[I'd like to begin by thanking the faculty for taking an interest … ]
by Larry Kolodney
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Undated, about April 10, 1986
Speech to a meeting of the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The speech says 13 days ago I was arrested by the MIT campus police for taking pictures of the destruction of the shantytown on Kresge Oval. The speech says for the first time in fourteen years, MIT has arrested some of its own students for political protest on its campus. The speech says ever since the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid was formed, approximately one year ago, the attitude of people in power at this institution towards it has been one of insensitivity at best, hostility at worst. The speech says when we approached the Corporation Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility about our concerns, we were confronted with one stonewall after another. The speech says when the Coalition realized that working quietly through official channels was not going to accomplish much, it was decided to take the case for divestment directly to the MIT community, by means of public protests. The speech says and so the shantytown was built, and our list of demands, (for full divestment, increased minority enrollment, and job security for food service workers) was drawn up, and a week of political activity unseen on campus in recent memory was begun. The speech says I ask you then, members of the faculty, to register your displeasure at this disturbing trend, and to reinforce MIT's position in the long tradition of universities, as a haven for intellectual and political dissent, by giving your support to this measure. The speech includes a quote by Justice William O. Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court. The speech discusses academic freedom, Princeton, Dartmouth, IBM, rioting, destruction of life or property, and sitting in an office.
Used by permission of Lawrence Kolodney.
Collection: Private collection of Lawrence Kolodney