UH NEWS Liberated Press

The UH NEWS Liberated Press and the
Student Revolution at the University of Hartford

by Benedict M. Holden


The state legislature, as per the request of the university, created a position for a non-voting student and faculty seat on the Board of Regents. They also created ex-officio memberships on the Regents' Executive and Finance Committee for the Chairman of the Student Association and the President of the Faculty Senate.

I received an invitation to take a seat on the university's Administrative Council, which worked by assent and didn't vote.

The school had a convocation for incoming freshman with faculty, regents, and administrators wearing academic robes in a procession followed by a welcome speech from Dr. Woodruff and others. They rented me a robe with U of H colors so I could participate. I wore a suit with flowered tie to sit in the last seat in the last row at the library groundbreaking. Last seat, last row, but on the stage.

The Student Association had the UH NEWS Liberated Press, the Plastic Bag (art mag), the Hog River Review (literary mag), and a yearbook – which would be in-budget that year. We had an approval of the student general manager of WWUH and a club football team. Both WWUH and the football team received funds from the Student Association.

In that year we had concerts by Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Spirit, The Youngbloods, and Quiet Ones; Chicago and Tim Hardin; Richie Havens and Jack Hardy; Joni Mitchell; Ten Years After and James Taylor; and The Steve Miller Band. We made a profit on every show except Joni.

I made the same speech to the incoming freshman as the year before. It ran for five minutes, got a couple laughs, didn't shout, didn't get kissed. No one dropped out. Maybe it was Woodstock or just a period of better karma while the war continued at home and over there.

Jack, John, and I were getting pretty tired of going to court every two-three weeks for some kind of hearing or motion... whatever. More than 400 movement leaders were tied up on federal charges of one sort or another, and many others of us were entangled in state charges at home.

The year's second issue of the UH NEWS Liberated Press had an expose about the fraternities/sororities and Greek life. It featured a photo of a mooning male, a former alumnus of the Submarine, and spurious claims of financial irregularities.

Dean Sweeney, with a lecture from the university's lawyer about tortious liability for libel, got all hot up again about the paper. O tempora! O mores! Yet another brouhaha about standards of decency, printing falsehoods, and lawyer stuff. May I mention as an aside that every frat was buying weed for parties with their "house money" and I know that some frat leader types had a car loan or rent payment also from the same pocket. No one went there. And this photo didn't show anything but a little butt. Good grief.

Bob Clement's Communications Commission voted to suspend Jack for an issue to accommodate an education about the law and civil libel.

This decision came to the Student Senate the next day. Peter Furman, a Business School rep and a fraternity member, urged the Senate to overturn the decision, "And no one is angry– it's just Jack being Jack." The Senate for a second time voted unanimously for an unfettered paper. "All classes for Wednesday have been canceled."

The silent-majority types complained that big, anti-war rallies drawing huge crowds from great distances were nothing but 10,000 highly paid, professional, commie demonstrators, hangers on, and anarchists/hippies looking for a party.

There arose from New York a call for a national day of moratorium – a day of peace. No political agenda beyond "End the war now." There was a national call for a day of action, rallies, marches, pray-ins, everywhere on October 15, 1969. Don't come to New York; do it in your own home town... everywhere.

The Moratorium was the high-water mark of the anti-war movement. The Hartford Courant stated that their reporters and stringers covered 60 events in their market area and that UPI had reported a similar number in Fairfield and western Connecticut. In Enfield, people lined route 91, hung banners over the road reading "END THE WAR NOW" and "PEACE NOW." Windsor, West Hartford, and Bristol had pickets at town hall or at a Revolutionary War monument. In Wethersfield, the Congregational Church hosted a prayer meeting.

The Moratorium saw demonstrations/rallies in Rockville, East Hartford, Manchester, Middletown, UConn, Willimantic, New London. New Haven had 50,000 on the Green, and Hartford saw 70,000 in Bushnell Park. The plan for Hartford called for a march from the University of Hartford to a rally in the park.

The folks at the Hartford Seminary, a black clergy alliance, the local NAACP, City Hall, and U of H put it all together. I know Jack Hardy was deeply involved with the Rev. Potter, Ray Fudge, and I believe John Cronin in the UHa stuff.

