Dimensions in academic freedom; #4 (Reel 2)
Gone then is the older notion of a third party beneficiary contract in favor of the privileged student who retain the right to control its incidence and its place is a new status relationship in which the college performs a socially prescribed task in a manner over which the society generally including the student retains considerable control. The private contract is now replaced by a public duty. In the transition the paternalism of the older form of the relationship between student and college has become an anachronism. The fourth and final cause of the breakdown of collegiate paternalism which I shall examine is the changed character of the student body itself. In the last century we have experienced almost a hundred fold increase in the size of our collegiate student body. The changes I have already indicated from a student body comprised of 1 percent of the 18 to 24 year olds 100 years ago to twenty three point three percent of them today. These new students come from social classes and national and
racial backgrounds. Never bought before President on college campuses in such numbers. They are bright and mature area unaided from traditional values and newly aware of their political power. This adds up to a radical change in the character of the collegiate student body and the purport of this change is to strain still further the traditional organization of collegiate authority. The new student is not older than the traditional student but he has had more experience of life. He comes from homes and family backgrounds which have been less isolated from the economic and social struggle. The very style of family life in which he has been brought up is more open and honest has made him more aware of what life is about. He is a product of a better primary and secondary education. And finally he shows the effect of the communications revolution. He is a child of television and the film industry. The sum of these influences has brought forth a
generation of young people which is more sensitive to life in all its dimensions than any generation before it has been. These young people have vicariously experience the whole range of human emotions and been witness to the whole play of political passions love and hatred war greed and bloodshed discrimination hunger and deprivation electioneering and rioting. They have seen it all in ways which were not possible before the advent of the television to these new students have gotten a message from the media and they exhibit its mark in their maturity of bearing and purpose. The second characteristic good new student which is important for our purpose is his alienation from traditional values and institutions. To be sure there have been disaffected students before this time. The difference now is the extent of the dissolution. It is more widespread and it bites more deeply into the range of life's values than it ever has before.
War poverty and racial discrimination all loom as fundamental an insurmountable political outrages. Infidelity divorce illegitimacy bureaucratized zation and mask a form of conformity. A peer is poisonous and you know a radical social diseases and the individual is thought to be inevitably threatened by increasing isolation loneliness and boredom. There is nothing to look forward to except losing one's soul in exchange for the dross of material wealth. The old values have failed and there are no new ones to take their place. All the ideologies all the utopias from democratic capitalism to Christian salvation to Marxist Socialism seem to have left. The only heroes who remain are those who preach destruction with no other vision of the social good. This is is indeed a generation of rebels without a cause. A generation of Neela's a generation despairing of the life we live and set on remaking it. But
without a vision of any alternative. And yet the new student is a very political person. Again of course we can acknowledge the fact that student generations before this have played the political game. The difference here is with this generation's alienation is a difference of degree not small political cells nor ineffectual weekly political discussion groups but impressively large numbers of activists are dedicated with all their being to the pursuit of their political purposes. In the struggle over the civil rights issue. And over the Vietnam War they found a first taste of political success. No other generation of young people has had such political effect. None has been so heralded by journalists or so courted by politicians. They have quite suddenly achieved a sense of their own authority a sense of the growing force of their own numbers a sense of identification with the older European and Latin American tradition
of student political power. Most important of all they have developed a distinctive style of political action and a distinctive form of political tactics. Thus although the new student Azeri unaided and lacks the conviction of an ideology he is outraged by evil and thereby transformed into a political person disillusioned with British traditional political programme matic goals. He stands and fights on limited particular issues. This A-list disillusioned with traditional party and parliamentary politics he confronts social wrongs directly attempting limited and immediate remedies. Disillusioned with adult politicians he has himself become a politician. The impact of the Three Characteristics of the new student which I have described on the structure of collegiate authority has been extraordinary. No generation so bright mature so unaided from traditional
values and so political and its bearing could conceivably tolerate the paternalism of the classical collegiate system. The new students maturity and his political ization combined with the influence of the other developments which have previously described make attempts on the part of trustees and administration to authoritatively prescribe courses of study seem ever more illegitimate. The more mature student seeking to have his education serve his new values and his new political goals wants and needs more of a voice in what he will study and what the educational goals and values of the college shall be. As for parietal rules these seem ever more absurd. The values and style of life embodied in the campus rules of the old Carl were born of a different time a time which had not yet seen the unmasking of a sexual hypocrisy of the adult world. A time in which college students would tender an innocent young things who had to be protected from evil.
