Orne, M. T., & McGinnies, E. Conflict and change in the universities. In B. T. King & E. McGinnies (Eds.), Attitudes, conflict and social change. New York: Academic Press, 1972. Pp.55-80.

Conflict and Change in the Universities

Martin T. Orne

Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital and University of Pennsylvania

and Elliott McGinnies

The American University

To those of us whose lives center around a university, the changing attitudes and social concerns of students have assumed even greater significance in recent years. Although the violent upheavals at the turn of the decade have given way in the early 1970s to an atmosphere more characteristic of the placid 1950s, the seeds of unrest remain. How these will affect the future of universities will depend on a variety of occurrences, not the least of which involves the role that academicians themselves choose to play in this process of social change. Regardless of the direction taken by students in their quest for meaning and purpose in life, it seems certain that they will not be the same pliable, acquiescent individuals whom we had come to accept as fixtures in the academic community. The disaffection of youth in general with many of the traditional values of American society seems unlikely to reverse itself. Certain changes are here to stay. Stringfellow Barr (1970) writes:

The young sneer at the C.I.A., the F.B.I., and General Hershey. They do not feel disgraced by jail. As sons of that Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, they are prepared to go barefoot, unshaven and unshorn, and to burn not only their draft cards but a flag or two. Many of them believe that the political process is as rotten as the rigged price system and that it should not be reformed but sabotaged. Hence riots and guerrilla tactics in the cities, and sufficient noise to drown out candidates at the hustings [p. 701.

Shoben (1970) summarized students' disenchantment in his observation that overpopulation, nuclear weapons, and Vietnam are symptoms of a "cultural system gone amok [p. 690] ." Certainly it has been tempting to ascribe students' behavior as a response to the more pressing social problems of the day. At a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association a few years ago, a panel concerned itself with student unrest and the participants generally agreed that



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the stress of the unpopular Vietnam war and racial discrimination were the roots of the current tensions. A French psychiatrist, Leon Chertok, pointed out, however, that his country no longer had a Vietnamese problem, and that even its Algerian difficulties were now over; further, it had a long history of racial tolerance, yet, nonetheless. France had recently experienced the worst student riots in its history. Similarly, it can be pointed out that Japan has neither a war nor a racial problem, yet Japanese students behaved so riotously as to force the virtual shutdown of many Japanese universities for nearly a year.

The social issues that correlate with student unrest are obviously different from one country to another, and it seems unwise to search for a simple explanation of the demonstrations that we have recently witnessed in American universities. There is no doubt that the bulk of the concrete issues raised by students here and abroad are intrinsically important and relevant. At the same time, some aspects of these events resemble a contagion that has swept campuses throughout the world.

Never has the "generation gap" appeared wider or more unbridgeable, and the breach extends not just between age groups, but also between those who attend colleges and universities and those who do not. For example, the Washington Post (November, 1970) reported the results of a Harris Poll in which 74% of the adult population registered their view that unrest on the college campuses is due to activity by "radical militant student groups." No more than 26% agreed with the observation of the Scranton Commission that a "lack of willingness on the part of the Nixon administration to listen to what students think" had contributed to restiveness on the nation's campuses. Only 24% felt that unrest stemmed from "politicians, such as Vice President Agnew, who have tried to get votes by attacking student protestors."

According to Harris (1970), these findings portray an impression by the American people of a university environment heavily infiltrated with radical, militant, and irresponsible students bent on causing trouble and professors and administrators who either actively encourage disorder or are too permissive to prevent it. The "town and gown" confrontation seems to have been revived with a vengeance. This is a situation which has the direst implications, because it threatens to split the nation into opposing camps of intellectuals and "know-nothings" (as H. L. Mencken was wont to call them). The nation can and should expect its leaders to be drawn principally from the ranks of college graduates. Yet, how can college graduates "lead" if they find themselves estranged from many of their noncollegiate countrymen who, for a variety of reasons, fail either to understand or to sympathize with their actions?

Although the causes of these breakdowns in the orderly processes of our universities are numerous and complex, let us first summarize some of those that have seemed most obvious to a number of observers.


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Alienation or estrangement from the adult community and its values. As described by Keniston (1965), this involves feelings of withdrawal, distrust, pessimism, apathy, and anxiety. The surges of intense activism that have been witnessed recently among college students may represent, among other things, escape from alienation. For the first time in their lives, many students have experienced a sense of commitment, of excitement, and of importance (Sampson, 1967). In a word, they suddenly achieved an identity that they have not enjoyed previously. That students have often resorted to violence and disruption is attributable at least in part to the rigidity and autocracy that has characterized too many of our university administrations. In this regard, Williams (1970) has commented incisively,

A conservative, highly-structured institution, such as the American university, . . . tends to resist change, and meets demands for change most often after situations have reached crisis status and after strident voices of dissent have inundated the calmer tones of mediators and temporizers. Such highly-structured institutions ... must necessarily break down in a turbulent society. The alternatives to chaos are repression or decisive and rapid change [p. 161.

Little wonder that the feelings of alienation of the college freshman are fueled afresh by his experiences in the impersonal "multiversity."

The retreat into noninvolvement, apathy, and indifference may be partially dispelled through periods of intense activity -- some of it constructive, such as that on Earth Day, and some of it destructive and counterproductive, as that at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. All of us are inclined at times to feel that our lives are governed by remote and impersonal forces over which we exercise little or no control -- except at election time, we participate scarcely at all in the economic and political decisions that affect us. Most university students are even more susceptible to feelings of helplessness. Even within their own institutions, their fates are controlled by an administrative hierarchy of faculty members, deans, vice-presidents, presidents, and boards of trustees, all of which are often unreachable and unresponsive.

Even so, responsible student and faculty leadership must conclude sooner or later that social action, not campus disruption, is the means by which student helplessness can be converted into student influence. Students by themselves, however, as Peterson (1968) has pointed out, cannot by their own efforts effect major social changes. They must ally themselves with other radical and liberal elements, whether these be church people, intellectuals, Negroes, the poor, or those trade unionists who are sympathetic to their goals. To the extent to which they can persuade the public that the social changes they advocate are indeed


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desirable, they will succeed in influencing not only the universities, but society at large.

Disillusionment with higher education. Teaching methods in our universities have changed little in the past 50 years. The lecture method still prevails, and its effectiveness is frequently diluted by the large size of many classes. Students often feel, with justification, that they are simply numbers. They lack the opportunity to ask questions in class or carry on a meaningful dialogue with their instructors or with their fellow students. In the larger universities, the energies of the faculty are frequently directed more toward graduate than undergraduate teaching. Course content, even in the humanities and social science, often seems to be unrelated to the pressing social problems of our time. We can hope, with Wierzynski (1970), that "The day may soon come when U.S. campuses stop using teaching methods that were popular at the University of Bologna during the Renaissance [p. 40] ."

