Re: [sixties-l] student activism & NSA

From: Julie Reuben (
Date: 12/11/00

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    Thanks for your response regarding the NSA.  I am looking 
    beyond the NSA (I am looking at SDS archives as well as 
    records from individual campus organizations). The response 
    was specifically about how events like the FSM spread from 
    campus to campus. I may be wrong but it seems like the NSA 
    did function as a conduit of ideas and information, in 
    large part due to the work of the liberal study group (some 
    of the leaders of which then became officers of the NSA).  
    I'd be interested to hear (off-list or on) more about your 
    (and others') views about the relation between activism 
    related to on- and off-campus issues, as well as the 
    relations among the various groups of students engaged in 
    I couldn't make the Harvard film archives showing of Rebels 
    but am looking out for the next Boston showing.  Are you 
    selling copies to libraries yet?
    Julie Reuben
    On Fri, 08 Dec 2000 19:18:28 -0500 (EST) 
    > This is in response to Julie Reuben's posting on '60s campus activism.
    > I hope that in your research into campus activism in the 60s you are looking 
    > beyond NSA (National Student Association) (unless you're defining your 
    > subject very narrowly).  NSA was valuable in many ways but consisted mainly 
    > of delegates from student government and was a great forum for discussion but 
    > it was not an action organization and the people who went were generally not 
    > activists but student government types.  Tho some student governments did get 
    > involved in campus reforms, that was not the main activism of the 60s.  
    > Sometimes student government people turned into activists.  SDS (Students for 
    > a Democratic Society) saw NSA as a way to meet and recruit smart, thinking 
    > students and let them know more about social/political issues.  Some NSA 
    > delegates became very involved in SDS and other groups after NSA congresses 
    > and SDS and other groups urged NSA to act more, but it was not a hotbed of 
    > student activism.  I was an alt NSA delegate from Radcliffe in 1962, mostly 
    > because I had led a big (& successful) fight against dorm ('parietal') hours 
    > on campus.  I knew about SDS before that NSA congress but learned much more 
    > about it there, soon got more involved in SDS, and went back to NSA 2 years 
    > later, when I was asst nat'l sec of SDS, to run SDS's 'Liberal Study Group" 
    > (a caucus to present a more liberal/radical view of things) at the 1964 NSA 
    > congress (as I remember we took SDS literature, put out a daily paper, and 
    > held meetings on social issues).
    > I hope you managed to catch the showing of REBELS WITH A CAUSE at the Harvard 
    > Film Archives a few weeks ago.  The film covers only a small amount of what 
    > was happening on campuses (and omits, because of time constraints, most of 
    > the campus-only-oriented battles, such as campus rules and free speech) but 
    > will give you a different perspective and a good idea of what was happening 
    > on campuses then.  
    > Helen Garvy (director, REBELS WITH A CAUSE)
    > 26873 Hester Creek Rd
    > Los Gatos, CA  95033
    Julie Reuben
    Harvard University Graduate School of Education

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