Watch CBS News

UC Davis Spent $175,000 To Suppress Pepper Spray Incident, Negative News Online

DAVIS (CBS13) — UC Davis is in the headlines again, this time for spending thousands of dollars to help bury bad press, including the pepper spraying of UC Davis students by campus police.

From 2009 to 2015, UC Davis' strategic communications budget has nearly doubled from nearly $3 million to about $5.5 million. Many say the move just raises more questions about what else UC Davis may be trying to hide.

The university has spent $175,000 contracting with consultants like one out of Maryland in an effort to eliminate negative search results about the campus and Chancellor Linda Katehi.

"It's inconceivable that they thought this was either a good idea or something that wasn't going to be seen or recognized eventually," said public relations expert Doug Elmets.

The main focus was the 2011 pepper spray incident that went viral after campus police officers were caught on video pepper spraying seated students and protesters that were part of the Occupy movement.

The incident was so disturbing that both students and faculty called for the chancellor's resignation.

"This is part of a long and detailed history of spin campaign by the Katehi administration to hide evidence on their part," said student Ben Briskin.

The news comes at a time when students are hosting sit-ins demanding the chancellor to resign for serving on two for-profit boards.

The university did not want to comment on this story.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.