October 15th was a Wednesday, and the UH NEWS Liberated Press did proclaim that all classes were canceled for the Moratorium.

There were in fact three marches: from Trinity College down Broad Street to Capital Avenue to the park; from the Keeney Park area down North Main Street to Trumbull to the park; and from U of H down Bloomfield Avenue to Albany Avenue to Homestead to Walnut to the park. There is a reason to hold a public march: As you go, people will join the group, and your parade gets larger.

At the University of Hartford, we had more than 5,000 people at the head of the parade. We were uncertain about our reception thru town, so most of our football team members – in pads – walked the sides of our line of march. Step-off was about 11:30. As we moved, we grew – Watkinson School, the Unitarian Church parking lot. And surprise!

We divided forces. Half our marchers took a right down Scarborough Street to Asylum and we picked up people from UConn, Hartford College for Women, and the Hartford Seminary. All the parking lots along Woodland Street and Asylum Avenue were full. People with signs lined the sidewalks and joined the parade. The Hartford Courant reported that high schools in the area had a 75% absentee rate for the day.

Both Aetna and The Hartford released their employees just before noon. As we reached Sigourney Street many followed my right turn, and as we got to Farmington Avenue there were huge crowds on the sidewalks – people applauded. Brother Abbie always said, "It's got to be more fun to be us than it is to be them."

Our other group moving down Homestead also picked up people as they went.

Several hundred at the tail end of the march took off down Albany Avenue and again found friendlies on the sidewalk – cheers, applause. They picked up new folks as they moved to join the march from the North End. Too much detail, but if you know Hartford or have a map – every street in the downtown center of the city was full of us. The Courant put the number at 10,000. They could never say a nice thing. TV news and the police put it at 70,000.

The Quiet Ones played for the crowd beginning at noon. The park was full by 1:00 p.m. Mayor Athanson was the first speaker. He went out of his way to mention that he was an adjunct faculty member at U of H and welcomed us to the party. Wilbur Smith, candidate for mayor and local head of the NAACP, spoke about the war in the black community. We had a bishop – none of the usual suspects. It was a transcendent day. If you can imagine, perhaps a quarter million people in Connecticut joined war protests that day. Two hundred thousand?

In 1969, local news on TV ran for 15 minutes and then CBS came on for 15 minutes. On October 15, the local news ran for 35 minutes and CBS ran for 25.

That night, Donovan, with surprise guest Jean-Pierre Rampal on alto flute, played at the Bushnell. The lovely Ellsworth/Betsey and I indulged in some mescaline and communed with that voice and that flute.

About a month after the Moratorium, The Who performed their opera "Tommy" at the Bushnell for an obscene amount of money. Tickets were $10 in the orchestra. I tried, but we couldn't do it. I did get The Rolling Stones, but we lost them to Fort Collins, Colorado – not for money, but travel time to California.

Oh, and the phone in the Submarine was shut off for non-payment of the bill. When Stod moved in he was heartbroken about this girl in Colorado. When he moved out he left $140 in long-distance phone charges on our bill. I'd had an eight/nine-month exchange of pleasantries with SNETCO by phone and mail. We couldn't pay and they had no sense of humor. It's hard to be a revolutionary activist without a phone.

One day, a couple weeks later, pure reflex action, I picked up the dead phone to make a call. No dial tone... then a voice said, "Huh." Silence. Then the voice asked if we were having trouble with our phone service. I answered yes; and the voice responded, "Well you won't have any more problems." And the phone worked the next morning. Two weeks later I got a check from SNETCO for two dollars and change for the time the phone was out of service. No bill for months.

I attended meetings of the Executive and Finance Committee every month.

One day in December or January there was something – a planned tuition increase – that I though poorly of. When the Chair asked for "no" votes, I raised my hand. He reminded me that I had no vote. I appealed his decision and pulled a copy of Robert's Rules of Order out of my bag and quoted: "Ex officio means 'by the office,' ex officio members are full members with vote." I gave him the book; he passed it around the boardroom. There were many grumbles. The Chair casually asked why would you want to vote "no." I responded "not thought through."

