This afternoon I went down to the campus protest rally (part of the strike called for today to demand increased funding for higher education in California).Â It so far has scored only one helicopter, and that since I left.Â Everyone was there: the drum and dancing group, the “Free Leonard Peltier” people, some really mysterious setups including a large wagon wheel made, and nicely, of corrugated cardboard, labeled “Karma”. I may have some reflections on the current protests later, but it was in any case nice to see profs, students, the occasional bemused dog cadging ear scruggles, and the usual Berkeley types marching to their own drummers, some quite oddly measured and far away, all on a beautiful sunny day.
Well, almost everyone.Â I asked some people, “where are the athletes?”Â Nobody knew; someone said the coaches tell them not to demonstrate, but that’s impossible. As we know, intercollegiate sports teaches teamwork, selfless commitment to the community, sacrifice, and courage, and as we furthermore know, our sports teams are the public face of our university. And the coaches are the mentors of citizenship and responsibility for their charges.Â So I do not understand why the 850 of them, who are quite nicely cared for and do not pay any of the skyrocketing tuition crushing the other 20,000 students who occasionally get to watch them play, were not out, in uniform, marching for one or another version of justice and showing solidarity with the institution whose glory they advance, or maybe even providing disciplined, calm security.
It’s a mystery.