Saturday, December 26, 2009

1969: Saddleback's war on hair


Forty years ago: Fullerton College students were protesting the draft. Meanwhile, at Saddleback College, hairy male applicants were turned away

Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen:

Back in 1969, some hairy kid named Lindahl King tried to register for classes at Saddleback College, but he was turned away owing to his long hair. Fred H. Bremer was the Superintendent of what was then the Saddleback Junior College District, and he supported the action.

King sued.

(If you’re interested in the details of the court case, you might want to look here and here.)

In January of 1970, the “District Court issued its preliminary injunction enjoining [Saddleback] from refusing to register King in the college and from refusing to allow him to attend classes on the ground that his hair style was not acceptable under the applicable dress code.”

Two more kids signed on, and the same thing happened.

But, near as I can tell, things went downhill from there for these hairy kids. In the end (I believe), the courts ruled in favor of Bremer and Co.

I think King went on to make wooden tubas. Don't know what's become of his hair. I think maybe John's now got it pasted to the top of his head.

This is from the district’s 1970 appeal:

This is an appeal by Saddleback Junior College District from a grant of two preliminary injunctions sought by Lindahl King and two other students at the Junior College. ¶ Lindahl King alleged in a complaint filed in the United States District Court that he was refused registration at Saddleback Junior College … unless and until he conformed his hair style to the requirements of the established dress code of the school. The regulation in question proscribes:
"Hair which falls below the eyebrows, or covers all or part of the ear, or hangs entirely over the collar of a dress shirt."
He sought a declaratory judgment invalidating the regulation and an injunction enjoining the Junior College District, its Superintendent, and the president of the college from enforcing the regulation….


Fred H. Bremer: hair style "conducive to learning"

The matter came on for hearing on December 29, 1969…. On January 6, 1970, the District Court issued its preliminary injunction enjoining the defendants from refusing to register King in the college and from refusing to allow him to attend classes on the ground that his hair style was not acceptable under the applicable dress code.


Subsequently, two other students were added as plaintiffs, and on January 19, 1970, a hearing was held on their similar complaints. Upon a substantially like record the District Court, on February 5, 1970, issued the preliminary injunction in identical form against the defendants and in favor of the new plaintiffs, Mark Carlson and Michael Martin.

Well, like I said, things went downhill from there. In this appeal (April of 1970), the court opined:
Where preservation of the status quo favors denial of the injunctions, where the probability of ultimate success is in doubt, where the appellants have not shown any real hardship resulting from denial, and where the record at this time is based on affidavits which are confusing and contradictory, we do not believe the two preliminary injunctions should have been granted.
But litigation lasted at least until 1971, when the above April '70 decision was upheld. So this must have cost the district some real money.

Luckily, we know how important this case was to Bremer. In one of the filings, he was on record as opining:
"Based upon my academic training and administrative experience, I am of the opinion that dress codes which include regulations applicable to male hair styles are desirable for junior colleges. Such codes aid in maintaining an environment which is conducive to learning and in avoiding disruptions of the educative process."
Um. Guess so. In fact, no disruptions occurred with these three hairy kids set loose at the college.

Yeah, said the judge. But that doesn't mean it couldn't occur.



Young Natalie, Christmas Eve

Top photo: right-wing rocker, Ted Nugent, c. 1969

3 comments:

  1. So your district was messed up right out of the gate!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE the new look. The IVC blue is fabulous and easy on the eyes. I vote to keep it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you needed a picture of me for this post. Damn.

    ReplyDelete

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