first months as a student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt
Hall) in 1997, David Wienir was startled by the lack of intellectual diversity he found
among students, professors, and administrators. What is more, he was initially dismayed
and later terrified by the lack of intellectual freedom to be found in classrooms,
hallways, and courtyards. David encountered something he had not expected to find at a
"top-ten" law school inconceivable intolerance for any views that did not
accord with what appeared to be the prevailing campus view on Proposition 209. Although it
was voted on by the people of California, David found many on campus acting as if
Proposition 209 carried none of the moral power of the law and had to be reversed by any
David was not naive when he applied to Berkeley; he knew that radical liberal politics
rule the roost at most American ivory towers and especially Berkeley. He just could
not believe that an elite American law school would turn its back on the tradition that,
from the time of Cicero, had lawyers train by learning to argue in utrimque parte,
speaking on both sides of every issue. Certain hypothetical questions about certain cases
were taboo. David did not expect his classmates to hold his view on controversial
topics such as racial preference, but he also did not expect to find classes disrupted and
to be called names merely for holding his opinion, and pretty much keeping it to himself.
As David describes it, the problem was that protesters were intimidating diverse students
in the name of diversity:
Within the first month of school, certain members of the Class of 2000 authored an open
letter, addressed to the dean, for all students of the class to sign. Those who signed the
letter confessed that they "chose to attend Boalt in spite of [their] grave
disappointment in the lack of diversity evidenced in the Class of 2000." The letter
professed that "completely abolishing [racial preferences] without implementing any
other sufficient means of achieving diversity has compromised our legal education. The
pool of background experiences and perspectives we are exposed to has diminished
significantly, limiting our opportunities for intellectual growth." Seventy-one
percent of the entering class signed the letter, and there was scarce evidence at Boalt
that those among the twenty-nine percent minority were welcome to speak. I myself was one
among the palpably silent twenty-nine percent.
The protesters wanted David, among others, to sign the anti-Proposition 209 petition,
and the more often David politely refused to sign, the more fiercely he was maligned,
accused, and called offensive names. Finding his views excluded, his voice silenced, and
his signature demanded, David describes what he calls "a hypocritical definition of
Those who signed the letter seemed to see themselves as more empowered and enlightened
than their dissenting contemporaries. Those who refused to sign the letter were I
speak from experience scorned and disparaged. The intolerance of the authors of
this open letter was clearly paradoxical: on the one hand, they espoused
"diversity"; on the other hand, they rejected anything but group-think. Support
them, in other words, or be prepared for a gross slinging of names that largely stick.
Davids first few months at Boalt Hall were rough ones. Nevertheless, he kept his
poise and remained optimistic. "At Berkeley, my voice was not supposed to be
heard," writes David. "I was supposed to count only as one of those hateful,
oppressive opponents of diversity. Hidden amidst the shadows of the debate over racial
preference, I nevertheless refused to go without putting my ear to what I hoped was
Hoping to find that there was more intellectual freedom and diversity at Boalt Hall
than he himself had experienced, David set himself a project. He sent out a letter to
every student at Boalt suggesting they submit essays that he would try to publish as The
Berkeley Federalist Law Papers, a nonpartisan publication dedicated to open and honest
expression. The call for papers asked some simple questions: "How healthy is the
marketplace of ideas here at Boalt? Do you have fair opportunity to share your ideas in
the classroom? Does expression flow freely in an environment tolerant of diversity, or
does the climate of tolerance at Berkeley paradoxically inhibit true diversity of opinion?
Has political activism within the classroom silenced important student perspectives?"
Seeking "diary-like" submissions, David made it clear that "all viewpoints
are welcome and encouraged." "Let your voice be heard," he wrote.
What was the result of Davids equipoise, perseverance, and effort? A remarkable
collection of twenty-seven essays revealing a rampant attack upon intellectual freedom and
free speech affecting diverse students from across the political spectrum. David sent me
the collection to see if FAST, the not-for-profit student organization I run, would be
interested in publishing it. The essays submitted to David clearly deserved to be heard.
