Weather Underground, Then Sunny New Mexico

Published: Sunday, November 24, 2002

Weather Underground,

Then Sunny New Mexico

He was in the spotlight in the 1960's as the leader of a student rebellion at Columbia University. Then he was in the shadows in the 70's as a fugitive member of a radical group, the Weather Underground, which took responsibility for bombing government buildings.

Mark Rudd was never convicted of involvement in any bombing conspiracies; federal charges that he had been involved were dropped.

Those charges were brought in 1970, two years after Mr. Rudd led the students who paralyzed the Columbia campus for weeks with takeovers of buildings, from which the city police ousted them in violent confrontations. The rebels attacked a university plan to build a gym in nearby Morningside Park as an incursion into Harlem, and charged that Columbia's ties to the government had aided the Vietnam War.

In 1977, Mr. Rudd surfaced from the Weather Underground to plead guilty — to a misdemeanor state trespassing charge in the Columbia case, and to other misdemeanors stemming from a violent antiwar demonstration in Chicago in 1969. He was not sentenced to jail.

These days, he recalls the Columbia uprising — one of many campus revolts across the country in that tumultuous decade — as a "great civil disobedience action." But he says "it was a terrible mistake" for radical groups like the Weather Underground to use violence, because "it didn't help things."

Mr. Rudd, 55, lives in Albuquerque, where he teaches mathematics at the Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute, a community college.

"I'm involved in local antiwar demonstrations," he said last week, "and I've been involved in marches for peace in the Middle East."

His view of the American government is still bluntly negative. It is pursuing "world domination," he charged. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 were a "terrible crime," he said, and "I'm not justifying Saddam Hussein." But of the American plans for military action in Iraq, he asserted, "There are ways to deal with threats to peace other than murdering people." Then, with the kind of phrasemaking that once rallied the ranks to the campus ramparts, he added: "Saddam Hussein, very bad, very bad. George Bush, very bad, very bad."

A Possible Exit

To New Jersey

In February, Arnold J. Levine abruptly resigned as president of Rockefeller University, the prominent research institution and graduate school in Manhattan. He admitted to the trustees that he had behaved inappropriately with a female student in a campus lounge after both had been drinking.

The student, 21, said it had been consensual and involved hugging and kissing. Dr. Levine, 63, a leading cancer researcher, stayed on at Rockefeller, heading its cancer biology laboratory.

Now he is stepping into other domains. In September, he became a visiting professor of molecular biology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

And a spokeswoman at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey said last week that its trustees were expected to soon approve Dr. Levine's appointment to the faculty of its Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. On the same New Brunswick campus, he is to head a laboratory at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said the spokeswoman, Susan Preston.

Will his tie to Rockefeller continue? Dr. Levine did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages. And Rockefeller said only that he "is a professor and heads one of the university's 75 major laboratories" and "his research team continues to be active."



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