Bruce ’69 on Dean Seymour

John Bruce ’69 has posted several thoughts on The Review‘s article about the 1969 Parkhurst takeover and the corresponding interview with Dean Thaddeus Seymour ’49. As a disenchanted ROTC member, Bruce experienced the anti-war protests firsthand.

He wrote this amusing description about the former dean:

Seymour would have been a little over 40 years old in 1969. He was bullet-headed, broad-shouldered, and robust; he must have been something like six feet six and towered over just about any student. Not only that, but in my experience, he was a bully. Someone of that size and strength ought, it seems to me, to have been more of an obstacle to students who wanted to take over a building by violence. Legally I suspect Seymour would have been on solid ground even if he’d thrown punches, since he’d have been defending himself against what was already assault, and I have a feeling that if he’d done so, the issue would have been quickly decided. (See this photo from the event. But it doesn’t look like a hammer lock to me; it looks more llike a waltz.) Nobody in the SDS could have taken Seymour, I guarantee you. But even passive resistance from a guy like Seymour would have, it seems to me, been hard to overcome. They had to carry Dickerson, 60 years old, maybe five feet ten and a heavy smoker, out of the building in his chair, after all. What if Seymour had wedged himself into a doorframe?

He also notes an apparent discrepancy between Seymour’s reactions to the protesters at the time and his apparent change of heart today:

Wait a second here. In an earlier interview, he says he was ready to bash heads, and now if McNamara says the kids were right, I’ve got to respect their commitment? And let’s keep in mind that the man who insists he’s not the model for Dean Wormer didn’t just fight down the urge to bash heads. He handed out much College Discipline against the protesters. Does he take it all back now?

It’s a very interesting insight from a man who was there. Read it all.