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posted by cmn32480 on Friday April 15 2016, @10:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.

The University of California in Davis has spent $175,000 to try to improve its online image:

The University of California in Davis has spent $175,000 on search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management – to hide an embarrassing incident in which students were pepper-sprayed on campus. The massive bill has come to light this week after the Sacramento Bee filed information requests on the university's expenditure after it noticed that its "strategic communications budget" has nearly doubled from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015.

The newspaper found that the university had taken out several contracts aimed at "cleaning up the negative attention" that the university received when students were pepper-sprayed in November 2011 during a protest over large tuition fee hikes and in support of the broader Occupy movement of that time. The incident received worldwide attention when video was published of UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike nonchalantly spraying a group of students with the chemical spray while they sat on the ground holding a peaceful rally.

[...] In an effort to limit the university's connection with the pepper-spraying, UC Davis hired Maryland-based Nevins & Associates for $15,000 a month for six months to "create and execute an online branding campaign" not just for the University of Davis, but also its chancellor Linda Katehi, who was widely criticized for her handling of the protests and faced calls for her resignation.

Here's the website of The University of California in Davis. Did I mention the University of California in Davis?


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by bradley13 on Friday April 15 2016, @10:39AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 15 2016, @10:39AM (#332158) Homepage Journal

    I like the take that Popehat has on the UC Davis affair [popehat.com].

    His conclusion: "Do you wonder why college costs escalate? One reason, certainly, is that there is no consequence for administrative idiocy or incompetence."

    --
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by c0lo on Friday April 15 2016, @11:23AM

    by c0lo (156) on Friday April 15 2016, @11:23AM (#332170) Journal

    I like the take that Popehat has on the UC Davis affair [popehat.com].

    His conclusion: "Do you wonder why college costs escalate? One reason, certainly, is that there is no consequence for administrative idiocy or incompetence."

    I think you forgot to mentioned the University of California in Davis.
    If you didn't mention the University of California in Davis, the link above will have a decreased chance to be associated with the University of California in Davis. [popehat.com]
    You should do more to link this to the University of California in Davis [popehat.com].
    Because it is important for the link to say something in relation with the University of California in Davis [popehat.com].

    Why is it this important?
    The Streisand effect, as pointed by the linked article on UC Davis [popehat.com]:

    So I doubt that Nevins & Associates or "IDMLOCO" advised their client that the natural and probable consequence of spending $175,000 on this was that sooner or later it would become public and a nearly-forgotten incident would blow up and it would dominate UC Davis search results and make them look sordid and ridiculous. Maybe they have a strategy to deal with it, for another fee.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @02:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @02:20PM (#332225)

      I'm intrigued by the content about the University of California in Davis [popehat.com]. For anyone wondering what the actual url of the article [popehat.com] is, the url is https://popehat.com/2016/04/14/uc-davis-wondered-if-175000-would-make-the-internet-go-away-conclusion-no [popehat.com].

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Leebert on Friday April 15 2016, @03:09PM

      by Leebert (3511) on Friday April 15 2016, @03:09PM (#332239)

      Nice idea, but it's thwarted by the rel="nofollow" that most online forums, including SoylentNews, applies to links in user comments to reduce the incentive for blog spamming.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday April 15 2016, @04:42PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 15 2016, @04:42PM (#332284) Journal

        How does that actually work?
        Because not all URLs in comments get the nofollow treatment. Is there some master list of blogs that get the nofollow tag?

        --
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      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday April 15 2016, @09:45PM

        by c0lo (156) on Friday April 15 2016, @09:45PM (#332445) Journal

        Nice idea, but it's thwarted by the rel="nofollow" that most online forums, including SoylentNews, applies to links in user comments to reduce the incentive for blog spamming.

        At least Firefox and Chromium has this great functionality that allows one to "Inspect element".
        It's what I've done with the links in my comment and surprise:... no "rel=nofollow". Is the attr generated only for crawlers?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by Leebert on Friday April 15 2016, @09:57PM

          by Leebert (3511) on Friday April 15 2016, @09:57PM (#332450)

          Hmm, interesting point made by you and frojack. Some links seem to have them, some don't. This isn't my area of expertise, but I have a vague recollection that some platforms only put it in for high-risk users (e.g., anonymous coward) or exclude it for low-risk users (e.g., maxed out karma).

          So I'll retract my prior statement because it doesn't seem to be applicable to that particular comment, anyway.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday April 15 2016, @11:51AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 15 2016, @11:51AM (#332178) Journal
    From the independent report which Popehat cited:

    As detailed below, the Task Force concludes that the failure to conduct any additional investigation into the presence of non-affiliates in the encampment was a significant error in the Leadership Team’s decision-making process.

    UC Davis campus administrators identified the security risks created by non-affiliates participating in the Occupy encampment as a critical factor influencing their decision to remove the tents erected in the Occupy UC Davis encampment. One source for their concern was the information reported by news media regarding drug use and violence at municipal encampments, particularly the Occupy Oakland encampment, and the presence of non-affiliates at protests and encampments at other universities, such as UC Berkeley.

    As a shining example of the competence involved, they were basing important decisions on media news from places that had nothing to do with UC Davis. But at least the news would never lie to us, right?

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by fritsd on Friday April 15 2016, @12:02PM

      by fritsd (4586) on Friday April 15 2016, @12:02PM (#332183) Journal

      It is beyond belief if it is true that the university top brass didn't take a stroll to that tent camp during lunch break, and have a chat with the occupiers to figure out what was all going on on their campus. Did they shy away from meeting students as well, in case they were loud and/or smelly or weird? If you can't deal with students and their ilk, you have no business being in a university.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday April 15 2016, @12:48PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 15 2016, @12:48PM (#332199) Journal
        Someone might have brought a friend of theirs onto campus, creating a dangerous situation.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @12:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @12:48PM (#332200)

        > If you can't deal with students and their ilk, you have no business being in a university.

        If you think that's bad, check out Ohio State University. They claimed that administrators would not feel safe having to walk past protesting students in a building lobby so the students were therefore in violation of the student code of conduct and would be arrested if they didn't clear out. [theatlantic.com] It's yet another case in the age-old tradition of the powerful co-opting a concept created to protect the weak and using it to protect the powerful instead. Power always finds a way.

      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday April 15 2016, @08:02PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Friday April 15 2016, @08:02PM (#332395)

        Presumably because if the head honchos actually went and talked to them, that would give the appearance of legitimizing whatever they were complaining about.

        Much better to nuke them from orbit, er I mean send in the attack dogs and tear gas.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @04:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @04:36PM (#332283)

    Also: They are a business. Nothing more, and nothing less! People keep romanticizing university, but in the end they're just businesses. So, when you ask why they are raising tuition...because they a business, and their goal is to make money plain and simple, and they have a monopoly. What's your alternative? Online universities?

    The bookstore at the university where I live jacked up the prices of all the text books, and then had the audacity to have all these little signs with a pie chart on them breaking down all the expenses explaining why the price hike. All their irrelevant information on them boiled down to them wanting more money. Oh, so they're a business.

    • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Friday April 15 2016, @10:27PM

      by butthurt (6141) on Friday April 15 2016, @10:27PM (#332463) Journal

      The University of California, Davis [wikipedia.org] is part of a system paid for, in part, by the state government of California.

      The express purpose of the state's educational efforts is written in its constitution:

      A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being
      essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the
      people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the
      promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural
      improvement.

      -- http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_9 [ca.gov]

      If the state-run universities are mainly pursuing profit, they may not be fulfilling their ostensible purpose. It's conceivable that the public could eventually become reluctant to continue paying for the system.