Monmouth Revisits the Watergate Scandal

University had the honor of hearing John Dean speak about his experience and trials he experienced due to the Watergate Scandal. There was an array of people in attendance. From Deborah Portiz, former Attorney General of New Jersey to President Brown.

“There’s a cancer in the presidency and it’s growing.”  This quote stated by John Dean, has been notorious in regards to political scandals. The Watergate Scandal regarding President Nixon changed not only the Executive but also ethnics within society. Caught up in the mixed of this scandal was former white house counsel to President Nixon, John Dean.

Dr. Rekha Datta, Interim Vice Provost For Global Education, raved about the event. Along with that she expressed the courage Dean embodied. “The Watergate event was outstanding. It was engaging and had universal appeal that cut across generations and scholarly and general interest surrounding an issue that laid the foundations of many ethics reforms in American public policy. We were fortunate to hear from a key player as the Watergate Scandal unfolded, and a historian who contextualized the day to day developments as they evolved on those fateful days in the 1970’s. It also highlighted the importance of integrity.”

She continued, “As White House counsel, a young lawyer, John Dean, was a true profile in courage in standing up to the highest office in the country. He followed the courage of his conviction, and made a tremendous contribution to strengthening the institution of government; but not without backlash. An important takeaway is that as in the government, in other organizations too, this can happen.” She continued to say “John Dean demonstrated the importance of standing up when rules and processes are violated in any organization. In that sense, he was truly a ‘profile in courage.’” and that “It was a historic event that was a wonderful learning opportunity for the campus community. I thank the speakers, and Dean Moliver, Peter Reinhart, Joe Patten, and others who made this event possible.”

John Dean has a particular role in the Watergate Scandal. He started off by being associate deputy in the office of the Attorney General of the U.S. At the time, he served under Attorney General John N. Mitchell. Around 1970, in July, he was appointed to become the counsel to the President. Dean, at the time was among the youngest working for the President. He was unaware at the time of taking the position what his future held.

Around June 17, 1972, news had broken that a group of people had broken in to the headquarters of Democratic National Committee’s office. Nixon at this point chose to have Dean investigate this incident while maintaining that he is innocent throughout the whole event. Towards the end of the Watergate Scandal and more details started to unravel and Dean realized that this whole problem rooted farther back than expected. He decided it would be in his best interest to testify against the Nixon Administration and come forward with all the facts he had and knew.

Dean was among the youngest to testify in front of the Senate after agreeing to cooperate with the prosecutors. He received multitudes of death threats. The threats got so severe to the point where he was admitted with the witness protection program. Prior to testifying Dean had asked Nixon for a pardon for any crime committed that was denied. This also was an additional factor causing Dean to go against Nixon.

Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of Political Science, said“John Dean is a complicated historic figure. It was fascinating to watch history come to life through his thoughtful, informative, and dynamic presentation. The Watergate Scandal was a watershed moment in American politics and its impacts continue to shape discussions on public ethics, campaign finance, and investigative reporting.  Professor Peter Reinhart and the Business School did a masterful job in organizing what was truly one of the most compelling and substantive academic events hosted on our campus over the past 10 years”.

Professor Peter Reinhart, Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute said, “It is very rare to be able to have a living witness to history discuss one of the most compelling historic events that shaped the future of the country. Watergate left several enduring legacies. The teaching of ethics for all lawyers and in most universities is now mandatory.” He also said that “The public scrutiny of candidates for public office is now greater than ever. The Leon Hess Business School and Kislak Real Estate Institute are proud to further the education and dialogue on these important issues and look forward to bringing other significant public figures to campus.”

The event was such a success for not just the Monmouth community but also the surrounding towns. Victoria Kelly, a sophomore health studies major enjoyed her experience. She said, “The event was extremely engaging and different. It was interesting to the see narration of a such a popular scandal”