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From Northeastern University the National Information that 40 percent urban confrontation. Maybe I'm just an irrational and maddening that the length of someone's hair should influence the effect of its own discourse but it is a fact of today's life. And if you're going to move out beyond the campus you have the choice. You can maintain your lifestyle in appearance and bear the double burden of persuading your listeners of the validity of both the medium and the message with the risk that if you fail the first you hat you get no chance at the second. Or you can move right to the message by sacrificing at least temporarily some of the trappings that antagonize others. It's just a matter of priorities. How important is it to you that your message get through. How much time and energy do you want to spend convincing people that students with beards are really normal citizens. Before you can convince them that The Who or another uses in society are immoral.
This week on 7 on Sunday. Edward M. Kennedy democratic a massive program movement today. In 1962 Edward M. Kennedy was elected to fill the Senate seat vacated by his brother John F. Kennedy who had left Massachusetts for the White House and with his other brother Bobby running the Justice Department as attorney general. There were three Kennedys dominating the Washington political scene in 1982. Now more than a decade since the inauguration of John Kennedy only Ted remains. And along with other senators like Edmund Muskie of Maine and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. Senator Kennedy is often considered a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in one thousand seventy two. Senator Kennedy spoke recently at Boston University. And he chose the problems of student unrest in this country as his
topic. He explains the apprehension felt by most Americans in the wake of last year's tragedies. We all know that every campus and every city in town and village across the country is apprehensive as the new academic year begins. The events of last May at home and abroad are behind us but not forgotten. And the war continues and the intensity of the public debate has lowered after the strenuous summer lobbying and the optimistic vote on the McGovern Hatfield Amendment and many persons fear that we may be passing through the eye of the hurricane with yet another round of unrest and disturbances to besiege us on the road ahead. And the embattled University in Wisconsin has felt the murderous and senseless shock of a bomb heard round the country and public tolerance has been severely strained in public indignation is clearly being played to by some political figures. And everyone hopes that we are pulling
back from the brink which we have stood. And in the midst of this strife and our deep concern over the future of our nation it is important to pause and note that in recent times we have seen the system respond. Change is both great and small can be directly attributed to the involvement of young people. They began in the McCarthy and Robert Kennedy campaigns of 1968 and the movement against the war was crystallized into hard political activity and whether or not we are pleased with the rate of American withdrawal from Southeast Asia. It cannot be denied that American policy is now different and men have been deprived of office by the strength of the new political fight talent of the young and the concern. And surely the rejection of Judge change Worthen judge cars well cannot be overlooked in measuring the responsiveness of our system. I well recall the influx of thousands of young Americans into
Washington following the invasion of Cambodia and the tragedies of cand and Jackson State. And I met with many of you in this audience on the steps of the Capitol and together we discussed the war and the other great issues of our day and the progress we saw last spring can be measured in results this summer in areas like the debate on the churche Cooper amendment on the McGovern Hatfield Amendment. The Senate clearly began to respond to the voice of the people and a president who resists the timetable to end the war was forced to set a timetable for withdrawal from Cambodia. So there is responsiveness to constructive pressure. And in another extremely important area of the American political system itself has reached out to embrace the young. Congress passed an historic statute lowering the voting age to 18 in all elections federal state and local and thereby bringing your generation of Americans into the mainstream process of the United States by lowering the voting age to 18 the nation has passed another important milestone in our
long march toward extending the franchise to all of our people. Not proof Ifti years not since 1920 when the Constitution was amended to give the right to vote to women. Now we've taken a comparable step to broaden the base of our democracy and increase the responsiveness of our government. I believe the Congress has ample constitutional authority to lower the voting age by statute. And as a result when this statute first goes into effect millions of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 21 will be eligible to go to the polls for the first time in the air by began a lifetime of participation in the political process of America whether they use that right and how they use it is up to them. The entre will be part of the promise of this decade. The past few months have been scarred by bombings and violence as he calls for an end to all destruction. Senator Kennedy continues by outlining the two alternatives each student has when he defines his participation in the college
community and the political system. Yet even beyond the potential of the youth franchise the opening year of the 1970s has brought America's student population to another important fork in the room. There are two clear choices for every student. Every organization and every campus they can choose destructive violence and physical coercion and rioting and burning and occupying and bombing and trashing at their schools and in their community or they can choose the legitimate avenues of dissent and concentrated on constructive political action to restructure University governance to change laws and policies at every level of government to elect progressive officials in city halls and state houses in Congress and in the White House. And in the past few years and especially since May Some students have pursued each of these cars. But we are still at the fork row because so many students have yet to choose their cause and for most of those who were started on the road to violence it is still not too late to
