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TeacherLore

Professor who came to Montana in 1969

Another migrant to Montana is mentioned (in footnote #10) in a useful article,The crisis of modernism in “the Last Best Place”, by UM art professor Jim Todd:

An interesting case, which exposed some of the differences between UM’s and MSU’s attitudes toward political dissension was that of Ron Perrin. Perrin was a professor of philosophy from Vermont hired at MSU in 1969. He was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and left the Bozeman university when it was made clear to him by the administration that because of his political views he could never expect to receive tenure. In 1972, despite the public controversy over Perrin’s politics, he was hired by the UM philosophy department. Perrin currently teaches at UM and received the UM Outstanding Teachers’ Award in 1986. Another example of the differences between UM and MSU was their treatment of Leslie Fiedler. Fiedler was an English professor at UM, and a controversial literary critic. In 1960, he was invited by the MSU chapter of the AFT to speak at the Bozeman university. In reaction to Fiedler’s reputation in the state, MSU president Roland Renne vetoed Fiedler’s lecture, forcing him to speak off campus.

I was enrolled in the UM philosophy department in 1973, and Perrin was viewed as something of a hero by the professors who taught my classes. I was a Vietnam vet and not very enamored of campus or other politics, so I have no real knowledge of what was going on.

It does seem to me that interviews with Perrin and others about their experience of Montana at that time would be important. If you have a student or a small team of students who would like to conduct such an interview (with prof Perrin or others), I’ll be glad to help--ranging from developing question sets to providing transportation and documentation).

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 11/01 at 02:08 AM

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