Light on the Hill, Volume II
THE NEW AND INCREASING VISIBILITY and activism of black students on the Tufts campus brought in its train a series of problems that were still in the process of solution in the 1980s. Although the militancy of the 196os and early 1970s had died down within the student body at large, there was still an undercurrent of the same complaints, directed principally against Blacks, that marked the earlier period. There was continued resentment by some white students to the presence of Blacks. This was added to a latent racial tension which had alternated in somewhat confusing (if not contradictory) fashion with the idealistic enthusiasm of many whites to increase minority representation and to integrate them into the student body.
A major complaint, aimed as much at the administration as against Blacks themselves, was the admission of applicants with lower academic qualifications than those expected of whites. There was concern also, particularly among faculty, that they would, either inadvertently or because of pressure, set up a double standard - one for whites and one for Blacks. There was also complaint that the increased recruitment of Blacks meant less space in the student body for whites who were better qualified. Some felt that a disproportionate percentage of financial aid, limited at best, was being siphoned off to assist black students, and that as a consequence deserving whites were being deprived of aid.
There were tensions at the non-academic level as well. The self-segregation of Blacks which occurred on a large scale was thought to fly in the face of the ideal of integration on which so much ink and effort had been expended. The Blacks countered by claiming hostility toward them by the white majority. It all seemed to be an element in the complex equation of human relationships, and no one seemed to have a pat or easy answer.
One fact was clear: The character of the Tufts student body had changed noticeably within a relatively brief period. The great bulk of the students came from higher economic and social strata than ever before by the end of the Hallowell administration. The increased diversity of the once predominantly Protestant middle-class and lower middle-class institution was being reflected in a more religously differentiated and ethnically mixed student body than had existed when
|Wessell assumed office in the early 1950s. There was, however, one thread of constancy and continuity that remained at Tufts. It continued to be a highly selective school throughout, with a standing among its peers in the educational world of which most of its graduates could be proud. Tufts had become more and more a microcosm of the larger society of which it was a part.|