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Tomarken.com > Daniel P. Beckmann > Birds of Passage (08-23-02)
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Birds of Passage

Daniel P. Beckmann
05.06.01-603F Westgate Ave., University City, MO 63130

I wrote the following paper during my last few days of college. It was based upon testimony that I collected as part of an oral history project to chronicle the eventful class of 1970. It was sunny and quite temperate outside in Missoura on May 5th, so I started writing it about 2:30 AM on May 6th and finished it around 4:30PM. There was plenty of time to get it to Prof. Berger’s by 5PM.

-D.P.B, 8.23.02

"Birds of Passage"
Chancellor Eliot’s personification of the college student

When Chancellor Eliot claimed that college students were merely ‘birds of passage’ it enraged Fred Faust, the editor of the campus newspaper Student Life at the time. He eventually used the phrase to poke fun at the chancellor and to strike up more support behind his self-proclaimed ‘leftist’ agenda. But this concept of ‘birds of passage’ might actually explain a lot of what was going on in the minds of the active players on the campus of Washington University during the time of social unrest in the late 1960s and early 70s. Student activists that attended this university from the graduating class of 1970, were very much concerned with leaving their mark on this campus. Other students were concerned merely with being a student for the average of four years. The administrators were concerned with preserving the long-term integrity of the institution-in its many varying capacities. With all of these perspectives and the many more perspectives that can not all be reached for the purposes of this paper, it was a daunting task to attempt to reconstruct what actually happened at Washington University during this complex time period. From the interviews that I have conducted as part of this oral history project, those who were involved with liberal activism, or the ‘new left’, on this campus during this period conducted their actions with the best intentions in mind at the time.BackgroundIt is hard to know when you are actively taking a role in a movement, if the direction that you are headed will ultimately end up leading you to a better destination. During the late 1960s, a large number of Americans were reaching the age of leaving home and entering college. With the generation billed as the ‘baby-boomer’ generation filling colleges in record numbers during the late 1960s a large proportion of our country was attending institutions of higher learning at that time.

Washington University took part in this boom time, by opening the doors to several structures of a large, on-campus housing district called the South 40. Before that most of the students that attended WU came from the local St. Louis area and the immediate Mid West. The leaders and planners of WU intended to raise the status of their institution from that of a local street-car college to one of national and eventually international prominence. As Dean of Arts and Sciences during the 1960s/70s, Burton Wheeler, explained, in the late 1950s the college started a large recruitment effort on the East Coast-focusing especially on states like New Jersey where there were weak collegiate systems. The administrators hoped they could build up their institution by attracting quality applicants that were not adequately being served at home. By the time the late 1960s arrived, Washington University started to claim students from populations much farther away than just Chicago, IL. Washington University had risen above the other institutions in the St. Louis area to draw in students from areas outside its immediate position in the Midwest.

