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          Revisiting Vietnam's legacy at Case Western Reserve

          Paul Kerson

          Issue date: 3/5/10 Section: Opinion
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          The Washington march protesting the Vietnam war covered in volume I, issue 21 of The Observer involved approximately 600,000 people.
          The Washington march protesting the Vietnam war covered in volume I, issue 21 of The Observer involved approximately 600,000 people.
          [Click to enlarge]
          Paul Kerson is a 1972 graduate of CWRU and a 1975 graduate of Columbia Law School. He was an assistant attorney general of New York state from 1975 to 1977, and is now a partner in Leavitt, Kerson & Duane in New York City. He was a co-founder of the Observer in 1969 and co-editor-in-chief in 1971-1972.

          When I entered CWRU as a freshman at age 17 in 1968, the university had been merged in name, but not in culture. Men were assigned to Adelbert College - Clarke Tower; Pierce, Storrs, Cutler, and Hitchcock houses. We ate in Leutner Commons.

          Women were assigned to Mather College - Taft, Tyler, Sherman, Raymond, Smith, and Norton houses. "Mather girls" ate at Wade Commons.

          Students at the Case Institute of Technology lived in the Case Quad (now called the "South Residential Village"). There were very few women among them. Commuting students lived at home with their parents, and they were enrolled in Cleveland College.

          We Adelbert freshmen thought this organizational plan insane. Did CWRU think there were four sexes? CWRU had been created only the year before, 1967, from two venerable Ohio institutions, Western Reserve University and the Case Institute of Technology, located adjacent to each other for the prior 87 years.

          During our freshman year, within 10 days of our 18th birthdays, we were directed to report to Adelbert Main (now called Adelbert Hall) to receive our draft cards.

          Computers were rare in 1968. Wars weren't fought on the scale they are today. The "latest" military invention was the M-16 rifle. The U.S. government's official plan for men our age involved us going to Vietnam to personally kill North Vietnamese men.

          Debates took place long into the night at Adelbert College. What was worse - dying before living adult life or killing Vietnamese men on bicycles who posed no direct threat to our country at all?

          Can an entire college have a depression? It seemed like ours did. Adelbert College was designed to prepare us to serve the nation as lawyers and doctors. The vast majority of us were pre-law or pre-med. Mather College had its own depression. In 1968, most women didn't go to college with the expectation of graduate or professional schooling. Like it or not, a "Mather girl" was said to be studying for her "Mrs. Degree."
          Continued...
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          In This Issue

          News

          • Can you name this place?
          • CWRU receives record number of applications
          • Have you heard about Undergraduate Student Nursing Association
          • LGBT center slated to open in April
          • Make it count: a guide to the 2010 US Census
          • SEC considering proposals concerning Greek funding

          Sports

          • Baseball team-by-team preview
          • Questions float through AL Central
          • Seasons end with wins at Carnegie Mellon
          • Seasons end with wins at Carnegie Mellon
          • Softball team-by-team preview
          • Spartan Spotlight: John Smetona
          • Spartans return offense and gain depth
          • Students turn out for Hoop-A-Paluza
          • Will freshman-heavy team be able to improve on last year's 0-8?

          Fun Page

          • Crossword Solution
          • Killer Sudoku Solution
          • Sudoku Solutions

          Opinion

          • Children aren't reality TV spectacles
          • Defining "American" to Argentines difficult, at best
          • Editorial: A review of information accessibility
          • Revisiting Vietnam's legacy at Case Western Reserve
          • Urban farming in Cleveland: not far-fetched
          • What are you doing for Spring Break?

          Focus

          • Alternative resources showcased at Fair Trade and Secondhand Expo
          • CIA and CWRU students collaborate on iPhone game ChromaWaves
          • Dressing handsomely at CWRU
          • Poets slam at UPB Poetry Jam
          • Roller-rink musical Xanadu brings disco and inferno
          • Spouse hunting
          • Step up the drama with SEC
          • The Buzz
          • The Observer predicts this year's Academy Award winners
          • Three Eighths, Black, whalenapper to open for Minus the Bear at Springfest
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