Community Engagement

Reynoso

Administration and Leadership Response Recommendation No. A-4:

The Task Force recommends the Leadership Team devote itself to healing processes for the university community, including steps to operationalize the Principles of Community, and that the administration consider Restorative Justice among other tools to address behavior that negatively impacts the campus climate.

UC Davis Action

A-4: UC Davis held five separate “Strengthening Campus Community” forums.  These two-hour forums were designed to identify strengths of the university and areas for improvement, including identification of potentially controversial or troubling issues that could lead to demonstrations or civil disobedience.  The forums were held at different times and at different locations in an attempt to boost student participation.  The entire campus community was invited to take part.  A trained facilitator moderated each forum and invites input.  Results from the forum were compiled and will be presented to the administration for consideration.  Each of the forums was widely publicized in news stories in the campus student newspaper, ads in the student paper, and on the website.  

In addition, Student Affairs staff is convening a joint meeting of the Chancellor’s Graduate and Professional Student Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Board specifically to solicit their ideas on how to improve communication outreach to students.

Campus Community Recommendation No. D-1

The Task Force recommends that all members of the campus community adhere to the Principles of Community, respecting members of the campus community and acting with civility toward others.

UC Davis Proposed Action

D-1. Planning is underway to institute computerized orientation to the campus Principles of Community.

Robinson-Edley Review

Recommendation 2. Increase and better publicize opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and others to engage with senior administrators, particularly on issues likely to trigger protest or civil disobedience events.

UC Davis Action

2. UC Davis held five separate “Strengthening Campus Community” forums.  These two-hour forums were designed to identify strengths of the university and areas for improvement, including identification of potentially controversial or troubling issues that could lead to demonstrations or civil disobedience.  The forums were held at different times and at different locations in an attempt to boost student participation.  The entire campus community was invited to take part.  A trained facilitator moderated each forum and invites input.  Results from the forum were compiled and will be presented to the administration for consideration.  Each of the forums was widely publicized in news stories in the campus student newspaper, ads in the student paper, and on the website. 

In addition, Student Affairs staff is convening a joint meeting of the Chancellor’s Graduate and Professional Student Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Advisory Board specifically to solicit their ideas on how to improve communication outreach to students.

Recommendation 24. Identify and contact members of the demonstration group—preferably one or more group leaders—in advance of the demonstration to establish lines for communication.

UC Davis Action

24. UC Davis formed an Engagement Team (ET) comprised of three individuals, each with advanced training in group processes, dispute and conflict resolution, and negotiations.  These individuals may meet with protestors individually or in teams to communicate alternative means of communications and resolutions to issues.

Recommendation 25. Inform protesters, in advance of the event, of the availability of alternative avenues for communication of their concerns or proposals.

UC Davis Action

25. Information and available avenues for communication will be conveyed by the Engagement Team (see System-wide Review Recommendation 24).

Recommendation 26. Pursue a dialogue between Administration officials and the demonstration group about protest objectives and applicable rules for campus protest.

UC Davis Action

26. The campus engagement team was assigned this duty.

Recommendation 27. Absent special circumstances, assign administrators or faculty members, rather than police, to serve as the primary University spokesperson during a demonstration.

UC Davis Action

27. The Engagement Team serves as the primary University representatives assigned to communicate with protestors during a demonstration. 

Recommendation 28. Establish senior administrators as a visible presence during protests, absent good cause.

UC Davis Action

28. This has been established as campus policy.

Recommendation 29. Establish a communication link with identified leaders or sponsors of the event—for leaderless groups, communicate broadly to the group as a whole (through social media and otherwise) until relationships form.

UC Davis Action

29. The Engagement Team engages with potential leaders, contacts members of specific organizations, performs extensive outreach to club members and individuals associated with certain groups and engages through a broad range of methods that includes individual meetings and social and campus media.

Recommendation 30. Establish a communication mechanism for promptly informing the campus community at large about ongoing protests.

UC Davis Action

30. In addition to more conventional means of updates (posting on the campus webpage – press advisories - emails – etc.), the campus relies on decisions made by the Event & Crisis Management Team (ECMT) and the Emergency Manager to utilize the WarnMe system for issuing messages associated with potential immediate and life safety concerns.  WarnMe gives the campus the ability to deliver timely and rapid messages to the entire university community.

UC Davis Academic Senate

7. Organizational and Administrative Structures

In one significant respect, the approach and findings of our committee differed from those of Reynoso and Kroll: we do not view the events of November 18 as an isolated incident caused by the confluence of student protests with the Occupy Movement. Rather we perceive the response to the encampment as part of a larger pattern related to flawed organizational, decision-making and administrative structures. Again, we have identified previous incidents that had no impact on procedures:

  • The occupation of Mrak Hall in November 2009 led to no significant changes in response to student protests by the administration.
  • Likewise, the occupation of Wheeler Hall in Berkeley in November 2009, which led to the exhaustive Brazil report, produced no tangible results in terms of change in the response plan on the Davis campus.

In part, the failure to respond appropriately to the events on campus in November 2011 was produced by a leadership team that did not tolerate dissent within its ranks and did not listen to repeated warnings and informed opinions from within its own membership (Kroll, 109-10). In order for the administration to “devote itself to the healing processes for the university community” (Reynoso, 27) and establish patterns of behavior consistent with the Principles of Community, we recommend that the administration engage in a form of open dialogue with the campus community that is consistent with the principle of consultation defined above. Senate and federation faculty have a key role to play in providing guidance and alternative perspectives in this healing process. 

Benchmark: Open forums for dialogue and real communication and consultation with evidence of attendance and impact by fall 2012.

UC Davis Action

AS-7: UC Davis held five separate "Strengthening Campus Community" forums. The two-hour forums were designed to identify strengths of the university and areas for improvement, including identification of potentially controversial or troubling issues that could lead to demonstrations or civil disobedience. The forums were held at different times and at different locations in an attempt to boost student participation. The entire campus community was invited to take part. A trained facilitator moderated each forum and invited input.

Results from the forum were compiled and presented to the administration for consideration. Each of the forums was widely publicized in news stories in the campus newspaper, ads in the student paper, and on the campus website.

In addition, Student Affairs staff convened a joint meeting of the Chancellor's Graduate and Professional Student Advisory Board and the Chancellor's Undergraduate Advisory Board specifically to solicit their ideas on how to improve communication outreach to students.