Chapter 4, The Free Speech Movement, Part 2

Last one standing

If I can claim anything at all unique about my FSM bust, it is that I was the very last bustee to leave Sproul Hall. I am utterly certain of that because I planned it. As the last group was taken out of the holding cell in the basement, I happened to be the second-to-last in line. As we walked to the outside door, I was struggling with the taunt some of the not-campus cops had been making to us–that everyone had gone home and nobody cared about us and we were just dupes, in this all alone.

I thought to myself that if I were the last in line, I might be able to drag my feet just enough outside the door and before we were put into whatever we were going to be put into, to get a really good look at what was actually happening outside. I stepped a bit sideways and let the person behind me get ahead of me. She was too out of it to notice. Then, I had the fleeting thought that, as unimportant as I was personally to this whole thing, I could now and forever claim that I was the last bustee out of Sproul Hall–a little intra-personal gallows humor to get me through the next couple of hours.

After believing for years that I was the last one, I did have the thought sometime later that I may have only been the last woman. The sexes were separated in the basement and we had had ringside seats watching the men being beaten as they were dragged out. I looked around as we were being lined up to leave and saw no other students, only police, and there was certainly no one else in the cell the women had been in, but I guess I have no way of knowing if there might have been some more men being held somewhere out of sight. So, ok, I was the last WOMAN out!!

My sense of time had at some point vanished but, when I stepped outside the door, I saw that it was now daytime. I noted the paddy wagon, its door backed up to the steps, open and ready to receive us (most bustees had been put into buses, but there were some paddy wagons, referred to later in my crowd as “Black Marias,” pronounced with a long “i,” a reference to the wagons used to bust strikers in the 30s Labor Movement.) The next thing I saw was well worth my last-in-line maneuver. There were people everywhere, crowding as close to the steps as the police would allow, hanging from balconies and tree limbs, sitting on each other’s shoulders, waving at me from the roofs of the buildings across the street. It seems to me now, in memory, that there was no place I could look that was not filled with cheering, smiling, waving people.

I stopped still and drank it all in, smiling back at everyone, which was not hard in spite of how down I had been two seconds earlier, until I received a firm push from the officer behind me that sent me stumbling down the stairs. I was not the only one who had gotten recharged between the Sproul Hall door and the paddy wagon door. Several, but not all, of us immediately started grabbing each other’s hands and laughing and talking a mile a minute about what we had just seen and experienced. We told each other, “They were there, the people supported us, we are not alone.” That feeling of support wore off some hours later, in my case, at least for a while, but we all enjoyed it in the moment.

She’s in the Jailhouse Now, Sort Of

We were taken to the San Lorenzo armory before we were taken to the Santa Rita Jail. The only thing I remember about the armory was that they tried their best to make it into a jail. The matrons indicated the lines of the basketball court on which we sat and told us, “This line is the wall. Don’t step over this line.” By that time we were all punchy from lack of sleep and everything else. I remember getting into a giggling session with another woman about our pretend jail. “They want us to think it’s a jail. How funny!” We held onto each other and laughed crazily.

At one point, it got very cold. It was an enormous building, probably hard to heat. They brought blankets out. People began running for the blankets, almost fighting for them. I remember thinking, “Geez, all these people were very together a few hours ago, is it going to break down so quickly over blankets?  Is it gonna be Lord of the Flies?” I hung back a bit and it did not get as bad as I thought it might. Eventually, somebody noticed me alone and shivering and came over and shared her blanket with me. By then, the giggling fits had passed and gloom was setting in.

I do not remember how we got to the Santa Rita Jail or even arriving there. My memories start up again inside the holding cell at Santa Rita late at night December 4 or in the early hours of December 5. There were too many people in the holding cell. We were crammed in there, tight. I was only there for a few hours but during that time a lot of rumors were circulating. One was that the next stop was a real jail cell. I fully expected that I would remain in jail for some time and had little hope that UC would give me a second chance after this, so I was trying to deal with the possibility of still another setback in my academic career, as well as my new jailbird status.

