Column, December 6, 1935, Page 2
Whether or not students should participate in political activities is being debated in the classroom and on the campus. The theory that young people have led sheltered lives and are therefore too docile and gullible to assume political responsibility has been advanced by educators who declare, "let students study." In examining this controversial issue it is interesting; to note the action that has been taken in the political field by students all over the world.
The representation of Oxford University in the British Parliament has often been pointed to as an indication of student participation in political affairs. This should encourage peace advocates who remember that it was this institution that saw the origin of the famous Oxford pledge, which states, "I refuse to support the. King and Country in any war they may conduct:"
Yet we find that in the recent British elections Oxford University returned two Conservatives to Parliament. This incongruity is explained by the New York Times, which declares:
It should be pointed out that undergraduates at the English universities do not participate in the election of MP's. They are chosen by the alumni and university staff and such old hunkers. This will partly explain the striking discrepancy between the spirit of the Oxford pledge and the two Oxford M.P.'s elected on a rearmament platform." If the undergraduates at Oxford did have the vote, their anti-war sentiment would reverberate in the British Parliament, while their delegates would sound a call for peace that might be heard around the world."
Revolutionary student activity in such countries as Cuba and Spain are indications of the road an oppressed student body will follow. The recent anti-British riots in Egyptian universities show that the students are not docile, but rather that they realize the part they must play in their sruggle for Egyptian independence., Their efforts are recognized and appreciated by the Egyptian people. This was evidence when more than 100,000 persons marched in solemn procession at the Abdul Hakam Elgarahi, brilliant nineteen year old Egyptian university student who was killed during a clash between the undergraduates and police. "More public sympathy and emotion could not have been displayed for the most. prominent or most popular leader," states New York Times.
In countries where there is fascist persecution and terrorism, students are not too young to be affected. In Warsaw, Poland, all the colleges have been closed indefinitely by the orders of the rectors following anti-Jewish riots in the university and schools of agriculture. Jews have been forcibly removed from their classes by nationalist students. A Jewish student in the Polytechnic School. died from injuries received at the hands of the Nationalists.
From even a superficial survey of the student . in. politics we see. that the question of student participation is no longer a theoretical one. The dynamic nature of modern society makes it impossible for the student to isolate himself. One who is oblivious to the social, economic, and politicaI problems of his times, or who does not have the courage to put his theory into practice, does not deserve the name "student."