Menno-Pause — a personal reflection

Today’s blog is tangentially related to Ontario Mennonite history, since I would likely not be in Canada to write about Ontario Mennonite history without this incident.

It can fairly be said that my move to Canada in October 1968 partially resulted from an experience shared with a number of other students at Goshen College (Goshen, Indiana) in September/October 1967. This was a one month experiment with an underground “newspaper” called Menno-Pause.

Although Menno-Pause has been most closely associated with the four young men who were expelled from the College because they signed their name to the title page, the editorial team included a fifth member, and a number of other students assisted in its design, production and circulation.

The five editors included Jim Wenger, a brilliant English major certain to have a future in academia. He was a voracious reader and a lover of ideas, as well as being a gifted pianist. Lowell Miller, a farm boy from Ohio, was another English major who enjoyed theological debate. In fall 1967 Jim and Lowell were roommates in Yoder Hall.

Tom Harley was a political science major with an incisive wit, a love for both Joseph Haydn and the Beatles, and a passion for trout fishing. I was a political science major, a photographer, and a lover of urban blues. Some thought that I was also a faux rebel. In fall 1967 Tom and I were roommates at the other end of Yoder Hall in Room 201. Verlin Miller, a religion major with a rich curiosity for people and ideas, was a staff assistant on another floor in Yoder Hall.

We were friends before Menno-Pause started. I had been the photographer for the Maple Leaf yearbook in 1966/67 when Jim was its editor. Tom and I were the only political science majors at the college. Verlin and I roomed together part of the summer of 1967 with shared interest in blues and underground newspapers. Lowell I didn’t know until our adventure began.

We were all young, naive Mennonites (except for Tom, who was just young and naive). We were part of a “publications Brüderhof” at the college, loosely connected to The Record, the official student newspaper, the Maple Leaf (annual student yearbook), and Foolscap (student literary publication). I was the photographer and Tom was a regular columnist for the Record, and Jim and Lowell also wrote for the Record.  Sue Clemmer, the Record editor, was part of the Brüderhof, as was Carol Beechy, the Maple Leaf editor. Jim and Lowell were on staff for Foolscap.

Jim Wenger was the intellectual leader of our little band.  He had studied the growing phenomenon of underground newspapers in spring 1967 for the Communication and Society course. He was a convinced adherent of the free speech movement, and wished for a living example at Goshen College. He also wanted to shake his “egghead” reputation because he had a near 4.0 grade average.

I was a convinced adherent of the New Left movement through membership in the Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.). This philosophy was articulated in its Port Huron statement and the buzzword of “participatory democracy” (which believed students should truly participate in shaping their own education).

The summer of 1967 Verlin and I saw a modest underground newspaper prepared by two Voluntary Service workers in Chicago, Steve Stucky and Mark Wagler. We mused about the possibilities.

In early September the five of us began to plan, mostly in Yoder 201, often against the backdrop of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” By September 10 we were serious about producing an underground paper. Tom gave us the name of the paper. We co-opted others to help. They included Carol Beechy (women’s perspective), Doug Swartzendruber (design), Eric Yoder, and Bill Horrisberger.  We delegated Jim and Lowell to give Sue Clemmer a “head’s up” that our alternative publication was coming.

Since our work on the paper was an open secret, four of us decided to sign the masthead of Menno-Pause issue #1. We encouraged Verlin to leave his name off the masthead, since he had an official role that might be jeopardized by a visible connection to the paper. For reasons I no longer recall, the individual articles were all unsigned.

Jim drafted our purpose statement thusly: “The Menno-Pause is a gadfly (poking and prodding the GC sacred cows), a watchdog (checking and analysing disciplinary action), a critic (positive or negative analysis of GC education), an extended student opinion board–and general all-around crap.” We characterized ourselves as the “campus underground newspaper team.”

