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The rioting students of Harvard and Technology doubtless expect easy indulgence. They think the public should say, "Oh, well, it's all in fun. It's just a way of reducing spring fever. Kindly remember we're still children at eighteen or twenty."
That juvenile notion may pass undisputed when the boys hold combat among themselves, staging high jinks in their own Yard. But it counts for naught when the battling children disrupt traffic, delay the homeward course of tired workers, endanger human life and destroy hard-earned property. Such antics deserve no indulgence. They should have sharpest repression and punishment by the police and the courts, and sternest rebuke by collegiate authorities, with quick and permanent expulsion of proved ring-leaders among the offenders.
If the makers of boyish fun dissent from such public discipline, let them reflect for a moment upon their own private situation. University students today live in a time of serious economic unrest, not to say social crisis. Lawless action has been rife in many an industrial quarter. There exists a threat, both overt and implied, to the whole American order of education, technology, law, business and industry, in which the youth of America's colleges hope to take future places of leadership, or at least of steady and gainful employment.
What the conduct of privileged youth is today will largely, perhaps crucially, determine whether this hope goes glimmering in the wreck of the American order, or whether it shall be upheld by staunch proof that men of special education and technical competence recognize their obligations to society and will fulfill them as men, not as children. They can riot if they choose, but their own rioting sooner or later will be turned against them. They may have fun now at public expense if they will. But it is fun that tempts fate.
If university students have any understanding of their own interest, and more especially if they have any appreciation of their birthright as American citizens and any willingness to support and defend democratic principles for the common good, they will put aside childish things now. They will prove, by restraint and self-control, their worthiness to be leaders. --Transcript
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