On the UW campus
The first week is the worst week for students who take drugs or disrupt classes, as the Republican-controlled State Assembly advances two crack-down bills introduced in the wake of the Black Studies Strike earlier this year. On the fourth, the Assembly approves and sends to Republican Gov. Warren Knowles a bill allowing the UW to suspend for up to two years any student convicted of disrupting classes or other university activities. The next day, the Assembly approves and sends to the Republican-controlled State Senate a bill to abolish the UW Protection & Security office and put the Madison police department in charge on campus. Madison police chief Wilbur Emery supports the measure, which he says would lead to increased investigations and arrests for drugs.
UW police chief Ralph Hanson gets the message, and the next week starts sending uniformed UW officers on regular patrols through Memorial Union.[i] And his men make three arrests at a Library Mall rally challenging the recent rule banning sound amplification equipment. Among those arrested – Elrie Chrite, director of the UW Afro-American Center, and Billy Kaplan, a spokesperson for Madison SDS.
The UW regents are also fed up with sex and drugs, reinstating curfew for female students and raising the minimum age at which students may live in unsupervised housing without parental permission from twenty to twenty-one. Regents president Dr. James T. Nellen calls it “a vote against the permissiveness that is going on in universities.” Over the strong opposition of President Harrington and Chancellor Young, the regents vote, 7–3, to give freshmen women under twenty-one a curfew of midnight on weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekends. In housing units where male/female visitation is allowed, it will be limited to the hours between noon and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and between noon and 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. Regent Maurice Pasch, the Madison attorney who is now the sole Democratic appointee on the board, cites “promiscuity and immoral behavior” as grounds for the new restrictions, which take effect next fall. Regents endorsing the new restrictions claim overwhelming support from parents.[ii]
Not exactly the best atmosphere for a Sunday night reading in Great Hall by famed Beat poet Gary Snyder. But no problem for Janis Joplin a week later, as she brings a near-capacity crowd at the Dane County Coliseum to its feet. Backed by her new Kozmic Blues Band, dressed in a purple and rhinestone bellbottom suit and strawberry blouse, the 26-year-old roars through a set with songs from all phases of her three-year career, including her new single, “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder).”
And the grand opening of the Humanities building is celebrated by four formal dedication programs and a series of recitals and lectures from the 15th to the 23rd. Due to high construction bids, the regents eliminated from the massive building several architectural features, including significant amounts of trim and decorative plaster, stone entrances, and a sculpture garden in the interior courtyard.[iii]
In protest news
The legal end of the line comes for former UW student Bob Zwicker on November 10 when the US Supreme Court declines to hear his challenge to the state statute on disorderly conduct. Zwicker was arrested at the first protest against the Dow Chemical company in February 1967 when he brought a placard showing the effects of napalm into the Engineering Building. Convicted and fined $200.
But just four days later, it’s the financial end of the line for Dow, as the company announces it has lost the government contract to make napalm and has ceased its production.[iv] What the protests of 1967 didn’t accomplish, defense procurement does.
On the 13th, folk legends Peter, Paul and Mary entertain thousands at the Dane County Memorial Coliseum, then come to the University Catholic Center on lower State Street to perform another full set at a crushingly crowded Midnight Vigil for the Moratorium. At both shows, they urge fans to join the Moratorium in Washington that weekend, and many do.[v]
And on the 19th—About five hundred supporters of Madison SDS stage a quick, orderly march encompassing Bascom Hall, the Army Mathematics Research Center, and the Army and Air Force ROTC buildings; their only infraction is some jaywalking.[vi]
Mayor William Dyke releases his first city budget. To meet his campaign promise to not raise taxes, Dyke wants to lay off seventy city employees (including twenty-four firemen), close fire station No. 4 at the corner of Randall and West Dayton Streets, prohibit city snow removal outside the normal forty-hour work week, eliminate lifeguards at city beaches, delay the start of the State Street Mall, and adopt a $9 auto registration fee, or wheel tax. The council does not signal support for any aspect of the mayor’s proposal.
The council enacts a new obscenity ordinance banning the topless dancing now featured in several city nightspots and forcing stores to keep adult magazines in an area where persons under seventeen can’t enter. Reverend Richard Pritchard proposes a city commission, patterned on the Equal Opportunities Commission, to review questionable material and “help keep people away from temptation.” Second Ward alder Gordon Harmon supports the proposal: “Would you want your daughter to dance naked before these people? That’s what’s going to happen” without immediate adoption, he warns.[vii]
Campus Drive opens on the 26th, taking about fifteen thousand cars a day off University Avenue by providing nonstop driving from Babcock Drive to Farley Avenue and University Bay Drive. The $4.5 million project, phase two of the expansion adopted in 1961, took two years to complete. The third and final phase —six lanes out to the Blackhawk Drive overpass just west of Segoe Road — starts next year.[viii]
And the Student Senate at the East Side Senior High votes not the participate in the Elks Club $2,500 scholarship contest until the clause restricting membership to white males is stricken from the club’s national charter. “We can’t morally cooperate,” student president Dix Bruce says. The West High Senate quickly follows suit.[ix]
And that’s this week’s Madison in the Sixties. For your award-winning, mail-voting, mask-wearing, hand-washing socially distant WORT News team, I’m Stu Levitan
[i] “Cops Prowl Rathskeller,” DC, November 13, 1969.
[ii] BOR minutes, November 14, 1969; Gene Wells, “Regents Reinstate Hours,” DC, November 15, 1969; Maureen Santini, “Double Standard for Sexes Reopened by Regent Action,” DC, November 14, 1969.
[iii] “U.W. Music Faculty Will Dedicate New Facilities,” CT, October 22, 1969; Feldman, Buildings, 398.
[iv] “Dow No Longer Making Napalm,” WSJ, November 15, 1969.
[v] Lynne Rasmussen, “Peter, Paul, Mary Sing, with Message, WSJ, November 14, 1969; DC, November 15, 1969; Facebook messages[to author?] from Donna Vukelich-Selva and Ira Mintz, August 27, 2017.
[vi] Elaine Cohen, “SDS Sponsored March Hits U Research, ROTC,” DC, November 20, 1969.
[vii] William R. Wineke, “Council OKs New Obscenity Laws,” WSJ, November 26, 1969.
[viii] “Expressway Section Opens Today,” WSJ, November 26, 1969.
[ix] Patrick McGilligan, “Madison East Votes Boycott of Elk’s Scholarship Contest,” DC, December 3, 1969.