Berkeley Faculty’s Free Speech Week “Boycott” is More Like Yale’s “Symbolic” Hunger Strike

If you’ve been wondering how UC Berkeley students can possibly miss enough classes to protest as much as they do, and still graduate, you’re not alone. It all makes sense now.

As Free Speech Week approaches, Berkeley faculty has now joined in the cacophony of students bemoaning that other opinions are allowed to exist, and equating disagreement with literal violence. Some of the faculty has penned a letter of protest, aimed at leading a “boycott” of campus activities for the duration of the controversial event. Their demands, however, include that classes be officially cancelled; that buildings be closed and staff be “allowed to stay home”; and that all professors be forced to participate, by granting students leave to skip classes for the week. In this case, “boycott” is clearly a misnomer, as the demands are for official sanction to cancel classes, despite acknowledging that some students – specifically students who went to school to learn, and just want to go to class – will be punished by the cancellations.

The demand specifying that any faculty that opts to will be “allowed to stay home” reeks of the absurdity of Yale’s “symbolic” hunger strike, where students basically “boycotted” food, but only symbolically. They were still “allowed” to go eat.

The screed is one-sided, of course, but it’s interesting to note that, despite references to a half dozen or so incidents of violence, there was no reference anywhere to Antifa, which has been responsible for much of the violence at these protests and events in recent months. Antifa was recently found to be classified as a domestic terrorist organization by U.S. security agencies, which makes it a glaring omission.

The memo does acknowledge that, “as a public institution, we are legally bound by the Constitution to allow all viewpoints on campus,” it immediately goes on to say, to paraphrase, “except these.”

To justify their authority to be arbiters of what speech is acceptable, they’ve declared Free Speech Week something that “disrupts the university’s mission to educate.” If you’ll recall above, they also specifically said earlier that it is their own boycott that will be “a penalty to students who want to learn.”

Scanning through the signatures on the document, one thing becomes very clear: STEM faculty  has stuff to do. Virtually every signature was an English or humanities professor of some stripe, who apparently don’t think the courses they teach warrant a full semester. You’ll notice a distinct lack of math or science professors, who don’t have the luxury of skipping Thermodynamics or Differential Equations.


Featured image via the Yale Herald



  1. Epicification

    September 14, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Thermo is easy, brah, skip it all you want. Diff E though…..

  2. Rusty Esq

    September 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    I recently expressed a harsh criticism of the mainstream media for labelling James Damore’s well researched paper on diversity as “screed”.

    While I support most of this article, I don’t support propagandist language because it is typically used by the mainstream media to persuade when there is a week argument. In this case, there is a strong argument presented- so why tarnish your reputation? You really don’t want to compete with the mainstream media’s reputation.

    For comparison, some of the outlets that used the term “screed” include Time Magazine, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Gizmodo, Vox, The Verge, Engadget and Wired. I do not rate any of these publications highly (and I’d suggest many other people recognise the propaganda that comes from these publications and judge them for it too – its hard to miss propaganda). If you want to separate yourself, don’t play their game.

    If you doubt my findings, search for “James Damore screed” to catch the propagandists in the act. The great thing about the Internet is it makes it so easy to catch the unethical journalists and publications!

    Milo is no different. I won’t accept “it was a staff writer and I can’t be responsible for what my staff say”.

    The media need to be held accountable and all measured to the same standard, whether they are mainstream or not.

    • Jean Collier

      September 15, 2017 at 10:24 am


  3. I_h8_disqus

    September 15, 2017 at 2:03 am

    If not for STEM, Bus Ad, and Boalt, Cal would be just another Ole Miss or Evergreen College with plummeting enrollment. Cal has bloated its Letter and Sciences with too many anti intellectual majors. Any major that includes the word “Studies” should probably be scrapped.

    • RBLan

      September 15, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Except “Classical Studies” which is still a common term, though “Classics” seems to be gaining ground. As you may know, the other “Studies” departments are quite certain that ancient Greece and Rome are the birthplace of white supremacist cultural hegemonic oppression. Also, I would add that irrespective of the academic department that sponsors it, any course of the form “Critical [Subject] Theory” belongs in the same toxic category.

      • I_h8_disqus

        September 17, 2017 at 10:35 am

        All good points. When I was at Cal, we referred to it as Classics.

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