November 19, 2009
While browsing Mudd this week, I found the following image, and I had
[See URL for photo.]
This caught my attention because, lately, there's been much
discussion of activism on the University campus. Many people seem to
think that Princeton students are passive and don't care about
anything outside the "bubble". The caption beneath the picture says,
" Princeton students takeover the steps of the Institute for Defense
Analysis, May 1970. The IDA protest was but one of many catalysts
that led to the formation of the Special Committee on the Structure
of the University."
The protest in the picture is in fact a protest of the Vietnam War.
The protest was initiated by the Students for a Democratic Society
after a student paper focused on the relationship between the
Institute for Defense Analysis, on Princeton's campus, and Princeton
University. Princeton leased a building to the IDA, a think tank
initiated by the United States Department of Defense. This led to the
view of many of campus, that the University's governance was
supporting the Vietnam War and, by doing this, supporting corporate
culture, the antithesis of the student movements present on so many
college campuses at the time.
Protests of the building continued for years so much that by 1972, an
article in the Deseret News says 190 students have been arrested
during protests that year on Princeton's campus. Earlier protests,
including the one in the picture, led to the creation of a committee
to instigate change in the University's administration called The
Committee on the Structure of the University. Later protests
continued to bring nationwide attention to the issues on Princeton's
campus and in society at the times, garnering national newspaper attention.
Today, there isn't nearly as much political activism on campus. Is
this a function of the times or an indicator that Princeton students
have become passive? The issue is up for debate, what do you think?