At the same time as this transition was taking form, the university maintained it’s Board of Trustees comprised mostly of local dignitaries, many of which were considered conservative in their political nature. The newly appointed chancellor at the time, Thomas Eliot, who was noted for his work on the ‘new deal’ for the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Some who knew Eliot considered him a liberal democrat-part of the ‘old left’, who imported his New England style of what is proper to his position as the leading administrator on this campus. Eliot was not a unanimous favorite on the Board of Trustees, and in fact, it appears as though he was only marginally rewarded the position of Chancellor to begin with. He struggled to maintain his job for it’s entire duration, only to eventually lose the position after the class of 1970 graduated to eventually make way for William H. Danforth. Danforth came to the position from his post as dean of the Medical School. His family owned the Purina Corporation in St. Louis and his brother John was elected Senator on the Republican ticket.
The Oral History ProjectThere were thousands of people associated directly with this campus during the late 1960s and thousands more indirectly associated by means of their St. Louis area citizenship. The oral history project has afforded me three perspectives from which to understand what occurred on this campus during that time period. I will also attempt to occasionally throw in a 4th perspective-my own father, who attended this university at this same time, but was not officially, but unofficially interviewed as part of this project. These four people were active players in what occurred on this campus, but of course a campus is much more complex than just four people. However, since I only have four sources to work with and memory can be selective at best, I would like to warn you that I am certain that there might be some viable pieces missing from this picture. Also, in my pursuit to eventually become a responsible journalist, one who attempts to bring no bias to his work, I will try my best to paint the historical picture as accurately as possible from the direct interviews that I have conducted. But, unfortunately, I too am forced to bring my perspective to this project, on everything to which questions I chose to ask, to my interpretation of the answers to those questions. I interviewed four people in the stated order, which I will characterize as the following: 1) David Beckmann-Class of 1970
ROTC Officer, Fraternity Officer, Student Union Participant
2) Burton Wheeler-Faculty/Dean
Dean of Arts and Sciences at the time of interest, also held countless other positions during his WU tenure, including faculty member and dean of students.
3) “Jane Doe”-Class of 1970
A member of the ‘new-left’ as a student activist at Washington University
4) Fred Faust-Class of 1970
Editor of mainstream student newspaper at Washington University-Student Life

Now I will introduce you to these four individuals more specifically, by explaining in greater detail where they came from and what I believe they brought to this situation. From that point, I will construct how their different perspectives of various situations of significance.

David BeckmannDavid Beckmann came to Washington University from the working class town of East Orange, New Jersey. David brought with him what he considered to be liberal ideals, classifying himself as a ‘Kennedy Democrat’. In order to pay his way through college, he worked several jobs and enlisted in the Reserve Officer Training Corp. and received some funding towards his education through the Montgomery G.I. Bill. David would have volunteered for the armed services regardless of the G.I. Bill, because he was expected by his family to serve his country…as Kennedy put it: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"

While on campus David, contributed to campus society by joining and taking up leadership positions within the greek community and in Student Union, and actively participating in the ROTC program. Although David considered himself to be a liberally minded person when he entered college, he was confronted with the concept of the ‘new left’ which had a differing set of priorities. By the time that college was over in 1970, David developed, along with many others at the time, a cynicism that helped him to drift away from the ideals of the ‘Kennedy Liberalism’ that he entered college with. The first presidential candidate that David was old enough to vote for, was Republican Richard Milhouse Nixon.

Burton WheelerDean Wheeler also considers himself to be a liberal. Wheeler claimed that when the students of the class of 1970 first entered campus in 1966, he was well aware of the fallacies of the Vietnam War. "Most anyone associated with high academia was aware of the mistakes that were being made by the U.S. government with regards to their foreign policy," said Wheeler. Most administrators also apparently were aware that the idea of a domino-effect with regards to the spread of communism was almost completely unsubstantiated.

During Wheeler’s time as Dean of Arts and Sciences, he regarded himself as one who was primarily concerned with the academic functions and purposes of a university. In the event that he was called upon to act as a disciplinarian, his primary intention was to have the students learn something from their actions as opposed to just maintaining order on our campus.

In many situations Dean Wheeler might have agreed with what the students were protesting, and even had more knowledge of the events that the students were protesting-especially from a historical sense. But in order to maintain civility one could get the impression that with Dean Wheeler, silence was often golden.

“Jane Doe”(no relation)“Jane Doe” came to become part of the Class of 1970 from her hometown in Springfield, MO. When she first arrived on campus, she sought her place in the community, as most healthy Freshmen do. She was pointed in many different directions and at one point even joined a sorority, although she later became inactive in the organization. A turning point in “Jane’s” college life could have been her relationship with Ben Zaricor, a student activist who would later hold the position of president of the Student Union. If Ben Zaricor, is only a fraction of the eloquent and especially captivating speaker that he is today, then he almost certainly was the one that convinced “Jane Doe” of the meaning behind the ‘new-left’ movement.

