Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

February 12, 1978 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-02-12
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 8-Sunday, February 12, 1978-The Michigan Daily

dirty tricks
(Continued from Page 3) -
In a semi-annual progress report
early in the Cointelpro-New Left cam-
paign, one Detroit-based agent wrote:
"In student confrontations with
University Administrators, par-
ticularly in intensive past student
agitation at UM, experience has
demonstrated that University ad-
ministrators cannot be expected to
react, other than to solve, the im-
mediate demands and end the
disruption. With rare exception,
pressures from outside the Univer-
sity are predictably most promising
of productivity."' ,
.FBI efforts to "neutralize" the New
Left in the campus area focused on per-
suading University President Robben
Fleming to take a tougher stance
against student activists on campus.
Working out of second floor office above
the Huron Valley National Bank's
Stadium branch-one of 15 FBI branch
offices in the state-the eight or nine
Ann Arbor-based agents plotted
devious roundabout methods for
dealing with Fleming. However, the
agents never approached him directly,
and their attempts met with only
moderate success at best.-
labelled "weak"-says his
policy for handling student
dissent was to "roll with the punch and
keep things contained without having to
stir up a lot of hatred." He contends his
policy was more effective in quieting
the thunder of dissent on campus than
the hard-nosed tactics the FBI and
others preferred.
"Students are like a family," he told
the Daily. "Among themselves they
argue and fight. But when they feel
threatened from the outside, they
tighten their ranks and become that
much more effective."
The FBI, however, thought a ''show-
down" between University officials and
student activists was the only method
for dealing with the movement. The
Bureau complained that "virtually
every student demand (at the Univer-
sity) in recent years has been met ...
(and) no University-made rules are en-
forced or are enforceable."
To persuade Fleming to crack-down
on anti-war groups and prohibit them
from using University facilities, the
FBI secretly lobbied two primary sour-
ces of University income-the state
legislature and various alumni
groups-and covertly solicited the
University's Regents.
FBI records reveal that the local
bureau maintained contact with
several informants-particularly one
retired faculty member, an uniden-
tified "good and close friend" of the
Michigan FBI for more than 20 years.
Armed with "pertinent" information
about leftist student activities, the in-
formants were dispatched to ask the
Regents privately if the University's
policy-making body could twist
Fleming's arm to encourage tighter
control of the campus.
HOWEVER, THE Cointelpro
documents concerning infor-
mants are sparingly referred
to in the mountain of papers at FBI
Washington headquarters. More
detailed information about their role
may be in the 15,000 pages of documents
still snuggly hidden in the J. Edgar
Hoover FBI Building.
Frequent mailings of anonymous let-
ters to the Regents, another popular
FBI technique, are better documented.

Usually signed "A Friend of the
University" or "A Fed-up Taxpayer"
and with other similar monikers, these
letters were mailed only after security
measures were taken to protect the FBI
from being identified as the source. As
a precaution, the letters were mailed on
commercial stationery, and, because of
an order from headquarters, took on an
"amateurish approach."
One letter, delivered to each Regent
at home, poses the question: "Why
must the taxpayers of Michigan be for-
ced to subsidize the efforts of those
dedicated to the overturn of our
existing society?" The Regents, the let-
ter urges, should order Fleming to
break-up anti-war activities on cam=
pus, especially a "Convention of
Radicals" scheduled for August of 1968.
The eight page letter dwells on four
University profs. (their names were
inked out in the released FBI documen-
ts) who were committed to ending the
war in Vietnam. Quoting liberally from
the Daily and other public sources, the
letter details how the four organized the
nation's first "teach-in" against the
war, and how the profs. used the
classroom to corrupt the susceptible
minds of students.
A check of the Daily issues referred
to in the letter reveals that the four
were Chemistry Prof. Julian Gendell,
Psychology Prof. Richard Mann,
Sociology Prof. Thomas Mayer and
Anatole Rapoport, a research prof. at
the Mental Health Research Institute.
Only Mann still teaches here,
However, none of the four former
Regents contacted could remember
receiving the anonymous mail from the
FBI. "Normally I don't pull much
credence on unsigned letters," _said
Frederick Matthei, a Regent from 1967
to 1969.
SEVERAL MONTHS later, when
Gendell and Mayer were refused
tenure and Rapoport left on his
own accord, the Detroit office bragged
that its letter was responsible for the
dismissal of the two profs. "It would
appear. . . that three faculty members
may have therefore been removed from
the U of M faculty as a consequence of
Detroit's earlier COINTELPRO ac-
tivity," they informed headquarters.
The confirmation of FBI
harrassment is "not surprising" to
Gendell, who, when he remarried,
changed his name to Genyea and is now
teaching at Oakland University.
"There were a large number of
prominent people in the University
who were involved in perpetuating
the war. . . I'm sure that my politics
were a factor in the decision to
refuse me tenure," Genyea recalls.
"But I'm not so sure what an
anonymous letter to the Regents
would have done. Although its im-
mediate effect is unclear, letters like
that must have added to the general
Unless the earlier Cointelpro activity
referred to was something other than
the FBI's anonymous letters to
Regent-and the FBI is not revealing
all the information about this specific
assignment-it appears the smear
campaign played no role in deciding the
fate of the two profs. Not only is it likely
that not one of the Regents heeded the
eight-page unsigned letters, but tenure
decisions are made by faculty commit-
tees from each University department
-not the Regents.
T MAY BE that the Detroit office
claimed responsibility solely to
please' FBI headquarters, where

