Here are some of the big stories of 1968 from The Stein, the student newspaper of the University of Maine at Portland (UMP).
Lushes at “Maine Day”
Maine Day at UMP was fun-filled, with pool and ping-pong tournaments, three-legged races and a faculty/student baseball game (the faculty won, 7-6). After a lobster dinner (with no nutcrackers or lobster forks provided), they went for a cruise in Casco Bay, where “we were all entertained by the antics of some of the local lushes, a certain surfer in particular.”
UMP grads “intellectual dwarfs”
An editorial chastised the faculty for emphasizing only facts and events in their courses rather than encouraging discussion of opinions. As a result, “we seem to have thousands of intellectual dwarfs upon completion of four years of study.”
Bottoms up: sludge liquors
An article headlined “Research Progresses in Engineering Dept.” reported, “Mr. Bradford Hall is currently engaged in investigating the kinetics and mechanisms involved in the uptake of phosphorus by microorganisms present in activated sludge mixed liquors.”
Youth exodus from Maine
An editorial urged “sacrifice by all” in order to solve the problem of “the exodus of well-trained and educated youth” from Maine. No specific steps were suggested in the article, but it did posit a reason for the exodus: there simply weren’t any jobs in Maine for the fields that college graduates had trained for.
In a separate article, The Stein interviewed Gov. Kenneth M. Curtis, who had campaigned in 1966 on the issue of youth leaving the state. When questioned on the subject, Curtis replied that the migration had slowed down, but that “we must continue to attract new industries.”
The Vietnam War was the dominant political issue covered in The Stein in 1968. In March the University held a “Vietnam Week” to help promote “rational and logical thinking” about the war, presumably to head off the violent protests that were happening in other parts of the country.
The war was widely opposed, especially by college students, since many of them were eligible for the draft. Burning draft cards was a common form of protest, but those who were caught in the act had their draft status upgraded to the dreaded “1-A.”
“Vietnam Week” featured daily discussions on the situation, along with a slide show presentation from U.S. Rep. Peter Kyros and a speech by U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie. Books on the war were on display in the library, and posters and political cartoons were put up around campus.
A “program of music” included both protest songs and “army music.” And Felix Greene’s controversial film “Inside North Vietnam,” often called “the film that could stop the war,” was shown on campus.
“UMP now has a flagpole!” an editorial in The Stein cheered sarcastically. “While The Stein appreciates the administration’s patriotic stance,” the article said, the “two grand” the University shelled out for the pole could have been spent on things benefiting students.
UMP students were treated to the color films “Once Upon a Wave” (presented by the surf club) and “LSD: Insight or Insanity?” The latter was a shock “educational” film that warned of terrible things that could happen while tripping, like mistaking flames for flowers and falling off a tricycle while pedaling down a staircase.
The Kingsmen (“of Louis Louis fame”) played at the UMP Winter Carnival dance in January 1968. Folk rock singer Tom Rush also performed at the carnival.
Al Diamon: “I don’t dig this.”
Maine political columnist Al Diamon got his start in journalism as a music reviewer at The Stein. In one article, which declared rock music “a totally new art form,” he praised Jefferson Airplane, Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles.
In another article, he reviewed Moby Grape’s new album “Wow,” praising it as a mind-blowing jam record and comparing the band to Country Joe and the Fish. Still, he was not impressed with the brass overdubs: “I don’t dig this,” he wrote.
Tired of your fur coat?
An ad for H. H. Tolin at 27 Forest Ave. asked, “Tired of your fur coat? Let us restyle it in time for spring.”
An ad urged UMP students to “meet someone new… try Maine Mate, a modern date matching program for the modern singles of Maine.”
Brian O’Keefe can be contacted at [email protected]