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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 4. 1962.

Nuclear Disarmament. Apathy Biggest Barrier

Nuclear Disarmament. Apathy Biggest Barrier

Students paraded in front of the White House recently to protest against nuclear weapon testing. They were a symbol of active ferment in Universities throughout the United States.

The principal barrier to greater activity, most leaders say, is apathy. Most undergraduates now, as in the past, seem more interested in their studies and sports than in the expression of Idealogical or moral concepts.

According to Roger Loeb, editor of the student newspaper at Wisconsin University, students reflect the inertia of the public which is in a state of "unhealthy and un-wholesome schizophrenia."

The Student Peace Union is seeking to arouse students and make their voices heard in the world debate on disarmament.

This is its stated purpose:

"The Student Peace Union is an organisation of young people who believe that war can no longer be successfully used to settle international disputes and that neither human freedom nor the human race can endure in a world committed to militarism.

"Without committing any member to a precise statement of policy the S.P.U. draws together young people for a study of alternatives to war and engages in education and action to end the present arms race. The S.P.U. works towards a society which will suffer no individual or group to be exploited by another.

"After years of bad faith shown by both East and West in disarmament negotiations, the S.P.U. believes that to be effective any peace movement must act independently of the existing power blocs and must seek new and creative means of achieving a free and peaceful society."

The union was originated two years ago at the University of Chicago. It now has 1,200 paying members from New York to California.

No More War

The White House picketing and the San Fransisco—Moscow peace march have been two most spectacular and publicised efforts of this union. These, however, have been fairly minor activities. Both groups are busy organising new campus chapters and publishing national magazines.

These magazines will be available at Vic. soon.

Other students acting independently have sent letters to President Kennedy. An Eastern college group stated: "It Is apparent that whatever military advantages are gained from tests, they are far out-weighed by the harmful effects they produce."

The group deplored the irreparable harm to mankind that tests could engender.

The student movement against war is not widespread as yet. The Student Peace Union is only one of two national groups attempting to organise American students to take an active part in the campaign against war.

The student division of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (Student-Sane) with an estimated membership between two and three thousand is the other national group.

The Combined Universities campaign for nuclear disarmament in Canada also has 7,000 members.

Both the S.P.U. and Student Sane have been accused of being Communist fronts, though neither organisation is on the Attorney General's list of subversive organisations.

All officers of the S.P.U. are unpaid volunteers, though a few draw a meagre subsistence allowance of about $10 a month. None of the leaders of these organisation have any illusions that they are going to change the world's thinking overnight, but feel it is worthwhile to "go on record showing how we feel."—D.T.