Wayne University’s complicity with the war effort as well as the manifestation of student-faculty impotency in university policy making were both clearly revealed Nov. 1, when the administration of Wayne State University decided to lodge a marine recruiter on campus.
Following a rally near the south side of State Hall approximately 100 students headed by members of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), Wayne State University Veterans for Peace in Vietnam and the Detroit Draft Resistance Committee protested the presence on campus of Captain Frank Huey, marine recruiting officer for the area south of Marquette, Mich.
Originally, several rooms of David Mackenzie Hall were allotted for the recruiting activities, but once the Administration caught wind of the planned protest, Captain Huey was quickly transferred to the far north end of the campus.
In spite of the shuffle, “trouble” did occur on a lesser scale as the group of demonstrators marched down Cass to the Pontiac Building chanting “Hell, no. We won’t go!” and “Off campus, out of Vietnam.” When the demonstrators arrived at their destination, several W.S.U. security police refused admittance to more than one person at a time, every 15 minutes or so.
Dena Clamage of SDS made a statement which was heard on WJBK-TV that night. In her statement, Miss Clamage referred to the cooperation of the University with the war effort, as manifested by the recruiter being allowed on campus, as the primary reason for the demonstration. At the same time a reporter attempted to question Captain Huey only to receive a reply that he was under orders not to become involved in discussions about Vietnam or the draft.
Outside demonstrators burned Marine Corps enlistment literature and made several attempts at pushing their way in, at one point moving a University police car that was parked on the sidewalk directly in front of the door to the building.
At this point, patrolmen from 9 Tactical Mobile Units (Detroit police) summoned by Director of Public Safety Donald F. Stevens in case University officers couldn’t handle the situation, moved in displaying axe-handles and two foot long billy-clubs. The group of demonstrators then decided to march back to central campus.
Back to State Hall another rally was held. Prominent among the speakers were Dr. David Hereshoff of the English Dept., Dr. Norman Pollack, of the History Dept., and various members of SDS. All stressed the evils of University complicity with the military and the war effort and also the need for student-faculty power in decision making at the university.
Eventually, the demonstrators proceeded to WSU President William R. Keast’s office on the 11th floor of Mackenzie Hall only to find locked doors, Keast being out of town for the weekend. A sign reading, “Off campus, out of Vietnam” was left on the door of Keast’s office.
Later WSU Vice-President Edward L. Cushman issued a statement condemning demonstrators and referring to the service rendered to interested students by having a recruiter conveniently at hand. Members of SDS took the statement to be clearly indicative of the University’s complicity with the Johnson Administration and its “unequivocally wrong war,” calling the university “a pimp prostituting its students to the military.”
See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.