Crisis at Columbia

([New York :  Columbia Spectator,  1968])



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  Columbia Connection; May 8:Page [c1]  



Qrayson Kirk: tfie mnii beneath the vest:   cl

A tallc ujith a Trustee:                  c2

The decomposition o/  authority:          c3

Photographs of an institutional

                        earthquake:  c4-S

A!I the neuis that's fit to fudge:          c6

Democratizing the University:            c8



                A Magazine Supplement o/ thc Columbia Daily Spectator

If  Grayson Kirk  were alive .  ..

volume one

number tt

10 may  '68


  When a man has bocome for so many

 people liltle more than a collection oí

 halftone  dots on a nowspaper pag-e or

 prE.diclably noncommittal quotations iti

 an occasional nows column, the realiza-

 tion that hc is also to some degree a

 human being can be grotesqueandamus-

 ing.  This was one of the discoveries

 made by thc student protestors who in-

 vadecl Grayson Kirk's Low Library offi-

 ces on that conf'i.set! \\ edntj'sday morning

 in April when ít all began.

  Aceording to inilial rcports fromLow,

 the first order of busincss for the

 demonstrators was to barricade them-

 selves in and set about investigating thc

 offícial  business of the President—

 something morc conventional students

 and faculty have been trying to do for

 yoars, but with nowhere near as much

 success. líy W'cdt.esday night, though,

 tvhen I entered the Kirk suite to report

 on what was happeningthore, Ihe ĩnformal

 investigalĩons had begun lo dig into less

. official areas.

  As they settlcd in to spoiĸl thenight—

" as il turned oul, tho wcek—tho protes-

 tors  began nolicing things about the

 milieu in which the President oí the

 University spends his time wheti he is

 not occupied with thecorporate interest-

 of Sooony Mobil, UiM,  or Consolidated

 Edison.  The books, for example.  An

 enlirc wall of Kirk's privale office is

 linod with shelves of  books, all very

 impres_.ive-loo._ing, almost all

fi/itor ../'CONNIiCTION.

-I tllf Collfgf.


condilion. íMany of them were read or

leafed through that night, some quite

obviously for the fĩrst time. When,

for example, one girl wanted to read a

French paperback that was part of a

collection, she noticed that thepageshad

never been separated from one another,

The same was lound to be true ofalmost

every other  momber  of that serie_s,

"That's Kirk for you," commented one

student, gazing at the bookwall, "Very

impressive  on  thc  outsíde, but

 [t was theper.sonaldetailsthatrêducecl

the  cologne-and-cardboard facade to an

effete crumblc for most of the stuclents

inside Low that night. The discovery of

Grayson Kirk the Man, hís lpana tooth-

paste, his Cornhusker's lotion, hisdrops

prescribed Three Times Daily to In-

crease Dryness of Mouth, his Gelusil,

Of course they had realized it intcllec-

tually all along, but now—proof! Grayson

Kirk was a real personl The discovery

was at

lice buĩlt up from all thedistant speechesi

that no one could quíte remember the

substance of aftc-r they were overexcepl

that he had said something decorous,

malice from all the "President Kirkdo-

clĩned to  commenf's from Spectator,

malice from the tímeat theKingmemor-

ial  when he had refused to lock arnis

and síng î'We Shall Overcome." I'er-

haps all this could be toleratecl from a

corporate'.entîty, a vested synecdoche,

But if—and until now it had only been :i

conjecture—if Grayson Kirk was indecd

like you and me and tried to pull all

that stuff, then there was perhaps reason

for  anger.

 It's a little bit líke the ending ol

"The Wizard of Oz," wherc Judy Gnrlnnd

finds out that the wizard is roally a litllc

old  man fortiíied ,with mirrors, sound

effects, and crowd psychology.  Litllo

  Columbia Connection; May 8:Page [c1]