Present student unrest and activism is not a clear product of student university tensions or of discontent with education. Such tensions are accentuated through student involvement in non-university issues. The pattern of activism and violence among college and university students in many countries has also existed in the United States throughout much of its history, reinforced and sanctioned by the self-governing character of American higher education. Contemporary student activism is continuous with that tradition in its forms but differs profoundly in its political and national character. Most American universities, especially the large and public ones, are highly "under-administered" and thus are unable to form and execute policies toward issues raised by student action and toward that action itself. Administrators lack power and authority to lead faculty or students in the formation of institutional policy. The pluralistic and leaderless character of American universities makes student protest a highly traumatic event, while student disciplinary action, in its present form, adumbrates internal campus tensions.
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