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KILSON ON RESOLUTION

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

As one of the early opponents of the Vietnam war at a time when such opposition was hardly popular, I view with a certain amusement the current scramble over the resolution on the Vietnam war by those who several years ago were mute in face of this example of the vulgarities of American imperial power. It is. I suspect, a welcome event that opposition to the monstrous Vietnam war has become popular and respectable among the Harvard faculty. But it is unfortunate indeed that late-comers to the anti-war movement display such poor understanding of the political limits of a university faculty in dealing with issues like the Vietnam war.

Many of the late-comers to the anti-war movement have, perhaps unwittingly, accepted the erroneous SDS view of the university as a political system, or the equivalent of such. They act as if the university is a political party-a political agency of the faculty who can commit the university by faculty resolution to whatever political positions a majority of the faculty happen to support.

The folly of this conception of university is, I think, manifest. The university is not the political party of the faculty, or any other constituency within the university: it belongs, for better or for worse, to the society at large. And if the university is to continue in its special and delicate role as the center of critical intellectual activity-a role only grudgingly regarded by the rest of American society-the, supporters of the Faculty resolution on the Vietnam war should think again about what they are doing.

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