Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ivey Towers

 In between the Theatre and my others classes, I was heavily involved in social change.  It stemmed from my work in the anti-war movement and human rights.  At PC, it was a little easier to do these things, because much of the student body was more liberal than those at Anderson. 
 Our school newspaper was "The Blue Stocking".  It was a play on our school team, which was the "Blue Hose".  It wasn't until much later that I knew what that meant.  The editor of the paper was a friend named Eddie.  He and I shared positions on what needed to be changed at PC.  The list was somewhat long and changed from time to time, but it all centered around the administration and their seemingly lack of caring for the students.  Their philosophy more had to do with money and pleasing the Trustees.  I didn't have a regular column in the paper, but Eddie did give me space for an almost weekly Letter to the Editor spot.  My letters were sometimes angry and sometimes thoughtful.  It got to the point that several students told me that I was the voice that they didn't have before.  Others got tired of my rants.  The administration saw it as a thorn in their side.  Some of my letters dealt with trying to get co-ed visitation in the dorms.  Others were more political in nature about current events.  I know that some students read my letter first before reading anything else in the paper.  I became a fixture for the good (and bad).
 In the Spring of 1974, it became time for those interested in running for president of the student body to sign up.  I was urged to run.  There were five candidates.  Two dropped out early on in the campaign.  The ones left were Millie, Howard and me.  Millie had the backing of the administration.  Howard was much more liberal than me and had the hippie backing.  I had the backing of the jocks, fraternities, and pretty much everyone else.  We all had to make a speech in convocation to introduce ourselves and tell what our platforms were going to be.  Millie spoke on staying the course.  Howard basically promised everything short of having co-ed dorms.  I gave a rousing speech about the evils of the administration.  The Dean of Students was a ex-Army man named Dean Ivey.  He and I were at each others' throats all the time.  I really think he hated me, and I didn't like him.  During my speech, I saw him sitting in the balcony of the auditorium by himself.  I had a line in the speech that the administration sat in "their Ivey..I mean Ivory Towers".  I looked directly at him, and he looked very sternly back at me.  The audience erupted in laughter.  If Dean Ivey had a gun on him, I don't think I would be here today.  His face turned purple.
 So, between our speeches and the election, there was a week to campaign.  It was generally thought that I had the election won.  The night before the voting, Millie called me in my dorm and told me that she was going to drop out.  I deserved to win, she said.  She told me that she was scared, and felt she wasn't qualified, but that I was the most qualified.  I tried to calm her down, but also I thanked her.  She said that if there was a run-off between me and her, she would endorse me.  Neither one of us thought Howard had much of a chance.  The next day, the voting began.  At the end of the day, it was announced that Howard and Millie had the most votes, and there would be a run-off.  I couldn't believe the outcome.  Neither could the other two.  The run-off happened the next day, and Millie won.  Upon further investigation, we heard that I got the most votes the first time, but the administration decided I was not to win.  In the run-off, Howard got the most votes, but he didn't win.  Millie won.  I was given a pretty good position though of being on the Student Affairs Committee, which was comprised of students and faculty as a liaison between the students and the administration.  We discussed the needs of the school and how we could get the Trustees on board with us.  I also had a seat on the Student Assembly representing the independent students (those not in any other groups on campus).  I am actually glad I didn't get the presidency of the student body, as it gave me more time to party, but I continued my letters.  One got me in serious trouble.  More on that later.

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