The Chair then announced that indeed it seemed we had two new voting members. Someone moved for a re-vote, then a reconsideration, and then they tabled it. The Faculty Senate guy had never said a word to me previously (and never said another) asked quietly, "When did you know?" I responded, "Last July" loudly enough to be heard. A 10-member board was now a 12-member board.

I don't think I ever told Jack what a great editor he was. The UH NEWS Liberated Press had a cast of thousands and a lot of moving parts. Jack kept a folder with future stuff in it... places to go, issues, research, and a ton of stuff. He would assign articles, give the slant, and say, "Two weeks, nail it."

Jack Hardy was the person who schooled me on the environmental world. He had great plans for Earth Day, April 22. He said, "This will be bigger than the war, the draft, or any national issue." He worked for months. We had Ralph Nader do a pre-Earth Day press conference where he spoke about General Motors and citizen members of its board. He challenged them to make a car in which people could survive a crash at 50 mph and get 75 miles to the gallon.

In the Earth Day issue of the UH NEWS Liberated Press, you may see that every venue on campus had a speaker or discussion on some subject. And the paper linked construction debris trash, pollution, waste-dumps, chemicals, clean air – we had the first opposition to building a highway thru the West Hartford compensating reservoir.

And Jack announced that classes would be canceled for Earth Day.

Back in February I had traveled out to Chicago to speak at a conference put together by the remnants of the MOBE. Linda Dannenberg had quit back in 1968 and had sought refuge in Paris. The only ones I knew were all Trotskyites, but there was a call for a student strike and they wanted my input.

There were about 1,200 people at this conference. The pro-strike advocates were many. I spoke with many on the sidelines about the strike being a bad idea – it would fail and we would come out as losers. I ran into Bill Ayers and Jeff Jones and they asked if I was going to speak. They were most insistent that SDS no longer existed and if I used the name they would take me outside and beat the crap out of me.

I got up and introduced myself, said that I joined SDS in 1965 and knew not what happened to them and that I had been involved with the MOBE since 1967. I talked about black power, people power, and why and how you get power – all basic Poly Sci 101. I asked what they were doing in their schools to take/gain actual power. Out of the parking lot – making noise; sit at the table – change the world. I warned that a strike that failed would cost us the power we had. I talked about U of H and what we had done, the UH NEWS Liberated Press, the Moratorium. If you want a student strike do it in September, not May. I didn't get any applause. My Trot friends bought dinner and thanked me.

On March 6, 1970, Kathy Wilkerson's parents' town house on East 10th street in New York blew up with three deaths. The Weather Underground went to ground in a week. I knew Kathy from DC; I knew two of the three killed. Sometime in April the FBI hit the Submarine. They broke in the back door; it had to be the FBI. Who else would steal every photograph, every membership/mailing list and address book? They took my dad's emerald ring too, but they left the pistol in its drawer.

The "Trial of the Century" took place back in December 1969... overlooked it. The State of Connecticut vs. Hardy, Holden, Zanzal. With all the attendant publicity and coverage of the arrests I figured we'd get their toughest, most experienced, out-for-blood prosecutor, not a junior achievement, apprentice, trainee, under-assistant buffoon with a speech impediment. He could not say the word "depict." He pronounced it "deplict." As in, "What does this drawing deplict?" Or one day he asked what the "depliction deplicted." I laughed, the audience in the courtroom laughed, the judge covered his mouth and looked away. If they hadn't been trying to send us to jail, it would have been funny. Farce.

As a trial for the record: Our expert witness called the drawing offensive. The prosecutor did not even one-time mention John Zanzal's name. He mentioned my name once. He introduced no evidence or witnesses to tie us to the "crime." He didn't even ask Dean Sweeney (spineless turd) if I was the publisher. Al Pudlin, our attorney (ACLU, thank you), moved to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that the state had failed to prove either a crime or our participation in it. The judge did dismiss charges against John and me, but he fined Jack $50. Jack won on appeal a couple years later. The Hartford Courant did not report results.

The last weekend of March 1970, someone broke into my locked desk and file cabinets. He had a key – lots of 'em floating about. Ransacked the office, what a mess, and stole the $2,990 in cash, very, very well hidden in the desk: the secret stash to pay for the UH NEWS Liberated Press. I called the Hartford Police; it must have been a field day for them. At least a dozen detectives showed up to search my office and fingerprint everything.

