Cultural Revolutions

Staging A Takeover

Four black students, representing the Union of African Student Organizations, staged a "takeover" at a recent Rutgers University conference on race relations. They grabbed the microphone and proceeded to criticize the audience for its thoughtlessness in not having invited them. In another age, when propriety existed and usurpation was decried, these students would have been censured. But these are the post-60's, where demonstrations and takeovers have become institutionalized.

T. Edward Hollander, New Jersey's Chancellor of Higher Education, said afterward that he was "delighted" to see the students take the stage. "It was familiar," he noted, "and I've waited 10 years for students to show that kind of interest. They asked for five minutes to speak and I turned them down. But I knew if they wanted to say something they would. If this were 20 years ago the conference would have been taken over totally by students, and not one of us would have had a chance to speak."

Does the chancellor—the highest authority on higher education in New Jersey—actually believe the student "interest" is evident in a takeover? If a request to speak is turned down, doesn't that mean students do not have the right to speak, or is rejection merely a disingenuous wink at the practice of demonstration? Are we supposed to be satisfied with a partial student takeover...

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