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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, Informative) by evil_spork on Friday April 15 2016, @02:13PM

    by evil_spork (6200) on Friday April 15 2016, @02:13PM (#332223)

    You realize there's a fair amount of violent crime that takes place on university campuses, right? Sexual assault is pretty common, unfortunately. There's also the potential for violence when you have a bunch of drunk undergrads who haven't learned to handle their alcohol. Plus, the university has a lot of valuable assets that they don't want to be stolen. University police actually serve a legitimate purpose, especially for a major university that might have over 30,000 students, a good portion of whom live on campus. They're almost certainly able to respond faster and perhaps more effectively to incidents on campus than municipal police. I've actually thought, in my experience at two major universities, that there weren't enough police at either. I've had many encounters with university police, including being the only person in a building because I'm working late and having a false alarm going off saying the building had been broken into. The police could have made things difficult for me, but instead the just asked to see my university ID, verified a couple of things over the radio, let me go within five minutes, and spent their time fixing the alarm. They were smart enough to figure out that I'd done nothing wrong and the alarm was the real problem. In my experience at universities, parking enforcement is far more evil than law enforcement.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @02:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @02:27PM (#332230)

    You realize there's a fair amount of violent crime that takes place on university campuses, right?

    And again, we go deeper... *Why* is that? What in the US system causes this that does not cause this in normal places in the world? Why is there so much violence in the US?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @05:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @05:19PM (#332298)

      No, you need to ask yourself why sexual assault is only a crime in the US. Why is considered ok to discriminate, demean, and rape women other places? That's why you don't have sexual assault in other "normal places in the world", it is because there IS no defined sexual assault because you can't have it; women are not to be respected where you come from.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @05:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @05:39PM (#332312)

        alternatively, they are not respected less than men, so a law that favors them isn't necessary

        not really sure of what the origin of the problem is, really, i can't speak for people outside of the united states

        but i will tell you we have some cultural/social issues in the united states that probably don't translate well to places outside, and we spend a lot of resources treating the symptoms of these issues, instead of trying to address the issues directly

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @05:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 15 2016, @05:21PM (#332301)

    I attended a state college; the campus police were actually considered a local branch of the state police. They could be granted authority to operate in other jurisdictions as necessary (I am unsure of the specifics of how that works). Note this also meant they received, at minimum, the same level of training and if memory serves, were required to hold at least a bachelor's degree (which may have been a higher minimum training than the actual state police).

    This was back just after 9/11 and, as it happened, the chief of the campus police was one of the few police people in the region to have formal anti-terrorism training, so the campus police would often be asked to provide training or operational support for local or state police in the region.

    The campus police were also justified because the college was some distance from the nearest town. It was somewhat isolated in mountains (only somewhat; road improvements meant town was only 10 minutes away by the time i left the college). The state police were permitted to operate with some degree of autonomy outside the college bounds because there were some homes further up the mountain and they could get there sooner in the event of an emergency.

    I know this because I used to chat up the police chief from time to time when I'd see him in the mess. He was a friendly guy. I am sorry I did not have the background to fully understand everything he'd talk about.