No one else seemed to have any idea what to expect, either. There probably were other people in the holding cell who had had experience with sit-ins and knew that there were lawyers outside working on our behalf, but I did not know that. I started asking around what I should do if I was given a chance to call someone. At that point, a woman offered to give me the number of the ACLU. I scrounged up a pen and a scrap of paper, a bit of Spice Island advertising, to write down the number of the ACLU in case I found an opportunity to use it. I cannot imagine how I managed to do that since, more than likely, our purses had been taken from us. Probably the ad and the pen were in somebody’s jeans or jacket pocket. I do remember that I felt a great sense of relief that there would be someone to call if I got to make a phone call.

I really had no one to call, no conception that I, at least, would be bailed out, since there was no one in my world with the money and the motivation to bail me out. It would have been pointless to call my husband, Mike, if only because I knew how penniless both of us were. I began to realize that many of the other women had mommies and daddies to help them. It began to dawn on me about that time that there was actually no one in my life that was sympathetic to anything I was doing, except my Tally people, who were not physically present near me and Charles, whose friendship I feared I would lose when I left OCC for UC. As stark as that thought was, it was some kind of a breakthrough for me. It was freeing in a strange kind of way, my “rolling stone” moment, to quote Bobby again. If I was on my own then I was also beholden to no one. It came to me in a lightning flash that, if you want to make your own decisions and you want to be your own moral person, then you probably ARE going to be alone. You are going to be alone, probably, for the rest of your life. So I just mentally cut loose from what was left of all my attachments, then and there.

Then, I noticed that people’s names were being called and that those people would be allowed out of the cell and did not come back but I had no idea where they were going. When my name was called, I assumed I was about to be taken to another cell but then I was told that I was being released, that my bail had been made. I was dumbfounded. Apparently, some organization in sympathy with us was making bail for either all of us or those of us that appeared to be too poor to make bail themselves. It had never occurred to me and I had never been told, that my bail could come from donations by Free Speech Movement sympathizers, but that was not the only pleasant surprise I got that night.

In the early morning hours at Santa Rita, another rumor was that they were driving released bustees (I had assumed these were people whose families had made their bail) to the gate and dumping them on the highway, miles and miles away from any town. Santa Rita jail was in the boonies. They were being left by the road with no way to get home. So, now that I was over worrying how I would get out, my fear became how I would get home. I began to panic. It was 3 a.m. I had not yet learned how to hitchhike. I did not even know which direction Berkeley was from there.

From the jail to the gate, on the bus, I chewed on that problem. By that time, I was beginning to shake from the whole experience. We stopped and I walked with wobbly knees to the front of the bus, unable to see anything outside because the windows were painted over. As I stepped down, gingerly, someone reached in from outside to help me. I was very surprised. It was the last thing I expected. Then, I looked up and saw what looked like miles of headlights along the side of the road disappearing into the distance. I stepped into the lights, bewildered, blinked at the woman with arms outstretched to me and said, “Who are all these people? Who are you, who are all these cars?”  And, she said, as I fell sobbing into her arms, “We’re the faculty. We’ve come to take you home.”

I burst into tears. I had not cried throughout the whole thing. I had been very careful not to cry, even though other women around me were breaking down and were being supported by the women near them. I have to admit that I had actually been a little scornful of some of the crying women and had restrained the urge to slap them briskly and tell them to shape up. But, at that point, I myself burst into tears and felt that I was finally released from having to maintain a brave face.

On the long way home, I told the occupants of the car, students and faculty, that this was probably the end of my marriage and I only hoped it was not the end of my college career. I was coming down hard, but everyone there was supportive. The driver, the woman who had helped me, assured me that my status at UC would not be compromised but she could offer no predictions about my marriage. I told her that, unless some unforeseen miracle occurred, this was probably the last nail in the coffin. When she let me out at the front door of my apartment building in north Oakland, it was all I could do to climb the stairs. Then my husband stuck it to me.


The first casualty  of the Free Speech Movement for me, personally, was my marriage. I had been right to worry. I got home from Santa Rita about dawn, very tired and feeling that I had been through hell in a certain kind of way—certainly not in a physical way, as the freedom riders had, but definitely in a psychological and emotional way. I walked into my apartment and Mike said, “There you are,” and gave me a hug. Then he held me off at arm’s length and said, “Go take a bath, you stink.” I thought, “Gee, I would have thought there might be a little more sympathy from him if he really loved me the way he says he does.” But, that was it. “Go take a bath, you stink.”

