Berkeley in the Sixties

Topics: University, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, House Un-American Activities Committee Pages: 2 (448 words) Published: February 7, 2006
Beginning in the late 1950s, the idea of higher education had become something tangible and many middle and upper class students began to think of college education as a right, rather than a privilege. Those students arriving at Berkeley were extremely different than their parents were at their age, and because of its location, Berkeley became the most notable campus full of student energy and emotion. But it wasn't all fun for the students. Most of them were politically and socially conscious. They were involved with organizations like TASC (Towards an Active Student Community); demonstrated against HUAC- House on Un-American Activities Committee; continued in the fight for civil rights with SNCC, and most importantly, SLATE. SLATE was comprised of a group of students who were running for student government on a platform that pledged to end discrimination at the university. What they were also attempting was to create a free thinking environment and remove themselves from the "multiversity" environment which basically made students feel like cogs in a giant machine. At the time, Berkeley had many prominent professors whose system of education was not a personal one and left students feeling neglected.

The Bay Area where the campus was located has always had a tradition of rebellion and nonconformity which, when combined with the beat poets and progressive radio stations of the time, helped to cultivate the cultural radicalism that Berkeley was known for. The president of the University, Clark Kerr, attempted to limit the new surge of political activism by issuing what was known as the Kerr Directives. These were somewhat liberalized rule that governed campus political speech and activities. It prohibited a lot of organizational activity like fundraising, recruitment, demonstrations, or parties that were to take place on campus. Accordingly, the students began to organize off campus and it kept the students aware of what was going on in the world as a whole....
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