Scott Camil remembers David Chalmers, Hal Stahmer

I started UF in January of 1971 after graduating from Miami Dade with an AA degree in Pre-Law.

That month Jane Fonda came and spoke at UF. She was looking for patriotic veterans who served in Vietnam. She said that we needed to tell the American people the truth about the conduct of U.S. troops in Vietnam, and what was being done in their names with their money.

Jane’s talk got me involved in the Winter Soldier Investigation, which got me involved with Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Before this, I was a very serious student and my grades were really important to me. Professors were like gods, they had enormous power. I was asked to speak about the war, and I was encouraged by many of my professors.

One of them was Dr. David Chalmers who said that it was more important for me to speak out against the war than come to class. His words were very empowering to me. I will never forget David’s encouragement and how that changed my path.

I became a leader in Vietnam Veterans Against the War and worked hard to educate the public about the true nature of the Vietnam War. As a result, I missed classes.

The U.S. government was upset to find Vietnam Veterans leading anti-war marches, and it sicced the FBI on us. The FBI came after me. One of the first things they did was try to get me kicked out of UF.

They met with Dr. Harold Stahmer who at the time was an Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Stahmer told the FBI that until they convicted me of a crime, I would remain a student.

These two friends were responsible for encouraging me to speak out against the war and allowing me to remain a student. Without their encouragement and support, my life would be totally different.

I thank and salute Hal and David for helping me get to where I am today.

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