On March 1st, 2007, students, faculty, and community members protested the upcoming prostitution of the University of California, Berkeley and the loss of its academic integrity at the oily hands of the $500 million British Petroleum deal. The protest involved the spilling of barrels of "oil" (really, molasses) in front of California Hall. The police refused to allow students to clean up the mess, and instead brought in an inefficient steam cleaner (notice the "oil runoff" that enters the storm drain).
At least one student was arrested for his role in this theatre demonstration. UC Berkeley is not a fan of free speech these days, it recently confiscated literature from the Oak Grove.
The University's deal with British Petroleum is problematic for the following reasons:
1) Corporate money is proven to corrupt academia - remember the "academic studies" funded by the tobacco industry that demonstrated that smoking was not only safe, but good for you;
2) BP is part of the problem - it destroys the planet and causes global warming - solutions cannot come from those who create the problem;
3) BP is using UC as a public relations distraction to hide BP's atrocious environmental record (a "greenwashing");
4) The deal was conducted in secret with no input from students, faculty, or the academic senate;
5) It represents the further corporatization of the public University, which is supposed to be independent and free from the corporate agenda;
6) The deal will result in the spread of genetically modified organisms which are unsafe, are a desecreation of God's creation, cannot be put back in the bottle once they get out, and have no right to exist;
7) British Petroleum worked with the CIA and British secret services to overthrow the democratically elected President of Iran in the 1950s - look it up on wikipedia, "Operation Ajax." BP is in part responsible for the current state of hostilities between Iran and the U.S. Like the U.S. and Britain, BP has never apologized or made reparations for its immoral and illegitimate role in the coup.
UC Berkeley could play a positive role in addressing global warming by developing clean, green, sustainable, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and tidal, and the research can and should be funded by public money. British Petroleum is not the answer.
More information can be found at www.stopbp-berkeley.org.