Why has it grown so quiet? Where are the fiery student crusades, the social-protest marches, the hymns of revolt of just a few years ago? Gone. But the campus war goes on—now a subtler, more sophisticated struggle, not just for passing causes, but for a new balance of power within the nation. In this special 11-page report, Maclean's takes a hard look at the new campus and its problems, pays a surprise call on students and faculty, and casts an appreciative eye on its turned-on fashions
FIVE YEARS AGO university students were marching out to right the world's wrongs under a banner of militant protest and to the tune of half a dozen modern battle hymns. “We shall overcome," they chanted. A revolution, they chorused, was “blowin' in the wind." Somewhere along the road, it seems to have blown itself out. The only revolutionary music on Canadian campuses this fall comes from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, courtesy of The Beatles. Instead of sit-in demonstrations, stuuents are mounting teach-ins or wallowing in love-ins. Instead of loud demands for instant social change, there is everywhere the discreet murmur of negotiations.
What ever happened to the fiery, committed young generation of the early 1960s? The simple answer is that it grew larger and it grew up. Canada now has a record 230,000 students busily incubating in more than 60 degree-granting institutions. The pressures of the multiversity, combined with the unprecedented complexity of the world outside, are producing a fundamental change in student outlook. In many ways today’s students are more realistic, more neurotic and more sophisticated than their crusading predecessors. They seem to have grasped the fact that there are no quick and easy answers. There aren’t even easy questions. For the time being, students have opted out of the social-protest battles.
They have not, however, opted out of the war. Students have merely beaten a strategic retreat. Their theatre of activist operations is now largely confined to the campus. But the long-term objective, many observers believe, is nothing less than a neo-Marxist class struggle designed to swing
the balance of power in society toward youth.
With the advantages of hindsight, it’s possible to argue that the switch in strategy began on November 22, 1963. It is a date that unites every student in this generation. They will all remember to their graves just where they were and how they felt when they learned President Kennedy was shot. For them, the assassination was much more than the tragic death of an enlightened world leader. It was a catastrophe that shook to the core their faith in the way the world was heading.
In the wake of this catastrophe, students took a hard look at themselves and began to regard the future with a much more cynical eye. How, they collectively asked themselves, can we best ensure the emergence and election of more Kennedys everywhere? Certainly not by continuing to parade around with placards. Instead, they began to push for the development of a politically powerful student class, capable not just of asking for changes but making them. And the first step in the development was to obtain more student control over the running of the universities themselves.
The practical result of this thinking has become known as the Berkeley Syndrome, named after the extended period of student unrest on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. The driest if not the best summation of what Berkeley is all about appeared last year in a London Times editorial: “The emergence of a self-conscious student class is reminiscent of the emergence of a self-conscious working class in the 19th century.”
The reminiscence strikes activist chords all across Canada. Students increasingly see themselves as part of a great union-management
struggle, with students and liberal faculty on one side of the table, university administrations and governments on the other. Activists want a new deal all down the line — better academic programs, more accessibility to faculty, free tuition for all, student salaries for some and direct participation in university government.
When those battles are won, the new student class will move on to demand more representation in federal and provincial government. The nationwide reduction of the voting age to 18 is already a possibility. The next stage may be the creation of purely university constituencies. Ultimately, runs the theory of Quebec sociologist Marcel Rious, the clash between youth and adults will polarize society into two political camps — with students spearheading the party for change.
For the moment, parts of this grand design remain a vision, and a pretty extravagant vision at that. Except on the west coast. Canadian universities are still in the pre-Berkeley stage of development. Activism is just beginning to become a major issue and the bargaining dialogue is more exploratory than passionate. But there can be no doubt about the reality of the basic premise — the emergence for the first time of a student class conscious of its power and prepared to act.
To some extent, the students’ class-consciousness is sustained by adult society’s love-hate relationship with youth. No previous young generation has ever been made so aware of itself as a separate and important social segment. Today’s students have been repeatedly quizzed, coddled, wooed and damned — above all recognized — by a group of elders obsessively concerned about what their children think, smoke and hunger for.
