University of California at Davis Hired Consultants To Remove References To Pepper-Spraying Protesters and To Improve Chancellor’s Image

175px-The_University_of_California_Davis.svg220px-Linda_Katehi_Head_Shot_2015There is a surprising report out of California that UC Davis contracted with consultants for at least $175,000 to”scrub the Internet of negative online postings following the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students. Equally disconcerting is that UC Davis paid to have these consultants improve the reputation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (right). I consider giving state money to consultants to improve your image as Chancellor to be a shocking misuse of money that should go to educational programs and expenses.

UC Davis has steadily increased the budget for the strategic communications office since Katehi took the chancellor’s post in 2009. This represented an increase from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015.

The contract, which you can read here, directs the contractors to “clean up” the image of Katehi and remove negatives references. I fail to see how the image of Katehi warrants public funds when the students are seeking tuition support and departments are seeking basic funding. If Katehi wants a better image, she can do a better job. She is the head of an academic institution. It is the university, not the Chancellor, that is the relevant measure here. The provision on improving Katehi’s image is as self-indulgent as it is wasteful.

What do you think?

20 thoughts on “University of California at Davis Hired Consultants To Remove References To Pepper-Spraying Protesters and To Improve Chancellor’s Image

  1. Those crazy liberals and their wacky schemes to make college more affordable for the masses!

    It seems money not well spent given the images readily available at both links in the posting above. I’d have taken 1/100th of what they spent to tell them once the bad pub’s out on the Internet, it’s never going away.

  2. I believe it is likely Chancellor Katehi initiated this process to pave the way for her to advance her career with potential future employers–at the university’s expense.

  3. Turley and D. Smith are on target on this one! Take it a step further and wonder how this might affect the student newspaper and student journalism in general, though from my experience with many student newspaper journalists, free speech and vigorous debate are not prioritized. On the contrary, student newspapers sadly are nothing but administrative PR organs.

  4. PS: At the colleges I’ve worked full-time at over the years, from Fitchburg State University to Elmira College, Bennett College, and Grambling State University, intellectual fraud in the ranks of administrators was definitely the rule, not the exception. And PR is always intellectual fraud…

  5. She should have to pay the entire $175,000 out of her pocket. It was to improve her image (or so she thought), not the universities. Thus it was a personal expense not related to University function.

  6. This is like George Orwell wrote in 1984.Those with power will try to rewrite the past to fit their own programs. But then again this ignorant woman probably never read George Orwell

  7. A college in New York got caught tiring to white wash crime stats in order to make parents feel the campus was safe and secure.

    Dominican College in New York has agreed to pay $20,000 in a settlement with the state’s attorney general over charges that the private institution misreported statistics related to sexual assaults on its campus.
    According to a statement released by the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, an investigation into Dominican’s crime statistics revealed that “over the course of several years,
    Dominican had erroneously reported the number of crimes that occurred on campus in their student handbook” and that “Dominican did not have adequate procedures in place to ensure accurate reporting.”

    The settlement language highlights Dominican’s violations of state fraud law and makes clear the agreement is being set in place to avoid litigation.

  8. Strategic communications office? Now, that’s neo-liberalism at its best. There’s probably a hotline to the NSA and CIA.

    That school’s administration has pasta squirting out its transparent ears.

    By the way, the students didn’t need to be pepper-sprayed to be removed. It was a passive protest, and I think pepper-spray was excessive force.

  9. I don’t recall the specifics, but I believe there was some controversy over her actions at her last post – possibly Chicago? Maybe others have better recall…

  10. What a waste of money, but what is worse is that many people in authority do this all the time and never get called out for it. It is easy to spend other people’s money for things like this.

  11. The pepper-spraying cop was awarded $38,000 for “psychological trauma” caused by all the attention he drew to himself by pepper-spraying the protesters.

    As far as reputation enhancement goes, there are at least 50 companies out there doing this full time. The good ones get paid large sums of money by corporations, famous people, and obviously the occasional university chancellor. Ever watch Ray Donovan?

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