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Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl responds to reporters' questions about September 11 campus memorial events
5 September 2002

Note: Below is the transcript from Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl's press conference held Sept. 5, 2002. The questions follow a statement from Chancellor Berdahl.

Reporter: 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.

Berdahl: That's absolutely absurd. We sing the Star Spangled Banner frequently on this campus, before every football game, before every basketball game. The banning of the flag is an absurd comment as well. There's no suggestion of that. There's no thought of that.

Reporter: What do you think of the ASUC (the campus's student government) decision last night to use white ribbons in place of red, white and blue ribbons?

Berdahl: I'm told that was a financial decision because the white ribbons were cheaper. We told them well, if that's the problem we'll pay for red, white and blue ribbons. We'll have red, white and blue ribbons.

Reporter: Jessica Quindel (the president of the graduate student organization) said the white ribbons were going to be (used) because red, white and blue ribbons could offend someone.

Berdahl: I don't think that's the case at all. It doesn't offend anyone, as far as I'm concerned, and we're paying for red, white and blue ribbons.

Reporter: So there will be red, white and blue ribbons …

Berdahl: Yes. Yes.

Reporter: Will there be, during the half-hour, will there be a Pledge of Allegiance, will there be a school-sponsored Pledge of Allegiance or Star Spangled Banner?

Berdahl: I don't think that the final planning of that event is in place as yet, and so I can't tell you exactly what's going to be there. I want that part of the program to be thoughtful, to be meditative, to be reflective, to honor those who died. There will be music and there will be some statements … I will speak, as well as the student leaders organizing this event.

Reporter: If red, white and blue ribbons have already been distributed, why does Jessie Gabriel, ASUC President, and Jessica Quindel of the Graduate Assembly state that only white ribbons …

Berdahl: I really don't know, but we've been in touch with Jessie Gabriel about this and there are going to be red, white and blue ribbons. That's all.

Reporter: Are you concerned about the idea of offending anyone?

Berdahl: About the idea of offending anyone? With a memorial service?

Reporter: No, no, with red, white and blue ribbons.

Berdahl: No. No. As I said, we have flags hanging on this campus, one right outside this building. We sing the Star Spangled Banner. This is not an unpatriotic campus.

Report: Do you see that there's become a concern raised by Jessica Quindel in saying that the red, white and blue ribbons would cause a concern?

Berdahl: Why would they cause a concern? I don't know. She can speak for herself. She doesn't speak for the University. I speak for the university.