Quotes, bon mots, and noteworthy utterances from the campus and beyond
02 October 2009
BERKELEY — Over the past 25 years our pages have been filled with an abundance of interesting
quotes and provocative notions. Herewith, grabbers from each year of Berkeleyan publication since 1985. Unattributed quotes are from our own staff writers.
The Regents approved an 8.8 percent increase in faculty salaries and a .8 percent increase in benefits at their July meeting.
Aug. 21, 1985. The state of California contributed more than half of the campus's core budget that year.
[A] "new" social awareness has also definitely made an impact on campus life. Everybody knows what apartheid means now, and nobody thinks divestment means taking off your vest.
Sept. 4, 1985
"[In this year's] edition of the campus telephone directory, some staff and faculty listings contain electronic -mail addresses. The information allows individuals who have accounts with one of the campus computing systems to communicate with each other through a computer terminal."
February 5, 1986 — a new age dawns.
"My advice to newcomers is that they should be patient, and they shouldn't freak out. Eventually, things will fall into place."
Nancy Scheper-Hughes, dean of the Division of Freshman and Sophomore Studies, counsels confused undergraduates.
March 11, 1987
"Seems like old times. I haven't seen this many people at a Senate meeting since the 1960s and 1970s."
Academic Senate Chair Edwin Epstein, following a meeting of more than 300 Senate faculty called to debate adding an American Cultures course to the list of graduation requirements.
May 18, 1988
"It's as though the clock stopped on Oct. 17. Many people have not gotten themselves together."
Professor of psychology Rhona Weinstein, on the lingering psychological effects of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Nov. 29, 1989
"We are past the point of merely saying the best will go into the field and automatically rise to the top. … It just is not happening."
Psychology professor Christina Maslach, on attracting diverse faculty to Berkeley.
April 4, 1990
"It is crucial that we credit with good intentions those who question our good faith. There is no quicker route to destructive confrontation than believing that those who disagree are evilly motivated."
Chancellor Michael Heyman, in remarks before the campus Academic Senate.
April 10, 1990
"Students are coming in and saying, 'It's midterms and I have no books.' Some have only the clothes on their backs."
Becky White, manager of the Community Living Office, on the "huge, huge impact on the campus community" of the 1991 hills firestorm.
Oct. 21, 1991
"Dynamite and machetes are not tolerable in our society. Neither is shooting crazy people."
Professor of Electrical Engineering Steven Schwarz, reacting to the shooting of Rosebud Denovo by an Oakland police officer assisting campus police investigating an early-morning break-in at University House, occupied by then-Chancellor Tien and his wife. The officer claimed to have acted in
"On the positive side, I think the legislature is beginning to recognize we are really hurting."
UC Vice President William Baker, on pending cuts to the 1993-94 UC budget that would likely lead to a 5 percent pay cut for faculty and staff (as an alternative to significant systemwide layoffs), an increase in student fees, and a 2% cap on staff and faculty salary increases.
March 24, 1993
"People will admit to murder before they admit to having no sense of humor."
Psychology grad student Aaron Ware, a collaborator on a Berkeley study to identify the character traits common to good comedians. . . and bad ones.
Feb. 16, 1994
"It's fun to have the mayor in our office."
Admissions director Robert Laird, on the "curious dilemma" of having Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean as a halftime employee in undergraduate admissions.
April 12, 1995
"Some people still want tapioca pudding and liverwurst sandwiches."
Faculty Club executive chef Scott Walker, on the challenges of pleasing every one of the club's 1,800 members.
Oct. 16, 1996
"We still play what punk used to represent, the type of music that commercial stations don't know how to grab a hold of."
Xandy Buckner, KALX-FM operations manager.
March 5, 1997
"Students were wondering, is this really the profession I want to go into?"
Susan Rasky, professor of journalism, on the "sense of disappointment" felt by many students monitoring the mainstream media's coverage of O.J. Simpson and Monica Lewinsky.
Sept. 23, 1998
"We must protect vital programs and find new sources of revenue as we become more and more a publicly assisted rather than publicly supported institution."
Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien.
May 19, 1999
"Ironic doesn't even begin to describe this event. When did we become respectable?"
Lynn Savio, widow of Free Speech Movement icon Mario Savio, at the dedication of the Free Speech Movement Café, funded by an alumnus's gift.
