Madison in the Sixties – March, 1967
When university avenue reopened in November 1966 with four lanes heading west and a bus lane heading east, campus leaders warned of a likely tragedy. It finally happens on March 1, as campus beauty queen Donna Schueler walks into the side of a bus and is injured so badly her left leg has to be amputated. Students, faculty, administration, and regents renew their plea with the city to move the bus to Johnson St.
On the second, the Wisconsin Student Association Senate votes, 19–11, to ban the Madison chapter of Students for a Democratic Society from campus until at least next fall, as punishment for the role its leaders played in the disruptive protest against the Dow Chemical company in late February. WSA Senator Paul Soglin, who joined the peaceful mass occupation of a Bascom Hall hallway in a related protest, argues against the suspension. The ban, which SDS president Hank Haslach calls “childish” and the Student Court quickly overturns, greatly enhances SDS’s popularity and expands its “membership” to about three hundred overnight.17
On the sixth, Chancellor Robben Fleming issues a more meaningful statement, detailing that he will continue to use whatever force is necessary to ensure compliance with the administrative rule against disruptive protests. Fleming gives the document an oratorial flair. Quote: Given the traditions of this campus, it is fair to assume that the faculty wants to preserve dissent, but without anarchy, and that it wants order, but without oppression.”
At a special meeting two days later, the faculty rejects, 249–62, a motion by Sociology professor Maurice Zeitlin to ban job interviews by corporations “involved in producing war materials,” and adopts instead a policy allowing any bona fide employer to recruit on campus. Vilas professor of professor William Sewell is among those voting to ban employers like Dow, which is returning for more interviews in October.
Fleming will no longer be chancellor then. On March 28, after first turning down the top job at the University of Minnesota, he accepts the presidency of the university of Michigan, starting in September. His successor as chancellor is professor Sewell.
According to the results of a WSA referendum on March 21, students want there to be a draft, but they don’t want to be called for it. They vote of 5,260 to 3,980 not to abolish the draft, and 4,989 to 3,972 that the university should stop cooperating with the draft by compiling class rankings.
On campus, March is a great month for music, theater and the underground press.
March 3–7— The radical literary journal Quixote and the Students for a Democratic Society present the anti- LBJ adaptation of Macbeth, MacBird!, in Ag Hall. It’s just days after the world premiere in Greenwich Village, and playwright Barbara Garson makes a special appearance.187
March 7— The first underground newspaper in the state, Connections, is published as Bob Gabriner and Stuart Ewen expand their 1965 counterculture commentary ACT Tracts into sixteen edgy and irreverent pages. It’s experimental at all levels, from layout to distribution, and “dedicated to remaining underground, rather than being buried above ground.” The paper is delayed a day when North Shore Publishers in Milwaukee refuses to print it; the Courier Hub Publishing Company takes the job but insists on blanking out certain words. The editors agree that an expurgated paper is better than having no paper at all.
March 11— R&B great Smokey Robinson and all the Miracles bring Motown to the Stock Pavilion for Greek Week.189
March 17— The Paul Butterfield Blues Band plays two blistering Union Theater sets, earning cheers from the crowd and a condescending review in the Capital Times.
Assembly Speaker Harold Froelich however apparently has a lower opinion of youth culture. On the 22nd, he calls on the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee to cut the UW’s budget as punishment for “the moral and social degeneration on the campus.” Froelich is especially incensed at the Daily Cardinal’s publication of a photo taken inside a bathroom.
The biggest entertainment news happens on a rainy Easter afternoon in the Town of Madison, as a crowd of about four thousand attends the dedication of the Dane County Memorial Coliseum. The March 26 celebration comes barely four and a half years after Dane County decided to build a sports and entertainment arena,
The building is 312 feet around and 98 feet high at its center, with 7,670 permanent seats and up to
3,330 temporary ones. It was designed by the firm Law, Law, Potter and Nystrom, whose founding partner, James R. Law, was mayor when the city first considered Frank Lloyd Wright’s auditorium and convention center overlooking Lake Monona in the park now named for Mayor Law. The Anthony Grignano Company was the general contractor. Some finishing touches remain, but coliseum manager Roy Gumptow vows everything will be ready for the inaugural event next weekend— the Zor Shrine Circus.
In schoolhouse news
On the 16th— Superintendent Gilberts upholds the decision by La Follette High principal August Vander Muelen to prevent graduate student Mark Greenside, UW 1966, from serving as an unpaid student- teacher because he won’t shave his goatee. Gilberts says the trim facial hair “would not have a desirable effect on students.” Greenside, who must perform student- teaching to obtain his license, accepts an offer from the Verona schools
March 28— The west side vandals strike again, as teen vandals with slingshots and rocks break twenty- one windows and several reinforced doors at Van Hise School, causing about $2,000 in damages, It’s the seventh such instance at Van Hise, Odana, and Orchard Ridge Schools since September, accounting for nearly $10,000 in damages. Police nab five youngsters, who explain they did it “for lack of anything better to do.”236
City side, on March 23— The council lifts parking meter restrictions on Monday and Friday nights, making street parking free after 6 p.m.277
March 24— As is the long-standing practice, most Madison stores, all banks, and all government offices except the post office are closed from noon to 3 p.m. for Good Friday. But something new this year during services -antiwar demonstrations inside the First Methodist, Covenant Presbyterian, and Bashford Methodist churches.
And that’s this week’s MITS. For your award-winning, listener-supported WORT news team, I’m Stu Levitan
Photo, March 2: The day after campus beauty queen Donna Schueler walked into an eastbound bus (the lane at left) and lost her left leg students warily eye westbound traffic while crossing University Avenue. Tom Barlet photo courtesy Capital Newspapers Archives