Harry D. Gideonse had been recently appointed president of Brooklyn College at the time of the Rapp-Coudert Committee's activities, and Claire Neikind (later Sterling) was a student there, active, at the time, in the American Student Union. She later became a devout anti-Communist. As for Gideonse, some idea of his contempt for student opinion is provided by the story told by William Taylor, editor of the college newspaper Vanguard, who had written an editorial that displeased President Gideonse. Years later, when he returned to receive an award from the college for distinguished service in the cause of civil liberties, he told of having been called in to the president's office and being informed by him: "I don't usually like to place an unfavorable rating on a student's record, but in your case it will be a pleasure!" The reference to being a "rabid Robinsonian" is to City College President Frederick B. Robinson, who had become notorious for his violations of academic freedom, especially when he ploughed into a student demonstration wielding an umbrella and calling them "guttersnipes" for protesting his invitation to a group of students of fascist Italy to address a student assembly in the college's Great Hall. The references to the "Trib and Journal" are to Colonel McCormick's Chicago Tribune and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal, both newspapers renowned as pillars of reaction.

Gideonse assumed the presidency of Brooklyn College after the Rapp-Coudert Committee had completed its ravaging of the faculties at all the city colleges, including Brooklyn. He indicated early on his sympathy for the committees aims and methods as expressed in this song.


What’s Your Hurry, Mr. Gideonse, Here’s Your Hat! (1947)
By Claire Neikind

You are guilty, Mr. Gideonse, self-confessed,  
Of flagrant disregard of our expressed request.  
Charge is rabid Robinsonian 
With a thin veneer of chromium –  
What a helluva situation  
For a brand new administration –  
What’s your hurry, Mr. Gideonse, here’s your hat!

Say, be careful, Mr. Gideonse, there’s a red!  
Ain’t you scared that you ‘ll be murdered in your bed?  
If they get you, we’re not sorry –  
We don’t see why we should worry.  
There’s a helluva future facin’ you  
With the student movement chasin’ you –  
Better get going, Mr. Gideonse, here’s your hat!  

My, my – don’t cry!  
You’ll be in the foreign service by and by.

There’s a future in the army, we’ve been told.  
Silver buttons and some epaulets of gold.  
And if you read the Trib and Journal,  
They might even make you colonel.  
So to hell with education  
And the future of the nation –  
What’s your hurry, Mr. Gideonse, here’s your hat!