Light on the Hill, Volume II
STUDENT UPHEAVALS. Hallowell had been installed in the Tufts presidency only a matter of months when he was forced to confront a series of student groups and demonstrations that were unprecedented in the history of activism on the Tufts campus. The first mention in official records of the existence of student unrest had been made in the annual report of the Committee on Student Organizations for 1964-65, toward the end of the Wessell administration, but it did not surface in any significant or organized way until the academic year 1967-68. The closest approximation to agitation involving students during Wessell's tenure had been peaceful picketing in 1963-64 by a handful of students over the failure of the administration to award tenure to a member of the Philosophy Department. The first major evidence that students had become sufficiently unhappy with both national and local conditions to demand action came in the spring of 1968 when a group representing what was identified as the "student left" demonstrated against on-campus recruiting by the Dow Chemical Company and related industrial firms. Then came another demonstration demanding the liberalizing of parietals. When immediate action by the administration was not
|forthcoming the Tufts Student Council dissolved itself in protest, alleging its "powerlessness" to deal with student matters and blaming the educational "Establishment" for its failure to bring about immediate change. This was followed by a series of three confrontations with President Hallowell in the spring of 1968. He spent countless hours listening to student complaints. But this was only the beginning of a period of agitation and disruption on the campus which lasted for more than three years. What had brought it all about and what forms did it take?|
Although by no means limited to the presence or activities of a chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organized in 1964, it was that organization which served as both a catalyst and focal point of student radicalism in the 1960s and early 1970s. It was part of a long history of student organizations devoted to political, social, and economic change which had existed for more than a quarter of a century at Tufts. In short, the SDS at Tufts was the lineal descendant, with many variations and permutations as student generations changed. A student group had been organized in the spring of 1930 and was known as the Fabian Society. It was mildly socialistic in its ideas, and had been formed "for the purpose of discussing the problems resulting from the unequal distribution of wealth." It sponsored numerous outside speakers and lasted until 1933, when its activities were merged with those of the Tufts Liberal Club which had been organized in the fall of 1924. Among the goals of the latter was the creation of "better understanding in the college of present day problems by fair-minded discussion of these problems". Among its sponsors was Clarence R. Skinner, on the faculty of the Crane Theological School and later its dean, who was a confirmed pacifist. Within the group was an active contingent of war resisters who were caught up in the national anti-war movement of the early 1930s, which was to reappear thirty years later in much more vocal and aggressive form.
The Tufts Liberal Club disappeared during World War II and was reactivated in 1948 as the "Tufts-Jackson Liberal Union." It described itself as an "action group" to stir up student interest in the national presidential campaign that year and "to undertake a program of direct participation in political campaigns and organized pressure for the passage of liberal legislation." Indicative of the state of student opinion at the time were the results of a poll conducted by the Liberal Union in 1951 in which approximately one-third of the undergraduates participated. The majority favored universal military training (UMT) and were against any withdrawal of the United States from commitments abroad.
|The Liberal Union became affiliated in 1953 with Students for Democratic Action which was described as "a vigorous anti-Communistic, anti-Fascist group of liberals." But it, too, disappeared after the discrediting of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1955 and the decline of his politically motivated war on subversion in general and communism in particular.|
During the euphoria associated with the "Age of Affluence" of the 1950s, student reform movements on the campus almost disappeared. The flourishing of "Young Americans for Freedom," founded in 1960 as a national organization, testified to the conservative swing of those members of the student body who were ideologically inclined. The Young Americans sought through political action "to advance the cause of conservatism throughout the country." The membership of the Tufts chapter, organized in the spring of 1962, more than quadrupled within a year to become "one of the largest and most active political groups in the Tufts community." The local chapter campaigned for the presidency of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 and in 1967 became the "Tufts Conservative Club." The Young Republicans, with a much longer history, had been first organized at Tufts in 1900 as the Republican Club, and had gone through a series of deaths and resurrections over the years. Its members outnumbered the Young Democrats by a margin of 2 to 1 in the 1950s and early 1960s.
