Interview with Fred Black

Cut. How did you react--


As a member of the student government in '66 and '67, and watching Hershey Events student demonstrations against compulsory ROTC, you know, students being expelled, constant conflict between the students and faculty, what was going on in your head?


During that period of constant conflict and turmoil on campus, as a member of the student government, I felt like we were definitely losing control of the situation, 'cause in many ways the elected student leaders had no legitimacy left on campus, ah, those who elected us to represent their views and communicate with the administration, it seemed like we were dismal failures at that. As a result, a vacuum wasn't going to be tolerated, therefore, new leaders emerged. And that's when I think the student movement on campus sort of passed the elected leadership by, and took control of the momentum, and the next year you saw slates of candidates for offices all over campus that came from this umbrella organization that represented a lot of the so-called moderate and militant student groups that spawned almost overnight, these groups that rose in opposition to the liberal arts student council and the ah, university-wide student assembly, which were the major governing organizations. Each college had their own student council. Each university college sent someone to the university senate, that was the overall coordinating organization. And it was very clear that control was shifting in a very rapid way, that the elected student leaders were no t going to be the ones who were going to carry this battle forward; there was just no legitimacy left. Now, as a individual involved in ROTC and in student government and had many friends in many of these organizations, you felt like pulled apart different ways, because you knew what you thought would work, and violence was not the answer, and it was almost unheard of in those days to place demands on the administration. That started to happen. People demanded the resignation of the president and the dean of liberal arts and the vice president of the university. I don't think many of the elected student government leaders would have gone that far, given the tradition that existed when I first came to the campus: there was always room to negotiate and talk and fairly good relationship on the campus. But by '67 after a couple of the incidents over the judiciary board, the cases of those that had been involved in the Hershey incident, just a loss of faith, confidence, you might say, no trust. And once that happened, it was very clear that the movement had been passed to different hands.