David and I edited the collection. We left the submissions alone, but added an
introduction, an essay on the history of free speech at Berkeley and attacks upon it, and
a conclusion addressing the current and future status of free speech on American college
and university campuses. We kept Davids word. In the spirit of free speech, the
collection reprints all of the submissions David received. Of the twenty-seven essays,
only two suggest that intellectual freedom and free speech exist at UC Berkeley. Hence the
title of the final book: The Diversity Hoax: Law Students Report from Berkeley.
As The Diversity Hoax shows, David Wienirs experience as a student at UC
Berkeley is not an anomalous one. He is just one of many students who are shocked by the
threat to freedom posed by an entire campus. But David is the first to dedicate himself to
the task of rendering a full account:
The institutional practice of racial preference is just about over in California, and
some people are upset very upset. Californias Proposition 209, which banned
government-sponsored racial discrimination, including racial preference in admissions
decisions at University of California campuses, turned the University of California,
Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) into ground zero for the debate about racial
preferences. The fabric of the entering class changed noticeably from previous years
in the fall of 1997, only one black arrived as a first-year student.
But that number does not tell the whole story. Eighteen black students were accepted to
Boalt Hall in 1997, but none chose to attend. The eighteen who gained admission were so
qualified that they not only merited acceptance to Berkeley even after Proposition 209;
many also gained acceptance to even more prestigious law schools such as Harvard and Yale.
The one black student who did attend Boalt as a member of the entering class in 1997 was
actually admitted in 1996, while a policy of racial preference was still in place.
"Although Proposition 209 merely made academic achievement the absolute criterion
for admission to one of the nations "top-ten" law schools," writes
David in "The History," his account of the making of The Diversity Hoax,
"it had a number of more noticeable effects. Many people at Boalt geared up to turn
back the clock." As David reports, "in the classrooms, hallways, bathroom
stalls, and bars, students and faculty bemoaned the lack of diversity due to
the re-segregation of campus. These fierce opponents of Proposition 209 (and
less-than-tolerant enemies of the Californians who supported it) rallied behind the claim
that education itself was being compromised by racial homogeneity." David offers as
one example Marjorie Shultz, a Boalt professor and 1976 Boalt graduate, who stated:
"how can [they] be excellent collectively if [they] have experiences that are
narrower than the experiences of this population." An even better example, perhaps,
is the dean of Boalt Hall, Herma Hill Kay, who claimed that without ethnic diversity,
"it is more difficult to have a classroom discussion." Joshua Irwin, a student
of the Class of 2000 told the Sacramento Bee, "I think that theres not going to
be as many views represented in this class."
David admits that "it is virtually undeniable that the law school at Berkeley is
suffering from a lack of diversity, and that the education at Boalt has indeed been
compromised." But the decline in "the quality of education at Boalt Hall has
to do with race," he points out. "It has everything to do with intellectual
.The Class of 2000 has strongly supported the proposition that race serves as
a proxy for opinion."
What is worse, "scare tactics, parading as enlightened politically correct
peer pressure, are all part of the fight to control the definition of diversity at
Berkeley," writes David, describing what it is like to live among the horrifying
contradictions of the diversity hoax:
The intolerant activists, comprised of both Boalt students and other enthusiasts, have
personally attacked students who express contrary views by using techniques of slander,
intimidation, and pejorative personal statements. They have torn down flyers of
organizations with diverse views. They have marched up and down the halls chanting
militant slogans such as "Let them in or tear it down" ("them"
referring to under-qualified minority students who had not gained admission under the new
race-blind admission policies, "it" referring to the university). They have
interrupted classes by insulting professors, blowing whistles, and screaming into
.The campus has been defaced. Fire alarms have been pulled. Many of the
students even came to class in full uniform, wearing identical T-shirts signifying their
desire to ethnically reengineer the law school. The language that the diversity
protesters used was clear. On the walls they wrote: "FUCK 209" and "SUPPORT
DIVERSITY, NOT BOALT."
Given his experience, David had to draw the following conclusion about Boalt Hall:
"Diversity is defined according to skin color, rather than according to ideas."
To reduce diversity to pigmentation and ethnicity is, as David writes, "a form of
racism that ignores the diversity of opinions not only among populations, but among
minorities themselves." What is more, "given the fact that control of the
definition of not only diversity but also of minority is in the
hands of people with a narrow agenda, great harm has come to minorities themselves."