On the evening of September 28, Sue Clemmer provided us access to the English department’s stencil cutting and mimeograph machines. Verlin frantically typed the stencils. We had blank space that needed filling, so we added a list of unacceptable words that been “deleted,” including shucks, goodness gracious, and fuck (37 times). Peg Mullet and Kathy Helmuth assisted us in printing the two-sheet, four page paper. Lenny Preheim agreed to circulate issues in the dining hall the next morning. Four hundred copies were gone in less than 30 minutes.

The reaction was mixed, but there were many requests for left-over copies. Critical comments suggested we had come closest to meeting the last point of our purpose statement (“general all-around crap”). Even our friends at the Record later editorialized: “Unfortunately, the first issue was cruder than it was funny.”

We delivered a personal copy to Dan Hess, the faculty adviser for student publications. He was soon asked if he could provide the administration a copy. By Saturday afternoon we had received our first letter to the editor–a critical analysis by a professor of Lowell Miller’s graph and analysis of “the decline and fall of the covering [prayer veil]” in the student yearbook over the years.

By Monday (October 2), it was clear that President Paul Mininger and other administrators were very unhappy. Dan Hess advised Jim to gather a folder of articles that would provide background on the underground press movement for President Mininger. Hess also advised us to prepare a second issue as quickly as possible to provide a better example of our intent.

We thought this advice was good, and immediately began work on the next issue. There was one conflict within the editorial board. Should we pursue the use of “obscene” language? Tom said it was not crucial to the paper. Jim was not sure. I thought we should not go out of our way to use it, but that we should claim the right to use it as the situation demanded. We decided to discuss the issue of obscene language in the second issue, and delegated the task to Tom, since he would probably have the coolest head in writing it. Jim found a quote from Eberhard Kronhausen that seemed to fit the front page very nicely, and we also found a little piece by Malcolm Boyd that addressed the issue.

We also wanted to present something positive. So Jim wrote a piece about Dr. Mary Oyer, a real academic hero of his. I opposed this, but was overruled by the other editors.

That Thursday we were pulled out of class for a meeting “in ten minutes” with President Mininger and Dean of Students Russ Liechty. They expressed concern about “the word on the back page,”  the combination of letters in the name of our team, and the name of the paper. We talked about the nature of underground papers and satire, that this was a first effort. I defended our use of the language.

After the meeting with the four of us, Jim and I were kept for individual meetings with President Mininger and Dean Liechty. In my meeting they expressed great disappointment because of my earlier infractions at the college. I claimed that in my re-admission from a previous suspension I had specifically retained the right to speak to issues at the college. I suspect I was fairly defensive.

None of the rest of us editors knew that Jim was in the process of sorting out his sexual identity. That summer he had placed an personal ad in the Berkeley Barb soliciting a male partner. An alumnus of the college had seen the ad, and had sent a copy to the Goshen College administration. Despite this, however, Jim was also then still open to exploring a romantic relationship with a female member of our publications Brüderhof. I assume the administrators discussed the ad with Jim, though I don’t know that as a fact. He did not mention it to me.

Our second issue came out on Monday, October 9. Copies again were snapped up in short order. In the aftermath Jim and I were invited to participate in the campus church on the following Sunday to talk about dissent on Christian campuses.

As it happened, all the decisions we had made about content in issue #2 were used against us in the ensuing decisions. Even the article about Mary Oyer was interpreted as being destructive to the integrity of the college community.

Cover of Menno-Pause, issue one.

Menno-Pause, issues 1 & 2.

Both issues of Menno-Pause are available as a pdf download by clicking on the image to the left. My apologies for the poor quality of the original issue #1.

Wednesday night the four publicly-identified editors meet individually with the Faculty Discipline Committee. In my meeting President Mininger read a lengthy statement on the goals and purposes of Goshen College. I was then asked why I should be allowed to remain at Goshen College. I responded, likely with limited coherence, that I thought I could make a contribution to the life of the college. When asked if I had regrets, I said I regretted that we had failed to properly communicate our goals. The three other editors had similar experiences.

