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The STRIKE The BUST The MEMORY

Memory of Takeover Still Haunts Those Students, Faculty Who Saw It Happen

By Tova A. Serkin, Crimson Staff Writers

When the Class of 1969 met at their 25th reunion five years ago, the class that epitomized Harvard radicalism had become a collection of lawyers, business men, doctors and professors. But even after more than two decades, this class was still somehow different.

When University President Neil L. Rudenstine and Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles addressed the class, according to one audience member, the crowd saw "administrative bullshit" where other reunion classes had seen just welcoming pleasantries.

Any hint that the two officials were not telling the whole truth and the crowd reacted with a suspicious murmur not typical of 1,000 well-educated professionals in their late 40s.

"It took about 40 seconds for this crowd to turn on these guys," said Robert D. Luskin '69, a WHRB reporter in the spring of 1969. "Everybody experienced the same visceral reaction."

Thirty years now separates Harvard from the fateful spring day in 1969 when students stormed and occupied University Hall before being forcibly ejected by local police early the next morning.

No one chronicling the strike has ever aimed at objectivity--1997's Coming Apart by former Dunster House Senior Tutor and Master Roger Rosenblatt, the most recent work on the strike, primarily focused on his personal recollections.

This is likely because no two witnesses to the events of 1969 see them in the same way. But in the years since the strike and the bust brought activism home to Harvard, all say they have learned vivid lessons from the morning where a hundred things that could never have happened at Harvard suddenly did.

Changing Times

The Class of 1969 came to Harvard at a strange time: a changing student body in a very traditional college atmosphere meant that radical students were sometimes disciplined simply for not wearing ties to dinner.

But a wave of student radicalism sparking riots and protests across the country could not be held back even by Harvard's formidable traditions. The campus was thrown into tumult by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), whose protests gained momentum through 1969 to the April takeover of University Hall.

At different corners of the campus that spring were five people swept up by the events happening around them.

Richard E. Hyland '69 was a prominent SDS member at the time of the takeover but not involved in the leadership. Michael Kazin '72, the embattled SDS leader, asked him to preside over the building's occupiers primarily because he was not involved with internal SDS political wrangling.

Kenneth M. Glazier '69, who was a pastpresident of the Student Faculty AdvisoryCommittee (SFAC), had experience in subduedcommittee meetings but never in any sort of massarena. And it was Glazier who ended up trying tocreate order during the morning-after MemorialChurch meeting and ended up chairing the MemorialChurch group.

Alan E. Heimert '49 had only been recentlytoiling away as a junior Faculty member and hadjust received tenure as the Cabot Professor ofAmerican Literature, along with taking the reinsof Eliot House in 1968 as its master. Heimertwould lead the Committee of Fifteen, anadministrative body which decided the fate of themost egregious offenders.

Jon D. Levenson '71 was a sophomore in AdamsHouse at the time and among a minority of studentswho did not support the ideas, let alone thetactics, of SDS. He approved of the decision byHarvard President Nathan M. Pusey '28 to send inthe local police.

Peter Wood was a graduate student, a teachingfellow and an assistant senior tutor in EliotHouse. Part student, part faculty, and partadministrator, he had to deal with all factions oncampus regardless of his personal loyalties.

Thirty years later, the events of April 1969still stir strong emotions. In some ways theparticipants are, as Rudenstine and Knowles foundout, still angry.

A Radical Moderate

Richard E. Hyland is now a law professor atRutgers University. In 1969, he created order outof the chaos students had created insideUniversity Hall. Soon after the students hadejected the administration, Hyland spurred thecreation of administrative units among theprotestors--food, sanitation and political actioncommittees were soon formed. They were loyal totheir pledge of "democracy" and voted to not useviolence in the case of a bust and to not usemarijuana.

The next morning their resolve was tested whenstate and local police forcibly removed thestudents--"beating the shit" out of them in theprocess, he recalls.

His interaction with authority while atHarvard--both in University Hall and theclassroom--inspired Hyland to enter academiahimself.

"Harvard was universally regarded as a terribleteaching university," Hyland says now. "Mystudents will have a teacher who they willremember. I want them to remember these classes 40years later."

He says now he feels the actions of thebuilding's occupiers--ostensibly about Harvard'sinvolvement in America's war effort in Vietnamthrough its support of the Reserve OfficersTraining Corp (ROTC)--were a worthwhile protestagainst a University out of touch with itsstudents.

"I knew an awful lot of Harvard Faculty. Ididn't run into anybody who was a role model forhis students," Hyland says. "That was the Harvardwe destroyed, and it was worth destroying."