“Jane” is an interesting specimen to study for the sake of this paper, because she carries the burden of many different roles. She represents the entire ‘new-left’ movement on campus, as well as she is a reflection of the popular culture associated with it. “Doe” claimed that she rarely went to class and towards the end of her time here, she just eventually graduated and moved onto work at Havard University towards a Masters in Education. While she was at WU, “Doe” claimed that the crux of her education was positioned outside of the classroom. Those who associated with her in the ‘new-left’ educated themselves with the readings of works like Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

“Doe” was the only person associated with my aspect of this project who was completely open about all of her activities of her youth-including her drug usage. Weathermen claimed that you were either associated with the Beatles fans or the Rollingstones fans, and there was never a cross-over between the two (She liked the ‘stones’). “Doe” recalled when the Grateful Dead came to visit St. Louis on two occasions during her college years. The first time they played in an old elementary school gym, the second time they came they played the Brookings Quad-on both occasions, they brought with them their famous brand of LSD. And then there was the time that “Doe” met Bob Dylan.

If one were to solely interview “Jane Doe” in a vacuum for the purposes of this paper, they would have derived that although the 1960s was a turbulent time, with that turbulence came excitement and with that excitement came a great deal of fun. When asked about whether or not “Doe” was ever concerned with the state of order in the United States during the 1960s, she claimed that order was never her concern. She was along for the ‘movement’ and she intended on the motion to be swift. She was ready and prepared at anytime to contribute or to become part of any violence that would help to propel her movement.

As the her time here on campus came to an end and so eventually did the movement of the ‘new-left’, “Doe” again sought to find meaning in a movement to which she could throw her support. She revealed that she found comfort in the Punk movement of the late 1970s. This is an interesting twist with consideration to “Ms. Doe”, for many wonder what happened to those who considered themselves part of the ‘new-left.’ In the case of “Ms. Doe”, and from her depiction of others that she is acquainted with, for some creatures, they will not feel as though they are living unless they are part of something that is moving.

Fred Faust Fred Faust came to the class of 1970 from not very far away in South St. Louis. Faust enters the picture from his perspective as a journalist serving on the campus’s mainstream newspaper-Student Life. Faust served as editor of that paper during his time here, and while he worked at Student Life he played a role in the paper’s transition away from the hands of the Greeks (Fraternity/Sorority Members) over to the grasps of the ‘new-left’. Faust claimed that when he started at the newspaper, the Greeks used to cover stories in the range of what parties were going to be held this weekend to who was pinned by who that past week. During Faust’s tenure, he claims responsibility for changing the nature of the paper towards that of a ‘leftist’ publication. Faust added that his paper went much farther left of liberal, since from his perspective as editor, liberals (like Thomas Eliot), were much too conservative for his taste.

Faust used the paper to experiment with how far a person could go with a mainstream paper before it was reprimanded. If the paper were reprimanded, he would then use that to unleash more controversy within the student body and to raise more awareness for ‘new-leftist’ issues. On one occasion, Faust recalled purposefully putting swear words into the paper to see what the reaction would be. (This is a far cry from the tendency of the Student Life publication today to take up politically and legally correct causes like the abolishment of underage drinking on planet earth by well-educated college students.) Faust believes that his actions caused some aggravation, at times for Chancellor Eliot-who stood between Faust and the conservative Board of Trustees. Faust recalled one situation where the Board of Trustees asked Eliot to ‘tone-down’ Student Life. If Eliot had tried to ‘tone-down’ Student Life, Faust would have made sure that it would have blown up in his face. Eliot, apparently well-aware of this reality, started the mechanism from which Student Life would gain it’s independence from the university.

As a practicing journalist in the present day, Faust recalled the amount of freedom that he was given as editor of Student Life and said that he was perfectly satisfied with the paper’s affiliation with the university because his authority was rarely ever compromised. (with some local St. Louis print shops, there was a different story.)

