THE BERKELEY FREE SPEECH CONTROVERSY
(Preliminary Report, December 13, 1964)
A Fact-Finding Committee of Graduate Political Scientists
- Eugene Bardach
- Jack Citrin
- Eldon Eisenbach
- David Elkins
- Shannon Ferguson
- Robert Jervis
- Eric Levine
- Paul Sniderman
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I -- Chronology of Events, September 14 - December 10
Part II -- Perspectives: Students, Administration, Faculty
1. The Students' Grievances in the Free Speech Controversy
2. The Origins of the Free Speech Movement
3. Who Supported the FSM:
a. Graduate Students
4. Student Opposition to FSM
b. The Role of the Student Conservatives
c. General Campus Support
5. The Role of the ASUC Senate
6. Agreement and Disagreement within the FSM
1. Synopsis of Faculty Activities
2. The Sympathies of the Faculty
3. Obstacles to Faculty Action
4. From Mediator to Active Participant
Part III -- Questions and Answers
1. Are the demonstrators "a bunch of radicals"?
2. Are the demonstrators "outside agitators"?
3. Are they "hard-core demonstrators"?
4. Are the demonstrators "wild-eyed beatniks"?
5 How widespread was student sympathy?
6. How much influence did the revolutionary Socialists actually have?
7. Where did the Free Speech Movement get its funds?
8. Were the newspapers fair to the demonstrators?
Recent major policy statements regarding political advocacy
Appendix B, Faculty proposals
Appendix C, Agreement of Friday evening, Oct. 2, 1964
This report attempts to clarify the events of the free speech controversy which took place on the Berkeley campus of the University of California from registration week in September through December 10th, 1964. Although the public information media have given a wholly different impression, the history of the controversy is extremely complex. The problem is far more than that of "law and order" versus "anarchy." It is also more than a simple problem of students saying or thinking what they please. Understanding is lost if one asks "Who is right?" Most of the participants had their moments of being right and being wrong. Very often the opposing sides were confused, uncertain or suspicious about each other. Often, if one side assumed the worst about the other and acted on that assumption, the other was provoked into making equally uncharitable assumptions. A sequence of progressively more destructive provocations and reprisals was set in motion that completely dissolved communications between opposing participants. Trust evaporated; the regular authorities lost their legitimacy in the eyes of many students and faculty members; and eventually the orderly pattern of campus life itself disintegrated.
This report is based on the observations of many different persons who were on the Berkeley campus during the months of controversy and during the final hectic weeks. From these observations an attempt is made to reconstruct the development of the controversy, with special attention given to what different members of the campus community believed was happening at various stages. Since observers were not always in agreement, nor confident in their own observations, this report preserves a tone of uncertainty when that is required to be faithful to the uncertainty of the evidence. Reliance has also been placed on public documents, questionnaires given to demonstrators, and the Daily Californian.
The report is divided into three parts. The first part is a chronology of the events which were common knowledge throughout the campus community. Part II is a reconstruction of the events as seen and evaluated by each of the three participants, the Administration, the faculty, and the students. Part III raises a number of specific points requiring pueblo clarification. In that part, certain misinformation that has become accepted by large portions of the public is discredited, and information hitherto not reported publicly is made available.
An appendix of documents is provided at the end.
PERSPECTIVES: STUDENTS, ADMINISTRATION, FACULTY
In 1934 President Sproul banned all political and religious activity from the campus. In 1956 a group of students formed a committee to revise Rule 17 (the regulation barring political activity) and with substantial faculty support managed to convince the President to change the rules. A series of clarifications on Rule 17 followed during the tenure of President Kerr. These established the category of "off-campus" organization for student groups with no direct academic purpose, but allowed them privileges under rules set up on each campus by the Chancellor.
On the Berkeley campus, these rules often led to protests, but there was no concerted effort to change them because areas existed on campus where groups could do as they please, subject only to the regulations of the city authorities. Until 1959 Telegraph Avenue extended through the campus up to Sather Gate. Tables were stationed there, rallies assembled, and all types of literature sold and distributed. With the construction of the Student Union building, however, Telegraph Avenue ended at Bancroft Way. At this new gate to the campus, the traditional activities continued.
The Bancroft and Telegraph sidewalk was generally regarded as being city property. Groups received table permits from the city of Berkeley authorities. In fact, the Dean's Office referred questions on the use of the area to the city police department.
On September 14, Dean Towle informed the heads of all student organizations that the Bancroft and Telegraph sidewalk was in fact University property and that all University rules would henceforth be applied. No tables or speeches would be allowed. Only informational literature could be distributed; no advocacy was allowed.
From the first, the students asked essentially two things: a return to the status quo at Bancroft and Telegraph, i.e. the restoration of tables with the traditional practices; and liberalization of Rule 17 with student consultation.
During the dispute, the students specified what changes they wanted; the only major demand concerned jurisdiction over disciplinary matters.
The original rule changes desired by the students fall into four categories. (1) They opposed the University ban on fund-raising and selling literature. They pointed out that collection was allowed for the United Crusade and for the World University Service (for schools in Asia), while, for instance, SNCC was prevented from collecting for "freedom schools" in Mississippi and CORE from receiving money for tutorials in Oakland. (2) The students opposed the ban on recruiting members on campus and holding membership meetings. Especially since the University rules restricted their membership in the groups to students, they asked that they be allowed to enroll new members on campus. (3) They asked the University to rescind rules which "harassed" the flow of ideas: the rule requiring 72-hour notification if an off-campus speaker is to speak on campus, the rule requiring a tenured faculty member to moderate all political and all "controversial" meetings; and the practice of billing groups for police protection if the University decided it wanted policemen at the meeting. (4) The students regarded the ban on "advocacy" as a direct infringement of their Constitutional guarantees of free speech. They opposed any restriction on advocacy, but the details of the student position took different forms as the administration changed its position. At first, the deans told the students that only informational literature and speech was allowed. The students tried to find out when informing became advocating and Dean Towle admitted that no hard and fast rules could be drawn. But she offered the interpretation that information about a scheduled picket was considered advocating. A week later, on September 28, the Chancellor announced that a new distinction would be made. Advocating a stand in the upcoming elections would now be allowed (the University itself was already supporting Proposition 2), but no other kinds of advocacy would be allowed. When asked for a clarification of this new distinction, President Kerr said that advocating a picket line was definitely forbidden, but that asking students to canvass for the election was allowed. To justify this distinction, President Kerr said that the University could not allow itself to be used as a fortress from which social action in the outside community could be mounted. The students regarded this position as untenable and continued to work for no restrictions on advocacy. During the meetings of the CCPA, the Administration changed its position once again. Now advocacy would be permitted, but the University reserved the right to discipline students if speech on campus led to illegal acts committed off the campus. (See Appendix A.4.) The Administration reserved the right to decide whether the speech on campus led to the illegal act off the campus. The students argued that the courts were the only ones who could decide whether the speech itself was illegal; if it were, the civil authorities were justified in taking action; if the speech itself were not found to be illegal, then the University would not be justified in disciplining a student. (See Appendix A.5.) The students feared that the University would press charges against speakers on far less substantial grounds than would a court of law; they believed that even with a full measure of due process written into administrative hearings the full range of case law as applied in the courts would not be applicable. At no time did the students demand the right of illegal speech as the administration at times charged. They rather demanded that the courts alone be left to judge whether speech was or was not protected under the Constitution.
The only major demand added after the beginning of the controversy came as a direct response to student confrontation with the disciplinary machinery of the administration. With the suspension of the eight, the students saw that the Chancellor made the rules, charged students with violations, submitted the cases to a Chancellor-appointed advisory committee, and decided what judgment to render. Therefore, the students asked that the police and judicial powers be separated--that the faculty be given jurisdiction over disciplinary matters in disputes arising over the rules on political activity.
The Free Speech Movement grew out of the "united front" of nineteen "off-campus" organizations which made a joint protest of the Bancroft and Telegraph table ban on September 17. These groups included the Young Republicans, University Society of Individualists, Cal Students for Goldwater, California College Republicans, Particle Berkeley (student magazine), the Young Democrats, Student Civil Liberties Union (SCLU), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Friends of the Student Non-violent Coordination Committee (SNCC), Slate (campus political party), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), W.E.B. DuBois Club, Young Socialist Alliance, Young People's Socialist League (YPSL), Independent Socialist Club (ISC), Women for Peace, Committee for Independent Political Action, May 2nd Committee, and Students for Fair Housing. Later groups sending delegates included the Interfaith Council, Democratic Socialist Club, and University Society of Libertarians.
Until October 3, the United Front operated with two representatives from each of the nineteen organizations meeting together to make organizational policy.
On October 1, during the demonstration protesting the suspensions and arrest, the United Front chose six students to attempt to negotiate a settlement of the ongoing crisis. Two names were added during the following day. These eight student representatives signed the October 2 agreement with President Kerr. Their personal affiliations included SNCC, ISC, CORE, Women for Peace, Slate, Young Republicans, Young Democrats, and SDS. A representative of YPSL also signed the agreement.