The atmosphere had begun to change radically in the nation at large by the mid-1960s, although the full impact of a whole series of earlier events was not felt for several years, and was not yet reflected on college campuses across the nation. There was what appeared to be the beginning of a breakdown in the vaunted "American consensus" after 1960, when criticism of national shortcomings by some segments of society, led by the younger generation, became criticism of the nation itself, with one climax in the presidential election of 1968. The United States was becoming an increasingly divided and polarized nation represented by what the dissenters called "The Establishment," the forces of "law and order" on one hand, and the proponents of social change, radical or otherwise, on the other. Poverty had been "discovered" in the early 1960s. There was growing involvement in the military conflict in Vietnam. Three nationally known public figures, including the President of the United States, were assassinated within less than a decade. Ethnic consciousness and cleavages were appearing as a part of an intensified civil rights struggle and the emergence of what one observer called a "new tribalism." The nation itself seemed to be in turmoil, exacerbated by the mass media and vociferous groups calling for a battle against
|established authority on almost every front. Traditional American capitalism fell under attack to a degree never dreamed of or expresssed by the student members of the Fabian Society of the early 1930s.|
The various segments of the "New Left," as the student rebels were called, went through a period of evolution from an essentially negative movement which rebelled against the complacency of an affluent society to increasingly radical activism on the political and ideological front which protested the status quo wherever found. There was a growing tendency to splinter and to resort to more and more violent tactics. The SDS at Tufts followed the national pattern with amazing fidelity and in so doing cast a shadow on those students who were sincere in their social idealism and attempted to use discussion and peaceful persuasion as their weapons, as did the SDS itself in its early days.
The first intimation that the student climate was changing at Tufts was the appearance of a member of the Young Socialist Alliance from Indiana University who attracted a sizeable audience on campus in the spring of 1964. Out of this quickened interest in social and ideological problems came the formation of a local chapter of the SDS in the fall of 1964. Membership was open "to anyone that does not believe in a totalitarian government." It announced a policy of supporting such national civil rights organizations as the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), discussing such issues as poverty, and in general presenting "the liberal progressive viewpoint on the Tufts campus." One of the first projects of the SDS was to go into neighboring communities to raise funds for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to support Negroes in obtaining voting rights in the South. The results were disappointing, and the students found most of the local citizenry "unreceptive and unsympathetic." Participation in a symposium in the spring of 1965 on American involvement in Vietnam was another SDS activity, as was the sponsorship of a program protesting the economic role of the United States in South Africa and the apartheid policy there. As the war in Vietnam escalated and become less and less popular and as American aims there were increasingly questioned, the SDS became more vocal in its criticism and the local chapter participated more and more widely in such activities as picketing speakers in the Boston area who supported continued American involvement. SDS members at Tufts joined fellow students from institutions such as Harvard and MIT in such activities, and SDS members from other schools in the Greater Boston area frequently attended meetings and participated in programs at Tufts. The local SDS by 1966 had also
|broadened its field of operation by calling for "educational progress in the university" and by conducting seminars on the military draft. In the educational field they called for greater student (and faculty) participation in the formulation of university policies, more discussion and less lecturing in the classroom, and a more aggressive role for the university in bringing about social change.|
So far as increased student participation in university affairs was concerned, the students won a major victory in 1968 when the bylaws of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences were revised, at student insistence, to permit them to serve, with voting rights, on certain standing committees. The trustee Educational Policy Committee approved the change, but only after the stipulation was added that the faculty should always constitute a majority of such committees. The new arrangement got off to a very slow start because, with the self-dissolution of the Student Council that same year, there was no organization to provide machinery for selecting students for committee membership. When a new student governing body arose (the Tufts Community Union or TCU) to take over the responsibility, much of the novelty of student committee participation had already began to wear off and there was more and more difficulty in recruiting student members. As one disillusioned undergraduate reported, the experience of serving on a faculty committee was "utterly boring." But at least the right to vote as well as to serve had been established.
