University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 70, Number 2 (Nov. 1968)

An interview with Chancellor Young,   pp. 4-7


Page 6


ists is relatively the danger of the
reaction they will invoke, not that
they will tear the place down. The
other students aren't going to let
them. The faculty is not going to
let them. This University has been
around for over 100 years; it isn't
going to quit because somebody
doesn't like it.
Q: Aren't some of the activists work-
ing at organizing some sort of "edu-
cational reform"?
Chancellor Young: Yes, and I share
some concern that educational re-
forms are needed. You don't have
to belong to SDS to be thus con-
cerned. When I was a Dean, I called
for reforms long before students and
many of the faculty seemed to care
much about them. We always have
wanted better and more teachers,
and better education. For example,
there could be one very good reform
around here. If all the teaching as-
sistants were carefully trained and
supervised and were given enough
staff supervision and time from pres-
sure of their own research to spend
time preparing, it would be a great
result. I can think of a dozen other
reforms, including one which would
demand that students do their read-
ing before they go to class.
However, I don't think that the stu-
dents should have all of the power
they seek in bringing about reform.
Student involvement is good; they
have a great deal to offer. But I
can't believe that students know more
about running a University--or its
curricula-than their professors do.
We ought to sit down together and
ask, "what do we have, and how
can we make it better?"
Q: It seems that the disturbances are
escalating and that administrators are
receiving increasing pressure from
outside the University to deal less
permissively with these disturbances.
6
Chancellor Young: My view-and I
may regret these words in a few
months-is that we must try to deal
rationally and assume that we are
dealing with rational people. We must
explain the University's position and
discuss it freely with people who dif-
fer with it. We must be willing to
change our ways if faculty and ad-
ministration are convinced that they
are wrong, but we must not change
for a small minority who are maybe
searching for things to hit us with.
We do many things that some people
aren't going to like. Every issue about
which the University gets publicity
draws letters from both sides of the
question. We've got to do what we
believe to be right, and to arrive at
that conclusion rationally.
Q: There are those who advocate
that the dissatisfied students be asked
to leave, so that the rest of the stu-
dents can get on with their education.
How do you answer that suggestion?
Chancellor Young: I'll say flatly that
no one is going to be able to stay
around this University if he obstructs
its functions. That is the ruling of the
Board of Regents, supported by the
faculty and by me.
But there is usually more to that
question. Quite often the speaker is
getting at those who don't actually
disrupt, but just come under the
heading of malcontents or mischief-
makers.
I remind him, as I reminded the
Board of Directors of the Alumni
Association early this month, that
some of them weren't angels in their
undergraduate days, either. Great in-
novations often begin with unpopular
individuals. Today we have buildings
and streets named after men at this
University who were often called
"crazy" in their student days. When
I was going to college back in Maine,
we had our share of "communists".
Most of them must have swung back
to the right, because they settled
down and raised families, and many
made great contributions to society.
I wonder how many of them would
have turned out this way if they had
been totally rejected by their peers
and expelled by school authorities.
I have great respect for peaceful dis-
senters: they're the ones who founded
this nation.
Q: If the University Placement serv-
ice-and particularly its permission
to Dow to conduct interviews-
causes so much trouble, why doesn't
the University discontinue the serv-
ice?
Chancellor Young: First of all Place-
ment Service is a very definite aid to
job-seeking students, as well as to
the industries whose taxes help sup-
port this and other institutions of
learning throughout the country. So
long as we have placement services,
any legitimate organization for any
legitimate purpose may come here to
interview. Who am I to decide? If I
had the right to decide that a certain
company could not come on campus
to interview, would I also have the
right to decide that a certain speaker
could not be heard on campus? Does
anyone want to give me that author-
ity? Certainly not. If Dow or other
interviewers cause trouble on cam-
pus, we mustn't confuse the amount
of noise with the number of people
involved. Remember-it takes only
1% of our student population to
make a fairly noisy crowd. And we
musn't accept, protest as necessarily
rational. We must take the view that
any student who raises a question
is entitled to an answer, but we don't
have to pay any more attention to
someone who pounds a drum than
to someone who writes a letter.
That's my view.
Q: What are your views on the re-
portedly increased use of drugs by
high school and college age students?
Chancellor Young: Drug use, particu-
larly among young people, is a serious
problem throughout the nation.
Whenever we talk to colleagues from
other campuses, we hear a story of
experimentation by a minority of stu-
dents at both the high school and
college level. It is estimated that of
those who use marijuana on cam-
puses, half of them have experi-
mented with it before they reach
there.
I am not competent to discuss the
physical effects of marijuana use.
Practically all of the authorities agree
that the use of other drugs-the so-
called "hard" drugs, LSD-type drugs
-is very harmful to the users and
a threat to society. No one has dem-
onstrated any good that can arise
                 Wisconsin Alumnus


Go up to Top of Page