Title

A Personal Education: How Dialogue Prevented Radical Student Protest at the University of the Pacific during the Sixties

Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Many Americans today associate the 1960’s antiwar student movements with violence and chaos. Images of bloodied students and riots in the street are seared into the collective consciousness of America. At present we only know about student protests at universities such as Berkeley and Columbia because they made national headlines and have been researched by scholars. Simply stated, the vast majority of student movements on university campuses during the sixties and early seventies in America have not been researched. Thus, we cannot draw accurate conclusions about student protests in America until we study schools that did not garner massive media attention. Student unrest at the University of Pacific in 1970 presents an alternative case study since it challenges images of civil unrest. Before 1970, Pacific students were not engaged in protest activity. Rather, they were, to quote Professor Jerry Hewitt, “Busy being students.” But this was not at all rare during the sixties and early seventies- the majority of students in America during this time did not protest at all. Indeed, most students were busy being students. The conception that most university students were radical and unruly in the sixties and early seventies is false. Thus, the call for more research in this specific field is even more pressing. When we examine the protest at Pacific, and look at student journals, the school paper, administrative records, and the yearbook, we discover that it came later and was never as radical as better known student movements in America. This lag and absence of radical behavior can be largely explained by the administration’s actions to create a personal education for students, as well as establishing dialogue with the students.

Location

George Wilson Hall

Start Date

6-5-2006 9:00 AM

End Date

6-5-2006 10:45 AM

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A Personal Education: How Dialogue Prevented Radical Student Protest at the University of the Pacific during the Sixties

George Wilson Hall

Many Americans today associate the 1960’s antiwar student movements with violence and chaos. Images of bloodied students and riots in the street are seared into the collective consciousness of America. At present we only know about student protests at universities such as Berkeley and Columbia because they made national headlines and have been researched by scholars. Simply stated, the vast majority of student movements on university campuses during the sixties and early seventies in America have not been researched. Thus, we cannot draw accurate conclusions about student protests in America until we study schools that did not garner massive media attention. Student unrest at the University of Pacific in 1970 presents an alternative case study since it challenges images of civil unrest. Before 1970, Pacific students were not engaged in protest activity. Rather, they were, to quote Professor Jerry Hewitt, “Busy being students.” But this was not at all rare during the sixties and early seventies- the majority of students in America during this time did not protest at all. Indeed, most students were busy being students. The conception that most university students were radical and unruly in the sixties and early seventies is false. Thus, the call for more research in this specific field is even more pressing. When we examine the protest at Pacific, and look at student journals, the school paper, administrative records, and the yearbook, we discover that it came later and was never as radical as better known student movements in America. This lag and absence of radical behavior can be largely explained by the administration’s actions to create a personal education for students, as well as establishing dialogue with the students.