Alumni Relations


Scarlet Pride

The Official Blog for Rutgers Alumni

  •  

Newark Alumni - The Class of 1981 Login to comment

Friday, April 15 2011 08:06:24 AM

For the class of 1981, it was a time to wave goodbye to the history created in the ‘70s and say hello to the future that they would help create. Rutgers–Newark students have always had big dreams but, as the need for new and advanced technology rose, the doors of opportunity were opening even wider for students–especially females.


Looking at The Future, Now Past


Four female NCAS ‘81 seniors take a moment from their busy school schedules to share future plans:



Opening Doors

To help prepare for their chosen careers, Rutgers–Newark students utilized campus resources to give themselves a competitive advantage. In an Observer article written by NCAS ’81 graduate Debbie Carini, former Presidential counselor John Dean spoke of his involvement with Watergate:

The name John Dean is synonymous with the word Watergate. “It is a subject on which I have far more expertise than I wish I did,” said the former Nixon staff aid as he addressed approximately 300 students and faculty last Monday in an event sponsored by the Program Board.

Discussing the impact of Watergate on the Presidency today, Dean was quick to point out that there is a distinct difference between the abuses that ocurred in past presidencies and what happened during the Nixon administration.

“Before, it (abuse of the executive office) was the exception to the rule,” said Dean, “when Nixon was president, it was the rule.”

The presidency, Dean went on to say, is a peculiar office. When it was set up by the founding fathers, there was very little definition as to the powers of the executive branch.

Since the Watergate affir, there have been no changes made in the powers of the president, said Dean, but Watergate has produced some changes most notably in the Congress where the power to oversee the authority invoked by the President is much more exercised.

“I don’t think Watergate washed the political landscape with morality,” said Dean, “just caution.”

Dean does believe that the tremendous amount of media coverage devoted to Watergate has had a lasting effect on the American people and their view of the presidency.

Noting the upsurge of investigative journalism during the early 70s, Dean believes that Presidents today are under far more pressure from reporters than their predecessors.

“There’s a desire to create something that might turn out to be another Watergate,” said Dean, pointing out such cases as Lance-Gate and the more recent Billy-gate.

"Stories such as these diversify the President’s attention", said Dean.

“The President is now guilty until proven innocent,” he added, “and that makes the job darn tough. A President’s time is very limited. It is not easy to operate the government in a fishbowl.”

When asked if he thought watergate could ever happen again, Dean replied, “As long as there is any curiosity to find out what happened during Watergate, I don’t think it will happen again.

One of the most interesting topics that Dean touched on had to do with “Deep Throat,” the unknown source who helped lead Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and bob Woodward to most of the information included in their Pulitzer Prize winning book.

“At first I thought it (Deep Throat) was a literary fiction of several sources,” said Dean. That theory was quelled by Bernstein, who assured Dean that a real person actually existed. Over the past few years, Dean has done some research and now cbelieves he knows who the man behind the well-kept secret is.
“There are very real reasons, serious reasons, why he (Deep Throat) has not surfaced,” was all Dean would tell the curious group.

He also suggested that when Deep Throat finally does expose himself, it may surprise many people.
“A leak isn’t always the noblest person,” he said. “Most leaks I’ve known have had very ulterior motives.”
Dean was extremely candid about his involvement in the Watergate incident and his decision to testify.
“It came down to a desire to save my own neck when I saw that nobody else was going to and to my own disgust with what I had become a part of.”

Asked if he still communicated with any of the other people indicted in the Watergate cover-up, Dean said that he hadn’t had much in common with them to begin with.

“Hadelman and Ehrlichman used to sit home and watch home movies of Nixon,” he said. Dean discussed the Nixon tapes and said that he was sure that Nixon had something to do with the missing 18 minutes.

“I think initially Nixon thought he could use the tapes to his advantage,” explained Dean, “but they got out of his control.

“If the tapes had never surfaced, I probably would have been indicted on 192 counts of perjury.”
Dean claims that he is sensitive to cashing in on Watergate, pointing out that he has refused to narrate the Watergate tapes for a major record company for a phenomenal amount of money.

He also spoke of the time he spent in prison describing his roommates as mostly “Mafia types.”
“My neighbor was a hit man named Joey with 31 notches in his belt.”

Dean related the humorous side of Watergate by telling anecdotes and sharing unusual experiences, but he captured the seriousness of the incident and its lasting legacy on American politics when the question of Watergate being a “trial of democracy” was raised.

“Watergate,” said Dean, “was a tragedy that corrected itself through a system that worked.”
© Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.
For questions or comments about this site, contact RUAlumni@alumni.rutgers.edu.