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Frank Huband

Berkeley's Protests, Louisville's Charms

The University of California, Berkeley has a reputation not only for academic excellence but also for protest. Whether it was professors against the McCarthy-era loyalty oaths or students for the civil rights movement or against the Vietnam War, Berkeley has long been a scene of spirited activism. The People's Park, a new sports annex, Marine recruiting - all have been causes for demonstration. Last fall, it happened again. This time, students were vociferously protesting the substantial 32 percent rise in tuition at the University of California. Our cover story, "Day of Reckoning," examines in depth the serious impact of California's budget cuts on Berkeley's top-rated College of Engineering, as well as other engineering schools within the UC system. The major tuition increase was just one of the actions necessitated after California's legislature dropped $2.8 billion from the higher education budget. UC's eviscerated budget alone, slashed by a staggering $813 million, resulted in the firing of 2,000 staff members and mandatory furloughs for employees and faculty. Thus far, Berkeley's COE has been able to survive the cuts with industry contributions, research grants, and stimulus monies. But if more and deeper cuts are required, tuition could continue to rise, eroding the distinction between public and private higher education.

Meanwhile, across the country, at another institution known for excellence, students in a Harvard University engineering science course accepted their professor's challenge to have a wild thought or two. "Chocolate Dreams" describes how that wild thought translated into the design and production of an inhaler that can deliver a mouthful of dark chocolate flavor without the calories. The chocolate inhaler Le Whif will debut in Paris but is due on our shores soon.

If you've had your fill of winter and snow, turn Prism over and read about the warm charms of Louisville - site of ASEE's 117th Annual Conference and Exposition. "Beyond the Derby" extols this Southern city's riverine culture, rich history, and vibrant downtown. You may be surprised, as I was, to learn of the many delights that Louisville has to offer - a museum and art scene, the world's largest baseball bat (we're talking huge here), and, of course, the world's best bourbon. Aside from ASEE's own President J.P. Mohsen, notable residents have ranged from Thomas Edison to Thomas Merton, Diane Sawyer, and Colonel Sanders. I invite you all to join your ASEE associates and friends this summer. You'll want to bring the family for this one. We look forward to seeing you there.


Frank L. Huband
Executive Director and Publisher




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