The new student coming frequently from a different social class and culture than the traditional student is deeply impressed by the contrast and his values and those embodied in the rules of the traditional college. He is suspicious of the trustees and the college president because they are representatives of a value system and over time he is in the act of rejecting. Under the circumstances he sees no good reason to accept the authority of the trustees and college president over the conditions of his social life. The intransigents of the Kalid classical collegiate system in the face of these student claims for new freedom and power has reinforced the strains of the underlying conflict. And I'm heeding structure of collegiate Authority has caused the new State student to begin to look upon college life as a replica replica of the wider world from which he is alienated. Trustees and presidents begin to assume the aspect of authoritarian oppressors of
forcing their in forcing their own system of values on oppressed and powerless students robbing them of their dignity and impairing their opportunity to pursue the true academic life. Faculty to begin to appear to have sold out and abandoned their calling. Instead of serving as prophets of a new and better world. They have been seduced to collaboration with the military industrial establishment by the lure of lucrative contracts. The curriculum comes to seem empty and unimportant. Out of tune with our times irrelevant to our agonies and needs the goals and purposes of colleges and universities seem to have been subverted from open minded criticism of the established social order to authoritarian forms of protection and service of that conservative order. And underneath all these other appearances there is the specter of the university as a bureaucratic machine controlled by irresponsible elites and is petty in human undemocratic and unresponsive as the world beyond the ivy covered
walls. The structure of constitutional authority is a delicate thing a compound of force and implicit threats of force of unquestioning acquiescence habitual obedience responsiveness to felt need and an aura of moral fitness. It can only persist if each of these elements continues to contribute to its saving balance. It now seems plain that the traditional hierarchical organization of collegiate power must either deliberately readjust to new realities or be transmitted by the impact of discontent. Radical changes in the system of knowledge in the social interest in knowledge and in the student population have all combined to unhinge the delicate balance of academic authority.
Acquiescence in habitual obedience to the traditional structure has begun to dissolve under the actuality of a new relationship of faculty and students to presidents and trustees. The unresponsiveness of academic authority to the felt needs of students and to the changed conditions of academic life has slowly eroded the sense of that authorities Marl fitness to govern. Under the circumstances no matter how strong the force used or threatened. The college and university can never be the same again. Student activists as well as apologists and defenders of the traditional order of both mistaken about the character of the Constitutional Revolution and academia the activists whether out of ignorance or assume tactical necessity conjure up images of the college more appropriate to 100 years ago than today. And they urged political tactics as mistaken as their image of the college. As with all revolutions the seeds of this one were laid over a long period of time
and the foundations of the old order have long since been on the mind by the growth of new sprouts of faculty and students already trustees and presidents of many institutions have long since abandoned. In fact if not in law any pretensions to absolute power and have been seeking diligently for a new form of order thus what Reese min and Jenks in a book which is to be published soon called the academic revolution is proceeding apace. The need now is not is as much to consolidate and give structure to change or to changes which have already taken place. As it is to exert the pressure of opinion against enclaves of the old tradition deliberation about and thoughtful discussion of the new constitutional order should have as high a priority as strident demands and militant tactics directed against the old constitutional order. Once it is agreed as many would now agree the trustees and presidents can no longer exercise
absolute power over the academic world. Once it is agreed that faculty and students must play a real and meaningful role in academic government a whole series of profound and complex constitutional problems arise. How precisely Shao power be distributed among trustees president its faculty and students. If the hierarchical structure of power is inappropriate what should replace it. What is the appropriate sphere of each of the organs of power. And how are the relationships between these organs and their various juristic jurisdictions to be arranged. Many colleges and universities are already deeply involved in addressing themselves to these issues and others like them. Some are doing this quite consciously others as a facet of unconscious throws of change and transition while still maintaining the fiction of the traditional structure. Many a revolution has been lost after it had succeeded because those who
