Protest still alive and well at UC Berkeley #1
I stumbled across a student protest meeting on the campus at UC Berkeley on my way to meet with colleagues. They seemed to be responding with great enthusiasm to an articulate speaker who was making an argument that capitalism was dead. The focus of the protest was about the designs of the university to use six acres that they owned for an old folks home but in the meantime students had occupied the land for community gardens. My mind went back to the famous occupation of the UC Berkeley land in Telegraph Ave in the 1960s. I went off to the Freedom of Speech Café that commemorates the events of those halcyon days of protest at UC Berkeley for a coffee.
Protest still alive and well at UC Berkeley #2
Chalk notices are scrawled on the pavements calling for students to gather at Sproul Hall, 2.00pm Tuesday to protest the raising of tuition fees by $US 3,000.
Who doesn’t pay tuition fees at some of the universities?
Students who meet the entry requirements, are selected for the University of California system and whose family income is less that $US 40,000 pa, do not pay tuition fees. This is covered by what is a called a Pell Grant and 33% of UC Berkeley first year students are covered by this. At Stanford the threshold for qualifying for full asistance is $US 100,000.
Famous in New Zealand and the US
I searched for mention of New Zealand but, honestly, the only mention of our country was Lydia Ko and her performance in some golf tournament. She was, the media suggested, a person to watch. I took comfort from the fact that I had written about this just a couple of weeks ago. Eat your hearts out All Blacks!
The Bus is brought to you by the letters F and S
I adore the fleets of Sesame Street school buses that toddle around the town taking students to and from school and to and from such amazing places as the Exploratium on the waterfront area of San Francisco. I do regret the fact that they no longer have signage that confidently identifies them as a “School Bus”. Stating this clearly on the side was a great help to young readers. They are now styled as “First Student”. It is a sentiment I relate to but is it yet a reality?
North Beach sinking into respectability
The development around San Francisco seems breathtakingly fast. And the gloss seems to be going off Vesuvius, the favourite drinking hole for Dylan Thomas, and the next door book shop, Unity Books, that Lawrence Ferlinghetti established and the whole little micro-district that saw Jack Kerouac and his entourage produce all that stuff in the 1950s. And this within spitting distance of the church in which Joe Di Maggio married Marilyn Monroe. But who cares? Are some things not sacred? That is being replaced by respectable!
The Imperial Approach to Metrics
I am amused by the weather reports on TV that report the rainfall as 1.3”. Is this the metrimperial system?
Identifying Career Direction
There are some very smart projects taking place that assist students to develop a view of career. One which appeals is the CA Career Café. Students snack on experiences that introduce them to possible careers and a web site assists them to develop and refine their thoughts. As they approach the exit zone then internships play an important role in shaping the detail of their choices. It is student driven. What is impressive is the connections to employers who embrace the scheme not only with opportunities for such internships but also in supporting the programmes as students move through school and college. There are lessons in all this.
The Rectangular Hands
You could be forgiven for wondering if Californians are mutating and losing their fingers. The you realize that their arms end in rectangular blocks simply because they are clutching mobile phone incessantly. In the evening faces of pedestrians are illuminated by the soft glow of the screens. Couples sit in restaurants gazing closely at their phones. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were texting each other. For a hundred years our phones were as close as the cord was long. Now the phone is liberated to pursue us wherever we go. I think it’s called progress.