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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: 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?

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  • (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?"