Despite these shortcomings of our system of higher education, it is important to note, as Keniston (1967) has done, that protest demonstrations have tended to occur at the better rather than the inferior institutions. In other words, despite the frequently cited factors of largeness and impersonality that would seem logically to underlie student discontent, in fact, student activists are often found in the programs that provide them with a great deal of personal attention, that is, honors programs, advanced seminars, and individual tutorial. Keniston (1967) comments: "they probably receive relatively more individual attention and a higher calibre of instruction than do non-protestors [p. 123] ." Sheer size, then, is not the critical element in student dissatisfaction. The small, elite, private institutions have their share of political demonstrations (Lipset, 1970).

We agree with Bundy (1970) that: "People should enroll in a university because they want to learn there and they should stay only as they continue to want that [p. 557] ." This may involve, as Bundy points out, a nice discrimination between the freedom to choose a way of learning and the lack of freedom to neglect the work learning demands. Here, of course, is where the professor plays a critical role, since it is he who must arrange an environment in which learning can take place without coercion and yet with responsibility. This is probably where the issue of "relevance" is likely to have its greatest significance. One can always ask, "Relevance for what?" It is becoming increasingly apparent that nearly any course of study can be organized, at least in part, in terms of its relevance to the broader spectrum of human activities, which is probably all that students ask or require; surely it is not too much to achieve. As students increasingly become involved in the day-to-day administrative functions of the university, they themselves will begin to define what is relevant and what is irrelevant to their particular penchants and goals. Perhaps we have not sufficiently recognized several rather obvious and different functions of teaching. As


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summarized by Morison (1970), these include (a) training for particular professions, (b) preparation for citizenship in general, and (c) the cultivation of the individual for his own purposes. Different pedagogical methods are indicated in each instance, and the development of appropriate environments for these different types of learning remains a challenging goal for both the educator and the student. Neither can shunt the task off on the other.

Concern with international problems. Today's students are probably neither more nor less idealistic than those of the 1940s, who willingly, for the most part, went off to defend their country against totalitarianism. But today's villains are not so readily identified; to some they are represented by international Communism, to others by an incipient Fascism that lurks in the background of all societies and was not interred with the ashes of Nazi defeat in World War II. However, it is difficult to focus one's hostilities on such amorphous targets. Vietnam, and later Cambodia and Laos, of course, have been focal points of student militancy. But the villain is not the enemy in these countries; it is ourselves. We have allowed ourselves to become trapped in a war that few any longer feel is justified. Yet, a practical manner of exit is not easily accomplished. Thus, the patriotic zeal of the 1940s was transformed into the searing self-criticism and ideological fratricide of the 1960s.

Concern with domestic problems. A distinguishing feature of student activism during the 1960s, as contrasted with that of earlier years, is the integration of student concerns with political issues of wider currency (Skolnick, 1969). In rough chronological order, the domestic events that seem to have captured student attention during this decade were (a) segregation policies at public facilities adjacent to campuses, (b) nuclear arms testing by the government, (c) the plight of the poor and other minority groups, (d) denial to students of the right to use campus facilities in support of off-campus political activities (the "free speech" movement), (e) policies of the Johnson Administration in Vietnam (the march on Washington), (f) the use of grades to determine draft eligibility, (g) the use of campus facilities for recruiting purposes by the military and certain defense industries, and (h) the relative lack of involvement by students in decision-making processes of the universities. As Skolnick (1969) has pointed out, these years were characterized by " . . . a precipitous decline in the degree to which active participants in the student movement attributed legitimacy to national authority and to the university [p. 99] ." A similar observation has been made by Lipset (1968). He notes that historically one should expect student unrest in societies where social and political values are being questioned and where there are obvious failures in national policy. Under these conditions, students, as well as youth in general, may come to question the legitimacy of constituted authority.

A number of more diffuse issues and social concerns also seem to have


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played a role in arousing student disaffection with the Establishment -- overpopulation, environmental pollution, littering and disfigurement of the landscape, and the indiscriminate destruction of animal life. To the sensitive and concerned student, these seem to be a monstrous series of swindles perpetrated by past generations of heedless profiteers and exploiters. In short, today's youths feel that they are faced with the mess and the waste of their elders, and that the task of cleaning up the mess falls largely upon them, who obviously are not responsible for it. It is significant that Earth Day was observed primarily by the youths of the country, and that preservation of the natural environment has become one of their rallying points.

Even more important to many is the failure of older generations to provide equal justice and opportunity for minority ethnic groups. For example, despite misunderstandings and failures of effective communication, many white college students have joined their black counterparts in a struggle to right prejudicial wrongs of 300-years' standing. The relatively few resources that have been allocated to these pressing domestic social problems contrast vividly with the vast expenditures on wars.

Prospects after graduation. Impressed as many students are by what they frequently perceive as the misplaced values and mindless materialism of the adult society around them, they often contemplate the postgraduation future with less than exhilaration. Students envision themselves as being absorbed by an increasingly impersonal and corporate economic structure that will turn them into carbon copies of the very adults who have failed to inspire them with either trust or admiration. In developing countries, as Skolnick (1969) points out, this mistrust takes the form of questioning the relevance of traditional, religious, prescientific, authoritarian values. In advanced nations, however, students are more apt to perceive the " . . . irrelevance of commercial, acquisitive, materialistic, and nationalistic values in a world that stresses human rights and social equality and requires collective planning" (Skolnick, 1969, p. 85). Sampson (1967) has captured the spirit of this disaffection as follows:

Today's university campus has become for many students the last point in their lives in which they see any hope for exercising significant influence. The activist youth have seen the bureaucratized world make older voices whisper thin. The campus seems the last stronghold for testing ways of influencing their world. They are afraid that when they leave the university, get a job, marry and raise a family, the weight of responsibilities will weaken their impetus for change. Those over thirty are not to be trusted, because of their increasing investment in the system as it exists [p. 21].