One of the most grievous tactics of the diversity protesters
prolonged campaign was to disrupt classes by bringing in minority students from outside
the Boalt community. After acting rudely to professors, the protesters would then confront
white people and ask them in a forceful way to give up their seats to a minority student
a symbolic gesture. But in at least one case, the diversity protesters
unwittingly asked a minority student and refused to tolerate her dissenting view. As one
woman who cares greatly about both intellectual and racial diversity tells in some of the
most riveting pages of The Diversity Hoax, she herself, although a minority of
mixed race, was called repugnant, indeed racist, names simply on account of the views she
held. "When I expressed my outrage at being asked to give up my seat to a minority at
a recent classroom protest staged in support of affirmative action," writes Isabelle
Quinn, "this caused a classmate to call me a racist white conservative idiot.
The Diversity Hoax is a book of essays by Berkeley law students: women, men,
minorities, Democrats, Republicans, and moderates alike and different. While their
backgrounds, life experiences, political views, and physical characteristics are
different, their views on intellectual freedom at Berkeley are starkly similar: diversity
different points of view is not, by and large, to be found on campus.
Regardless of background, many of the students who submitted essays to David see
themselves, with considerable authority, as part of a true minority at Berkeley
those who are not only willing to tolerate opposing views but who know that only "a
free and open marketplace of ideas benefits all."
Students who have always fought to protect the free speech of others found themselves
confronting hostile methods to silence their views at Berkeley. "Funny, Ive
always thought of myself as a classic liberal the type that defends vociferously
the rights of people to disagree with me," writes Nick-Anthony Buford in "What
Ever Happened to John Stuart Mill?" But, "ironically, the inspiring traditional
1960s paradigm of Berkeley of respect for diverse opinions is
subverted, and trampled by the new intolerance of the activist student thought-police who
police the discussions which take place in the classrooms and hallways." In
"News from the Ladies Room," Megan Elizabeth Murray holds "the belief
that we all have a right to speak." But at Boalt, she points out, "the very
people whose rights I was trying to respect were not respecting the rights of
Anyone who finds any of the above unbelievable or overstated needs to read every essay
in The Diversity Hoax. The students who submitted essays to David did so
because they perceived a problem they wanted to describe to the world. Berkeley was famous
for fighting for free speech in the 1960s. But, as the student essays in The
Diversity Hoax describe, the academic year of 1997-98 saw the successful silencing of
many students who sought diversity of ideas and free speech. The diversity
protesters and petitioners (a fluctuating group of students generally ranging from 20 to
100) used bullying tactics tactics so ugly that liberal and moderate Democrats
alike felt silenced by the radical liberals with whom they thought they shared a belief in
fairness and freedom of speech. Read together, the student essays paint a compelling
portrait of the state of free speech at one of Americas top law schools.
Almost all of the submissions David received report that a true diversity of ideas is
neither encouraged nor tolerated at Berkeley. Free speech is in jeopardy. Politically
correct ("PC") thought-police censor. In too many awful scenarios, PC racism
PC racism has been blind to its various victims in recent years. The essays in The
Diversity Hoax document how hypocritical, self-centered, and intolerant the diversity
protesters could be. But that is what happens when some people put their feelings before
other peoples facts. One would not think that people who worship at the altar of
identity politics would assert their right to declare their "group" without
affording other people the same right, but that is what often happens. The diversity
protestors, after all, do not ask everyone they harass for a family tree. Of course, we
would not want them to, and that is the point. Wishing to be outwardly proud of their
"group" or ethnicity, however, they dont allow true individuals to be
quiet about theirs. There is also that other problem of not respecting people who actually
happen to be and consider themselves white.
As every student of civil rights in America should know, bullying tactics can keep
justice at bay for only so long. A dedicated student of Western civilization, Martin
Luther King, Jr. had absolute beliefs about justice that he would not violate that
was his power. Unfortunately, many of todays students are indoctrinated warriors,
taught by radical professors to reject the best of what the Western tradition has to offer
and mistake power for justice. Not coincidentally, they mistake polite dissent for
usurpation of their power. It is sad to see so many of Americas students pushed in
the direction of intolerance, pessimism, and confrontation rather than in the direction of
tolerance, hope, and peace.
