Radical Cheek

updated 12/21/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/21/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

BELIEVER IN FELL DISCLOSURE, wherever it leads, Andrew Martinez, a junior and rhetoric major at the University of California at Berkeley, is baring his soul, among other things. "The university talks about diversity," he says, "but only if that diversity falls within the confines of European values."

Yes, a skirmish over multiculturalism and Eurocentrism has broken out at Berkeley. This time, though, it isn't about dead white males like Shakespeare or Dante; it's about clothes. Martinez isn't into them. The university thinks he should be—especially in class.

Martinez, 20, became a familiar sight on campus after he introduced his warm-weather ensemble of sandals, backpack and nothing else in a Russian history class in September. "No teachers have said anything to me," he claims.

A crusader for nudism since graduating from high school in Cupertino, Calif., Martinez, known on campus as the Naked Guy, has evolved an anti-imperialist rationale to go along with his minimalist wardrobe. "Clothes are totally a creation of need and of capitalistic society," Martinez says.

The administration isn't buying it. "It's not a matter of free speech," says university spokesman Jesus Mena. "We've had several complaints from women who felt sexually harassed by this individual walking in naked." Finally, after many fruitless—indeed, Fruit of the Loom-less—attempts to persuade Martinez to cover up, Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien issued a dress code. Its main rule: Dress.

Martinez, true to his own code, is staying off campus and watching his semester go down the drain. "I doubt if I'll pass any of my classes," says the 2.3 GPA student. He is also studying his options as winter comes to Northern California. Should he file a suit—or buy one?

From Our Partners