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Student unrest in other places. A certain amount of imitation cannot be discounted as contributing to the spread of campus disorders. Students have become, in a sense, a worldwide fraternity. Riots on campuses in most countries are quickly publicized through the media of radio and television. Students in universities on opposite sides of the country are in immediate communication with one another, and a "contagion" of unrest occurs in which a certain amount of prestige and status is conferred on those who are in the forefront of demonstrations. Some have admitted of an urge to live up to the image of them created by the mass media. In addition, a sense of brotherhood, often lacking on a large campus, quickly develops among students who are active in a common cause. The experience of "togetherness" in a time of crisis, such as that precipitated by the tragedy at Kent State, provides surcease from the feelings of alienation and apathy that all too commonly prevail among the majority of students.

A lack of older and experienced leadership. The students of today have too few heroes to whom they can look for goals and purposes and whose behavior they can emulate. One suspects that neither the country in general, nor youth in particular, had recovered by 1970 from the assassinations of a president, a senator, and a civil rights leader with whom both liberals and young people could identify. The liberals temporarily lost their most effective leaders, and those that had the ability and charisma to assume a leadership role squandered their energies in internecine political struggles. The leaders that arose among youths themselves -- such as Rennie Davis, Jerry Rubin, and Bobby Seale -- could not, by virtue of their self-generated estrangement from the mainstream of American culture, provide the type of leadership necessary to channel the energies of college students into activities that would effectively bring about the social changes they wanted. Youth needs adult leadership from someone already within the power structure; when such leadership is lacking, their energies tend to dissipate in fruitless demonstrations of protest.

Lack of factual information about the relevant issues. To aggravate their sense of alienation and helplessness further, all too many students fail to seek out factual information on the issues that have moved them to dissent. They often are surprisingly naive about both the history and current status of problems that have captured their attention. Their very disdain for conventional approaches to problems and methods of analysis has blinded students to a great deal of relevant information. Thus, students lack the practical tools with which to combat the reactionary forces that they feel threaten them. Trent and Craise (1967), for example, point out that student activists, those who provide leadership to large-scale student demonstrations, are actually a small, select group. The


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percentage of students actively engaged in fomenting protest movements is variously found to range from 3 to 9%. These authors conclude from their research on a sample of nearly 10,000 high school graduates that of those graduates who entered and remained in college over a four-year period, " ... very few were concerned with any of the current political, social, or educational issues that might disturb student activists" (Trent & Craise, 1967, p. 36). As a matter of fact, Lipset (1970) has argued: "The principal predisposing factors which determine who among the students will become activists exist before they enter the university [p. 685] ." The following remarks are based upon his assumption, and we have singled out what we feel to be a critical element in such a predisposition.


The legitimacy and importance of many specific student grievances cannot be overemphasized. We recognize that student attitudes and behavior are highly responsive to conflicting currents within the society at large and usually exemplify positive and idealistic components albeit in exaggerated form. Since this has been discussed at length by a number of authors, the focus of our discussion will be on some of the significant background factors which have, in our view, not received the attention they deserve. The overall behavior of students seems to reflect a basic dissatisfaction that characterizes students in general no matter what their country or origin. These cannot be explained simply by local or idiosyncratic factors. In short, an important aspect of the phenomenon of student unrest may best be understood not as a set of reasons for behavior but, rather, as behavior looking for reasons. Without denying the importance of concrete issues that often trigger student riots, it would seem profitable to examine the changing nature of the student's role as he sees himself interacting with his peers and society at large. This should facilitate an understanding of why this segment of the population responds as it does to environmental pressures.

The following analysis is an attempt to formulate a plausible set of heuristic hypotheses about student unrest which may help explain some aspects of the phenomenon which have received relatively little attention. We recognize that these views have not been tested, but feel that they lead to testable hypotheses. In view of the current interest in these issues, we take the liberty of putting forth these views without adequate evidence in the hope that they may stimulate empirical work.

In one sense, of course, there is nothing novel about student involvement in civil disturbances. As Halsey and Marks (1968) have noted: "Histories of the medieval universities in Europe abound with records of violence [p. 116]." In


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his review of the history of student unrest throughout the world, Lipset (1968) observed that students -- unlike other elements of society such as trade unions -- have remained a source of both radical leadership and mass support for such leadership. In the same vein, Scott (1968) notes that during the past several years nearly every country in Latin America has experienced some sort of organized student protest that not only disrupted the process of higher education but disturbed the residents of the surrounding community. In some regards, students and student unrest have shared certain common features through the ages. In others, we are currently dealing with new and different phenomena.

Historically, students, especially those in higher education, have always been members of the privileged group: the sons of middle-class, upper-middle-class, and upper-class parents, typically with few, if any, demands made upon them. The students (predominantly male until relatively recently) were for the first time in their lives away from parental control and in the envious situation of having little actual responsibility, while enjoying relatively good social status and material circumstances. It should not be surprising that groups of young people, confronted for the first time with many aspects of life from which they had previously been protected in the parental home, attempting to find themselves, searching for life goals, and fired by enthusiasm and idealism, should occasionally be captured by appeals to radical solutions. In a group, such individuals tend to like excitement and can be mobilized relatively easily toward any kind of activity that seems, at the moment, interesting. For the most part, societies have tended to be tolerant toward the exuberance characterizing the student population -- in large part owing to the fact that the individuals involved were the sons of the elite. In fairly stable, class-oriented societies where the individual's status and role are largely determined by accident of birth, the role of student is one of the few in which the individual is permitted a certain degree of autonomy and freedom. It is a role of transition, of standing somewhat outside of the structure of the society in which the individual will ultimately be required to join.

In earlier times, knowledge and education were available exclusively to the privileged class whose style of life was largely assured, regardless of the substantive knowledge they might obtain in school and college. The purpose of education was more to identify oneself as a member of the group than to prepare one with specific skills needed to be economically successful. Upper-class Englishmen went to public school and university for much the same reason that their sisters attended finishing school and learned to play the harpsichord. This divorcing of relevant knowledge from formal education is underscored by the fact that it was quite possible for individuals to become physicians or lawyers without attending a university; they simply sought appropriate apprenticeships in the professions. The fact that an occasional individual actually became interested in the sciences or the humanities and contributed to them in a meaningful way was quite


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coincidental and, in fact, had no significant impact on either his status in the community or his economic well-being.

This situation contrasts vividly with the role of higher education in the United States. Although the analysis here will focus largely on what has been happening in the university campuses throughout this country, we suspect that similar mechanisms are involved in student unrest throughout the world. The present situation on the campuses appears particularly startling when we compare it with the behavior of students over the past 30 years. Comments often have been made about the American student's docility, his lack of political commitment and involvement, his callousness concerning social problems which were not directly related to him, and his willingness to accept with little questioning the importance of whatever course of study was prescribed for him. Such past behavior seems totally out of character in today's students. What basis is there for the present change? What does it mean? Where might we anticipate it is going?