A Presidential Forum for all students was announced for Thursday evening, October 12, in the church-chapel. The meeting was scheduled for 8:30 pm. Since a faculty meeting had gone on most of the day, we did not learn our fate until 7:30 that evening. The four public editors were suspended for the remainder of the academic year.

The administration asked us not to attend the Presidential Forum. For reasons I don’t recall, we agreed. At the forum a large majority of the students supported the suspension with a round of applause. Verlin, and other members of the publications Brüderhof were surprised by the intensity of the support, and felt it was directed against them as well.

The next days involved contacting family, sorting out logistics and making plans. Some of the editors had a debriefing at Dan Hess’ home. Sunday afternoon the editors were interviewed by Sue Clemmer as part of a two-page spread in the Record. After a “last [spaghetti] supper” prepared by Forreyce Lewis for the editors and their friends on Sunday night, the four of us left for Chicago.

Menno-Pause editors, October 1967

Menno-Pause editors, October 15, 1967. L-R: Jim Wenger, Tom Harley, Sam Steiner, Lowell Miller. Goshen College Record photo

Two things attracted us. The Voluntary Service unit on Chicago’s south side housed Steve Stucky and Mark Wagler, the two guys who had shown us an underground paper the previous summer. And Dan Leatherman, Goshen’s sole political science prof, was studying that year and lived with his family near the VS unit.

Tom and Lowell soon left Chicago and returned home. Jim and I moved to the northern edge of Chicago and got jobs at the Evanston Hospital–Jim in the kitchen, myself as a supply clerk. Jim was able to use his work to fulfill his alternative service obligation to the Selective Service System. He remained working in the hospital kitchen for the rest of his life. I worked at the hospital for about six months until I destroyed my draft card and was dismissed from the hospital.

Sometime in late 1967 or early 1968 Jim confirmed his sexual orientation as a gay man, and came out to me and other close friends. Within a half a year or so he had begun a life-long committed relationship with Peter Johnsen. They shared almost 30 years together. Jim died May 31, 1997 initially from non-HIV pneumonia, and finally from a superbug he contracted while in the hospital.

Sue and Sam wedding

Wedding party L-R: Sara Freed (former Record editor), Sue Clemmer, J. R. Burkholder (minister), Sam Steiner, Tom Harley. Verlin Miller was an usher. 

During this tumultuous time in Chicago, Jim and I were visited by various friends from the Goshen publication Brüderhof. As my legal and living situation worsened, they expressed growing concern for my well-being. One friend in particular, Sue Clemmer, persuaded me that Canada was a healthier alternative than prison. I left for Canada during the last week of October 1968. Our courtship deepened, and we were married in Canada on August 2, 1969.

People have wondered if there was ever reconciliation with leaders at the College. Tom and Lowell returned to school; I finished my degree in Canada.

[The following two paragraphs were updated December 4, 2015 and a photo added after discovering a folder of correspondence with Jim from 1994-1996.]

Jim Wenger, ca. 1992

Jim Wenger, ca. 1992. Photo by Peter Johnsen. Used as a publicity photo for his musical performances.

Jim Wenger never returned to academia, and stopped playing music for almost 20 years. He eventually healed enough to begin to play the piano again in the late 1980s and  to create tapes of his piano music for friends as Christmas presents. He began to perform as a piano soloist in the early 1990s, including at the Art Association of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Jim and Peter returned to the Goshen College for the first (and only?) time for a weekend in October 1993 as a guest of Dan and Joy Hess. Jim described it as cathartic for himself–“many positive and negative memories flowed.” He also had what he described as a “joyful reunion” with Mary Oyer. In 1995, as recounted by Dan Hess, Jim had one meeting with President Mininger, though we don’t know what was said in that encounter.

I next encountered Paul Mininger around 1980 in the home of Richard Detweiler, then pastor of the Souderton Mennonite Church. Mininger was the preacher at the Souderton Church one Sunday when Sue and I were visiting family. Richard and Mary Jane invited us to Sunday lunch and forced me to sit next to Mininger at the table. We had a cordial conversation.

