Student AAG describes shaving beard to follow new dress code.

May 16, 1969
News (traditional)
Allan A. Glatthorn

Allan A. Glatthorn, "Personal Rights," Daily Universe, May 16, 1969, 2

Daily Universe
Allan A. Glatthorn
Reading Public

Last summer I grew a beard but shaved it off when asked, even though I liked it.

Last month I took part in a silent protest about an issue of national importance, and acted independently, even though there was much public criticism.

And ever since, some students and parents have asked some important questions: Why did I grow a beard? Why did I shave it off? Why did I protest? What right do I have to take a stand on a matter of public controversy?

So maybe it's time to answer as honestly as I can and to talk about the lessons that are involved in both situations.

I grew a beard because it's harmless fun to play with the externals—the way we look and the way we dress. And I grew a beard to suggest that you can't judge a man by appearances. I'm the same man without a beard as I was with one. And in the same way, you can't judge a student by long hair or short skirts. And maybe I grew a beard to show that we do have some small personal rights which we should value. I hope that you cherish your right to be yourself both in the little ways of dress and clothing and in the big issues of peace and war--and brotherhood and justice.

But I shaved off the beard because I was asked to do so, and because my desire to express a little bit of my individuality had become a major problem for others, and because people were seeing the beard, not the man behind the beard. A man has to choose the battles he will fight, and he has to weigh the consequences of his action against the importance of the issue. So if you are told to cut your hair, you should obey, because it's not worth fighting about, and the consequences of the rebellion are not worth the gains you make. People judged me by the beard, and the scooter, and they judge you by your long hair and short skirts, and we both ought to worry if we are leading them into making mistakes of judgment about us.

So, beard on, beard off—a little issue that wasn't worth a fight. But what of the other protest?

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