IMAGE:  February 2003 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
APRIL 2003
Volume 95, Issue 4
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…getting pleasure from reading the obituaries…

“New” versus “Old” Chicago Seven
I missed the original Magazine story last year about “the new Chicago Seven” (“Chicago Seven: One Year Later,” February/03), so don’t know whether it included the U of C link to the original “Chicago Seven,” the famous radicals from in the late 1960s.

During those turbulent years I was both a Ph.D. student in English and director of student activities, cutting my teeth in college administration. Through my assistant director I received a request that our offices, then on the second floor of Ida Noyes, be used in the evenings under her supervision by some people “working in the community.” Ever innocent, I approved the use, not thinking to probe the nature of their “community work.” I would see our visitors from time to time, assembling materials or mailings, and we always exchanged greetings. By the time of the 1968 elections, they were gone. It was only much later that I learned that our visitors were the original Chicago Seven, and that the U of C Student Activities Office had a role, albeit minor and unwitting, in what transpired.

To the University’s credit (or possibly to a defecatory umbrella in the Dean of Students’ office—I can’t believe the top administration didn’t find out), I never heard about this from anyone in the administration. But then, enough happened during the ensuing months that the mistake of a young, naive administrator might easily have been overlooked.

Dan (“Skip”) Landt, AM’62

I learned from an excellent and mind-expanding undergraduate experience at the U of C, and I do appreciate the “big picture” education I received. I must, however, strongly object (and I am using my indoor voice) to you naming a group of (admittedly high-potential) students as the “New Chicago Seven.” Do we now live in a such politically repressed and politically correct society that even an enlightened group as the University of Chicago can stand up and take pride in proclaiming a group of undergraduates equal to a group of political activists who took a stand and fought for it? This makes me ashamed of the school I went to. I was grounded in the values of reason over all, learned the importance of the “big picture” over tunnel vision, and these are the things I value most about my U of C education: the ability to step back from a situation and put it into a historic, sociological, and scientific perspective. You have perverted this notion by associating a random group of undergrads with a politically proactive group. Yes, they may be doing good things, but not with the imperative of the original Chicago Seven. Shame on you for perverting this well-known icon to your own agenda.

The children may be our future (barf), but we are living in the here and now, and so are the people we should be lionizing.

Susan Garland, SB’79

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