The weekend of October 3, the United Front constituted itself as the Free Speech Movement (FSM). It decided to keep an executive committee representative of groups in the United Front, though opening places for independents, graduate students, and members of religious groups, and to create a nine-man steering committee to implement policy and make detailed strategy and tactics between meetings of the executive committee. From the beginning, it was decided to choose steering committee members on the basis of individual merit rather than organizational affiliation. As a result of criteria, the nine original members elected to steering committee did not represent a cross-section of organizations supporting the FSM. The conservative groups were not represented largely because the most well-known Republican, a law student, was not present and informed the executive committee that he was not able to serve on the steering committee. Three were members of campus CORE; two were from SNCC. The other four belonged to Women for Peace, DuBois Club, YSA, and Slate. One of the CORE members, Jack Weinberg, was a recent graduate not currently enrolled at the University. He had been thrust into the limelight by being singled out from students at the CORE table for arrest. He had negotiated in the Shattuck Avenue and Richmond Housing Authority CORE project. He was, therefore, highly regarded by the Executive Committee, which put a premium on negotiating experience when choosing the Steering Committee members.
Many professors who discussed the matter with the new FSM at this time stressed the need to make the Steering Committee a more representative body. Partly as a result of this, and partly due to the elections of new representatives from the independents and graduates, the Steering Committee was seen expanded to eleven members. An independent and representatives from the Young Republicans and Young Democrats were added to the group. Meanwhile, one of the CORE members resigned.
With the formation of the tripartite study panel (the Campus Committee on Political Activity--CCPA), a four-man delegation was chosen by the Steering Committee. This time, a graduate student was added. Mario Savio (SNCC), and two socialists made up the rest of the delegation. Five alternates were also chosen; among them were graduate representatives, and a member of the California College Republicans. When the expanded Campus Committee on Political Activity was set up, these nine served.
After the continued failure to come up with an agreement in the Study Committee, an acrimonious meeting was held during which certain Steering Committee members, who were known for their moderate tactical views, and who had seldom come to meetings, were replaced. In a week, the mood of the Executive Committee again changed, and the need to repair the breach was evident. As a result, a conservative and an independent were added; and a moderate who had been dropped earlier was restored.
The Steering Committee remained more or less unchanged from then on. Meanwhile the addition of five independents elected from among six hundred unaffiliated supporters, and seven graduate students elected by the Graduate Coordinating Council (GCC), newly-formed to mobilize support for the FSM, swelled the ranks of the Executive Committee to over fifty students. There was also a representative elected from among non-student independents -- largely drop-outs from Cal, but including some interested persons in the community -- who served on the Executive Committee.
a. Graduate Students
The organization of the graduate students and their entrance into the policy-making of the Free Speech Movement marked a turning point in the course of the movement. The graduate students were among the most experienced and sophisticated members of the FSM and tended to raise the level of the discussions within the FSM. Furthermore, they were able to call on vast resources of intelligent and hard-working colleagues who had some leverage -- the teaching assistants.
Until the free speech controversy, graduate students were unorganized. They were disfranchised from the Student Government (ASUC) in 1959. A few unsuccessful attempts were made during the following years to set up a Graduate Student Association but by the onset of the fall semester 1964, the organization no longer existed.
After the October 2 crisis, the graduate students set up the Graduate Coordinating Council consisting of two elected members from each department. Immediately, the GCC elected seven delegates to the FSM Executive Committee. As the dispute continued, graduates began to take the initiative. They felt deeply about the free speech issue, and especially feared the effect the restrictions on advocacy might have on the civil rights movement in the Bay Area. Graduate students were not convinced that FSM members practiced the right tactics, but they were persuaded of the justice of the FSM aims, and assumed they would have an important influence in FSM councils. This assumption was borne out.
The entry of the graduate students into the Executive Committee of the FSM paralleled an increasing amount of graduate participation in rallies and in the administrative running of the movement, especially in writing literature and handling informal faculty and Administration contacts. Though most graduate students tended to leave direct action to younger quarters, over 20% of the eight-hundred students arrested December 3 in Sproul Hall were graduates. As FSM sympathies among graduate students grew, the tactic of a strike became feasible and the possibility was frequently discussed.
The Goldwater and Republican groups remained solidly with the FSM free speech goals throughout the controversy. As a rule, however, they disassociated themselves from, and sometimes criticized, the tactics of direct action. Some Goldwater supporters pulled out of the United Front on October 2nd. A member of the (moderate) California College Republicans served on the Steering Committee after October 10. The Vice-president of the University Society of Individualists, who is also a member of the Cal students for Goldwater and the Young Republicans, summed up widespread conservative sentiment during the October 2 demonstration: "The conservative groups fully agree with the purpose of the sit-ins in Sproul Hall," she stated on October 1. "Individual members of our organizations have expressed their sympathy by joining in the picketing on the steps of the Hall and will continue to do so. However, our belief in lawful redress of grievances prevents us from joining the sit-ins. But let no one mistake our intent. The United Front still stands."
While the negotiations in the CCPA were under way, many students returned to their books. At this time, the conservatives failed to show up at FSM meetings. But they returned on the eve of the setting up of tables on November 9. The conservative student quoted above was added to the Steering Committee the following weekend. The Executive Committee meeting of December 6, for instance, was attended by members of Young Americans for Freedom, the Young Republicans, and the University Society of Individualists.
From the beginning, the politically interested, who constitute a minority on the Berkeley campus, as they do in any population, were deeply disturbed by the Administration action restricting political expression. Berkeley has a larger share than most campuses of politically active students, which helps explain why so many students -- over a thousand -- were ready to devote the better part of their time sitting inside and outside Sproul Hall during the 32-hour demonstration, October 1 and 2.
Who were these students? A questionnaire (Survey B--See Appendix D) returned by over 600 of the October 1-2 demonstrators showed that over 70 per cent belong to no campus political organization. Half had never before participated in any demonstrations. Though only 15% were willing to risk arrest and expulsion at the beginning of the demonstration, 56 per cent declared themselves so willing "if negotiations broke down and similar demonstrations were necessary."
At the height of the demonstrations, over 5,000 students gathered in the Sproul Hall plaza; at least 3500 were sympathetic to the aims of the United Front.
When the Chancellor moved against four FSM leaders on November 28 for actions allegedly committed on October 1 and 2, the active support for the FSM expanded greatly, especially among the graduate students. The GCC and the departmental meetings of teaching assistants called for a strike Friday, December 4. Meanwhile, the FSM called for a sit-in in Sproul Hall. Over eight hundred students were willing to act as front-line troops in the dispute. A survey of those who were arrested for sitting in revealed that the students as a whole had better than average scholastic standing (See Survey A in Appendix D).
Approximately 15,000 students stayed out of classes from Thursday through Monday to protest the use of police on campus and to support the FSM cause.
It is hard to over-estimate the depth of the impact of the free speech controversy on the Berkeley campus. It seems clear that over half of the entire student body has played a role in support of the FSM at one time or another, from attending rallies, striking and signing petitions, to leafletting and other chores. A telephone survey of 5000 students randomly selected during the weekend following the arrests of the 800, showed 55% of the students pro-FSM and willing to strike.
Along with the impressive numbers who rallied to the FSM banner came evidence of deep commitment from a smaller circle of over a thousand students. Arranging meetings, writing and distributing leaflets, and manning telephones absorbed the attentions of an army of students, mostly independents; at crucial times, several sororities pitched in with needed womanpower.
After the independents' meeting of October 6, a vast work force was organized. Student apartments were set up as "centrals." As time went on, the number of Centrals grew to include Work Central, Legal Central, Press Central, Command Central, and Information Central. The proliferation of the FSM bureaucracy became a standing joke among FSM supporters; but the system worked surprisingly well to keep information flowing and needed chores provided. It could not have continued without many, many students contributing substantial time and effort.
Another indication of student support is the vast amount of money raised during rallies. These funds enabled the FSM to publicize its position in leaflets and newsletters, to rent loud speakers, and to hire meeting halls. Several hundred dollars were raised at various benefit performances. But the bulk of the money raised directly from among students, faculty, and University employees. At the October 1-2 demonstration, following the suspensions of the eight and the arrest of Jack Weinberg, over $800 was collected. Money was also sent from other college campuses; $300 was raised, for instance, at San Francisco State College. In all, over $2,000 was contributed by students.
Several factors contributed to the broad student support for the FSM. First, the free speech issue itself aroused sympathy; the Administration was unable to present a coherent justification for its regulations and the FSM position was a clear libertarian one which could be easily grasped. Press coverage, which tended to paint a picture of a small group of rebels challenging authority, muddied the issues in the public mind; but it only reinforced the commitment of students who attended rallies and saw for themselves the disparities between the press and Administration viewpoints and the actual course of events.
A major factor drawing student support was the repeated Administration response to the student protest: disciplining leaders. Nothing united the students more than the actions of the Administration -- suspending the eight students, ordering arrests, and then after explicit and official faculty repudiation of this course, preferring new charges against leaders for acts allegedly committed two months earlier.
