of Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl
5, 2002 press conference
I have called this press conference to set the record
straight in response to the outrageous allegations published
by The California Patriot, a student journal,
and picked up by the wire services around the country.
The article (in the student journal, The
California Patriot) suggests that things
like the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless
America and the flag just might be banned
by the University.
That's absolutely absurd. We sing the Star
Spangled Banner frequently on this campus.
The central allegation of The California Patriot
is that the University of California, Berkeley is unpatriotic
in commemorating the events of September 11. This allegation
is wrong. This allegation is an insult to everyone at
this University. More importantly, this allegation is
disrespectful to the thousands who lost their lives
and disrespectful to the countless heroes who worked
valiantly to save lives on that day. These American
heroes inspired all of us and renewed our faith in the
We planned next week’s memorial service to be consistent
with the spirit and substance of the memorial service
we organized last year on September 17. At that service
15,000 people joined in thoughtful reflection. No one
suggested that that event was unpatriotic or un-American.
In fact, quite the opposite was true.
The noon events planned for this September 11 are to
be a memorial, also marked by contemplative music and
prayerful thought to honor those murdered a year ago. We
believe it would be a disservice to those who died to
allow this memorial to become a political rally of any
kind, for any purpose. This is where we differ with
The California Patriot. The California Patriot,
not the University, is trying to turn this into
a political event.
I will not allow the quiet moments from noon until 12:30
PM -- moments of prayer, grief, mourning, and reflection
-- I will not allow these sacred moments to be misused
for political purposes. And I deeply resent the implication
that by planning this service in this way, we are unpatriotic.
There is nothing more patriotic and American than honoring
those lost in this horror.
After the memorial service is completed, at 12:30 PM,
the microphone on Sproul Plaza will be open to people
who wish to express their thoughts. An open microphone
will also be available on Sproul Plaza for two hours
later that afternoon. There will be ample opportunity
for all to express their grief, their mourning, or their
political sentiments, as was the case on Sproul Plaza
a year ago.