favored and fought for change neglected to concern themselves with what was to follow the disappearance of the old order. It would be folly of the greatest character to undo the traditional academic structure only to have it replaced with one less just and more inadequate. One of the most significant dangers we face in this regard is that some of the very tactics used to complete the work of reordering the structure of academic authority promised to an alter or oblique prejudice the result. To be sure there is still resistance in the academic world to abandoning the old forms of authority and to be sure this resistance must be overcome by organized political effort. But if there was ever a political struggle in which violence and illegality were unnecessary and inappropriate. This is one. If there was ever a political struggle in which violence and illegality were calculated to destroy the very fruits of Rick a victory which is sought. This is one. The fact is that for the reasons I have set forth at length above the traditional forms of
power are already fast crumbling. The change is already in the works and its pace is quickening. Allies in the form of sympathetic trustees presidents and faculty are at hand. Tactics of violence are antithetical to deliberation. The very essence of the academic life under the circumstances students with romantic stereotyped and anachronistic conceptions of revolution. Students whose need to undertake violent political action is more a function of personal and emotional rather than political excess necessity should exercise restraint over their revolutionary fancies Qantas's. The violence they unleashed they unleashed may on occasion produce a temporary aura of success but it threatens the long range prospects for building the college and university we desire. As Paul Goodman put it in a slightly different context out of the shambles can only cut can only
come the same bad world. Defenders of the old order also suffer under a number of illusions. The first and most important of these is that the whole fuss the whole so-called revolt is the work of a few ill mannered loud mouth radicals. The truth of the matter is however that revolutions called for as leaders leaders never call forth revolutions leaders can never create social upheaval. They can only ride its crest. As I have shown in the main body of this paper the erosion of the traditional structure of academic authority which we are presently witnessing flows from developments in the character of knowledge in the social uses to which knowledge is put. And in the psychology of our students it is these underlying social facts which are responsible for transforming the academic world rather than any group of student leaders. Even of all our student activists were to disappear
miraculously the fundamental maladjustment in the organization of collegiate power would still remain. Too many of our academic leaders have mistaken the true nature of the student revolt. They are confused because at different times it appears to be addressed to one or another of different relatively insignificant or even when not in significant relatively isolated facets of college life. First it is free speech on campus then it is visitation hours and student rooms then admissions and scholarships for black students then recruitment of students by war industries then the building of a gymnasium in an urban slum. Then the contract relationship between the university and the Defense Research Corporation. The connection between these seemingly seemingly isolated forays is that they all represent a testing of the academic decision process. They all go to challenge the legitimacy of the constitutional apparatus of the college or university.
A related facet of the misunderstanding of the nature of the student revolt concerns an underestimation of the amount of support it finds on university campuses and elsewhere. It is significant and symbolic of this failure generally the just the other day the police who had been called to cope with the stir princes on the Columbia University campus and did a poor job of it complained that their failure was attributable in part to the fact that the administration of the college had grossly underestimated the number of students who were sitting in buildings. I am certain that the experience of Columbia will turn out after we have studied it to be much like that at Berkeley in respect of the fact as the Berkeley Muscatine report demonstrates that the activists succeeded because they had wide support not only among students generally but among faculty and among the lay public as well. The reason for the support of Berkeley Columbia and elsewhere is not only traceable to the
appeal of the political particular political issues on which the ruckus is were raised but also to the fact that the issues concerned the support of all those faculties students and laymen alike who question the underlying structure of collegiate authority. The second important allusion on the which many defenders of the traditional college suffer concerns around unease. There are some academics statesman few Fortunately few in number who insist that have stood if students do not appreciate what they have let them leave or be kicked out. And that this will provide a solution to the contemporary crisis. After all they had students do not attend college under coercion. If they do not choose to conform let them leave. I believe that some students should indeed be disciplined and more generally that the order of the college community should be maintained during this difficult transition period. There are indeed a number of students who because of political naïve political
romanticism or plain malevolence are bent on destroying what most needs to be saved and rebuilt. And there are also a greater number of other students who find in the contemporary situation of stress a rationalization for ill mannered selfish and boorish disregard of the rights of others. But anyone who supposes that by disciplining such students we will have solved the crisis of academic authority is grossly mistaken. Its roots as I have shown go much deeper. Nor I believe and I know that my judgment is tentative on this score. Are we very much nearer a solution by providing students quote means to participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs and quote providing forms of the process of due process and disciplinary proceedings and removing all restraints on student's freedom to express themselves. These were the major recommendations of the joint statement on rights and freedom of students
