I parked my car a few blocks from the UC Berkeley Campus and Sproul Plaza this morning about 8:05 AM and walked onto campus, interested to see what the place looked like after last night's melee, thousand-person strong protest and General Assembly.
Thousands of people Perhaps twenty intrepid #Occupiers were there, surrounded by an equal number of media. One of the media started to interview me, but when she found out she was, in essence, interviewing someone there to see what was going on himself, she lost interest. I did manage to get in comment to the effect that the viral video of police brutality from yesterday was appalling!
The #Occupiers had been there overnight, camping out in a few sleeping bags and tents that, as I understand it, the UC Chancellor finally conceded late last night could remain. All but one of the tents, which still remained pitched as I was leaving, was in the process of being stored away as I arrived.
Along with the #Occupiers and the media were six or seven UC Police standing off to the side of the steps. They didn't seem overly concerned; neither did they seem relaxed. I thought of going up to them and saying something like "You know, you guys are famous now!" but discretion became the better part of valor... I was a bit surprised to see that they didn't have any donuts.
But then an interesting thing happened. Four groups of about twenty students each and four very youngish-looking professor-types came and sat on the steps or in the plaza to hold their classes. At least two of the groups were discussing the #Occupation, budget cuts, Proposition 13 and social justice issues.
The professor who's group I listened to for a bit was discussing various philosophies of how education should be paid for. While discussing the "privatization" philosophy of the right, he asked of his students the semi-rhetorical question
Should Paying for Education Be Like Buying A Cupcake?
Then and there I decided that was going to be the title of this diary. So here's to you, unknown Berkeley Professor type person. First, for coming out and tacitly supporting the movement by holding your class or discussion group right next to the #Occupiers. And second, for the cupcake analogy. I think your students got the point.
As I left, the Plaza was heating up, both literally, thanks to solar power, and figuratively. I expect there will be a decent-sized #Occupy group there by noon, and someone mentioned something about an event at 6:00 PM.
I may go and take another look. Stay tuned.