Frederick Wiseman's new documentary, AT BERKELEY
In AT BERKELEY we witness the autumn 2010 semester at a university in crisis, yet thriving. Mr. Wiseman uses the institution’s settings—the meetings, classes and protests—as stages to play out its multifaceted drama of people and ideas.
–Nicolas Rapold, New York Times
Frederick Wiseman’s AT BERKELEY isn’t only a study of the contemporary American university, but, like all of the filmmaker’s best documentaries, a wide-ranging inquiry into the larger institutions and contradictions that define life in the United States.
–Andrew Schenker, SLANT
It’s a state-of-the-nation masterwork, a vitally important piece of work, and should be seen by as many people as possible.
–Oliver Lyttleton, The Playlist
One of Wiseman’s best, a summation of sorts of a career’s principled filmmaking.
–Leslie Felperin, VARIETY
And this is a good interview with Wiseman at, of all places, Entertainment Weekly
According to a secret transcript, members of Cooper Union’s board of trustees joked dismissively about student protesters; Jamshed Bharucha called the students’ demonstrations “performance art”; Stanley Lapidus expressed doubts that the pupils “know what they’re protesting.”
“Welcome to 1968,” trustee Mark Epstein quipped, adding, “Haven’t been tear-gassed in decades,” before dismissing the delegation of trustees for lunch.
More from the transcript—in which the board discusses closing Cooper Union down, screws early decision applicants, declares tenure as good as dead, and tries to avoid scrutiny from the state attorney general—on the Village Voice’s Runnin’ Scared blog.
What Cooper Union should do is, they should put ads in their classes. So, like, when a teacher is leading a class, they should stop every 15 minutes or so and show a 30-second video ad, for Coca-Cola or Google or PetSmart, and then say, ‘This class is brought to you by [insert advertiser’s name here].’ They could also change the name to, say, Ambien Cooper Union or FedEx Cooper Union, or just lose the Cooper part altogether. That guy’s legacy has no meaning to the Board anymore. Just FedEx Union. And sell ad space on the walls in the hallways.
You think I’m kidding. You only think that because no school has done it yet. But they will. Probably in Michigan first. It will be sold as ‘innovation’, and they’ll use the Google ad network, or the Facebook ad network, and WIRED will write it up as a great way to offset tuition increases. But here’s the thing: it won’t offset anything. Any revenue will just be used to increase the salaries of Board members, administrators, and athletics coaches. Movie tickets aren’t any cheaper now that they show ads before the movie. Football and Baseball tickets aren’t any cheaper after they sell the naming rights and plaster ads everywhere in the stadium. Education won’t be any cheaper, and its tuition increases won’t rise any slower just because schools start selling naming rights and placing ads in the common areas and in the curriculum. I predict.
Kevin Ware should not have broken his leg in two places last night. It was a freak accident. He landed wrong on a routine attempt to block a three point shot. One could argue that he stopped short because they were playing on a raised court, but that is all speculation. What we do know is that the young man may never play another basketball game at Louisville again. Or for that matter a basketball game anywhere. Even though an emotional Coach Pitino boldly stated at the end of the game, ” We’ll get him back to normal. We’ve got great doctors, great trainers,” there is absolutely no guarantee that he will be able to play at this level again. We can only hope he makes a full healthy recovery, but that injury last night was one of the worst.
In all honesty, what is much more concerning than Kevin’s basketball career, is that there is no guarantee that his scholarship, aka his education, is secure. Louisville, which is the most profitable basketball program in the country, voted against four year guaranteed scholarships last year, meaning that every year each player’s scholarship has to be renewed, including Kevins’. This was the university’s decision, as the NCAA allowed every university to have their own policy around guaranteed scholarships (note: other universities voted in favor of four-year guaranteed scholarships). Do I think that Louisville will honor Kevin Ware’s scholarship? Yes, however they have no legal obligation to do so, and that is disturbing. His future should not be determined by the sympathy or the moral decision of a coach or a basketball program, it should be secured through a legal process, so in case anything changes with his team and/or university, he is protected. What if Kevin didn’t break his leg in front of millions of people on national television playing for the best team in the country? Would you be so sure that his school would do the “right” thing? What if Kevin played for a 16th seed that got beat by 40 points in the first round? Would you feel comfortable knowing that the fate of his education is subjective to the needs of a sports program whose income is deeply connected to the overall success of the university? I know I wouldn’t. Sadly, Kevin broke a lot more than just his leg…
This bears watching as Ware’s recovery gets underway
Trailer for ‘Brooklyn Castle’.
BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Ironically, the biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from recessionary budget cuts to all the extracurricular activities at their school. BROOKLYN CASTLE shows how these kids’ dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives.
Future interim #UVA pres. Zeithaml “suspending any further negotiations with the Board regarding my status as interim president”.
Good for him. So far, the people invested in knowledge, education, and transparency are winning the good fight at UVA. But it’s not over.
The mess at UVA gets worse. And better. One of the most prestigious professors on the ca,pus resigned today in an act of honor. Followed by the resignation of a shameful board member after the student newspaper ggot his emails via a FOIA request.
Turns out the Board is attempting is falling for WSJ opinion pieces and planning to move the school to a profit-based online course curriculum. The student newspaper is doing awesome work, tweeting the emails for everyone to see ( @cavalierdaily ). The Board Chair needs to follow suit in the wake of these emails, although it looks like her solution is to hire a PR firm, at the university’s expense.
This is shameful. We’ve all gotten a little numb to the moronic idea that a university is supposed to be nothing more than a training ground for businessmen and businesswomen. It’s ridiculous. UVA today is as good as any school in the country, and certainly one of the 5 best public universities. Anyone would be lucky to go to Charlottesville to receive an education. Pavement went to UVA, for christ’s sake. But this board of imbeciles lied to the governor, lied to the student body, and lied to the faculty. The board needs to step down. This is the worst behavior we’ve seen from any administration at any major university since Penn State, and since the pepper-spray incident UC-Davis.
The people who lied their way through this are despicable, and don’t deserve to be associated with the university in any way.
4 synchronized views of the pepper spraying at UC Davis. Sort of exposes the lie that the police were in any way ‘surrounded’ or ‘in danger’. They simply didn’t know anything about handling a protest, so they did what they thought their bosses wanted them to do: spray everyone who wouldn’t conform to what the Chancellor wanted. This is why 2 officers and the campus police chief are all under suspension right now, and the Chancellor will likely have to resign.
This is truly amazing video. The Chancellor of UC Davis, who called police to the campus to pepper-spray peaceful protestors, has to walk past those same students, sitting silently with arms linked, as she goes to her car. The ultimate walk of shame for someone who probably doesn’t deserve such respectful treatment. The protestors deserve a lot of credit for making such a strong, dramatic statement with nothing but silence, solidarity, and staring.