Albany, N.Y. Chairman Erwin’s pogrom, although not in precise detail, was as predictable as the current and future reactions of the faculty. I base this on long held impressions of the man and having observed him and the U.T. faculty in action while I was a member of the law school faculty. The university is Erwin’s toy, his Disneyland. It’s his orange mastabatory fantasy with protruding horns that he strokes over bourbon with the fraternity boys. I think it is a mistake to see the current bloodletting as an effort by Erwin to achieve further political power or as guided by some vague Johnson-Connally conspiracy. It is more accurate to see Erwin as guided by an intense and perverted loyalty to his university, his constantly handled plaything. It is also a mistake to view the chairman as anything but tough, as clever without being intelligent, and when sober, a man of considerable energy. Erwin is tough and I believe correct when he advises those who threaten to resign to stop playing games and do it. He is clever when he takes on the law school, loses the single battle but wins the war. His energy is quite apparent in the phenomenal amount of building and tearing down going on around the campus. THE OUTCOME of Erwin’s attack on the law school is a monument to his guile. His unprecedented maneuver of two years ago in making the law school a separate line item in the legislative appropriation bill was a beautifully conceived plan to bring the law faculty into line. And it worked. Nothing unites a faculty like a pocketbook issue. Law professors who would not take a position on the time of day and professors whose most dangerous radicalism is opposition to capital punishment were united in their outrage. Support for the law school was quietly generated from Texas lawyers of every political persuasion, although it must be conceded that Leon Jaworski carried a bit more weight than, say, Cam Cunningham. Erwin lost that fight, the faculty was assured of its expected raises, and the only thing seemingly lost was a limitation on out of state student enrollment a small Mr. Cohen, a former U.T. law professor known by his students as “Fred the Red,” is professor of law and criminal justice at the State University of New York at Albany. price to pay for, let’s call it, academic freedom. How you win a battle is at least as important as winning it. In winning the battle of the pocketbook the law school picked up a few debts: we can’t let down those powerful, i.e. reactionary, lawyers who came to our aid and we had better go slow for awhile. In my case, these overlapping debts meant that no serious consideration could be given to my proposal for a conference on legal services for political dissidents. Conferences about tax law, oil and gas, foreign investments, well, that’s another matter. Indeed, I was admonished for even proposing the idea. One former colleague accused me of being a snake and another said, after the proposal was defeated, that we just saved the university a million dollars. Things are quiet now at the law school actually they always have been and such are the results of unstylish victories. Ankle-level attacks that are defended at the same level have a way of working out that way. The fact that no radical has ever been a member of the law faculty and that the few liberals’ are of the garden variety, debate team type would not deter an Erwin. The chairman’s “bomb throwers” \(a engaged in such heretical activities as joining A.C.L.U., protesting the lighting of a cross \(well, it was building during the Christmas season, working on behalf of Senator McCarthy, developing bail reform and juvenile defender programs, and even drafting open housing laws. If Erwin does in fact realize that a large majority of the law faculty would vote against the First Amendment, then the level of reactionarism that he seeks even shocks me. After Silber’s unceremonious firing, the cries of outrage could be heard as far away as New York. Silber, of course, was engaged in his own power play and he lost. He is just as tough, and a hell of a lot more intelligent than Erwin, but he does not control the scoreboard. Erwin and his regential and administrative dildoes do that. WHILE I DO not seriously regret the firing, I do regret Dean Silber’s apparent decision to continue to play by the rules. He urges his estimable friends to stay on \(knowing full well that no more refuses to allow himself to become the lightning rod for the radical change in September 18, 1970 23 THE TEXAS OBSERVER IN THE CLASS ROOM Every semester scores of teachers and students numbering a thousand and more use The Texas Observer as source material in political science, sociology, and history courses. \(In some classes the Dallas Morning News is also suggested, for a study in contrasting The fall election campaigns promise to provide plenty of material suitable for the traditional type of classroom analysis \(e.g. compare and try to conObserver can be counted on to be right there with the candidates on the campaign trail. Equally important, the Observer will not overlook the significance of the growing number of students and others who scorn electoral politics. Either way, it promises to be an exciting season. Semester subscriptions begin with the September 4th issue. In addition we will send your choice of any of the following issues for each student subscribing: Chairman Erwin’s Great Leap Back The Death of Carl Hampton: Murder Reform in Texas \(Feb. 14th & March For orders of ten or more copies of each issue sent to a single address the cost for the semester is $1.75 per your order now, specifying your bonus selection, to The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th, Austin, 78705. You may revise your order as the class rolls settle, at which time we will bill you. A communication On Erwin’s pogrom By Fred Cohen
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