“But I’ll let you in on / continued overleaf
“A new student class has emerged, aware of its power, ready to act”
a secret," says Nelson Adams, a bearded 25-yearold graduate student in Greek at the University of New Brunswick. "A lot of the stuff written about the young generation is just wishful thinking on the part of the elder generation. If you look closely enough, you'll find the majority of students arc unbelievably apathetic.”
A close look shows that Adams is only partly right. The majority of students fall into four main groups. There are the Michael Boones, the Liz Campbells and the Steve Langdons. And then there are the Joe Colleges.
Joe College has always been around. He is the conservative-minded, strict conformist who makes up 80 percent of any generation of students. He is entirely preoccupied with the business of staying uninvolved and getting an education. In the old days he wore V-necked sweaters, waved pennants at football games and loved taking part in student pranks. Today he doesn't even do much of that. Joe worries about passing his exams and about how much money he’ll be making after he graduates.
Michael Boone, a 20-year-old English student at McGill, is the new breed of hippie that everybody's so concerned about. He dresses horribly, always needs a haircut and would like to try marijuana sometime. He spent last year in a functionally squalid $40-a-month room above a tavern on the east edge of the campus. He is an entertainment writer for the McGill Daily and when he has money he drinks beer with the newspaper's staff in The Swiss Hut on Sherbrooke
Street. When he’s broke he studies in his pad with his girlfriend on his king-sized bed. The girl sometimes cooks a snack. Boone worries about the arts and about when he's going to eat again.
Liz Campbell, a stunning history major at Dalhousie. is the sort of co-ed every mother hopes her daughter will become. Liz. who is 20, drives around campus in a sports car and shares a well-appointed apartment with a friend. She is involved in student theatre, manages the girls’ ice-hockey team, performs love songs in coffeehouses and speaks fluent French. She joined a fraternity “to see if I could change things” and has turned down two marriage proposals. Last year Liz won Dalhousie's top student academic award. She worries about choosing between marriage and a career.
Steve Langdon, also 20. studies political science at the University of Toronto. He is the classic image of the involved liberal-minded undergraduate. He dresses impeccably, lives in residence at Trinity College and wears a gown to classes and to meals. Despite its trappings of Oxbridge tradition, Trinity seethes with socialists. Last year Langdon was campus president of the New Democratic Party. He worries about Vietnam and about how to overcome student apathy.
Thanks to the Joe Colleges, apathy is traditional and unavoidable. The word itself has virtually been the patented rallying cry of student activists and editors since the days in the 1890s when Mackenzie King tried to lead a student strike at the U of T. The revolt fizzled out after
a week. (King was later accused of playing politics by double-crossing his fellow rebels.)
Things haven't changed much. Last February activist Bob Cruise campaigned for student president at the University of British Columbia on a platform urging a Berkeley-style strike that would help "dissect the knowledge factory.” Although expected to win. he was crushingly defeated by a conservative unknown. “UBC students do not represent a new generation,” commented education reporter Clive Cocking in the Vancouver Sun. "It's the same as their fathers’, a generation whose ambitions arc focused on getting their ticket to the first-class compartment on the gravy train of life.”
The point Cocking missed is that some 20 percent of UBC students did vote for Cruise. They represent the classic minority — the Boones. Langdons and Liz Campbells — who do most of the writing, talking, agitating and creative work on any university campus. They are drawn mainly from the arts and the humanities and they dismiss the Joe Colleges as “kids with middle-aged minds.” Depending on available causes and leaders, they can attract considerable attention. Some■ times they can delude adults into thinking an entire generation is turning Red or going licentiously to hell on a pot-propelled Honda.
Where the minority is. large, as it is on the west coast and in the older eastern universities, it permeates and influences campus life. On the conservative Prairies and in the Maritimes the influence is marginal. And at some of the newer universities the entire body of dedicated nonconformists can, and often does, gather itself around a single coffee table to argue about Marshall McLuhan (passionately). J. R. R. Tolkien (vaguely), Berkeley. Stokely Carmichael, Peanuts, Ramparts, or a currently In-poct such as Sylvia Plath, who wrote intensely about alienation before committing suicide at 30.
