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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 72, Number 7 (May 1971)

Are Americans losing faith in their colleges?,   pp. [9]-[24]


Page [23]


      expenditures, student aid programs are being
      iand- colleges are being forced to close their
  * Governmental rulings are now clearly directed to,
    ating black Americans into the larger society and
    ting equal educational opportunities for them and
    the nation's poor. Many colleges and universities
  ye enlisted in that cause and have been recruiting
  ority-grou  students. This is a costly venture, for
  poor require almost complete scholarship support
  order to matriculate in a college. Now, the shortage
  Wfunds is hampering the effort.
V-   An emergent national goal in the 1970's will be
  cleaning of the environment and the restoration of
i country's    pr. Many colleges        and u ne
ve. With this in mind, the National Science
has shifted the emphasis in some of its
rams toward the environmental and social
ut institutions which face major retrench-
set growing deficits will be seriously con-
their efforts to help solve these pressing
ems.
gedy," says the president of a large state
'is that the society is rejecting us when we
t-and I might add when it most needs us."
PUBLIC'S loss of confidence in the colleges
I universities threatens not only their fi-
acial welfare, but their freedom as well.
  public's growing ýdissatisfaction with the
state legislators and federal officials have
actions which strike directly at the auton-
dependence of the nation's educational insti-
and regents have also begun to tighten con-
lieges and universities. A number of presi-
been fired, frequently for not dealing more
i student and faculty disrupters.
in a crossfire," a university president points
al students and faculty are trying to capture
ities, and they are willing to destroy our
the effort. Authorities, on the other hand,
fice our freedom and autonomy to get at
;mma for college and university officials
larly painful one. If they do not find effec-
:o deal with the radicals-to halt campus
d resist efforts to politicize the institutions-
es will exert more and more control. On the
if administrators yield to outside pressures
            A   lumni who understand
            can help to restore
            the public confidence
and crack down on radicals, they are likely to radical-
ize moderate students and damage academic freedom
and individual rights in the process.
   McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation,
summed it up this way:
   "To the degree that violence subsides and the uni-
versity community as such is kept separate from polit-
ical conflict, the danger of attack upon the freedom of*
the university from the outside will be reduced. No
institution which depends upon society for its resources
will be allowed-as an institution-to choose sides in
the general contests of the democratic process, and vio-
lence by the privileged is an uncommonly unpopular
phenomenon. If it be true, as I believe, that both poli-
tics and violence must be restrained in the academic
world for reasons that are intrinsic to the nature of the
university, it is also true that when violence spreads and
the university is politicized, society as a whole turns
hostile-and in a prolonged contest with society as a
whole, the university is not a likely winner."
   Freedom would be the first casualty-the freedom
to teach, the freedom to learn, the freedom to dissent,
and the freedom of the academy to govern itself. Truth,
objectivity, vitality, and knowledge would fall victim
in quick succession. Were this to happen, society as a
whole would suffer, for autonomous colleges and uni-
versities are indispensable to society's own self-renewal,
its own cultural and intellectual advancement, and its
own material well-being.
   Samuel Gould, former chancellor of the State Uni-
versity of New York, once told his legislature some-
thing that is especially relevant today: "A society that
cannot trust its universities," he said, "cannot trust
itself."
 T 'HE CRISIS on American campuses has no
              parallel in the history of this nation. It
              has its roots in divisions of American
society as deep as any since the Civil War. The divi-
sions are reflected in violent acts and harsh rhetoric and
in the enmity of those Americans who see themselves
A


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