As I headed to the tub, I thought to myself,  “Okay. If that’s the way you feel about it, I’m just going to go and live my life.” The song I was singing between then and when I left, while playing my Sears and Roebuck klunker guitar, was Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.” I did not actually leave, physically, for a few more weeks. I was waiting for the Spring semester to start at UC, but I was gone emotionally not long after I got home from jail.

What the separation did was encourage me to ditch my past life in a lot of ways and I now entered into a new, much more independent phase. In trying to talk me out of becoming involved in the FSM, Mike had pointed out that he was going to be a lawyer and anything I did that got me busted could implicate him and impact his law career. I had never been clear on exactly how that would work. Your wife is busted and, what? They don’t accept you to law school? They kick you out of the bar? How does your wife’s rap sheet have anything to do with your law career? Couldn’t figure it out then, can’t figure it out now.

Whether there was any truth to Mike’s claim or not, I was determined that I was not going to allow someone else’s worries about my actions to influence what I was going to do. My attitude was that if you want to be with me, to be around me, you are just going to have to live with the fact that I am going to be doing this. And, that is exactly what I said to my husband. I said, “You can assume that I’m going to be involved in the Civil Rights Movement. You can assume I’m going to do what I feel is right and moral and I’m not going to be held back by someone else’s career plans.” It was not exactly the attitude required to save the marriage.

We were not quite through with each other, however. There was one more time when Mike might have been able to head off my leaving him. That was when I told my story at the synagogue Mike and I attended and were considering joining. We were, at that point, only going to Sunday morning coffee and discussion, as I had not yet officially “joined the Jewish people.” I could not decide if an atheist could declare, as part of a ceremony, that “God is One” without lying and so I had not yet officially converted.

It was the first Sunday after the bust and the very large room in which these “coffee and bagel” discussions were held was standing-room-only that morning, full of very excited people. Many UC Berkeley students were there, trying to explain events to synagogue members, via an open mic. All of these explainers were male. There were hundreds of people there. Although it was a reform synagogue, I was the only female student to speak. I may also have been the only not-yet-Jew to speak and Mike, clearly alarmed, tugged on my clothing in protest as I got up to take my turn. It was certainly the largest group I had addressed at that point in my life.

I tried to explain that the Free Speech Movement was about only one restriction on students, the right to organize on-campus, but that there was a wider context that had to do with the generally restrictive role of the university in our lives. Many of us, I said, were clearly adults over the age of 21 (me, just barely), and felt intensely all of the unnecessary restrictions on us. The whole attitude of in loco parentis, that we were children and the university was obligated to parent us, I hoped to point out, was obsolete. To illustrate my point, I began talking about out-dated dorm rules for women, still in effect at Berkeley.

This was like waving a red flag in that patriarchal group and male voices immediately began to shout and boo me down. In their minds, apparently, I was digressing from free speech issues. They succeeded, ironically enough, in heading off any further speech on my part. I was unable to finish my point and sat down, very pissed off. No one cared. Mike later sneered, “Well, what did you expect? Women’s dorm rules have nothing to do with free speech.” Having recently been expelled from two different colleges for holding unacceptable political views, on the pretext that I had broken dorm rules, I was not very open to that idea. Somewhat cowed by the experience then, I now understand that I was merely years ahead of my time.

During the social part of this gathering, I was surrounded and grilled by what was probably the same group of young men. One could easily imagine that they were lawyers or law students, men very similar to my husband. Again, there was not a single woman in this group or a single FSM bustee who was admitting it. Though those who had booed me for “digressing” must have been sympathetic to the FSM, as far as I could tell, none of them had been sympathetic enough to get busted, or to even believe that there had been police brutality. In my book, digression or no, I had more right to present my case than they did because I had placed my ass on the line and was proud of it.

There was no one there who would defend me in any way. After castigating me for bringing up irrelevant issues like women’s dorm rules, they moved on to my claim of police brutality, specifically my story about Art Goldberg and the man in the basement. They asked me how I knew it, how I could see what was happening, if Art and this other man had been surrounded by cops. My answer was that, in both cases, I was sitting on the floor and it happened exactly in front of me, so that I could glimpse snatches of action between the legs of the cops.

