Why I’m not visiting UC Davis in April

November 21, 2011

To

Mark Yudof, University of California President,

Linda P.B. Katehi, UC Davis Chancellor,

and Linda Bisson, Chair of the UC Davis Academic Senate:

Dear President Yudof, Chancellor Katehi, and Professor Bisson,

I am an associate professor at New York University. I teach and write about digital media and contemporary culture. I was born in California, raised in Oregon and Washington, and have many times visited colleges and universities across your great state.

Several months ago I accepted an invitation to speak at UC Davis on April 12-14, 2012, as part of an academic conference on new technologies.

This last weekend the world awoke to videos depicting cruel and despicable acts, performed by paramilitary police casually spraying chemical agents on your peaceful students. Such actions are reprehensible and absolutely contrary to the moral duties of educators everywhere. These students, like many thousands around the country and around the world, were peacefully protesting the recent outrageous tuition hikes at the public University of California, the ballooning student debt burden, and a political system that puts profits over people.

I was dismayed to read Chancellor Katehi’s statement following the police attack, a statement that showed no remorse for the violence and no sympathy whatsoever for the welfare and safety of her own students. Likewise a subsequent letter from President Yudof, tried to spin the events further, but offered nothing by way of concrete action.

I regret therefore that I must withdraw my participation in the April conference — until Chancellor Katehi takes responsibility for her actions by resigning, and until UC Davis removes its paramilitary police from campus.

While my admiration and respect for the great public universities of the UC system remain strong, I cannot in good conscience visit the UC Davis campus in April. I cannot support Chancellor Katehi. I cannot support police brutality. And, quite simply, I fear for my own safety were I to visit your campus.

Sincerely,

Alexander R. Galloway, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

New York University