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Spring Confrontation

Myron Kandel

— Jesse Clarkson was a professor of Russian history, although totally not leftist at all. He came from an old, old Brooklyn family. I took two classes in Russian history from him. As I recall, he was a very iconoclastic and a very wonderful man of great character, and probably one of the people who took no guff from Gideonse.

Al Lasher

— So the History department elected a guy named Clarkson, I forget his first name. A lovely man, patrician. Clarkson Avenue in Brooklyn is named after his family, an old New York family. And he was a lovely person and a great scholar. He was a liberal. Gideonse didn't like him. He refused to accept the nomination. And we were on him like a pack of red ants.

Harry Baron

— Gideonse vetoed the approval of a guy, the head of the History Department, by the name of Clarkson, who was highly regarded in many circles. I mean, not just by students, but others. So we thought this was unfair and we rightly came to his defense.

Gene Bluestein

— Gideonse nixed it, we printed it. He was furious because we had gotten the tip from a faculty member.

Herb Dorfman

— I had heard that there'd been an election for department chairman and Jesse Clarkson had been elected but that Gideonse had overruled. So I asked about it. Nobody wanted to say. I mean, they were frightened. But with a little tidbit here and a little tidbit there I put together a story. And I looked at the story and I thought, “It seems reasonable, but I don't have one piece of evidence here. There's nothing in here.” So I went into the History department and I got hold of the chair, the guy who was now the chairman, and one of the other professors was sitting there as well, and I said, "I want to do a story about what's happened here." So they both said, "There's not much we can say about it." Obviously they'd been told to keep it quiet. I said, "Well, let's do it this way. I'll tell you what I think the story is and if you see any glaring problems" — and I said glaring — "just say uh-uh.” You know? Okay, so then I told them the story as I saw it. And when it was over they both just looked at me. "Okay," I said and I walked out, and I thought to myself, “What actually just happened here?” I mean, I said glaring so maybe there was a minor error. And I knew Gideonse would jump down our throats, not just mine, with any mistake in there. But I thought, hell, I've got to go with it now 'cause I know the story is basically true. So we did and it turned out to be the truth right down the line.

Harry Baron

— That was near the breaking point, by the way, right then, 'cause Herb Dorfman wrote this story on the basis of the news we found out. And Gideonse was furious 'cause this was something that got to him, showed him for being picky and partial and it embarrassed him. If it hadn't been then, maybe it would have gone on and on. But we were always at each others' throats.

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Bill Taylor

— I don't think that the newspaper had ever reported a single story that had the impact of the Clarkson business. The faculty advisor, Mr. Portnoy, specifically told the editors not to print the story and then they went ahead and printed the story.

Harry Baron

— As soon as this happens, a week or so after, the advisor quits. When the advisor quits, technically, the faculty advisor quits, we're not legally allowed to put out the newspaper.