The role of higher education in the United States is highly germane to our discussion. While America has never been a truly classless society, it was relatively easy to be upwardly mobile, and such mobility was seen as an obtainable ideal. The two principal ways by which mobility was achieved were acquiring wealth and obtaining an education. Although the importance of wealth in this process has received much attention, education emerges as the real key to middle-class society. That education should have become so prized is remarkable, considering the agrarian, pioneering, and business character of the developing United States. The proliferation of colleges and universities in Europe was made possible by the tendency of the merchant princes of the 19th century to endow such institutions. In this country, on the other hand, religious organizations and state governments (including even the poorer ones) all chose to found and support institutions of learning. It should be emphasized that the function of these colleges and universities was to provide education for a far greater proportion of our population than that of any other country. First a high school diploma, and later a college education, became the goal and ambition of parents for their children and of the children for themselves.

Since the turn of the century, the United States has not only created much new wealth but has also been remarkably successful in distributing wealth to a very large segment of the population. During this same period, education for the masses has become a reality. It is well to remember, however, that education was first conceived as an instrumental act -- as the way of assuring an individual's social and economic success. During World War I, for example, practically all college graduates became officers when they enlisted in the services. The development of ROTC programs in colleges and universities was seen as a perfectly appropriate and natural means of creating an officer corps from among those individuals who had qualified for middle-class status by virtue of attending


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college. Even during World War II, college graduates who had not taken ROTC could directly enter Officers Candidate School to become "90-day wonders." Society seemed convinced that possession of a college degree automatically qualified the owner for a position of leadership.

Many of these attitudes toward a college education have persisted to the present day. Guidance teachers in high schools are fond of quoting the statistics which indicate that college graduates earn far more during their lifetime than high school graduates, who, in turn, earn far more than those individuals who do not complete high school. They seldom mention the statistics indicating that graduates from Ivy League schools who later earn doctorates tend to earn less on the average than graduates who do not. (Incidentally, it is probable that there is a relatively limited causal relationship between income and education as such, and more probable that the ability to complete school covaries with the kinds of skills necessary to succeed in other fields. This correlation is further boosted by the effects of inherited wealth.) Whatever the "true" causal relationship, it has been assumed by a large segment of our population that a college education leads to economic success.

The children of the middle class, of course, were expected to acquire an education. Children who were not born into the middle class but who acquired an education were assumed to have the opportunity to become members of the middle class. Whereas in Europe education had often been conceived as the process of maturing, of becoming a whole person, and of developing intellectual resources, in this country it has tended more to be seen as a means of acquiring those skills necessary to succeed in a variety of occupations. As long as a college degree assured a modicum of success in some managerial capacity, the relevance of the training was assumed and not subject to serious question. However, such an invariant relationship between education and vocational success is no longer assured. With the instrumentality of education called into question, the issue of its relevance has become suddenly important.

In considering the nature and causes of student unrest, it is important to note that such unrest typically involves students from middle- and upper-class homes who, while not necessarily affluent, are at least comfortable (Flacks, 1967).1 Not only are the individual students who engage in various movements and radical behavior on the whole economically secure, but student unrest, as

1 We do not consider the very real revolts of the intelligentsia in India, for example, as characteristic of student unrest, because the situation there involved actual deprivation and hardship for a highly educated group which could not find employment. In most countries, student unrest has typically involved concerns not immediately relevant to economic security. Since this has not been the case in the Indian riots, our analysis is not considered germane to them. The bases for student riots in Japan are also probably unique, involving among other things the dramatic social changes that have occurred in that country since World War II (McGinnies, 1965).


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such, occurs during prosperous times and in the absence of major external threats to the integrity of the country. During World War II not only was student unrest as we know it today absent, but even the college pranks and fraternity activities characteristic of the 1930s were curtailed. By the same token, student unrest has been considerable in the United States, Japan, and parts of Western Europe and notably absent in Israel, where problems of national survival are endemic.

In order to understand the present campus scene, it seems helpful to consider the student's situation over the past 50 years and why disturbances did not occur previously in the same manner. Between World Wars I and II, as we have indicated, the importance of a college education as a means of upward social mobility was particularly pronounced. During this period, however, there were proportionally far fewer students than today. Those individuals who attended college either belonged to the middle and upper class and enjoyed an assured future, or they belonged to a relatively small percentage who were on scholarship or who worked their way through school. Although many changes were taking place in the structure of American society during this period, the value system was reasonably stable for much of the middle class. Immediately after World War I, a major economic boom occurred in the United States and a considerable number of parents were able to send their children to college. Furthermore, opportunities existed for the poor but determined student to obtain either a scholarship or part-time work. The depression, by creating serious financial difficulties for a large segment of society, made a college education more difficult to obtain and, consequently, more desired and valued. It was certainly not a period when one would have anticipated student unrest, since many students were preoccupied with the economic problems of the day. Those students from relatively affluent backgrounds tended to avoid confronting the grim realities which faced the bulk of the population. A great many others, however, became involved in leftist causes. (The same students today would probably be involved with the New Left and similar movements.) While involving students and some faculty as individuals, radical causes during the 1920s and 1930s were not principal concerns of the academic community.

A dramatic expansion of educational opportunities occurred at the conclusion of World War II with the inauguration of the G.I. bill of rights. This led to an explosion of the educational establishment which drastically altered the character of education. For the first time it was possible for individuals from poor families to obtain college and even graduate school training without serious hardship to themselves or to their families. As a result, colleges and universities from the mid-1940s on enrolled a large number of veterans, many of whom came from backgrounds where they were the first to have such an opportunity. These students were not in a mood to rebel. They were eager to take advantage of the educational opportunities newly available to them. As long as economic


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conditions remained favorable, and there were no external threats, the population of students was liberally sprinkled with, and often dominated by, individuals coming from lower-middle-class backgrounds who perceived the educational process as the means to economic and social success. On the whole, these students did well academically and had a concrete goal -- to succeed, to achieve a status which their parents could only dream of but which was now within their grasp. It was only necessary for them to pursue with vigor the path laid out before them.

It should be emphasized that the promised economic success awaiting post-war students was matched by the sheer achievement of being in college. They were perceived by their families (and consequently perceived themselves) as already having "made it." These students, therefore, had few if any problems in terms of knowing what they wanted and being confident they could achieve it. They were not concerned about being a number in a large university, because within their own families, at least, they were important and successful.