Angry on the Other Side

Jon D. Levenson, now List Professor of JewishStudies, was among the minority of students whosided with the more conservative approach of theFaculty and administration.

Levenson felt that the SDS robbed him of hisright to an education. He says the studentsdelighted in more than the high-minded purpose ofthe their protest--they loved the excitement.

"It's a different view of things from the wayit's usually presented," he says. "Lots ofradicals deeply enjoyed the confrontations, itgave them a thrill in shutting down theUniversity."

Levenson says that though the bust was perhapsmore violent than necessary, he also understoodthe administration's reaction.

"At the time they seemed very lenient to me,"Levenson says. "Relative to the number of peopleinvolved, there seem to be very few who werepunished."

Levenson, now employed by the administration hesupported in 1969, has if anything only hardenedhis views towards student protestors in the 30years since the bust.

"I myself have not really changed my position,"he says. "I suppose at that point, I was anti theanti-war movement. They were self-indulgent,simple-minded, acting out neurotic stuff in theirlives."

"It lowered my estimate of the moral courage ofmost people in academia," Levenson said. "It leftme with a sense of fragility in academic life intimes of political discord."

A Delicate Balance

The Memorial Church group formed after the bustas moderate students tried to find a compromisebetween radicals and the administration. KennethM. Glazier spoke up at the first chaotic meetingand suddenly became a leader of the moderategroup.

While Glazier became involved in the PhillipsBrooks House Association immediately aftergraduation, traveling to Africa, he now works as alawyer in California. He says trying to find amiddle ground in 1969 left him with a distrust ofany radicals.

"The more sure people are of their positions,the more suspicious I become," he says.

Much of his work as a lawyer now centers onmediation.

"It was a pretty sobering experience to see howfuriously uprighteous they were," he says ofstudent radicals. "It had a significance of courseon me; something that powerful doesn't pass."

Having served as president of a student-Facultycommittee which attempted to head off anti-warcontroversy before the takeover, Glazier said hewas permanently disillusioned by the HarvardCorporation's refusal to listen to the Facultysuggestions on ROTC.

"The Faculty was told on this really burningissue to go fly a kite and that the captains ofindustry were going to come in and decide," hesays. "There was a sense of arrogance and we knowwhat is good for the students."

Men in the Middle

Having to work as a student, teacher and Houseofficial, Peter Wood says he tried to stay out ofthe debate. But now he says that the students'perspectives were ignored by the powers-that-werein the late '60s.

"'I think probably I would have been on thelenient side," Wood says. "I was conscious of thepoint that the perspective of the students was notbeing adequately presented at the national level."

Now a history professor at Duke University,Wood says the events of 1969 helped him gain anappreciation for what passion can do foreducation.

"Because of that experience in 1969, I knowthat there can be a moment of tremendous energyand learning when they debate issues and payattention," he says.

He says the lack of real student activism orconcern with current events at modern universitiesis an unhealthy sign--the stimulating debate thatran off its tracks in 1969 is, he says, anessential part of the university experience.

"We seem to oscillate as a society betweentimes of apathy and self-centered ignorance, andtimes of hyper energized activism, sometimesbordering on thoughtless," Wood says. "Even withKosovo in the wings, we're in the more apatheticmode. I wish students were more motivated,concerned."

Faculty Under Fire

For Alan E. Heimert, 1969 became a crucialturning point not because of the causes itrepresented, but rather, because of theadministrative load it created. Heimert, steppinginto the relatively new shoes of tenured professorand Eliot master, was having his time pulled outfrom under his feet.

"It burned up so much of my time and energythat I didn't write books. This led my colleaguesand the professional administration to wonder ifmy professional credentials were dubious," Heimertsays.

Heimert says he even believes that theaftermath permanently affected his professionalcareer.

He also was witness to its profound effect onthe faculty as a whole and the administrativeresponse to student demands.

He says he immediately saw a distancing of theFaculty in their desire to interact with studentsbecause they were ostracized.

"A House became increasingly difficult to runafter the uprising--faculty members did not want tocome down for lunch anymore because for two tothree months they were demonized," he says.

Still, the damage caused by 1969 led him torededicate himself to undergraduate teaching.Heimert's efforts have paid off--he was awardedthe Levenson Award for undergraduate teachingexcellence.

Yet, even for Heimert, who believes the"student revolution" accomplished little, hebelieves the spirit of 1969 was well-placed.

"There was a certain incandescence in thatperiod, that after the revolution never returnedand became the tunnel-vision careerists we havenow who ask during freshman registration, 'Whichway to the pre-law tutor?" he says.