Faust readily admits that coverage was well slanted to the left side during his tenure on the paper. While some agreed with his beliefs, from Faust’s perception nobody on his staff was viamently opposed to what was going on at Student Life. "Who’s to say what objective journalism is anyway," asked Faust.
The Situation
Who was Chancellor Eliot?
If George W. Bush does not currently have a mandate, at least he has a Republican House and Senate to start out with. In the case of Thomas Eliot’s leadership at Washington University, the former framer of New Deal legislation during the Roosevelt administration had the arduous task of administrating at school where the Board of Trustees and some vocal students had contrasting agendas.

The Board of Trustees had an interest in maintaining order and their investments in Washington University. The students of the ‘new-left’ had an interested in critically tearing down all of the institutions that surrounded them. I got the impression from all of those that I have interviewed that Eliot was well-intentioned, but due to the circumstances surrounding his administration, a dark cloud looms over his office to this day.

Dean Wheeler afforded me a charitable aspect of Eliot that had been kept relatively secret for some time. The last time that the ROTC buildings were burnt down was certainly not the first attempt, and from my count there were actually three attempts in total. One student was found guilty of an earlier botched attempt to burn down the facility and was sentenced to federal prison as a result. After Dean Wheeler, along with other faculty members, went before Eliot, the Chancellor granted permission for the student to continue on with his studies at Washington University while he was in prison. Chancellor Eliot also wrote a letter on behalf of Howard Mechanic stating that the university did not wish to pursue any actions against him for any involvement he may have had with the ROTC fire. Eliot wrote this, close to thirty years before Mechanic was eventually pardoned by President Clinton at the request and hard work of WU Prof. Henry W. Berger and others.
Contextual External Link-
The Howard Mechanic Story

If you would ask “Doe” or Faust what they thought of Eliot, they probably at the time would have responded that he was an institutional authority and that he could not be trusted. In retrospect, Faust at least, appreciated what Eliot tried to do with what he had to work with.

Although the focus of this paper is not Chancellor Eliot, I believe that the reaction to this man is quite central to the feelings at the time. The citizens of the ‘new-left’ alienated people who considered themselves to be liberally minded, such as people like David Beckmann when he first came to Washington University. As Dean Wheeler stated, a major weakness of the ‘new-left’ movement is that they often failed to leave the safe confines of the campus, and more importantly, failed to establish links with other liberally minded organizations within the St. Louis and national community. Wheeler believed that it was a weak point that the ‘new-left’ failed to make a connection with labor leaders, for the bonding of those two groups could have certainly produced a more significant and legitimate result of the movement.

It was the noisiness of the unruly meetings in Holmes Lounge and the unyielding and offensive self-righteousness of the leadership of the ‘new-left’ at Washington University that turned away many others who could have helped to propel their cause.

As “Jane Doe” put it, she did have friends who were not part of the ‘new-left’ movement. Most of which were just plain-old college students seeking an education. But in all candor, “Doe” did not feel as favorably towards people who were not participating in her movement-in fact she resented them.

Who was better at predicting the future?
Citizens of the ‘new-left’ could argue that they were right about a lot of the things that they were protesting. Dean Wheeler may very well agree with a lot of their points. In retrospect, however, how many of the issues that the ‘new-left’ was protesting actually were bone-fide true causes? We do not currently live in a humanist, utopian society, but rather a capitalist one contrary to that.

Fred Faust pointed out that many of the people that they thought to be almost like prophets at the time, such as Mao, later turned out to be riddled with controversy in their own right.

