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Willie L. Brown, Jr.

I want to preface this minority report with a free quote, intended to summarize my reasons for rejecting both the tenor and conclusions of the majority report. ". . . the slowness of change is always respectable and reasonable in the eyes of those who are only watching; it is a different matter for the ones who are in pain. It is complacency, gradualism and hypocrisy that seems unjust and strange. It is the comfortable people who make the decisions. . . . it is only the people who are affected by those decisions who are expected to stand quietly, watch patiently and wait. . . ." (Death at an Early Age, Kozol, Bantam)

The document submitted by the majority is a dangerous exercise in futility. It avoids problems rather than confronting them. It reminds me of a group of well-intentioned men observing a forest fire and blaming the conflagration on the existence of trees, rather than the combination of aridity and a match.

To submit a report on campus problems which virtually ignores the setting in which our campuses exist is absurd. Our campuses are of this world and not outside of it, the conditions which agitate our world likewise shape the world of the students and faculties and they must be recognized. They include:

1. The perpetuation of a vile, murderous war in Vietnam which virtually the entire national student community recognizes as illegitimate. The knowledge


that their campuses are deeply complicit with that conflict in a variety of ways. They know that BETTER THAN TWO-THIRDS of university research money comes from Defense, NASA and the AEC. (James Ridgeway, "The Closed Corporation", Ballantine)

2. The pervasively racist nature of our society and its institutions. A society which cheerfully allows catastrophic unemployment rates for non-white young people, hunger for millions of its people, poverty and deprivation for ten million others while blandly spending 80 billion dollars for "defense", all the while having already emplaced 8174 deliverable nuclear warheads, sufficient to remove 116 million soviets from the earth. (I. F. Stone-New York Review)

3. The calcification of many of our institutions, most particularly those of politics and education, which, rather than being the instrumentalities of change remain inextricably committed to the maintenance of an unjust status quo. As a corollary to that commitment, our institutions appear to be pursuing generational war against the beliefs and very life styles of our young who appear somewhat freer of the hypocrisies which society uses to mask its true nature.

These conditions make two consequences become crystal clear. The first is that students recognize that racism, physical poverty and psychic deprivation are not necessary in a nation with a Gross National Product of 800 billion dollars and a stated belief in freedom. Being unnecessary and evil, they are intolerable. The second is that this generation of students will not allow itself to be seduced into the middle class and by what has turned out to be a largely empty success ethic. They want these problems dealt with, they want them dealt with now, and very importantly , they want those institutions in which they find themselves to begin dealing with them. It is evident therefore that the myth of a somehow isolated ivory tower is dead. The elitist nature of places of higher education, attempting to serve as a training ground for new recruits in the war to maintain the status quo is thankfully gone forever.

The students' struggle has engendered a somewhat hysterical response on the part of some sections of the larger community. The response is usually to what is called "violence" on the campuses. We should therefore examine the term "violence". My dictionary defines it as "natural or physical force in action", but also as "the unjust use of power in the deprivation of rights ". If we accept for a moment the second definition, it appears that (at least in the world of education) the major "violence" is that visited upon non-white or poor children in ghetto elementary and high schools who are systematically deprived of their right to an integrated quality education by the power of the


educational establishments. If we turn to the second definition as "natural or physical force in action" we find nothing to get upset about. It appears therefore that we need to redefine the "violence" that concerns us.

The campus "violence" which should truly concern us, and which does concern me, is the use of the implements of force in ways potentially harmful to other human beings. The use of guns, bombs, clubs, rocks and gas is to be damned, whether used by students or the police. It is dishonest however to demand new legislation to deal with the on-campus use of these implements of force. There are sufficient laws on the books to deal with any assault, battery, shooting, bombing, etc., likely to be found on a high school or college campus. It should also be pointed out that, rather than having a "sanctuary", campus activists are subject not only to the courts as we all are, but also to campus discipline proceedings which frequently, and in the specific case of San Francisco State, are less protective of the rights of the accused than anything we would subject ourselves to.

No matter what is said then, sufficient law exists to deal with the illegitimate use of the implements of force and all else that is proposed is designed to suppress those who, whether we agree with them or not, are actively engaged in trying to change the institutions of our society. Can we diminish the use of what we commonly understand as "violence"? I believe so. Hannah Arendt points out that violence and power are antithetical; that is, powerlessness results in violence , those with power having no need for it (unless also psychotic). The answer thus lies in a redistribution of power on our campuses and within our society as a whole, so as to make both more democratic.

If I were to make a list of my own findings and recommendations, they would in broad terms encompass the following:

Open up the Campuses

The majority report shows that 47% of California's 18–24 year olds are in college. That the non-white population does not send an equivalent percentage of its children to college is evident to anyone who has ever visited a campus. The effort to open up our campuses cannot start at the college level. E.O.P. is only a bandaid where surgery is required, and we do not even properly fund that very small effort. We must begin at the elementary schools so that additional generations of non-whites will not be consigned to the welfare rolls by the time they are four years old. If I interpret the mood of the non-white youths properly, it is that we will either all have colleges or no one will.


Redefine the Purposes of the University

The campuses must be restructured so that they respond to the needs of our communities with the same degree of enthusiasm with which they respond to the needs of California's agro-business and the hallucinatory requirements of the Department of Defense. The purposes of education and the purposes of the institution must be directed to include solving society's maladjustments.

Redistribution of Campus Power

If we are truly interested in peace on the campus we must create a situation in which the students share meaningfully and directly in curriculum decisions, faculty hiring and the making of campus rules. We must stop viewing the campuses as holding pens where the young are kept until they are sufficiently indoctrinated to assume our place on a purposeless treadmill. We must give them the power to define their own reality and needs and hope that this will result in the creation of conditions wherein a just society can begin to emerge.


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