Alienation is much in vogue on the big impersonal campuses these days. "Everybody's hung up about something but they don’t know what it is,” says 23-year-old Brian Campbell, one of the lonely band of liberals at the University of Alberta. Campbell, who has a theory that the whole mood of modern youth can be summed up by the top-40 hit tunes (“Just study the lyrics of Georgy Girl, man!”), believes most thinking students are appalled by what they’ll have to do when they graduate: “How am I going to adjust to the complex world outside? How am I going to accept a nine-to-five existence in which I’ll have to compromise myself?”
No matter how hard students try to forget the outside world, television keeps tossing it back in their laps. The message is as immediate as the medium: long-shots of an instant war; montages of a racial holocaust; bird’s-eye views of napalmed villages; and close-ups of political impotence verging on senility. Any one / continued on page 44
CAMPUS 67 continued from page 13
“Crusades are fading into half-remembered Dylan folksongs”
of these issues could have launched a protest march five years ago. Today the images accumulate in such grim profusion that protesting seems futile.
The only old-fashioned protest noises heard in 1967 are in the French-speaking universities and Roman Catholic colleges, where the is-
sues are basic and clear-cut. Roman Catholic students everywhere are demanding freedom from religious control and the right to discuss forbidden topics. And separatism is still very much an intellectual cause célèbre in Quebec. Last January a bitter band of University of Montreal students picketed CPR headquarters for days.
demanding that railway employees in Quebec speak French. “You don’t have any choice,” they informed CPR chairman N. R. Crump. “Either you make your Quebec employees speak French or you quit the province.” Elsewhere in Canada, all the great student crusades of the early 1960s are fading into half-remembered Bob
Dylan folksongs. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has long since gone where all the flowers have gone. The New Left, the erratic juggernaut that grew out of the CND, has subdivided itself to the point where small groups of self-conscious radicals sit around wondering what they can do for humanity, man. Last year the Student Union for Peace Action's main contribution to humanity was a handy guidebook to this country for United States draft-dodgers. In passing, the book extolled the political virtues of Canada in very unSUPAlike terms.
Vietnam is probably the most debated topic from Memorial to Victoria. But 99.9 percent of Canadian liberals are in perfect agreement about the subject and there’s little they can do about it anyway. The civil-rights movement has lost its appeal since the advent of Black Power. Canadian students are growing increasingly fed up with Stokely Carmichael telling them to stay home and attend to their own problems. (Carmichael berated 1.000 Montreal students along these lines last year and collected only $75.)
Ottawa? “You’re kidding”
However, no student group seems overly anxious to follow Carmichael’s advice and start a civil-rights movement on behalf of, say, the Nova Scotia Negro ghettos, the povertystricken French on New Brunswick's north shore or the Indians and Métis. (One independent student project among Saskatchewan's Métis collapsed a couple of years ago after criticism in the provincial legislature.) The Company of Young Canadians may yet activate the domestic consciences of Canadian students. But, with almost as many headquarters staff as field workers, the CYC is still pretty much of a joke on the campuses.
Federal party politics, for reasons obvious to anyone under 30, are even more of a joke. Most students would vote the way their parents do. Activists all support the NDP, at least until their own political ship comes in. It is probably the best organized party on any campus. The commonest answer to questions about Ottawa is: “You’ve got to be kidding.” Jim Bates, a student journalist at the University of Western Ontario, has come up with a solution that’s widely admired by activists. He advocates the scrapping of all present political parties and the establishment of two new ones — the Youngerals and the Oldatives.
“It’s clearly up to the young to initiate the Youngeral Party,” says Bates. “The Oldative Party is in existence and forms, for the most part, Canada's one-party system. Youngerals arise! You have nothing to lose but your ideals.”
Provincial politics generate slightly more excitement because legislatures are where university money comes from. But since many universities are at the monetary mercy of provincial Establishments, students are often wary of being too outspoken or critical. This is especially true in the Atlantic provinces, which have a plethora of universities (30 percent of the students are non-Maritimers)
in terms of the pitifully small budgets available to support them.
