Berkeley students shut down exam, demand 'take-home' instead

Kyle Perisic
Leadership Institute Intern

  • A group of University of California, Berkeley students recently attempted to protest their own exam and demanded a "take-home essay with significant time to prepare" in its place.
  • While the professor refused, he did offer to carry on a conversation with them outside of the class, but the protesters decided to complain to the Department of Ethnic Studies instead.
  • When one student mockingly asked the protesters if "this is a fillibuster," they accused him of "trying to silence us."
  • Leftist students at the University of California, Berkeley recently attempted to shut down their own mid-term exam, demanding a take-home exam in its place.

    As seen in a video posted on YouTube, four students demanded a “take-home essay with significant time to prepare” instead of the scheduled in-class exam, though Professor Harley Shaiken adamantly refused their request.  

    "This is our mental health. This is our physical health. This is...um."   

    [RELATED: Berkeley students plot to 'shut down' conservative speakers]

    “This is a campus that is truly related throughout Latin America to the notion of free speech,” Shaiken said, followed by laughter from the protesters, who went on to claim that their “well-beings are being put on the line because of the emotional, mental, and physical stress that this university is compounding with what is already going on in [their] everyday lives.”

    “Have you ever checked ‘unlisted’ or ‘undocumented immigrant’? I don’t think so!” one protester shouted at Shaiken, who wrote about and advocated for improved workers’ rights in Mexico, specializes in labor issues, and was presented in 1991 with the Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of California, San Diego.

    Yet the protesters claim that he is unqualified to teach a class on labor issues in America and Mexico because he’s a white man, and went on to ask Shaiken to check his privilege.

    While some of their classmates waited patiently waiting for the protesters to leave so they could continue the exam, one annoyed student jokingly asked if “this is a filibuster.”

    [RELATED: Schools provide puppies, massages to ease exam stress]

    “Are you trying to silence us right now? Is that what you’re trying to do?” one protester shouted back at him, to which he replied that he was simply “trying to take my test.”

    “This is our mental health. This is our physical health. This is...um,” another demonstrator remarked as she scratched her head, turning to another protester.

    Shaiken eventually offered to step outside to continue the conservation while the remainder of the students finished their exams, but the protesters refused, instead going to the Department of Ethnic Studies to complain.  

    “I don’t know why you’re still, like, sitting down, y’all. I don’t understand. I really don’t understand. Y’all can take your f**king test, but people are dying out there,” one protester, who remained behind, stated, then accusing students of supporting white supremacists.

    Campus Reform reached out to Shaiken for comment on the outcome of the protest, and is currently awaiting a response.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KyleOnCampus





    Kyle Perisic

    Kyle Perisic

    Leadership Institute Intern
    Kyle Perisic is a Leadership Institute Intern, and reports liberal bias and abuse on college campuses for Campus Reform. He is originally from Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a double major in English and Political Science. While in college, Kyle was a member of various student organizations, worked in government relations, and worked on several political campaigns.
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