Racism still exists in America. Thirty-five years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
however, America has much reason for optimism. America has been and remains committed to
eradicating institutional racism. Unfortunately, new forms of resistance to a color-blind
society are increasingly evident. In an atmosphere in which the color of skin has come to
matter more than the content of character or demonstrated skills, Proposition 209
reasserts the language of that momentous Civil Rights Act of 1964. Opposition to
Proposition 209, however, especially on the UC Berkeley campus, has demonstrated a
determination by some to defer the dream of a color-blind society. Anti-American
sentiment, refusal to assimilate, and separatist ethnic identity politics do untold damage
to our schools and to our country, generally harming minorities most of all.
Now is not the time to sanction institutionalized racism. That, at least, was the view
of California when it voted on Proposition 209. Even if students disagree with the people
of California, now is not the time to sanction the silencing of democratic debate about
controversial topics, especially at universities, where intellectual freedom is
The Diverstity Hoax is not a joy to publish. It documents some of the worst educational
trends currently threatening our country. According to the immediate needs of the
"liberal" revolution on campus, skin color comes to substitute for ideas. In
this charged atmosphere, many of Americas most successful minorities Ward
Connerly, Thomas Sowell, and Clarence Thomas, to take just a few examples are
vilified on university campuses as traitors or puppets, rather than accepted (or merely
tolerated) as successful individuals who are free to espouse their views. Although these
black intellectuals have arrived at their diverse views through life experience and
considerable study, their experience and hard work do not matter to the diversity
protestors who disagree with them. To many opponents of Proposition 209, minorities who
oppose racial preference "think white" and hence are white at least for
the purposes of the diversity revolution. By the same token, repugnant pejorative names
are slung at minorities who hold anything resembling conservative views.
These are some of the sad facts at the center of the diversity hoax. To the diversity
protesters, only some facts matter. Only some efforts count. Only some opinions are
acceptable. And all ideas are reducible to race.
I continue to put the word diversity in single quotation marks when referring
to the diversity protesters because, as the essays here demonstrate, diversity
is coming to mean whatever the diversity protesters say it means. And whoever
says otherwise is hastily silenced and excluded from diversity. As Humpty Dumpty says to
Alice in Through the Looking Glass, "When I use a word, it means just what I
choose it to mean neither more nor less." So the diversity
protesters would have it.
In the 1960s, Berkeley was the famous center of the Free Speech Movement in
America. People dedicated to free speech came from all around the country to be a part of
the movement led by Mario Savio. Savio died in 1996. In the 1997-98 academic year,
Berkeley became a place where diversity protesters not only worked to curtail
the free speech of students who disagreed with their position on racial preference; they
also intimidated students who early supported them but who, after joining in, came to
question the protesters intolerant tactics. It appears the diversity
protesters werent for diversity; they were against it.
As the essays in The Diversity Hoax recount, the 1997-98 academic year was a
sad chapter in the free speech at Berkeley. True liberalism gave way to an impulse to
accomplish a mission by illiberal means. The classical liberal John Stuart Mill would not
have been happy to witness the recent silencing of minority views at Berkeley. "All
silencing of discussion," wrote Mill, is a dangerous "assumption of
When the mind is fettered, it is not free to grow. To suppress free speech is to
champion error. When intellectual freedom is denied to some, everyone loses, as the essays
in The Diversity Hoax make clear. "In my module, in particular, there exists
a great deal of unease between the Right and the Left," writes Randall Lewis in
"Were All Losers." "I sympathize with the Left much more often. Yet,
that does not imply that I wont make comments that I regard as theoretically true
when an argument on the Left is weak," writes Lewis. "Hindering speech and
refraining from making logical points only works to all our detriment."
