Four years ago the police, at the behest of UC Berkeley administration, brutalized me and a bunch of other students and occupy demonstrators. I was a brand new graduate student, and I think I can now safely and dispassionately say that my experience at Cal has gone downhill ever since.
The difference between finding yourself at the end of a police baton and the endless processes of humiliation, isolation, exploitation of labor, and voluntary servitude is one only of degree.
Don’t be deceived: they will do this to you if you are perceived as a threat, and they won’t feel bad, and they will try to get out of taking responsibility – they are experts (because they have the power and the capital) at getting out of taking responsibility. And as far as the myth of the progressive birthplace of the free speech movement goes: I urge you to chuck that bullshit clean out the window. The vitality that has been witnessed at UC Berkeley (and anywhere else for that matter) has ALWAYS been that of the students: it never has been, and never will be, the legacy of the administration or the school itself.
The first thing UC Berkeley did to me was break me. I’ve been spending the vast majority of my time since trying to pick up the pieces, and I’ve seen far too many brilliant young undergraduates get pumped through and shat out on the other end, confused, hurt, and finding it difficult to deal with the world.