We later had several longer conversations. In 1991 I made a presentation about my college and draft experience to a Mennonite Historical Society meeting at the Mennonite Church Assembly in Eugene, Oregon. Mininger asked if I minded if he came to the presentation. He exhibited a warmth in our conversations then that I had not experienced when a student. I felt we ended on good terms.

On reflection, the four of us were naive in estimating what a small Mennonite college, still shaking off the traditions of the 1950s and early 1960s, was capable of absorbing. The applause of the student body at our dismissal forced the editorial staff at the Record and the Maple Leaf to reassess whether their left-leaning “self-styled” elite was able to serve the full spectrum of the student community. They worked hard at it in the subsequent months.

Nonetheless I always felt the college administration’s reaction was excessive, exhibiting much greater fear of our power to disrupt the college community than was reality. In addition to the profanity, and the perceived attack on community, our loose association with SDS and Jim Wenger’s working out of his sexual orientation  seemed to be held against us in formulating the level of discipline.

For me, the events were life-changing as I was launched into conflict with the Selective Service System. I also had to come to grips with my own response to Jim’s homosexuality at a time when I had not ever considered the issue. And over time I came to embrace the Mennonite Church that finally refused to spew me out, even when many within it may have wanted to.

Over the years Menno-Pause made its way into the folklore of Goshen College’s history. However, I believe the only published reflections on this publication are in Susan Fisher Miller’s Culture for service: A history of Goshen College, 1894-1994, J. Daniel Hess’s memoir reflection, “Menno Pause Revisited” and two chapters in Sue Clemmer Steiner’s Flowing with the River: soundings from my life and ministry (2013)

In 2014 the surviving editors held a reunion at the home of Verlin Miller. It was a time to laugh and remember; it was a time to mourn the loss of our friend, Jim Wenger.

Menno-Pause editors, 2014

Surviving Menno-Pause editors, June 2014. Back (L-R): Tom Harley, Lowell Miller; Front: Sam Steiner, Verlin Miller

My own experience with the U.S. draft in 1967/1968 has appeared in Melissa Miller and Phil Shenk, The Path of Most Resistance: Stories of Mennonite Conscientious Objectors Who Did Not Cooperate with the Vietnam War Draft. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1982: 95–114 and Samuel J. Steiner,  “Alternative Service or Alternative Resistance? A Vietnam War Draft Resister in Canada.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 25 (2007): 195–204. It has also been interpreted in a drama by Rebecca Steiner, Gadfly: Sam Steiner Dodges the Draft.

This reflection on Menno-Pause is undergirded by three unpublished typescripts on the Menno-Pause event written in late 1967 and early 1968. These were by myself, Jim Wenger and Sue Clemmer.

16 thoughts on “Menno-Pause — a personal reflection

  1. Pingback: The 50th Anniversary of Menno-Pause | In Search of Promised Lands

  2. Wonderful story, Sam. As a high school student and faculty kid, I was quite in awe of all the hipsters at Goshen College in 1967. Please allow me to share some of my own memories.

    I transferred to Goshen Public High School from Bethany in 1966, after suffering a profound reaction to stuffy Mennonite homogeneity. At Goshen I fell in with a band of rebel hippies, grew my hair long, learned to smoke marijuana, read Paul Goodman’s “Compulsory Miseducation” and joined the SDS High School Reform Project. SDS was then based in Ann Arbor, and their advice to radical high school students included suggestions to create chaos by starting fires in the boy’s room trash cans. I was a bit too sophisticated for that nonsense, but I wrote letters to the Goshen News advocating sending medical supplies to North Vietnam, as the Quakers were doing with the yacht Phoenix.

    At the end of my junior year, my father went to see the principal, a cryptofascist martinet named John Johnson, to get permission for me to spend the fall of my senior year traveling with him. I was only 15, hence it was not legal for me to drop out yet. The principal responded by informing my father that I was a Communist, and he would not have allowed me to return to school that fall anyway. At that time the Mennonites stuck to their tiny enclave in South Goshen and did not attempt to reform the fascist high school.

