Berkeley in the 60s

Aaron Bady and Mike Konczal have a piece up at Dissent on the reuse of the Reagan playbook at the University of California, linking the 1960s to the 2000s.

The last few years that point has been broadly made several times and in several different ways, much more than it had when I started researching the University of California and the Master Plan during my graduate work. But one thing that I think is still under appreciated is the state’s use of violence and force against students. I have read numerous accounts of students and faculty getting teargassed whether they were involved in protests or not, and it was quite striking to me — and I emphasize this when the topic comes up in classes — when I realized that in the most heated days, the most straitlaced students, those going to classes and keeping with the most conservative traditions of education, were getting gassed even in the classrooms because the gas attacks was so widespread and severe.

Frank Newman, the dean of the law school (later state Supreme Court justice) includes an account in his oral history for Berkeley here.

N:[…]Well, Vasak was fascinated by all this, and we were concerned with the human rights implications, specifically those affecting civil liberties. So he and I did a lot of poking around. He taught me how to use a wet handkerchief for tear gas. On one occasion he and I, after running with one of the mobs, found ourselves all alone, in one comer of the big lower plaza of the student center; and a cop came up and fired tear gas at us.
H: At you?
N: Yes. And we were dressed nicely; we were always careful to do that so we would be segregated; and I learned to handle tear gas.1

  1. Frank C. Newman, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1989 and 1991 by
    Carole Hicke, Regional Oral History Office, University of California at
    Berkeley, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History