Extremism of Student Protests Today and in the ‘60s

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About 5% of college campuses are experiencing protests. This is not the ’60s again; their size and scope are smaller. However, they follow the same arc of drifting from pursuing their initial objectives to having a few with extreme views and engaging in violence capturing the headlines.

Protestors are motivated by legitimate outrage at the government’s actions. If there is little or no response, over time, impatience sets in, and for a growing number of protestors, a perfect solution overshadows more achievable solutions.

Experiencing the 60’s Student Protests

I was a 1960s protestor at my conservative public university in Ohio. The anti-war protests were peaceful for a couple of years, and eventually, protestors briefly occupied the administrator’s office. There was no violence on that campus.

I was also living in Berkeley the year that the National Guard killed students at Kent University and Jackson State in Mississippi. I witnessed multiple protests on the University of California campus. Days of teargas in the air and students arrested. Still, violence perpetrated by both police and protestors was limited.

When the WTO (World Trade Organization) held its conference in Seattle, I marched with 50,000 others to protest their policies. It was an…