Given all these factors, however, the FSM would never have sustained and enlarged the base of its support were it not for the dedication of the leaders to keep the campus informed of FSM policy and to reach policy decisions by as democratic a procedure as possible.
A continuous stream of FSM literature outlined the demands and tactics planned. It was, furthermore, common knowledge, that the FSM was making frequent overtures to important administrators towards setting up talks on the issue, and that these attempts were not getting very far. Hardly a week passed without several informal meetings and telephone conversations with important members of the Administration in each case initiated by members of the FSM. At one point, several "moderate" FSM members actually met with President Kerr and thought they had reached a compromise agreement, only to learn the following day that the President had changed his mind.
During several major rallies, the FSM's commitment to democratic procedure was evident. On these occasions, extensive discussions about options open to the FSM took place right at the rally and a vote decided the issue. For instance, on November 20, several thousand students, assembled across the street from the Regents meeting, learned of the Regents' decision: the rules would be somewhat liberalized, but the Administration would still judge whether speech were "legal" and there would be further disciplinary action against the FSM. A segment of the leadership favored an immediate sit-in. The majority of the students agreed with the position of Mario Savio, that such a move was inappropriate at that time; and the meeting adjourned for the weekend.
Since the press has often minimized the student support for the FSM cause, it should be pointed out here that for a long while, faculty and administration also failed to see how extensive and intensive the student feelings were. A major turning point for the faculty came when hundreds of their brightest students were arrested on December 3-4, and when a majority of their teaching assistants (90% in the Humanities and Social Sciences) went on strike over the issue. At this writing, however, some members of the Administration continue to believe that the free speech controversy involves only a handful of "disruptive elements," and trust that the dispute will end if these people are eliminated from the school.
Throughout the controversy, the ASUC Senate and the Daily Californian sharply criticized the FSM, mainly for its tactics. At various times, both the Senate and the newspaper endorsed most of the FSM demands. Aside from these official organs, however, little opposition to the FSM was discernible among the student body. ASUC petitions collected only a fraction of the number of signatures appended to FSM petitions.
During the two crises, opposition to the FSM proved small. On the evening of October-1, approximately one hundred fraternity men turned up at the demonstration and hurled lighted cigarette butts and eggs at the protesters. They tried to shout down speakers from both the ASUC and the FSM and even shouted down a speaker of their own. Only after hours of tension, did these students agree to leave; it took a sobering plea from the Catholic chaplain to convince them to abide by the precepts of nonviolence, which the demonstrators had adopted. This opposition was unorganized and diffuse, simply non-political hostility more than anything else.
After the arrests on December 3, organized opposition appeared for the first time. Two groups emerged: Students for Law and Order (SLO) and the Students for Cal. On Thursday, about ten students from SLO picketed the three hundred FSM pickets at Bancroft and Telegraph. By Friday, December 4, the two opposition groups had several tables up but attracted little support. A petition supporting President Kerr got a thousand signatures; several hundred attended an ASUC noon rally. But 8000 students attended the FSM noon rally.
Many members of the opposition threatened violence against pickets and students manning tables. A number of professors were threatened and cursed by the opposition when they tried to explain the faculty position. Several times, knots of eight or ten hecklers surrounded young women students at tables and heaped obscenity and anti-Semitic remarks on them.
The contrast in numbers and style between the FSM and the mostly unorganized opposition was clear to observers throughout the entire controversy. Professors who saw the sit-ins commented on the careful discipline exercised at all times and the level of discussions which were carried on.
On the other hand, the students who talked about defending law and order at several points came close to provoking fights; in fact, there were several incidents in which pickets were roughed up by other students. It is likely that only the sober dedication to non-violence on the part of the FSM prevented the provocative action from flaring up into serious violence.
As noted above, the ASUC Senate was generally critical of the FSM. From the beginning, the ASUC was an outside observer rather than a participant in the free speech dispute, though it tried to enter several times and the Administration attempted to delegate it power to speak for the students at certain times.
The ASUC Senate was disregarded because of the nature of student government on the Berkeley campus. The ASUC is defined in its constitution as an arm of the Administration acting only in spheres delegated to it by the President and Chancellor. At best it can advise the Deans.
In 1959, the Administration disenfranchised graduate students; as a result, the quality of ASUC representatives took a decided turn for the worse.
Most of Senate deliberations over the past years have been on budgetary and electoral matters. Interest in ASUC among the student body has remained very low. Representatives are rarely elected with more than 1500 votes out of 18,000 potential voters.
The most recent ASUC election underlined the student repudiation of the ASUC. The vote was double the usual turnout; 5200 voted and gave all seven Slate candidates, running on a platform supporting the FSM, a massive victory. Some of the Slate candidates received more than 2400 votes each, nearly as much as total vote cast in typical ASUC elections.
Because of its limited powers, the ASUC attracts candidates interested in those issues the Senate is permitted to handle. Recently, the Senate has even stopped fighting the Kerr directives which limited drastically the range of issues on which the Senate may act. (Chancellor Strong's original interpretation of the ban on discussion of "off-campus" issues included academic freedom among the interdicted topics.)
As a result, campus opinion generally regards the ASUC as a "sandbox government." The characterization was reinforced by the various stands of the ASUC during the free speech controversy. The Senate carefully avoided taking any stand which the Administration had not already approved. The Administration, in return, tried at various times to invoke the ASUC as the voice of the student body. But the Senate at its rallies never drew more than a few hundred people, and half of these turned out to be FSM supporters attending out of curiosity. Meanwhile, the frequent FSM rallies after the suspensions of September 30 rarely drew under 750 people and went as high as eight thousand during the student strike. After the months devoted to criticizing the Free Speech Movement and taking stands consonant with the Administration position, Charles Powell, ASUC President, conceded on December 8: "Overall we've missed the boat. We have in many ways been inadequate in dealing with the free speech problem." (Daily Californian, December 9).
The United Front was a catch-all organization including Golderwaterites and Socialists. None of the early participants thought that the fight for free speech could be sustained for long by such a diverse set of allies. The first disagreements over tactics came as soon as the conservative groups announced that they could not, on principle, break University regulations with which they disagreed. The majority of the United Front argued that all attempts would be made to secure a quick change in the rules barring fund- raising, advocacy, and recruitment of members, but that if the changes were not prompt, the rules would have to be broken. They reasoned that the restrictions themselves threatened the very existence of the groups; they hindered access to fellow students.
The conservative groups agreed to go along with the demands of the United Front, while making public their adherence to the regulations as they stood. At the same time, they would fight to change the rules by picketing and speaking out against them.
During the week of September 28, several changes occurred which affected the position of the conservatives. First, Chancellor Strong threw out the earlier distinction between advocating and informing. On Monday, he announced that advocating a stand in the upcoming national and state elections would be allowed, but that any other kind of advocacy would be prohibited. This partially satisfied the immediate needs of groups which existed primarily for election work, especially the conservative groups. Though they still favored further changes, they could "live with" the new rules. When demonstrations occurred to protest the suspensions and arrest later in the week, the conservatives split. Some continued their earlier support of the United Front; others denounced the group as contributing to a nation-wide erosion of law and order, and endorsed a full measure of disciplinary action against the demonstrators. This split in the conservative camps was never healed. From that time on, a conservative minority in the FSM opposed direct action tactics within the organization, while another wing of conservatives boycotted FSM meetings altogether.
Among the remaining groups, there was general agreement over ends, with some major arguments over tactics and timing. Generally, the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee can be divided along lines of attitudes toward the administrative decision-makers. There was agreement that, ultimately, the dispute could only be settled through negotiations with those who made the decisions; and there was general despair over administrative unwillingness to talk over the issues or even admit that issues existed. But beyond this, the leadership was divided. Some completely distrusted the Administration. These "militants" saw each administrative move as a further attempt to avoid the issue, undercut those fighting for better rules, and reinforce the right of administrative fiat in these areas. Others saw Administration moves as mistakes, and more or less trusted the wisdom and integrity of the administrators while suggesting that student and Administration interests were not always congruent. These "moderates" stressed the need for negotiations and opposed any moves which might suggest to the Administration that the FSM was unreasonable or did not understand the complexities involved.
To liberal and sophisticated observers, one of the most puzzling and interesting aspects of the meetings was the way organizations split among themselves on these attitudinal lines. While the press and President Kerr were making allegations of Communist influence in the organization, the various socialist students were as divided among themselves as the rest of the Executive Committee. For instance, members of the DuBois Club --not to mention the non-Socialists such as SDS and Young Democrats-- were in both the militant and moderate camps. Members of the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) were the only consistent moderates.
The important thing to keep in mind about the dynamics of decision making within the FSM is the crucial role played by administrative decisions in reinforcing one or the other camp. Administration responses tended systematically to undercut the position of the "moderates" who presumed negotiations and Administration good will in their calculations. The disciplinary buckshot fired at the FSM outraged moderates and militants alike. Therefore, during crises there tended to be consensus on tactics.
During the lulls when "channels" were being used, especially during the talks in the CCPA, the differences came back to the surface.
