ic 7.7aat Was Fra n k Ertoin aizd he zvawev el to know . . it Bufraio. ,, b The movement for reform indeed has been given official encouragement and impetus by the excellent Assistant U.S. Commissioner for Education, James E. Allen, Jr., who sees the current turmoil on campus as an opportunity for reform rather than repression, for channelling rather than damaging the innovative energy of both students and faculty. No more important change could be envisaged than making the administration responsible and responsive to faculty as well as to regents. Perhaps I see this change as important because I come from a different system: the governance of Oxford and Cambridge, both at the college and the university level, is based on the principle that faculty and administration are identical. Faculty are elected by their peers; heads of colleges, deans, proctors, even the chancellor, are elected by faculty, either within the colleges or in the university at large; even the statutes governing the university are changed by faculty vote. Such complete participation by faculty may have disadvantages \(for one thing, it is often prevents the split frequently seen in American universities between professor and administrators that can lead to excessive power and manipulation on the part of trustees and regents. Where faculty and administration are united, there should be no exploitable conflict. One might add that academic freedom has never been an issue at Oxford and Cambridge in the twentieth century. Valedictory One leaves Austin with many regrets, of course. Granted that the restaurants were atrocious for a city of its size and pretentions, the amenities of trees and a mild winter are partial compensation for an old hedonist like myself. I am sorry I didn’t meet as many colleagues at the 4 The Texas Observer JAMES STANLEY WALKER iyis? university as I would have liked. But, on the other hand, I had a great many friends outside the university. I could listen to Jean Lee’s accurate analyses of local and state politics; see from the inside Emma Long’s battles on the city council; and hear much I would otherwise have been unaware of, politically speaking, from Mary Jane Bode, Larry Goodwyn, and Ronnie Dugger. Then there were what my colleague Bill Arrowsmith calls “The Gay Place” people: liberal lawyers and novelists such as Bill Brammer, Bud Shrake, and Gary Cartwright. Perhaps it was through not knowing enough of what my fellow academics at UT were doing that I felt so keenly, on my return last year from Europe, that the more liberal the artistic and professional Austin A rape case was on the Court of Criminal Appeals docket before the Lee Otis Johnson appeal recently. The prosecutor emphasized what a dangerous sort the defendant was, and Judge W. A. Morrison conceded the point, saying it must have been a horrible crime since the rapist received a 25-year sentence. Young blacks there for the Johnson trial snickered in the somber courtroom. Johnson, a black militant from Houston, last year received an even harsher sentence thirty years for allegedly giving one marijuana cigarette to a police undercover agent. He and organizers of a defense fund in his behalf believe he is a , political prisoner. Houston police disagree. “I don’t regard Lee Otis Johnson as a political prisoner,” says Lt. Joe Singleton, head of the criminal intelligence division that is responsible for the activist’s arrest. “He doesn’t tell you that he and his frinds were community in Austin was becoming, not just about politics but also about life styles and new ideas, the less and less concerned about the erosion of liberal values the academic community seemed to be I refer of course to something broader and more fundamental than voting for the Democratic candidate each time and having sound opinions on racial segregation and minimum wage laws. It was then that I began to wonder and look at the relation between our professed ideals in the humanities, our encouragement there of turbulence, free inquiry, heterodoxy, and experiment, and our fear and distrust of all but widely acceptable views and behavior. I began to wonder to what effect do such distinguished literary critics at UT as Donald Came-Ross agonize over literary standards, trying to refine the values and sensibilities of the students we are educating, if, without much protest from those whose proper concern it is, political conformism, intellectual reaction, and time-serving compromise have precedence over free inquiry and the uninhibited expression of unorthodox views. The day perhaps is some way off, but I fervently hope that it never comes closer, when the academic atmosphere at UT-Austin does not differ from that at Sam Houston State, Amarillo College, or Texas A&M, where the main freedom enjoyed by the faculty is the freedom to buy a new car. FOOTNOTES 1.J. H. Skolnick, The Politics of Protest \(New 2.See Joe B. Frantz, “The Frontier Tradition: An Invitation to Violence” and Sheldon Hackney, “Southern Violence,” both in Violence in America 3.The New York Times 4.Ibid. smoking marijuana, drinking .Robitussin, and stealing food, that they were trying to get dynamite to blow up major overpasses, power stations, telephone facilities, and public buildings. I should damn well think that this was a public menace.” APPROXIMATELY 100 persons, mostly black students from Texas Southern University and members of the defense committee, traveled to Austin to hear the appeal. Armed policemen were evident in the Supreme Court Building. It was Oct. 15, the day of the Vietnam Moratorium, but, if there was to be any trouble, police expected it to be at the Johnson trial rather than at the peace march. At a rally in East Austin the night before, the rhetoric had been violent. Don Cox, a member of the Harlem Panthers, told a small crowd: “Racism is a tool used to divide all the oppressed people. It is the masses versus the few rich. Everybody that Lee Otis’ Appeal
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.