It is not enough to put forward the deliberately violent action of extreme left and right wing “groupuscules” to explain the events of the last few days. These groups have only been able to gain influence through deluded and partially misled students
On Monday at Denfert there were not 15,000 extremists nor even simply 15,000 students in solidarity with the four convicted on Sunday. They were also there to show their dissatisfaction with the present state of the university: inadequate finances, irregular methods of work, the way in which teaching is carried out, and its content, the numerous problems caused by the Reforms, the hardship of living conditions which are intolerable for the great majority, lack of certainty about the future (exams, job openings).
These are the real problems, which were expressed as soon as the opportunity presented itself, one can deplore the violent nature of this demonstration. but tomorrow it will be better to attack the real causes.
Naturally, other factors have played a role: the organisation of riots by a minority, intending to create a climate of fear in public opinion, the hasty closure of the Sorbonne, the often brutal and disproportionate police interventions, the hasty convictions. It is therefore necessary to free those unjustly held, to put a stop to police control of the Latin Quarter, and to arrange for the faculties to be reopened as soon as possible.
However, the most important thing is the spirit in which the long and exacting (that’s to say, the most urgent) task of real university reform will be started. It will be necessary to put as much daring into that as there has been violence.
Officials and chaplains of the Christian communities of the faculties of Nanterre, Sorbonne, Censier, and Halle-aux-Vins