COMMENCEMENT '69

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

The Administration's indignant defense of "free speech" after the Sanders Hall incident seems like a bit of two-faced posturing when I think back to the 1969 graduation ceremonies. This was the year of the University Hall bust and SDS was expected to intrude itself one way or another into the ceremonies. But in a flanking maneuver the Administration decided to give the podium to an SDS speaker and thereby hopefully avoid an "incident." We radical sympathizers were looking forward to a hard hitting, well reasoned exposition of the issues, but instead, we got a wretched diatribe that turned the flanking maneuver into a highly successful full-scale rout. Before the speaker could finish hanging himself, however, the class marshals spontaneously advanced to the podium (which was not more than ten paces from the chairs of the President and Fellows), and mercifully deprived the speaker of his free speech by escorting him to the sidelines. I do not now recall whether any of the marshals touched the speaker's elbow in their assault upon him, but I am quite sure that neither the President nor any of the Fellows advanced one step or said one word to protect the free speech of the person they had invited to take the stand. They most certainly should have let him have his full say.