted. Really the middle class should be mad about college tuition and health care because that shit has gone up way more than gas has. And food is cheaper than at practically anytime in history. Yeah, it sucks go have to go from eating good to eating easy mac with cut up hot dogs but there’s bigger things that are ruining our society.

    Hell wall street deregulation basically crashed the economy. I don’t know really what it would take for the middle class to wake up and see it’s real problems. OWS’s priorities are just fine.

  13. WR says:

    @Delmar: Yes, Delmar, people should be giving up their lives to move into parks to protest the high price of movie tickets.

    The sad thing is that you’re probably not this stupid. You just think you’re much smarter than you really are. You’re convinced that you know how the world really works, and those who are protesting the injustice of a society that’s abandoned the promises it’s built on are naive fools.

    Congratulations. You’re the guy who props up the empire no matter what. You’re the guy fighting for the “rights” of Wall Street bankers to rig the system so they own everything and you’ve got nothing. Except your smugness, of course. I hope it keeps you warm at night.

  14. @superdestroyer:

    Either the law means something or it does not. Believing that one does not have to pay attention to the rules when you do not want to follow them is the ultimate in hypocracy.

    “lex iniusta non est lex” — St. Augustine

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Delmar:

    I must have missed the memo about the government telling us what we have to eat. My kids are dragging me to a fondue restaurant. Is there a government regulation that will get me out of it?

    What Occupy is protesting is the fact that people like you have no power in a system that is rigged entirely for the benefit of the rich. They are protesting corruption and scandal in Washington.

  16. jan says:

    I don’t think making money or being a part of the so-called ‘rich’ makes a person corrupt, any more than I believe owning a gun makes a person want to go out and indiscriminately use it. It’s the person,themselves, rich or poor, with or without a weapon of force (just look at what box cutters can do) who wreaks havoc.

    However, repeatedly calling the ‘rich’ to task, without individually looking at a person to see if the label of ‘corrupt’ fits him/her, is a pseudo tactic of the liberal in their totally illogical approach to problems.

  17. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: What’s wrong with fondue?

  18. Ben Wolf says:

    Delmar, are you a Christian? Because according to your belief that rules should always be obeyed, Jesus got exactly what he deserved.

  19. Hey Norm says:

    Chancellor lady is going to lose her job.
    As she should.

  20. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @jan: “However, repeatedly calling the ‘rich’ Liberals to task, without individually looking at a person to see if the label of ‘corrupt’ oversimplifying things fits him/her, is a pseudo tactic of the liberal Jan’s of the world in their totally illogical approach to problems.

    FIFY.

  21. Delmar says:

    @Console: I can remember when bread was about 25 cents a loaf, a hamburger was 15 cents, and a Coke was a dime. Look at the price of a gallon of milk and other food staples. A lot different today. You could fill the car trunk and seats up with groceries for $50 when I was 20. And of course, gas was 27 cents a gallon. Today, I filled up a Toyota 4 cylinder for almost $50! Outrageous?

  22. Console says:

    @Delmar:

    Something tells me you didn’t make the same amount of money when you were 20 as you do now…

    I mean seriously, as far as percentage of income goes, food is way cheaper than practically anytime in history.

  23. Delmar says:

    @WR: I don’t deal with Wall Street bankers. I am not an investor, but if someone else wants to invest, that is their business. Some of my friends invest, but they are just regular people (some retired) who make a few thousand a year – enough to pay off some bills or take a small trip: certainly not wealthy. I do not deal with large banks. My bank is a small. local bank. They do not charge debit fees. They know most of their customers by first name. I do certainly agree with their protesting of the exorbitant and obscene salaries, especially those who make this kind of money while laying their workers off. One way to change this would be to try and contact some of the major stockholders and discuss this with them. Maybe that could work. Quit buying their products. Take this up with Congress and if they don’t listen, elections are next year. Don’t vote for anyone who is getting money from any of these Wall Street people. Is the OWS protesting all of Wall Street or just some corporations? Some corporations, believe it or not, actually have ethical ceo’s and boards that are loyal to their workers. I have worked for a large corporation. I was paid well, had great benefits, was treated great, and the management listened to the workers. The ceo’s were not overpaid and if the company did well, everyone got a bonus.

