Letters to the Editor: It Takes More Than Just One to Win Change

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In regards to the Academic Senate Renewal Project ("ASUC Officials Want More Say in Academic Senate," Aug. 29), I would like to make sure that credit is given where it is due. Joseph Kim, a former and renominated member of the Committee on Teaching, was the first person to bring forth the idea of divisional student representation early last year. While it has only been through the collective action of many student leaders that has gotten us to where we are now-ready to take this to a UC wide level and challenge the system of superficially shared governance-I know that it is only through the outspoken innovation of Joseph's mind that this even got on the agenda.

He has not asked me to bring this to your attention, I do it out of acknowledgement of his contribution. Joseph is a current director of this project working with myself and the office, and I value his contribution highly. Sometimes it is elected officials like us that take the public spotlight. But as activist born out the community, I know that it is only through the collective action of a band of people, not just the visible few, that change is actually won.

Catherine Ahn

Academic Affairs Vice President

"Nonviolent" is Misleading

I am troubled by your use of the term "nonviolent" to describe a bank robbery ("Police, FBI Seek Perpetrator of Nonviolent Local Bank Robbery," Aug. 30), especially one in which the robber allegedly claimed to be armed. The term "nonviolent" refers to a principled approach to social change. In particular it refers to a mode of protest known as civil disobedience, for which people ask deep questions, train, test themselves, and refine their principles in order to endure abuses of power and still be true to nonviolence. Was this man linking arms across the bank's door and turning the other cheek when attacked? Was this man throwing himself on the gears of the system without threat? Or was he simply a robber-submitting to acting out the principles of exploitation and consumption-a form of violence-on a microscale?

While "our" system of money and banks are a form of violence and oppression, certainly committing an act of robbery is as well. Furthermore, I know of no persons who claim to be "nonviolent" who would assert that they had a weapon or otherwise make a threat, because that is in fact an instigation of violence.

While bank spokesperson Stafford may have used the term "nonviolent," the Daily Californian should know better than to repeat it. Had the paper encased it in quotes in the headline, that would be one thing. Normally a robbery with no injuries and no weapon is described as such, not as "nonviolent."

Jason Meggs

Berkeley Resident

Columnist Strikes Home

I absolutely loved Jasmine Yang's column "So Fresh and So Clean" (Aug. 30). I can't agree more with her insight. I graduated in 1997 and I'm in the last year of medical school and let me say, I've been completely sapped of my youthfulness, "energy and enthusiasm," and has been left as exactly as she stated as a "caffeine-dependent, sneering, grumpy and cynical embattled UC Berkeley war veteran."

Her column has brought a little comic relief during some tough times studying for my board exam and I thank her.

Tom Yang

UC Berkeley Alumnus

ASUC Plan is Overdue

I'm glad to see that the ASUC is finally doing something about getting student representation on the

city council. For years the city has paid lip service to the demands of students. When election time rolls

around, city council candidates promise that they will be student friendly. Then, when it's time to come through on their promises to be pro-student, they kowtow to other powerful lobbies and resume their anti-student stances. The only way for students to change that is to put a student on the council, just as we have a student on the rent board. Given the current division in the city government, a student council member could serve as a powerful swing vote able to extract key pro-student concessions.

If the city refuses to go along with External VP Josh Fryday's redistricting plan, then students have one recourse-vote against any politician that opposes the plan.

Chris Gray

UC Berkeley Alumnus

Warnings a Good Step

It's good to see that warnings were posted and corrective maintenance occurred as a result of the sewer spill of Aug. 20th near Stern Hall ("Raw Sewage Invades Creek, Warning Signs Remain Posted," Aug. 29). This looks like a chronic condition. It's also good to read that containment strategies exist for major overflows to protect the public health and the surface waters of the U.S.

Now for the not so good news: Sanitary Sewer Overflows from failing or poorly managed infrastructure are a hot national topic.

Most of the root causes (no pun intended) point to the lack of a holistic approach to life cycle asset management programs.

I'm sure the facilities management team struggles to obtain the funding to fix these type of structural problems.

The bigger picture is that this local event is but a small part of a

national need to focus more attention on our aging infrastructure. For more info on this issue explore CalRAC's website at www.calrac.org

I urge young and old Blues to engage our Colleges and Schools of

Engineering, Public Policy, Health, and Business to take on a unified

leadership role in advocating and practicing proper life cycle asset

management using this small example as a starting point.

Nick Arhontes

UC Berkeley Alumnus


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