A little more than a week after heated anti-war rallies rocked the UCLA campus, a student-sponsored teach-in at the university Thursday was colored by a new kind of emotion--mixed.
At the student union, surrounded by peace demonstrators just eight days ago, turnout was light for the talk on sexism and war. The Bruin Republicans got a good draw for their flag-waving "Blame Hussein" rally, but even there, the crowd was only about 100 strong.
Some classes were canceled. Many were cut short. But Jiho Lim missed the teach-in anyway.
"I have mid-terms," the UCLA freshman said with a shrug, toting his books past the "History of the Gulf Region" lecture.
Since about 100 UCLA students were arrested in raucous demonstrations there against the war, the mood of the campus has shifted to one of thoughtful ambivalence.
Although hundreds of students drifted in and out of a daylong Gulf War symposium and pro-government demonstrators passed out 2,000 yellow ribbons on behalf of troops, the high emotions that characterized the campus in the war's first hours were decidedly mixed by its eighth day.
Shouting was minimal. The top draw of the day was the appearance at the teach-in rock concert of singer Michelle Shocked. Sales of tie-dyed T-shirts at Jeff Faust's stand on Bruin Walk were down from the brisk levels of the war's first days. Last week's din--a combination of anti-war chants and bongo drums--was replaced by the funky bass of Grandpa Knucklehead playing "Skate-a-holic."
"There is still a lot of argument, a lot of debate, but it's come down almost to an academic level," said David Barlavi, a philosophy and physics major who joined in the sit-in last week that spawned the daylong symposium students dubbed "War 101."
After a week of thought, he added, even he is unsure how he feels about the war.
"I'm very much anti-war," he said, "but I can't decide if this particular war is completely unjust."
The UCLA teach-in had been organized after anti-war demonstrators occupied Chancellor Charles Young's office during a colorful and noisy rally last week. The students had demanded that the campus be shut down for a day in favor of classes on war-related issues. Young denied the request, saying a moratorium would impinge on the rights of other students to attend class.
Nonetheless, the university administration and faculty endorsed the teach-in, offering Pauley Pavilion as a lecture room and supplying the student organizers with walkie-talkies, microphones and security.
Demonstrators concerned about the anti-war bent of the teach-in countered with their own events.
"They're always talking about human rights. Well, what about the rights of those POWs?" Sean Allen, chairman of the Bruin Republicans asked a crowd of about 300 flag-waving supporters of the war.
"This is not Vietnam! This is not the Sixties! This is a totally different situation," Allen said.
Around the campus, students tended to agree--but that perspective did little to involve them in the war debate. Some complained that round-the-clock television coverage had left them stressed and drained.
"The war's important and all that, but I'm getting worn out on it," said Vincent Walker, 19, lounging on a sunbathed bench on Bruin Walk.
Others noted that they feel less involved with this war than did students in the Vietnam era because there is no draft this time around.