    At any rate, I was a fledgling hippie, and my friends and I would visit Chicago’s Old Town to buy incense, underground newspapers and large wall posters of Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary. After returning to Goshen from travel in Asia and Africa I started as a freshman at Goshen College at the tender age of 16 in February of 1968. There I was soon adopted by the “Bruderhof” intelligentsia, including Carol Beechy and Sue Steiner, who ran the newspapers and yearbook. I published reviews of Norman Mailer and William Burroughs in the “Record”, as well as a lot of hip poetry. My guru at the time was Allen Ginsberg.

    Somehow, I think after a long conversation with Sue Steiner, I became acquainted with Jim Wenger and went up to visit him in Chicago with my high school hippie band. One time we spent a night on the floor of the apartment he shared with Peter. Jim and Peter took me to the Joffrey Ballet on one occasion, and to see Howling Wolf on another. They had an African-American friend who provided me with my first drink of alcohol.

    I was tremendously excited by the avant-garde life Jim and Peter were leading, and contemplated turning on, tuning in, dropping out and moving to Chicago. Jim was very much into astrology at that time, but he was also a fantastic reader and we discussed Herbert Marcuse’s “Eros and Civilization” and Norman O. Brown’s “Love’s Body”, which was what the GC intelligentsia was reading. Jim and I began a long correspondence, focusing particularly on the “Shit Thesis”, referencing Freud and others. Years later from New York I wrote to Peter again and asked if he still had my letters. He did not, but I have most of his in my archive, if anyone is interested.

    The GC radicals, including Lenny Preheim, Joanne Kraus and Arden Smucker chartered a bus to go up to Racine, Wisconsin that spring, to canvas for Eugene McCarthy. That was my formal introduction to American overground, as opposed to underground, politics. That summer GC and EMC offered an Urban Studies Seminar in New York City. I went along in a van driven by Lennie Preheim, and spent the summer in Harlem working with Carol Beechy at a summer camp for children at Seventh Avenue Mennonite church in central Harlem. My memoir of that heady time, including my attempts to turn Carol on to reefer, may be found at:

    I also spent the summer of 1969 in New York’s hippie mecca, the East Village, were there was a burgeoning community of 1W boys and other rebels. My memoir of that summer is at: (Amos Stoltzfus, Amish Druid: A Memoir). It includes the back story of Goshen College in that era, including this account of “Mennopause”:

    “Even Goshen College, a humble and diminutive Mennonite institution at the south end of Goshen, Indiana, felt the reverberations of the tumultous events of the spring of 1968. In the previous year four editors of an underground magazine irreverently titled “Mennopause” were expelled from the school after much angst and soul-searching on the part of the administration, primarily because the fanatical writers had dared to publish the word “Fuck”, a word which was much in the zeitgeist but still highly offensive to the “constituency”, primarily comprised of staid Mennonite farmers and burghers.”

    Ah, the late sixties! It was the best of times and the best of times!

    Ross Lynn Bender


    • Always good to hear from Ross Lynn. Ross [and Sam over at my blog] makes reference to Lenny Preheim. I believe that Lenny was two years behind our class of ’68, and had not kept track of him since that time. After Sam’s reference to Lenny’s passing, I did a bit of googling, and believe that Lenny was a leader in the NYC bicycling scene – is that correct? I also note that Lenny’s estate has funded AIDS research.


      • Always good to hear from an old member of the fabulous Backdoormen. Lennie used to haunt the stage during Backdoormen concerts, where he would wear an old trenchcoat with only a jockstrap underdeath, and he would flash the audience to show his skinny chest on which he had painted “EROS” in red lipstick. That’s right, Lenny took over the Toga Bike Shop on Avenue B, between 13th and 14th Streets, and built it up into quite a business. It moved to the Upper West Side at some point and developed into a major supplier.

