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UC Davis pepper spray incident goes viral

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After a Saturday evening press conference, Katehi had to wait two hours before walking through a gantlet of students that had been chanting for her resignation. The board of the Davis Faculty Association quickly organized a petition campaign calling for Katehi’s ouster as chancellor.

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The story began Thursday when students set up tents on the UC Davis quad as part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and also in protest of recent state university and college tuition and fee hikes officials say are necessary in light of California’s dire budget situation.

Setting up overnight encampments violates university policy, and the initial police action was to remove tents after a Friday afternoon deadline. That’s when several hundred demonstrators gathered, some of them sitting down on a paved walkway.

According to police and university officials, the officers (35 or so) felt surrounded and threatened, even though there is no video or other evidence indicating that.

Organizers had said that the protest action was to express solidarity with demonstrators at the University of California at Berkeley, a point highlighted in the faculty call for Katehi’s resignation.

“Given the recent use of excessive force by police against ‘occupy’ protesters at UC Berkeley and elsewhere, the Chancellor must have anticipated that, by authorizing police action, she was effectively authorizing their use of excessive force against peaceful UCD student protestors,” the Davis Faculty Association said in a statement Saturday. “The Chancellor’s role is to enable open and free inquiry, not to suppress it.”

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