Editorial: Struggle's End Paves Way for Introspection



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Over the last week, the legal proceedings involving six students arrested in April's standoff in Barrows Hall came to an end. The district attorney offered the students a deal - accept a minor infraction and, in return, none of them would have to admit guilt. After briefly deliberating amongst themselves, all six accepted the deal, foregoing a trial.

The Daily Californian applauds the compromise struck between the prosecutors and the defendants. The deal is a level-headed resolution to a struggle characterized by excessive rhetoric. While the agreement does not bring an end to observation of the serious issues raised throughout the debate over the ethnic studies department, it does bring closure to the legal entanglement initiated 10 months ago.

The student protesters can avoid a taxing and prolonged trial, which would no doubt prevent full participation in classes and place a burden upon their lives. The deal is also a de facto vindication of what these students have been saying for months - peaceful protesters should not be punished with felonies.

At the same time, UC Berkeley officials can rejoice that this "crisis" is over. Administrators faced harsh recriminations on a daily basis throughout the protests and during the ensuing debate. Many university officials also had to focus their energy on one department instead of dealing with the university in its entirety.

Both sides can confidently claim victory - the unofficial hallmark of a solid compromise.

The Daily Californian hopes students and university officials can now come together to focus on the intellectual goals of this university.

The conclusion of the legal proceedings, however, does not mark an end to the consideration of poignant issues raised during the last few months. These issues are real and varied, ranging from the university administration's overall power in the face of student demands to the role UC police should play in student protests.

Obviously, implementation of the settlement that ended the initial protests over ethnic studies should be scrutinized to see how such an unprecedented agreement is executed. To this end, creating a set of guidelines to direct those involved in future academic conflicts would be an appropriate goal to pursue. But perhaps above all else, the process of academic decision-making has become the central enigma brought forth by the protests and the events falling under the term "aftermath."

If the debate among faculty is any indication of the rest of the campus's understanding of academic decision-making, the subtleties of the process are unclear, even to the experts.

As it turns out, a scholarly review of the university's governing rules may be one of the outcomes of the politicized battle over ethnic studies.

Considering the turbulence of the last few months, such an analysis of the university's academic practices is long overdue.

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