Thursday, October 30, 2014

UC Berkeley Administration Displeased...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

News relese by the UC Berkeley:

Campus statement on commencement speaker
By Public Affairs, UC Berkeley
| October 29, 2014

UC Berkeley issued the following statement today (Wednesday, Oct. 29):

For many years it has been the responsibility of UC Berkeley undergraduates, through a committee known as the “Californians,” to select speakers for the university’s commencement ceremonies. In August the “Californians” chose Bill Maher as the speaker for the December commencement ceremony. However, last night the “Californians” reconvened without administration participation and came to a decision that the invitation should be rescinded.

The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech. For that reason Chancellor Dirks has decided that the invitation will stand, and he looks forward to welcoming Mr. Maher to the Berkeley campus. It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them. More broadly, this university has not in the past and will not in the future shy away from hosting speakers who some deem provocative.

Finally, the unfortunate events surrounding the selection of this year’s winter commencement speaker demonstrate the need to develop a new policy for managing commencement ceremonies. The new process will ensure that these events are handled in a manner commensurate with our values and enduring commitment to free speech. We will be announcing the new policy as soon as it is ready.

Interesting. I guess it is unacceptable for the Californians to reconsider and change their minds and selection without the expressed approval of the university administration. Perhaps it's just that some speech (politically approved speech?)is more free than other forms of speech or expression. To be expected one must suppose. But it would admirable if the administration provided more details.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. You can't rescind an invitation once it is extended. That's rude. I don't think this has anything to do with some speech being more free than other forms of speech. The school likely doesn't want to gain a reputation of extending and then rescinding invitations. Future invitees might decline if they think the invitation might later be rescinded.

  2. Well, yes you could. And should, if justified (for the right reasons).

    You might be right. But, I'm a skeptic/cynic

    Good point, you very well could be right.

  3. The brouhaha stems from Maher's statements on Muslims and the response led by Berkeley's Muslim students . Lots of angles; we know they never invited
    invited Regan to speak . Governor Reagan was propelled into the presidency, UC-Berkeley turned out 70
    Nobel laureates.

  4. Thank you for pointing that out BB-Idaho. My first reaction was simply that together with UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley publishes and records an enormous body of international, politically and sociologically significant content, comprising perhaps one of the greatest resources of discussion and thought in U.S. academia. To send off the graduating class with the antics of a television clown like Maher just seems incomprehensible. At least someone like Condoleeza Rice would have taken the responsibility seriously.

    This flap about the Muslim Mafia just sounds like so much of his typical off-the-wall ejaculate that he enjoys spouting off just for shock value. At one of the oldest and most venerated campuses in California. Preposterous.

  5. It is clear BB Idaho and Flying Junior that you weren't Reagan advocates.

    Politics rule, always have, always will, and academia unfortunately is influenced by politics. Elusive is the state of non bias.

    1. True, I'm no fan of Reagan. Nor Maher. I do place much value in higher education, though.

    2. I liked Reagan, can stomach Maher in very small doses, and I too value higher learning and education. Without bias and politics.

    3. I don't really know exactly what Berkeley was all about in the late 1960s. Suffice it to say they opposed the war in Viet Nam. I think just about everybody opposes it now in hindsight except for the ethnic Chinese that were forced to flee to the U.S.

      My thoughts are based on television programming made available by UC Berkeley on UCTV, broadcast on my own uhf station. My favorite is Harry Kreisler. He interviews people from every walk of life, politics, military and government and always asks them how their parents helped to shape their life as his first question.

      Actually, UC Santa Barbara has a more varied and interesting output of programming in its totality. These are wonderful discussions with people like Michelle Bachelet, Vicente Fox, Isabel Allende, Poet Laureate Charles Wright, Greg Mortenson, maybe the former commander of CENTCOM, an ordinary officer who served in Afghanistan, a three star general, people you would never hear anywhere else.

      I feel that Reagan became a better statesman in his later years. I can't really stand Maher because he is so smug and self-satisfied. Like a liberal GWB.

    4. Flying said: " I can't really stand Maher because he is so smug and self-satisfied. Like a liberal GWB."

      Or a liberal Limbaugh. An entertainer whose "humor" is often based on bigotry and contempt for those he considers to be inferior to himself.

  6. It looks clear from the comments above that inviting the bigoted bomb-thrower Maher in the first place was beneath the standards and reputation of this university.... and that reputation is further damaged by yanking him due to the intolerant braying of others.

  7. I should have said that you SHOULDN'T rescind an offer once it was extended. RN is correct, yes you could. And should, if justified (for the right reasons). Like when Condi Rice was invited - which RN blogged about previously.

    BTW, I very much like Mr. Maher, except for the "Muslim bigotry". But then Bill Maher does not think that highly of ALL religions. Although atheists usually come across as smug and self-satisfied to me* Maher, while in that mode is no different. Still, I absolutely prefer him to the liar Condi Rice. And I think Maher would take it seriously.

    Anyway, everyone knew his position on Islam before the most recent comments that people are objecting to. If they don't want him speaking for that reason they shouldn't have invited him to begin with.

    (*this is a general comment in regards to atheists in general and NOT a comment directed at RN).

  8. Condi Rice is no more a liar than any other Secretary of State in support of their boss. Clinton and Kerry included.

    1. ....and the degree to which one finds a big difference between Rice, Clinton, Kerry, etc in this is the degree to which one has drank the Kool-aid.

  9. Actually, to the degree to which one finds no difference between Rice, Clinton, Kerry, etc in this is the degree to which one has drank the Kool-aid.


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