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When Bill Bennett Came to Stanford 

His bold stand for Western Civ showed up the passive faculty, who abdicated their role under student intimidation.

8/31/1987, SEP 1 1987; Secretary of Education William Bennett speaks to a groups of students at Mont
8/31/1987, SEP 1 1987; Secretary of Education William Bennett speaks to a groups of students at Monterrey Elementary school in Thornton.; (Photo By Damian Strohmeyer/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The most famous academic event of the culture wars of the 1980s took place at Stanford University in January 1987 on Martin Luther King Day. Jesse Jackson came to The Farm, delivered a Rainbow Coalition speech, then led a crowd of 500, mostly students, in a march across campus, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!”

That is the common version: Jackson rousing students and profs to multiculturalist denunciation. It has gone down in history as a signal moment in the decay of the university. But that’s not what really happened.