The disagreement with the Administration over the interpretation of the Kerr agreement of October 2 was uniformly regarded within FSM as evidence of bad faith. Even after President Kerr finally agreed to reconstitute the CCPA, the distrust lingered on. This, in turn, explains why the advocacy issue became such a bone of contention. During the course of the CCPA meetings, the Administration declared its position on advocacy final; it demanded the right to discipline students whose speech was judged to be illegal by the Administration. (See Appendix A.4.)
The FSM, by this time, believed the Administration was arbitrary in its interpretation and enforcement of rules; it also saw evidence that the University acted sometimes as a transmission belt for anti- civil rights pressures from the outside community. For these reasons the FSM opposed the power of the Administration to interpret the content of speech, and consistently demanded that the Courts be the sole arbiters of the legality of speech.
Once the Administration had declared its position to be final, most of the members of the FSM Executive Committee felt the viability of the CCPA was compromised. After much debate, the Executive Committee decided to continue to work in the CCPA to re-open the advocacy issue. Meanwhile, tables, under "ideal" rules would be manned once again--this time mostly by graduate students. Most of the Executive Committee did not count on the Chancellor's reaction: he dissolved the CCPA. Apparently he also directed the Dean's Office to discipline violators of University rules but to disregard violations by graduate students and teaching assistants.
The most serious split in the FSM occurred after the Regents endorsed some liberalization of the rules, allowing fund-raising and recruiting members, but calling for University discipline if the Administration concluded that a speech was "unlawful." (See Appendix A.1.) The FSM agreed that the new rules were unacceptable but divided over what to do about it. This division had slightly different dimensions. On one side there were those (usually among the moderates, but here joined by several socialists and radicals) who felt that the suggested Monday sit-in could have no political benefit; and that it constituted a gesture of anger and futility which could only be used against the movement. The militants argued on moral rather than political grounds: the Regents had given their final answer --an answer which left the Constitutional rights of students in question; therefore, the students saw no alternative but to publicly and dramatically express their opposition and despair. The militants won a close victory in both the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee. Both sides were represented to the thousand students attending the Monday meeting. Only three hundred of them chose to sit-in, however, and of these, many acted in order that the split might not be maximized in the eyes of the public. In these circumstances, the Steering Committee decided to clear the building at 5:00 P.M. and to call off further sit-in plans. The split indicated that Administration concessions might destroy the FSM if the leadership did not work to reach a consensus before planning action. As the lesson of the abortive sit-in was sinking in, however, the Administration, over the Thanksgiving weekend, took new action against the leadership. The split healed over night.
The Executive Committee united in a call for an immediate amnesty and opening of discussions on the advocacy issue. They contacted the Administration about these points and learned that some members of the Administration had opposed the timing of the new disciplinary action but said they could not have the action rescinded. It seemed the pattern preceding the October 1-2 demonstration was being repeated. The students again were told that there was no free speech issue and that, in any case, there was no way to discuss their demands; they were again faced with disciplinary action against a few of their leaders. Pressure to take strong, unequivocal action came this time not only from the militants, but from the moderates, both undergraduate and graduate.
A final ultimatum was issued by the FSM to President Kerr to sit down and talk or to face renewed direct action and a student strike. The Administration once again reacted by stating it would not be moved by a small number of dissatisfied and unreasonable "rebels." On Wednesday, December 3, Mario Savio expressed the despair of the students by calling on FSM supporters to begin a peaceful and disciplined sit-in in Sproul Hall.
When Governor Brown called in the police early the next morning to arrest the eight hundred demonstrators the campus was only more united. The minority on the Executive Committee who had opposed the sit-in, and many students outside who had had misgivings, now pulled in behind the FSM, giving it more widespread campus support than ever before.
During the ensuing weekend, the Steering Committee made it clear in the flurry of behind-the-scenes talks, among Administration, faculty and student contingents, that the FSM had a very specific set of goals: essentially, amnesty for all students, faculty-student say in rules and adjudication, and court jurisdiction over content of speech. Moderate and militant alike stressed to faculty chairmen and to available administrators, that from the beginning the issue was free speech and that with amnesty and a solution of the advocacy problem, the controversy would end. In fact, Mario Savio made it clear to the Executive Committee after the Faculty Chairmen had met with President Kerr that if the Regents accepted the resolutions of the Academic Freedom Committee (which were later endorsed 7-1 by the Academic Senate) the Free Speech Movement would become primarily a "defendants' committee" which would lobby for amnesty for the eight hundred arrested in Sproul Hall.
But without a resolution of the advocacy issue, the students expressed readiness to fight for what they considered to be their Constitutional rights by whatever means were left open to them.
When the Academic Senate passed the resolution of its Academic Freedom Committee by a 7-1 vote, the FSM for the first time remained united in the face of what appeared to be a major victory. Part of the reason for the unity was uncertainty over whether the Regents and President Kerr would go along with this acceptable mandate to end the dispute. In any case, a united FSM celebrated what it called a victory for the entire University.
The background to the complicated sequences of Administration decisions is quite difficult to ascertain. The principal reason for this is that administrators have not been willing to let this background become public. What follows in this section must be considered rather tentative.
If there is a single over-riding aim that the Administration has, it is to preserve and enhance the university as an institution. Just what guidelines this general aim provides for making concrete decisions, however, is not always very clear.
The administration found itself in an unenviable position. It had obligations and loyalties to two "publics," the public outside the academic community, and the public within the academic community. Often these publics asked it to do contradictory things. If the Administration made one public happy, by necessity it made the other public unhappy.
It is widely assumed -- and there is some evidence for the assumption -- that the Administration imposed the early regulations on political activity in the Bancroft-Telegraph area in order to conciliate political forces outside the academic community. Many students and faculty members believe that the Oakland Tribune and its publisher, William Knowland, were displeased to learn that, prior to the Republican convention, pro-Scranton forces were active in that area but that pro-Goldwater forces were not. Mr. Knowland was the Goldwater campaign manager in California at the time of the convention. The Tribune then informed the Chancellor's office that the Bancroft-Telegraph strip was not Berkeley property, but University of California property, and exerted influence on the Administration to enforce its ban on campus politics in the sidewalk area. Many persons on campus also believe that the Tribune resented the line of picketers outside its premises which was composed in large measure of Cal students. The picket, which was set up in early September, was protesting alleged discrimination by the Tribune in its hiring practices. The University was seeking a bond issue at the November 3 election and wanted little adverse publicity.
When students turned from sending petitions to dramatizing their protest by deliberately violating the regulations, another issue was raised. The Administration attempted to maintain its authority by insisting on enforcement. If they would not enforce the rules, then their authority would be altogether jeopardized. Even if political pressure would have eased up -- and it is possible that this occurred after the November 3 election, when the university bond issue passed -- the Administration would still have felt the need to enforce the rules or else sacrifice its authority. Whether rightly or wrongly, the Administration felt its self-respect depended on consistent enforcement.
Furthermore, the Administration felt that while the issue of free speech itself was certainly open to reasonable and orderly negotiation, the FSM's tactics of massive, and sometimes illegal, demonstrations, and their continual violations of the disputed rules made a settlement less likely. They felt that they could not let students violate rules at will lest the general principle of rule enforcement itself be made an issue.
The presumed threat to its authority was exaggerated, moreover, by the dim view it took of the quality of the protesting students. Many administrators, like the press and the outside community, saw the protest as not much more than a "civil rights panty raid," as one administrator put it. The bearded, sandalled, long-haired students in the protest took on a great prominence in their eyes. Their rebellion against the Administration, they believed, was no different than their rebellion against the conventions of dress and appearance. They did not take the political motives of the demonstrators very seriously.
Some members of the Administration, on the other hand, saw the demonstrations as anything but frivolous. In fact, they saw in them wider implications and broader goals than the students' professed aim of free speech. They saw them as the beginning of an attempt to turn Berkeley into a Latin-American style University, where the students have a major, if not a predominant, say in determining all aspects of university life and policy. The leaders of the FSM, they believed, wanted to harness the student movement and the university itself to the cause of the particular social and political changes they sought. The goals of the FSM leadership were thus seen to be basically incompatible with the generally-held views of the role of the University and the various components within it. The chance of reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement with the FSM was, therefore, considered unlikely.
Many felt that the FSM leaders wanted to maintain their organization and continue recruiting students to their cause rather than to settle the specific issue at hand. They were insulted by the FSM's negotiating tactics in the CCPA and in informal meetings, and the refusal of the organization to follow "conventional" channels tended to arouse their mistrust. Administrators were also suspicious of what they considered to be the FSM's impatience and its seeming refusal to allow for calm "cooling-off" periods.
As the controversy developed into a massive demonstration of disobedience to the Administration, the outside public became more and more aroused. The public information media distorted their reports with a strong anti-protest and anti-student bias. (See part III.) Public pressure on the Administration to deal sternly with the demonstrators mounted rapidly. Saving face with the outside public now became a serious problem, especially for those administrators who would have favored conciliation of the students.
