The University of California at Davis waged an aggressive campaign to improve its image on the Internet after video of a campus police officer calmly misting student protesters with pepper spray went viral five years ago.
In response to requests that The Sacramento Bee filed last month under the California Public Records Act, the university released documents showing that it had paid consultants at least $175,000 to scrub negative postings from the Internet about the incident. As part of the digital makeover, the consultants also sought to improve the reputations of the university and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who faced demands for her resignation and condemnation from political leaders over her handling of the matter.
Davis’s strategic-communications budget rose from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015, the Bee reported.