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An Empirical Question

In response to:

Who's Running This Show? from the January 4, 1968 issue

To the Editors:

I will not respond to the theoretical and methodological question raised by Mr. Heilbroner in his kind review [NYR, Jan. 4] of Who Rules America? because I am now working on a book of empirically based essays (The Ruling Class in America) which will in good measure answer them. But as to one specific empirical question: is Mr. heilbroner right that trustees have little influence on academic, faculty and student affairs? (Not that I said their control was direct and total, for on page 77 I explicitly said their control of university machinery and longterm goals did not give control over day-to-day opinions due to tenure provisions.)

At any rate, I would like to receive a memo, signed or unsigned, from every student, teacher and administrator who can give me his opinion on this matter for his particular campus, recounting particular incidents upon which he bases his opinion and which I can follow up for an essay on “The Intellectual Establishment.” Special emphasis should be given to intervention in the hiring and firing of academic personnel (even if through their agent, the president), manipulation or coercion of student councils, student publications, or student political organizations, and the creation of special institutes, chairs, or research awards which shape faculty or student interest, or especially benefit the corporate rich in some way.

I am particularly eager for this Information in the case of what I call the Intellectual Establishment—MIT, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Berkeley, Stanford, and Cal Tech. This Big Ten is the acaddemic environment from which the power elite draws almost all its experts, but I am also aware that there are many non-Establishment persons wandering around these places—scholarship students, rebels, assistant professors, humpback professors, etc. I hope to hear from them, as well as from sympathizers in the hinterlands.

G. William Domhoff

Cowell College

University of California

Santa Cruz, California

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