Chapter 4: Toward the brink

Photo by John Lopinot | Daily Egyptian
Students hold candles during a Vietnam War moratorium and march on Oct. 15, 1969

 “A nation whose young have become intolerant of diversity, intolerant of the rest of its citizenry and intolerant of all traditional values, just because they are traditional, has no generation worthy or capable of assuming leadership in the years to come.”

— “The report of the Commission on Campus Unrest”[1]

Delyte Morris’s reputation would have been secure had he left Southern Illinois University at the end of the 1968-69 academic year. He would be remembered only as the man who transformed a small teachers’ college in the tail-end of nowhere into a major research university and an economic development engine for downstate Illinois.

Morris would have been revered for expanding educational opportunities for the children of coal miners, farmers and small-town shopkeepers, and for welcoming African-Americans and students with disabilities at a time that many universities did not. He would have been the rock that withstood currents of anarchy battering America’s college campuses in the late 1960s. He could have exited with the echo of applause still in his head from a “Salute to Morris” gala held at the SIU Arena in May 1969, which commemorated his 20 years of leading the university.

Even the tragedy of the Old Main fire in June 1969, the work of an unknown arsonist with an unknown agenda, which destroyed the campus’s oldest building and its symbolic heart, would not have diminished his legacy. But that’s not what happened. Morris remained at the helm of the SIU system and its two campuses – the main one in Carbondale and a smaller campus in Edwardsville, Illinois – when a new academic year began in the fall of 1969.

Photo by Ken Garen | Daily Egyptian
SIU President Delyte Morris listens to presentations during an October 1969 hearing into the university’s fiscal practices.

The time capsule image of Morris from his last year as president of SIU is a black-and-white photograph published in the Daily Egyptian newspaper on Nov. 7, 1969.   It shows Morris sitting in a chair in a meeting room of the University Center, the main multipurpose building on campus. Morris has his head in hands, looking down at his shoes.

The photograph was taken by Ken Garen of the Daily Egyptian, the SIU newspaper, which was staffed by undergraduate students and managed by professional journalists under the direction of the SIU Journalism Department. Garen said he was directed to take the photograph by Harry Hix, a veteran newsman from Oklahoma who ran the Daily Egyptian from 1967 to 1970.

“He (Morris) was sitting in the first or second row of the audience, listening to the presentations that were being made,” said Garen. “He had his head in resting in his hands, very forlornly looking down at his shoes, and Harry drew my attention to him and gave me a sign to take that picture.”[2]

The occasion was a hearing into SIU’s fiscal policies by a subcommittee of the Illinois House Appropriations Committee. Of special interest to lawmakers was the decision to build a new residence for the SIU president without first getting approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, as was required for major construction projects. The price tag – $1 million (approximately $6.8 million in 2019 dollars) – got the attention of upstate politicians as well as people on the Carbondale campus.[3]

While the so-called University House controversy was not a direct cause of violent student unrest in Carbondale in May 1970 following the shooting of anti-war protesters at Kent State University, it did contribute to a pervasive climate of dissent on the Carbondale campus. Perhaps more significant was the damage it did to Morris’s image as the unchallenged authority at SIU.

“Within 10 minutes of the university, there were people living in absolute poverty, and that was one of the things that really irritated me,” said Ralph Kylloe, a Daily Egyptian photographer for the 1969-1970 academic year. “Morris was building a million-dollar house; yet, there were people who were starving.”[4]

Bob Carr broke the news to Daily Egyptian readers that the project was going to cost in excess of $500,000 and that the house would include such exotic features as a heated driveway slab to handle the few episodes of snow and ice that Carbondale experienced each winter.[5] “Everybody knew the house was coming; they didn’t know what was in it. There was a lot of rumor and speculation that it was going to have a moat and all kinds of things.”[6]

Relocation of the president’s home had been in the works since 1967 in order to create space for a new classroom building immediately north of the SIU University Center. After the destruction of Old Main, the campus’s largest academic building, SIU officials decided to add another wing to the new building, helped along by a nearly $5 million state appropriation to replace lost classroom space.[7]

Between the Student Center and what was known as the Old Baptist Foundation (now Doyle Hall) was a series of small structures that housed a sandwich shop, faculty offices and various university functions such as offices for the bursar, registrar and graduate school. The footprint of the new building at its northern end fell across the SIU president’s office and the modest home of Morris and his wife, Dorothy.[8]