The biggest problem expressed in the essays in The Diversity Hoax is that
because diversity of opinion is stifled at Berkeley, students all students
are not learning as much as they could in their classrooms. Students from across the
political spectrum form what has become a silenced minority students who understand
that the end of free speech and intellectual freedom, in the service of whatever
revolution, means the destruction of education, individualism, and any semblance of the
The "silencing of dissenting voices at Boalt also means that our classroom
discussions are much less rich than they might otherwise be," writes Heather
McCormick in "The Unprofitable Monopoly." Indeed, "many who disagree with
the ultra-liberal viewpoint that dominates discussion at Boalt have learned to keep
silent." Wondering how this could be the case at an elite law school, she asks:
"Why is it that we, as advocates in training, are nevertheless so reluctant to stand
up for our positions?" Like many others raised in The Diversity Hoax it is a
material question. "Our expectations are anchored so far to the Left at Boalt"
that "in most classes, we dont hear from true conservatives at all, only less
extreme liberals," McCormick writes. "In reading this article, maybe you have
assumed that I am a conservative. I am not. I am a moderate Democrat. That my viewpoints
can pass for conservatism in the classroom (which they sometimes do) appalls me and shows
just how flat the debate is." McCormicks proposed solution to the problem would
demand more of conservatives and liberals alike: "More conservatives must be willing
to express their viewpoints in class, in spite of their fears of being demonized. Should
the debate become one-sided nevertheless, more liberals and moderates need to offer
alternative perspectives, even if that means playing devils advocate."
It is a caring, reasonable proposal, but Boalt Hall appears to have a long way to go.
On her first day of school, writes Darcy Edmonds, "I feared confrontation with fellow
students asking me to carry signs and demonstrate for a cause about which I was still
unsure." Soon, however, Edmonds writes, "I agreed with [the protesters]
intention of showing that the students were united in their belief in diversity in the
classroom, so I agreed to participate." Edmonds soon noticed the duplicity of the
protesters, who did not tell all their supporters the full extent and intolerant nature of
their plans. Instead, she saw their ability "for using...other students like pawns in
their game of political strategy." Where did this leave her? "I felt I could not
tell anyone my personal philosophies that I wanted to increase opportunities for
students of diverse backgrounds but did not support affirmative action." The
harassing tactics of the diversity protesters created an atmosphere in which
students were "not willing to risk resentment by voicing their honest opinions."
The diversity hoax the hoodwinking assumption that diversity includes only certain
views was terrifying.
The diversity protesters even treated Dean Kay terribly. This
treatment," David points out, "was part of a larger hypocrisy at the root of
their tactics." McCormick offers this moving comment: "While I endorse efforts
to increase minority enrollment at Boalt, there was no way I was going to stand in the
Deans office and shout down a woman who has devoted a lifetime to defending the
rights of women and minorities."
Davids experience at Boalt is testimony to the one-sided intolerance that creates
division and keeps people from coming to common ground. "I came to Berkeley
sympathetic to some of the issues of the liberal Democratic agenda, and remain so,"
David writes. "However, I am adamant that the tactics of the intolerant radical
activists actually erode the validity of much that they have to say. As I gazed across the
historic campus late one April night, I wondered whatever happened to the Berkeley of the
sixties a Berkeley that celebrated freedom of expression, and despised
"Many Boalt students act as if their education is threatened whenever any
conservative view is expressed," writes David. "Ironically, the conservative
views are generally those supporting liberal notions of freedom of expression. Still,
almost every time a lone conservative tried to raise his or her voice during my first year
at Boalt, things got ugly." How ugly? "Fists, rather than hands, were raised.
Eyes rolled. Glares flashed. Intolerance radiated. Diversity of mind was declared
dangerous and unwanted. Only racial diversity was celebrated and cherished."
The students published in The Diversity Hoax ask some numbing questions,
questions American higher education would do well to confront with honesty. "What was
I thinking expecting a mature public discussion in a top U.S. law school?" writes
Murray. "To me," she adds, "diversity is a range of viewpoints and
experiences." Murray asks further, "How can we become color-blind
all the while highlighting our differences with fireworks? We end up pitted against each
other based on race instead of forgetting that we look different. To advance we must
advance ourselves. Each of us must stop complaining about the past and look to the
The purpose of The Diversity Hoax is to allow students not merely to express
their views, but also to express in a meaningful way the difficulty they have faced trying
to express them at UC Berkeley.
