Stances on Walkout Differ Among Professors


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The events of the September 24 walkout at UC Berkeley

A comprehensive video detailing the events of the September 24 walkout at UC Berkeley. Students, faculty, and staff were protesting the number of budget cuts that are hitting the University of California.

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Walkout rally turns into a march

Thursday, after the walkout rally in Sproul, students, faculty, stuff, union members and community members marched through the UC Berkeley campus and through downtown Berkeley.

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Walkout Rally at Sproul Plaza

Students, faculty, union representatives and community members met Thursday at noon in Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley to rally against cuts to the UC budget.

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Get published online by sending your photos and stories from Thursday's protest to [email protected].

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'Walkout' slideshow
Photos from the walkout at UC Berkeley on Thursday...

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Seeking to inform students about the events leading up to the systemwide walkout Thursday, several UC Berkeley professors held teach-ins in place of regular curriculum.

Professors from a variety of departments either cancelled class or held additional discussions about the walkout and the financial state of the university, while others proceeded with scheduled course material.

Ananya Roy, professor of city and regional planning, treated her class as an opportunity to host a teach-in, during which she allowed students to ask questions about walkout-related issues.

"I think that the teach-ins are about a dialogue and about having a common concern between faculty and students," Roy said.

Several professors discussed the significance of the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, which many say led to decreased state funding for the university. The discussions echoed Wednesday's teach-in at Wheeler Auditorium.

Students who attended Thursday's teach-ins said they agreed with their professors' need to provide information.

"This is a great example of what we should be doing, standing up as one," said senior Max Weiss.

Associate professor of integrative biology Leslea Hlusko decided to lecture about the importance of maintaining the quality of public education.

"I am a public school kid and had tremendous opportunities," Hlusko said. "I can't let that go for future generations."

Though Hlusko's lecture was optional, some students still attended.

"I wanted to learn more about the budget cuts," said freshman Spreeha Debchaudhury. "I have never seen anything quite this big, and I wanted to be a part of it."

While other professors decided whether to hold class, political economy professor Alan Karras put the matter up to a vote. Both his Thursday classes voted to discuss the walkout and UC budget. The students in one class chose to join the rally on Upper Sproul Plaza for the last half hour of class.

"Students need to be educated on the destruction of public education in the state of California," Karras said.

He said the discussion on the walkout was relevant to theoretical discussions and course material in his class, and told his students he would provide them with online resources that would inform them about the UC budget.

Associate professor of film studies Jeffrey Skoller took a different approach for his Thursday classes. As part of their class work, students attended the walkout events to film footage of the day.

"It was a way to dramatize to the university community and public in California the situation," he said. "For me it was important to publicly show my concern and join my colleagues and say we're not going to sit quietly."

Dan Klein, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, held class as usual, although he said he was concerned for the future of the university. At the start of his Computer Science 188 class, Klein acknowledged walkout posters, then briefly spoke about the demonstrations.

"I am pretty worried about what's happening to the UC, but I am not comfortable withholding your education," Klein said to his class.

While several non-humanities classes, such as Math 1A and Math 16A, proceeded with their curriculum, Roy said she did not believe there was a divide between the disciplines.

"I think the initial faculty who drew attention to the crisis came from humanities and social sciences department," she said. "I'm not convinced there is a divide in disciplines and I feel there is a realization that this crisis affects us all."

Political science professor Jack Citrin also did not cancel class to participate in the walkout.

Citrin said that he did not opt to turn his class into a teach-in because he does "not like to deviate from the curriculum of the class."

"I don't think the protest will lead to change in the state level or university level because the fiscal crisis is real," Citrin said. "The room for maneuvering in the budget is quite limited and I doubt (the protest) will lead to a reversal in student fee increases."

Get published online by sending your photos and stories from Thursday's protest to [email protected].


Contact Jamie Applegate, Stephanie Baer and Daniel Hartono at [email protected]

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