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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Al Meyer at U Michigan: A Free Intellectual Spirit
Created by John Eipper on 05/04/22 10:02 PM

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Al Meyer at U Michigan: A Free Intellectual Spirit (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA, 05/04/22 10:02 pm)

Pat Mears and I must have crossed paths in Michigan and specifically at Haven Hall.

Many important people walked those hallways. Michigan had at the time the #1 rated political science department in the country, top 5 law and medical schools, was a national powerhouse thanks to its superb Survey Research Center, and had a lot of money from all over the world thanks to its still huge alumni.

Regarding Al Meyer, whom I really liked and respected, a couple of memories. He was an absolutely free intellectual spirit. He never compromised his own beliefs, had strong opinions on topics he knew but avoided those he didn't. Once I asked him why he had not published more and he said, "I have nothing to say!"

He had a great sense of humor and when I once told him that his undergrad daughter and I had a common friend he smiled and said, "you get around; see you at home." True enough, the next day there was a party at his home and I was invited. One of the attendees was GB, another grad student in the Marxism seminar. We disagreed openly and strongly in class over a then hot critical issue--the role of the Cuban Communist Party in the Castro government.

He argued, to my astonishment, that Castro was under party control and followed party orders. I insisted then and now that Castro was the man in charge and used the CCP for his own purposes. The Cuban CP was Fidel's tool and it was brother Raul the one under discipline. We never agreed on the genesis and true nature of the Cuban Revolution. He always played down the role of the Maximum Leader.

Years later, GB now known as a Communism specialist, became the head of the poli sci department at UC Berkeley and later the UCB Chancellor.

JE comments: Alfred Meyer, who passed away in 1998, was on the U Michigan faculty until his retirement in 1990.  He was born in Germany and managed to escape on the eve of the war, in 1939.

I see from his obituary (below) that he taught as well at the Residential College, a small liberal arts school within the framework of the larger university.  Yours Truly taught there in 1988-'90.  So the WAIS Effect comes full circle--I too must have crossed paths with Prof. Meyer!

https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA59520526&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=10490965&p=AONE&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7Ed1f4f398


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