Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
Winter Soldiers image


Refused to stay in the classes that the suspended teachers had taught. Held mass meetings, picket lines. Joined in delegations to President Wright and the Board of Higher Education. Asked them, Gentlemen, what do you propose to make of the College we love? What do you propose to do with the teachers we honor? Has servility become the hallmark of a good teacher? Has unquestioning obedience to authority

—right or wrong—become the standard for academic distinction? Has it become a crime to think honestly? Is it “verboten’’ to search for facts?

Is it your wish also to burn the books, and with them the men who live by these books?

For what had happened in the colleges gave grim warning of the future. Teachers beginning to water down their teaching. Censorship through fear—a fact here and there omitted, a conclusion here and there not drawn, certain books quietly dropped from reading lists, courses of study altered so they would not lead to dangerous thinking.

And bigotry on the loose. For the first time in the history of education in New York, teachers at a city college asked to declare their religious affiliation!

Clerical fascism and the auto-da-fé?

Is this the college you design?

Not for us the students said.

Sylvia Wald