Changing the World

If the events of April 1969 had an effect onthe careers of the students who watched themhappen, it seems to have sent many of them intoacademia. From these positions, many say they seekto preempt the communication breakdown that madestudents think a takeover was necessary.

And for many of this activist generation, thereis an important sense that 1969 is still animportant lesson--it is not so much history as muchas it is a constant and personal guide to theircurrent lives.

At an event to commemorate the 20th anniversaryof the bust in 1989, speaker Dale E. Fink '71-'72summed up as well as could be hoped the confusedand powerful set of feelings that 1969 stillconjures up in those who were at Harvard then.

"We're here to commemorate those victories andto affirm...those events are still meaningful forus and those are the values we still live by,"Fink said. "We did not come here for nostalgia."Crimson File PhotosA CAMPUS CONVULSED:Students gather inthe Yard (left), A photographer leaning out of aUniversity Hall window (below) captures policemassing to enter the building. The dark splotcheson the concrete are blood stains from injuredstudents.

Kenneth M. Glazier '69, who was a pastpresident of the Student Faculty AdvisoryCommittee (SFAC), had experience in subduedcommittee meetings but never in any sort of massarena. And it was Glazier who ended up trying tocreate order during the morning-after MemorialChurch meeting and ended up chairing the MemorialChurch group.

Alan E. Heimert '49 had only been recentlytoiling away as a junior Faculty member and hadjust received tenure as the Cabot Professor ofAmerican Literature, along with taking the reinsof Eliot House in 1968 as its master. Heimertwould lead the Committee of Fifteen, anadministrative body which decided the fate of themost egregious offenders.

Jon D. Levenson '71 was a sophomore in AdamsHouse at the time and among a minority of studentswho did not support the ideas, let alone thetactics, of SDS. He approved of the decision byHarvard President Nathan M. Pusey '28 to send inthe local police.

Peter Wood was a graduate student, a teachingfellow and an assistant senior tutor in EliotHouse. Part student, part faculty, and partadministrator, he had to deal with all factions oncampus regardless of his personal loyalties.

Thirty years later, the events of April 1969still stir strong emotions. In some ways theparticipants are, as Rudenstine and Knowles foundout, still angry.

A Radical Moderate

Richard E. Hyland is now a law professor atRutgers University. In 1969, he created order outof the chaos students had created insideUniversity Hall. Soon after the students hadejected the administration, Hyland spurred thecreation of administrative units among theprotestors--food, sanitation and political actioncommittees were soon formed. They were loyal totheir pledge of "democracy" and voted to not useviolence in the case of a bust and to not usemarijuana.

The next morning their resolve was tested whenstate and local police forcibly removed thestudents--"beating the shit" out of them in theprocess, he recalls.

His interaction with authority while atHarvard--both in University Hall and theclassroom--inspired Hyland to enter academiahimself.

"Harvard was universally regarded as a terribleteaching university," Hyland says now. "Mystudents will have a teacher who they willremember. I want them to remember these classes 40years later."

He says now he feels the actions of thebuilding's occupiers--ostensibly about Harvard'sinvolvement in America's war effort in Vietnamthrough its support of the Reserve OfficersTraining Corp (ROTC)--were a worthwhile protestagainst a University out of touch with itsstudents.

"I knew an awful lot of Harvard Faculty. Ididn't run into anybody who was a role model forhis students," Hyland says. "That was the Harvardwe destroyed, and it was worth destroying."

Angry on the Other Side

Jon D. Levenson, now List Professor of JewishStudies, was among the minority of students whosided with the more conservative approach of theFaculty and administration.

Levenson felt that the SDS robbed him of hisright to an education. He says the studentsdelighted in more than the high-minded purpose ofthe their protest--they loved the excitement.

"It's a different view of things from the wayit's usually presented," he says. "Lots ofradicals deeply enjoyed the confrontations, itgave them a thrill in shutting down theUniversity."

Levenson says that though the bust was perhapsmore violent than necessary, he also understoodthe administration's reaction.

"At the time they seemed very lenient to me,"Levenson says. "Relative to the number of peopleinvolved, there seem to be very few who werepunished."

Levenson, now employed by the administration hesupported in 1969, has if anything only hardenedhis views towards student protestors in the 30years since the bust.

"I myself have not really changed my position,"he says. "I suppose at that point, I was anti theanti-war movement. They were self-indulgent,simple-minded, acting out neurotic stuff in theirlives."

