Sit-In at UC Davis Protests Chancellor’s Side Jobs

(Image: Ariel Robbins, The California Aggie)

(Image: Ariel Robbins, The California Aggie)

Close to 50 students, faculty, and staff from the University of California Davis held a protest in the quad on Friday seeking the removal of university chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

The protest, referred to as Fire Katehi, came as the result of controversy centered around the chancellor, who was said to have accepted paid board positions for two for-profit companies.  The move caused students and state assembly members to rise up in criticism.

Katehi is said to have accepted a paid seat on the board of the for-profit education company DeVry Education Group, which is currently under investigation for falsifying claims over job placement rates.

In addition, she took $420,000 over three years while serving on the board of textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons.  It is also said she served on the board of King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of bribing its way into higher international rankings.

Demands include the immediate removal of Katehi, as well as for her replacement to be selected and approved by the students and workers of the school.  Resignation forms were taped throughout the walls of her office, while chants of “Rain or shine, Katehi must resign” and “Katehi, you’re fired” came from demonstrators, writes Jason Pham for The California Aggie.

About 35 of them continued the protest by marching to the fifth floor of the administration building where they asked to speak with Katehi. A sit-in began after the group was told Katehi was in a meeting and could not address the protesters.  It was unclear if she would come speak to them afterward.

On Monday, close to 20 students were still outside Katehi’s office waiting for her to speak with them.  The group received a letter from a vice chancellor stating they would be subject to disciplinary consequences and a report of misconduct if they were to remain in the campus administration building.

The letter also stated that failure to identify themselves to campus officials would result in an additional violation of school policy.  However, 21-year-old student Annie Ashmore said that no one has come to take their names as of yet, adding that the group planned to stay where they were until Katehi agreed to meet with them.  She said the group has received an outpouring of support from the local community, even turning away offers of food because so much was given to them.

Ashmore continued to say the protest has turned into a study session because many students are taking their final exams this week.

UC Davis spokeswoman Dana Topousis said the group would need to make an appointment if they would like to meet with the chancellor, adding that they have been told this explicitly.

Katehi did meet with students on Tuesday, although neither side appeared to be satisfied as a result.  She told them she would like to meet with them at a later time alongside her team so they “know why decisions are made and how.”  However, annoyed that she would not meet with them right then after having waited five days already, the students are continuing their sit-in.