A House divided

Construction of a new presidential residence was well under way by fall of 1969 on what had been a sod farm for SIU’s Agriculture School southwest of the main campus. The structure was far from modest; square footage totaled more than 10,500 square feet and included overnight suites for university guests and space for public functions. A 1986 report of the Illinois Board of Higher Education on residences of public university presidents and chancellors listed the SIU house as the largest such facility in the state at that time.[9]

The decision not to submit the project to the state board was the recommendation of John Rendleman, vice president of business affairs, when the board of trustees approved the plan on April 19, 1968. Rendleman said that because the work involved the “relocation of an existing facility,” it did not require state review as would a “new” building. The board also was told that construction would not use state funds but be paid for with money left over from grants administered by SIU, another reason Rendleman said state review was unnecessary.[10] State legislators and members of the higher education board took exception to both arguments once they learned of the home’s construction and its cost.

The expenditure didn’t sit well with SIU student leaders, either. Dwight Campbell was student body president for the 1969-1970 school year. He told lawmakers at the Carbondale hearing that students disagreed with the university’s spending priorities but had no voice in decisions. “Our power is null and void,” Campbell testified. “Our recommendations go to the board of trustees and are then forgotten.”[11]

Once the legislative subcommittee had its crack at SIU, the higher education board convened formal hearings in Chicago on the University House. At a meeting on Dec. 2, the board voted no confidence in Morris as operating head of SIU, but it did not seek his removal. Instead, it urged the SIU trustees to “exercise their responsibilities to meet the crisis in confidence and to correct the internal administrative arrangements which have contributed in large measure to this situation.”[12] The trustees had taken such action on Nov. 12, when they created the position of “university director” to be chief administrative officer for fiscal matters at SIU, reporting directly to them and bypassing Morris.[13]

The president’s job already had been changed significantly before the controversy. Deciding that the SIU system had become too large for one person to govern, the trustees transferred responsibility for day-to-day operation of SIU’s two campuses from Morris to separate chancellors for Carbondale and Edwardsville, beginning in July 1968.[14] Rendleman got the job in Edwardsville, while the Carbondale chancellor was Robert MacVicar, formerly vice president of academic affairs at SIU.

MacVicar wouldn’t have the job long. In January 1970, the university announced that MacVicar would be leaving at the end of the spring quarter to become president of Oregon State University.[15] Robert A. Harper, who chronicled Morris’s last year at SIU in his book The University that Shouldn’t Have Happened, but Did” wrote that despite changes to his job description, Morris remained an important presence in the SIU system, particularly in Carbondale, which he considered his home.[16]

 “MacVicar seemed to be a pretty sharp guy. I remember thinking he certainly was more liberal than Morris; I thought he was more in tune with students,” said Rich Davis, a reporter for the Daily Egyptian in 1969-1970. “In later years, I think Morris became … what’s the right word? I don’t think ‘whipping boy’ is the right word. They got rid of him and kind of eased him out, and I kind of felt sorry for him because he built that university. I thought he became the person they dumped some of the blame on.”[17]

Student power/student protest

The University House controversy was just one ingredient in a simmering stew of unrest at the beginning of the 1969-70 school year.   Despite its relative isolation in downstate Illinois, SIU nurtured a cadre of committed young activists. Students seeking to join the radical collegiate mainstream in the fall of 1969 had a menu of options. There was the Carbondale Revolutionary Union, which itself was a coalition of student groups that included the Women’s Liberation Front, the Black Student Union, the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and an SDS-splinter group, the Revolutionary Youth Movement II. The leading anti-war group was the Southern Illinois Peace Committee (SIPC).[18]  None of the organizations had large memberships, which often overlapped among groups.

“It just seemed like, constantly, there was some sort of friction or conflict with students rebelling against things, whether it was the war or women’s hours,” said Davis, who felt as if SIU was “swept along” by the tide of youthful resistance to authority that had spread throughout the United States. “On the most basic level, our generation just felt like it had the answers, and there were all these opportunities to protest or disagree.”[19]

Cathy Speegle, a journalism major who would start working at the Daily Egyptian in the summer of 1970, recalled attending SDS meetings at Carbondale when she arrived on campus in 1968. “I was interested in SDS because when I was in high school, many of my teachers had been involved in SDS in college,” she said. “I remember going to a couple of meetings that fall and then deciding I didn’t want to go anymore. …I didn’t see they were making a difference, and they were engaged in a lot of debate among themselves.”[20]

