A two-day student strike called by the Boston University Student Union to protest "political repression" began yesterday with boycott leaders claiming that as many as 80 per cent of the university's 17,000 students refused to cross the non-obstructive picket lines placed in front of classroom buildings.
The Student Union decided upon the two-day strike on February 6 to demonstrate support for four demands that arose from a December 8 sit-in in which police were called. The four demands of the strike are:
an end to the court injunction against disruptive activities at B.U.;
general amnesty for the students and faculty involved in the December 8 demonstration;
an end to the faculty investigation of Howard Zinn, professor of government and Robert Fleischman, professor of physics;
the reinstatement of government professor Edward Bottome, who was denied tenure by a faculty committee.
According to Everett Walters, vice-president for academic affairs, the demands presented by the striking students concern only the faculty and not the administration. Walters said that any action on the demands would have to come from a meeting of the Faculty Senate council on Friday or a Senate meeting scheduled for March.
Walters also denied that attendance had dropped significantly. He said attendance on the undergraduate level was good, ranging "from normal to slightly off." Richard G. Lubin, president of the Student Union, and other student leaders, said attendance was from 60 to 80 per cent below normal.
Members of the Student Union strike committee expressed disappointment, however, in the low number of students who participated in the picket line. "It was just too cold." one strike committee member said last night. "That's polities at B.U.-you have to have the weather."
Over 800 strikers attended a meeting at Hayden Hall last night and heard Robert Cohn, a professor of physics, say that "even if the strike demands cannot be established, it will show that students know each other and work together to show their strength."
At the same meeting. Howard Zinn. who teaches a course with Cohn on Marxism and the New Left, attacked the "monarchical structure" of B.U. and told his audience that it was time "we start believing that this is our university."