supervisors graded the results of each
field office. Hoover often spoke of the
fine work of the Los Angles and the
Chicago offices, but Detroit never
merited such praise.
Also meeting with success in the
Bureau's own eyes, were the FBI ploys
designed to push Fleming into taking
harsher measures against student
dissent. Several months after FBI in-
fomenants began private talks with the
Regents, the eight-member board met
twice to discuss "the control of the SDS
and the New Left at the UM," one FBI
report related.
Not long afterwards, the FBI repor-
ted that Fleming had "commenced
giving at least 'lip service"' to demands
for tighter control of the University.
Still, the FBI was upset that police
squads could not break-up protest
marches on campus unless specifically
ordered by Fleming himself.
And when a sit-in demonstration left
his office in "shambles," Fleming or-
dered "an immediate redecoration
done overnight sothat the Regents
would not learn of it," the FBI report
sputtered almost in disbelief.
By early 1970, however, the Detroit
office began writing gleeful messages
to headquarters, claiming victory in its
effort to pressure the University to
crack down on student movements. Af-
ter SDS members ransacked the ROTC
offices in North Hall, Fleming decided
to place criminal charges against more
than a dozen participants, and, accor-
ding to the FBI, "have the SDS
organization thrown off campus."
A memorandum dated Feb. 24, 1970
says that, according to confidential
sources close to the University ad-
ministration, Fleming's decision was
partly due "to the fact that he was con-
tacted personally by every member of
the Board of Regents. The Regents, af-
ter unknowingly consulting secret FBI
informants, urged Fleming to "react
vigorously.. . to New Left disruption."
HILE THE FBI may have
learned of the decision-mak-
ing process in this instance
from their own covert sources, Univer-
sity students had learned of it nearly
three weeks earlier when The Daily
printed virtually the same information.
At about the same time, because of
"limited administration harrassment
of the New Left leadership," intense
factionalism developed in the ranks of
the Ann Arbor Students for a
Democratic Spciety (SDS) chapter, the
FBI noted.
"This has partially developed
because of UM administrators
'taking sides' and favoring one fac-
tion of SDS over another. Whereas
there was formerly one, large SDS
chapter which served as an 'um-
brella' organization to all other
campus activist groups, there now
exists three separate groups. . . The

in-fighting among these groups has
appreciably reduced the effec-
tiveness of SDS at UM."
To multiply existing differences
within various campus radical
organizations, the FBI engaged in
another letter-writing spree. One such
letter, designed to widen an ideological
gap between the Black Panther Party
(BPP) in Michigan and local SDS chap-
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Since
when do us Blacks have to swallow
the dictates of the honky SDS? We
say to hell with the SDS and its
honky intellectual approaches which
only perpetuate control of Black
people by the honkies."
The letter, signed, "Power! Off the
Pigs!! !," accuses the "damn" SDS of
being "a paper organization with a
severe case of diarhea of the mouth." It
claims "the few idiots" known as the
weathermen-a militant SDS fac-
tion-coming "from well-heeled
families even by honky standards ...
run around like kids on halloween."
The letter concludes by calling for a
return to "a pure black revolution by
Blacks and for Blacks," and advocates
a complete break with non-black
groups, "especially those nit-shit SDS."
A LTHOUGH originally written in
a more conventional tone, the
letter was rewritten when the
Chicago FBI office requested it be pit-
ched in "more obscene and vulgar ter-
ms." Chicago, which had had more
experience with Panther activities, felt
the revised version was closer to the
group's jargon.
The FBI claimed no particular vic-
tories from this letter, nor have they
claimed results in this letter writing
campaign. Most probably, the records
of informants-many of which remain
snuggly hidden somewhere in the
gargantuan FBI Building-will contain
more clues to the FBI's participation in
splintering the movement.
Former University SDS leaders, such
as Carl Ogelsby, currently scrambling
through mounds of FBI records about
the Kennedy assassination for the
Assassination Information Bureau,
maintain that the FBI was the primary
force behind the splintering of SDS.
"The destruction (of the anti-war
movement and the SDS) had to do with
factions," Ogelsby lamented. "But the
story of those factions is a different
story, one of FBI motivated police sub-
version, which in the end, really
marked our doom."
Today, only pockets of student
radicalism remain on campus. Despite
the FBI's recent public disclosures, it is
still impossible to determine the extent
the agency's dirty trick campaign
played in the demise of grass-roots
student lobby groups. However, the
recent disclosures did bare the FBI's
contemptuous attitude to the public's



sanday imita z ine
Patty Montemurri Tom O'Connell
Books Editor
Brian Blanchard
Cover Photo of Choreography Assistant David
Marshall at "West Side Story" tryouts by Andy Free-


The FBI's plots,
ploys and pranks:
subverting subversion

Books: Universil
poets and their

1, A


.Supplement to The Michigan Daily

, . k * J. * # A 1# , - A # - r A i k * s t * s A

_- ,

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, February 12, 1978

Back to Top

© 2024 Regents of the University of Michigan