“Nova Scotia is like a province of the Old South,” says a law student at Dalhousie. “It’s run by about 500 landowning families and, believe me, it doesn’t pay to get out of line.” In Newfoundland, Premier Smallwood’s program of free university tuition has won him the undying — and unquestioning — loyalty of a generation of Memorial students. UNB, says one student critic, “is a glorified high school and the sad thing is that’s the sort of paternalism the students want.”
Only proud Dalhousie, with the largest endowment foundation in Canada (McGill is next), maintains a measure of financial independence. One consequence is that Dal nurtures an Atlantic outpost of Left-wing thinkers. Because of its isolation ("Our intellectual pipeline to the rest of Canada is the CBC News"), this minority tends to be a term or two behind the times. But even they have got the message that social protest is now Out. “The New Left is effete,” says Robin Endres, a 21-year-old married student and mother hen to Dal's liberal eggheads. "Anyone still belonging to it is just getting a vicarious pleasure out of it.”
The trouble is the new activists may soon become effete, too, unless they can cope with the age-old problem of apathy. They will need superb and unprecedented organization. Students, unlike 19th-century factory workers, are only temporarily students and the continuity of any movement falters with every graduating ceremony.
"People whose ambitions centre on their future status rather than on their present transitional one are unpromising candidates for a brand of politics geared to the improvement of the here and now,” writes British sociologist Frank Parkin. "The student is keenly aware that ultimately his fate is an individual rather than a collective one.”
One factor that could solve the organizational difficulty is the development of a paid cadre of middleaged “student” leaders. The nearest thing Canada has to this is the militant Union Générale des Etud’ants du Québec, a provincewide organization that now embraces the English-speaking universities of McGill and Sir George Williams. UGEQ has effectively bargained with two successive Quebec governments, forcing them to establish an office for higher education and to launch a five-year plan aimed at free tuition.
The Canadian Union of Students, which tries desperately to speak for the rest of Canada, is an activist propaganda machine operating in a wilderness. Last year’s CUS president, 28-year-old Doug Ward, poured out policy statements, pamphlets and instruction sheets (How to Fight a Fee Increase), but the message seldom got through to the students who count. CUS is forced to work through local student councils, which are always lethargic and generally Right-wing. Alberta’s council was so incensed by CUS’s radical streak that it pulled the university out of the organization.
Despite the weakness of CUS and the conservatism of student councils,
the student movement is making unmistakable headway. Some milestones: in Toronto next June the student co-operative movement opens its $5.750,000 Rochdale College, a 20story residence for 600 students, 100 married couples and 50 faculty; in Saskatoon last fall students took over the university bus line from the city and turned an operating loss into a $4,000 profit by spring; in Victoria students have incorporated their newspaper and freed it from both student-
council and administration control.
More significant, if only as a portent. is the student breakthrough into the once-mystic realms of university government. Student representatives now sit on the senates or boards of governors of six universities. Joint committees are studying similar recommendations on dozens of other campuses. The only real issue now is the degree of student participation in government.
"We’re rejecting the American tra-
dition that sees students as apprentices or wards of society,” says Sandy Gage, an American who was last year's editor of the McGill Daily (he was temporarily fired by the student council for his anti-war views on Vietnam). “We’re moving toward the British tradition of the university as a community of scholars playing an important role in society. Students are a key part of that community.”
The community-of-scholars concept is making students much more critical
Professors are joining in the revolt
of academic authority. Groups at several universities, including McGill and the U of T, now regularly publish evaluations of arts courses and warn students against professors who are boring or inadequate. The McGill guide made this assessment of Prof. Laurier LaPierre: “He had no conception at all of what his ideas on the material really were.” (If it’s any consolation to LaPierre, he was probably the person most often invited to speak on campuses last year.)
For good teachers, the atmosphere is exhilarating. Some old-timers compare it to those rosy postwar days when the DVA Act filled the universities with mature and unexpectedly dedicated scholars. “I don’t think these kids are any brighter than my generation,” says J. E. Broadbent, a young political-science professor at York University. “But they are more intellectually curious, they work harder and yet they seem to be having a lot more fun than we did.”
