Ted Hogshire grew up in Norfolk, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate. After graduating in 1965, Hogshire served in the U.S army and spent a year in Korea. Hogshire returned from Korea with support to attend graduate school under the GI Bill, and he looked to UVA Law. In spring 1970, Hogshire was finishing his third and last year of law school.
Hogshire had already passed the Virginia bar exam the previous December and had a clerkship lined up on the Fourth Circuit. He was well connected to the Law community and the broader University through extracurriculars, which included serving as a resident counselor in the University’s first-year Kent-Dabney dormitory. There, Hogshire got to know undergraduate deans, who had their offices on the dorm’s first floor. This proximity facilitated Hogshire’s later May Days role as communicator. He was comfortable talking with the deans, and they “knew where to find me.”
News of the Cambodia invasion and the Kent State shootings had a “profound” effect on the University. On May 4, 1970, Hogshire attended a packed meeting at Clark Hall to determine what response law students should take. Hogshire was struck by the diversity of opinions among the crowd.
A classmate turned to Hogshire and suggested that he might get involved. Hogshire had witnessed police encounters with protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He did not want to see it repeated at UVA. Hogshire feared that University administration “may be headed in the wrong direction” with their handling of the strike.
A plan for the law school legal marshal program took shape at a subsequent meeting of interested law students. Marshals would be “on-call” to go to areas on Grounds where violent activity seemed likely, observe, and protect free speech.
A communication network was deemed essential. Hogshire remembers law school Dean Monrad Paulsen vacating his office in Clark Hall for the marshals to use as their command center. University administration provided walkie-talkies. Despite the support from the administration, the marshals had no clear chain of command, and they received no formal training. Many, like Hogshire, had been in the military or in professional organizations such as Legal Aid, which they believed provided them with experience and a sense of maturity. They held diverse opinions on the war.
"I think it was a pretty amazing thing that that as many people of diverse political perspectives, particularly those people who didn't have the emotional link to the undergraduate school, were willing to get involved and take some serious risks."
Hogshire took up his post in Clark Hall as dispatcher for the marshals. From the Dean’s office he listened to marshal reports and directed them to locations over the radio. The uncertainty of events on Grounds and the growing sense that the strike was out of control added to the tension. Following the speeches by Kunstler and Rubin on May 6th, Hogshire looked for ways to open communication between University administration and students. He worked with fellow marshals to broker a meeting with J. Harvie Wilkinson, a law student and the student representative to the University’s Board of Visitors. At another meeting with University Counsel Leigh Middleditch, Hogshire and fellow law students expressed concern that the Governor of Virginia was going to call in the state police with President Shannon’s support. Despite these efforts, Hogshire was not certain that anything would change. By week’s end, he felt a violent clash between police and protesters was inevitable.
"And I had a sense that maybe, you know, we couldn't stop it. And it was just going to happen. It was sort of inevitable."
On May 8th and during the early hours of May 9th, the “bottom sort of fell out” of the protests. An exhausted Hogshire arrived at the Rotunda that night to see the state police putting on riot gear. Dean Robert Canevari was standing in the middle of University Avenue, and Hogshire joined him, asking in disbelief, “they're not going to do what it looks like they're going to do?” But the police took up formation. They read the Riot Act: “You must disperse, or you’ll be arrested.” According to later reports, the crowd remained because they could not hear the reading. When Hogshire saw the police start to move into the crowd, his emotions boiled over. He yelled at Dean Canevari, “This is a bad idea!”
The police ran up through Grounds “arresting everyone in sight.” Hogshire watched as a handful of his fellow legal marshals were arrested and loaded into a Mayflower van. Wondering how he might help, Hogshire drove to the police station, where the intensity of the night dragged on among the 68 arrestees and the law faculty members serving as legal counselors. Sympathy for the strike increased within the University community. It was not until President Shannon’s May 10th statement on the Lawn against the police actions and against the handling of the Vietnam War that the tension began to diffuse, Hogshire recalls.