Search this Site    --   FSM-A Home Page

FSM-A \ Free Speech Movement Archives FSM-A



Where does the FSM stand today?

With great reluctance, the FSM Executive Committee must announce that we've just about had it. For almost two weeks now we've been shuffled back and forth through the maze of the University's bureaucracy and have encountered nothing more than a clear indication on the part of the administration that they are willing to do nothing more than keep us shuffling. We hear wry laughter behind every closed door. We must hereby put the administration on notice that unless we get some minimal sign of good faith by 5 p.m. today, Thursday, October 15, we shall conclude that they have no intention of working toward an honorable settlement of our dispute. Let us recount what has gone on since October 2, and indicate what we would consider a minimal sign of good faith.

On the evening of Friday, October 2, after 32 hours of student demonstrations for the right of free speech and free political expression on the Berkeley campus, and with over 3, 000 students assembled, leaders of the demonstration were called to negotiate a settlement with President Clark Kerr. Before entering the meeting, student leaders were apprised that 500 to 1,000 police, armed with guns and riot clubs had massed just outside the campus. Although the student demonstrators were pledged to nonviolence, there were strong indications that if the police were ordered to disperse the crowd, they would move in swinging. .After discussion between Kerr and the demonstration leaders, a document was presented by the administration which both parties were requested to sign. After some discussion and modifications of the original document, the demonstration leaders were informed that they could expect the police to move in within ten minutes if no accord had been reached by then. Since the prospect of violence against their fellow demonstrators was great, the leaders reluctantly agreed to sign the document, and then attempted to disperse the demonstration. Points 2 and 4 of the pact follows:

Point 2: A committee representing students (including leaders of the demonstration), faculty and administration will immediately be set up to conduct discussions and hearings into all aspects of political behavior on the campus and its control, and to make recommendations to the administration.

Point 4: The duration of the suspended students will be submitted within one week to the Student Conduct Committee of the Academic Senate.

Between Saturday and Monday, students held a marathon meeting to establish an organization to continue their fight for free speech.

Under the name of the Free Speech Movement, students united, and in an executive session decided to do their best to negotiate an honorable settlement on the basis of the Pact of October 2. They immediately attempted to meet with representatives of the administration to discuss interpretation and implementation. Without consultation, Chancellor Strong appointed a study comnittee to "satisfy" provision 2 of the pact.

FSM was not satisfied. It demanded that the committee could not be established until the FSM and the administration could meet to discuss such questions as the composition of the committee, its internal structure, and decisionmaking procedures, its frequency of meetings, its specific charge, and the import of its decisions. The administration refused to consider such a meeting, and immediately announced in the press that their committee would meet the following day. Although the administration claimed they wanted leaders of the FSM to participate on the committee, FM was never officially notified of the meeting, and only learned about it indirectly. The FSM refused to participate in the proceedings of the committee. They held that the administration had set up a comittee unilaterally, thus perhaps trying to divert all of the energies of the FSM to a "sandbox" committee. We hold that the refusal of the administration to engage in serious discussion with the FSM concerning the nature of an effective body to deal with these matters was de facto proof that the administration would not tolerate the formation of a body which could deal with the dispute in an equitable manner.

The FSM decided to continue patiently its attempt to open up meaningful dialogue. An attempt was made to meet with President Kerr to discuss and resolve conflicting opinions. Kerr held that he could not meet until after FSM met with Chancellor Strong. Chancellor Strong then aggreed to meet with FSM . At this meeting, FSM requested that Strong suspend the study committee until meetings could be held to determine what it should be and what it should do. Strong replied that since he had asked the committee to make recommendations, he could not suspend it until it recommended he do so. Strong was asked to establish meetings to discuss interpretation and implementation of the pact, and he replied that only Kerr could do that. Strong was informed that although the pact specifically stated in Point 4 that the suspensions had in fact been brought before a Chancellor-appointed committee. Strong replied that it was quite alright.

On to Clark Kerr. Although now unwilling to meet with us, he empowered a vicepresident to speak for him, The gentleman, a Mr. Bolton, indicated that he would meet with us if we agreed to certain ground rules for the discussions. These included such points as he would not meet with us at all, but would meet only with the signatories of the pact, and would in no case consider them representatives of the FSM, and that he would give us exactly two hours of his time, and 5 other points, some innocuous, some objectionable. With reluctance we agreed to this meeting, and began discussing the agenda. We asked to begin discussions on point 4 of the pact. He refused. We asked to begin with point 2. He refused. It became clear that he wanted to spend the two hours without ever coming to the substantive points in our dispute. We then asked for permission to take our case to the Regents. He promised to consider it. He then consulted for four hours with the same Clark Kerr who could find no place in his busy schedule to even consider meeting with us. No conclusion. We telegrammed our request to the governor and to the chairman of the Regents. Here we stand.

W e have patiently tried every possible channel which we have felt might lead to an honorable solution to our conflict. We have spent two weeks talking about meetings, about interpretations, about who is empowered to say what, about every thing but free speech. We have been playing the administration's game, it's called bureaucracy, and we're it.

UNLESS WE GET SOME CLEAR INDICATION BY 5 P. M . TODAY THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS NOT PLAYING, WE CANNOT BUT CONCLUDE THAT WE HAVE BEEN TAKEN. What would constitute a clear indication? Almost anything substantive, almost anything that is not just another stall. Even if we just get permission to present our case to the Regents tomorrow, are granted just one hour of their time, we will be appeased, at least for the moment. If, however, all doors remain shut, we cannot but conclude that  THE PACT OF OCTOBER 2 HAS BEEN VOIDED.





Search this Site    --   FSM-A Home Page