To the editor: All businesses have the right to promote themselves in a positive manner. When it comes to a public institution like UC Davis, which was found to have spent at least $175,000 in an effort to suppress negative stories about the university online, the question is how aggressively should it act to counter negative publicity? ("UC Davis spends $175,000 to sanitize its online image after ugly pepper spray episode," April 14)
Should it be held to a different, higher standard than a for-profit business?
As a longtime marketing and publicity executive, I suspect that most Californians prefer to see the university and other public organizations in a clear light, imperfections and all. Perhaps that is a better public relations posture than the one UC Davis has been trying to achieve.
Bruce R. Feldman, Santa Monica
To the editor: UC Davis officials have the same basic problem that those of most large corporations and institutions have: Their default position is self-defense.
In the case of the 2011 pepper-spraying incident, rather than asking themselves the difficult questions about why their campus police force felt free to act like jack-boot thugs, they chose to hire a PR firm to burnish their image by manipulating online information.
What could possibly go wrong with that?
Bart Braverman, Los Angeles