Protesters in Cairo/Photo: Al Jazeera English

The assistant dean of development at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school, Robert Sproul, found himself and a group of Cal alumni in the thick of protests in Cairo last week. Sproul was undeterred, he told The Wall Street Journal (link to Google News avoids the WSJ subscription firewall): “Everybody on the bus said, ‘We’re used to tear gas, we’re used to protest. We went to Berkeley in the 1960s.’”

The hotel the group was staying in, the Semiramis Intercontinental, sits on Tahrir Square, focus of the protests. Some tour group members thought it would be prudent to relocate to the Cairo suburbs. Sproul told the Journal: “There was no way I was going to give up my front-row seat on the revolution to sit in a mall in the suburbs and wait for a plane out of here.”

Sproul wasn’t reckless, however. When some protesters started shouting slogans, he left the square. “Once you’ve been in a few riots, you learn, stay clear of the thick of it,” he told the Journal.

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Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...