        Toga was founded in 1967 by Leon Yost, one of the original 1W boys and Amish Druids on E. 13th St. Leon was also a photographer, and his wife an artist. I remember going to one of their gallery shows downtown in the seventies. (See my memoir, Amos Stoltzfus, Amish Druid, for details:

        “The Amish Druid Liberation Front arose out of a heretical Amish cult in the late 1960s centered around a young Amish powwow artist who left the faith to go and live on East 13th Street in New York City’s East Village. At the time East 13th Street between Avenues A and B was the center of a burgeoning Mennonite colony founded by the “I-W Boys” who had come to the city to do their alternate service at local hospitals. Soon they were joined by other Mennonite farmboys — gays, hippies and nogoodnik rebels — who found the strictures of Mennonite life in rural Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana altogether too binding and suffocating for comfort. The gays played the organ or sang in the choir at upscale uptown Episcopal churches. The rebels founded a bicycle repair shop named “Toga” on Avenue B. The hippies sat on the fire escapes grooving to the sound of the mammoth Con Ed plant on 14th St and wrote poetry long into the night.”

        Toga was famous for its “Mennonite discount.” The hippies and rebels could rent bikes cheaply. I once went all the way down to Staten Island on a Toga bicycle. Another time I got quite stoned and rode over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn, and found myself in what appeared to be an Orthodox Jewish shtetl in 19th century Poland. The last time I saw Lenny was in 1979, when Toga was still in its original location on Avenue B. By that time the shop was profitable enough and the hood dangerous enough that he was packing heat.

        Lennie had fallen in love with JoAnne Kraus on the bus ride up to Racine, Wisconsin in spring of 1968, where we canvassed for Gene McCarthy. As I recall, he was derided for being “pussy-whipped.” They dropped out of GC, got married and lived on the ground floor at 524 E. 13th St., the Mennohouse of that era. Marriage did not last, unfortunately. Lennie, or Gaylen, which was his proper name, was from the wilds of Freeman, South Dakota. His younger brother came to NYC in the summer of 69 and we all used to have marathon pinochle tournaments with lots of Bali Hai wine up in 5-D, the apartment rented by Sid and Arden. Good times, good times.

        Ross Lynn Bender


      • Ross – thanks for once again jogging the nether regions of my memory. I indeed recollect Lenny, the trench coat, etc., but certainly had not thought of that in decades! Sadly, a couple of members of The Backdoormen have also passed away, but the music lives on, at least on a 45 vinyl. Always enjoy your recollections of the 60’s and 70’s.


  3. Sam, thanks so much for sharing this reflection on the Menno-Pause chapter at Goshen College. In my basic reporting class, I always devote some time to sharing the Menno-Pause story. Doug asked about other underground papers at the college.

    Soon after I started teaching here The Underground Railroader appeared, in April 2002. In the first issue, the “Editorial/Manifesto” explained “why we need an underground newspaper.” The editorial begins: “We need an underground newspaper because we’ve gotten soft. In the old days . . . thoughtful people with ugly glasses stayed up nights drinking nothing but tea giving serious thought to the issues of our day. Sincere students mimeographed broadsides pillorying pompous faculty, incompetent professors, and staid church institutions. Young and idealistic people whom your parents weren’t cool enough to hang around with started papers like Mennopause, The American Dog, and The Excommunicator.”

    More recently, in 2012, students distributed copies of The Conscientious Objector. And article by Dirk Willems about the admissions office “targeting younger students” led the sixth issue. The college, by this report, was going to pursue the demographic ages 7-10. The pitch? No parents, no bed time, ice cream machine in the cafeteria, sleepovers, and classes that generally last only 50 minutes.


