In the Spring of 1961-the year of the diploma riot-the Student Council Forum invited folk-singer Pete Seeger '40 to perform at the University. Seeger was then appealing his conviction for contempt of Congress: he had refused to testify before the HUAC on subversive activities in the entertainment field.
But oh, the weight of national importance! Though the Forum was a recognized student organization, Seeger became a guest of the University in the eyes of the Administration. Dean Watson said: "Lawyers advise against the University getting involved in cases still pending in court." William Bentinck-Smith '37, Assistant to the President, added: "There should no Harvard seal on the thing, one way or another.... There's a difference between somebody performing at Harvard as an artist and appearing as a political figure." President Pusey decided that the University could not let a person with a case pending in the courts discuss his own case. Let him sing, not speak.
Tonight, Ross Barnett, Governor of the sovereign State of Mississippi, will appear in Sanders Theatre, sponsored by the Law School Forum, a recognized student organization in the University. Pending against Governor Barnett are charges of criminal contempt of court. Time, though she may bear all her sons away, leaves the wisdom of our Administration undiminished. Let him sing.