I have always resented that these young men, who, I gathered, had not been there, would impugn my credibility by suggesting that I had either imagined or made up both stories and that resentment figured largely into firming up my resolve to go through with leaving my husband. I felt that, rather than sneering, he should have come to my rescue in that situation. He knew how honest I was and at how much of a disadvantage I was, a shaky little southern “shiksa” defending herself to a bunch of future Jewish lawyers, male future Jewish lawyers. He was a male future Jewish lawyer. He knew me. He should have defended me. If I had been waffling at all about leaving him, that little scene fixed it.

The two of us were subsequently hauled over by synagogue members to meet an elderly Dutch Jewish couple who had survived the holocaust and were eager to lecture us/me. For about two hours I was told in no uncertain terms that I knew nothing about restriction, nothing about oppression, because I lived in such a free country. I had no right to complain about anything, and I would not if I had seen what they had seen. In respect for their experience, I did not defend myself to them. I did not point out that if I have no right to complain about anything because I live in a free country, my country is not all that free.

The specifics of the Free Speech Movement are well covered in the history books and films and only dimly remembered by me, since my attention immediately swiveled to holding my own in the largest anthropology department in the world while working half-time to finance it. Also, all but the most memorable of my FSM memories have been replaced by all the highly memorable events that took place later in Berkeley, by comparison to which the FSM looks positively boring. For the rest of the semester, while I was still attending OCC, Charles and I regularly went to UC at noon to see if anything was happening, so I do have memories of being on campus, wearing the paper V that was given to us to identify us as bustees and cheering reports from FSM leaders on their meetings with the administration. I was in the Greek Theater when Mario was dragged out by the tie. I was in the crowd applauding the faculty as they emerged from the Faculty Senate meeting, wherein they voted to support us. I remember being amused to wield my Barrish Bail Bond pen bearing the inscription “Don’t Perish in Jail, Call Barrish for Bail,” probably obtained at a bustee meeting, prominently around my friends at OCC and explaining the joke to Charles.

There were endless meetings related to the trial and rallies to keep the student body informed. We were divided up into groups and assigned to lawyers who volunteered to defend us pro bono. There was a very chaotic meeting at the Berkeley Theater I remember leaving very upset. I do not remember ever being in the physical presence of a judge, so I am guessing that the trial must have taken place between the lawyers and the judge and we never actually appeared anywhere but, perhaps, at an arraignment. I participated as much as I could in these meetings and certainly took part in everything that went on around the FSM in the Anthro Department, but, since it began to appear that we had won on the specific issue of tabling on campus, I budgeted my energy carefully and prioritized my college career over political activism, at least for a while.

Like most FSMers, I was convicted of trespassing in a pubic place and failure to disperse when ordered to do so, but not, in spite of going limp, resisting arrest. I was fined $300 and I think that is all that happened to me. Some people got probation, but I do not believe I was one of them. Three hundred dollars for me in those days (and, actually, now) was a huge financial burden. Since we were sentenced in the summertime, I happened to be working full-time at the Lowie Museum and was thus eligible to borrow from the Campus Credit Union. On my loan application, for “purpose of the loan,” I wrote, “pay my FSM fine.”

I made two payments. When I went to make the third, I was told that there was no record of my ever having taken out a loan at the credit union and no one would take my money. I have no explanation for that and have pondered it for decades. I thought, at first, some anonymous person had paid off the loan for me, but if that had happened, they would have had a record of it and told me. There was no record. This being a time long before computers were commonplace, and me having worked in umpteen offices as a clerk-typist, I now suspect that someone working at the credit union, maybe a student clerk, maybe another bustee, was sympatico and cooked the books to make my loan disappear. I have no other explanation, but that one certainly fits the times. It is certainly true that I had nothing to do with whatever happened, I tried hard to pay it.

Part of our sentencing process involved the requirement that we write the judge letters explaining our role in the FSM sit-in and why we participated. Our lawyers explained to us that here was an opportunity to lighten our individual sentences by saying, essentially, that we were duped by the Communists, did not know any better and were sorry. A handful of people actually did that, or there were rumors that they did, but everyone I knew wrote a letter similar to the one I wrote:

Dear Judge Crittenden:

I am in complete agreement with the other defendants as to the collective reasons why we staged a sit-in in Sproul Hall. You know the reasons, I won’t repeat them. I have only one thing further to say.