  4. Hi Sam…I remember getting my copies of the paper and still have them somewhere…Probably under the stacks of annuals or something. Good memories!!!
    I never got “called” in…but my folks did get a letter regarding an off campus dance I held…my brother’s (Eric Troyer) band doing the honors. It was a time of incredible change for campus and the world and we did our part!!
    Ingrid Troyer Eash


  5. Sam — thanks for sharing this. I still have my copies of Menno Pause, but I haven’t thought about this for a long time. Do you have any idea why Jim reacted the way he did? To an outsider it just seems so drastic and self-defeating. Did he write at all? Do you know what kind of relationship he had with his family. As for his nearly 4.0 GPA, I remember hearing that his one B was in physical education, perhaps volleyball.


    • Jim’s father died when he was a freshman at Goshen. He did not feel well supported by the College community at the time of that loss. He maintained a very close relationship with at least one of his sisters, and with her children. I can’t speak to more extended family and his long term relationship with them. His partner, Peter, did speak at Jim’s funeral, which was held in the Mennonite Church Jim grew up in. I don’t know if he did further writing. I understand he became quite a devoted gardener through the years, in relation to flowers and such.

      Yes, he did get a low mark in Volleyball, and some of his friends called him “Volleyball” as a result.

      It’s hard to know why people react they way do to traumatic events.


    • I do not recollect hearing about the Barb story before reading it in Sam’s piece. It’s a long, long way from the Berkeley Barb to the GC President’s office and it indeed would be fascinating to learn exactly how that happened. In addition to the gay students who were not tolerated at the time, there was also at least one gay professor who left the college to become a Goshen mail carrier – Dan Leatherman.

      Like you, I would very much like to know who outed Jim.


  6. Thanks, Sam. I was in my second year as a young history teacher at Bethel College, and am drawn to comparisons between Bethel and Goshen, based on, to be sure, flawed memories.
    At Bethel the student unrest seemed more closely related to public protests against the Vietnam War. In my mind the failures of the war discredited the authority of the national government–a broader and determinative context for discrediting the authority of educational, church and family institutions.
    At Bethel the student movement was strongly influenced by student council membership in the National Student Association, and student attendance at national NSA meetings. Several years ahead of the crisis, president Vernon Neufeld at Bethel had instituted arrangements for students to have equal membership with faculty members on the major college administrative policy committees. The Bethel administration considered itself ahead of the game in the matter of “participatory democracy.” But the radical students said that these committees did not have the real power that was implied on the administrative charts.
    There was much talk at Bethel, as elsewhere, of the unprecedented “generation gap” of those years. Has this been studied for Mennonites? I would welcome a study of key Mennonite rebel student leaders of the Menno-Pause cohort (from all the Menno colleges) that would attempt to assess the relationship of these students to their parents, compared to the relationship of these parents with their own parents in their time. If the generation gap was indeed unprecedented, why?


  7. Sam – thanks for sharing this reflection, and bring back many memories of our years at Goshen College. I indeed helped with the graphic of Menno Pause, and some of us secondary MP-ers helped with various aspects of the publication. My recollection was that one of the issues was printed after-hours at the Menno Travel Service offices downtown, with the help of Will Poyser and an MTS employee.

    Jim Wenger was my assigned roommate for our freshman year; sort of the odd couple. Jim was very bright, a talented piano player and no particular interest in sports – me, average intellect, OK guitar player and always ready to play basketball, or whatever. We got along fine, but lined up new roommates for our second year. In retrospect, it is clear that Jim was dealing with his sexual identity in 1964. He would occasionally peruse a Playboy and had numerous dates with college girls, but did not seem particularly comfortable living that role. While it saddens me deeply that he as well as others such as Eric Alderfer, could not express their innate identities at Goshen, I was pleased that Jim was able to find a loving long term partner in Peter.

    I have dug out my two issues of Menno Pause and also a manuscript by Stacy Vlasits who wrote a book entitled “The Menno-Pause Incident At Goshen College. And thanks for the reference to the Dan Hess article – both interesting and illuminating.


  8. Great article! I love knowing ‘the rest of the story’! As you were a Menno ‘rebel’ in word and deed, I was only a rebel at heart. Wasn’t there a revival of ‘Mennopause’? I kinda remember issues in the 80’s on campus, or is it a faulty memory?


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