The pepper-spraying of the passive UC Davis students last month was a stomach-turning abuse of police authority, which I think is far more common than most Americans believe. Cellphone videos turn up daily showing people with authority acting badly, and the UC Davis cops deserve strong punishment. That said, the proliferation of investigations into an incident that was caught on tape and that involved a handful of officers and their bosses has become a self-parody of the labored, bureaucratic way that liberal institutions fall all over themselves to send out the loudest possible message: We care about this very very much and we’re just going to keep throwing money and resources at this until you understand we care about this very very much!
According to published reports, here’s who is already investigating or considering investigating the assault on the students: the Kroll Consulting firm; the California Assembly, the California Senate, UC Davis, the UC Davis Academic Senate; state Attorney General Kamala Harris, and now a 12-person task force named by University of California President Mark G. Yudof.
Once again, I’m not downplaying the horrible and idiotic actions of the UC Davis police. It’s just that this reflexively bureaucratic reaction to a finite incident with an uncomplicated back story is just so telling. Why stop at seven investigations? Why not have 31?
Then next July, when they all wrap up, we can have a press conference a day for an entire month at which each investigation can offer up their largely identical conclusions.
On the other hand, I can’t wait for the UC Davis Academic Senate to report back. Here’s my prediction: The pepper-spraying will be called a metaphor for how UC treats its students. How dare we ask them to pay more of the huge cost of their educations! That’s outrageous!
What’s that? Many UC students pay no tuition or fees at all? Really?
The University of California Board of Regents unanimously approved today [Feb. 5, 2009] a new financial aid plan intended to support college access for lower-income families and students by establishing a minimum level of gift assistance for undergraduates with financial need and household incomes below the state median of $60,000 per year.
Undeer the policy, known as the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, undergraduates who are in their first four years of attendance at UC — or two for transfer students — will receive enough scholarship and grant assistance to at least fully cover their systemwide UC fees if they have incomes below the median for California households ($60,000) and meet other basic eligibility requirements for need-based financial aid.
With the income cut-off set at the median income for California households, the plan will potentially extend to half of all California households.
Sorry about this interruption, this diversion from where you thought this post was going. But I couldn’t help myself. The amazingly generous Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan never seems to be mentioned in the coverage of UC Occupy protests. It’s too inconvenient for the narrative the media want the public to believe of terribly put-upon college kids. So I bring it up as often as I can in my continuing effort to be a one-man ombudsman for California journalism.