The Institution’s Response

How the College Reacted to Dissent

For many students, the process of dissenting became critical to their identity as Reed students. Understandably, however, a number of administrators struggled to find the energy to foster student dissent while simultaneously addressing riff between the Young Turks and Old Guard, facing the $400,000 deficit, and struggling to maintain Reed’s public image.

Thus, the college rethought how it would attract and vet prospies. Firstly, a policy was enacted which allowed only current faculty to conduct interviews with prospective students. Although faculty­ led interviews gave prospective students the opportunity to ask critical questions about the school, students such as Bob Stacey ‘71 worried that this policy also gave faculty the opportunity to filter out politically minded students.

The college also redesigned admission pamphlets. Pamphlets containing language from what is now the Dissent Policy were sent to prospective students and their families. In the 1960s, pamphlets acknowledged that Reed students were generally regared as “radical and far out,” and accepted that “the general feeling of the college community [was] that a student’s private life [was] his own concern, so long as it [did] not interfere with the rights of others.” In the 1970s, however, the same language was used in a different context, seemingly asserting that an essential characteristic of a Reedie was to put their academics before their politics.

Despite the way administrators reacted to student dissent in the 1960s, later generations of Reedies have refused to remain silent in the face of injustice.

“One of the great things about Reed, and I assume this is still the case, is that there was always vigorous debate and disagreement about issues”  -Susan E Brody ’71

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