Every night at about 6 p.m., 35 greater Boston students gather in a little office at 333 Washington Street, Boston, to go out on the stump for mayoralty candidate John B. Hynes. The students are from all the schools in the Boston area; and though most of the group are from Boston University and Boston College, a good number come from Harvard and Radcliffe.
Somebody dubbed the little group "The Flying Squadrons." They move throughout the city on a sound truck and alight upon precinct after precinct, ringing individual doorbells and selling their candidate to whoever answers. They are all well-trained and courtcous; as students, they figure it is their business to know the questions that people might ask, and to be prepared to answer them.
That's the keynote of the Hynes campaign. The present city clerk of Boston, who is running for office for the first time in his life, knows that a well-informed student group will be an invaluable political asset now in the days preceding November 8, as well as later in Boston's political future. In the organization of youth groups, the 21-28 age group, Hynes leads all the other candidates who are running for mayor.
Jerome D. Rapaport '49 is the leader of these nightly squadrons and the executive secretary of the larger Students with Hynes for Better Government group which includes all the activities of the young people who back Hynes. Rapaport was a Dunster House man in his undergraduate days hero, but made his name at the law school by helping to organize the Law School Forum.
So Rapaport got together with William D. Weeks '49, a former Student Council president, who had a family interest in city and state politics, to form the Boston Students Civic Association. That name remained a part of the organization only until the group decided that Hynes was to be the man they would back for mayor. Then it became the Students with Hynes for Better Government a name which committed the group definitely for Hynes and left the Civic Association name for future use.
The "Flying Squadrons" are only one of the Students' many activities. Altogether, there have been over 500 workers since the group's initial meeting in August--all doing the varied jobs at which they were most skilled. In general, the work has been divided into three parts: organization, publicity, and canvassing.
Early in the campaign, the Students set up their organization. First they contacted the leaders in all the Boston schools; then they sent letters inviting as many Boston students as could be accommodated to come to a mass meeting at the Parker House. Though that was one of these hot nights last summer, more than three hundred students showed up. Soon afterwards, the group met formally and elected Daniel J. Ahern of Boston College as president with Rapaport as his executive secretary. The ward leaders were appointed and the campaign work began.
In September, a series of dances were arranged to take place in several wards as the workers began the systematic rounding up of all, the 21-28 crowd.
Then the job of contacting workers at the various college began. Here at Harvard, Jeremy C. Ulin '49 and Lawrence F. O'Donnell '49, a former CRIMSON editor, now at the Harvard Law School, undertook the tedious chore of enlisting Harvard sympathies for a Boston election. Partly because of the cosmopolitan group here and more because of an apathy even among the Boston residents, the work was slow. Now, O'Donnell reports, there is more interest in Hynes here, but there is still lots of room for anyone who wants to join the group. At Radcliffe, Linda Cabot '50 and Elaine Tanner '50 are the nuclei for the Hynes forces.
Letters Sent Out
Probably the greatest number of students worked in the office on Washington Street mailing out letters to all of Boston's young people. Some of the workers were not only carrying full schedules at their respective schools, but were also holding down part time jobs around the city; yet, these students, in the three or four nights that they put in a week, turned out some 30,000 to 40,000 letters.
H. A. Crosby Forbes '50 and Rapaport are members of the speakers bureau for the entire Hynes campaign. On call to speak in their candidate's behalf at any time, the pair has been used only infrequently. Forbes, however, spoke at a reception for the voters in Ward Five at the campaign's outset. Ward Five includes a great portion of Beacon Hill where Forbes himself comes from. Rapaport speaks almost constantly from the sound truck when the squadrons go out in the evening and somewhat less often to student groups at the different schools. Last week he addressed the Dunster House Forum.
One of the most interesting phases of the Students' work has been the research program. About a dozen or so of the group have spent most of their time researching into alleged malpractices of the past administration and into vital statistics on previous elections. Once this group collected its figures, another division of the student group printed them in a newspaper. In their first issue, for instance, was a "Waste Table" showing three or four items on the city books during the past administration which they claimed were a gross and extravagant loss to the city. In another column in the newspaper, the research group pointed out the facts and figures of Maurice J. Tobin's victory over present Mayor James M. Curley in 1937.
Newspaper Helps Hynes
The newspaper, itself, is undoubtedly a most helpful activity for the Hynes campaign in general. Named "The Young Citizen's Times," it has already been published once and will come out once more before the campaign is over. Already it has spread throughout the city and by the demand for it among the Hynes workers themselves, would seem to be very effective. James F. Ryan '49, and Marilyn Heins '50, of Radcliffe, along with O'Donnell have represented the Cambridge schools on the staff.
"The Young Citizen's Times" is, of course, a partisan paper, printing the bulk of the material that Hynes is using as a weapon in his fight. Many of the columns in the first issue published figures charging maladministration, others discussed Hynes' life, still others were collections of pro-Hynes quips that have come up during the campaign's progress. One feature was a book review of "The Purple Shamrock" by Joseph F. Dinneen; another was a series of editorials trying to appeal to the younger voters.
And, of course, with the publication of such a newspaper, somebody had to distribute it. A whole corps of student workers delivered the copies around the city.
City Like a Man
Last but not least among the group's activities have been the radio presentations. On October 13, a small cast under Rapaport's leadership put on a skit called "A City is Like a Man." The point of the show was that the city is like a human being, that had to have a certain amount of integrity to maintain its place with the other cities. Hynes has rated this performance as one of the most effective efforts in his campaign. The group hopes to go on the air again before the election.
The most interesting thing about the whole student movement is that so large a group as this should revolt against the general tenor of student apathy and put on such a determined effort to elect any single candidate. And the headquarters on Washington Street is an active place showing the signs of a political group that means to win; most of the previous student organizations in city polities have been relatively listless.