[sixties-l] Free Universities

From: Michael Garrison (mgarrison@localaccess.com)
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 18:45:16 CUT

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    One of my seminal experiences during the '60s was being a "member" of the
    Free University of New York (67-68) first while a student at Brooklyn
    College and later after dropping out of Brooklyn and moving to the East
    Village to be closer to the "action". The Free U. movement ( San Francisco,
    Toronto, others?) helped motivate change in American Colleges. Does anyone
    know of memoirs written about the Free U. (later Free School) of N.Y.? I
    remember classes with the likes of Connor Cruise O'brian, Tana deGamez, John
    Gerrarsi, Tuli Kupferberg etc. (forgive all the spelling errors) as the
    opening of my enlightenment. It was at the Free U. where I met old IWW
    veterans of the Abraham Lincoln brigade...those guys who told me: "take it
    easy, look at the long picture, live to fight another day".
    I would like to discuss the significance of the Free University movement in
    the educational history since the 60's. What (if any) lasting
    results/changes are still around...besides the ubiquitous "student
    evaluations" that were brought about by the educational philosophies of the
    '60's. I have heard of offshoots of Free U's such at Pullman, Wa. (WSU)
    lasting for 30 years or more. Any stories about these? I was not at the
    Free U. when it closed but I understand the records were destroyed (fear of
    McCarthyism or worse) and many of the "movers and shakers" went into the
    Discussions about these type of "point" position institutions (Panthers,
    Diggers, IWW, Free U's, Suffrage, Acid Rock, SDS, Abolitionists) need to be
    tempered with the understanding that the "point" always takes the hit and is
    usually destroyed so that the bulk of society can change. It is ironic that
    the 60's can both be blamed for causing problems in our society and also
    blamed for not succeeding to change our society enough. Damned if you win,
    Damned if you lose. Peace and Love, Mike Garrison,

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