After thirty years of reflection, the question arises:When people are submerged in an actively moving movement, how are they certain that the movements that they are making are truly progressive? “Jane Doe” said that many speakers came through campus at that time. She found the work of Lipsitz to be most favorable. But with the unmitigated drug use occurring during that time period, were the citizens of the ‘new-left’ actually in the correct state of mind to be driving their movement? “Doe” said that marijuana was often smoked before, during, and after protests and that most serious decisions with regards to the movement were made while the movement’s leaders were ‘incredibly high’. After interviewing “Doe” and some of the other leaders of the ‘new-left’ that were recently on campus, it almost seemed like getting high and ensuring that the event was enjoyable was the primary focus. After that was established and only then the substance of whatever they were protesting was of concern-these were collegeans mind you. A lot of the activists were enveloped and were infatuated in the thought of being a part of history in the making-multiplied by the magnitude that they were on an almost constant ‘high’. From “Doe’s” testimony, one might gather that everyone in the ‘new-left’ was high, when in reality, there were probably some people that choose not to partake in drugs and self-satisfaction as their primary intentions, but they were not the majority (And they wanted to know where the self-indulging, self-righteous yuppies of the 80s came from?<-after all they did for society they deserved it you see...). For the few genuine activists of the ‘new-left' it must have been somewhat aggravating to deal with this extra baggage. To sum up, there will always be progressive people, but in the late sixties, progressive was vogue.

From the administrative stand-point, Dean Wheeler felt that the protesters made good arguments. Wheeler believes, though, that the best way to go about enacting change is to do so in a civilized manner. He gave me the impression, that at times, the ‘new left’ at Washington University approached points where their actions became or were became uncivilized and/or violent. But if Dean Wheeler truly knew about the fallacies behind the United State’s foreign policy, should he have been more actively vocal against the Vietnam War effort? I think that for the sake of remaining civilized, Dean Wheeler chose to keep silent in order to ensure that the business of education remained in motion on campus.

There was the time that Dean Wheeler heard about a planned invasion of North Brookings by some student activists and when he learned that North Brookings was going to be locked up, he unlocked the doors to South Brookings to ensure that the activist would not be caught breaking and entering. Wheeler felt that the worst that they could do to South Brookings, where his offices were located, is make a big mess and he would simply clean it up in the next morning. When Wheeler arrived on the scene, he noticed that there was a huge mess in South Brookings, but some how, the order of his office had been preserved<-he mentioned with a soft smile.

For Dean Wheeler and countless other administrators on campus at this time, it appeared as though there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure that the student activists could remain active, but free from danger or police intervention-which the administrators felt might escalate the situation. Local Police were all but forbidden from coming onto the Washington University campus during this period. The campus police department was given special instruction not to escalate the situation with the student activists at all costs. Maybe through silence, Dean Wheeler was more effective in providing a safe place for which to educate student activists. The only downside to this ‘safe-haven' is that outside the confines of what is considered Washington University, "the real police use sticks that really hurt," he said. A lot of the student activists that felt as though they were prepared for violence, in reality, "might not be exactly certain of all that violence entails," Wheeler recalled.

As a member of ROTC, David Beckmann argued that if the ‘new-left' was demanding peace, how could they do so in a violent way? With regards to the fire at the ROTC building, David points out that if they were opposed to the violence that ROTC entails, then why did they act violently to end ROTC's presence on campus? Weren't they already getting academic credit stripped away from the programming through peaceful channels?
Who ended the ROTC building?The issue of academic credit extension for those who were enlisted in the Reserve Officer Training Corp on the campus of Washington University, was one that was hotly debated for many years. As a member of the ROTC program, David Beckmann was all but silenced as the active students and faculty assembled to discuss his academic fate. As a student receiving virtually no financial aid from other sources, from a family of working-class parents that did not have the out-of-pocket funding to support their child’s education, David literally worked his way through school. As a participant in ROTC, the army afforded him some of the tuition that he needed to attend WU, but in the end the army did not pay enough. David also had to work several jobs while also trying to maintain the normal life of a college student with a desire to be active in the campus community and all that it had to offer. When people began to question the academic quality of ROTC, David failed to comprehend how the "fine art of killing people was not considered academic enough, but ‘Basketweaving’ was," he said. With credit taken away from ROTC, it would only increase David’s burden to stay afloat academically and financially at Washington University, because he would have to take additional coursework in order to graduate on time.