During the past 20 years, however, the situation of the typical college student has changed considerably. Despite the availability of scholarship aid, the price of education has increased drastically, and the family's contribution has gone up considerably. In contrast to the post-war 1940s, the overwhelming majority of students now are the sons and daughters of individuals who themselves went to college and who have enjoyed the fruits of middle-class affluence. It is worth emphasizing that the overwhelming majority of students involved in riots and unrest come from families who are economically successful and who usually have at least a college education. Campus disturbances have been more characteristic of the elite schools than of those institutions which draw their students from lower-middle-class backgrounds and which have had little or no student unrest. We believe, therefore, that the relative success of the parents is one of the important characteristics leading to student unrest.

Consider the situation of the student today. He has been raised in a materialistic and achievement-oriented society and he has been given all of the "advantages," which means that he has been provided with whatever he asked for without ever learning a clear relationship between his own behavior and any consequences which might flow from it. Characteristically, this is a generation raised by parents who did not want their children to experience the economic privations that they had endured and who were in a position to make this wish come true. As a result, many of today's students have satisfied most of their material wishes by making requests to their parents rather than by having to engage in useful work. Typically, the student will have had little or no gainful employment, and even if he worked a summer or two, it was made abundantly clear to him that his earnings would buy far less than that which his parents would willingly bestow upon him. Not only is this situation entirely different from that on a farm, where the child's assistance with chores was often essential


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to the well-being of the family, but it is even different from the situation of the lower-middle-class child who would need to work for whatever frills he desired over and above the essentials provided by his parents. In a real sense, the student by the time he reaches college has had little opportunity to learn to perceive himself as capable of providing what he needs by his own efforts. At best, he is aware of a very clear discrepancy between the amount of work and effort required to earn money and the apparent ease with which he can obtain it from his parents.

The relationship between any given action sequence and any given set of rewards tends to be complex. For example, the child may be given things he desires -- not because he has worked for them, nor even because he has done something to please his parents -- but because he has been particularly demanding and has succeeded in making his parents feel guilty about some real or imagined neglect. Too, he is often rewarded for not doing something rather than for a positive action, and he rarely gets the feeling that anything he might do is necessary for the well-being of the family. What we have been illustrating is one aspect of the situation in which the college student of today tends to find himself, namely, a situation that is different from the one that characterized his parents and one that tends to diminish his feelings of competence and self-reliance.

Other factors contrive to aggravate these problems. With the rapid development of new knowledge and increasing professionalization, which lead to greater and often unrealistic demands for specialized training, the time necessary to become competent to carry out many of the jobs which seem desirable to the student has increased greatly. It is generally recognized that a student upon finishing college is not ready to take a responsible position. If he goes into industry, he joins a management training program which will prolong his student role considerably. If he is interested in a profession, such as medicine, he is required to spend not only four additional years in medical school, but also another four or more years beyond that in internship and residency. Similar demands are made in preparing for law, the ministry, and the sciences. Inevitably the student already concerned with feelings of worthlessness is told that he will need to postpone by a matter of years any feeling of being either competent or adequately trained. It is perhaps relevant to observe that society's insistence on credentials and proof of competence is accompanied by an inevitable demonstration of incompetence in ways that are evident to the student. Rare is the teacher who is sufficiently master of all aspects of his field that shortcomings in his knowledge are not soon obvious to his students. Perhaps it is not surprising that the student, faced with this incongruity and failing to understand that the perfection he demands of his teachers is unattainable, should be concerned with "hypocrisy" and begin to ask questions about the relevance of his training.

It should also be noted that the student's status within his home and family


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is by no means as assured as it was in the case of his parents. The student whose parents have been to college does not gain the kind of respect that characterizes the first member of a family to undertake such training. Indeed, if he does well, his success tends to have been expected and is taken for granted. On the other hand, if he falters or is unfortunate enough not to attend a prestigious school, he may readily lose status. Not only must he cope with competitive pressure from kindergarten on, but the situation is contrived in such a way that failure leads to aversive consequences, whereas success, even if achieved with considerable effort by him, may scarcely be noted by his parents. Thus, while he is in college his family tends to think of him as having yet to show what he can do. Being in college or even completing college with some kind of distinction in no way assures him status either at home or in society at large. The ever-increasing proportion of the population which completes college insures this aspect of the situation. Another important but frequently overlooked fact is the demands made upon the student by the educational process. A level of performance is expected and received quite in excess of that which characterized the work of previous generations. There simply is more to learn and less time in which to do it. This pressure exists not only for the student but also for the faculty, and the increased pressure on faculty members decreases the amount of time and effort they are able to devote to students. In this context, of course, the inevitable consequences of increasing size in terms of diminishing close personal contacts between students and faculty hardly need comment; the deleterious effects are too well recognized.

The situation of today's student, then, is in many ways a difficult one. Materially he is well off. Few if any material demands are placed upon him now, or were while he was growing up. In an effort to provide everything for their children, the preceding generation avoided expecting substantive contribution to the home. As the student is given whatever he asks for without being required to work for his requests, inevitably a progressively greater load is placed upon him. If he is given everything so that he should be able to study, succeed, and be happy, the pressure on him to achieve competitively becomes progressively greater. Further, if he is not satisfied or happy, he is perceived as difficult or ungrateful. Students tend to become acutely aware of the paradoxical ways in which they are rewarded by their families. The highly successful film, The Graduate, provided an extremely insightful fictionalized account of the dilemma facing the middle-class individual who has successfully completed college without any great distinction and appears to be received by his family as the conquering hero. On the one hand, the family makes an overt show of enthusiasm and pride; on the other, they make it abundantly clear that they are preoccupied with their own problems and that the boy's achievement was not, in fact, particularly impressive to them. It is the inappropriateness of the rewards being offered that is perceived by the son or daughter as the parents' failure to


70 Martin T. Orne and Elliott McGinnies

understand, as lack of real interest, or as hypocrisy. Any or all of these interpretations may lead to a paralyzing kind of ennui.

It is fashionable to argue that middle-class children are neglected by their parents who are more concerned with material possessions and the trivialities of social success. It is unlikely, however, that previous generations, living in harder times that required considerably greater effort to survive, received more in the way of attention and love from parents who were working a 60-hr.-plus week. Rather, it seems probable that the difference lies in what was requested of the child. In situations where there is considerable hardship, the child is able to make a meaningful contribution from a very early age. He does not clean or assist in household chores simply as a favor which is appreciated, but because it is clearly essential for the well-being of the family. His contribution is actually important and everyone takes it for granted that he should make it as soon as he is able. As a result, he is not a supernumerary for whom everything is provided, and he correctly perceives himself as being someone who is necessary and important even if his parents are, in fact, too busy to observe and attend to the myriad successes and failures associated with his growth and development. It seems likely that a lack of opportunity or demand for some contribution to the family's welfare is what communicates to the individual that he is unnecessary and that nothing that he does matters.

