The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 26th, 2015
The governor had bad news: The state budget was in crisis, and everyone needed to tighten their belts.
High taxes threatened "economic ruin," said the newly elected Ronald
Reagan. Welfare stood to be curbed, the highway patrol had fat to trim.
Everything would be pared down; he’d start with his own office.
California still boasted a system of public higher education that was
the envy of the world. And on February 28, 1967, a month into his term,
the Republican governor assured people
that he wouldn’t do anything to harm it. "But," he added, "we do
believe that there are certain intellectual luxuries that perhaps we
could do without," for a little while at least.
"Governor," a reporter asked, "what is an intellectual luxury?"
Reagan described a four-credit course at the University of California
at Davis on organizing demonstrations. "I figure that carrying a picket
sign is sort of like, oh, a lot of things you pick up naturally," he
said, "like learning how to swim by falling off the end of a dock."