A chronic source of irritation were university policies that regulated aspects of students’ private behavior. Especially distasteful were rules on when woman had to be in their dormitory rooms at night — so-called “women’s hours.” Speegle remembered those, too. “When I entered school, there was an option. If your parent or guardian would sign a letter, it would free you from women’s hours. So, I sent the letter home, and my father just exploded. He said absolutely not, no way. Then, of course, we all became creative and figured out ways to sneak around curfew.”[21]

Dwight Campbell had been elected student body president the previous spring on a platform that called for “an end to the arbitrary regulation of our social lives.” Besides the hated women’s hours, also on student government’s list of grievances were “unfair” housing and motor vehicle regulations, as well as a perceived lack of input on practically anything of importance to students.[22] In a State of the Campus address that October, Campbell, an African-American from Chicago, called students an “oppressed group” within the university community.[23]

“Dwight Campbell is the person I remember best and someone I knew personally on campus,” said P.J. Heller, a Daily Egyptian reporter who covered student government. “I think he represented students on campus who felt that the university should not exert as much control over their lives as it did.” Heller described student government officers generally as idealist and activist, whose leadership “definitely” contributed to campus volatility during the school year.

Animosity toward the Vietnam War drove the largest demonstrations. A rally and march on October 15 for Vietnam Moratorium Day, a national protest of the war in Southeast Asia, drew 2,500 people to the lawn of Morris Library for speeches, followed by a candlelight procession to a local cemetery. More than 3,000 people signed petitions urging President Richard Nixon to halt the conflict. Spokesman for the SIPC that fall was Bill Moffett, another Chicagoan among the student body, who also led the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) chapter at SIU.[24]

The SIPC chartered buses to take people from Carbondale to Washington, D.C., in November for what would be the largest anti-war protest in U.S. history.[25] Among the estimated half-million people in attendance was Bob Carr, reporting for the Daily Egyptian. “It was exhilarating in that there were so many people there, and it there was a sense that you were on the right team, somehow, and that these people of power and influence were saying, ‘You guys go; you’re doing the right thing.’ You felt you were doing more than just showing up.”[26]

Photo by Bob Carr | Daily Egyptian
Daily Egyptian Bob Carr reporter accompanied SIU students to Washington, D.C., in November 1969 for what at the time was the largest anti-war protest in the nation’s history

Carr said he felt an obligation to report all sides of a story fairly, even if his own biases fell on the liberal end of the political spectrum. “I tried to keep a personal code of ethics about how I wrote. I would have a point of view, but I would never express my own point of view in a news story. It actually became a little easier when I was assigned to the ‘radical’ beat because then you would go out and talk to a bunch of people who I was agreeing with in many ways.”[27]

The gut response of the SIU administration to student dissent reflected its in loco parentis philosophy of acting in the place of students’ parents.  A purge of disruptive elements had followed earlier episodes of unruly student behavior.  The university expelled fifty-three students after a water fight/“panty raid” in June 1966 got out of hand and resulted in hundreds of male students being chased by Carbondale cops on four successive nights.[28] Nearly two years later, in May 1968, eight students were expelled after forcing their way into Morris’s campus office to protest the cancellation of a speech by black power activist Stokely Carmichael.[29]

The hard-line attitude was not atypical of the authority figures against whom the armies of the young were arrayed.  The Illinois General Assembly officially outlawed disruptive behavior at state universities in 1969, one of many states to take such action following a turbulent year on college campuses in 1968. The Illinois law made it crime for any student of a public college or university to interfere with the function of that institution,[30] a definition that gave college administrators leeway to crack down on dissent. Universities also developed formal plans and tactics to deal with violent student disturbances.

SIU’s 1969 “operational plan” for campus disorder shows that security forces had a full complement of riot control equipment, including helmets, shields, night sticks and both tear-gas grenades and canisters.  There were 40 uniformed offices, five investigators and 25 student patrolmen, the latter of whom constituted the so-called Saluki Patrol. There also was a designated “intelligence officer” whose job it was to sniff out potential trouble.[31]

The President’s Office began getting regular reports in 1969 on student activist groups and their leaders.[32] The reports show that security personnel regularly attended meetings of SDS and the SIPC on campus and reported who was there and what was said. For example, a Security Office report of April 2, 1969, about a campus SDS meeting, references a male attendee who had attracted attention. “Because he dresses fairly straight and says nothing, people suspect him as being a spy for the Security Police. They are getting pretty touchy about it. (He is not one of our men).” The same person reported that he was attempting to infiltrate a “small band of very secret commandos” within the local SDS chapter, adding that he would say his motive for joining “will be revenge for my firing from the Saluki Patrol.”[33]

