On Berkeley

I find it impossible to respect people who are writing endless screeds on the super important event of some freak’s talk being canceled at Berkeley while having zero interest in things like the evisceration of public education in Illinois. I’m not saying everybody should know or care specifically about what Rauner is doing to us. But I do believe that there are much more crucial things going on in higher education than that ridiculous brouhaha. Why is it always Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Berkeley on the news and never the community colleges and public universities that are really suffering right now?

So my position on Berkeley: I don’t give a flying fuck.

When temptation strikes to discuss Berkeley and Co, fight it by finding out how your local community college is doing. I promise you will be very enlightened and your perspective on what really matters in higher ed will change dramatically.

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17 thoughts on “On Berkeley”

  1. I have to point out that unlike Yale and the other Ivies you mentioned, UC Berkeley is a public institution, albeit a high-caliber one. The budget issues that affect CA’s community and state college systems affect Berkeley too. It’s all we hear about over here. Having said that, I agree that the recent events probably do not deserve the attention they’ve been allotted.

    — Someone from California

    Liked by 1 person

      1. As someone who would actually rather work at a college educating first generation students like you do, I should mention that the wealth of Berkeley’s students aren’t nearly as skewed as one might think… they’re pretty damn similar to the University of Illinois, for example. Check out this article from the NY Times – the tables and such are interactive so you can include data from your colleges of interest to check out their relative stats.

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          1. The students I teach and the students at Berkeley – irrespective of how sorry they feel for themselves – are from different planets. And news from our planet never get national headlines, no matter how dire they are. So I think I’ll wait until at least a single professor from Berkeley notices our troubles and writes about them on their blog. Then maybe I’ll be interested in their overfed dramas.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. Your average Berkeley student is neither bored nor rich. As with the students you describe, most have jobs on top of school, most have difficulty paying for food and especially rent around there, and most are lower income. There are food banks because there is a general recognition that many students find it difficult to pay for food. Rich people go elsewhere, generally. I’m not trying to compare levels of sad/bad/under-funded, that would be stupid and beside the point. Just pointing out that Berkeley, of all places, doesn’t really fit (at least not for me) into the category of rich bored kids at Ivy institutions.

        Your statement about “they don’t ever give a crap about us” probably relates more to the fact that each state is struggling a lot with these issues and is therefore not likely to look outward. That’s unfortunate.

        As for the most recent “news-worthy” event over there, what’s regrettable is that the infinitely long and frequent conversations we have within the state (like all the time) about budget issues affecting state institutions doesn’t get highlighted in the national news. That seems like part of a broader trend, based on your own observations.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. “Berkeley’s students are more richer than Illinois public universities’ students, though.”

            • Oh, of course, there is no comparison. They exist in a bubble. But it’s not even about students who are not the target of my anger. It’s the professors I’m angry with.

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        1. “Your statement about “they don’t ever give a crap about us” probably relates more to the fact that each state is struggling a lot with these issues and is therefore not likely to look outward.”

          • Nothing prevented my colleagues at Berkeley to notice what is happening with us in all these years. But they choose not to. So I choose not to notice them.

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      1. We have cancer patients here who can’t see a doctor for the simple reason that they made the insane choice to work for the state. And I’m supposed to care whether some rich fucker got to give another talk to a bunch of other rich fuckers. Fuck them all collectively and individually.

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          1. “So you should be a doctor instead of a Literature academic because of cancer patients?”

            • Unfortunately, my advice today would be not to work for a state school. Only private schools.

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