Radical Professor Attacked

A University of Chicago sociology professor named Richard Flacks, one of the early members of SDS, appeared on local TV, defending a takeover of the administration building. A man who said he was from a St. Louis newspaper called up to ask for an interview. At the appointed day and time, Professor Flacks welcomed him into his office. The man asked, “Just what is happening on American campuses? How do you explain it?” It was the last thing Flacks remembered. He awoke in a hospital bed, having received a beating that left a permanent dent in his skull. The “reporter,” actually a right-wing vigilante, left him for dead. Flacks’s right hand, on which he wore a gift from the National Liberation Front—a ring fashioned from the metal of a downed U.S. aircraft—was almost severed clear off. No one was ever arrested. The Chicago Daily News, which had editorialized sympathetically on the antiwar movement for a week the previous August, didn’t denounce the attempted murder.