Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Davis Faculty Association offers Critique of draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy

The UC Davis Blue Ribbon Freedom of Expression Committee has drafted a campuswide freedom of expression policy and is soliciting input. The draft policy is available online at:


(The above page also lists methods for members of the community to provide feedback, including a series of forums.)

In response, the DFA board has submitted the following letter:


Dear members of the Blue Ribbon Freedom of Expression Committee:

The Davis Faculty Association has grave reservations concerning the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy. While the DFA recognizes the importance of maintaining an environment in which the core educational and research missions of the campus can flourish without undue disruption, this must be balanced against the equally important goal of encouraging and protecting open discussion and debate. Indeed, this is an absolutely essential part of the functioning of the university as a crucible for the development and testing of new ideas. The current document fails to properly balance these two considerations, nor does it follow recommendations from both the Senate Special Committee on Freedom of Expression Report and the Robinson-Edley Report to discuss civil disobedience as a particular category that has brought about beneficial changes.

Specifically, the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy (i) opens by paying lip service to the right of free expression, but fails adequately to follow up and affirm those rights in a positive way in its subsequent articles; (ii) contains a disturbingly long litany of restrictions on free speech. Of the seven subsections, A-G, in the "Policy" section (section II), five explain and defend *restrictions* on freedom of expression. So does the entire content of section III. Many of these restrictions are so vaguely worded that they seem likely to apply to virtually any sort of campus gathering.

That this document unduly emphasizes the restriction of freedom of expression strikes the DFA as especially inappropriate and ironic given the Pepper Spray Incident of November 2011. In that event, and its emotional aftermath, UCD students exercised their rights to freedom of expression with a truly amazing dignity and concern for safety of others. Given that history of responsible student conduct, the tone and content of this document are puzzling.

The DFA urges that this document not be adopted, and, instead, be recast in a way which more accurately reflects the rights and protections for free expression which are so valued on a university campus, as well as the history that UCD students have in the responsible and safe voicing of their opinions.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Prop 30 About to Fail: Needs Student Support

The latest polls show that Prop 30, Governor Brown's measure increasing taxes to support education (including higher education), is likely to fail without increased student mobilization.  Many college students are voting against it because they think it applies only to K-12 education and don't realize that huge tuition increases are imminent if the measure fails.  Michael Meranze has more details.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Our rivers are full of fish! #Romney

"No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead."

The Louisville Courier-Journal on Dewey's 1948 campaign against Truman.  How could they know that Mitt Romney had been born the year before?

Haven't posted much this summer--working on a new book on African Americans and the welfare state--but I couldn't resist this one!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Executive Council of Davis Academic Senate Censures Katehi

The Executive Council of the Davis Academic Senate censured Chancellor Katehi.
The Executive Council of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate hereby censures Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi for failure to perform adequately the tasks of her office and failure to provide clarity, candor, and trustworthy accounts in relation to the events of November 18, 2011.  
The Council's action is based on a report by a special committee.  That report is here.  The special committee called for the resignation of Katehi and two other top officials.  The Executive Council did not go that far.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reynoso Task Force to Release Pepper Spray Report at Noon Wednesday April 11 #occupyucdavis

From UC Davis Office of University Communications: 
The task force looking into last November's pepper-spray incident has made tentative arrangements to share its findings at a campus forum this Wednesday, April 11 at 3:30 pm in Freeborn Hall.
Plans for Wednesday's public meeting will be confirmed after a hearing Tuesday morning in Alameda County Superior Court, at which a judge is expected to approve an agreement allowing the task force report to be released.
More information is available in this announcement from the UC Office of the President: http://news.ucdavis.edu/download/201204/Task_force_announcement_4.9.12.pdf

The report is schedule to be released at noon on April 11.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

UC President Mark Yudof will ask regents to endorse Brown tax initiative

University of California President Mark Yudof has announced that he will ask the regents to endorse Governor Brown's tax initiative.  Others should be asking/demanding this as well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Liz Cheney as #Romney Running Mate?

I had lunch with a senior colleague today who predicts that Romney will choose foreign policy hawk Liz Cheney (Dick and Lynne's daughter) as his running mate.  Here's a piece by Michael Chase outlining the case for Cheney (though he thinks Jeb Bush will actually get the nod).

My colleague shared my glee at Romney's ineptitude and Obama's newfound strength.  I told him that my only fear is that Romney will somehow lose the nomination in a brokered convention.  He doubts that anyone will step up because this is a losing year for Republicans and, in recent history, losing nominees don't get a second chance.