Joseph Rhodes, Jr., and James Ahern

Joseph Rhodes, Jr., and James Ahern, 1970

The President’s Commission on Campus Unrest, also known as the “Scranton Commission” was appointed by Nixon and led by former governor of Pennsylvania William Scranton. This 9-member panel held hearings in order to study the dissent and violence breaking out on college and university campuses, as well as the nature of the student strike protesting the Vietnam War, the American invasion of Cambodia, the violent confrontations at Jackson State College, and the killings of students at Kent State University. The Commission concluded that the shootings of students by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State were unjustified.

Joseph Rhodes, Jr. (b. 1947) studied at the California Institute of Technology, and then attended Harvard University as a Junior Fellow in Intellectual History. After completing work at Harvard, Rhodes held a number of teaching positions at the University of Massachusetts, California State College, and the University of Pittsburgh. He also worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1967, and then as a researcher for the Ford Foundation. Rhodes consulted with a number of governmental and national entities about higher education issues, including the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newman Committee, and the President’s Committee on volunteer service. Time Magazine identified him as one of 200 new American leaders.

James F. Ahern (b. 1932) served as Chief of Police in New Haven, Connecticut, during the largest trial in Connecticut history, which tried a Black Panther Party co-founder and ten other Party members with the murder of an alleged informant. New Haven, which is home to Yale University, saw large-scale demonstrations of students and activists who came to protest the trials. Simultaneously, the national student strike took place, and the New Haven police were charged with controlling the city. Ahearn was praised for his largely peaceful management of the crowds, and his prescient decision not to allow the National Guard to take control of the city.


“The Nature of the Modern Academic Community,” October 19, 1970. Kresge Auditorium.


“Judicial Procedures,” October 19, 1970.
“The Mechanisms of Presidential Commissions.” October 19, 1970.
“Student Values and Attitudes.” October 19, 1970.