issued by the Association of American colleges the United States National Students Association the American SO situation of university professors and a number of other academic groups. As admirable and helpful as the statement is and as strongly as I applaud the good judgment and diligence of those who produced it. I must conclude it is of peripheral interest in the context of the constitutional challenge. American colleges and universities presently face the weakness of the Joint Statement resides in the vagueness of the language used to define the character of the student role and in the fact that even this obscure definition was further emasculated in the resolution of endorsement by the Association of American colleges. A quote means to participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy and quote the language of the Joint Statement is not the same as the assurance of some form of shared control or authority over institutional policy. In
fact it might be interpreted by some as more of the let's pretend theory of student government as more a form of manipulated acquiescence than a true grant of significant share of power. This appearance in the of weakness is underscored further by the fact that the resolution of endorsement by the Association of American college colleges limits the language of the joint statement by providing that the student participation concerned and I quote the resolution of endorsement may involve And this is a somewhat lengthy quote may involve a variety of activities and the methods appropriate to each campus ranging from student discussion of proposed policy in committees in organized agencies of student government or through the student press to the more formal determination of policy by groups that include student members or where and if delegated by appropriate authority by groups that are composed only of students and quote. Thus it turns out.
That the colleges which indorse the joint statement made little or no definitive commitment to the doctrine of shared power. In all probability the joint statement represents only a commitment to freedom of expression and opportunities for joint discussion. At most it is a commitment under some circumstances to the joint are so exercised by students of delegated power. What the joint statement seems oblivious of is that the crucial issue before American colleges and universities is not due process freedom of expression or even forms of delegated representation as important as these are. What is rather at issue is who should retain ultimate control and sovereignty over the academic institution. What is that issue is whose goals values and objectives. The college and university shall serve. Due process and disciplinary proceedings and freedom of expression can help to assure that organs of power are responsive to the interests of those they serve.
Representation. Representation on decision making bodies whose authority is delegated by the ultimate organs of power can also serve the same function even more effectively. But both of these political means fall short of reconstituting the organs of power themselves they fall short of changing the nature of ultimate sovereignty. As long as the power to be exercised by students or faculty for that matter is solely delegated power rather than a share of ultimate power. The basic nature of their relationship to sovereign power remains untouched. Thus although the joint statement takes a significant step toward creating a more responsive academic government it does not touch the problem of creating a more truly responsible academic government. In the long run no institution can remain sufficiently responsive to those it serves. However well-intentioned and however well managed unless it is responsible to them and it can only be
responsible to them if they share in one way or another in the ultimate disposition and control of power. In conclusion I would urge that student activists and protectors of the old order alike have mistaken the true nature of the student revolt. The student activists because they do not sufficiently realize that the movement to reorganize the collegiate Constitution had begun long before they came on the scene. That has already progressed far beyond their wildest dreams and that some of the tactics are inimical to its success. For their part the protectors of the old daughter are mistaken about the true character of the revolt. Its extent and the kinds of remedies which are appropriate. Let us all get over our illusions and begin the difficult work of redefining the nature and character of ultimate authority in the academic world. Thank you. We've been listening to Edward J. BROWNSTEIN president of Bennington College in Vermont.
This has been the final program about dimensions of academic freedom today presented by the University of Illinois radio service and the College of Law of the University of Illinois. Dimensions of academic freedom has been a study of the rights of men in the field of education. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
- Episode Number
- #4 (Reel 2)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- No description available
- Media type
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-10-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- MLA: “Dimensions in academic freedom; #4 (Reel 2).” 1969-01-09. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-m9023k4h>.
- APA: Dimensions in academic freedom; #4 (Reel 2). Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-m9023k4h