Recognition of SDS as an approved student organization entitled to use university facilities was voted by the Student Council in 1966, but only after "extended discussion and debate." An exception was made in the case of SDS to the usual practice of requiring a membership list before final approval. Two reasons were given for this departure from the usual procedure: The "unstructured nature" of the Tufts chapter, and need for protection for the members. The executive committee of SDS at the University of Michigan had had their student military deferments revoked, and it was feared that the same would happen at Tufts.
As the nation became more and more bogged down in the Vietnam conflict, the SDS participated in March 1967 in a "Spring Mobilization to End the War" by sponsoring an address on campus by Herbert Aptheker, a prominent American Marxist, anti-Fascist, and anti-war activist. The chapter also sponsored a five-week course on the "New Left" which was later offered through the Experimental College. With their propensity for inviting controversial speakers, the SDS also sponsored in 1967 a campus appearance of William Baird who championed abortion and who was at the time challenging Massachusetts laws restricting or prohibiting the dissemination of birth
|control information and devices. The Tufts Weekly for a brief time carried advertisements for such, but ceased publishing them when the administration pointed out that it violated state law. Among other SDS activities were attempts to raise funds on campus to aid various student groups who had run afoul of the law, such as draft protestors who had been arrested at Antioch College in the winter of 1967. A directive issued in the fall of 1967 by General Lewis B. Hershey, national director of the Selective Service System, allowed draft boards to cancel deferments of student registrants who engaged in anti-draft activities or opposed military recruiting on campuses. This order greatly agitated the local SDS, who demanded an immediate reaction from President Hallowell and who chastised him for remaining silent until December. Hallowell protested the Hershey ruling and asked for its withdrawal on the ground that it curbed "free discussion and orderly dissent." However, at the same time he refused to ban military recruiting at Tufts, and argued that a policy of banning recruitment would not only be contrary to his conception of an "open university" but that there was no well-defined sentiment on the campus to order a stop to such recruiting. The SDS replied by promptly setting up a "war and draft information center" in Packard Hall.|
As the demands of the SDS to end the expanding war in Southeast Asia became more and more strident, especially after the invasion of Cambodia in the spring of 1970, they attacked with growing ferocity the ROTC program, on-campus military recruiting, and the purported failure of the university to admit more Blacks and to increase their financial support. The Fletcher School was a particular target because its dean supported the war in Vietnam and the school trained mid-career Air Force officers and had other connections with the federal government. The school was condemned because it was allegedly a "captive" of the industrial and business community as well. Flyers were circulated by the SDS on the campus in 1970, the headlines of which read "CONFRONT DEAN GULLION. FIGHT FLETCHER." In order to publicize their ideas and comments on matters in which they were interested, the SDS, in collaboration with an ad hoc Committee to End War in Viet Nam, published a mimeographed newsletter, beginning in 1967, called The Third Floor (referring to that area of Curtis Hall in which their office was located). The publication lasted for four issues.
Incoming freshmen in 1968 were greeted by an SDS flyer welcoming them "to a training factory whose primary function is to prepare and channel us into the corporate machinery that runs
|America .... We view the university as an integral part of the imperialist system .. . [and] as a vital cog in the capitalist system that oppresses black people and trys [sic] to channel us - to buy us off - into safe and meaningless jobs with the system .... If you want to learn and grow you'll have to do it on your own." If the reader is somewhat taken aback by the bursts of unrestrained rhetoric and sometimes extreme and even offensive language which occasionally characterized not only the SDS but undergraduate publications in general in the 1960s, attention needs to be called to a landmark policy set in 1964 by the Tufts faculty. In that year a "Bill of Rights" was adopted for student publications after extensive discussion in a series of faculty meetings reaffirming the principle of freedom of speech. The policy finally adopted had been drafted largely by John Ciardi, an alumnus and at the time the poetry editor of the Saturday Review of Literature and a visiting professor in the English Department.|
The widest possible latitude was given to the editors and faculty advisors of the major campus publications then in existence - the Tufts Weekly, the undergraduate newspaper, and the Tuftonian, the literary magazine. The university refused to censor any student publication in any way, and in debatable cases the student editor of the publication involved was to be the final judge of what should be included. Tufts had consulted legal counsel regarding the possibility of civil or criminal liability for libel, obscenity, or blasphemy according to state law, and decided that the risks were worth taking in the name of freedom of the press. Even though the number, character, and names of student publications changed frequently after 1964, the policy remained intact. A valuable supplement was added with a policy statement issued by the administration in 1967 assuring the privacy of student records and the confidentiality of organizational membership lists (to the extent that they were kept). The same protection from outside pressure was claimed for the university and was successfully invoked in 1970 when it refused a request from the House Internal Security Committee to provide lists of outside speakers at Tufts and the sources of their funding.
