DAVIS — Student protesters at UC Davis who’ve called for the school’s chancellor Linda Katehi’s resignation used the university’s annual Picnic Day as another opportunity to get their message across, as more than 70,000 people poured onto the campus for the event.
Protesters marched along the Picnic Day parade route Saturday morning, one day after leaving the chancellor’s office, where they staged a weeks-long sit in. Student protester Mercedes Perez says even though the group left the chancellor’s office, calls for Katehi to resign or be fired wont stop.
“She’s not transparent. This is a public university and I feel like it requires transparency,” said student protester Mercedes Perez.
Katehi briefly addressed the crowd, adding she’s proud to serve as chancellor, but saying nothing about calls for her firing.
UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter released a statement about the protesters leaving Katehi’s office, saying in part, “It was becoming increasingly stressful for the protesters as well as for staff and faculty.”
In the same statement, he addressed what he called inconsistencies in media stories reporting UC Davis’ spending upwards of $175,000 to hire a public relations firm to improve the school’s image in online searches.
Earlier this week, The Sacramento Bee reported that the university paid to have widely circulated images of a 2011 incident scrubbed from the internet. The images show campus police pepper-spraying student protesters during a sit-in on the campus quad.
“It’s him trying to pass off like he was concerned about our mental and emotional well being while being in that space,” Perez said.
Despite being on campus Saturday, school officials refused to speak to FOX40 on camera. One university spokesman said over the phone, Picnic Day was a success and added protesters were not disruptive.
Sanchez says in the coming weeks protesters will continue to push for Katehi’s firing with new strategies they haven’t tried.