By the time the individual becomes a university student, he has had many years of training in being unnecessary -- unable to help others, and unable to do for himself. Not only is he not expected to perform a necessary function for the family, but when he tries to do so, he often will be told that it really does not matter. Unfortunately, modern city life requires almost no chores which if neglected would have dire consequences. There are no fires to be tended, no errands to be run, no chickens to be fed or cows to be milked -- activities the importance of which become clearly evident if they are not properly executed at the appropriate time. When the child attempts to do things to help, given the complexity of appliances in modern living, he is very likely to complicate the situation and find his efforts strongly discouraged. It simply requires skills well beyond the average child to be capable of making a meaningful contribution to the family. Even housecleaning is often not expected from the child, and when such help is given ineptly, it is usually discouraged. The situation, therefore, contrives to give the student a large number of experiences where he is, in fact, told both explicitly and implicitly that his role is merely to entertain himself, preferably quietly, and to be "happy." Unfortunately, happiness is not a state of mind. Rather, it tends to be a consequence of achievements that are followed by appropriate social reinforcement. If a demand is made on a child which he can meet -- preferably with some difficulty -- then the reinforcer itself also becomes more meaningful. On the other hand, if the child is given whatever he requests without effort, these things, be they material objects, attention, or love, tend to become less


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effective reinforcers over time. To ask a child to be happy because he is given whatever he asks for creates the one kind of demand which the child cannot possibly meet.

One of the most significant consequences of the events that we have outlined is the nurturing of a feeling of helplessness which, by the time the individual becomes a student, has become extremely powerful. The educational process reinforces this feeling. Unfortunately, from the student's viewpoint, there is an infinite amount of material to be learned, and competence often seems unattainable. As we have already pointed out, he sees the time required for him to become competent in any endeavor where the rewards seem worthwhile as intolerably long. As a result, even in situations where the student is able to achieve something and where he might be able to make a meaningful contribution to his family or to society, he often feels impotent and paralyzed.

The problem outlined here has an interesting experimental analog in the research on learned helplessness in dogs (Seligman & Maier, 1967). The overwhelming majority of dogs in these experiments rapidly learn to avoid a painful stimulus in an avoidance conditioning situation. If they are in a box with two compartments, and a tone is sounded 10 sec. before the portion of the box where they are is electrified, they acquire the skill of jumping to the safe part of the box within the 10-sec. period. As a result, once they have learned this activity, they successfully avoid further shock. However, if the animals are first placed in a situation where the tone is invariably followed by a painful shock, and then are trained in the avoidance learning situation, they simply will not learn to avoid the shock. One interpretation of these observations is that the animals have learned they can do nothing about the shock, and once this has been learned, it becomes impossible for them to solve the problem of how to avoid the shock. One might say that they have learned to expect the shock as inevitable and, therefore, no longer try to avoid it even though the situation is changed so that the shock could be avoided. A similar kind of helplessness may be closely related to the dropping-out phenomenon in schools, which has become such a serious problem.

A good deal has been written about the existential problems of our day (see Maddi, 1970), that is, the kind of anxiety which presumably results from the meaninglessness in our everyday lives. Generally this is ascribed to the de-individuation rampant in our culture, the mechanization, the fact that we become a number, an object, and so forth. The search for meaning unquestionably is one of modern man's problems, and our comments are not intended to deny the substantive importance of these issues. On the other hand, it seems likely that one response to the situation of the individual who grows up in an environment which satisfies his every wish is to assert that there is little meaning in life, to complain that one cannot find any worthwhile satisfactions. Phrased in another way, such an individual is not being suitably reinforced by his environment.


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The most straightforward manner of ensuring that an individual will gain gratification and satisfaction is to place him on some schedule of deprivation. If food is withheld from him, food becomes an effective reinforcer; if liquids are withheld, drink is reinforcing; if he is deprived of sleep, sleep is reinforcing; and so forth. Appetitive reinforcers require that the individual have an appetite for something. As long as the mere wish leads to immediate gratification, it becomes impossible to develop stimuli which serve as reinforcers. It is, of course, well known from animal studies that aversive or painful stimuli, such as electric shock, may also serve as powerful negative reinforcers, whereas escape from or avoidance of punishment acts as a reward. Modern child-rearing practices tend to avoid recourse to traumatic forms of punishment, or strong negative reinforcement. Modern society's elimination of severe physical deprivation, as well as extreme forms of corporal punishment, makes the kind of situation described above possible. Let it be clear that we are not advocating the reintroduction of physical want or corporal punishment. However, we do need to take a careful look at the present situation and to develop creative and appropriate means of dealing with the issues and results.

These problems, which are particularly striking in contemporary American society, are also clearly evident in the other prosperous industrial countries of the world, and student unrest can be seen as merely one symptom of many. In former times, there were, of course, always segments of society -- the "upper classes" -- the members of which had a surfeit of gratification. However, this group represented a relatively small segment of the population, the education of which was usually very demanding. While the children of the elite were, of course, without material cares, they were required to achieve considerable proficiency at a number of skills. Further, in the public schools of England, for example, there was little hesitancy in employing extremely powerful negative reinforcers; and for that matter, students were by no means overfed. At the same time, one of the factors which helped make the English public schools relatively successful is present in all forms of elitist education: namely, its limited availability, so that the group which partakes of this education appropriately feels itself to be privileged. On the other hand, it must be emphasized that, characteristically, the educational process made high demands. Rewards were given sparingly, intermittently, and only for considerable effort. Thus, high levels of both effort and achievement were demanded. Such an educational process simply was not designed for a majority which was concerned with merely surviving.

At the present time, and especially in the United States, we are faced with the paradox of providing education of an elite sort for a very large portion of the population. Furthermore, we face a situation where several large segments of the population no longer need be concerned about questions of survival. Most individuals can be assured of a reasonably high standard of living with relatively little effort, but few can still be characterized by a strongly developed


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elitist philosophy. Quite to the contrary, most middle-class individuals have worked hard to achieve their present security, and they do not want their children to struggle; after all, that is why they themselves have worked. This social situation, while unique in some ways to the United States, is found to a lesser degree in other industrial countries.