Just as student unrest was beginning to wane after President Lyndon Johnson announced in 1968 that he would not seek reelection, Martin Luther King, the most eloquent and popular voice of the Negro protest movement, was assassinated that spring. Tufts officials immediately scheduled a memorial service and classes were suspended on the day of King's funeral. The service was marred before it actually began by a group of six students who labelled it as
|hypocritical, saying that mere prayers were not enough, and walked out of the service.|
Sensing the mounting tension in the student body, on the following day the president met with his staff and the deans to draw up a list of anticipated student demands and what action should be taken to meet them. They were preparing as best they could for what became a series of student demonstrations and other actions which rose in numbers and intensity in the next few months. Opposition to the Vietnam conflict resulted in the fall of 1969 in a one-day suspension of classes in recognition of Vietnam Peace Action Day. During the academic year 1970-71, a record was set in the number of major confrontations- six in all.
Immediately following the flurry over Martin Luther King's death in 1968 Hallowell had met with a committee of the Afro-American group who, according to the president, "felt a loneliness and lack of integration with the white community," and expressed the wish that more Negro students be admitted. They were also dissatisfied with the small number of Negro faculty. The delegation was made no happier when Hallowell had to inform them that the two Negro faculty members had tendered their resignations, effective at the end of the academic year; this left no Negroes at all on the Tufts instructional staff.
In the midst of all the other turmoil, Tufts was forced to deal with an episode in March 1970 which had involvements extending well beyond its boundaries. A widely publicized "drug bust" occurred which thrust the institution into newspaper headlines and raised the question of its role in enforcing state laws as well as in protecting the legal rights, health, and general well-being of its students. The university community had become more and more aware of the trafficking in and using of drugs among Tufts students over a period of several years. The practices had increased so markedly by the spring of 1968 that the administration had seen fit to issue a series of warnings about not only the dangers of use but of the students' vulnerability to arrest and prosecution under both state laws and local ordinances. The students gave scant heed.
Attention was focused on the problem by the discovery early in 1970 that an ex-student from another institution had rented a room in a Tufts fraternity house and was busy manufacturing the drug LSD in the attic. The individual was arrested by Somerville police officials, accompanied by the chief of the Tufts security force. The one-man drug manufacturer was fined and given a suspended sentence.
|Much more significant in its impact was a raid by eighty-five state and local police, armed with search warrants, in the early morning hours of 28 March 1970, on seventeen university premises, including five large dormitories, and four off-campus locations. Sixteen individuals, twelve of whom were Tufts students, three of them women, were arrested and arraigned on various drug charges. Eight more students were arrested a few days later for drug involvement. The law enforcement officers conducted their investigations with the full knowledge and cooperation of the university. Some 300 students immediately began to congregate, attempted to block police vehicles, and did minor damage. Within a matter of days more than $1,000 had been collected to aid the arrested students.|
Rumors had been circulated as early as 1968 by the SDS that a "bust" was imminent, that informers were being used by the administration to gather evidence, that student telephones were being tapped, and that the FBI had agents on the campus. All of these scare tactics were emphatically denied by the authorities.