reassess and restart and turn the other way. There is no rule no role no reason for violence at America's colleges or universities. Those who seek change by the threat or use of force must be identified and isolated and subjected to the sanctions of the criminal law. They are the hijackers of the university holding hostages. It's peace and tranquility. Its students and its faculty its research and its scholarship to be ransom for their particular demands. And like Sky jackers they must be deterred and repudiated even or especially by those who say they share their goals. Any person who lends them aid and comfort any person who grants them sympathy or support must share the burden of their guilt for like the Arab commandos the campus commandos can only operate if the environment allows them to. And I say this with the full recognition that the
apostles of force and destruction on campus are very few in number and that the boss majority of students and faculty totally reject violence as a conscience tool of progress. And yet there is a collective responsibility partly real to the extent that the few are followed and encouraged and tolerated by their peers and teachers and partly imagined by those in the public who lump all students together. Surely the time has come to face these facts and to face the other realities which student activism in all its forms has visited upon a song by their methods and their appearance and their rhetoric. Students have managed to obscure their noble goals in the public's consciousness and replaced them with the issue of student unrest. Instead of being the medium for the vital messages about society as ills for ending the war racism and poverty and repression the students on the campus are seen in the public eye
as one of the principal ills in today's society. Instead of producing leadership for new solutions to the nation's problems campus active activists are producing fear and outrage and reaction. They are pushing the public in the opposite political and philosophical and social direction. And for every American who blame the National Guard for the killings it can't stay. There were two who thought the students were at fault. And there are probably another two for whom the tragedy at Madison was the last straw. Perhaps the force of public opinion is not and should not be enough alone to affect the young force of public opinion cannot be ignored for its results are real and important and because public opinion is focused on this new and complex problem of campus on recess. Students are convenient and welcome scapegoats in turmoil on the campus lends itself to the wildness and bases full
of political rhetoric and the kinds of demagoguery we hear from our by to produce vice president and others provide the thick smoke you have. Have Thank you. Thick smoke screen behind which some elements in our society can hide what they themselves are really doing to this nation. For those who pander to public emotion perplexity and events on campus are also those who allow the war to continue and who disorder are not national priorities so that we invest in SS Maybe EMS instead of on teachers and for our children and healthcare and for our sick. Senator Kennedy illustrates that the diversions created by those who choose to bomb and
destroy hurt us all and the ills of our society are allowed to continue unnoticed. So in large part because mainstream America is preoccupied with concern about the campus we all suffer while the politicians of panic get their way. Leaders with conscience and foresight find the institutions of power in the public less receptive and responsive to their programs and their priorities and values. Perhaps partly because they are also shared by student America. None of the deep problems of society go on salt in short sighted policies endure. Moreover as those who look back are emboldened by the polarization between the community and the campus and as those who look forward are resisted the ones who really suffer most are the ones most in need. The working people who need more and better health care and public education. The unemployed who need more
training and jobs for growing families who need housing the elderly for whom inflation is a constant pickpocket. The union men and women whose sons are dying in Viet Nam in larger numbers than any other group in society and the put more white black and Indian who need help to lift themselves from deprivation and discrimination. They are the ones who are the real losers when town takes on gown on a national scale. So the loss is ours. We are each hurt as America recoils to protect ourselves from the violence perpetrated by a small minority. Senator Kennedy illustrates that the students have already lost a great deal in terms of their ability to work and to make the necessary changes for students themselves. There are also some distressing signs of change. Two years ago students could go anywhere to canvass for candidates at election time. Now some candidates know that student can vs may be a liability in the scope of their
activity is being curtailed and students have all become suspect. And America is beginning to fear and blame them as a group without making a distinction between those who seek violent change and those who seek peaceful change. In many minds the student is a radical and a radical is a revolutionary and a revolutionary is a bomb thrower. Students of all stripes not suffer the pains of prejudice and their lives on campus have been changed. And there is an aura of tension and control instead of calm and freedom. And they have lost some of their natural allies in the university and many professors feel that student activists are diluting the traditions of academic freedom and interrupting the scholarly and educational functions of the university causing damage from within that rivals the potential damage from without. Some students have also alienated most of those who could and should be the beneficiaries of their reform efforts. The salary
in our lead employees the blue collar workers the hardhats the commission salesman the policemen and all the other middle American whose taxes are unbearably high whose children go to overcrowded and under-funded public schools whose sons went to war because they could not get to ferment who cannot afford to seventeen hundred dollar tuition let alone next year's $2000 to Rishon. Who can be wiped out by the cost of a major illness whose automobile insurance and automobile repair costs are getting out of reach you know rely for their leisure on inadequate public parks and recreation systems who inhabit cities where pollution traffic and utility service and crime are daily challenges. These are people who have very very little and very immediate complaints about the system
