University of Texas Arlington

University of Texas at Arlington Dean of Student Life Records:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Creator: University of Texas at Arlington. Dean of Student Life.
Title: University of Texas at Arlington Dean of Student Life Records
Dates: 1965-1970
Abstract: This collection contains the files of Charles T. McDowell, the Dean of Student Life at the University of Texas at Arlington, from 1965-1970. During this time period, UTA was embroiled in the Rebel theme controversy in which students, faculty, and university officials debated abolishing a school spirit theme based on the Confederacy. Materials including correspondence, minutes, resolutions, news releases, newspaper clippings, petitions, reports, articles, polls, lists, court order, speeches, and statements document the controversy. Also included are materials pertaining to the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an active student organization during the 1960s. Most of the materials pertaining to the SDS are newspaper clippings, newsletters, reports, and articles concerning SDS activities at other campuses.
Identification: AR281
Extent: 2 boxes (0.61 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Historical Note

Charles T. McDowell (1921-2007) was the Dean of Student Life at the University of Texas at Arlington from 1965 to 1970 during a time period in which the Rebel theme controversy began gaining momentum on the UTA campus and universities across the country were rife with student protests.

The Rebel theme controversy stemmed from a decision made in 1951 by students at Arlington State College, a forerunner of the University of Texas at Arlington, to adopt a Rebel school spirit theme and a number of symbols and references to the Confederacy as part of the theme. These included the flying and waving of the Rebel flag on campus and at events; the playing of Dixie at sporting events; a Johnny Reb mascot; and the celebration of an Old South week which included slave auctions of students in blackface. During the 1960s, especially after the school joined the University of Texas System in 1965, some students, members of the student government, faculty, and University officials began a push to break away from the Rebel theme. However, the student body continually voted to uphold the theme and symbols during several votes. The matter became increasingly contentious and demonstrations were held in support of both sides of the issue. The matter was finally settled in 1971 when the University of Texas Board of Regents ruled that the theme be abolished.

During the mid-1960s, UTA campus officials were also keeping abreast of student demonstrations, especially those involving the SDS, being held on campuses across the nation. The SDS, or Students for a Democratic Society, was a student organization that became associated with many of the ideals of the New Left movement and frequently staged protests demanding more rights for students and a greater participatory role in political affairs. There were some attempts by a small number of students to establish a chapter of the SDS on the UTA campus during this time period.


Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of the files of Charles T. McDowell, the Dean of Student Life at the University of Texas at Arlington, from 1965-1970. Materials include correspondence, minutes, resolutions, news releases, newspaper clippings, petitions, reports, articles, polls, lists, court order, speeches, statements, leaflets, pamphlets, handbooks, histories, and poster. The bulk of the collection documents the Rebel theme controversy on the UTA campus and the attempts made by opposing sides to abolish or save the theme.

Also included are materials concerning the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Most of the materials related to the SDS are newspaper clippings, newsletters, and reports concerning SDS and other related student organizations' activities at campuses across the nation. Some newspaper clippings document attempts by UTA students to establish an SDS chapter on the UTA campus. Some material, including handbooks, drafts, and revisions, related to UTA dormitories is present as well.


Organization

Folders are arranged alphabetically according to title. Within folders, materials are arranged in chronological order.

Restrictions

Access

Open for research.


Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons
McDowell, Charles Taylor.
Organizations
University of Texas at Arlington--History--Rebel theme controversy, 1965-1971--Sources.
University of Texas at Arlington. Dean of Student Life--Records and correspondence.
University of Texas at Arlington. Student Congress--Records and correspondence.
University of Texas at Arlington--Mascots--History--Sources.
University of Texas at Arlington--Students--History--Sources.
Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.). University of Arlington Chapter--History--Sources.
Subjects
Students--Political activity--Texas--Arlington--History--Sources.
Places
Arlington (Tex.)--History--Sources.
Alternate Titles
University Archives

Related Material

AR226: Board of Regents of the University of Texas System Minutes

AR232: Rebel Theme Controversy Collection, 1968-1971


Administrative Information

Citation

University of Texas at Arlington Dean of Student Life Records, AR281, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Acquisition

Gift, 1977. Accessioned as number 77-17.

Processing Information

Original newspaper clippings were photocopied and discarded.


Administrative Information

Grant Support

The retrospective updating and conversion of this finding aid was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Special Collections "Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records" project, 2014-2015.


Note to the Researcher

Collection also known as Charles T. McDowell Papers.


Container List

Box Folder
1 1 Alternate Theme - Minutes, memoranda, resolutions, letter, list of committee members, 1969-1970
2 Dormitory handbook - Handbooks, list of revisions, estimate, memorandum, bid, forms, instruction sheet, constitution and by-laws appendix, draft of handbook, 1969-1970
3 Miscellaneous - Magazine article, letter, memoranda, minutes, 1968-1969
4 Rebel Flag - Election results, newspaper clippings, correspondence, statements, resolutions, memoranda, draft of presidential statement, news releases, student newspaper, statement of Fort Worth ACLU, report on petition, description of theme choices, 1965-1969
5 Rebel Theme - Ballot, resolutions, copies of articles, correspondence, statements, statement of resignation, petitions, referendum results, faculty poll, news releases, newspaper clippings, 1965-1970
6 Rebel Theme - Memoranda, correspondence, statements, news releases, resolutions, newspaper clippings, statements, opinion poll, petition, list of committee members, history of the Rebel theme, endorsement of Apollo theme, list of reasons to change theme, 1965-1970
7 Rebel Theme and Flag - Minutes, memorandum, complaint, letter, resolutions, court order, June, 1969-November, 1969
8 Rebel Theme and Flag - Report to the Board of Regents, memoranda, statement, news releases, newspaper clippings, 1965-1970
9 Rebel Theme Petitions - Signed petitions, September 17, 1969-September 22, 1969
10 Rebel Theme Petitions, September 22, 1969-October 1, 1969
Box Folder
2 1 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) - Annual report for ACLU, pamphlet, minutes, magazine articles, synopsis of address, reports, newsletters, speech, newspaper clippings, 1965-1968
2 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) - Newspaper clippings, radical newspapers, magazine articles, leaflet, newsletters, pamphlets, reports, statement, resolution, poster, October, 1968-January, 1969