The Agony of the Campus

The Agony of the Campus

This is a good time to remember what we owe the students. Owe, not to one or another group and certainly not to the “actions” of last year, but to the fresh and undogmatic young people who in 1963-64 began to assault the injustices of American society.

There were striking moments: busloads of youth heading South to help voter-registration drives, the early teach-ins stirring opposition to the war, the later involvement, at once practical and idealistic, in the McCarthy campaign. At such moments—they seem painfully distant right now—we could glimpse the potential of an aroused generation. The students cast off the cheap tokens of careerism; they shook their teachers out of apathy and made them pay attention to the dangers of a militarized university; they even led their parents to hope that the aborted dreams of their youth might yet be realized.

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