I sat in, in addition to the reasons you know, because I felt it was time to show in a clear-cut, forthright manner that American students are adults. They will try for months and months in a responsible manner to change their situation and when the powers-that-be will continue to treat them as children they will demand their rights as mature citizens.

Getting more personal, I have been working hard since I was 13 years old, that is, 9 years. I have attended college in the face of a near-complete lack of funds. I have voted, written my congressman on many occasions, worked for my political party, volunteered hours and hours of my time to work for causes I believe in, religious, social, and political, and have paid taxes for almost 10 years. I never cheated on my income tax, I never stole equipment or supplies from my employer, I never failed to vote since I turned 21 and I am fully aware of the events taking place in the world which I need to know as a responsible citizen. Yet I have been subjected to being told in two universities which I have attended what to think, what to wear, where to eat, live, go and with whose permission and with whom. I have been suspended from one university without notice, a hearing or reasons given.

When one more university attempted to do the same kind of thing, [meaning to other students, following a principle that would affect me] deny me my full rights as a citizen, i.e. to suspend me for activities done on my own time at my own discretion–I felt that the time had come. This was the last straw. I resented the arbitrary banishment of political tables, but I found there was some degree of reason for that, but the disciplining by the university of students for acting as mature citizens should act–trying to change their society by peaceful means–is an act of utter presumptuousness and audacity and I refused to take it meekly.

I had doubts when I went into Sproul Hall, but after observing the childish tantrums of my society, composed of adults who don’t even vote, let alone read newspapers and pay taxes without some kind of dishonesty, I haven’t the least fear that I have done anything wrong. I would do it again, this time without hesitation. I would do it because I’m an adult,  a responsible, aware, taxpaying, concerned and patriotic citizen.                                        Sincerely, Barbara Samuels

Sometime between 1965 and l967, when I worked at the museum, I received there, addressed to me personally, the threatening letter below. Because my friend, Hazel, also an FSM bustee received a similar letter, I have always assumed that it was inspired by my participation in the sit-in, even though other bustees at the museum did not receive such a letter:

Dear Comrade,

It has come to our attention that in the past you have made unpatriotic statements. You have also participated in certain activities which are deemed detrimental to the preservation of our Republic. Should you have reason to regret your nefarious activities, now is the time to stand up and deny the [illegible due to age] foul deeds you have committed.

Kindest regards,

Minutemen of America.


Coming out of the FSM, I found that I had incorporated a greater sense of possibility into my life and the rest of my experience in Berkeley kept me on that track. Since then, I have known that I cannot live my life in such a way as to exclude possibilities for change, change for myself or change in my society. The FSM was a turning point for me in several ways. One was the experience of being part of a mass movement and learning what that feels like. It was a feeling I spent the “rest of my life,” in the words of Michael Rossman in Berkeley in the Sixties, trying to preserve, create, enhance and defend. There is no doubt that that feeling alone changed my relationship to the world forever. It also changed me by counteracting the gloom that had resulted from my earlier experience of the failure of a student movement I had sparked and led and doing so spectacularly.

On a less personal level, one of the side-effects of the Free Speech Movement was a broader discussion of the role of the university in society, which included arguments as to the definition of a university, what a university education should look like and what the role of a university student should be. When Mario famously characterized the university as a “sausage factory,” he was touching on something that was widely felt, but hard to describe. The documents below, which may or may not have been published in a form other than a flyer, may provide some indication of the kind of general dialogue that went on during that period of time on this subject. During my visits to the UC campus during the semester of the run-up to the FSM and then for my subsequent years in Berkeley I kept a file of documents I selected from among the snowstorm of flyers, memos and newspaper clippings that were thrown at me. It was all I could do to clutch such documentation to my breast for 50-plus years, perhaps hoping I would someday be able to sort out what the hell happened to me. Some of the file survived my subsequent years of chaos. These are selections from among the survivors:


One of the most recent of the charges made against the FSM is that the members are not interested in obtaining an education, that the FSM is blocking education. This is an interesting accusation, for it brings up the questions: what is education, and how is it furthered in a university community. Basically, the aims of education are twofold: one, to train the mind to think independently and logically; two, to acquaint a mind with ideas—ideas of the past and of the present—and to infuse it with a desire to put these ideas before the society at large. A university should be a forum for ideas, a place where the expression and the communication of ideas is furthered in every way possible. Classes, ideally, should represent an exchange of ideas by teacher and pupil; and, in order to reach a larger audience, members of the university community should have the greatest conceivable latitude in expressing their thoughts, both orally and on paper. As everyone knows, this has not been the case at Berkeley this semester.