While very few men in the Administration favored the students' cause, there was a division over what tactics should be employed to deal with them. But an even more important division among the members of the Administration arose from the confused and confusing lines of authority within the university hierarchy itself. This situation frustrated and angered students trying to negotiate with the Administration, and there can be little doubt that it confused and frustrated many of the administrators themselves. During the course of the three-month dispute, decisions moved from the hands of Berkeley campus authorities into the hands of statewide university authorities and finally into the hands of the Governor and the Board of Regents. At the present time (December 10) the adjudication of the dispute is in the hands of the Board of Regents.
(A) The Academic Senate. This is the only formal campus-wide organization of faculty members. During the period of the controversy covered in this report (through December 10) the Senate held three monthly meetings.
October 13-15. Moved several different resolutions supporting student free speech, which were tabled. Passed a resolution urging "co-operation of all parties" with "the spirit of the Kerr-student agreement of Oct. 2 providing orderly procedures."
November 24. Condemned the Administration for "its disregard and contempt for the Academic Senate in the Katz case." (The firing of Katz, an instructor at Berkeley, posed an issue of academic freedom). Defeated a proposal that the faculty have "final jurisdiction on questions of political rights and free speech."
December 8. Endorsed 824 to 115 the resolutions of the Academic Freedom Committee. Also Appendix B. 2.
December 10. Tabled motion aimed at thwarting future student strikes.
(B) The Berkeley Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). On December 2 the executive board unanimously approved a motion condemning the use of outside police on the campus and calling for replacement of Berkeley's Chief Campus Officer.
(C) The Council of Department Chairmen. This group constituted itself before the weekend of December 4-5 in an attempt to fill an obvious vacuum of authority on campus. It unanimously approved a set of resolutions which conceded to the student protesters a general amnesty from university discipline, which was approved also by President Kerr. Since the resolutions did not deal with the thorny issue of political advocacy, the protesters and many members of the faculty received them coldly when they were announced at an "extraordinary convocation" in the Greek theater on December 7. (See Appendix A. 2.)
(D) Formal mediation. Two formal mediation and fact-finding committees were constituted partly (or wholly) of faculty members. One was the Heyman committee, which dealt with alleged student misconduct through September 30. The other was the Campus Committee on Political Activity, which held many hearings and made recommendations concerning the political advocacy question. (See Appendix A. 3,4,5.)
(E) Informal mediation. The most significant example of this activity occurred after the police car incident (October 1 and 2). About a dozen faculty members gathered informally to act as go-betweens for students and administrators. (See Appendix C.)
(F) Informal campus-wide caucuses. The 900 professors at the first caucus, December 3, resoundingly approved, by voice vote, strong resolutions condemning the governor and the Administration for sending the police into Sproul Hall. Loud applause greeted the Berkeley AAUP executive committee's resolution. An early version of the resolutions adopted at the December 8 Senate meeting was also strongly supported. The second informal caucus, during the December 5-6 weekend, further revised these resolutions, and endorsed them unanimously.
(G) Intra-departmental caucuses. After December 2, several departments, especially in the social sciences and humanities, held joint faculty-graduate student meetings to discuss the emergent crisis. Teaching assistants were advised of their legal rights and duties if they should decide to go out on strike.
(H) Individual (and small group) activity. On the whole, this was the way in which the faculty was most active. During crises, students consulted with the faculty at all hours of the day and night, seeking information and advice. After the December 2-3 arrests in Sproul Hall, a large number of faculty undertook to raise money for bail bonds, petitioned the authorities for release of the defendants on their own recognizance, and organized car pools to transport arrested students home from the Santa Rita prison farm thirty-seven miles outside of Berkeley.
The prevailing opinions among the faculty were sympathetic to the causes of the student protesters. Although support waxed and waned at various junctures in the controversy, it was always latent among the majority, or at least a quite sizable and vocal minority, of the faculty. This support was for two student grievances: the restrictions on political advocacy, and the disciplinary problems in which many students became embroiled with the Administration. Faculty sympathy increased as they came to feel that the Administration was sanctimonious and arbitrary in its use of disciplinary action.
Pro-student opinions were not universal among the faculty. A strong minority often voiced support for the Administration. They tended to "sit tight" and urge maintenance of order. At no time was this group as numerous or as articulate as the pro-student group. For example, at the impromptu meeting of December 3, voice votes indicated approximately 10-15% of the body supported the Administration, the rest supporting the students. After the initial stages of the controversy, particularly after the October 1-2 "police car incident," few faculty members could have been described as neutral, even though as a group they did not take positive action.
Wherever their sympathies ultimately lay, however, the large majority of the faculty were reserved about the student protest organization (FSM) and its tactics. Pro-Administration faculty could be entirely, and easily, anti-protest and anti-FSM. But faculty members who were sympathetic to the student cause nevertheless withheld active support from the FSM. Given the FSM tactics of direct action and what many considered to be the rude and provocative style of some individual FSM leaders, this faculty group avoided the uncomfortable choice of direct support until it was apparent that a choice had to be made.
Faculty attitudes about the controversy did not arise in a vacuum. General resentment towards the Administration had accumulated for many years and was the product of many different kinds of grievances. For example, just when the FSM controversy with the Administration was erupting within the student body, a "loyalty" controversy arose over alleged Administration harassment of one German Department faculty member who had been forced to leave the University. The Chancellor at Berkeley had refused to approve the renewal of his contract because, the faculty believed, the instructor, Eli Katz, had refused to answer questions put to him personally by the Chancellor concerning his past political activities. Katz had refused on Constitutional grounds to answer these same questions when they were asked him by the House Un-American Activities Committee and argued that he had no obligation to do so for the Chancellor. The faculty viewed this both as an attack on academic freedom and as an administrative encroachment upon the general practice of faculty control over tenure and appointments. More importantly, this action raised memories of the loyalty oath controversy in the 1950's.
Another source of anti-Administration opinion was the accumulation of unrewarding personal experiences in dealing with individual members of the Administration. These experiences became common knowledge in the instructional community and therefore contributed to a stock of general and common grievances. Moreover, faculty members often found it difficult to ascertain who in the large bureaucracy was responsible for making decisions which affect them. It is even more difficult to uncover the rationale for decisions.
Fundamental to the view of the pro-student faculty group is their idea of the role which the university ought to play in the community. This group emphasizes the value of the university as a source of social and cultural criticism, new intellectual perspectives, and unlimited opportunity for diverse forms of creative expression. They place high value on the place of the student in the academic community, and consider the relationship between student and instructor as the most important relationship in that community. More than the pro-Administration faculty group, they tend to be more responsive to student opinions, and resent administrative interference with teacher-student relationships through what they consider to be systems of petty and irrelevant rules.
There are two sorts of Administration supporters, on the whole. The first have feelings of nostalgia for the past, when the Berkeley campus was smaller and more personal. They are uneasy with its rapid growth and its new cosmopolitanism. The protesting students symbolize to them just these trends. The second group of Administration supporters have a view of higher education opposed to the view of their pro-student colleagues. They view instruction as teaching a specific body of subject matter, but do not take much delight in students who exuberantly challenge it. They tend to be more comfortable within a system of rules which govern the relationship between teacher and student than their more free-wheeling pro-student associates.
Despite the pro-Administration opinions of a minority on the faculty and the considerable reserve about the FSM held even by those who held pro-student opinions, the faculty generally was extremely sympathetic towards the principles which the protesters were fighting for. In private conversations individual professors were hard put to find words strong enough to suggest their extreme distaste for the administration's behavior. "Ineptitude," "stupidity," "sheer idiocy," "petty bureaucrats" were frequently mentioned. Frequently they could only fall back on expressions of disbelief. In light of these sentiments, why did the faculty not act earlier in the development of the controversy? Why did they wait for a series of crises until they formed and expressed a collective opinion on the controversy?
First, many faculty members were simply not aware of the degree of student unrest. Like many persons outside the academic community, they believed the controversy was a tempest in a teapot, a flurry of discontent that would soon pass. After the "police-car incident" of October 1 and 2, this belief became unrealistic, but it was not entirely given up. As the controversy developed and the graduate students and teaching assistants became more actively involved, the scope and intensity of student discontent became increasingly obvious. Yet, it was not until the assembly at the Greek Theatre on December 7 that large numbers of the faculty finally realized the breadth and depth of FSM support among the student body.
Secondly, the faculty's estimates of their ability to deal effectively with the Administration were always low. Many were cynical about the flexibility of the Administration.
Thirdly, many of the interested faculty, up until the "sit-ins" of December 2 and 3, wanted to play the role of mediator. This meant preserving some image of neutrality and refraining from acting as full participants in the dispute.
Fourthly, since it was literally impossible to accurately gauge general faculty opinion prior to the impromptu meeting of December 3, those who were anxious to aid the student cause had to act as individuals or in small groups of five or six. Communication was also hampered by a prudent reluctance of many junior faculty members to voice their opinions to those senior men in their departments who might jeopardize their academic careers.
