The infamous pepper-spray incident at UC Davis in November brought a lot of negative attention to the campus.
But it didn't hurt fundraising at least not yet.
Alumni and businesses gave $19.3 million to the Campaign for UC Davis during December, up 15 percent from the previous month and 30 percent from December 2010, according to a Bee review of university records.
The campaign is a multi-year effort to raise $1 billion from at least 100,000 donors. December was one of the best months on record for the campaign, which started in 2006.
"It doesn't surprise me," said Kevin Bacon, board chairman of the UC Davis Foundation. "People giving to UC Davis have a pretty deep commitment to the school. The pepper-spray thing was very unfortunate, but the underlying needs are still there."
Bruce Edwards, a retired real estate developer and member of the foundation board, concurred. He gave about $25,000 to the university in December.
"It's an unfortunate thing that happened," he said. "But it's a great university, and I'm a product of it."
UC Davis became the focus of worldwide attention for a week in November when campus police were videotaped using pepper spray on students during a peaceful protest against tuition hikes and income inequality.
Eleven protesters received medical treatment; two were treated and released from a local hospital.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi apologized for the incident, placed several police officials on administrative leave, and initiated an investigation.
Several people called or wrote to the UC Davis Foundation saying they would not give to the university following the incident, but "most had never given money in the first place," Bacon said.
The Campaign for UC Davis has raised about $750 million from 85,000 donors. It is expected to continue until 2014.
"We're doing quite well," Bacon said. "We're 75 percent to our goal, and we've got three more years to achieve it."