UC President Releases Statement on UC Davis Pepper-Spray Report

April 11, 2012

UC President Mark Yudof released a statement on the recent report by the task force looking into the use of pepper spray by UC Davis police last November.

At the request of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, Yudof formed the task force on Nov. 21, 2011, and named former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso, professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Law, as the chair. In addition to Reynoso, the task force members are mainly members of the UC Davis community, nominated by relevant constituencies.

The task force is part of UC's efforts to address policing issues in the wake of the Nov. 18 pepper spraying of UC Davis students and other incidents involving law enforcement officers and protesters.

Here is Yudof's statement in its entirety:

I want to thank Justice Reynoso and members of the Task Force for the long hours and hard work they invested in this effort to fully understand the events of Nov. 18 and to propose remedies that might prevent similar incidents in the future.

My intent now is to give the Task Force report the full and careful reading it deserves, and then, as previously announced, to meet with Chancellor Katehi and discuss her plans going forward for implementing the recommendations.

Even a cursory reading of the report confirms what we have known from the start: Friday, Nov. 18 was a bad day for the UC Davis community and for the entire UC system.

We can and must do better. I look forward to working with Chancellor Katehi to repair the damage caused by this incident and to move this great campus forward.

The release of the Task Force report represents a significant step in that direction, which is why we fought hard in court to ensure that it would be brought into public light in as full and unfettered fashion as possible.

I also am expecting to receive within the next few weeks the results of the expansive effort, led by UC General Counsel Charles Robinson and UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley Jr., to address how we might better approach protest activities on all our campuses.

In closing, I want to reiterate what I stated at the outset of this arduous but necessary process: Free speech, including nonviolent protest, is part of the DNA of this university, and it must be protected with vigilance. I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful fashion, and I expect campus authorities to honor that right.