Information about student activism was exchanged regularly with the FBI and military intelligence agencies, which by the start of the 1969-1970 school year were laser-focused on SDS and a militant splinter group of SDS called the Weatherman, later known as the Weather Underground.[34] The systematic monitoring of student dissent on college campuses was different than the FBI’s more infamous CounterintelPro (counterintelligence program) operation, which utilized disinformation campaigns and covert actions to undermine what it perceived as radical domestic organizations, including anti-war and black empowerment groups such as the Black Panthers.[35]

SIU administrators also took an interest in SDS; the President’s Office compiled a file of more than 200 newspaper articles about the group’s activities from local, state and national publications between July 1968 and May 1970.[36] Some of those articles could have come from  the FBI office in Springfield. Beginning in 1969, the Springfield office began supplying “established sources and informants” with media reports about SDS and other radical organizations on college campuses in order to “combat and discredit the influence” of activists.[37]

I like to watch

One way the FBI distributed internal communication prior to the advent of electronic mail was via “airtel,” a teletype message sent by airmail. On March 26, 1969, FBI field offices were sent an airtel directing them to step up efforts to develop information about potential campus disorders.[38]

Detailed instructions on what to include in reports about campus violence was sent to field offices on September 5, 1969, as the new school year began. So-called STAG reports – FBI shorthand for “student agitation” – were to include the names of participating organizations, identity of key leaders; tactics used; cause of demonstrations, reaction by school authorities; number of injured (both demonstrators and police); damage estimates, number of arrests and number of demonstrators. The airtel stressed the importance of collecting the details. “Teletypes reporting on STAG matters must be complete as summaries are furnished on a daily basis to the White House, the Attorney General and other interested officials.”[39]

FBI policy in the fall of 1969 limited recruitment of on-campus informants, and there was a ban on using students under the age of 21. To get around the bureau’s internal rules, agents were encouraged to cultivate other sources, such as campus security offices, which typically had fewer restrictions.[40] Consequently, much of the information passed along about SIU was attributed to sources within the university’s Security Office, based on a review of airtels and other internal FBI memoranda obtained through the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Military intelligence was another channel for information. An October 1969 report prepared by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Chanute Air Force Base near Rantoul, Illinois, listed the names, addresses and, in some cases, Social Security numbers of 19 SIU students “who have sympathized with the SDS movement at the university and/or are active members of the SDS chapter located at SIU.” According to the report, the names were provided by the SIU Security Office, which advised that the individuals “are potential trouble-makers in matters which could involve the local SIU ROTC unit, Carbondale law enforcement agencies and SIU Security police.” The report showed that the list was distributed to the FBI’s Springfield office, the ROTC unit in Carbondale and other Air Force Special Investigations units.[41]

In addition to dissident students, the FBI wanted to know the identity of dissident faculty. An airtel of May 22, 1969, asked field offices to provide the names of faculty members or teaching assistants at schools “who have actively participated in student agitation or who have encouraged student confrontations with college administrations. Of particular interest will be those espousing a philosophy which has resulted in violence or confrontation with authorities.”[42]

The Springfield FBI office replied on June 13, 1969, that it could identify only two people who met the criteria – an assistant professor of English at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill., and a part-time teaching assistant at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.[43] Both made it into the bureau’s indexes – one of the ways the FBI tracked people before computer databases.[44] What made someone index worthy? The English professor was identified as an organizer of the SDS chapter at ISU and as a participant in protests against the Vietnam War and racial discrimination. The teaching assistant had been an organizer for the left-wing Peace and Freedom Party in Illinois and had participated in demonstrations protesting the conviction of baby doctor author Dr. Benjamin Spock for aiding and abetting resistance to the national military draft.[45]

A review of FOIA documents indicates the Springfield FBI office opened case files on at least eight organizations and 26 individuals at SIU between 1968 and the end of 1970.[46] Organizations having files included the SIU chapter of SDS, as well as feminist, black empowerment and anti-war groups with whom SDS often allied. Individuals included both students and nonstudents, and at least four faculty members who served as advisers for SDS or anti-war groups that had been recognized as official student organizations. There were no case files associated with student government officers at SIU.

