The strawberry statement is based on the 1968 book, The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary by James Kunen, which is set at Columbia University in New York.
In the film, Simon is a student in San Francisco. A member of the rowing team, he's vaguely liberal in politics but generally unaware of what is going on - namely, student protest at the University's plans to repossess black-occupied tenements but through his developing romance with the more politically active Linda, he gradually becomes more involved.
The film has quite a few things in its favour: excellent performances from a fine cast, a strong sense of San Francisco at the time (lots of shots of rowing boats going under bridges), and a literate screenplay by playwright Israel Horovitz (father of Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz).
The film is clearly on the side of students: the title refers to a teacher's comment that a student's opinion is as relevant to him as whether or not the student likes strawberries.
One scene with one of Simon's rowing colleagues demonstrates that some of the students are very much on the side of authority against the 'commies'. However, when his strokeman, George, punches him in the face in the showers, he manages to work it to his favour and tells his fellow radical students that he got into a fight with the police.
The director has penchant for odd angles and overhead shots (also very much of its time), and his continual cutting back and forward can become distracting.