"It lowered my estimate of the moral courage ofmost people in academia," Levenson said. "It leftme with a sense of fragility in academic life intimes of political discord."

A Delicate Balance

The Memorial Church group formed after the bustas moderate students tried to find a compromisebetween radicals and the administration. KennethM. Glazier spoke up at the first chaotic meetingand suddenly became a leader of the moderategroup.

While Glazier became involved in the PhillipsBrooks House Association immediately aftergraduation, traveling to Africa, he now works as alawyer in California. He says trying to find amiddle ground in 1969 left him with a distrust ofany radicals.

"The more sure people are of their positions,the more suspicious I become," he says.

Much of his work as a lawyer now centers onmediation.

"It was a pretty sobering experience to see howfuriously uprighteous they were," he says ofstudent radicals. "It had a significance of courseon me; something that powerful doesn't pass."

Having served as president of a student-Facultycommittee which attempted to head off anti-warcontroversy before the takeover, Glazier said hewas permanently disillusioned by the HarvardCorporation's refusal to listen to the Facultysuggestions on ROTC.

"The Faculty was told on this really burningissue to go fly a kite and that the captains ofindustry were going to come in and decide," hesays. "There was a sense of arrogance and we knowwhat is good for the students."

Men in the Middle

Having to work as a student, teacher and Houseofficial, Peter Wood says he tried to stay out ofthe debate. But now he says that the students'perspectives were ignored by the powers-that-werein the late '60s.

"'I think probably I would have been on thelenient side," Wood says. "I was conscious of thepoint that the perspective of the students was notbeing adequately presented at the national level."

Now a history professor at Duke University,Wood says the events of 1969 helped him gain anappreciation for what passion can do foreducation.

"Because of that experience in 1969, I knowthat there can be a moment of tremendous energyand learning when they debate issues and payattention," he says.

He says the lack of real student activism orconcern with current events at modern universitiesis an unhealthy sign--the stimulating debate thatran off its tracks in 1969 is, he says, anessential part of the university experience.

"We seem to oscillate as a society betweentimes of apathy and self-centered ignorance, andtimes of hyper energized activism, sometimesbordering on thoughtless," Wood says. "Even withKosovo in the wings, we're in the more apatheticmode. I wish students were more motivated,concerned."

Faculty Under Fire

For Alan E. Heimert, 1969 became a crucialturning point not because of the causes itrepresented, but rather, because of theadministrative load it created. Heimert, steppinginto the relatively new shoes of tenured professorand Eliot master, was having his time pulled outfrom under his feet.

"It burned up so much of my time and energythat I didn't write books. This led my colleaguesand the professional administration to wonder ifmy professional credentials were dubious," Heimertsays.

Heimert says he even believes that theaftermath permanently affected his professionalcareer.

He also was witness to its profound effect onthe faculty as a whole and the administrativeresponse to student demands.

He says he immediately saw a distancing of theFaculty in their desire to interact with studentsbecause they were ostracized.

"A House became increasingly difficult to runafter the uprising--faculty members did not want tocome down for lunch anymore because for two tothree months they were demonized," he says.

Still, the damage caused by 1969 led him torededicate himself to undergraduate teaching.Heimert's efforts have paid off--he was awardedthe Levenson Award for undergraduate teachingexcellence.

Yet, even for Heimert, who believes the"student revolution" accomplished little, hebelieves the spirit of 1969 was well-placed.

"There was a certain incandescence in thatperiod, that after the revolution never returnedand became the tunnel-vision careerists we havenow who ask during freshman registration, 'Whichway to the pre-law tutor?" he says.

Changing the World

If the events of April 1969 had an effect onthe careers of the students who watched themhappen, it seems to have sent many of them intoacademia. From these positions, many say they seekto preempt the communication breakdown that madestudents think a takeover was necessary.

And for many of this activist generation, thereis an important sense that 1969 is still animportant lesson--it is not so much history as muchas it is a constant and personal guide to theircurrent lives.

At an event to commemorate the 20th anniversaryof the bust in 1989, speaker Dale E. Fink '71-'72summed up as well as could be hoped the confusedand powerful set of feelings that 1969 stillconjures up in those who were at Harvard then.

"We're here to commemorate those victories andto affirm...those events are still meaningful forus and those are the values we still live by,"Fink said. "We did not come here for nostalgia."Crimson File PhotosA CAMPUS CONVULSED:Students gather inthe Yard (left), A photographer leaning out of aUniversity Hall window (below) captures policemassing to enter the building. The dark splotcheson the concrete are blood stains from injuredstudents.

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