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Citrus Heights Police Chief joins effort calling for termination of UC Davis professor

Ronald Lawrence, Citrus Heights
Ronald Lawrence has served as Police Chief in Citrus Heights since Oct. 31, 2016. // Image courtesy, CHPD

Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence is taking an active role in calling for the termination of a UC Davis English professor whose past comments advocating that police officers “need to be killed” have surfaced recently in media reports.

Chief Lawrence, in his new position as head of the California Police Chiefs Association, delivered around 10,000 signed petitions to the UC Davis Chancellor’s Office on March 13, calling for the termination of Professor Joshua Clover. Lawrence delivered the petitions along with Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), who has introduced a resolution to the California Legislature calling for the professor’s removal.

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“Violence against the police has been on the rise,” Lawrence said in a press conference while delivering the petitions and noting that 144 police officers were killed on duty last year. “And to have a professor at the University of California at Davis advocate for police officers to be killed or injured is absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable.”

The university condemned the professor’s remarks in a statement earlier this month, noting the killing of a young police officer in Davis this year and saying that the campus administration finds it “unconscionable that anyone would condone much less appear to advocate murder.”

Joshua Clover

Responding for calls to terminate the professor, the university said only the UC Board of Regents can dismiss a tenured faculty member. “This must be done by a vote of the board upon recommendation by the University of California president, following consultation with the chancellor and the Academic Senate,” the statement said.

In an email to The Sentinel on Saturday, Chief Lawrence said UC Davis leadership appears “reluctant to take any administrative action on Mr. Clover’s outrageous statements because he is a tenured professor.”

“I would argue that ‘tenure’ for a university professor is an antiquated concept,” said Lawrence. “No one should be untouchable and free from accountability, particularly someone such as Mr. Clover in a position of trust.”

Clover’s most provocative statement was made in 2015 to SF Weekly in an interview where he was asked “What’s wrong with society today?” His two-sentence response in the published interview was, “People think that cops need to be reformed. They need to be killed.”

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Other media reports also quote Clover stating on Twitter that he was “thankful that every living cop will one day be dead, some by their own hand, some by others, too many of old age #letsnotmakemore.” Another tweet reportedly said, “I mean, it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned, no?”

The statements were made without widespread controversy until the UC Davis student newspaper, The Aggie, ran a column last month questioning the professor’s position and quoting his prior comments about police.

According to Clover’s bio on the university’s website, he specializes in critical theory, Marxism, political theory and poetry. His interests listed include “social movements, social reproduction theory, crisis theory and the end of capitalism.”

Clover also published a book in 2016 called “Riot. Strike. Riot: the New Era of Uprisings.”

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