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Statement Regarding Public Comments Made by a Tenured Member of Faculty

By News and Media Relations on March 4, 2019 in University

UC Davis released the following statement today (March 4):

In January 2019, Provost Ralph J. Hexter provided the statement below to The California Aggie in response to an inquiry about statements made by Professor Joshua Clover in 2014-16:

“The UC Davis administration condemns the statement of Professor Clover to which you refer. It does not reflect our institutional values, and we find it unconscionable that anyone would condone much less appear to advocate murder. A young police officer was killed serving the city of Davis. We mourn her loss and express our gratitude to all who risk their lives protecting us. We support law enforcement, and the UC Davis Police Department and Chief Joe Farrow have been and remain critical partners to our community.”

Since then, continued interest from the broader public requires further clarification. Members of the public have been questioning why this professor continues to be employed at UC Davis.

Only the UC Board of Regents can dismiss a tenured faculty member. This must be done by a vote of the board upon recommendation by the University of California president, following consultation with the chancellor and the Academic Senate. According to the bylaws of the Academic Senate, a faculty member is entitled to a hearing before a panel of Academic Senate members before any discipline is imposed.

UC Davis has specific procedures for the review of complaints of faculty misconduct consistent with universitywide policies and bylaws. The status of complaints lodged against faculty members are confidential personnel matters, so we are unable to publicly comment on the action steps we are taking at this time.

The public expression of opinions, even those opinions considered controversial or abhorrent, enjoy a high level of protection under the First Amendment, and tenured faculty at the University of California enjoy significant employment protections, particularly around their speech. UC Davis is carefully reviewing this to ensure our response to the matter is consistent with universitywide policy and state and federal constitutional protections.

In the meantime, Chancellor Gary S. May has asked the campus legal team to review the professor’s conduct and provide advice on the application of federal and state constitutional protections for freedom of expression.  

We understand that this approach may sound less than satisfactory to some, but we are working very hard to address this matter. We will provide updates to the extent possible as appropriate.

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News and Media Relations News and Media Relations is a unit of the Office of Strategic Communications.

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