• U.S.

Students: This Side of the Vision

2 minute read

By liberalizing the rules and brightening the students, Notre Dame’s President Theodore M. Hesburgh has been trying to create the liveliest Roman Catholic university in the U.S. But in the past “winter of discontent,” as he and Jack Kennedy put it, Hesburgh has been repaid with student editorials crying for freer rules and for his removal in favor of “a renowned lay educator.” Result: faculty censorship of three articles in the magazine Scholastic, the resignation of three student editors; and a sizzling letter from Hesburgh to all 6,700 students.

“Discontent is not all bad,” wrote Hesburgh. It affects any feeling man “and will not be cured this side of the beatific vision.” But Notre Dame does not “consider faculty and students to be equal partners in the educative process.” So “if anyone seriously believes that he cannot become well educated here without a car or girls in his room, or if he really thinks his personal freedom is impossibly restricted by curfew or state laws on drinking or the presence of priests in the residence halls, then I think the only honest reaction is to get free of Notre Dame, not to expect Notre Dame to lose its unique character.” However much students may teach the faculty, bristled Hesburgh, “your primary role here is to learn and not to teach. Students who think otherwise should go out and found their own universities and then take lessons from their students.”

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