Students, even good ones, are not quite so happy about the new atmosphere. Their participation in faculty committees is still more talked about than practised. To date the only real student-faculty co-operation in Canada involved a McGill maths lecturer’s private project to find out how courses should be designed and taught. A group of students gave up their summer evenings to work on the experiment.
There is, however, a growing alliance between student activists and the more enlightened faculty members. Student unrest is infectious. It has forced professors to involve themselves in political affairs (last January 338 U of T teachers sent Ottawa a petition protesting the Vietnam war) and brought to a boil the simmering dispute between the traditional humanistic traditions and the incoming scientific tradition. Bitter internal feuds over academic and political policy ruptured Alberta’s philosophy department last year and McMaster’s political-science department this year. The sight of academic lids blowing off in public is not particularly new. But it is likely to become more frequent.
So far Canada has experienced only one Berkeley-like uproar. It happened last March when BC’s infant Simon Fraser University sacked five graduate-student teaching assistants. (They had signed a petition protesting the suspension of a local high-school boy.) After a week of rallies, resignations, debates about academic freedom and a threatened student boycott of classes, the university’s governors gave in and reinstated the five graduate students.
One of the five, Phil Stanworth, was particularly conscious of the activist principle at stake. “You have taught the Board of Governors a lesson,” he told a victory rally of
cheering students. “You have shown them how responsible you are and how powerful you are.”
There were two w'ell-documented advance warnings about the type of situation that developed at SFU. By heeding them, the remaining Canadian universities may well be able to bypass the incipient-violence phase of the Berkeley Syndrome. The first warning was contained in the 1965 Duff-Berdahl Report on university government in Canada. The report said, in effect, that students were either going to be given a greater voice in college administration or take matters into their own hands. Wisely, most universities are now beginning to act on its recommendations.
The second warning came in a 1966 report on student health services by Dr. Conrad Schwartz, UBC’s consulting psychiatrist. In a lucid foreword, Dr. Schwartz outlined the emotional difficulties facing students, particularly freshmen, on the large impersonal campuses. Much of the student restlessness, he said, springs from the frustration of being treated like a computer punch-card by demanding professors who have no time to answer questions or become involved. Students feel isolated in a crowd. They become convinced that nobody cares.
While universities from Mount Allison to Waterloo are busy designing imaginative academic courses to handle the knowledge explosion, only one program in Canada has so far been devised to solve the more serious problems of isolation. This is an optional first-year arts course launched this fall by UBC after three years of study. It was designed with Dr. Schwartz’s warnings specifically in mind. The program calls for six faculty members to spend most of their time with 120 freshmen, teaching an integrated course built around such universal themes as war, communications, death, education and Utopia.
All these changes, coupled with massive expansion programs, have wrought fundamental changes in the character and institutions of Canada’s campuses. At alumni reunions, the class of ’57 finds the alma mater remote and strange; the class of ’37 finds her barely recognizable.
The most obvious change is that (he old college spirit, symbolized by initiation rites, winter carnivals and pep rallies, is now about as rousing as a hip flask of soda water. The University of Saskatchewan’s famous freshman snake dance through the streets of Saskatoon has wound its way into oblivion. Toronto’s Winter Carnival last spring was graced by only 200 out of 22.000 students. The U of T is even thinking of disbanding the Blue and White student band, the central feature of all organized activity. It can’t compete with Sgt. Pepper's.
More remarkable is the decline in the power and influence of the fraternities. Most new universities ban them altogether. And on the older campuses their membership is slipping. “The fraternities used to supply most of the student leaders,” says McGill’s Sandy Gage. “Now they are full of American students and Joe Colleges.”
The decline of the fraternities is
almost evenly balanced by the rise of the student co-op movement. There are more than 25 co-op houses in Toronto (some of them old fraternities) besides the new Rochdale residence. Waterloo has had a co-op residence for nearly three years and similar buildings are being planned on half a dozen campuses. The co-ops are providing the most realistic solution to the nationwide student residence crisis.
