Pro-War Teach-In Dissolves in Turmoil; Administration Warns of Full Discipline
The pro-war Counter Teach-in broke up in turmoil last night less than an hour after it began when Archibald Cox '34, trouble-shooter for the University, asked J. Lawrence McCarty, the moderator, to call a halt to the abortive meeting.
The cancellation came after 45 minutes of ceaseless chanting, clapping, and booing by fiercely militant demonstrators who formed at least half of the audience of 1000.
Cox announced last night that the University will proceed with every means at its command in disciplinary action against every person who can be identified as disrupting the meeting-possibly including at least one member of the Faculty.
Cox added that the University planned to use the testimony of Senior Tutors-virtually all of whom attended the teach-in at the request of Charles P. Whitlock, assistant dean of the College-and other officers, as well as films from two University motion-picture crews.
Cox added that the University might bring criminal charges, "if available," against the disrupters, but said that he doubted that criminal statutes would apply.
Twenty minutes after he had pleaded vainly with the crowd to be quiet to allow him to speak. Cox, huddled with McCarty at the rear of the Sanders Theater platform, said, "In view of the crowds of people massing outside the building, I ask you to call off the meeting."
Cox made the decision at 8:45 p.m., when Harvard Police Chief Robert Tonis informed him that a rowdy crowd outside Memorial Hall was attempting to force its way in. Some of the 150 people outside had scuffled with police attempting to close the double doors to the Sanders lobby, and others had scaled a fire escape and broken a fire door.
Cox beckoned McCarty, an official of the American Conservative Party, and Laszlo Pasztor '73, a member of Students for a Just Peace, the sponsoring group, and asked them to cancel the meeting.
"Will you make than an order?" Pasztor said. Cox complied, and McCarty, saying, "You're the boss," began to usher the invited guests-Anand Panyarachun, Thai Ambassador to Canada; Nguyed Hoan, an aide at the South Vietnamese embassy in Wash-ington; Dolf Droge, a White House Vietnam adviser; and I. Milton Sacks, professor of government at Brandets-toward the door.
Before he left, however, Sacks strode to the podium and bellowed "Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!" through the dead microphone at the jubilant disrupters.
Cox had taken the rostrum at 8:05 p.m. and pleaded with the crowd for ten minutes "on behalf of the President and Fellows."
"You have the power at any moment to disrupt this meeting at any time. But will you please let me speak," Cox implored the chanting, clapping crowd.
"For if this meeting is disrupted-hateful as some of us may find it-then liberty will have died a little and those guilty of the disruption will have done inestimable damage to the causes of humanity and peace," he said.
At the end of his speech, Cox, visibly shaken at the wall of noise which drowned his words, said, "Answer what is said here with more teach-ins and more truth, but let the speakers be heard."
Cox then turned and left the platform. The noise continued unabated.
Security for the teach-in was tight. At 4 p.m., Sanders Theater and Memorial Hall were sealed off to guard against bombs. No Cambridge police were on alert, but 20 Harvard police out of a 70-man force covered the meeting.
Crowds began to mass at Sanders Theater shortly before 7 p.m. and continued to grow until the doors were thrown open at 7:25 p.m. The crowd, some of whom carried Vietcong flags and chanted, "Madame, Madame, Madame Binh; NLF is gonna win," filed in continuously until 7:55, when Sanders was filled.
University Action Group, a group of radical teaching fellows and graduate students, started the rhythmic clapping it had planned when the speakers mounted the stage.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Liberation Alliance passed out signs saying "Murderer" in red and threw a variety of objects, including wads of paper and fruit rinds, at the stage in their successful attempt to turn the teach-in into an antiwar demonstration.
At 7:58 p.m., the speakers and their escorts entered from the side of the platform and the noise erupted-shouting, rhythmic clapping, chanting, booing, singing. It was to continue without a break until well after they had left.
The number of people chanting and clapping fluctuated throughout the teach-in from a peak of close to 500 to as low as 60 at times.