Within a matter of hours after the first arrests had taken place a group of about 800 students voted on a list of six demands hastily drawn up in response to the drug raid, and prefaced by the assertion that the university was in "active collusion" with government agencies and had somehow betrayed the students. The entire responsibility for the raid and its consequences was placed on the university, which was to pay all costs and which was to take no disciplinary action of any kind against the students involved. A move to have the dean fired was unsuccessful. When it became clear that the administration had no intention of bowing to the demands, they were reduced to "requests." Only one - that the confidentiality of student files and records be protected - was agreed to by the administration. Five of the twenty-four persons arrested as a result of the drug raid were found innocent by the Malden District Court in the summer of 1970 and eighteen others were given a probationary period extending from six months to two years. One case was dropped because of inadmissable evidence. Tufts officials refused to interpose themselves between the students and the courts and reserved the right to discipline students under existing university regulations and procedures. The excitement caused by the drug raid gradually subsided but left in its wake a policy statement on drugs prepared by the Committee on Student Life endorsed by the administration, numerous seminars on drug abuse, and establishment of a campus drug center to educate and counsel students and to provide them with medical
|attention whenever necessary. President Hallowell reported to the trustees that the university had given "encouraging evidence of... [its] capacity for constructive response to difficult situations." He did confess to the trustees that the academic year 1969-70 had been the most difficult one he had experienced in his twenty-five years in higher education. But problems were not yet over; there were other crises yet to be faced.|
The climax of activity which involved one of the largest numbers of students at any one time occurred in the spring of 1970 and added to the institution's trials and tribulations. During the evening of 4 May, at a mass meeting, about 600 students passed a series of five resolutions. They called, among other things, for a general strike for the remainder of the semester (less than three weeks) in order to devote themselves "to active work against the war"; the cancellation of final examinations; and support of a resolution adopted at an informal and unofficial Liberal Arts and Jackson faculty meeting held the same day which condemned the actions of the Nixon administration in escalating the conflict in Southeast Asia, and called for immediate withdrawal of American troops from that area. That very day President Hallowell ordered the American flag flying in the center of the campus kept at halfmast from then through Memorial Day "in recognition of continuing deaths due to war throughout the world." By the afternoon of 5 May, petitions from 1,730 students had been gathered requesting faculty support of their resolutions. In addition to the requests mentioned above, the students asked that the pass-fail system be made applicable to all academic work done so far during the semester, including courses intended to fulfill the concentration requirements. The faculty members on an ad hoc tripartite committee consisting also of administrators and students, had immediately swung into action and had prepared two motions in response to the student requests. Each gave the students various options which included modified but acceptable versions of what the students wanted. A faculty motion to cease all normal operations at the institution for a brief period as a protest against the war failed to pass, but the strike was allowed to stand unchallenged. Both the president and the faculty stood united with the students in reaffirming their opposition to the war in Indochina. For several days most academic affairs were laid aside while much of the campus participated in seminars, workshops, discussion groups, and rallies dealing with the still undeclared but greatly expanded war. These peaceful activities fitted in nicely with Hallowell's conviction that "the
|university ... should ... provide the ambience of constructive ferment that encourages students to consider ways in which society might be improved." In a communication to the Tufts community President Hallowell not only acknowledged with approval the student and faculty actions but added a personal note indicating his own opposition to the conflict and called for prompt withdrawal of American military forces from the battle area. In order to encourage student political activity in the Congressional elections in the fall of 1970 the faculty agreed to postpone class assignments, including quizzes and examinations, until after the first week of November. Major disruption of university affairs was thus averted. Tufts remained open, and communication between students and the rest of the university remained unbroken. It was estimated that little more than half of the student body actually ceased to attend classes during the strike.|
The last event in which the SDS was visibly involved and of which there is any record occurred in May 1971, in cooperation with a student contingent of the Progressive Labor Party (which did not have a chapter at Tufts). They attempted to turn the university's termination of the employment of Leona Fremming, a black secretarial employee at the Fletcher School, into a demonstration against alleged racism. The situation developed into a sit-in of between twenty-five and thirty demonstrators in the office of Vice-President John Mitchell. A statement was read by a representative of the administration informing the group that they were liable to arrest for trespassing if they refused to leave.