Students for a Democratic Society had been founded at Port Huron, Michigan, in 1962. It was the leading force of the so-called “New Left,” defined by historian John McMillan as a “loosely organized, mostly white student movement that promoted participatory democracy, crusaded for civil rights and various types of university reforms and protested against the Vietnam War.”[47] To the FBI, the organization had evolved by 1969 from its populist, grassroots origins to embrace “a growing Marxist-Leninist adherence, which currently calls for the building of a revolutionary youth movement.”[48]

Internal divisions over ideology and strategy exploded at the SDS national convention in Chicago in June 1969. Helped along by the FBI’s own CounterintelPro efforts to exploit factional differences,[49] the national organization split into three groups: The Maoist-influenced Progressive Labor Party; the Revolutionary Youth Movement II, which sought to enlist more  working class youth; and the Weatherman, which included most of the former national SDS leadership. Of the three, the FBI was most concerned about the Weatherman, which the FBI said promoted opposition to “U.S. imperialism” by both political and military means, including creation of clandestine “revolutionary” units.[50]

In December 1969, FBI field offices were instructed to identify and investigate all members of the Weatherman faction in their areas.[51] A memorandum dated March 16, 1970, stated that there were only two known Weatherman collectives within the Springfield division – one at the University of Illinois and one at Illinois State University in Normal.[52] Also in 1969, the FBI office in Springfield began compiling four-month summaries of SDS activities at the five colleges in its jurisdiction that had chapters.[53]

The FBI summaries do not paint a robust picture of the SDS chapter at SIU. Instead, they support the recollections of Daily Egyptian alumna that the organization did not have a large following among the more than 23,000 students on campus. For example, the summary dated August 29, 1969, reported on the efforts of the Carbondale SDS chapter to host a three-day regional conference the previous May. While the chapter’s acting chairman had expected 150-200 student attendees from metropolitan areas of Chicago, Illinois and Indiana, no more than 15 people showed up, with all but two or three being from Carbondale.

By noon of the second day, the conference had been cancelled.[54] The next four-month summary, dated Dec. 19, 1969, remarked on the organization’s falling status after several days of Weatherman-instigated violence in Chicago the previous October – the so-called “Days of Rage” riots. The report noted that the SIU membership had trouble building interest among students and was trying to align with other groups.[55]

The Illinois Crime Investigating Commission, in a 750-page report on the Chicago riots, issued in April 1970, characterized SDS as “revolutionary youth who are among the most anarchistic in our nation’s history.”[56] The report placed the known SDS membership at all Illinois colleges at 539 students.[57] At the time, there were more than 450,000 students enrolled at Illinois institutions of higher education, both public and private.[58]

Ta-Da! The Big Muddy Gazette

SDS members in Carbondale amplified their message the way many activist groups did before the advent of internet and social media: via an “underground” newspaper. The Southern Free Press appeared on the SIU campus in the spring of 1968.[59]  After publishing sporadically, the Press morphed the next year into the Big Muddy Gazette, whose issue of April 9, 1969, featured a caricature of a nude Delyte Morris on front page.  Both publications were the work of students and non-students, many of whom were affiliated with the Carbondale SDS chapter.[60]

Robert W. MacVicar papers
Oregon State University Archives

The Gazette printed long polemics about revolution, student power and solidarity with oppressed peoples at home and abroad. Interspersed with crude illustrations and free-verse poetry, the hodge-podge of typefaces and a chaotic-by-design layout made reading it a test of personal conviction. Many articles were anonymous or published under pseudonyms. Some were reprinted from the Liberation News Service or other radical publications. All burned with the passion of true believers.­­­­

“The racist actions of Morris and MacVicar … the imperialistic delirium of MacVicar … are not merely the insane acts of insane men, they are the insane acts of a dying class,” an anonymous writer proclaimed on the front page of the Gazette’s April 9 issue. “Viet Nam is winning. The Black Panthers are still armed. Eldridge Clever is still free. The racist, imperialist oppressor of the working people of Amerika and the world is losing its power. The people must be free! The people will be free!  Ta-da!!!!”[61]

The Gazette staff first approached the Chester (Ill.) Herald-Tribune to print the newspaper, but the company refused, its editor calling the submitted materials “the slimiest, filthiest stuff we ever saw.”[62] A publishing company in Astoria, Ill., agreed to print the Gazette, but only after its legal counsel reviewed the content and found no violation of Illinois law. The SIU Security Office contacted the Stevens Publishing Co. and found out how many issues had been printed, how much it cost and with whom the publisher had dealt on the Gazette’s staff. That information was relayed to Chancellor Robert MacVicar two days after the “Delyte nude” issue appeared.[63]