Feb. 9, 2000
"I can't imagine anyone wanting to go to a football game on Saturday."
Football coach Tom Holmoe, on postponing the Bears' Sept. 15 game against Rutgers because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Sept. 17, 2001
A weblog ('blog' for short) is a web-based tool for spreading information on a variety of topics around the world via the Internet.
Our first attempt to explain an emerging online phenomenon. Aug. 15, 2002
"You only have to look at the governor's budget proposal for 2003-04 to realize that there are going to be huge impacts on non-instructional areas that are absolutely scary."
Academic Senate Chair Catherine Koshland
Jan. 30, 2003
"What will happen will be this: The President will give an order. [The attack will be] rapid and accurate and dazzling and overwhelming . . . [and] will be greeted by the majority of Iraqi people as a moment of emancipation."
Journalist Christopher Hitchens, then affiliated with the School of Journalism, at a campus debate on U.S. policy toward Iraq.
Feb. 6, 2003
"It's a radical departure, and I can't help being concerned about it as an American citizen."
Chancellor Robert Berdahl, expressing his personal opinion about the direction of U.S. foreign policy during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
March 20, 2003
"The further north you go on campus, the more amicable the students are. Southsiders are more impassioned; Northside students tend to be less political. If you're going to put a glass bottle in the trash by accident, make sure you do it on the Northside."
Senior Jesse Trutna's advice for incoming Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.
July 27, 2004
"I'm a physicist, not a psychologist or a sociologist, so I can't explain all the origins of the unhappiness that I see among the underrepresented minority students [at Berkeley] — but there is no doubt that a critical part of it is their very small numbers and the isolation of individuals."
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, in a Q&A on diversity issues.
March 31, 2005
"There's an awful lot of culling, from the freshmen we admit to the faculty we hire, that makes this place not as diverse as it should be…."
Associate professor of microbial ecology Ignacio Chapela, following the settlement by Chancellor Birgeneau of his well-publicized tenure case.
Sep. 1, 2005
"We continue to be in a very difficult budget situation, and the one thing we cannot have happen is for the state government to think that we're not using the funds they give us already wisely and parsimoniously."
Chancellor Birgeneau, in a Q&A on the UC compensation controversy.
Jan. 19, 2006
"What exactly would Admini¬stra¬tor X, whom UC might readily attract for a mere $200,000 a year, be unable to do that Administrator Y, who insists on $500,000 a year, could do?"
Staffer Susan Agnew, in an opinion piece responding to Birgeneau's Q&A (above).
Feb. 2, 2006
"When they sat there face-to-face with the chancellor and had him explain the academic marketplace in which he has to compete for the top talent, it was very effective."
Kathleen Moazed, Berkeley's executive director of government affairs, on the strategy of having Birgeneau and other chancellors engage in one-on-one conversations with state legislators.
Feb. 16, 2006
"My sense of the instability of memory, and of the language in which we can recover it, has intensified. In some ways that's a gift as well; in some ways it's unbearable."
Professor of English Robert Hass, in an interview following his National Book Award nomination for Time and Materials.
Nov. 8, 2007
"This is the first study to show a level of sophistication not previously known in the sexual behavior of an octopus."
Roy Caldwell, professor of integrative biology and co-author of a study on the "lovemaking tactics" of Octopus Abdopus aculeatus.
April 3, 2008
"I remember having dinner at the Top Dog on Durant and dessert at the Swenson's ice-cream shop next door. We checked out Leopold's Records, Moe's, Shakespeare and Co., and the Print Mint. We strolled down Telegraph, a scene as strange and slightly scary to me as a Hieronymus Bosch tableau…"
Media librarian Gary Handman, responding to the editorial query, "Where Were You in '68?"
June 5, 2008
"It's wonderful just to be able to think, 'Oh, you have all the great ideas.' But if you have to explain them to intelligent young people, it forces you into a kind of clarity and self-discipline that you don't get if you're just talking to yourself."
Professor of Philosophy John Searle, in an interview pegged to his 50th year as a full-time faculty member at Berkeley.
April 23, 2009
"Everyone should be clear about one thing: We are not going to let Berkeley deteriorate."
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, concluding a Q&A on the seemingly endless UC budget crisis.
Aug. 27, 2009