Monday, February 27, 2012

The decade of the ‘70s got off to a tumultuous start

The Campus Christian Center at MU
       In retrospect, the start of the decade for the 1970s was tumultuous to say the least. As students at Marshall University, most of us were probably not too aware of how history continued to unfold as we dealt with the tragic loss of a football team in a fiery plane crash on a frigid night in November.
       It’s unlikely that any of us will ever forget the events that transpired during that time period. Aside from the November 14, 1970 plane crash, we witnessed drug raids where the National Guard was compelled to toss tear gas canisters in the direction of hostile groups of students.
       Violence did not take a vacation. The day before the plane crash, Marshall experienced one of its worst moments in a racial clash that had the potential to permanently wreck relations between the races on the Marshall campus. There was racism for sure. But it was not a one-sided proposition. Prejudice was evident on both sides of the fence. And sad part of it was that regardless of the source of racism, it was never justified.
        The Chief Justice Yearbook of ’71 addressed some of these issues in short piece that runs on pages 321-322. Here’s an excerpt from “A Recipe For Crisis.”

       A cup of drug raids
       A box of violence
       A jar of tear gas
       A dash of no president
       A jigger of administrative vacancies;
       Mix and let stand.
       Add an undetermined amount of tragedy, anguish, despair and grief
       Another dash of vacancies – football coaches, athletic director, sports information director, admissions director;
       Extract one football team
       Add one inept Board of Regents and too much WVU, complete with closed meetings and misplace priorities;
       Stir in (or up) some racial strife with stabbings, white and black racism…
       … and you’ve got the symptoms of crisis at Marshall University
       In the year of our Lord 1971 …

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