Critically Analysis on Media and Society

Key Topics

The assessment requires you to write an academic essay that makes a critical argument about the case study explore from seminar 3 to 5.The word limit is 1200 words.
Option 1
Critically analyse the images from the UC Davis Protests in 2011
Option 2
Critically analyse how the UC davis protest in 2011 were represented .



Option 1

The US Davis pepper spray incident took place on Nov 18, 2011, which was during the Occupy movement in which the demonstration at the University of the California, Davis took place. It was during the time when the protestors were asked to leave by the university police, but the students constantly denied due to their protests (Earl, 2011). finally, it can be seen from the image that it was the US Davis police officer who took necessary action of spraying pepper on the students as they were protesting on the seated paved path in the campus quad. the name of the police officer was the Lt. John Pike and this photo and the video went viral, ultimately becoming an internet meme.  Another officer Alex Lee also spiked up and sprayed pepper on the demonstrators, after getting orders form the Pike officer. due to this act, the police officer was fired and eventually also faced a recommendation for the disciplinary action, but he would be kept on the job. Towards the end, August 2014 Alex Lee was no longer part of the state salary database who was considered working with the UC Davis (Wolf, 2011).

As a background of the protest, the campus police officer Lt. John Pike sprayed pepper which was not warranted on the nonviolent protesters who were sitting on the pavement at the UC Davis  The protests were regarding the tuition hikes at the university along with complying with the broadly aligned in line with the Occupy Movement.  It was later told to media and the various people, that the pepper spray incident was due to the refusal to comply with the protestors and was ordered to be chucked out of their encampment.
As per the media, the videos and the images showed the protestors especially student were nonviolent in nature and was just sitting to mark their protest with regards to the tuition hikes, while the officers can be seen as freely moving. The police officers gave testimony that the protestors have surrounded the police officers, were violent in nature, giving threats to the University people along with not allowing anyone to leave the campus. This statement was given by the police officer chief Annette Spicuzza. After the media heavily criticized this incident and the videos, images went virals,  both the police officers were given administrative leaves. It resulted in the higher intensity of the event, with UC Davis student along with the faculty organization demanding the resignation of the Linda Katehi who was the chancellor of UC Davis at that time. She summoned inquiry and in response from the administrative Mark Yudof who was the president of the University of California demanded an investigation by the task force for the given incident.  The Taskforce consisted of the students along with the faculty, staff, and people from the UC community which was taken forward by the various emeritus Supreme Court people & professor.

The main issue was the use of the police even though the students were peacefully protesting for the fees hike, and for this there was alleged use of the excessive force by the police to control the students and the demonstrators which were mainly contributing to the larger pattern of being observed the State of California or around the United States.  This was ough to the the notice of the Council of the UC faculty Associations which have said that it was issued to safeguard the normal civilians from the violent threats of the police enforcement which was used as against the non violent demonstrators in the UC Davis, UCLA or the Cal State Board of the Trustees which eventually lead to a meeting in the Lng Beach. The justice of the US also took the matters for the Occupy protests in order to establish the civil liberties which lead to the demonstrators along with the reporters who were violated. it was duly noted with the course of events, that the Occupy UC Davis had at least eight different separates events which were captured n the video to understand the requirements of the demonstration and making it part of the violent accusations as done by the Police Force. All this lead to the events, meetings during 2012, the make a commitment for the protection of the demonstrators and students from the police force. Finally, in 2013, it was determined that the Pike was expelled from his duties and he had requested for the worker's compensation in order to receive a monetary award due to the psychiatry injury as a part of threats received by the media, public mainly by the students.  Later on, the Judge as part of the California Division of Workers' Compensation, has allowed a total compensation of the $38,056 for Pike. Eventually, the officer was also able to claim the retirement credits that were deemed as a part of his employment under the University of California.

The media heavily criticized such act and made memes out of it, to condemn ghe act and show the negative attitude to the justice delays against the students and the demonstrators (Maira, 2012). IThe memes described that it is a fundamental right of the students and the protestors to act against the fee hikes in the university while it's the duty of the police officers to protect the people's rights and act non violently during such peaceful protests. Memes further sparked & degraded the police act of using the pepper spray on the peaceful students sitting on the pavement resulted in the panic attack along the melting of trust within the public. The videos and images, deeply wounded the public beliefs on the university management and the legal laws protecting it (Bockman, 2011). The police chief conveniently lied, even though viral videos & the images ever indicated such acts of violent protests from the students, but it was the police who was provoking a violent act upon the peaceful students and demonstrators. Eventually, the police officers lost jobs, but the peaceful protests turned into a violent act on the part of provocation and the gross negligence to control the students act by the university management people. The UC police were never ordered to use such measurements to turn away the nonviolent protests out of the pavement areas. The police were only guided to safeguard the campus and not allow the demonstrators and the students to enter the campus. The media ensured that such police officers are dutifully condemned for their actions and should be by law charged with the violent acts. The management ensured a cooperation with the students and demonstrators (Greenwald, 2011).  The police and the administrators were also charged with the gross negligence and the criminal conduct against the peaceful students and demonstrators. All this had negative implications on the minds of the public who refused to forgive the public forces. 


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Bockman, J. (2011). Markets in the name of socialism: The left-wing origins of neoliberalism. Stanford University Press.
Earl, J. (2011). Political repression: Iron fists, velvet gloves, and diffuse control. Annual review of sociology, 37, 261-284.
Greenwald, G. (2011). The roots of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying. Salon. com.
Preston, J. (2011). Protesters look for ways to feed the web. New York Times, 25, A28.
Maira, S., & Sze, J. (2012). Dispatches from pepper spray university: Privatization, repression, and revolts. American Quarterly, 64(2), 315-330.
Wolf, N. (2011). The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy. The Guardian, 25.

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