The Strawberry Statement
is a non-fiction book by James Simon Kunen
, written when he was 19, which chronicled his experiences at Columbia University
, particularly the April 1968 protests
and takeover of the office of the dean of Columbia by student protesters.
The title comes from a statement made by Herbert Deane, a Columbia administrator, who deprecated student opinions about university administrative decisions as having no more importance than if the students had said they liked the taste of strawberries.
Deane frequently said that he had been misquoted on the matter. In a 1988 interview with campus radio station WKCR, he insisted that student opinions about university policy did matter to him, but that if they were offered without reasoned explanations, then they meant no more to him than if a majority of students liked strawberries.
Kunen himself has said that the book's title owed just as much to the psychedelic name of the rock group the Strawberry Alarm Clock as to Deane's statement.
1970 saw a film that was loosely based on the book, but fictionalized.