UC Davis faculty voted by a large margin to support the continued leadership of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who has faced criticism about the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying of peaceful student demonstrators by campus police, officials said Friday evening.
In an online referendum, professors voted 697 to 312 to defeat a no-confidence measure that censured Katehi's handling of the controversial police action, according to an announcement by the campus Academic Senate. The motion sought to link her directly to the pepper-spraying and contended that she had failed "to act effectively to resolve the resulting crisis."
A rival measure that supported Katehi while also condemning the pepper-spraying passed by a narrower margin, 586 to 408. That resolution praised Katehi for improving the campus' academic stature since taking office in 2009 and noted that she apologized for the pepper-spraying and has moved to prevent similar actions in the future. "It is time to promote a constructive healing process rather than risk more harm by pressuring the chancellor to resign," it said.
Katehi declined to comment Friday about the vote, a campus spokeswoman said. In November, Katehi said she had authorized police to remove the Occupy protesters' tents from the campus quadrangle but not to use the pepper spray in the manner they did. The spraying, directly into students' faces, garnered national attention and outrage through an online video of the event.