DSS Exhibits

Neatline Exhibit on Dow

This interactive exhibit looks at how faculty interacted with political issues through The Lafayette, in particular during the 1967–1972 period. In spring 1968, 51 faculty members signed a petition protesting a visit by a Dow interviewer due to their production of napalm–and published it in the newspaper. Following this act, many professors wrote in their opinions regarding this action. The following Neatline exhibits look at a Letter to the Editor published in the 3/8/68 issue by physics professor David Hogenboom, followed by the reactions to this letter by three other professors in the 3/15/68 issue. 

I interviewed Professor Hogenboom to get his reflections on this controversial letter he wrote against signiing the petition. 

"I decided that I didn’t want to sign the petition [...] and then I may have felt well, that was going to kind of stamp me as a non-signer, you know, so I thought maybe I ought to explain that. I certainly had not written many letters to the editor–I was not very outspoken about that kind of thing [...] Lafayette’s a pretty small place, much smaller then than it is now but everybody pretty much knew everybody [...] But there was no, you know, ostracism or no pressure from people who had signed it after my letter. I remember I used to have lunch in what was then the faculty dining room in Marquis Hall [...] and I remember going there and sitting at a table with other colleagues [...] and this gentleman named Robert Kelson who was the Kirby Professor of Civil Rights at the time in those days, probably the most highly paid and some ways the most prestigious faculty member, came by the table and he spoke to me and said 'you spoke for others.' I was sort of put off by that; it seemed a little, you know, well 'Kelson you can speak for yourself. I wasn’t intending to speak for you at all.'"


Access Hogenboom's letter here. 

Access responses here.