I called Hector to inform him of the theft and, well, our secret insurance policy to guarantee freedom of the press. We hadn't put any money south, we just slowed our deposits and our accounting was perfect. I received his highest compliment, "I never believed you guys would ever think of that."

Hector put in a claim to the university's insurance company and we got a check for $2,890 ($100 deductible).

They didn't tell me, but they did a forensic audit of the SFA account for 1968-69. The auditors counted unsold concert tickets and checked the deposits, checked every purchase order over $5 to ensure the vendor delivered the correct item and that the check to the vendor was cashed by the vendor. I had used a half dozen unsold concert tickets as scrap paper – oops. They concluded that with $112,000-$115,000 in expenditures and tens of thousands of dollars in cash handled, we had a shortage of about $13. BTW: That is, like, perfect, you can't do better. Jim Carter, treasurer, did an excellent job teaching me about management; and Hector taught me about money, finance, and projecting the future.

Cops. I've been hit by cops: hand slaps, fists, billy club, a flexi-whip. I've been kicked and spat on, called every name in the book, bitten by a dog, tear gassed, looked up the barrel of a police revolver. This was a violent period. On Union Place in Hartford an undercover cop tripped me up, knocked me to the ground, kicked me, leaned over and said, "We know who you are; we'll get you; we can take you out anytime." We were the light, life, love people; the FBI and police were all terrorists and murderers.

A lot of us lived on the edge – virtual perpetual motion, high drama, danger. I don't think any of us had a vision of getting out alive or walking out undamaged.

The UH NEWS Liberated Press did have an exceptional issue for Earth Day, April 22. Jack did again cancel all classes for the event. We expanded Earth Day to an Earth Week observation.

In the midst of Earth Week I got a call from our WWUH alumni working at WHCN in Hartford. The Hog Farm and three buses were parked in a garage on High Street. I went down to meet them. I had been to Woodstock and they fed me, but the Woodstock movie was not out yet. Wavy Gravy was a trip. He explained that they were planetary warriors on a mission to raise funds for Earth Peoples' Park. They had done a party event at Yale the previous night, and did we have a place for a big party tonight?

With three phone calls I secured the gym for the night and the Buildings and Grounds workers would put down the floor covering. Had to be clean by 8 am.

Wavy and I hit WHCN with news about an open earth celebration party for that night, for free, at U of H. Then we headed over to WDRC AM&FM at 750 Main Street – number-one rock station in the market. No appointment, but within ten minutes we had Dick Robinson in the web... "save the earth" message hit hard.

Twenty minutes later, WDRC suspended its regular programming for a dialogue between Dick Robinson and Wavy Gravy. They spoke about saving our planet, the party that night at U of H. Wavy played some tunes and they talked from about noon till almost 5 pm. Dick called him Mr. Gravy throughout. He invited bands to come and just show up to play for free. Invited everyone within the sound of his voice come to the party. You got a contact high from just the conversation.

Five thousand or more people showed up, and ten bands. The bus "Further" was parked by the back door of the gym. Music went on till 3 am when they showed the Merry Pranksters' movie, Why Don't We Do It in the Road? A thermos of electric Kool-Aid was circulated – one cup only was the limit. Dean Addley came; I warned him not to eat or drink anything in the building. We had two bands playing at the same time for a while, pandemonium and chaos. An acid test. We passed.

About 5 am, the Hog Farmers vanished in the dawn; directions to next stop: Amherst north on 91, Worchester east on 84. England turn right at Greenland.

I had voted against the 1968 Chicago convention demonstrations; I also thought the call for a student strike for ten days in May was not a good idea and voted against that one too. So much for my input.

Unbeknownst to me, someone booked the gym for a strike rally for Sunday May 3 and invited Jerry Rubin to speak. I don't remember who kidnapped me and brought me to the gym. I didn't say a word. Jerry's lecture/diatribe lasted for about 20 minutes: "What the fuck is wrong with this school? Why the fuck are you not on strike? {Repeat once every minute.) Of all the schools in the east, with your rep and all the shit you've done. Why, etc? What, etc? You people here turn this place over. You should be leading the strike. Why, etc? What, etc?..." Star power. He had a good crowd of about 1,200.

