When David Pritchard is hired to teach political science at a remote women’s college in 1969, he anticipates a quiet year before moving on to bigger things. However, it soon becomes apparent that all is not well at Traymore College. President Barton and his administration curtail basic academic freedoms, harass tenured professors, and impose tight constraints on students’ personal lives. Appalled, David engages in intimate alliances with sympathetic faculty and several members of student leadership to stand up to the school’s administration. Together, they aim to ignite the press and spark far-reaching legal action. But Barton will not go down without a fight.
About Duncan L. Clarke
Why Write A Little Rebellion Is a Good Thing?
For fifty-years I’ve considered writing a novel about my experience as a young professor at what was then Radford College in Radford, Virginia. Like others of my age, I’ve lost many who were dear to me, but no time was more traumatic than Academic Year 1969-1970 when I found myself at this rural public women’s college.
The civil liberties of students and faculty were systematically and cruelly violated by the longest serving college president in the state, something I learned only after arriving on campus.
I had just passed my PhD orals at the University of Virginia and, in 1966, I’d received my law degree for Cornell University. Because of my involvement in law suits against the college, demonstrations, public speeches, etc., I was at the center of a “rebellion” against an authoritarian administration. The personal costs were great: the experience almost ended my academic career, and my life was threatened. But the president left office, academic and personal freedoms were implemented, and the college evolved into the coeducational Radford University which today has 11,000 students.
One of several reasons the book had to be presented as fiction is that I was a twenty-seven-year old unmarried male in a sea of 4,000 single women. I allied closely, sometimes very closely, with key student leaders to effectuate change.
Why write this book? Because it’s a damn good story, and sometimes fiction is truth. Few others are better positioned to tell the story. Moreover, it is always appropriate to remind ourselves that our freedoms are secure only when women and men are prepared to fight for them.