Letter from E.P. Wolfram to BGSU President William T. Jerome
Wolfram, E. P., Jr. “Letter from E.P. Wolfram to BGSU President William T. Jerome.” Digital Gallery. BGSU University Libraries, 18 June 2020, digitalgallery.bgsu.edu/collections/item/17265. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.
|Letter from E.P. Wolfram to BGSU President William T. Jerome
|Wolfram, E. P., Jr.
|Jerome, Wm. Travers (William Travers), 1919-
|Bowling Green State University -- Administration
|Bowling Green State University -- Students -- Political activity
|A letter from E.P. Wolfram to BGSU President William T. Jerome accusing Jerome of playing into the hands of revolutionaries by allowing student protests to occur unimpeded.
|Wolfram, E. P., Jr.
|William T. Jerome presidential papers; UA-0002f; Center for Archival Collections; University Libraries; Bowling Green State University
|Bowling Green (Ohio)
|Wolfram, E. P., Jr.
Dr. William T. Jerome, III, President
Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio
Dear President Jerome:
I read your letter of May 27 with great interest and I have re-read it again and again. I feel you have misread or read into my letter the polarization that does not really exist. I am neither naive enough nor stupid enough to believe that complicated problems are ever solved by over-simple solutions.
I do believe, however, that our country was founded and is maintained on a set group of rules, and my readings of the statements attributed to you and other administrators at Bowling Green, as well as student publications, lead me to believe that my principles, based on due process of law, are not being instilled in/or followed by the students of this nation.
To be very specific, on page 2 of "The BG News", Friday, May 15, 1970, a young man by the name of Bruce Larrick, in his retiring statement, makes the following comment:
"A revolution is sweeping the country. It has come about because intelligent and perceptive people have recognized that our society's institutions are no longer viable."
He further states:
"There's a goddam world out there, and you better come to terms with it. The world is being dominated by an imperialistic country—a country that bombs Southeast Asians with impunity that maintains colonies known as black ghettos within its own borders, that supports fascist dictators throughout Latin America because it is afraid of the people, that possesses the capability to destroy the world several times over and still produces more weapons, that has perpetrated some of the worst crimes this century has known. That's your country."
And still further:
"I mean the 'radicals' more than anyone. Being radical is more than saying 'Right on.' It's more than growing your hair long, smoking dope and cursing the administration."
This type of inflamatory editorializing by a young man sounds so familiar as to draw my attention to the writings of Mao Tse-Tung. From the "Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung" Volume IV, Peking Press, 1961, I quote portions of page 284, written November, 1948:
"If there is to be revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs. In the more than 100 years since the birth of Marxism, it was only through the example of the Russian bolsheviks in leading the October Revolution, in leading socialist construction and in defeating fascist aggression that revolutionary parties of a new type were formed and developed in the world. With the birth of revolutionary parties of this type, the face of the world revolution has changed. The change has been so great that the transformations utterly inconceivable to people of the older generation have come in being amid fire and thunder."
To quote further from page 425, written August 14, 1949:
"The imperialist system is riddled with insuperable internal contradictions, and therefore the imperialists are plunged into deep gloom.
"Imperialism has prepared the conditions for its own doom. These conditions are the awakening of the great masses of the people in the colonies and semi colonies and in the imperialist countries themselves. Imperialism has pushed the great masses of the people into the historical epoch of the great struggle to abolish imperialism."
This young man obviously feels that our system of government is wrong. For us to tolerate on the university level or any other level of our society his inflamatory rhetoric is absolutely beyond my comprehension. Freedom must be won in every age and our age is no different. Those individuals who feel that freedom means the right to do as they please, when they please and in a manner which pleases only them, are totally opposed to the continuation of our form of democratic freedom and I am as totally committed in my opposition to offering such individuals any forum from which to preach as they are to our system.
You plead for the young people and I think you surely should. You further feel that Bowling Green has no radicals. I doubt this seriously. They may not have an organization strong enough to throw the university into chaos but they are there and they are not interested in Bowling Green or, for that matter, the United States or any of its institutions.
I want to state one more time, very clearly, my position. I am FOR disucssion of any problems that may arise in the United States. I am FOR students trying to learn from our mistakes so that the future might be better. I am FOR administrators having the lieniency necessary with the young, but I am further and most emphatically FOR protecting the institutions of this country and of my university.
Is this polarization or over-simplifying a situation? It is time, in fact, past the time, when people of good faith and of valid interest show their concern for this country. These young revolutionaries are dangerous.
The new university at Bowling Green, in my judgment, is playing into the hands of the revolutionaries. These young people are hot on a subject today and off lollygagging in the grass tomorrow. Such is youth! To give them the stamp of approval such as a university sponsored course is offering a forum to the already noisy minority. Soon the passion of the inflamatory rhetoric breaks into the flame of action. I am sure you could defend this and I would enjoy having you do so.
I am sure that you have received a ton of mail. You may not get to this to answer before you leave for your Florida position. However, if you find time to talk, I would be happy either to do so on the telephone or in person.
There was no threat implied with the letter. My actions will be, as always, weighed in the light of my beliefs. I have supported Bowling Green, not because of any infantile need to belong or because of any privilege which I might receive, but because Bowling Green gave me a good education, from responsible professors, and I can do no less for the youth of today.
Looking forward to talking to you in the near future, I remain,
E.P. Wolfram Jr.