Several did depart, but a scuffle developed between those that remained and police stationed at the exits of Ballou Hall which resulted in the arrest of seven individuals and warrants for the arrest of seven others. Of the fourteen, five were Tufts students and two were former students. All of the individuals were found guilty, fined $100 each, and sentenced to thirty days in jail. In addition, two were found guilty of assault and were referred to higher courts. The Committee on Student Life assumed the responsibility of disciplining the Tufts students, two of whom were placed on probation for the remainder of their undergraduate enrollment and a third was suspended until the second semester of the following year. The two remaining students were placed on disciplinary probation by the Dean of Students, with the concurrence of the chairman of the committee. The use of Tufts facilities for the holding of a regional conference of the SDS was denied in 1972 because it was to have been held
|while school was in session and the university did not have facilities for 700 to 800 people.|
The membership of SDS at Tufts tended to fluctuate widely from one year to another, but always remained relatively small. Starting with seventeen students in 1964, the total never reached more than about fifty at any one time and the leaders never numbered more than a small handful. The Tufts chapter claimed about twenty-five members in 1970. (The figures must be only approximations because, so far as is known, no membership lists were ever kept or called for.) Attendance at their meetings varied from about 100 to 35 or less. The popularity of SDS on campus was obviously diminished by the fact that it became more and more secretive about its meetings and by 1970 was excluding reporters from its gatherings. Such a "cloak and dagger" policy ran counter to the tradition of open meetings on the campus and was protested by many students. The attempt to build a student-worker alliance on the campus and to work with the Afro-American Society was never successful, and the building of general student support for the Left was for the most part a failure.
Increasing factionalism was one of the principal reasons for the relative numerical weakness of the SDS. The Tufts chapter had become part of the splinter group of the Worker Student Alliance (WSA) which had split off from the national SDS in 1969. The SDS also found itself more and more in competition on campus with such groups as the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) which had been organized at Tufts in the spring of 1969 and had thirteen members a year later. Very closely related to YPSL was a branch of the Young Socialist Alliance, organized at Tufts in 1970. Even the Tufts faculty had its "New Left" contingent in a branch of the New University Conference, with about sixty members in 1970. They cooperated with the SDS in pushing for establishment of a day-care center.
Six members of the local SDS attempted to explain in 1970 why their organization had no mass appeal. Part of the reason they attributed to their failure to convince the Tufts community that their analyses of the ills of American society were "correct" ones. Much of the blame was laid at the door of the national organization which had not only become fractionalized but some elements of which had discredited the movement by resorting to "bizarre behavior, and occasionally repulsive tactics [such as] terrorism." Parents' Weekend in the spring of 1972 coincided with greatly increased anti-war activity on the campus which stemmed from events
|in Indochina and had broadened significantly beyond SDS efforts. At one of the weekend's events students presented the president with a petition signed by fifty parents urging him to end all military recruiting on campus. This was to be "a firm commitment that Tufts University will not be implicated in the atrocities perpetrated by the U.S. Government." Two days after the parents' petition was received, Hallowell received a similar petition signed by twenty members of the faculty.|
In response, the president not only assured the petitioners that the administration and trustees would give the matter "their serious consideration" but issued a public statement that he was "personally opposed to the renewal of American bombing in North Vietnam" and that he shared "the deep concern and terrible sense of frustration regarding American policy in Indochina." He understood and shared fully "the sense of moral outrage that moves so many students, both here and throughout the nation." He thoroughly approved the policy of non-disruptive and peaceful protest carried out by most Tufts students.
