The power of silence is often discussed, yet rarely embraced. But here, earlier today, was the ultimate power of silence, on display and as impressive as I’ve ever seen.
As day after the UC Davis police force ruthlessly pepper sprayed a line of students holding a peaceful protest, the school’s chancellor, Linda Katehi, refused to leave her office, giving the impression that she was, in a sense, being held hostage. Wrote Xeni Jardin, a student at the university:
A pretty remarkable thing just happened. A press conference, scheduled for 2:00pm between the UC Davis Chancellor and police on campus, did not end at 2:30. Instead, a mass of Occupy Davis students and sympathizers mobilized outside, demanding to have their voice heard. After some initial confusion, UC Chancellor Linda Katehi refused to leave the building, attempting to give the media the impression that the students were somehow holding her hostage. A group of highly organized students formed a large gap for the chancellor to leave. They chanted “we are peaceful” and “just walk home,” but nothing changed for several hours. Eventually student representatives convinced the chancellor to leave after telling their fellow students to sit down and lock arms.
So Katehi walked—in silence. Sad, pathetic, awkward silence.