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Newsfront – Crisis In Higher Education – September 25, 1968 – EEN-NET – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
1968 – a year of protest. And all across the country, the College Campus was a flashpoint. Primarily about our increased unpopularity with the Vietnam War, but other protests factored in as well. As early as 1964, when UC Berkeley held the now-famous Free Speech sit-ins, the college campus became the focal point for discussion, dissent and organizing.
And that was a point of concern for those in academia, especially college Presidents who were facing backlash from alumni, scrutiny from constituents and a vote of no-confidence from both the community and the student body.
This episode of Newsfront, the nightly Eastern Education network news program hosted by Mitchell Krauss features Dr. Cordier, President of Columbia University – Dr. Barnett, President of Colgate University – Dr. Raushenbush, President of Sarah Lawrence and Dr. Gallagher President of CCN.Y. It originally aired on September 25, 1968.
It coincided with resumption of school around the country, and what was anticipated as a new wave of protests, possibly more intense and potentially more destructive than before, since our involvement in Vietnam was getting deeper and not de-escalating as had been earlier thought or hoped for. It was also an election year and Nixon was running on a platform of “law and order”, which only added kindling to an already explosive situation.
Although there is general agreement among the group that Colleges and Universities in America were in danger of being destroyed from within as institutions – some refused to entertain a notion so bleak. But it is fascinating how the conversation turns from protests of American policy in Vietnam and Race relations to what was essentially a dialogue on the Generation Gap – blaming, instead of a failed Foreign Policy, decrying Youth for “wanting everything and wanting it now.”
In an odd way, you get a glimpse into just how contentious an issue the generation gap was – it’s one of the parts that played a huge role in the general upheaval in the 60s.
Not a simple decade in our history – but, not many are, come to think of it.