From our very own Thorne Dreyer, this revealing article plus all the documentation on which it’s based.
The Spies of Texas
Newfound files detail how UT-Austin police tracked the lives of Sixties dissidents
by Thorne Dreyer
“Even a paranoid can have enemies.” — Henry Kissinger
Allen Hamilton kept his files secret until his death in 2005, long after his retirement as campus police chief for the University of Texas at Austin. His son discovered them while cleaning out his father’s office. The boxes of documents and photos from the 1960s included records of the most horrific event in Chief Hamilton’s tenure—the August day in 1966 when Charles Whitman perched atop the UT Tower with a high-powered rifle, killing 15 and wounding 33. Graphic photos from the Whitman archives were made available to newspapers to mark the 40th anniversary of that bloody day.
But Hamilton’s files also provide valuable links to the complex political and social currents that were washing over the campus four decades ago. These documents—made public here for the first time—tell the story of how the University of Texas spied on its nonconformist and dissident students. The records—covering a period from approximately 1963 to 1970—show the extensive efforts that campus police made to identify, watch, and follow students and faculty members whom it found suspicious.
The files include more than 500 pages of department memos, some from student informers; lists of names of campus “dopers” and activists; and photocopies of newspaper articles and leaflets. Also included are over 250 surveillance photographs. The documents reveal that among the subjects campus police were monitoring at the time were Janis Joplin, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Richard (“Kinky”) Friedman.