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Letter from various faculty members to Yale faculty concerning the Vietnam War, January 6, 1967.
Kingman Brewster Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Samuel Jackson 11, On University Leadership

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In the 1960s, debate turned to whether or not the intellectual capital of the University should be applied politically, first in the context of the Civil Rights movement and then the Vietnam War. What capacity and duty does a University intellectual have in the political realm? This is a copy of a letter circulated to the entire Yale faculty asking for co-signatories to an anti-war letter addressed to President Johnson requesting the cessation of bombing in Vietnam. This letter was eventually signed by 462 Yale faculty members (approximately twenty-five percent of the faculty). When the letter was published, an outcry erupted over the use of “Yale University Faculty” in the signature; alumni and members of the public alike wrote in to Yale – some in support, most in anger – at what they felt was a transgression on the part of the faculty. Critical opposition came from a perceived appropriation of the University’s academic integrity, despite explicit efforts by the faculty signers to downplay their connection to Yale. The Vietnam War became a lightning rod for attacks on the university intellectual, with faculty defending what they saw as their a moral duty to speak out and protect the “mind and soul” of the nation.