Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UC Davis and How It Got That Way

From the LRB Blog:
Like most US universities, Davis maintains its own police force, employing (as of 2009) 101 people (including administrators), far more than the largest academic departments. The officer wielding the spray is on record as earning $110,000 in 2010, more than all but the better paid full professors. The idea of a campus police force, established across the UC system in 1947, came about to reflect jurisdiction over university property and, perhaps, to apply somewhat more tolerant standards to minor student misdemeanours than might be expected from the public force.
So now those who protect and serve, much like the athletic departments, are bigger and wealthier than the schools of which they are supposed to be a part.

It's not just the brutality and stupidity; it's the venality and cupidity of the both these campus cops and all athletic departments. The primary mission of any university or college is the creation and dissemination of knowledge and skills for creating new knowledge and assessing the validity of arguments and evidence. How is it, exactly, that the primary mission is now seen as silencing students when they act as citizens and pandering to the socially constructed desire to root, root, root for the home team?

Can you imagine if politically active students chanted EAT SHIT; FUCK YOU as do the those at Camp Randall? Would the administration's response be a sternly worded email? Or a hastily administered tasering? Or what about the semi-perminant K-town at Duke? How is that students camping on university land is somehow cute when it's associated with sport but a disaster in the making when the student as citizen engages in political activity?

The world remains a horrid place; although most of its inhabitants are pleasant bunch.

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