and its institutions as you do. And if you succeed in making the system more responsive it will respond to their needs as well as yours and they are also the ones whom you must persuade if new national values and priorities and ideals are to be adopted. But the gap between them and the student is too wide now. But these processes to go on the worker could not go to college thinks the student should be grateful that they can. He cannot understand why the privilege of college is being abused. Why do you opportunity is not being fully pursued by the educational process which can be the key to success is being interfered with and that she has little respect for anything the activist student might have to say on any subject. He is not prepared to accept the lifestyle of the student he sees on the streets of Beacon Hill in Back Bay or Cambridge and there is no basis for him to
understand or empathize with the needs and drives which bring some new young Americans to be long here and beads and pot in fringe bastion free love. And so we turn it off when the student speaks and the student not only loses a vital audience and a potential ally but also gains a neg nonstick in the past few months many state legislatures have passed bills which withhold financial aid for most students who participate in violent dissent. As Senator Kennedy continues he points out the backlash now being suffered by many institutions of higher education as alumni and foundations withdraw funds from college after college. Senator Kennedy also challenges each student to consider the value of his medium and his message as they attempt to change the American society. And I need not remind us where the constant backlash from the state and national legislators seeking to tie strings to fines and to legislate their own version of discipline on the campus or the backlash from alumni or board of
trustees. Pressure All too often encourages the force of repression. That is a dismal picture and I regret I have to paint it. But you were the ones who can brighten it. And if violence and interference with the rights of others are to be eliminated from the campus then you yourself the vast majority of students will have to take the lead. You must make clear that violence and coercive tactics alright acceptable. It is not enough merely to avoid violence and interference with rights of others. The time has come to do something about it. To play an active role in calming the campus and to do it with care with thought and with courage. And you must analyze with your own groups whether you have become too narrow minded in your commitment. Are you merely talking to him persuading those who already agree with you. Have you invested enough or in time in broadening your appeal and seeking to convince your natural allies and your potential
constituency outside the campus. Or have you acted as though you don't believe outsiders can understand. As if only the college educated or the young can truly identify with your underlying goals and your immediate purposes already the feeling is too widespread that the students are out for a self-indulgent ego trip for adventure or for excitement for a close game of how much self-satisfaction can I get. You must disprove that notion. You must communicate with others and persuade them broaden your base of support in their base of hope. You must listen to the hard hat in the firemen the bus driver. You must understand their problems not just vent your problems on them. You have. You must measure your own priorities. If you are to persuade others you must be able to reach out to them beyond your own life. Too often the
trappings inhabits of you preclude the opportunity for any contact whatever it may be on just an irrational and maddening that the length of someone's hair should influence the effect of its own discourse but it is a fact of today's life. And if you're going to move out beyond the campus you have the choice. You can maintain your lifestyle in appearance and bear the double burden of persuading your listeners of the validity of both the medium and the message with the risk that if you fail the first you hat you get no chance at the second. Or you can move right to the message by sacrificing at least temporarily some of the trappings that antagonize others. It's just a matter of priorities. How important is it to you that your message get through. How much time and energy do you want to spend convincing people that students with beards are really normal citizens. Before you can convince them that The Who or another
uses in society are immoral. Later students ask Senator Kennedy who and what is it that the students should get their message to and what is the basis for the real America. I do feel that the American intent obviously goes beyond just the bounds of geographical description or ethnic mixture or land mass which is is this nation in its frame of mind it's a temperament it's an attitude and why it's here it's it's being tried here and it's been tried here for a period of some 200 years. I think it's full of faults full of limitations full of great problems. And the Rio I think essence of the American intent is the recognition that we've got great problems in our society and in the world but we're willing to try and do something about them. I
personally feel that that is really the essence of what this country is all about is a recognition of our own kinds of limitations our own goals and our own ideals to realize that we've got great problems in our society but that we're really willing and trying to do something about it. And I think once we as a nation as a people as a Government officials fail to either one recognize the depth and and the nature of our problems or to a willingness to do anything about it then I think no matter what constitution you have what frame of government you've got whether it's all or no matter how it's elected are not elected. And I think the essence of what our whole society is is really jeopardized in books. Senator Edward M. Kennedy concludes his speech with a challenge to American students to get in and change the institutions from within. There are numerous openings in which a student may apply and so do better aid the community and the nation.
