The Issue [UMass-Boston]
April 22, 1980
FREE AT LAST
[By Michael Letwin]
After a week of procrastinating, the Student Organizing Committee succeeded in forcing Corrigan to agree to withdraw all charges against the UMB 29.
Corrigan only agreed to withdraw the charges after nearly a week of meetings with the Demands Committee of the SOC, during which time he claimed that he lacked the power to withdraw the complaints. When the SOC representatives finally got Corrigan to admit that the decision to withdraw the complaints was his, Corrigan then attempted to set his own preconditions. He demanded that the SOC keep news of the agreement to drop the charges from the press. He also tried to get the SOC to agree that it would carry out no further occupations.
However, once the SOC refused his demands, Corrigan, realizing the pressure from the entire UMB community to remove the threat of 10 days in jail and a $75 fine (each), finally announced that he would proceed to withdraw the complaints anyway. The lesson was again clear that the administration can be made to back down by calling its bluff.
Now, Corrigan is attempting to make it appear that he always planned to withdraw the charges and that the move had nothing to do with pressure from below. Nothing could be further from the truth. Corrigan only gave in because he had to, and when students again take direct action at UMB, we can expect that Corrigan will again try to intimidate them with arrest and penalties.