"Life at Cal for an athlete," Beaty will tell you, "is fairly simple compared with the way it is for most of the other people who come to Berkeley. This place is big and foreboding when you arrive, but athletes already have a readymade identity, and they are welcomed by the traditional parts of the community, such as the fraternities. But some kids arrive unnoticed, and they don't have any place to go in the social structure. They were not particularly active when they were in high school, and they become anti-Greek when they aren't rushed for a fraternity. They don't have the background to get into student government, they don't have the enthusiasm for rallies and all those spirit activities, so about the only place they can find to hang their hats is with the liberal groups.
"These types have to find a new identity, and the identity becomes more secure when the guy grows a beard and assumes the appearance of the intellectual and the protest groups. The beard is just the outward part of the syndrome, something to call attention to themselves and who they are. It isn't fair to condemn them. Their ideals are probably higher than most people's.
"During the big protest activities like the FSM last year," Beaty goes on, "there was a certain amount of antagonism toward the protesters among the athletes. Some wanted to solve the problem in the conventional athletic way—that is, with brute force, because that is their weapon, and their intellectual skills are not always too sharp. But there wasn't as much of this as you might think. After all, the whole world is getting smarter, so why shouldn't athletes?"
As a matter of fact, it would be pretty hard to argue that the Berkeley image has had any effect at all on sports at Cal. Last year at the very height of the rallies the average attendance at home football games was 51,000. Even more significant than this is the interest in the somewhat esoteric sports that are getting to be considered the province of the intellectual, such as track and gymnastics and boxing and crew and Rugby, in all of which Cal did exceptionally well. Last spring's Rugby team was probably the best ever developed in the U.S. On an Australian tour it won five games, lost two and tied two, and the Australian sportswriters were flabbergasted at its ability.
The way it adds up, the modern Cal student is as enthusiastic as he ever was about conventional activities that serve a purpose for him, but he wants to make up his mind for himself. John Rodgers said: "If your parents or President Johnson or the university authorities tell you to do something, you just don't do it automatically anymore. At Cal you learn to ask why." Rodgers cites the weekend of the Washington game last fall as an example of the dichotomy of the Berkeley mind. On the Friday night before the game some 7,000 marched in a Vietnam protest parade; only about 3,500 showed up for the football rally. The next day only 2,000 turned out to protest Vietnam, but there were 35,000 (some 10,000 of them students) at the game. An interest in both sports and politics is not necessarily incompatible.
Jerry Goldstein thinks that the hard core of the protest groups at Berkeley probably numbers between 500 and 1,000. Many of these actually are students or part-time students, but at least a couple of hundred have no connection with the university and never did have. Nobody seems to have a very clear idea where they came from, although one version is that they migrated to the outskirts of the campus when the San Francisco police moved the beatniks out of the North Beach coffeehouses several years ago. It often takes an exceedingly well-trained eye to separate the students in the New Left from the professional activists who have lately arrived to nibble at the fringes of campus life; the students lean toward the conventional ethnik styles, while the professionals like to walk around the campus with books under their arms, and occasionally they even audit classes. Nevertheless, you could waste a lot of time trying to find a registered student among the Vietnam Day Committee leadership or just about any of the other non-campus political causes. As Peggy Krause explains, "Running something like FSM or VDC is a full-time job. You couldn't do it and study too."
Backing up the hard core of protest, according to Goldstein's estimates, are from 2,000 to 4,000 real students, a great many of them from the campus graduate schools, "who will protest if they think the cause is a good one." Another 5,000 to 10,000 students are sympathetic but too busy to attend the rallies. The Vietnam parade might have attracted two to three times as many students as it did if, on the day before the November 20 parade, a federal judge in San Francisco had not issued an injunction restraining the city of Oakland from stopping the parade at the Berkeley border. Thousands who might have marched to insist on their right to march stayed home or went to the football game instead. The average Cal student is much too confused about Vietnam to get really worked up about it. And, anyway, protesting can get tiresome after a binge like last year's FSM riots, which many considered were somehow really important.
Now that a more sensible and understanding administration has taken the steam out of the FSM cause, the spirit of protest at Berkeley is settling into a kind of lackadaisical rut. Recently, when an undergraduate from New York named Bettina Aptheker, whose father is among this country's most celebrated Communists, publicly announced that she, too, was a member of the Communist Party, the publicity caused a vast, one-day, campus-wide yawn. Many students seem to feel that Communism is a bogey of their parents' generation and has no application to today's problems. After making her confession in a letter to The Daily Californian, Bettina took over the microphone on the steps of Sproul Hall the following noon to proclaim that the university was a "dull, stifling, conforming" institution. Several hundred passers-by stopped to listen—and passed on by.
Yet it is the Bettina Apthekers who catch the ear of the outside world. A day or two after her confession, one of the most celebrated trial lawyers in San Francisco was complaining bitterly about "those goddam Commies over there." This man is a second-generation Californian who took his bachelor's degree at Harvard and his law degree at Berkeley a generation ago, and this fall his daughter announced that she would like to enter Berkeley as a freshman. "I told her," said the lawyer, "that she could go to any college she could get into and I would pay for it, but if she went to Cal she would damn well have to work her own way."
The Bettina Apthekers and the New Left and the beatniks create the public image, but the more typical Cal student is a far subtler creature—and far more interesting. He looks down on what he calls the "surfers" of USC and " UC Disneyland," which is his name for his less fortunate brethren at UCLA. " Alabama and Ohio State and those places are just football," he says with undisguised scorn. "Of course, you have to respect Stanford, because it is almost as high as we are academically. In the Midwest everyone looks up to Michigan; that's where the teach-ins started." His point is that the modern Cal student is "more involved." He no longer has time for the collegiate clich�s of the past.