The title of these notes conveys their tentative nature. To “understand” is not to explain, for explanation presupposes that we can assign casual weights to factors. But understanding—placing an event in the context of other events, past and present, and showing sensible linkages among them—is a prerequisite for explanation.
What needs to be understood about Columbia is the mobilization of the students. We may assume, at least for the sake of argument, that Mark Rudd and his SDS followers deliberately sought a “confrontation” with the University in order to “radicalize” the students by “disrupting” the University. This program was aided by the tactics of an inept administration; ...
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