The university banned sales of the Gazette the day after it hit campus, saying the newspaper was of dubious content and that the publisher was not clearly identified.[64] With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, the newspaper filed a federal lawsuit to contest the university’s action, contending the ban constituted an infringement of free speech and assembly. The lawsuit was dismissed the following October in federal district court in East St. Louis after a judge ruled that the listed plaintiffs had failed to establish their connection to the newspaper.[65] The Gazette was one of the organizations at SIU tracked by the FBI Springfield office, likely due to the its SDS connections.[66]

Fred Hampton eyed from above

The FBI also tracked the movement of well-known activists among college campuses. With an African-American enrollment of around 2,500 students – 12 percent of the total student body[67] ­– leaders of the Black Panther Party were among those who visited the Carbondale campus as invited speakers. When Fred ­Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, was scheduled to deliver an address on Nov. 14, 1969, the FBI made plans to attend.

Photo by Ralph Kylloe Jr. | Daily Egyptian
A memorial vigil was held on the SIU campus following the shooting death of Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in December 1969.

The Springfield office requested authority from FBI headquarters to monitor the event, which was being held in the ballroom of the SIU Student Center. A teletype dated Nov. 6, 1969, marked “urgent,” reported that SIU building staff assured agents that “complete security” could be provided for monitoring Hampton’s appearance. According to the teletype, a secure area was identified “above and behind the speaker’s stand” where the speech could be observed. It also recommended placing “appropriately dressed” agents among the crowd.[68] A follow-up memorandum dated Dec. 19 revealed that three FBI agents had attended the speech, where local SDS members had provided security. Less than a month after his speech at SIU, Hampton was shot to death in his Chicago apartment during a raid by police officers attached to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.[69]

Daily Egyptian staffers said they were unaware of systematic intelligence gathering at SIU, but it did not surprise them. For Harry Hix, the newspaper’s professional manager, it confirmed a long-held suspicion about a young man he had met in Thompson Woods, an approximately 10-acre island of trees in the center of the Carbondale campus.

In 1969-1970 the offices of the Daily Egyptian were on the south side of Thompson Woods. Morris Library was on the north side, and the SIU Student Center rested against the forest’s eastern flank. Walking trails through the trees were a main way for pedestrians to cross from one side of campus to the other, and that’s where Hix had his encounters. The young man was older than the average student, Hix recalled, maybe 26 or 27 years old. He wore his reddish-brown hair a little shaggy — the fashion of the day – and he had a hint of a beard. To Hix, the young man fit the image of a college activist.

 “I don’t know who this person was, but he knew me. I can remember at least two times that he said something to me on campus … One time, he walked up behind me, like he was going to walk past me, and he just spoke as he went by and turned off on another path. We didn’t stop and talk or anything. He just said, ‘Harry’ – I don’t know how he knew my name – he said words to the effect that there was doing to be a problem, a disturbance by the library and that I might want to be alert to it.

“Then, the incident I remember the clearest seems to me just before the May (1970) riots. I was going, I think, to the library. That’s usually why I was going through Thompson Woods. … And he walked by me and said, ‘Harry, I think you would be smart to be careful here in the woods and either stay out of here at night or not be by yourself.’ That was it, and that kind of scared me.’’[70]

Another journalism faculty member whose reporter senses were tingling was Lenny Granato, who taught reporting and editing classes in 1969-70. He had no official attachment to the Daily Egyptian, but he occasionally could be found in the newsroom visiting Hix or other professional staff. Granato had completed a master’s degree in journalism at SIU in 1963-64. He returned four years later to start doctoral studies.  In between, Granato was a correspondent for United Press International. 

During the summer of 1967, he had covered rioting in Plainfield, New Jersey, as well as in New York City following the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968.  At the time of his return to Carbondale, he was in line for assignment as a UPI bureau manager in South Vietnam. “The mood of the country was ugly, with violent demonstrations occurring on the streets and on the campuses,” Granato said. “I and others (at the Daily Egyptian) began thinking about how we would respond journalistically to what we felt was sure to happen soon.”[71]

In January 1970, Lenny Granato, John Lopinot and Ralph Kylloe would document an event that foreshadowed the May riots at SIU and would initiate planning for Daily Egyptian coverage of violent student dissent. It would be the first blood drawn in Carbondale that year.

NEXT: The Battle of Woody Hall

Endnotes: Chapter 4

[1] “The report of the Commission on Campus Unrest,” reprinted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 October 1970.

