Faculty Statement Supporting the MRAK Occupation and Call For Katehi Resignation

MRAK-Occupation-7As faculty of the University of California, Davis we stand in solidarity with the students calling for the Chancellor’s resignation and occupying Mrak Hall. Further, we resolutely oppose the administration’s willingness to threaten students with censure and dismissal.

The students in question are justly protesting the recent actions of Chancellor Linda Katehi and, in particular, her involvement with DeVry University, King Abdulaziz University, and Wiley and Sons textbook company. The idea that the same office would also determine how such activities should be properly protested is not only unjust but a clear conflict of interest. This is unacceptable governance.

By her own admission, the Chancellor’s acceptance of a “position on the DeVry Education Group board of directors did not comply with UC policy.” Her involvement with such for-profit ventures signals the continued economization of University life and privatization of the public university. She has enriched herself professionally and personally at the expense of the reputation of UC Davis, and multiple legislators have now called for her resignation.

At a time when our students are facing ever increasing fees, class sizes, and exorbitantly priced textbooks, the Chancellor’s actions demonstrate poor judgment and weak ethical standards that have eroded our confidence in her leadership.

As faculty we call on Chancellor Katehi to resign. We demand further that the Regents of the University of California reevaluate its Conflict of Interest policy, which allows University Chancellors to serve on outside Boards for pay.

Omnia El Shakry, Associate Professor of History
Sunaina Maira, Professor of Asian American Studies
Marisol de la Cadena, Professor of Anthropology
Joshua Clover, Associate Professor of English
Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli,
Associate Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Fiamma Montezemolo, Associate Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Susette Min, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
David Simpson, Distinguished Professor of English
Robyn Magalit Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies
Tarek Elhaik, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Darrell Hamamoto, Professor of Asian American Studies
Lucy Corin, Professor of English
Scott Shershow, Professor of English
Scott Simmon, Professor of English
Joe Wenderoth, Professor of English
Desirée Martín, Associate Professor of English
Kathleen Frederickson, Associate Professor of English
Michael Ziser, Associate Professor of English
Suzy Zepeda, Assistant Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Jeff Fort, Associate Professor of French
Natalia Deeb-Sossa,
Associate Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Noah Guynn, Associate Professor of French & Italian and Comparative Literature;
Chair of French & Italian
Claire Goldstein, Associate Professor of French & Italian
Jesse Drew, Professor of Cinema and Digital Media
Julia Simon, Professor of French
Simon Sadler, Professor of Design
Neil Larsen, Professor of Comparative Literature
Hsuan Hsu, Professor of English
Corrie Decker, Associate Professor of History
Joan Cadden, Professor Emerita of History
Daniel Stolzenberg, Associate Professor of History
Margaret Ferguson, Distinguished Professor of English
Mark Jerng, Associate Professor of English

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Misanthrop

    I wonder if any of these faculty use J. Wiley and Sons textbooks in the courses they teach? It would be useful to get them to use other materials when possible. I know if I had to buy a textbook from that publisher it would make me angry and I would wonder if I was overpaying as a result of a conflict of interest sweetheart appointment between that company and the campus leader whose theoretically supposed to be watching out for me. If the publishers sales declined at UCD it is less likely they would engage in the same kind of deal with other university administrators. People seem to be willing to oppose the Chancellor maybe some effort should be put into opposing the publisher too.

  2. South of Davis

    Looking at the list of professors above it seems like most of their students get BA degrees.  It’s funny but over the years I’ve noticed that people with BA degrees (both right wingers and left wingers) are about 90% more likely to go to a “protest” than people who have earned a BS degree.

  3. Frankly

    Look at the list of titles these academics hold.  Most if not all of them are liberal arts instructors.  I would not be surprised to learn that these academics are also responsible for planting the ideas in the heads of these students leading them to protest things so far above their current and future pay-grades.

    Somewhere there is a fascinating explanation for the human condition that leads these people to this level of irritating agitation over immaterial things.  I think we might be witnessing accelerated devolution of the species… a wasting-away of relationship and coping skills being supplanted by a refusal to grow up and accept anything and everything that causes the slightest dip in positive feelings.

    We used to honor thinking and getting things done.   Now we honor feeling and complaining about all the other people trying to get things done.

    1. Tia Will

       that leads these people to this level of irritating agitation over immaterial things.”

      All of us either appreciate “immaterial” or designate what is “immaterial” from what is “material” differently and I believe that I can demonstrate that to you. Let’s say you ( rhetorically speaking, not you personally) go home after a day of work and your spouse of 25 years says that she is leaving you for a new lover.  Then she says,” but don’t worry, I have arranged to have my half of the mortgage paid off and for my contribution to all household and life costs continued because I do not want to harm you ” materially”. She has defined “economic factors” as “material”.  No problem with that ?  After all , no material harm done !  So you should do just fine by her definition.

      Ok, so that is an extreme example. But it might not seem so to someone who has never been in a close, trusting, caring relationship. You stated repeatedly that you do not feel that anyone should be hurt or feel threatened or fearful over ” non material” harm.  But I do not believe that this is true for you any more than for anyone else. You just draw your emotional line in the sand at a different point than many of us who admittedly care more about what you designate as “immaterial” things, but which for me at least are far more important than that which is “material” in your mind.

  4. gunrock

    I cannot imagine a list of less relevant employees of the university… are there any of them that actually teach anything useful for students?  You could fire this entire list and no one would notice they were gone.  It appears that they have a lot of time on their hands…  Not a single STEM professor on the list.

        1. hpierce

          But Don, isn’t bamboo just a noxious grass on steroids?

          Oh, that might also apply to some (not all) of the protesters as well, except hormones, not steroids… we’ll see in November if the “grass” analogy works as well…

    1. KSmith

      This is one of the more ridiculous sentiments I’ve read on the Vanguard.

      Not everyone can (or even should) be in the STEM fields.

      And you don’t get to be a Distinguished Professor of English or a Professor Emeritus/a by “hav[ing] a lot of time on [your] hands.”

      I know several of these people and have been in their classes and have been mentored by several of them, and your broad-brush portrait here really misses the mark.

    2. Tia Will


       list of less relevant employees of the university”

      Wow !  Relevant to what ?  Your idea of what intellectual pursuits are worthy ? I am certainly glad that you did not get to dictate my academic program. I double majored in Anthropology and Political Sciences, took two foreign languages at the college level, and ended up an Ob/Gyn.

      It appears that they have a lot of time on their hands…  Not a single STEM professor on the list.”

      It appears that the STEM instructors have just as much times as a number of them signed the previous letter in favor of the Chancellor. Given the discrepancy of funding for the various departments on campus, it is small wonder that some are more in favor of her than others.

  5. Alan Miller

    Why are some people’s comments removed, and a note left in place that it was moderated and why . . .

    . . . while other people’s comments are omitted without explanation or trace, as if they were never posted?

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