It would seem as though the absence of challenge, the lack of reality-induced stresses creates many of the problems of youth today. During a crisis one rarely observes depressive reactions, and even virtually incapacitated neurotics may function remarkably well. For example, during World War II there was a remarkably low incidence of psychiatric disturbance in London. Many individuals with almost incapacitating neuroses found themselves able to function successfully during the time of hostilities, only to suffer a relapse at the end of the war.

A particularly interesting example of some of the consequences of reality pressures is provided by the middle- and upper-middle-class immigrants who came to the United States during the 1930s to escape Hitler's Germany. This group included a considerable number of individuals who had been raised in favorable economic circumstances and whose children not infrequently manifested the kind of ennui and dissatisfaction that has been characterized as youth's problem of the 1960s. On their arrival in the United States, these individuals found themselves confronted with a new language, a new culture, and unanticipated economic difficulties. A remarkably high percentage of their children, however, managed to pursue higher education in the United States and to become successful in a wide variety of intellectual pursuits. Although the harsh realities of immigrating would seem to have complicated the careers of these individuals, such pressures, in fact, may have facilitated them by providing a necessary challenge. A certain degree of hardship made it possible for the children of these immigrants to be reinforced for succeeding in the new culture to a considerably greater extent than might have been the case otherwise. It is likely that the children of middle-class Cubans coming to this country may also become examples of the same peculiar paradox. Whether or not this indeed comes to pass should provide a fascinating outcome for social scientists to observe and interpret.

One way in which these several issues might be formulated is suggested by the behavior of individuals in experimental situations. We have observed that subjects who have participated in an experiment which involves some degree of stress, discomfort, or effort will tend to ascribe considerable importance and significance to the study (assuming, of course, that the investigators treated them reasonably as individuals). It seems as though the individual, having put forth effort or having tolerated pain, is particularly likely to perceive the experiment as having some importance. On the other hand, in an experiment where few demands are made upon the subject (even though he is well treated) it


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is far more likely that he will consider the procedures to be trivial. Outside of the laboratory this mechanism is equally easily recognized. The mountaineer who pushes himself to the utmost is most likely to value his experience and seek to renew it. Experiences that are recounted as significant, whether in athletics or in intellectual pursuits, almost always tend to be those where great demands were placed upon the individual -- demands which he was able to satisfy only at considerable cost and effort to himself. It is likely that the great hold the British public schools exerted upon their former students was intimately related to the totally unreasonable requirements made upon them during their training. One might well wonder whether institutions such as hazing in a fraternity or the plebe year at West Point might have served a similar function of making membership in the group much more important to the individual. Some recent research, in fact, points to this conclusion (see Aronson & Mills, 1959).

If an analysis as outlined above is at all valid, it suggests that many individuals must master adversity at considerable effort and cost to themselves in order to feel involved, committed, and successful. Behaviorally, we would say that a certain amount of prior adversity is necessary to make success in certain tasks a source of positive reinforcement. If society cannot provide acceptable rites de passage which pose legitimate hurdles to overcome, then it may become necessary for the individual to devise his own. It is tempting to interpret aspects of the radical's technique of confrontation with authority, especially the police, as an analog to the Indian youth who was required to demonstrate his prowess in combat in order to become a brave.

Viewed in this manner, many faculty responses to student unrest appear somewhat less than appropriate. Faculty members have tended to respond either by girding themselves for confrontation with what they considered to be wild-eyed fringe elements, or by rushing to join their students on the barricades. Neither of these reactions provides the kind of leadership that is truly constructive. One posture ignores the legitimate needs of students and tends to deny the reality of the students' perceptions of our social ills. The other position overlooks the fact that much student protest might better be seen as a form of "acting out," or a testing of the limits to which the adult society will permit them to go. It seems incorrect to believe that students necessarily understand the bases of their dissatisfactions, and, therefore, the response by some faculties has generally raised more problems than it has solved. Too many faculty members have assumed that they know what students want, have responded by attempting to give them what they want, and have then discovered to their surprise and consternation that this was not what the students wanted after all. It now seems clear that one thing students do not want is to be simply a number; perhaps more than anything, they wish to be recognized as individuals. Nor do the students want to receive a numbered degree for which they did not really work. Unfortunately, the demands of students in this context have tended to be


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confusing. Even in the medical schools they have asked for fewer or even no examinations while insisting on greater relevance. Some faculty members have responded by saying essentially, "If that's what the students want, let's give it to them." In the final analysis, however, the students themselves, given time for reflection, have become concerned with the consequences of relaxing academic standards. In due course, we believe it will become apparent that those faculties who have reacted impulsively by simply going along with the tide have failed in their responsibilities to their students as well as to their institutions.2

The faculties' behavior in this context is perhaps as important to understand as that of the students. Faculties who agree that no demands should be made upon the students or that academic performance should not be evaluated tacitly communicate that they themselves believe that what they are teaching is essentially trivial. When challenged by the students, their own doubts about the worthwhileness of their academic activities come to the fore. It is not surprising, then, that many students find their own academic responsibilities less attractive than demonstrating for causes that have little actual relevance to what universities are doing or could effectively do so far as political events are concerned. In other words, the faculty, by acquiescing to demands for lower standards, fewer or no examinations, immediate "relevance," and the abandonment of the search for new knowledge in favor of "better teaching," implicitly states that scholarly activity in their field is not very necessary. Yet it is precisely the opposite message that the student really wants to hear. More than anything else, he wants the faculty to reaffirm that what the students are doing is important. To do this, faculty members must have the courage of their convictions rather than seek to curry favor by adopting chimerical solutions that cannot help but aggravate the problem in the long run.

In this connection, the role of the junior faculty member is particularly important. Frequently, the junior faculty members themselves experience a period of conflict and difficulty. They have not yet achieved full academic recognition. Their own power within their departments is frequently limited and they often see themselves more as students than as faculty. Therefore it is not surprising that many members of the junior faculty identify with the students who, by their rebellion, act out those fantasies that the faculty themselves had hardly dared to think about. Their own feelings of helplessness are reconciled as they identify with a momentarily powerful student movement. A systematic study of the insecurities that characterize the junior faculty in "the better schools," the very schools which have been most plagued with student unrest, might shed considerable light on the mechanisms of unrest.

2 This already has become apparent to enlightened student bodies. Two years ago, at Harvard Medical School, formal grades were abandoned in favor of descriptive remarks. This year the student body has petitioned the dean to return to letter grades.


