Student protests lack necessary strength, persistence
Letter to Editor
I’m writing to comment on The Daily Targum’s April 28 article, “Students storm Barchi’s office to protest Rice’s commencement invitation.”
“This was one of the largest sit-ins in Rutgers history,” the author explained, “drawing police to the scene after a glass door was broken and a student allegedly cut their [sic] hand.” During the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Vietnam War protestors brawled with the Chicago Police Department after Chicago’s finest tried to disrupt their activities. Today, our would-be champions of social justice dial 911 at the first sight of blood.
“Protestors claimed they were sweaty from [the] building’s heat,” the author continued, “worried about missing exams and starving from lack of food.” If only someone thought to pack granola! Radicals of the past proclaimed, “Turn on, tune in drop out.” Today’s counterculture quits the cause as soon as their tummies start rumbling — besides, their parents would be so angry if they failed a course.
These two quotes demonstrate just how incompetent and pathetic today’s radicals have become. The protesters seem to have concluded that coming up with catchy Twitter hashtags and spamming the student body’s emails can replace actual activism.
In reading their emails and ubiquitous handouts, I’ve noticed the protesters co-opt the language of the 1960s New Left by using terms like “sit-ins” and “teach-ins.” The irony is that the New Left long ago successfully completed its “long march through the institutions,” to borrow the language of Rudi Dutschke. Anybody who’s been in academia lately has undoubtedly been immersed in the culture of the New Left, or at least its legacy.
We like to imagine the University administrators are stodgy old men of a bygone era. In reality, the protestors were camping out in front of the office of like-minded University administrators. Does anyone seriously think that President Robert L. Barchi or the Board of Governors supports the war in Iraq or waterboarding suspected terrorists? The differences between the two sides aren’t substantive, only tactical.
Even the slightest difference of opinion, though, is enough for our sweaty and hungry campus totalitarians to accuse others of defection.
Noah Glyn is a second-year Master’s of Public Policy Student in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.