To the Campus Community,
I write to inform you that the protesters who had been on the fifth floor of Mrak Hall left voluntarily at around noon today. It was becoming increasingly stressful for the protesters as well as for staff and faculty. The chancellor is open to meeting with the protesters and other members of the community to discuss any concerns.
Let me also address recent stories concerning our marketing budget and the hiring of external vendors to change online search results. These stories mischaracterize the facts (please see our FAQs page). The campus hired outside consultants, using no public or student funds, to optimize search engine results in order to highlight the achievements of our students, faculty and staff.
Even if such a thing as eliminating stories and images from the Internet were possible, “pepper spray” will always be part of UC Davis’ history. Every day we are trying to make sure we incorporate the hard lessons we learned. Our sensitivity to and acknowledgement of the importance of free speech and protest is evidenced by the approach the campus took to the sit-in on the fifth floor at Mrak.
Tomorrow is Picnic Day, a great example of what UC Davis is all about — a unique celebration of our incredibly diverse, talented and strong community. It opens our university and our city to our Aggie family and the community at large to showcase the people and activities that make us unique. I hope to see you there.
Ralph J. Hexter
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor