Colleges closed down 50 years ago this spring

With all of the college students furloughed home to study online, it’s hard to believe the last time American campuses shut down was springtime a half century ago. Make that the ONLY time.

It was different, though, in several key ways.

The kids weren’t told to pack up and go home. No, we stayed together rather than scattered.

The strikes came from the students and then faculty as a protest against administrators and national events, rather than orders from the top-down.

They were triggered by the slayings of unarmed students at Jackson State in Mississippi and Kent State in Ohio by police and national guardsmen. (Sorry about the pun.)

There were other factors as well.

For those who are interested, my novel Daffodil Uprising covers much of that experience.

~*~

What’s happening today reflects a much different generational divide.

We shared a dream, and our career options appeared wide-open, though they chilled greatly in an economic downturn later that spring. We felt a hippie kinship across much of the nation. And we were angry.

By the way, we weren’t burdened by tuition debt, much less one we’d likely never be able to pay off over our working lifetime.

~*~

At the moment, the generational divide I’m watching is an attitude many have that Covid-19 is just for old folks (like me) or those with preexisting conditions (like some younger people I’m worrying about). Some of them think they’re immune or won’t get truly sick. As one I overheard saying, “I’d take a coronavirus for the team.” Oh, dear.

Let’s get real. I’ll go back to that report from France, where half of the intensive care beds were occupied by people under 30.

Still, there’s much more in this generational divide that’s simply festering. We ignore it at our own peril. What’s your take?

5 thoughts on “Colleges closed down 50 years ago this spring

  1. Scholars will be looking at this pandemic for decades. How we responded. How we didn’t respond. The failures and triumphs of leaders. The structural changes to society (If any).

    And while campuses are shut down, school continues. At least for the students I know – classes are being held online, and I imagine there will be a way to write examinations online also.

      • Amazon will take over the parts of the world it doesn’t already own.

        My guess is that maybe a third of small retailers won’t survive, perhaps more. But there are always people who want to be shopkeepers, so they will be replaced.

        The short-term human suffering caused by the global shutdown may be more intense than the deaths from the pandemic.

      • I agree. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. My fear is that we are going to lose a lot of our freedom, replaced by some politician’s idea of what is best for us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.