My final point is that successful political action involves changing institutions not only from the outside but also from the inside. There are many public service functions which direct participation by America's use could not only revitalize the institutions but also help reduce the generational dialogue and understanding which the nation needs so badly in our hospitals and health centers in our city and county governments in our police departments and criminal justice agencies and poverty programs and educational agencies. The problems of our society can be exposed to day life. They can be confronted and attacked. These areas are the front lines where actions have direct and measurable results where hardware can bring personal gratification and social contribution at the same time. Certainly that there is a clear element of snobbery in constant criticism of institutions and agencies without any willingness to enter them
and see if a better job can be done. In the America of 1970 dissent has become far too comfortable. Like everything else in our nation it takes five minutes to draw all of the letters on a protest sign. But it takes a life time of dedicated service to make a contribution to our society. In the decade of the sixties students in North and South joined together to awaken the nation's conscience a generation of Freedom Rides sit ins and voter registration help to launch the drive to banish racism from our social structure. Those who came before you in recent years with the first to call attention to the critical moral issue of our day our participation in the war in Viet Nam and its troop levels in bombing raids began to escalate. It was the academic community which first raised the voice of protests which first questioned the validity of our means and ends in Viet Nam which began to transform the nature of our
international commitments in hundreds of respects. Our students of the past have made vital and lasting contributions to the quality of our life. What difference would you make. What challenge will you make. What burden will you carry. What service will you carry. Will it be enough to shout your protests or will you also help the rest of us to bring our dreams to life. A man of Massachusetts one of the greatest prophets in the history of our nation put this thought very simply in words as timely now as they were on Memorial Day in 1884. It was Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who said as life is action in passion it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived. Indeed we are in a time of change of new problems and nuances. You must help your university remain a place of scholarship and learning a place of growth and wisdom a springboard for new ideas and new
ways. It is you and millions like you around the country who will determine how our university and your nation will continue to exist. Responsibility is yours. I hope you will bear it well. Thank you. Thank you. Thank. The university Dr. Edward M. Kennedy Democratic senator from Massachusetts. They program the student movement today building or bomb. The views and opinions expressed on the preceding program not necessarily those of Northeastern University or the state in. This week's program of her youth
and directed by David Brown in collaboration with Boston University Distinguished lectures here. With technical supervision by John Fox executive producer. More than confrontation. Jeffrey M. Feldman. Urban confrontation you've heard us put the division of the ranking of Americans at the nation's largest private university for requests for a tape recorder copy of any program in this area may be addressed to urban confrontation. Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts two one one. The program of four used by the Department of radio production. Of Harvey the director. Or announcer made happen. This is the national educational radio network.
Urban Confrontation
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The Student Movement Today: Build or Bomb Edward Kennedy
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Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Urban Confrontation is an analysis of the continuing crises facing 20th century man in the American city, covering issues such as campus riots, assassinations, the internal disintegration of cities, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. Produced for the Office of Educational Resources at the Communications Center of the nations largest private university, Northeastern University.
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Producing Organization: Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-5-51 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Urban Confrontation; 51; The Student Movement Today: Build or Bomb Edward Kennedy,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “Urban Confrontation; 51; The Student Movement Today: Build or Bomb Edward Kennedy.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Urban Confrontation; 51; The Student Movement Today: Build or Bomb Edward Kennedy. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from