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The Agora, Fall 1970

Posted by: Rebekah Stiles | October 24, 2013 | No Comment |

Written by Benji Cohen, A11 and Summer Graduate Intern

The Background: Borrowing the event name Agora from the Greek for “gathering place,” the Experimental College held an open event on the library roof for students and faculty to talk to ExCollege instructors, learn about a variety of student organizations, and watch artistic performances.

The Event: The Tufts Observer opened their comments on the event by noting that the ExCollege “agora, probably the first in American history, was held on Wessell Library roof last Sunday evening.” For two hours, ExCollege course leaders dialogued with the over 300 visitors, while the Beelzebubs sang a capella and a modern dance troupe preformed. In addition, students groups like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), and the Christian Fellowship used the agora as a marketplace, selling literature and dialoguing with their peers and professors. According to the Observer two “craftsmen peddled peace pipes.”

The Fight: The agora was “thrown open,” according to the Observer, by a “memorable verbal fray between members of YSA and SDS.” In the middle of the already chaotic event, student representatives from both groups tossed verbal jabs at each other attempting to one-up the other in front of the large student crowd. The Observer editorialized that the fight “added spice to it all.” When the fight finally died down, the Observer’s unofficial poll showed that “SDS appeared to win more popular support” than YSA. The reporter speculated, however, that the SDS victory may have been a result of the “weenies and home-made cakes and cookies” rather than their political ideology.

under: Events, Students
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