College spirit has been replaced by
an incredible burgeoning of interest in the arts. Canada's students are on a cultural binge. Student drama societies and newspapers are flourishing as never before. Artists, musicians and creative writers are experimenting with a freedom and authority their predecessors seldom had. Campuses are dotted with would-be Orson Welles figures, cranking out 16-millimetre epics on shoestring budgets. The acknowledged leader in this field is Winnipeg-born David Secter, 25, who
made his first full-length movie, Winter Kept ils Warm, while still at U of T two years ago. By this summer Secter was in Hollywood where he may direct a low-budget commercial feature.
The colossus who dominates the entire cultural world these days is Marshall McLuhan. He is by far and away the most talked about man on any Canadian campus. Half the students think he’s a put-on like William Burroughs; the other half think he’s a
genius like James Joyce. Nobody is indifferent.
Artistic freedom to experiment is closely connected with moral freedom to experiment. Today’s students generally have a frank and uninhibited attitude about love (“Sex is Out. Love is In") that is remarkable for its stress on responsibility. Only the prurient could find the attitude un-
healthy. The Pill has changed everything. “Nobody worries about sex anymore,” says attractive Elizabeth Spry, last year’s editor of the Saskatchewan Sheaf. “Five years ago if anybody knew you’d slept with your boyfriend you were considered a whore. Now they are only surprised if you haven’t.”
The major problem about love is where to make it. Sadly, the really burning issue on many campuses is the open-room question — how often and
for how long should boys be allowed to entertain girls in residences? What with Canadian winters, often the only available meeting place is a student lounge. “I’m terribly afraid,” says Alberta’s John White, “that a generation of exhibitionists is growing up because they have nowhere else to
Drinking among students remains about as moderate or excessive as it ever was. With the arrival of psychedelic drugs, alcohol has been reduced
from a mortal to a venal sin. There’s a tacit admission on the part of university authorities (if not the local police) that students over 18, like soldiers, should be allowed to drink. Every campus in Canada has at least one neighborhood tavern where college kids won’t be pestered too often for their identification cards.
The psychedelic drug scene is more difficult to assess. It certainly exists on all but the smallest and newest campuses. Between October and March last year UBC’s Dr. Schwartz treated 14 students for complications following LSD trips. It’s a safe bet that at least 20 percent of today’s students have tried marijuana at some time in their lives and that 50 percent of them would be in favor of legalizing pot.
But only a minority of the minority of hippie students are seriously involved with drugs. Most of the real action takes place in the Bohemian communities, largely populated by non-students, that have sprung up on the fringes of large urban campuses. Toronto’s Yorkville district is the prime example. “Many of the students who get busted for possession,” says a Toronto hippie, “are students only by virtue of being enrolled in one university extension course.”
A Kennedy for Canada?
With all this in mind, it is possible to make some fairly optimistic predictions about the generation that will be running this country sometime after 1984. Despite their traditional apathy, they will preside over a cultural flowering that should produce a flock of world-ranking Canadian artists, musicians, poets and novelists. They will consolidate Canada’s substantial achievements in imaginative television and they might create a Canadian film industry.
They will be more liberal, more tolerant and a good deal more secular than their parents. They will ensure that all the touchy social battles of the 1960s — capital punishment, divorce, abortion, homosexuality — are long since won. They will probably reform the drinking laws, abolish the Senate and put television into parliament. They may legalize the sale of marijuana. They might even get around to solving Canada’s Indian problem — but don't count on it.
They will produce and elect at least one Canadian Kennedy and perhaps half a dozen of them. They will become increasingly American in their intellectual outlook but more European in their social outlook. They will be genuine internationalists. If, as student cynics now think entirely possible, the Vietnam war is still being waged, they will do everything in their power to end it.
All in all, today’s students seem superbly equipped to take over a country that could well achieve great power status in spite of itself. Meanwhile, it would be wise to listen to Jean Sicotte. a 21 - year-old French Canadian who elected to go to Sir George Williams to learn about les Anglais and thus is himself an optimistic symbol: “Basically, we are all very much conscious that we are still students and we are all enjoying life.” ★