The circumstances of the publication of The Diversity Hoax by the Foundation
for Academic Standards & Tradition (FAST) are particularly important. FAST is a
nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization created to empower diverse college and university
students nationwide to restore both high academic standards and humanistic study of the
liberal arts in the Western tradition to their schools. FAST works to reverse the tragic
"dumbing down" and irresponsible politicization in evidence at so many schools
across the country. FAST was founded because many students understand the value of the
Western intellectual tradition and the necessity of raising academic standards in American
institutions of higher learning. Without common ground, students from increasingly diverse
backgrounds will not learn to speak and listen to one another. Now, more than ever, it is
imperative that American educators make sure that students read a collection of books that
will help make them informed critical thinkers with common ground. At the same time,
schools must encourage intellectual freedom. FAST is dedicated to the pursuit of free
speech for student voices. This is why FAST is publishing The Diversity Hoax.
What is occurring at Berkeley is a decline in academic standards that appears to be the
result of efforts on the part of administrators, professors, and students to reject some
of the best aspects of the Western intellectual tradition. The essays in The Diversity
Hoax suggest that the pursuit of truth rooted in reason is being replaced by a
rejection of reason as a mere tool of oppression, rather than the valuable source of
self-correction that, in America, led visionary white men to abolish slavery.
It is under such conditions that Shakespeare becomes known as the cultural artifact of
an oppressive culture, rather than a fine poet who has much to teach diverse people about
human nature. Under such conditions, Western civilization is wrongly attacked, made
responsible for all of the worlds ills, but ignored where it has led the way in
confronting and lessening those ills. When pursued with honesty, history shows, the
Western intellectual tradition leads to recognition of errors and a determination to
accomplish self-correction. Conversely, many countries and cultures that have done neither
are the pets of the diversity protesters and their demands for a multicultural
curriculum based on vague and hyperbolic notions of egalitarianism and social engineering.
Racial preference, it is the reasoned belief of many, and the belief of a majority of
Californians who voted on Proposition 209, is not only unjust but also harmful to both
individuals and institutions of higher learning. Lowering admissions criteria for some
helps no one. I myself would like to see more black students attend elite universities,
including UC Berkeley. The best way to improve the opportunities for all students, I
believe, is truly to raise standards in K-12 education and apply college admissions
criteria fairly. A more challenging course of action than many are willing to consider,
but more promising than racial preferences.
The Diversity Hoax is by no means, however, a book about Proposition 209. It
is a book about free speech and intellectual freedom a book in which students
recount the obstacles they confronted when they expressed their views on a number of
controversial topics at UC Berkeley.
David calls The Diversity Hoax "a compilation of those student essays,
thoughts, and intellectual prayers." How does he describe its mission? "This
book is dedicated to diversity diversity of thought, and diversity of opinion. It
asserts the value of minorities themselves freely to debate diverse opinions."
UC Berkeley, as David and I point out, is not unique. "While the essays of The
Diversity Hoax were written about Boalt, it would be incorrect to assume that the
problems it describes are unique to its halls," writes David. "The scope of this
book is much greater than the uncivil actions of a small number of Berkeley radicals. If
only we could be so lucky. If only the disease of contemptuous intolerance were so well
contained." Indeed. As David writes, "Berkeley serves as the perfect backdrop
for the first comprehensive collection of essays published by students dealing with the
loss of intellectual freedom within a top ten law school. What is particularly
troubling is that so many law students seem to be sanctioning an attack upon reason
itself, upon the foundation of justice and objectivity upon which America is based."
Our country is based on justice grounded in the possibility of a fair, free, reasonable
pursuit of truth. The state of democracy in America has much to do with what the countrys
law schools are teaching a new generation of American lawyers. Anyone with an interest in
the American justice system, higher education, intellectual freedom, free speech, and a
number of other important issues will read the student essays in The Diversity Hoax
with considerable interest. As David writes, The Diversity Hoax is "intended
to create a moment of pause and reflection":
My goal is for a copy of this book to sit on the desk of every dean, academic, and
student in the nation. This book allows the world to see what many students see and
feel what they feel. I hope it will make people think. I hope it will help people to
realize that there is a problem, and address it
.This book lets those who are
actually affected by intolerance in academia speak for themselves
.They are snapshots
into the minds of students studying amidst paradoxes, unfounded allegations, and
restrictions and limitations of free thought and ideas. They should be taken seriously.
The issues broached and treated in The Diversity Hoax are complex. If the book
causes its readers to consider them further, it will have achieved its goal: widening the
perspective on one of the most important issues in American education and society today.