Finally, the faculty had no ready made organization through which faculty opinions could be voiced and action taken. The Academic Senate, which acted decisively only after two months of troubles and repeated crises, is an unwieldy body. It is bound by strict procedural rules which limit the flexibility necessary to cope with crisis situations. Meetings can be held only after specified interim periods and after due notice. The Academic Senate meeting of November 24 ended in great confusion over the many issues involved in the FSM-Administration controversy. This meeting obscured the sizable pro-student faculty support because the Senate did not succeed at that time in embodying its sentiment in an appropriate resolution.
The Council of Department Chairmen, a self- constituted group having no existence prior to the week of the strike, was hastily formed when the state of disorganization on campus left the formal academic departments--the fundamental elements of the university since the Middle Ages--the only bodies with enough credit to work out a settlement quickly. The Council was dissolved after the Senate moved to create an Emergency Executive Committee.
The action of the Academic Senate on December 8, bringing peace and the basis for mutual trust back to the campus, is now well known. What is not well known is that essentially the same proposals were drafted for the earlier meeting of November 24; but in the confusion, they did not reach the floor. In the interim, nothing could be done about them until the meeting scheduled for December 8, except an informal attempt to gather support. It was not until the extraordinary ad hoc meeting of December 3, that these early resolutions gained genuinely widespread support. That weekend, about 200 faculty members met to refine these proposals and to pledge their support for them at the forthcoming Academic Senate meeting on December 8. On December 7, the Academic Senate's Committee on Academic Freedom decided to introduce them as its own proposals, making some minor revisions. The Senate meeting the following day, with about twice its usual attendance, approved the resolutions, without amendment, 828-115.
In short, then, powerful obstacles stood in the way of active faculty participation. They considered their opportunities limited and the risks great; and they had small means by which to make their opinions effective. Yet, in the end the faculty overcame these obstacles. They set aside their neutral position as mediators in favor of more direct participation. Several reasons lie behind this.
First of all, the faculty felt they had no choice. After December 3, as they watched the state and local police carrying demonstrators out of Sproul Hall and saw the student body boycotting classes, they concluded that only the faculty had any chance of rescuing the campus from chaos.
Secondly, the faculty was almost uniformly outraged at the Administration, and at the Governor, for taking such strenuous measures against the demonstrators. They believed that measures short of this had by no means been exhausted. They believed, too, that the police had been unnecessarily rough in carrying out the arrests. All this they felt to be an unforgivable violation of the climate of tolerance and reasonableness that ought to prevail in an academic community.
Thirdly, the faculty feared the loss of their graduate students and teaching assistants. The teaching assistants are absolutely vital to the system of education at Berkeley. If there were massive dismissals of teaching assistants, few other graduate students would come forward to take their place, and the educational system would have been crippled. In one graduate department of over 200 enrollment, only one student answered in a strew poll that he would consider replacing a teaching assistant that had been fired or had resigned.
Fourth, the faculty feared losing their own members. Rumors of the resignations or threatened resignations of eminent and respected scholars spread quickly. Mass resignations occurred before, during and after the loyalty oath controversy, and it was conceivable that they would occur again. The faculty also wished the Berkeley campus to retain its ability to attract scholars from elsewhere into its ranks.
Faculty sympathy for the student cause mounted considerably after the Administration threatened punitive action against-leaders of the FSM over the Thanksgiving weekend. They regarded the Administration action as provocative and unfair because: (1) it singled out these few leaders from the 3,000 or so who had participated in the police car incident; (2) it came two months after the incident, which most had assumed was by then a dead issue; and (3) some of the charges were for violating university regulations which the Regents themselves had rescinded many weeks earlier, thus tacitly acknowledging their injustice (an injustice which the whole incident had been intended to dramatize in the first place); (4) it violated the spirit if not the letter of the Heyman committee report, which had recommended reinstatement of the demonstrators. Many faculty thus said they "understood" the Sproul Hall sit-in of December 2-3, which directly followed the renewed disciplinary action.
An earlier threat of punitive action against some 200 graduate students had already aroused the resentment of many faculty members. The students in question had signed a petition protesting restrictions on setting up card-tables on the campus for the purpose of soliciting funds and recruiting workers for political causes. In the petition they stated that they had themselves manned the tables, although many of them had in fact not done so. The intention of the petition had actually been to express support for the protest aimed at the regulations and had been, in effect, a merely symbolic gesture. Although these regulations were those eventually rescinded by the Regents, it appeared that the Dean's office was intending to press charges anyway. The faculty regarded this action as high-handed and another instance of the Administration's unreasonable zeal in enforcing rules simply for the sake of enforcement, without regard for the intelligence of the students whom the rules were supposed to regulate, and without sympathy for the deeply felt grievances of the student members of the academic community.
At present, December 10, the faculty is strongly committed to the general position expressed in the resolutions passed by the Academic Senate on December 8. Many have spoken of resigning their posts if their position is ignored by the Regents. It is impossible, however, to estimate the seriousness behind this threat.
1. ARE THE DEMONSTRATORS "A BUNCH OF RADICALS"?
Survey A (see Appendix D) suggests that they are not. Only 4.5% of the students arrested in the December 2-3 sit-in in Sproul Hall belonged to "radical" groups (Du Bois Club, Young Socialist Alliance, Young People's Socialist League, Independent Socialist Club). The others covered the full range of the political spectrum: 18.2%, liberal groups like Young Democrats; 25.6%, civil rights organizations like NAACP and CORE; 1.2%, conservative groups; 7.3%, religious organizations. Furthermore, 57% of the students belonged to no political organizations at all; in normal times these are the people who are least likely to be involved in any sort of politics, radical or otherwise. Of the respondents to Survey B, 71% of the demonstrators did not belong to any political organizations.
2. ARE THE DEMONSTRATORS "OUTSIDE AGITATORS"?
Are they, as the newspapers have said frequently, composed largely of "non-students" or some other outside element? Definitely not.
Survey A showed 61 of 598 who were not presently enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley. Of these, 16 attend another college in California. Six more are employed by the University. Another 21 are recent Cal alumni. Three more were married to registered Cal students arrested during the sit-in.
This leaves 15 of 598 who showed no direct connection with the University community. (Six failed to answer the questionnaire fully enough to permit us to classify them.) It is interesting to note that none of these fifteen had ever been arrested before, most had never participated in any but FSM demonstrations, twelve were residents of California, and fourteen were not associated with any radical group.
3. ARE THEY "HARD CORE DEMONSTRATORS"?
The newspapers and the Administration have charged that these demonstrators participate in any demonstration simply because they delight in violating the law. However, the large majority (61.2%) of those arrested had never participated in any previous demonstration; 22% had participated in only one previous demonstration, 7.0% had taken part in two, and 9.2% in three or more demonstrations. One may safely conclude, therefore, that very few if any were really "hard core" demonstrators. Furthermore, the vast majority of these protesters had never been arrested before on any charge prior to the Sproul Hall sit-in. Almost all previous arrests were for earlier civil rights demonstrations.
4. ARE THE DEMONSTRATORS "WILD-EYED BEATNIKS"?
Hardly. Most are earnest students of considerably better than average academic standing. There is also evidence that they are deeply concerned over moral issues. Some do dress and act unconventionally, but are they worse people for it?
Of the undergraduates arrested, nearly half (47%) had better than 3.0 (B) averages; 71% of the graduate students had averages above 3.5 (between B and A). Comparable figures for the undergraduate and graduate student bodies as a whole, according to the registrar's Office, are 20% and 50%, respectively. Twenty were Phi Beta Kappa; eight were Woodrow Wilson Fellows; 20 have published articles in scholarly journals; 53 were National Merit Scholarship winners or finalists; and 260 have received other academic awards. (Survey A)
Not only are these students among the brightest in the University, but they are also among the most advanced in their academic careers. Nearly two thirds (64.3%) are upper-division or graduate students. Especially for the graduate students (18% of the sample), the decision to be arrested and risk expulsion must be taken as an indication of their serious moral commitment. Expulsion, after all, might have severely damaged their future academic careers. (Survey A.)
Survey B: Of 618 demonstrators in the police car incident, 39% said that the "need to take a stand on the issue" had been a "strong factor" in increasing their commitment to the FSM during the three weeks after the incident.
5. HOW WIDESPREAD WAS STUDENT SYMPATHY?
Noon rallies in Sproul Plaza drew from 3,000 to 5,000. The march to the vigil outside the Regents meeting of November 20 drew between 3,000 and 4,000 students. The noon rally on Monday, December 7, was estimated by police at 6,000, and by some newspapers and students at over 8,000.
The strike on December 3-4 was supported by 60 to 70 per cent of the student body, according to most estimates. Of the 27,000 students registered, perhaps 20,000-22,000 students have occasion to come to campus on a given day. This would have meant a minimum of about 12,000 students supporting the strike.
6. HOW MUCH INFLUENCE DID THE REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALISTS (Du Bois Club and YSA) ACTUALLY HAVE?
Although many people assume that the mere presence of a few radical revolutionaries in the protest meant that they ran the show, this was not at all the case. They were a small minority within the protest movement and within the FSM leadership.
