It’s been discovered that UC Davis, California, hired consultants to hide search results relating to an incident that occurred at the university in 2011.
The incident in question saw a police officer pepper-spraying students protesting at close range. The university paid more than £123,000 to bury online search results about the incident, because they apparently wanted to be ‘fairly portrayed’.
Videos of the event were shared widely on social media, racking up millions of views. In a statement issued at the time, university Chancellor Linda Katehi said she was ‘deeply saddened’ by the event and took ‘full responsibility for the incident’ but refused to resign when challenged by the university’s academic staff association. The wiping of data was only discovered after local newspaper the Sacramento Bee conducted an investigation.
Hired by the university in 2013, Nevins & Associates eradicated references to the incident as well as negative press about Katehi in search results.