An Open Letter to Chancellor Linda Katehi

Dear Chancellor Katehi,

As one of your few female colleagues on the Engineering faculty, I cannot help but think about what this week has been like for you. I believe that you, like all of us, were appalled by the police brutality captured in the videos, and that you are devastated by the suffering inflicted on the students in our care. I imagine that you are kicking yourself about what you should have done differently on Friday, and thinking that you should have made reforming the Campus Police a priority long ago, and that you are struggling with the decision about whether resigning would indeed be the best thing for UC Davis. This is perhaps what you are doing on November 22.

I also remembering what you were doing on November 7. You were submitting a grant to the National Science Foundation for three million dollars to support Latina scientists and mathematicians at UC Davis. I remember when we contacted you about this project, you not only agreed to be the leader on paper, but you surprised us by taking real leadership, refocusing our efforts specifically on Latinas and engaging the people on campus who could make it happen. You were working quietly and very competently for the 99% on that day.

One idea that I have heard is that you should take this opportunity to speak out strongly about access to higher education for California's youth. Tuition here has almost tripled since 2002, and bigger increases are on the table. No one wants to make these kind of sacrifices while the 1%, and the 0.1% take more of the wealth and pay less in taxes every year. If you speak out, the Regents might ask you to resign, but it would be much better to resign for speaking out for our students than for Friday's disastrous mistake.

None of us will forget November 18. I urge other Faculty who have seen you in action to also remember the hundreds of other days you have been here, and I urge you to speak out for access. Thank you for what you have done right on this campus.


Nina Amenta
Professor, Computer Science, UC Davis

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