By Meseret Carver,
The UC Davis sit-in at Mrak Hall calling for the resignation of UCD Chancellor Linda Katehi ended Friday, April 15. Students decided to terminate the sit-in on account of illness and falling behind in class.
“In any social movement, it is important to watch out for each other and protect each other from harm,” student protester Emily Breuninger said.
After five weeks of camping out in a small, windowless office, the students found it increasingly difficult to cope with the heavy weight on their mental, physical and emotional health, but leaving the office was not an easy decision.
Over the course of a week, the students took five votes before unanimously agreeing that leaving the office was the best plan. Despite not securing the resignation of Katehi, the students are proud to have drawn the public eye to what they believe are unethical behaviors of the Katehi administration.
The students were protesting Katehi’s participation on two paid school board panels (DeVry Education Group and King Abdulaziz University) and one textbook publishing company (John Wiley and Sons). The students contend that by taking these positions, she is taking advantage of her position as UCD chancellor.
Katehi has resigned from DeVry Education Group, but said her service on the John Wiley and Sons board and King Abdulaziz University complied with UC policy.
“My goal in accepting that position was to help Wiley improve the quality of its educational materials, while making them more accessible and affordable for students,” she said in a letter to the students published March 18.
“I will establish a $200,000 scholarship fund for California undergraduate students at UC Davis from my Wiley stock proceeds,” she added.
According to the letter, her service on the King Abdulaziz University panel was unpaid.
Breuninger said the incident has attracted the attention of California legislators as well; currently, eight state legislators are calling for the resignation of Katehi.
The protesters plan to continue recruiting and informing more of the UCD student body about the issue, and more events are planned for the future.