The revolutionary socialists held only 4 positions on the FSM Executive Committee of 50. They held only 2 positions on the 12-man Steering Committee. Mario Savio, the FSM's acknowledged leader, was not in either of the revolutionary organizations. He is a member of the civil rights group, SNCC.
The radicals could not have "swayed" their colleagues to support any distinctive principles that they held, since the only principles ever at issue were those of free speech and advocacy. On this issue there was unanimity among the leadership.
The revolutionaries were split among themselves on tactics. Of the 4 on the Executive Committee, one was usually of the "moderate" faction and three were of the "militant" faction. ("Moderate" and "militant" refer to the division over tactics, e.g., whether or not to endorse a sit-in or other forms of disobedience.)
The FSM leadership was by and large a politically sophisticated and aware group. It is unreasonable to assume that they would all have been "taken in" or "duped" by the few revolutionary radicals among them no matter what the radicals did or said.
7. WHERE DID THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT GET ITS FUNDS?
The total expenditures of the FSM, from its organization on October 3 to the present (December 10), was approximately $2,000. This sum was spent almost entirely on the following items: rental of public address systems and portable megaphones, paper and mimeograph supplies, rent for meeting halls, buttons, telephone, postage, posters, and printing.
Nearly all of the FSM revenue was derived from voluntary contributions made by faculty, students, and University employees, which were collected at rallies by "passing the hat." Some money was made on the sale of FSM buttons. A few donations of quite modest size were received from parents of students and from a few local businessmen.
8. WERE THE NEWSPAPERS FAIR TO THE DEMONSTRATORS?
Most Bay Area newspaper coverage of the free speech controversy at UC was openly hostile to the student demonstrators. Strong editorial opposition to the positions of the Free Speech Movement was expressed by the S. F. Chronicle, S. F. Examiner, and the Oakland Tribune from the beginning of the controversy. Unfortunately, this attitude pervaded almost all reporting of events in the news pages.
Most observers who personally witnessed even a few of the events on campus soon took it for granted that the news media were unreliable as a source of information about the course of events. This became a great problem for the FSM supporters and opponents alike: for the essential role of the press in a democratic society--providing citizens with factual material which can be the basis of the forming of opinions--was strikingly absent in this highly explosive and significant period in the history of the University of California. Regardless of what actually took place at any one time, the news media could be counted on to report it in a manner which would discredit the students.
News distortion was mainly in the following three categories:
- Reporting of who participated in the student demonstrations
- Reporting of the methods used by the Free Speech members, leaders, and the organization as a whole
- Reporting and analysis of the general tone of events.
a. Who Participated.
(1) Who The Students Were. From the beginning of the demonstrations in September, the newspapers consistently reported that there were many non-students and "left-wing" agitators involved in the student protests--perhaps even provoking them. The San Francisco Examiner printed a series of articles written by reporter Ed Montgomery which was a series of "dossiers" on the political backgrounds of several leaders and members of FSM. The articles were careful not to state that any of the students were Communists, since there was no evidence of Communist affiliation and many of them belonged only to civil rights organizations. Nevertheless the writer implied Communist influence. The series omitted profiles of those FSM leaders who had no previous affiliation.
By the time of this writing, both allegations about the students--as outsiders and as left-wing agitators--have been disproved. It is now common knowledge, and has been reported in the press (Examiner, December 5), that only 16% of those arrested are non-students. Most of these are either employees of the University, wives of students, recent Cal Alumni, or students at other California colleges. Elsewhere in this part is a full discussion of who the students are who were arrested, based on an extensive questionnaire. The "left-wing" affiliations turned out in fact to be only a small minority, and by no means dominated the leadership. One documentary TV program on NBC, "Assignment Four," made a relevant commentary on this charge of "communist agitators." They said many people feel it is an insult to the idealistic youth of America to insist that the only persons who are passionately and courageously vocal about politics are Communists.
The important point of this discussion, however, is not to confirm or refute the news statements, but rather to document the unreliability of the news coverage. No evidence was ever given by any of the papers to support the charge that "outsiders" were running the demonstrations. The statements were printed again and again in order to discredit the FSM.
(2) How Many Students Were Involved in the Demonstrations.
(a) Throughout September and October the news media continually reported that only a tiny handful of students were causing all the trouble. This was repeated in the face of rallies of thousands of students, the formal organization of the Free Speech Movement in October with representatives of 20 student organizations, and an increasingly large number of FSM buttons on student lapels.
(b) Several newspapers reported that only 2,000- 3,000 students participated in the student strike. Everyone who witnessed the widespread interruption of the University's normal functioning on the days of the strike knew this to be absurd. Once again, the outside observer was at a loss for trustworthy information. The Examiner claimed to refute Mario Savio's assertion of "75% effectiveness" of the strike, since "less partisan surveys" showed that "only" 3,000 students stayed away from classes. It is not made clear in the story who made the "less partisan surveys" and no indication is given of who estimated class attendance or how. The Oakland Tribune stated on Thursday, December 3, that the strike "failed to materialize," claiming that most students ignored the strike. They offer two kinds of evidence: (1) that many students crossed the picket lines, and (2) "an observer" said that "there was no appreciable decrease in attendance on the campus." Again, they do not tell you how they got the estimate, who the "observer" was, or whether students crossing picket lines onto campus might have been going elsewhere than to class.
On the estimation of numbers, the newspapers often seriously contradicted each other and other articles in their own issues. On Saturday, December 5, for example, the Oakland Tribune said that only a small minority had struck, but published a photograph on page 3 showing that the "Auditorium in Life Sciences Building, on campus of the University of California, is almost empty during student unrest."
It is interesting to note that The New York Times proved to be the only exception. It provided by far the most unbiased coverage, and its estimates of numbers usually exceed those in the local papers by several thousands. It reported (December 5) at least 9,000 students observing the strike.
It is hard to say, looking back, how important this distortion of the numbers of students sympathetic to the demonstrations was in leading members of the Administration to miscalculate the depth and breadth of student support for FSM. Most of the Regents, many of the deans, most of the state legislators, the Governor of the state, and the entire reading public of California had to rely largely on the news media for information. The terrible and disruptive crisis which UC has witnessed in these past two weeks is acknowledged by most to be the result of a "breakdown of communication." Unfortunately the press distortion seems to have played a role in the breakdown of the flow of crucially important information.
(3) Faculty Support. Until the very end of the demonstrations the amount of faculty and graduate student support for the students was highly under-reported. Only in the final few days, when the Academic Senate vote of 824-115 for the student proposals was an unavoidable fact, did the press begin to discuss the role of the faculty. Even this important area was filled with distortions and inaccuracies. In the Examiner on December 4, a story said that 1000 faculty members attended the emergency meeting called the afternoon before, while another story on the same page said 1500 attended. Most of the newspapers reported that the faculty had voted on a resolution calling for the ouster of Chancellor Strong, whereas in fact no such vote was taken. (A telegram was read to the group in which the Chancellor's ouster was mentioned among other items, and there was some applause, but no vote.)
Just as the numbers of FSM supporters were under-reported, support for the Administration was exaggerated. In an attempt to exaggerate the amount of support for the Administration among the public, the newspapers distorted or misinterpreted the act of the California Alumni Association. The Tribune, the Examiner, and the Chronicle, and most other major papers in the area, all reported that the Association (which has 50,000 members) voted to support the Administration unanimously. In fact, as the Tribune pointed out later, the Association did not meet or vote on this measure; instead, the Alumni Council, (made up of 39 members, not 50,000) voted to support the Administration.
In another example, Professor Hayakawa's statement on December 8 opposing the FSM was given prominent, separate coverage in the S. F. Chronicle. The speeches supporting FSM by Assemblymen-elect Willie Brown and John Burton of San Francisco and Assemblyman William Stanton of San Jose, were buried in a long article. Mr. Burton, in fact, was not even mentioned in the Chronicle report.
b. FSM Methods
(1) The non-violent, well-disciplined and highly organized quality of FSM activities were one of the most impressive marks in their favor. Yet a reader of news accounts would have imagined just the opposite. The word "riot" was constantly used to describe events, when there was never anything even approaching a riot. The most violent and riotous behavior was on the part of a crowd of fraternity boys who heckled the demonstrators on the night of October 2, throwing eggs and lighted cigarette butts at them.
(2) The leaders of the Sproul Hall sit-in gave explicit instructions, which were followed, that no offices be opened. Yet the papers stressed the alleged ransacking of the office and files of Ex-President Robert Gordon Sproul. After the sit-in, all of the newspapers carried stories of how the students had broken into the office and had left "files strewn around the room." This rumor was proved entirely false; during an NBC interview, December 4, Mr. Sproul's secretary completely disclaimed the report, and said she and Sproul always worked with papers all over the place. The Examiner then retracted the accusation; but the damage to the public image of the demonstrators had already been done.
