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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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War-Time Balancing Act at Colleges

By U Wire

NEW HAVEN, Conn.?When nationally syndicated columnist John Leo ran an Internet search on college newspapers from his office last week, he found the pervasive liberalism in the pages of Yale University publications frightening.

The Wall Street Journal did the same and found the patriotism of Yale students reassuring. As the juxtaposition of ?Nuke the bastards? and ?An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind? on the message sculpture outside WLH affirms, no consensus of student opinion exists on the Yale campus or at other universities.

On Cross Campus and across the nation’s campuses, the conception of a college as a marketplace for ideas is being tested as a philosophical debate over the war against terrorism rages.

The Yale campus, among others, has been through war before, but never a war of this nature. On the night of Dec. 8, 1941, Yale students and local residents swarmed the snowy streets of New Haven to hurl patriotic slogans and jingoistic insults at a far-away, but known, adversary. According to Gallup, more than 97 percent of their fellow citizens shared their view.

On May 1, 1969, about 75 percent of the Yale student body joined 15,000 protesters from all over the nation to protest the treatment of Black Panther Bobby Seale, who was accused of murder, and to protest an unjust war in Vietnam.

But on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the days that followed, confusion, not unanimity, reigned. Some rallied around the flag, some wanted to burn it. Students and professors all over the country took sides, and outside of the ivory tower, America is watching academia closely.

?I don’t think [a consensus] has developed,? President Richard Levin, ’74, said. ?But we have to make sure all sides are heard.?

What is actually going on at Yale and on America’s campuses, and why do Americans care so much? The university, America’s last bastion of independent inquiry and sponsor of the search for verities, has always been looked to for what Levin calls ?intellectual leadership? when crises occur.

Right now, campuses find themselves engaged in an intense internal philosophical debate. The prevailing feelings at America’s universities in the aftermath of the attacks have not mirrored public opinion, as they did during World War II and Vietnam. Yale and other universities have come under fire in the national media both for harboring anti American attitudes and for encouraging mindless flag waving.

Now, Yale finds itself engaged in an intellectual struggle over whether or not our strikes against Afghanistan are just.

Last week, Leo, a well-known conservative columnist, wrote a scathing editorial berating Yale and the Yale media for what he perceived to be perversely myotatic liberalism. Leo cited both the Herald and the Yale Daily News as supporting the motives of the terrorists. Neil Boortz, a syndicated radio talk show host, also lambasted Yale and the Herald, among others, for their response to the tragedy. The Wall Street Journal took a different tack, congratulating students for their reasoned thought while chastising ?graying radical? professors for their overt sympathy for the terrorists.

But are these anti-war views a new development in American academia? John Leo thinks so, though he admits he has not been to Yale’s campus.

In an interview with the Herald, Leo said, ?There didn’t seem to be any hand-wringing about what we did to provoke Japan [before Pearl Harbor] even though we set up an embargo that cut off their oil?people could have argued that. It’s a new attitude that has developed in the past 25 years.?

The case that the United States is anti-Islam, to Leo, is too difficult to make. ?We?re pouring billions into Muslim and Arab countries to stabilize them?sure it’s self interest, but we do it for humanitarian reasons, too, and the left never reveals that,? he said. ?The chickens are coming home to roost. Now there’s the smog of anti-Americanism that’s over the campuses.?

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