However, the president drew the line between taking a moral stand and a political stance. The university had to be officially neutral on such matters and allow dissent and free debate. "How can we possibly speak with one voice when in fact there are many voices? .... The university must remain open to all political viewpoints, and that openness properly includes freedom of access .... The real test of our belief in individual freedom for ourselves comes when we are asked to defend the rights of others to exercise their freedom as they wish." One of the great merits of the democratic way was the opportunity to use such peaceful instruments as the ballot box and the press to bring about social change.
At two mass meetings in the spring of 1972 attended by close to half of the student body they challenged the trustees to make their views on military recruiting clear by taking a stand against it. In an unofficial action the faculty had already voted 57 to 21 to end military recruiting on campus. The trustee Executive Committee immediately took up the challenge by voting not to ban recruiting. At a hastily called special meeting a few days later the full board confirmed the action of the Executive Committee by a vote of 11 to 5 after a two-hour session. In an unprecedented move the board authorized its proceedings to be taped and aired on the student radio station. The president then announced that military recruiting would not cease in the free and open atmosphere which Tufts attempted to maintain. The same reasoning underlay the judgment of the Fletcher School
|to continue, through its regular channels, to admit mid-career military personnel as students. All viewpoints had been given a fair hearing, and the university was still in control.|
In retrospect, the student agitation at Tufts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, unpleasant as it may have seemed at the time, was much less widespread, much less radical, and much less destructive than at many other educational institutions. The credit must be shared by President Hallowell, the faculty, the administration, and the trustees as well as by the vast majority of the students who continued to pursue their academic studies and meet their academic obligations. The faculty had given students virtually free reign in determining the content of their publications and had been responsive to many student requests (and demands), such as those for greater participation in university governance and a more authoritative voice in their own affairs. The faculty was generally sympathetic to student interests and feelings, and communication remained unusually good in spite of occasional minor breakdowns and misunderstandings. The trustees maintained close contact with what was happening on campus and were briefed frequently by the president, who had their strong backing. Their decision to hold open meetings on the campus went far to reduce tension and provide a forum for free discussion.
President Hallowell, beleagured as he often was, did much to blunt or defuse student unrest by openly expressing his own sympathy with the "moral concern" which he detected among students. He had nothing but good things to say about their heightened sense of social responsibility, illustrated by their concern for minorities and recognition of the paradox of poverty in the midst of apparent national plenty. Throughout the series of student crises the president supported open discussion and peaceful and rational action to try to bring about "change without turbulence." He called for flexibility in meeting situations, and whenever the occasion arose he complimented the students on their generally mature behavior. Above all, he reported frequently and candidly to the Tufts community.
As the university firmly held its ground and as the student radicalism began to fade away, a period of relative quiet descended on the Tufts campus as well as on campuses around the nation. But there were still sources of dissatisfaction which persisted, as any realistic portrayal would make clear. When the University Steering Committee prepared its assessment of where Tufts stood in 1972-73, it painted a most unflattering picture of the college environment in Medford. "There is an atmosphere of crowding, of hurry, noise, and impersonality. An unpleasant degree of racial tension and actual
|suspicion [existed]. There is a high theft rate, partly by off-campus persons, but involving students as well. There is much more privatism, a retreat into self that overtakes even those who were student-body presidents in their secondary schools. Numbers of students seem disaffected in their university experience." A complete turnabout in so short a time would have been too much to expect. The same could be said for student agitation for social change and improvement. It did not quietly disappear one night, but continued into the late 1970s with a new set of issues and concerns. A combination of radical and liberal political groups was organized in the fall of 1977 in the form of the Tufts Political Action Coalition (TPAC). Starting with a membership of eight, representing as many organizations, it had grown to between forty and fifty participants two years later. The issues ranged from world starvation (the Hunger Action Project and Oxfam) to feminism (the Women's Center) and environmental awareness (the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group).|
The ferment of reform and the idealism that frequently accompanied it, which for more than a quarter of a century had leavened the Tufts campus and quickened the conscience of its students, was still alive and reasonably well, although muted at times.