Monday morning May 4, dawn. The sun rose over the lawn between the student center and the science building covered with white crosses and stars. Linda Goldfarb's theatre group and Bill Walach and that cast of thousands pulled it off. Hundreds of crosses, maybe 400. The whole lawn was covered. Wow! Silence on campus. Hundreds milled about the student center lounge; many called for a strike vote.

I remember a group of us – about 25-30, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with arms linked in a circle on the lawn. We sang "We Shall Overcome"... I looked at the faces; I remember Ray Fudge above all – from the civil rights veterans to that awful war. It was all the same struggle. I cried. I turned, there were hundreds of us.

Then about 1 pm Ohio time the National Guard fired into and over a crowd of retreating students at Kent State. To be fair: May 4/5 the Mississippi state police fired into a dormitory building; and sheriff's deputies in North Carolina also fired into a mass of students, killing a SNCC organizer. Nixon said, "Shoulda been done long ago."

Tuesday we had a strike vote. The ballot had four strongly worded points including one about support for the black power/nationalism movement. Dean Addley moderated the election and counted the votes. He left his office halfway thru the count to ask about what to do with the votes from people who crossed the black power point off their ballot. I told him to count them as "no" votes. "It's a package. They buy it all or not."

The results: YES, ON STRIKE: 1600+. NO, NO STRIKE: 28. Yeah!

It was our Dean of Students, John Addley, who announced that the school was on strike. In a half hour we got some concessions about grades, pass/fail, graduating seniors, no retribution for the strike.

The UH NEWS Liberated Press switched from a weekly to printing four days a week for the duration of the year. Thursday, Friday, and Monday our strike committee sent out car convoys with 100-150 strike demonstrators to Hartford College for Women, UConn Hartford, St. Joseph, Trinity, Manchester Community College, Northwest Catholic High, Hall, Conard, Newington, and Bloomfield high.

The Greek lnterfraternity council sponsored a concert by The Steve Miller Band on Sunday and turned a $3,000 profit, which they gave to the strike committee.

Rooms C-D-E of the Student Center became a print shop with a full-sized photo offset press and about 20 mimeo and ditto machines. They printed 25,000 copies of a glossy "How To Fight/Avoid the Draft" booklet, and then they printed 10,000 copies of it on non-glossy paper. They were distributed from Maine to Wisconsin to Virginia.

On Tuesday, 1,200 people showed up to leaflet downtown Hartford. That's enough to have four/five people on all four corners of an intersection for about 70 intersections. Keep moving, Front Street to Sigourney... Albany Avenue to South Green. All of downtown. At 50 pages for each – we were handing out leaflets – that is, about 60,000 pieces of printed paper. We bought paper by the pallet.

And the year ended. I estimate that we spent through the SA account more than $50,000 on the strike. On July 5/6 I checked with the business office to find out how much was left in the SA account... $25,000 to the penny. I can only assume that the university spent more than $20,000 to support the strike.

Late in June, Leonard J. Patricelli, the General Manager of WTIC, read an on-air editorial calling the University of Hartford an example of the worst of what's wrong with American colleges. The Board of Regents demanded a chance to reply. Dr. Woodruff, flanked by Jon Newman and Gibson (the chairman), read a statement that said the University of Hartford was an example of the best of what's right in American colleges. The Wall Street Journal called U of H "The Berkeley of the East."

Jack Hardy graduated in 1970 with a BA in Music. I took a semester off to help Jack start a record company, record an album, and sell/promote the record. Susan Silver became Chairman of the SA for 1970-71. Dan Hazelton became editor of the paper. Jim Diamond, the last Submariner, became Chairman for 1971-72.

I thought we would last for five years; didn't happen. We should have recruited John Cronin into the Submarine, a whip-smart kid who went on to do great stuff, but he dropped out in 1970 to join the underground-press movement.

Heading out across state lines,
Make it a federal crime
When you're stealing music back from the man,
Singing it across the land.
You headed out to save the world,
Wound up drunk and chasing girls.
Buddy can you spare a dime
For the crime of the century?
-- Jack Hardy, 2009

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