This Week in Amherst History: October 26, 2002

These concerns, while seemingly contemporary, were the topic of much discussion on campus 32 years ago this week. Assistant Attorney General William Ruckelshaus visited Mount Holyoke College to address Operation Dialogue, a policy implemented by President Richard Nixon to spark communication between colleges and the U.S. government, The Student reported.

Ruckelshaus focused in particular on those who disagreed with some of the recent policies of the government, as he informed reporters at a news conference immediately following his talk. “Ruckelshaus also singled out the presence of a few students and faculty members who were already convinced in their view of the Justice Department … their questions were often in the form of accusations,” The Student reported.

The College Council and the Committee of Six, among those suspected of manifesting strong opposition of Ruckelshaus during his talk, released a public statement. “[We] deplore any attempt to forcibly impede free speech or open discussion. In a time when these rights are jeopardized in this nation and elsewhere, they should be even more diligently guarded in a college campus, however odious or unpopular the expressed view may be,” said the statement.