| 03.18.2018

Felt across the university — University effort should be made to commemorate Mark Felt’s legacy as a Vandal


Mark Felt — commonly known as “deep throat,” and more recently referred to as “the man who brought down the White House,” is known for a number of reasons, but his relationship to Moscow is not one of them.

Felt, who worked as the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) associate director, the second-highest-ranked position in the FBI, fed information regarding Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post. This leaked information is what ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, according to an article published by The Washington Post.

Born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho, Felt did what many other Idaho high school graduates do — pack up and move north to become a part of the Vandal family. Felt obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1935 at the University of Idaho.

He began working for the FBI in 1942 and assumed the position as associate director in 1972. Following the break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s office at The Watergate Hotel, Felt was thought to be “deep throat,” a nickname given to him by Woodward and Bernstein, for many years. It wasn’t until 2005 that Felt finally revealed his identity as “deep throat,” to Vanity Fair, according to The Washington Post.

Felt was obviously a prominent figure in history and American politics. Yet, even with such a rich and influential background, there isn’t a single memorial, building or plaque dedicated to Felt at UI.

Felt, however, was inducted into the UI Alumni Hall of Fame in 1972, an award which acknowledges alumni who “achieved national or international distinction by their accomplishments and leadership.”

Even with such an honor, it is a disgrace Felt isn’t recognized in any other form at the university. A student could spend their entire four-year undergrad and beyond without realizing “the man who brought down the White House,” the main subject for one of last year’s big Hollywood films, attended UI. Honestly, I wouldn’t know if I hadn’t joined the journalism department. 

You could argue that because Felt didn’t reveal his identity as “deep throat” until 2005, just three years before his death, the university hasn’t had enough time to throw something together. But, UI has had over 13 years to bring something to campus commemorating Felt’s legacy as a Vandal and as an influential figure in the U.S.

But, Felt should not have had to simply reveal his identity as “deep throat” to be considered worthy of some sort of recognition on campus — he was a top-ranking official in the FBI, something worthy of at least a simple sign.

UI has dedicated many buildings, hallways, rooms and more after notable alumni. For example, McClure Hall, named for James A. McClure, a former U.S. representative and senator and the Borah Theater and Borah Foundation, was named for Senator William Borah.

So, where is Felt’s building? Where is anything on campus that recognizes Felt’s contribution to the Vandal family, not to mention his contribution to American society, history and politics?

These are questions I will forever wonder the answer to, that is, until UI finally decides to recognize Felt.

Savannah Cardon can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @savannahlcardon

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