After Cox finished his address, McCarty, who originally tried to ignore the noise-claiming that "nothing less than physical force will get us off this stage" -introduced the first speaker, Dan Teodoru, who held the microphone for the rest of the meeting.
Teodoru, Eastern Director for the National Student Coordinating Committee and one of the early organizers of the teach-in, immediately began baiting the crowd.
Teodoru said the crowd was indulging "in third-grade bullshit." He offered one speaker from the crowd 10 of the 25 minutes he said he had been allotted. When no one came forward, Teodoru called the crowd "a pack of little animals. I could get the same sounds out of a zoo."
At that point, Richard Zorza '71, formerly of the Harvard Moratorium Committee, attempted to mount the stage from the center aisle. He was tackled and sent sprawling by two of the blue-arm-banded security marshals.
Steven Rosen '74, one of the marshals who grabbed Zorza, said later, "I'm sorry. It was a mistake. He had a fork and knife."
Zorza, who held in his right hand a small white bundle, said that the crowd "could show our infinite moral superiority to these thugs by shutting up for a minute and letting them show us what fascist pigs they are." Zorza later said he was carrying a miniature camera.
Zorza, booed as strongly as any other speaker by the crowd, left the podium after five minutes and Teodoru continued his harangue.
Visibly nervous behind his horn-rimmed dark glasses, Teodoru angrily waved a piece of crumpled paper which had struck him and said. "Come here and do that, you little motherfucker. Man you got no balls at all. That's your revolutionary for you."
An unidentified long-haired young man then mounted the platform and took the microphone from Teodoru and called for "ten minutes of silence for the Vietnamese people." The man later told reporters, "I'm not going to tell you anything."
After silently bickering with Teodoru and McCarty for ten minutes about how much time he had, the man left the podium. By that time the meeting had been cancelled.
As the crowd dribbled out of the hall, SDS speakers called for a march on the CFIA. Around 100 SDS sympathizers marched to the CFIA where the march broke up in confusion.
The speakers were escorted by University police across the lobby and down into Room 136 of Memorial Hall, from there they went out of the building and proceeded immediately to the Allston studios of WGBH Radio, which had broadcast the teach-in. The four spoke for nearly an hour over the radio.
The organizers of the teach-in had originally stated that both the South Vietnamese and Thai Ambassadors to the U.S. would speak at the teach-in. The Counselor for Political Affairs at the South Vietnamese Embassy in Washington and the Royal Thai Ambassador to Canada were the speakers who actually appeared.
University spokesmen repeatedly stressed the gravity with which they viewed the disruption. At an impromptu council of war late last night in the basement of University Hall-attended by Dean May and Dean Dunlop-Cox told reporters, "I couldn't over-emphasize the seriousness of it."
Immediately after the cancellation, Dean Epps angrily told reporters, "In the past, it has always been people from the outside who have been trying to tell us what we could teach and say. I guess we'll just have to get the radicals' permission before we have any more speakers here. Perhaps they could post a list of speakers who are permitted."
In a joint statement released last night, Dean Dunlop and Dean May said that "Professor Cox spoke eloquently for both of us."
"Tonight a minority prevented speech from being heard," the statement added. "We urge all those who cherish this University to join in condemning this deliberate breach of our most basic freedom."
Cox said, "I would hope that there are numbers of both Faculty and students who were willing to stand up and be counted on behalf of free speech by identifying those who disrupted."
Photographic records of the disruption will not be lacking. In addition to the two Harvard film crews, there were at least five news photographers from local media-some of whom will sell pictures to the University if it wants to buy them-and a film and sound crew from the United States Information Service.
Students for a Just Peace-which had earlier warned that it would seek both disciplinary and criminal action against anyone disrupting the teach-in-had four of its number present armed with cameras. The group also used a videotape camera to record faces of demonstrators.
Gary S. Golding '74, a member of SJP, last night said, "We have a lot of stuff, both witnesses and photos. We could get a lot of people in trouble; let's just put it that way."
Asked what the group planned to do with the evidence, Golding said, "We'd just like to make it a surprise."