When David attended those ROTC discussion meetings, he was not given an opportunity to speak his case. The room was filled with a liberal idealism that the military had no place on an academic college campus. From David’s perspective, the room was filled with people who could afford the luxury of protesting ROTC, when ROTC had an extreme correlation between his ability to exist on this college campus academically-it paid for most of his tuition.

Regardless of my father’s individual position, great statements were made with regards to the removal of ROTC from Washington University. As Dean Wheeler pointed out, the ROTC building was not even that, but a group of Quonset huts built temporarily for World War II that were literally an eyesore for those traveling on the west side of campus along Big Bend Blvd. With the military located directly on campus during war time, it gave the impression at times that the campus was in a state of martial law. With the intention of providing a liberal education, "Washington University would not serve it’s intended purpose if it were under a state of martial law," Wheeler pointed out.

Most people would on campus at the time probably agreed that ROTC should be moved off. Washington University did eventually take the significant academic credit away from ROTC. But off of the record, Wheeler may have said, "there was still the problem of those damned Quonset huts located on our sacred place of academia." On May 5th, 1970, the day after the Kent State Massacre, a protest rally was held in the Brookings Quad in protest of the massacre and the US invasion of Cambodia. It was decided among some of the people that were gathered at that protest rally that the ROTC building finally had to go that night. In attendance at that protest rally were several members of the administration, some of which might have had prior knowledge of the event, yet none of which did nothing to stop it.

A group of students or maybe individuals set fire to the ROTC building that night and as far I could tell know one really knows or is telling who it was. There was not just one building, but three in the complex. The building that burned was one of the training facilities. The protestor failed to set wire to the weapons depot which would have been more catastrophic to the ROTC program, but would have made the situation increasingly dangerous for those who were sent to try to put the fire out.

The ROTC building burned on May 5, 1970. There was a concern at the time that because of the mood on campus it was simply too dangerous to continue holding classes. Beckmann, along with other students who were concerned about receiving their degrees on time, filed a lawsuit against WU claiming that if they closed down, the university would default on their contract to provide an education to their students. Classes were canceled, but the graduation of the class of 1970 was held at a Field House instead of the normal Quadrangle location due to a heavy thunderstorm.
Who ended the war?
When activist members of the class of 1970 returned to campus recently, they claimed victory for the end of the Vietnam War. Among those people who claimed that victory was “Jane Doe” and to some degree Fred Faust.

While the student protests of the war certainly sent a message out to society of their intentions to end the war, the burning of the ROTC building on WU’s campus and countless other actions that the ‘new-left’ participated, in and of themselves did not end the Vietnam War. In fact, our campus contributed many men to the Vietnam War who unfortunately helped to perpetuate the war along (despite the efforts of the ‘new-left’ to try to save them from having to go).

From what I have gathered, there are two voices that I consider to be the strongest and most seriously considered with regards to the end of the war: Walter Cronkite and the newly returned Vietnam War Veterans. When the United States’ press turned on the war, so did the attention of the American people. When the troops were coming home to report back directly of the atrocities occurring in Vietnam mainstream America started to listen and when the body bags began to pile up by the thousands, America began to see.

