The Day I Did Not Change the University

One of the key phrases that was often heard was “Power to the People”. It’s interesting to look at what happened in the meantime. In some ways the people have a lot more power, the power to publish either in print or on the web, that’s new. We protested against the war and it ended, we argued for more open communication about sex and we got that to an astounding degree. But how much did we really cause?
There are many ways in which I’m sure I didn’t actually accomplish anything. In the fall of 1969, my freshman year, I was in ROTC. That consisted of getting lots of haircuts, polishing buttons and shoes, and going to ROTC class Tuesday and Thursday. My recollection is that Thursday was uniform day and Tuesday was regular dress. As it happened, my father bought me a peace medal shortly before I started at U.D. I wore it to ROTC. This didn’t allow me to accomplish anything but it sure made me unique in ROTC class. The first day that I wore it, the teacher Captain H., showed me an article that he clipped from a newspaper. It said that the peace medal symbolized the broken Christ. Wow. Where did that come from? I wasn’t impressed with the article. After all, the medal came from my father who was as staunchly religious a person that I knew. So I continued to wear it on Tuesdays for the rest of the semester and it was under my uniform on Thursdays. But I didn’t make a lot of friends in ROTC and I did not take ROTC classes during the rest of my time at U.D.
During the spring semester, some students took over the administration building. What really bothered me about that is that no one told me about it. So anything that occurred as a result of that takeover cannot be attributed to me. What did happen? Well there was a lot of discussion about opening up the University, giving students more of a say in academic and other decisions.
By my senior year, there was an initiative to look at various aspects of the University as it got ready for the 1980’s. As it turned out, there were two decisions that were made by the committee that I was part of. One was that coed dormitories could not work at U.D. I wrote a minority report saying that we could make it work. Another decision was that the RIM (Recreation and Intramural) building should be built in phases. I thought the University could end up with only a phase being completed so I wrote a minority report on that also. It is only a coincidence that Marycrest became a coed dormitory some years later and the RIM building was completed in one phase. That building is now a practice facility and an even greater recreation building is in use today. My minority reports didn’t sway anyone but maybe I had a lucky guess.
Now let’s consider someone who did make a change. His name was Robert R. He led a movement that was caused SLOP, Students Living On Potatoes. The goal was to improve the food in the cafeterias. Because of Robert and that group, changes in the cafeteria came to pass. So it was with little surprise that he ran and won the office of Student President. I was one of the vice presidents. Robert was sometimes referred to as BJ, short for Black Jesus. This wasn’t really meant as a religious reference but as an affectionate dig. You see, we always said that the Black Jesus didn’t reflect our opinion about him so much as his.
So the day I changed the University never happened. At best I could claim to be on a first name basis with the Dean of Students without having to get into trouble first. But Robert and others at the University after I graduated made changes. I hope that later students appreciate it.

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