(3) A final example of news distortion of the methods and the general bearing of the FSM and its leadership; The New York Times printed a lengthy and reasonably accurate description of the confused events of the morning in the Greek Theatre (December 7). The article said that after the meeting was adjourned by President Kerr, Mario Savio got up on the stage, walked toward the microphone, placed his hands on both sides of the microphone and was apparently collecting his thoughts before speaking when the police rushed at him from both sides. Most of the newspapers in the Bay Area reported that as Kerr finished speaking, Mario Savio jumped to the stage and seized the microphone.
c. The General Course of Events.
To the millions of citizens of California who know nothing of the events at UC except what they have read in the press, the situation at present must surely be a confusing and mysterious development. When the papers were obliged to report that the Academic Senate voted 824-115 in favor of the substantive demands of the FSM, the readers had not been prepared, by previous news coverage, to expect or understand this kind of development.
According to the papers, until December 8, only a handful of people were involved, many were non-students, their demands were outrageous and harsh, their methods violent and irresponsible, and their support be the faculty and graduate students minimal. The action of the Academic Senate brought to light the facts that the press had distorted: that the strike had not failed, that many students were behind the FSM, and the faculty was in support of the "student rebellion" and of the position of the FSM on free speech.
Once more it is important to note the relevance of the manner of press coverage. Press distortion, in some measure, is generally taken for granted by most people. In the crisis at UC, however, distortion was so severe and so one-sided as to make it extremely difficult for anyone not present to gauge its magnitude.
There are many reasons to support or oppose the actions of the FSM, the faculty, and the Administration respectively. Every situation like this one has many complex sides to it and is filled with contradictory opinions and understandings of the facts. The major effects of the press coverage, unfortunately, has been to further muddy the waters, to further confuse and tangle truths and untruths, and generally to make more difficult the job of the outsider who wants to make an independent judgment about the current controversy at UC.
The average citizen who was not in close contact with the University and who had to rely only on newspaper and similar reports for his information surely developed an incomplete account; and he could clarify his image of the recent events only by first-hand observations of the proceedings. Some people did so. The following letter was received by the Examiner from a man who availed himself of that opportunity. His letter appeared in the December 10 edition:
"...on Friday afternoon, December 4, my wife and I drove to Berkeley to get a first-hand impression. The results of our excursion came as a surprise--the Examiner is distorting the news. Your story of December 5 leads your readers, among whom I number, to believe that the "so-called Free Speech Movement" involves only a few students, all of whom, from your past coverage, I had imagined as red-eyed, left-wing fanatics. Further, that the campus activity was relatively normal.
My wife and I found the opposite to be the case, the University is seriously disrupted and the classrooms are standing empty; this indicates widespread support among the students and a far more serious situation than your stories have led us to believe.
If radical elements are involved, it is just that this be pointed out. However, your obligation does not end there. It extends to presenting all the facts as they would appear to a reasonable man so the reader can assess the situation fairly."
RECENT MAJOR POLICY STATEMENTS REGARDING THE ISSUE OF POLITICAL ADVOCACY
1. Regents: November 20.
"... that certain campus facilities, carefully selected and properly regulated, may be used by students and staff for planning, implementing, raising funds or recruiting participants for lawful off-campus action, not for unlawful off-campus action."
2. President Kerr: November 23. (Daily Californian)
When asked who would decide the illegality of advocated action he said, `In the usual case you'd wait for the courts to decide. It would then go to the Faculty Committee on Student Conduct.'
3. Chancellor Strong s Interpretation of Regents' Policy: November 7.
a. `Activities of students in disobedience of the laws of the state are punishable in their courts. The University maintains jurisdiction over violations of its rules including those which prohibit use of University facilities for planning and recruiting for actions found to be unlawful by the courts. There will be no prior determination of double jeopardy in matters of political and social activities organized on the campus by students and staff. The demand of the FSM that the University permit the mounting of unlawful action on the campus without penalty by the University cannot and will not be granted.'
4. Administration Contingent's Last Proposals to the CCPA: November 7.
b. Chancellor Strong said that he considered this interpretation to be in accord with the proposal of the faculty contingent of the Campus Committee on Political Activity (CCPA). This Committee was dissolved while still dead-locked on this question. The faculty contingent proposal reads as follows:
"The on-campus advocacy, organization or planning of political or social action by groups or individuals may be subject to discipline where a) this conduct directly results in judicially-found violations of California or Federal criminal law, and b) the group or individual can be fairly held responsible for such violations under prevailing legal principles of accountability..."
"If acts unlawful under California or Federal law directly result from advocacy, organization, or planning on the campus, the students and organizations involved may be subject to such disciplinary action as is appropriate and conditioned upon fair hearing as to the appropriateness of the action taken."
5. Student Contingent's Proposals to the CCPA: November 7.
"In the area of first amendment rights and civil liberties the University may impose no disciplinary action against members of the University community and organizations. In this area members of the University community and organizations are subject only to the civil authorities."
1. Proposal of the Council of Department Chairmen. Agreed to By President Kerr: November 7.
1. The University Community shall be governed by orderly and lawful procedures in the settlement of issues and the full and free pursuit of educational activities on this campus shall be maintained.
2. The University Community shall abide by the new and liberalized political action rules and await the report of the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom.
3. The Department Chairmen believe that the acts of civil disobedience on December 2 and 3 were unwarranted and that they obstruct rational and fair consideration of the grievances brought forward by the students.
4. The cases of all students arrested in connection with the sit-in in Sproul Hall on December 2 and 3 are now before the Courts. The University will accept the Court's judgment in these cases as the full discipline for those offenses.
In the light of the cases now and prospectively before the Courts, the University will not prosecute charges against any students for actions prior to December 2 and 3, but the University will invoke disciplinary actions for any violations henceforth.
5. All classes shall be conducted as scheduled.
2. Propositions of the Committee on Academic Freedom Passed at the December 3 Meeting of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
In order to end the present crisis, to establish the confidence and trust essential to the restoration of normal University life, and to create a campus environment that encourages students to exercise free and responsible citizenship in the University and in the community at large, the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate moves the following propositions:
1. That there shall be no University disciplinary measures against members or organizations of the University community for activities prior to December 8 connected with the current controversy over political speech and activity.
2. That the time, place, and manner of conducting political activity on the campus shall be subject to reasonable regulation to prevent interference with the normal functions of the University; that the regulations now in effect for this purpose shall remain in effect provisionally pending a future report of the Committee on Academic Freedom concerning the minimal regulations necessary.
3. That the content of speech or advocacy should not be restricted by the University. Off-campus student political activities shall not be subject to University regulation. On-campus advocacy or organization of such activities shall be subject only to such limitations as may be imposed under section 2.
4. That future disciplinary measures in the area of political activity shall be determined by a committee appointed by and responsible to the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
5. That the Division pledge unremitting effort to secure the adoption of the foregoing policies and call on all members of the University community to join with the faculty in its efforts to restore the University to its normal functions.
AGREEMENT OF FRIDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 2, 1964
1. The student demonstrators shall desist from all forms of their illegal protest against University regulations.
2. A committee representing students (including leaders of the demonstration), faculty, and administration will immediately be set up to conduct discussions and hearing into all aspects of political behavior on campus and its control, and to make recommendations to the administration.
3. The arresting (sic) man will be booked, released on his own recognizance, and the University (complainant) will not press charges.
4. The duration of the suspension of the suspended students will be submitted within one week to the Student Conduct Committee of the Academic Senate.
5. Activity may be continued by student organizations in accordance with existing University regulations.
6. The President of the University has already declared his willingness to support deeding certain University property at the end of Telegraph Avenue to the City of Berkeley or to the ASUC.
- Jo Freeman
- Paul C. Cahill
- Sandor Fuchs
- Robert Wolfson
- David Jessup
- Clark Kerr
- Jackie Goldberg
- Eric Levine
- Mario Savio
- Thomas Miller
Figures presented as answers to most of the questions in Part III, and appearing in IIB as well, were obtained from a questionnaire survey administered to the students arrested at the Sproul Hall sit-in of December 2-3. Of the 800 or so in this group, 598 completed and returned the questionnaires. This is a 75% return rate, excellent by any standards usually applied to this type of study. There is every reason to believe that a higher return rate would not have changed the findings significantly.
An interesting comparison can in some cases be made between the December 2-3 demonstrators and the students who took part in the demonstrations around the police car on October 1-2. Questionnaires were also distributed to this group (by another researcher). This was done by setting up a table at Bancroft and Telegraph for the period October 24-27 and requesting students to step up and fill them out if they had taken part in the demonstration. Six hundred eighteen did so. It is doubtful that these respondents accurately represented the total group of demonstrators, which numbered at various times between 3,000 to 5,000. The 618 respondents were probably the more committed and aware students who took the trouble to step up to the table and spend time filling out the questionnaires.
For convenience, the survey of arrested students is referred to as Survey A; the survey of earlier demonstrators, Survey B.
Copyright, 1964, by the authors. All rights reserved.
Editorial note (1999): For purposes of clarity online, the Contents page has been expanded. The errata have been integrated in the text, along with two references to Academic Senate chronology, and some section headings have been re-formatted.