Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Berzerkeley Politics

UC Berkeley activism has recently been seen at one of the most untimely of places – commencement.

But this should come as no surprise – the last several graduation ceremonies encountered politically motivated issues and complaints when there weren't any. Steve Westly spoke regarding his candidacy for Governor at a Political Science commencement days after a political author argued against capitalism at the graduation exercises. Johnny Mosley was met with signs asking "Why Johnny?" More recently, Speaker Fabian Núñez and former presidential candidate Howard Dean refused to cross a picket line to speak to the graduates.

According to the Daily Cal, the Californians Senior Class Council attempted to find a non-political speaker to avoid an over-politicized graduation or a last minute cancellation. Clearly, they failed in selecting Danny Glover.

Selecting Glover as a non-political candidate would be as apolitical as picking Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan to speak. He is well known for his political activities and is a frequent critic of President Bush.

This is not to say that Berkeley shouldn't have a political speaker. It should! Cal is known for being a hotbed of political activism, a fact which all sides should learn to embrace if they haven't already. Nonetheless, the graduation ceremonies are a sacred event for Cal students. Every effort should be made to ensure that it goes off without a hitch and appropriate dignity be granted to each graduate.

It is important for those planning commencement ceremonies to warn speakers in advance that labor unions may picket the events. These same labor unions should avoid picketing graduation ceremonies as injury is placed upon the students incapable of making the changes requested and not on university administrators that are able to negotiate the demands of labor.

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