One thing that I have learned from this research about social movements is that in order for them to be successful, their scope must reach much farther then the protected bubble of a liberal arts college. It must include more then people who maybe feel they have nothing to lose, in order to make change in this country. But above all else, the best way is to obtain the support of the American working middle class. They actually have a something significant to lose-their jobs, which are very valuable to them. If there is something that sparks their interest, get ready to see things start to move rapidly and for them to stay that way once the movement is completed. The upper-middle class white student of the elitist national university lacks the power to move heaven and earth on their very own, although apparently it can be fun to try.
After all of this…What did anyone accomplish?Most everyone agreed that the group that was able to produce the most results through their actions was the Association of Black Collegians, as it was called in that time period. The sit-in of the Chancellor’s office and other actions helped to propel Washington University from an institution that was integrated on paper, to one that is more conscious of it minorities. As a result of their work, the university hired more minority faculty, enrolled more minority students, and developed an African American Studies department in the college of Arts and Sciences. It is very hard for one to decipher the results of the actions of those associated with the ‘new-left’. Academic credit has been all but taken away from those who are enrolled in ROTC (There is, however still an option to still receive a few credits for the program these days). The ROTC building is no longer located directly on campus, but instead it rests peacefully across the Millbrook Blvd from campus.

The working conditions of those affiliated with the university is arguably better than before the class of 1970, although many would argue there is still more room for improvement in this area.

The body of government which represents all of the undergraduate students, Student Union, although powerful in it’s ability to distribute funding, it remains a moot point with regards to enacting it’s legislation. The Student Union is still forced to make simple requests of the university administration that the university reserves the right to act upon those requests or to completely ignore them.

And a man named Ben Zeaphor, who you may still find wearing his overalls while dodging cars while riding his bike through the streets of St. Louis, would argue that a negative aspect of the ‘new-left’s’ movement at our liberal arts institution is the destruction of the WU Sociology department. I do not think that I will go much further on that issue for it appears to unleash a feeling of soreness with all who were associated.

In the end…I think that we all are ‘birds of passage’ where ever it is that we stand (Including fairly enough the proclomator of this phrase-Chancellor Eliot himself). Whether you are the Dean of Students, an activist, a recorder of events, a cadet in ROTC, a professor, or even the janitor who lets the professor into his office when he is locked out, one can never be certain if the direction that they are taking, historically will provide a more positive result then in the situation that we currently reside. All members associated with a university however, seem to congregate here in search of a certain meaning. And while we are all here, we are hopefully afforded the opportunity to experiment in the safe laboratory that is our college campus to act as we see fit in order to generate more meaning in not only our lives, but ultimately in those around us and possibly in those that may follow. This is why a university should be protected, as a special place, for which to conduct our experiments, however we so choose to conduct them. I have a feeling that general society is not as forgiving of mistakes made in experiments conducted with it it’s confines, but for the purposes of this paper, I got the feeling that all who were involved with the period of enlightenment known at the 1960s, were at best, well intentioned in their actions.


2 Responses to “Birds of Passage”
  1. susan patterson, on December 16th, 2002 at 9:46 pm, said:

    Hello, I am looking for information on the relationship between Ben Zaricor and Howard (Gary Tredway) Mechanic. I saw something about a Ben Zaraphor in your thesis. Could that be the same person? I don’t mean to be in any way insulting, but I’ve never heard of your school, until I saw a show on cable tv. The program was about Gary Tredway, nee Howard Mechanic. I am interested in how GT/HM was able to elude the feds for so long and who was his facilitator and benefactor. Obviously this is all water under the bridge, so don’t be threatened by my questions. I’m only curious about the process. I am particularly interested in the activities of Ben Zaricor in regards to the re-invention of Howard Mechanic. How many students attended your school at that time? Where exactly in Ohio in regards to exposure to cosmopolitan centers? From where did the students get their news, i.e, the Chicago Tribune, etc. Thank you for your time and attention.

  2. Daniel P. Beckmann, Moderator of Letters, on January 17th, 2003 at 2:37 am, said:

    Ms. Patterson,

    Sorry for the delayed response. The New York Times Magazine article that I have linked from this submission is the most well documented story that I have seen on this issue and you should give that a look if you haven’t already. Other than that I am not exactly certain how to answer your questions with out some more specifics and clarification. While I studied these ‘characters’ I did so after all of the information came to the surface and since my report I have had virtually no connection with them.

    Dan Beckmann, Moderator of Letters—-Thank you for interacting with tomarken.com/org

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