  24. jan says:

    @Delmar:

    And of course, gas was 27 cents a gallon. Today, I filled up a Toyota 4 cylinder for almost $50! Outrageous?

    It’s only going to get worse, Delman, under Obama. If you want green energy in, you have to make fossil fuel cost prohibitive, like off-shore bans on the Gulf Coast (even though Obama is allowing Brazil to drill, and we are going to buy oil from them), or deferring a decision on the Keystone pipeline, a political decision, until 2013, after the election.

  25. ponce says:

    However, repeatedly calling the ‘rich’ to task, without individually looking at a person to see if the label of ‘corrupt’ fits him/her, is a pseudo tactic of the liberal in their totally illogical approach to problems.

    Shorter Jan:

    How long must the rich suffer this discrimination?

  26. anjin-san says:

    like off-shore bans on the Gulf Coast (even though Obama is allowing Brazil to drill,

    Meanwhile, on planet Earth, oil drilling in America is just at an all time high, and overall production in North America is soaring:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/07/energy-oil-rigs-idUSWEN918720111007

    http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/N-American-oil-output-could-top-40-year-old-peak-2193837.php

  27. jan says:

    @ponce:

    How long must the rich suffer this discrimination?

    It’s not money that is the corrupting force, but what people do with the money who have it. The same goes for being poor — poverty doesn’t make you less of a person. Only you can diminish who you are. That’s why I don’t judge a person by the amount of their money, only their actions.

  28. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    Meanwhile, on planet Earth, oil drilling in America is just at an all time high, and overall production in North America is soaring:

    It’s not that Obama isn’t trying hard enough. It’s just there are only so many hours in the day to stop so much oil drilling and jobs that go along with it. BTW, with so much drilling, I wonder why we are buying so much oil from the ME? Isn’t the goal to become more energy independent?

  29. @jan:

    I wonder why we are buying so much oil from the ME?

    Because there is a lot of it there. Of course, we buy a great deal of our oil from North American sources. Canada and Mexico are #1 and #2 and Venezuela is #4 (SA is #3).

    Isn’t the goal to become more energy independent?

    It is a goal, rhetorically (dating back to at least Nixon), but it is actually a fantasy (and no amount of increased domestic drilling will change that fact). This is not partisanship or ideology, it is empirical reality.

  30. WR says:

    @jan: “Only you can diminish who you are.”

    As you prove with every post…

  31. An Interested Party says:

    It is a goal, rhetorically (dating back to at least Nixon), but it is actually a fantasy (and no amount of increased domestic drilling will change that fact). This is not partisanship or ideology, it is empirical reality.

    There you go again, trying to confuse people by presenting them with facts…

  32. ponce says:

    It’s not money that is the corrupting force, but what people do with the money who have it.

    The most “corrupting force” in America is rich people buying politicians that will lower their taxes, Jan.

    Nothing else comes close.

  33. anjin-san says:

    I wonder why we are buying so much oil from the ME?

    Well, I would start with the GOP fighting CAFE standards with everything they have and opposing public transit at every turn.

  34. anjin-san says:

    It’s just there are only so many hours in the day to stop so much oil drilling and jobs that go along with it.

    Kind of a stupid statement even by your standards. With the resources a President has at his disposal, it is a simple matter to create more hours by assigning more people to a task.

    It would be nice to hear from a conservative woman with half a brain. There must be one out there somewhere.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    “What’s wrong with fondue?”

    Well, first, there’s the fact that it involves cooking both steak and lobster in medium-hot oil. As you know, the boiling of either in oil is considered a Crime Against Humanity for which I could be tried at the Hague.

    Second: children. Mine, in specific. My wife, me, a 14 year-old and an 11 year old armed with long forks, hot cheese, hot oil, and hot chocolate. I’m just relieved that we walked out with the same number of eyes as when we walked in.

  36. ponce says:

    It’s only going to get worse, Delman, under Obama.

    Jan, I hate to prove you wrong yet again, but U.S. oil production is up under Obama:

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRFPUS1&f=A

  37. de stijl says:

    Either the law means something or it does not. Believing that one does not have to pay attention to the rules when you do not want to follow them is the ultimate in hypocracy.

