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Reactionary UC Berkeley Faculty Fall to All-Time Low
This letter was sent to UC Berkeley Academic Senate members from Chairman Chris Kutz
Like many of the readers of this list, I am very excited about the March
on the 4th in Sacramento -- SAVE has done
an incredible job organizing.
Perhaps like many of you, I am also getting pretty concerned by all the
reports about plans for more occupations, "actions,"
and more confrontational kinds of campus protests next week, including
on the 4th. I know a lot of this is just smoke, an attempt deliberately to
rattle the cages of those of us who think we need to make the public,
political case for higher education. But Durant Hall is evidence that some
things will happen -- things that have the potential to get students hurt,
and to shift the focus from the insistent demand to restore educational
funding, to violent internecine conflict on campus. I really don't want
either of those.
The students bent on occupation and confrontation will do what they do,
and will take the consequences. But I am especially concerned to avoid
another Nov. 20th-like event, where the real chaos and danger lay outside,
with large groups of protestors. My fear is that there may be many students,
eager to support the inside protest or simply curious, who will not know how
to protest safely, without putting themselves at risk of arrest, on campus
discipline, or injury, especially when they hear voices of some activists
urging them to rush the police lines.
So I thought the Senate might directly recruit some "Casque bleu"
peacekeepers from among the faculty, who could be counted on to play the
role some faculty (particularly SAVE members) did in November, of trying to
calm the crowd and instruct them, via bullhorn or leaflet, on "Peaceful
Protest 101." If you would be willing to play this role, or know someone who
would, could you please write me directly to let me know? You won't be
representing the administration, or any particular principle except informed
consent on the part of students -- how to engage in protest without
(unwittingly) risking injury or academic career.