I am not going to talk about the restrictions which were placed upon speakers on campus. You are all aware of the sections in the FSM platform concerning these. I want to speak about the most ignored section of the FSM platform: the section requesting permission to sell on campus noncommercial literature containing less than 25% advertising. In effect, the current restrictions on the selling on campus of at least one academic journal, Particle Magazine, a quarterly interested in science.  Particle accepts articles written by students many, but most certainly not all of whom, attend UC at Berkeley. It has been commended by the U.S. State Department for its role as the only American magazine devoted solely to student research. Particle may not be sold from a table on campus not only because it contains advertising, but also because its staff is not composed solely of Cal students. Now, a magazine without an outside subsidy must either accept advertising or sell at a prohibitive cost. It is simply not possible to comply with a regulation condemning all advertising. But the requirement that only Berkeley students may work on the magazine evidences a narrow provincial attitude on the part of the administration. Does it believe that the Berkeley campus can exist as an open forum for all ideas if all ideas are defined as those thoughts indigenous to Berkeley? Censorship is simply not compatible with the operation of a great school. To quote Robert Autchins, a university “is the center of independent thought and criticism, where everything may be discussed. A noncontroversial university is a contradiction in terms. A university where no debate is going on is as good as dead.”

Students who recognize the dangers of restricting political activity must also realize that such restrictions never end in that one spear of activity which they intend to regulate. Inevitably, these restrictions must spread—have spread. Is it injurious to the precious reputation of UC to have student academic journals sold on campus? Is it anarchistic to desire the communication of new intellectual matters to the general university society? Do not allow this university to abridge education here while maintaining that it is the FSM instead which is undermining the function of this or any other university. Signed,  Barbara Goldberg

President, Particle-Berkeley

The document below also addresses this role-of-the-university issue. Since it is undated, except for a reference to a date, I cannot say at what point in the history of the FSM it appeared, but I am guessing the letters to Mario Savio and Art Goldberg are the letters expelling them, which triggered an escalation of student action. Other than that, there is not much context I can provide for it. In spite of its chronological ambiguity, this document is some indication that the Free Speech Movement was nothing like a “panty raid” as Professor John Searle describes it in “Berkeley in the Sixties,” but a tidal wave of philosophical interchange between various components of the university community. It is signed by T. Walter Herbert of the Graduate Ministry, Wesley Foundation and 11 co-signers, representing various religious organizations on campus. One reason I probably hung on to it is that I was still processing my relationship to organized religion, after the mauling I had received from my own.  Another is that it validates my own assessment of the Free Speech leaders, that they were fine idealistic people, seen as such even by a highly mainstream religious organization.


It has been my task in this situation to be an unofficial intermediary between the FSM and the statewide administration, and in that task I have become familiar with people in University Hall whom I respect and admire, and I have become an intimate of the steering committee of the FSM, the members of which I respect and admire. I have labored in the hope that a humane outcome for this circumstance could be forthcoming.

Before the Regents meeting of Friday, the 20th of November, I felt there was substantial basis for that hope, because it seemed that some genuine mutual understanding between the two parties to this dispute might be developing. That day my hopes evaporated. The events of that day gave not one shred of indication that the basic issues of the students’ protest had even been recognized. Those events threw everyone end over end into confusion, and it has become a hideous confusion.


Out of that confusion have emerged the terrible events of the last days. They were triggered by an event which crystallized a central dilemma. I learned of the event on Saturday afternoon; by Sunday afternoon it was clear to me that we were going to face a tragic disaster. The event in question was the sending of the now famous letters to Mr. Mario Savio and Mr. Art Goldberg by Dr. Edward Strong, and the central dilemma it is as follows:

1. Those letters were sent in specific obedience to explicit and unambiguous rulings by the Regents. In order not to send them, Dr. Strong would have had to disobey the Regents.