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As far as the students' actual wishes are concerned, remarkably little is known. While the vocal minorities have made a number of "nonnegotiable demands," what the majority of students actually think about some of the issues confronting them both as citizens and as members of the academic community has really not been explored. Apparently, few academicians have thought to take a poll of the students to try and find out what they actually are saying. A step in this direction was taken by the Harris Survey during the spring and fall of 1970 to determine whether the public at large correctly perceived the attitudes that students have toward several salient social issues. In all cases, the public misread the depth of student feelings on these matters. For instance, when the percentage of students expressing concern over a problem was compared with the estimate by noncollege respondents of this percentage, it became clear that the public seriously underestimated the number of students who felt, for example, that the Black Panthers could not get a fair trial, that the country is not serious about cleaning up air and water pollution, and that America is a repressive society. The public also underestimated the number of students who were against the use of violence and who were prepared to work for change from within the system rather than through revolution. As a result of similar misunderstandings, too many academicians have found themselves responding to nonnegotiable demands presented by 2% of the student body.

In conclusion, we rather belatedly take cognizance of Erikson's plea that one must undertake with diffidence to write yet one more paper on youth. Much of the literature on "contemporary 'unrest'.... reflects a profound unrest among adults" (Erikson, 1970, p. 154). They, in fact, exhibit "a traumatized state ... that seeks catharsis in hurried attempts to reassert intellectual mastery over a shocking course of events [p. 154] ." Both the concerned layman and the social scientist must contend with the proposition that not the fact of violence but the legitimacy of violence, as Erikson puts it, is the greatest single issue in youth's ideological struggle. Erikson (1970) sees many of the current protests as examples of regressive behavior that originates in the incapacity or the refusal of many youths to "conclude the stage of identity on the terms offered by the adult world [p. 172]" -- a view which, while differently conceptualized, is not too dissimilar from the notion of learned helplessness.

We have tried to suggest that modern society must come to terms with a number of serious basic problems that require creative solutions. In order for an individual to feel satisfied with himself and develop a feeling of self-worth it is vital that he perceive himself as a necessary, contributing member of the community. In order to feel important, he must make a contribution that he feels is recognized as important.3 The problem of the individual feeling neces-

3 A not insignificant purpose of the recent strikes among municipal employees, e.g., garbage collectors, has been to show the community at large that they are needed.


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sary becomes greatly aggravated in complex industrial societies. Ironically, as society becomes prosperous enough to provide the basic needs for all its members, problems of this kind intensify.

As we have pointed out, a very large segment of our population currently enjoys a high standard of living and a considerable degree of security in maintaining such a standard. Among this group in particular, the growing individual has rarely experienced the feeling of being needed. We suspect that the ubiquitous concern among this group for being wanted is likely to reflect a feeling of being unnecessary or superfluous. The length of time and the amount of training necessary to feel able to make a meaningful contribution within the family or within the society at large has progressively increased over the years, and only very recently have there been any attempts to revise requirements downward.4

Our society and that of other industrial nations, faces a unique problem in the history of man. A large segment of the population, likely to be the majority in the not-too-distant future, is in a material position which previously was enjoyed by only a very small elite. Elitist philosophies characteristically placed greater demands upon the growing individual and confronted him with many challenges, the mastery of which required considerable endurance and effort. Further, these challenges were socially legitimized as preparing the individual for his role of leadership. An elitist philosophy of this kind, however, is almost the precise opposite of the way in which the middle class approaches the problem of education: it should not be unduly difficult, it should not make undue demands, the wishes of the individual should be respected, and so forth. Children are protected against any arduous demands the system might make. Whereas an elitist philosophy is usually associated with considerable social control exerted by both parents and the schools, the middle-class parent generally eschews the exertion of authority. He is frequently more afraid of losing the favor of his child, than concerned that the child live up to the demands made upon him. This attitude is reflected in those school systems where, even in the lower grades, discipline has become an issue. As the student comes to the university, his difficulties with authority tend to be aggravated by faculties which frequently are unsure of the importance of their own work and, especially, by some members of the faculty who identify uncritically with the students' difficulties and fail to provide a suitable model.

In an analysis of this kind, it would be too easy to suggest a return to simple family virtues: chores for children, demands upon the growing individual, a tough, hard-nosed school system, and an equally adamant faculty in our universities as changes that would quickly resolve the problems. Not only is such a

4 Finally, efforts are being made to shorten training for some of the professions; for example, medicine is in the process of eliminating the internship requirement.


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solution unrealistic, it probably is undesirable. Rather, we are attempting to point to some of the basic issues which seem to underlie the worldwide phenomenon of student unrest. We would hope that modern man will ultimately develop creative new solutions. We would hope that the unreasonable demands formerly made by the English public schools, or the invidious and often vicious practices of hazing that were once so characteristic of our fraternities, need not be replaced by confrontation with the police or destructive violence. We would hope that alternative ways will be developed by which large segments of the population may benefit from an education no longer restricted to the elite, and that ways can be found by which man's need to be important, to master his environment, can be satisfied and channeled into socially productive ends. Perhaps the recent militant concern with issues of ecology, overpopulation, and similar problems reflects such a tendency.

Undoubtedly we are facing a period of major social change where the development of appropriate and meaningful new ways for the growing individual to become more immediately necessary to his fellow man is increasingly urgent. In this process of change the university too will gradually alter some of its functions -- and perhaps even its form will gradually change. However, to the extent that faculties wish to exert positive meaningful influence, it will be essential not to opt for simple solutions, not to lose our integrity as scholars and scientists, but rather to grope with our students for constructive solutions which truly serve to satisfy their needs. In such a process dialogue between the students, the faculty, and the community will be essential. Genuine effort to understand what the student is saying and what he requires is crucial. However, the faculties cannot and must not expect the students to solve the university's problems. The responsibility for the form, nature, and quality of education must continue to rest with the faculty. To permit the student body to arrogate this responsibility to itself would be a gross disservice to the university, to the faculty, and, above all, to the present and future generations of students.


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Flacks, R. The liberated generation: An exploration of the roots of student protest. Journal of Social Issues, 1967, 23, No. 3, 52-75.

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Williams, C. V. Academic issues which should attract student protests in southern universities. In W. C. Snipes (Ed.), The humanities and student revolt. Ruston, La.: Southern Humanities Conference, 1970. Pp. 15-35.

The preceding paper is a reproduction of the following book chapter (Orne, M. T., & McGinnies, E. Conflict and change in the universities. In B. T. King & E. McGinnies (Eds.), Attitudes, conflict and social change. New York: Academic Press, 1972. Pp.55-80.). It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the authors Emily C. Orne for Martin T. Orne and Elliott McGinnies.