The ramifications of the diversity hoax are enormous. May the wisdom of the students open
This essay is excerpted from Marc Berley's "Introduction" and David
Wienir's "The History." All quotations are from The Diversity Hoax.
Copyright ?1999 by Marc Berley
All rights reserved.
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Each essay is subjective and speaks only for itself. Each contributor relates the facts
as he or she perceived them. Each essay was submitted blindly, without any opportunity to
review the work of others. This was not a group project. This collection records the
observations of concerned individual students, some of whom know each other, some of whom
know neither each other nor me. Of the twenty-seven essays submitted, two disagree with
the notion that there is a problem with respect to intellectual diversity and freedom. In
the interest of truth and freedom of expression, no submissions have been omitted. Every
student who cared enough to submit his or her view on the topic has been published here.
Each writer thought independently, yet for the most part the voices speak as a unified
whole. The message is plain there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
There are more than 700 students at Boalt Hall and only twenty-seven essays here. This
collection therefore makes no claim to speak on behalf of the entire student body or of
Boalt Hall itself. These essays represent the view of a minority of students at Boalt
Hall. The real question here is the size of the minority for which the contributors speak.
Only a small portion of the daily readers of the New York Times ever writes a letter to
the editor. But for every person who does write, there are many who agree with the points
expressed but who, for whatever reason, choose not to air their opinions in a public
forum. Given the nature of this book, fear of reprisal was one reason not to contribute,
as a number of would-be contributors told me in response to my call for papers. In a less
intolerant atmosphere, I might have been deluged with essays. But in a more tolerant
atmosphere, there would have been no need and no subject for such a book at
All contributors were actively studying at Boalt Hall during the academic year 1997-98,
the time when all but one of these essays were written. Some contributors were in their
twenties, some were in their forties. Men and women contributed. Some had blond hair,
while others had brown or red hair. Many of the contributors were considered
"minorities" when they applied to the law school. To my knowledge the
contributors are racially diverse. East Asians, Near-East Asians, Hispanics, and others of
various religious and ethnic backgrounds contributed to this publication. As I fervently
believe that diversity of opinion has little if anything to do with gender, race, or hair
color, such information about each writer is not specified. I received twenty-seven
essays. All of them are printed here. While some essays needed minor grammatical and
stylistic corrections, most are published largely untouched. Only three contributors asked
to be anonymous. Only one essay was submitted anonymously. The effort and resolve of those
who contributed to this volume ought to be celebrated.
The timely participation of the contributors demonstrates the sense of urgency
expressed in this book. Many students wrote their essays while studying for
"all-important" law school exams. One student submitted his essay less than 48
hours before he was due to be married. Another student actually broke down into tears when
she discussed submitting her essay. No student received any form of monetary compensation
for his or her contribution. For the most part, it was not even clear if the project, The
Berkeley Federalist Law Papers, would even be published. To my knowledge, only about a
quarter of the contributors were active members of the Berkeley Federalist Society, a fact
which speaks to the desire of the contributors to address an important problem. The
writing is pure, heartfelt, and immediate, but also reasoned.
To my knowledge, no book had ever been published by a collection of concerned law
students commenting on the intellectual health of their institution. Lawyers always look
to precedent, and we had none to follow. Lawyers are trained to be cautious and seldom to
commit these future lawyers were willing to make bold and important statements.
Historically, what has made Berkeley an outstanding academic institution is not only
its willingness to question, but also the eagerness of its students to respond. This is no
less true today than at any time in the past. I posed a question. The students bravely
responded. For this reason alone, I am grateful to have been accepted to Boalt and would
enthusiastically encourage all accepted students to attend. Even conservatives. The reader
should not think for a moment that this project has been driven by bitterness or scorn.
Rather, this book has been inspired by unbridled optimism and hope for change. The future
is bright but requires thought and action by those who care.
The cathartic effect that this book has had on the students who contributed appears to
have been profound. Through writing for this publication, many students told me that, for
the first time, they were able to formulate and organize their perceptions. Through
reading, I hope that students across the nation who are concerned with open and free
debate and intellectual honesty will realize that they are not alone. I hope that readers
will become less tolerant of intolerance, and will realize the consequences of remaining
silent and not making their world a better place.