2. Under normal circumstances, those accused would be clearly culpable. But, the circumstances are extraordinary in two respects.

A. Despite what anyone may say, this battle has been and continues to be a battle about freedom of political expression on the campus.

B. The direct action taken by the FSM is based on a conviction they hold regarding the Berkeley administration, namely that this administration has misused the channels which are designed to transmit students’ criticism; that these channels have been used, in fact, to contain and stifle the very criticism they should transmit. They are convinced that they have resorted to direct action because no other means of expression is open to them. This conviction, true or false, constitutes a charge against this administration which is very serious, and this conviction is documented extensively in the report on “Administrative Pressures and Student Political Activities.”

Therefore, the only possible situation in which the charges against the students for their direct action tactics could be given a fair hearing would be one in which these matters could be heard impartially. No administration, however wise, could ever be thus impartial.

Thus, we have the central dilemma. On the one hand, Chancellor Strong could not do otherwise then make the charges. On the other hand, the FSM could not do otherwise then reject them.


Out of this hiatus has come an escalation of terrible consequence. It is a tragic disaster because there are extraordinarily fine people on both sides. And, it is a disaster which is deeply portentous because there are weighty questions on both sides. On the one side, we have a question of law and order, whose importance can scarcely be exaggerated. On the other side, we have the quest for human freedom. This tragic confrontation is symbolized before the entire nation in the recent exchange between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King.  And in the local case there has been no dialogue, no communication of a significant kind, between the two sides. And there are two sides. One side has tremendous power, the other lacks the funds to even publish its case for the entire public, but it remains a fact that there are two sides. But neither side is prepared at this terribly late date, to listen genuinely to the other. So it seems we face a tragic catastrophe, unless some forum can emerge in which both sides can be fairly heard, and deliberately weighed.

I profoundly hope that the faculty of this campus will find itself capable of assuming this extremely difficult burden and will do the desperately needed job of promoting freedom and justice for all.

This statement has an addendum dated December 4, 1964, the day after the beginning of the Sproul Hall sit-in. It reads:

I.  We, the undersigned members of the Interfaith Staff Workers, welcome the recent demonstration of concern by the faculty for healing the breach in the university community.

II. We reaffirm our support for full constitutional freedom in the area of public speech for students on and off campus.

III. To this and we hope that all [illegible but probably says “participants in the dispute”] will place their trust and and submit their grievances to the faculty.

This addendum is signed by 17 people, some of whom had cosigned the earlier document.*

My best guess on the provenance of the following draft proposal is that it was generated by Professor Gerald Berreman, the anthropology professor most sympatico with the FSM and my advisor later on, and other anthropology professors, and given to their graduate students to be circulated around the department. The results of the meeting for which it was prepared are


*Among the signers of the addendum is one Barbara A. Arnold, which is my birth name. This person is not me, nor is related to me.

included in notably in Berkeley in the Sixties, as footage shows the Faculty Senate, having resolved in favor of the students by a large majority, emerges to the joyful cheers of students crowded in the hallway outside the door. I was in that crowd, near the door, with other anthro students, clapping and shouting with glee and no small measure of vindication:


In order to end the present crisis, to establish the confidence and trust essential to the restoration of normal university life and to create a campus environment that encourages students to exercise free and responsible citizenship in the university and in the community at large, the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate moves the following propositions:

  1. That there shall be no university disciplinary measures against members or organizations of the university community for activities prior to December 8 connected with the current controversy over political speech and activity.
  2. That the time, place and manner of conducting political activity on the campus shall be subject to reasonable regulation to prevent interference within normal functions of the University; that the regulations now in effect for this purpose shall remain in effect provisionally pending a future report of the Committee on Academic Freedom concerning the minimal regulations necessary.
  3. That the content of speech or advocacy should not be restricted by the university. Off campus student political activities shall not be subject to university regulation. On campus advocacy or organization of such activities shall be subject only to such limitations as may be imposed under section 2.
  4. That the Division pledge unremitting effort to secure the adoption of the foregoing policies and call on all members of the University community to join with the faculty in its efforts to restore the university to its normal functions.