[2] Ken Garen, interview by author, by telephone, 17 September 2002.

[3] Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed via internet on 18 July 2019 at

[4] Ralph Kylloe, interview by author, by telephone, 30 September 2002.

[5] “President’s new home cost over $500,000,” Daily Egyptian, 9 October 1969

[6] Bob Carr, interview by author, September 2002.

[7] Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees annual report, 1969-1970, Minutes of meeting of 21 November 1969, p. 55, Special Collections, Morris Library.

[8] SIU Board of Trustees, annual report for 1967-1968, minutes of meeting of 9 December 1967, p. 91-92

[9] President’s House details from Robert A. Harper, The University that Shouldn’t Have Happened, but Did” (Carbondale: Devil’s Kitchen Press, 1998), p. 230; Staff report of the Illinois Board of Higher Education on public university presidents and chancellors residences, August 1986, Table 3, p. 6, found in publisher’s files of The Daily Egyptian.

[10] Board of trustees annual report, 1967-1968, Minutes of meeting of 19 April 1968, p. 158.

[11] “Legislative panel finishes Carbondale SIU hearings,” the Southern Illinoisan, 9

[12] “Board Votes No Confidence in S.I.U. Head,” Chicago Tribune, 2 December 1969.

[13] “Higher board advised SIU on administrative shift,” Southern Illinoisan, 12 November 1969.

[14] “SIU board strips Morris powers,” Southern Illinoisan, 13 November 1969.

[15] “SIU Chancellor MacVicar resigning,” the Daily Egyptian, 30 January 1970.

[16] Harper, p. 248.

[17] Rich Davis, interview by author, in person, 21 July 2002.

[18] “New Left Sponsors Rap Rally Sunday,” Daily Egyptian, 27 September 1969.

[19] Rich Davis, interview by author, in person, Evansville, IN, 21 July 2002.

[20] Cathy Speegle, interview by author, September 2002.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Aspirants cite views to better SIU,” Daily Egyptian, 25 April 1969.

[23] “Campbell asks for local moratorium,” Daily Egyptian,15 October 1969.

[24] Moratorium Day protest draws hundreds to talks,” Daily Egyptian, 16 October 1969. William Moffett was identified as a member of the Young Socialist Alliance at SIU in multiple SIU “intelligence” reports and FBI memorandum obtained by the author through the federal Freedom of Information Act.

[25] “Anti-war events taking shape on college campuses,” Daily Egyptian, 12 November 1969.rom

[26] Bob Carr, interview by author, September 2002.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ralph Ruffner, report on disciplinary action against students identified in disturbances of June 5-10, August, 3, 1966, President’s Office Collection, Box 450, Recruitment Disturbance folder, Morris Library.

[29] John Eppenheimer, “Trouble Outbreak was Anticipated,” Daily Egyptian, May 10, 1968. Subsequent news reports about the disturbance contain conflicting information about the number of students taken into custody, with numbers alternating between seven and eight.

[30] Clardy, 36.

[31] OPLAN – 1969,  Security Office Folder, Box 617, President’s Office Collection, Morris Library.

[32] Security Office Intelligence Reports, Security Office folder, Box 569, President’s Office Collection, Morris Library. Also Security Office Reports, Robert M. MacVicar Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Oregon State University Library, Corvallis, Oregon.

[33] Author unknown, “Report on SDS Meeting,” 7 April 1969, SIU Security Office, Robert A. MacVicar papers, Oregon State University archives.

[34]Based on analysis of approximately 1,100 pages of FBI memoranda obtained by FOIA request No. 0991941, U.S. Department of Justice, by the author for documents concerning the monitoring of student dissent on Illinois college campuses from spring 1968 through calendar year 1970.

[35] Original FBI documents detailing Counterintelpro operations can be found at The Vault, the FBI’s online FOIA library at

[36] SDS clipping file, President’s Office Collection, Box 569, Morris Library.

[37] Airtels, SAC Springfield to FBI Director, 30 Januuary 1969, and 30 December 1969, subject CounterintelPro, New Left Movement, Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts Subject: (CounterintelPro) New Left, Springfield, accessed at The Vault, the FBI’s online FOIA library at

[38] Airtel from Director, FBI, to Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Albany, with copies to all field offices, March 26, 1969, FOIA request No. 0991941, Feb. 19, 2004, U.S. Department of Justice.

[39] Instructions for new school term, airtel to SAC Albany from FBI Director, with copies to all field offices, 5 September 1969, Freedom of Information Act, request No. 0991941, U.S. Department of Justice.

