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Free Speech Movement Oral History Project

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Interview Transcripts

Norman Jacobson Transcript

Conducted by Lisa Rubens in 1999, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2007.

Photo of Norman Jacobson

Norman Jacobson was a professor in the Department of Political Science and had helped to establish a program in political theory at Cal in 1964. He was part of a group of theorists who were beloved by and very influential with students—including Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone. Jacobson discusses the political and administrative climate on campus during the 1950s and the leadership of Clark Kerr--first as chancellor of UC Berkeley and then as the first president of UC. He reflects on Kerr’s and Chancellor’s mistakes responding to FSM and on divisions with the political science department over FSM and later over the Vietnam War. Jacobson was also a therapist at Cowell Hospital and discusses the anxieties of students in FSM. This interview concludes with Jacobson’s assessment of the how FSM came to an end.

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