On December 3, 1994, I was in Berkeley attending the 30-year reunion of the Free Speech Movement.

Being then a stringer for the Garberville Redwood Record, now defunct, I also covered it for the paper, since refugees from Berkeley constituted some portion of the Record readership. The article may or may not have contributed to the subsequent demise of the Record, whose corporate bosses in Fortuna were growing increasingly unhappy with the number of environmental and political stories being reported by myself and my colleagues and had reprimanded us for being overly investigative. Small paper, lives on ads, the publisher rules. Some excerpts from my article provide a bit of update on the continuing activism of FSM leaders:

Free Speech Movement Pioneers in Berkeley

. . .The reunion opened December 1 with a showing of the relevant portion of the Academic Award-nominated film Berkeley in the 60s. . . This documentary was released in 1990 and was shown at the Garberville Theater even before its official world premiere in Berkeley. . . . A panel, . . . followed the film, with presentations by five former Free Speech Movement participants, including this local resident.

This was followed by an audience participation period that quickly established a theme that recurred throughout the reunion, namely, the last election and its implications to free speech. . . .

Proposition 187 was the focus of much discussion. The new law requires that state-funded medical services and education be denied to illegal immigrants and that doctors, nurses and teachers report suspected violators to authorities. Students sought guidance from the “veterans” on this issue, while the “vets” tried to decide whether stick to the agenda or yield the floor to an unplanned discussion of current issues raised by the students. The first evening ended on an uneasy note.

The high point of the second day’s activities was a noon rally on the steps of Sproul Hall, the building taken over by students in 1964. The right to hold such noon rallies, advocating political issues, was one of the outcomes of the FSM. Speakers were, with one exception, the same speakers whose voices were heard 30 years ago on these very steps. The charge that had been brought the preceding night, that the old-timers were not listening to the young activists was effectively countered in the speeches at the noon rally.

Recognizing the power of the young students and honoring their ideas, Jackie Goldberg, former FSM leader and now a member of the Los  es District Board of Education, warned them against cynicism. “Cynicism,” she said, “is when people in power tell people out of power that there is nothing they can do about things. We are here to tell you that you can change it.”

Jack Weinberg. . . now a Greenpeace organizer, also spoke to the new law. “Proposition 187,” he said, “is an attempt to solve the problem of overpopulation by placing a wall around our prosperity, but every economic question must be placed into the framework of the limited world. . . . The struggle over the arrangement of chairs on the Titanic is irrelevant.”

Mario Savio, whose voice moved thousands of students to occupy Sproul Hall in 1964,  moved hundreds again 30 years later. Now a professor of mathematics, he looked much the same. Only the color, distribution and length of his hair—it was longer—had changed. Like the others, he moved quickly from recalling the events of 30 years ago to speak to issues raised in the last election.

“The rich,” he said,  “want us to enter into a coalition with them to make the poor suffer. That coalition requires you to believe the unbelievable, to find enemies were there are none. That’s the problem with Proposition 187. It is ‘creeping fascism.’ American know-nothing fascism.”

Savio called for “an organized campaign of non-compliance” on the part of teachers and doctors, similar to the campaign that produced conscientious objectors to the draft during the Vietnam War. It must be a  public cooperative effort, he warned, in which no participant would be alone or unsupported.

Redwood Record, Garberville CA

ca. December 6, 1994

I went to the reunion for myself, rather than as a reporter and, though it was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, I had no regrets about having gone. I reconnected with friends who had moved my life, was cured of torches carried far too long, spoke on the role of community in social change at one meeting as one of the interviewees in Berkeley in the Sixties, was interviewed as part of a follow-up study on Berkeley activists and came away at least as satisfied as those who have attended high school and college class reunions, none of which I ever attended.

At the reunion, I had been validated to the core by the sight of  FSM leaders I had so respected, still highly respected productive members of their communities, still active, still socially conscious, still flexible and open to the younger generation, still courageous as hell in their commitment to making a better society. To have marched with them is an honor I would never have imagined could be mine. The high point of the reunion for me was the opportunity I was given to tell a lecture hall full of then-current Berkeley students, in answer to a question, that I was not at all sorry and would do it all again, certainly the FSM part, in a heartbeat.

© Jentri Anders, 2016


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