[40] United States Senate, Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, Book 3, p. 257-258, U.S. Government Printing Office, April 23, 1976.

[41] Special agent (name redacted), “Alleged Known Members of the SDS Chapter at Southern Illinois University,” Air Force Office of Special Investigations, District 12, Chanute AFB, Illinois, 23 October 1969, Freedom of Information Act, request No. 0991941, U.S. Department of Justice.

[42]Author unknown, airtel to field offices, “Student Agitation,” 22 May 1969, Freedom of Information Act, request No. 0991941, U.S. Department of Justice.

[43] Special agent in charge, Springfield FBI, to director, FBI, 13 June 1969, Freedom of Information Act, request No. 0991941, U.S. Department of Justice.

[44] Description of indexes and information related to FBI files come from a variety of online resources, primarily “How to Read and FBI File,” the Marry Ferrell Foundation,, and “FBI abbreviations, acronyms and terminology,” Ernie Lazar, FOIA collection,

[45] Op cit.

[46] Counted were individuals and groups where notations on correspondence indicated a file had been opened and a number assigned to those groups or individuals. A name was not counted if there was no indication of a separate file for that name. Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941, Feb. 19, 2004, U.S. Department of Justice.

[47] John McMillen, “You Didn’t Have to be There: Revisiting the New Left Consensus,” The New Left Revisited (p. 5),(Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2003).

[48] Author unknown, appendix, Students for a Democratic Society, four-month assessment of activities on Illinois college and university campuses, 29 August 1969, Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941, Feb. 19, 2004. Each periodic assessment included an appendix that summarized the philosophy of radical groups mentioned in each report, as it pertained to the FBI’s operational program.

[49] Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts Subject: (CounterintelPro) New Left, Chicago Division, accessed at The Vault, the FBI’s online FOIA library at

[50] FBI Director to Albany SAC, with copies to all offices, Student Agitation Internal Security, 8 August 1969, FOIA request No. 0991941.

[51] Author unknown (redacted), Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941, 8 December 1969.

[52] Author unknown (redacted), letterhead memorandum, 16 March 1970, Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941.

[53] Author unknown (redacted), Internal Security – Students for a Democratic Society;  Sedition, 29 August 1969, for period between 25 April 1969 and 26 August 1969, Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941. The memorandum listed active SDS chapters on five campuses within the Springfield Division: Bradley University, Peoria; Eastern Illinois University, Normal; McMurray College, Jacksonville; SIU and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Author unknown (redacted), Internal Security – SDS; Sedition, 19 December 1969, Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941.

[56] “State panel raps SDS,” the Southern Illinoisan, 21 April 1970.

[57] The Report on the SDS Riots October 8-11, 1969, Chicago, Illinois, the Illinois Crime Investigating Commission,

April 1970, accessed via internet at, 9 September 2019.

[58] Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1972, Table 158, p. 107, accessed via internet,, 9 September 2019.

[59] “Free Press enters phase two on SIU campus,” Southern Illinoisan, 10 October 1968.

[60] “Free Press gives rise to Big Muddy Gazette,” Daily Egyptian, 28 February 1969.

[61] “Ta-Da?” Big Muddy Gazette, 9 April 1969.

[62] “Paper called ‘slimy’” Southern Illinoisan, 5 March 1969.

[63] Lt. Robinson, first name unknown, SIU Security Office, letter to Chancellor MacVicar, April 11, 1969.

[64] “Big Muddy suit dismissed by judge,” Daily Egyptian, 25 October 1969.

[65] “Big Muddy Gazette suit dismissed,” Southern Illinoisan, 24 October 1969.

[66] Freedom of Information Act, request No. 0991941. The Big Muddy Gazette case file was identified as No. 100-11535. The preface of 100- indicates the contents are concerned with domestic security.

[67] “Black enrollment decrease explained, the Daily Egyptian, 7 March 1973. Enrollment figure and percentages given for 1970.

[68] Author unknown, teletype from Springfield FBI office to Chicago FBI office regarding Fred Hampton speaking engagement at SIU-Carbondale, 6 November 1969, Freedom of Information Act request No. 0991941.

[69] “Black Panther leader killed,” Daily Egyptian, 5 December 1969.

[70] Harry Hix, interview by author, via telephone, 20 September 2002.

[71] Lenny Granato, interview by author, electronic mail, Carbondale, Illinois, August 24, 2002 to January 28, 2003.