The FBI first came to Reed in 1953 to interview the faculty and administrators. The main person that they wanted to speak with was the admission director, Bob Canon, who had just been appointed dean of students by President Ballantine in the fall of 1953. They made Canon tell them which other people at Reed were Reds. Canon later told friends and relatives that testifying was the worst thing he had ever done. They believed that he cooperated only because the FBI threatened to expose his homosexuality.
A story that took place in 1953 as remembered by Michael Munk ‘56 which can be found in Comrades of the Quest.
I’ve never really heard the politics of my professors. Sure, the curriculum might reflect their beliefs, but I wouldn’t know if a professor was Communist or even Atheist. Yet some professors are comfortable with the student body knowing their sexual orientation. I recall at the end of Edward Segel’s “Origins of the Second World War” class one year, Ed gave students a chance to ask him any question. One student through rumor had heard that Ed ran down the halls, telling everyone he was gay, once he received his tenure. Ed chuckled, then made a comment hinting that at least part of the rumor was true. It is good to know our professors can trust us with such knowledge about themselves.
Alex Cherin ‘12