    This is an incredibly infantile understanding of both the law and morality.

    And this statement comes from the same person who argued in an earlier thread that the OWS folks were real authoritarians because they were demanding more regulatory oversight of Wall Street.

    While the above blockquoted statement is the classic definition of an authoritarian follower. Bob Altemeyer would be very amused.

  38. michael reynolds says:

    Here’s an excellent post from a UC Davis professor on the militarization of campus police.

    One paragraph:

    I teach at UC Davis and I personally know many of the students who were the victims of this brutal and unprovoked assault. They are top students. In fact, I can report that among the students I know, the higher a student’s grade point average, the more likely it is that they are centrally involved in the protests.

    And another:

    Chancellor Katehi asserts that “the encampment raised serious health and safety concerns.” Really? Twenty tents on the quad “raised serious health and safety concerns?” Has the chancellor been to a frat party lately? Or a football game? Talk about “serious health and safety concerns.”

  39. de stijl says:

    @jan:

    even though Obama is allowing Brazil to drill

    I didn’t realize that the Monroe Doctrine allowed the US President to have absolute control over oil drilling practices in South America. I must have slept thru that part of 9th grade History.

    Oh, wait a minute! I got it. You fell for the right-wing urban legend about the US Import-Export Bank / Petrobras deal.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2009/09/bogus-brazilian-oil-claims/

  40. ponce says:

    Holy crap:

    The Top 0.1% Of The Nation Earn Half Of All Capital Gains

    http://news.yahoo.com/top-0-1-nation-earn-half-capital-gains-172647859.html

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well, first, there’s the fact that it involves cooking both steak and lobster in medium-hot oil.

    My girlfriend is a vegan fondue-fanatic, so we end up spending nights boiling cheese.

  42. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ben Wolf: vegan vegetarian . . .

  43. steve says:

    @jan- When it is pointed out that domestic energy production is at a high, you respond that Obama just doesnt have enough hours to stop it. Doesnt it bother you that you have to ignore actual evidence, the production numbers, to reach your conclusion? I would suggest you read up o the topic. The only areas where there is any credible claim about decreased drilling is ANWAR, an issue preceding this administration, and deep sea drilling. Deep sea drilling is actually at about all time average levels. What is down is natural gas production because the price is down.

    Steve

  44. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “I guess the only thing that surprises me is that this was campus police that did this. ”

    That’s a key part of this trend, that casual, illegal violence for political repression is being mainstreamed.

  45. Barry says:

    @OzarkHilllly: “Honey…. works better than vinegar every time. Do you think the police state (small “p”) will figure that out? Not a chance. ”

    Remember, repression isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. And a perk (if not of the line officers, then of white-shirted supervisors who get to play tough cop against people who won’t fight back).

  46. Barry says:

    @superdestroyer: “It is about the rules. If you start letting the OWS types break rules with no downside, then others will break even more rules. ”

    Wall Street

  47. Barry says:

    @Delmar: “…corruption and scandals in Washington …”

    You really don’t know how much you don’t know, do you?

  48. Barry says:

    @jan: “I don’t think making money or being a part of the so-called ‘rich’ makes a person corrupt, …”

    Where does OWS say that?

    The whole point is the criminality and corruption at the top.

  49. Rob in CT says:

    Oh, look, our resident copy ‘n paste artist got shredded again. What a surprise.

    Attempting to blame rising commodity prices on Obama is tough work, and beyond its skills.

  50. Neil Hudelson says:

    @jan:

    What the heck is a pseudo tactic? Either an activity is a tactic–whether successful or not–or it isn’t.

  51. Neil Hudelson says:

    @de stijl:

    My favorite part of that article:

    ■The message falsely says the decision was due to an “executive order” by the president. No presidential order was required. Furthermore, none of President Obama’s appointees had joined the Ex-Im board at the time of the vote, which was unanimous, and bipartisan. The Ex-Im Bank states: “In fact, at the time the Bank’s Board consisted of three Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by George W. Bush.”

    But Obama’s giving away our taxmoney to Brazillian Oil because he hates oil and the U.S.!

  52. Liberty60 says:

    @Delmar:
    Instead of complaining about high prices, maybe you should get a job and be a producer, not a looter.