Father Maurice P. Johnston, 0.P., director of student affairs at St. Edward’s University in Austin, has written an open letter to the students there which we excerpt with his permission. An open letter to the students: Ever so often, the urge to speak out comes to a man. Sometimes, of course, silence would be the more prudent course. But we must not make the common mistake of confusing prudence with inaction. For this reason, then, I’d like to make a few comments on what I have been reading in the [student] paper and what I have heard around the campus. I would like you to know some of the thinking current among the administrators of the university. We hear a great deal about student maturity, responsibility, etc. There is a constant plea to be treated like adults in campus regulations, academic requirements, and so on. The administration is not simply opposed to this. We are eager to see maturity in the student body. We are pleased when you give evidence of responsibility. The problem that we have is that we hear so much talk about responsibility and maturity among the students, but we see so little evidence of it. I do not refer principally to the occasional disciplinary action that must be taken. . . . Rather, this is my problem : responsibility requires response. There seems to be practically no response, no concern, no adult reaction to ANYTHING by the student body of this university. You do not take an active, inquiring part in your academic life. You get only what the teachers present, and often enough, little of that. There is so little activity, so little personal response to learning. So many of you seem to expect to be driven tb your education. This is not a mature response. In your life on campus, there is very little evidence of adult responsibility. Your lack of consideration for your neighbors in the dorms \(judging from the paper and discussions in the Students Activities Counyour pushing and shoving, and the food throwing in the student dining room; the generally careless attitude toward university property; and a common unwillingness to assume responsibility for your actions all of this indicates that \(with some exgeneral the students do not demonstrate the maturity that is so often spoken of. . . . My point is simply this: the freedom given to the mature can only work if those who are free accept their responsibilities. If a man will do what is right because he knows it is right, if he will cooperate with the common good of society freely for the good of his fellow man, then this man can be free in a free society. But if a man continues to behave without this sense of responsibility, he cannot hope to enjoy the pleasures of mature freedom. . . . There is another area of concern for me: this is the lack of student awareness of the world about them . . . a lack of social awareness and concern. When students are marching all over the country, spending nights in jail, giving of themselves to a tremendously important cause for every Christian and every American, so many of you act as if nothing was going on. If someone were to paint the signs and charter a bus, we couldn’t raise a bus load of students to manifest their concern. Where is your response? Catholic college students all over the country are sending groups of students to work in Mexico or among the poor of their own areas in recognition of their Christian obligation to share Christ with the world. For a second year in a row we have been unable to form a group. This lack of concern cannot be blamed on the administration and their failure to cooperate. There has been no student movement here on this campus. Issues that occupy you are such things as drinking at college dances \(if only you were as concerned about the rights of your fellow men high school girls should go out with “mature” college men. Gentlemen, these things I have said, not as a universal condemnation. There are some notable exceptions, but I am afraid that they are far too few and their influence is too little felt. But there is much good and a great potential among you. I want Only to awaken it in you. . . . The administration makes no claim to be always in the right on every issue. We can be wrong, we can make changes. But if the situation is to be remedied, more than the administartion will have to have a hand in it. . . . You must do more than make demands of us. You must_ learn ‘ to argue with reason, you must be able to compromise, you must be able to uphold your end of a bargain once it has been made. If we can deal with you as man to man, we will. . . . We shall never have a perfect world as long as it is filled with imperfect menand imperfect we are till the day we die. But this is no reason for despair. We can improve our situation, we can overcome some obstacles and learn to adjust to others together. But it must be together, for no one of us can do it alone. . . . We are ready, We are willing. We are waiting. Sincerely yours, Fr. Maurice P. Johnston, OP Director of Student Affairs EUR OPE An unregimented trip stressing individual freedom. Low cost yet covers all the usual plus places other tours miss. Unless the standard tour is a “must” for you, discover this unique tour before you go to Europe. EUROPE SUMMER TOURS 255 Sequoia, Dept. 3Pasadena, California Dallas News Rejoinder In response to “Dallas, After All” in the Observer of March .6, the Dallas Morning News published “After All, R.D.That’s the Way the Diner Bends,” which we re: print with the permission of the writer, Jim Wright, who is an editorial staff writer of the News. On March 22, by the way, the News announced that the News and Wright have been awarded “the Vigilant Patriot Recognition Award for 1963” by “the All American Conference to Combat Communism” for an editorial last year that “detailed how harshly the S,oviet Union handled its minority problem.” The News said that “Wright became an editorial writer last year after experience on The Neths’ telegraph desk. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Journalism, he came to The News from the public relations department of Sun Oil Co.” Wright’s response to “Dallas, After All” follows. One of the most recent and extensive critiques of this city is “Dallas, After All,” written by “R.D.” for the Texas Observer. R. D. is Ronnie Dugger, we presume, the Observer editor. . . . Though he is not as wild as some of our self-anointed judges, R. D. gives l?allas a pretty rough working-over and even manages to find one aspect of the city to attack the others have missed. This, in itself, is a remarkable achievement. R. D. chooses, as an object of his derision, a local steak house: It is his thesis that Dallas’ “conservative bias” is due to herds of business people and their urge for conformity and status. His Exhibit A is the steak house clientele: “Into this warehouse of a restaurant pour the besuited minions of the businesses of Dallas, looking very much the same, seated primly at small tables jammed too close together, eating standardized substantial meals, and pocketing their standardized receipts for income tax purposes as they leave their tables.” R. D. obviously considers “not only the April 3, 1964 13 Hard-nosed Mortgage Loans, no romance added . . . . J. W. “TOMMY” TUCKER Correspondent P. 0. Box 661.03 Houston, Texas 77006 JAckson 4-2211 An Open Letter to Students I
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