The 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement this year is also the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. In the turbulent river of radicalism that reached flood stage in mid-’60s Berkeley, radical environmentalism was just one branch. That is the tributary I want to navigate here. But it is good to sit down at the typewriter—excuse me, the computer—and try to remember that frenzied era in a disciplined way. Ah, the piquancy of the air back then! The smell of tear gas on campus! There were so many flavors of radicalism available that one was forced to focus.
Fifty years ago this October 1, thousands of UC Berkeley students spontaneously sat down around a police car on Sproul Plaza and held it captive for 33 hours in protest of a University rule against political activity on campus. Over the next three months, the Free Speech Movement, as it became known, led a series of demonstrations that convulsed the campus and defeated the ban.
Sitting around a table together is about to get even more symbolic.
For the first time, two students, one Muslim and one Jewish, will sit together as the two student members of the University of California’s Board of Regents when the board meets in San Francisco later this month. One voted against the other’s appointment and both faced opposition and hard feelings when they were named to what remains, to many, an obscure post on UC’s system-wide governing body.
Posted on September 11, 2014 - 4:08pm
Legend has long engulfed UC Berkeley’s iconic Jane K. Sather Tower—the Cal Campanile , which was completed 100 years ago and is celebrating its centennial this academic year. Perhaps you’ve heard that it contains prehistoric fossils?
Posted on August 20, 2014 - 4:07pm
As California’s drought drags on, is it time for universities to shut off their sprinklers and bid their velvety, emerald-green campus lawns farewell?
Posted on August 14, 2014 - 4:22pm
Remember in 2012 when the City of Berkeley decided to redraw its electoral map so that students would be better represented at City Hall?
Posted on August 9, 2014 - 8:09am
Let the bull market for college-level economics continue. Despite its daunting math, its abstract models, and its 0-for-1 track record in predicting recent worldwide financial catastrophes, economics remains one of the top 10 college majors across the country, according to the Princeton Review. That trend certainly holds at UC Berkeley where, last fall, econ was the second only to electrical engineering and computer science as most popular major. As the fall semester approaches, expect hundreds more undergrads to flock eagerly to the “dismal science.”
Posted on August 7, 2014 - 5:31pm
Update: The federal government has just given special permission to a team of Marin County therapists to study whether the party drug Molly or Ecstasy—both street names for the illegal psychoactive drug MDMA—is able to reduce anxiety in people with life-threatening illnesses. (Experts caution that much of the contraban sold as Ecstasy now is mixed with other dangerous substances.) The new willingness to investigative MDMA’s therapeutic potential would have been welcome news to the man credited with synthesizing it for psychiatric use in the 1970s: Alexander Shulgin, who held a Ph.D.
Posted on August 4, 2014 - 10:15am
For anyone who suspected the tech sector is a boys’ club, this summer has piled up one bleak affirmation after another.
Posted on July 10, 2014 - 2:50pm
Happiness: So fervently sought, so elusive. But just what the hell is it? Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz expressed his take in 1962 with his book Happiness is a Warm Puppy. That declaration gained a lot of pop (and pup) cultural traction, but it hardly told the whole story. Turns out the nitty-gritty of happiness isn’t quite so simple.
Posted on June 23, 2014 - 12:25pm
How time flies! This fall will be the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, and FSM veterans will return to campus for a reunion that will feature the usual events, plus some others you might not have anticipated.
For instance, are you ready for FSM: The Musical? Produced by Stagebridge in association with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the full-length musical production will have its first performance September 27 on Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage, with two additional performances the following day.
Update: UC Berkeley seismologists just published data proving that the Hayward Fault is essentially a branch of the Calaveras Fault—meaning that both could rupture together, generating a more devastating earthquake than the predicted “Big One.” And we thought we were envisioning the worst with this article from our apocalyptic Summer 2014 issue.
It was the summer of 2008 when my 7-year-old daughter asked me to run for president.
We were shooting hoops behind our sublet in the Berkeley flats, where we’d come to escape the swampland heat of Washington, D.C. If I were elected, Sofia explained, I could make a law allowing women to play Major League Baseball.
Racks of gowns, manikins, and sewing machines crowd the edges of Cari Borja’s design studio, but a huge dining table occupies the center. It’s where she holds the dinners that resemble the fieldwork of an anthropologist outside the Ivory Tower. For a series of 52 meals—44 already served—she has transformed her studio into a salon where guests, from the famous to the unknown, discover connections and savor a slow meal.
Posted on June 3, 2014 - 5:27pm
When a band of student protesters booed and heckled UC President Janet Napolitano at Laney College over the weekend—to the point where graduates could barely hear her—she became but the latest in a series of invited speakers who’ve suddenly found themselves in the thick of guerilla war over commencement addresses.
Posted on May 28, 2014 - 8:34am