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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, Insightful) by bradley13 on Friday April 15 2016, @12:36PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 15 2016, @12:36PM (#332196) Homepage Journal

    You're right. I teach at a university in Switzerland with 10k+ students. We have no security department at all.

    On the other hand, we (and many European universities) have no "campus" in the American sense. Our buildings are generally integrated into the town or city around them.

    We also have a lot less of the "victim" mentality. Our students are here to study, not to protest microaggressions. While many individual students are politically aware, they haven't created this weird bubble that seems (from afar, anyway) to exist in American universities. If a student is active in politics, they are active in community politics, not in some movement within the university. We are part of the community, not isolated from it.

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  • (Score: 2) by rondon on Friday April 15 2016, @01:56PM

    by rondon (5167) on Friday April 15 2016, @01:56PM (#332214)

    American Universities (not all, but many I am familiar with) actively isolate themselves from the towns and cities around them. Fences, key-card locked doors to the library, and other methods serve to make the students insulated from the townsfolk around them.

    My freshman year of college, the only reason I left campus was to visit family and find parties. When I was on campus, I hardly ever saw someone who didn't work for attend classes at the university I went to.

    I think it may have something to do with separating the college kids from the poors so they feel safe, but I don't really know to be honest.

    • (Score: 2) by M. Baranczak on Friday April 15 2016, @03:50PM

      by M. Baranczak (1673) on Friday April 15 2016, @03:50PM (#332255)
      When I went to college, the library was open to the public, but otherwise, it was a lot like you describe. I don't even think there was any rational thought that went into this, it was more like a pathological need to control. They wanted the school to have oversight over all aspects of the students' lives - isolating the school from the community was just a side effect. And it didn't help that most of the students were stuck-up rich assholes, who didn't want anything to do with the community beyond ordering pizza and wings.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @06:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @06:07PM (#332334)

        The university I went to the campus police were little more than security guards who handed out parking tickets.

        If you wanted something properly taken care of you did not call them. You called the local police.

        The university told us to call the campus police first. But the students running the orientation said this 'here is what I am supposed to tell you but you should do this instead'.

        You dont *have* to call them. In most jurisdictions the local police have the ultimate authority anyway.