Students turn protest into another form of narcissism.
Forty-five years after the founding of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, we learn from the New Yorker that the campus protest movement is dead. Oddly, however, the author of the article in question, “Protest Studies: Berkeley Rebels Again,” failed to notice he was writing about a corpse. Recounting the recent controversy at Berkeley, writer Tad Friend proved unrelievedly earnest.
The controversy began last year. Faced with a budget crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut state funding for the University of California by one-fifth. This in turn forced the regents to raise annual in-state tuition at the ten UC campuses to just over $10,000. (This excludes campus fees, housing, and books.)
Since students at Berkeley, the oldest and most prestigious of the UC campuses, are still receiving an education that ranks with those at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and other elite private institutions, and since they are still being asked to pay only about one-quarter as much, you might have supposed that they would have offered a quiet word of thanks for their good fortune and gone on with their studies. You would have been mistaken.