Write Columbia's History
A Decade of Love and Hate
Peter Graham
Alum, Staff Member
School of General Studies 1969
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1970

I was a staff member and a student at various times from 1960 through 1970, and like many in both categories, I developed a love-hate relationship with that difficult institution, Columbia University.

Item: Feeling furious at the pigheadedness of both the University administration and at the SDS students, who were combining to shut down the University when. Instead, at this time, both could have shown themselves at their finest. It was very difficult to be in the middle at this point (it's not an attractive position at best).

Item: In 1968, scurrying off the sidewalk in front of TaKome as a mounted police officer rode toward whoever was in front of him on the sidewalk.

Item: the sense of violation as the city's Special Forces Unit police, all over six feet tall, all with sunglasses, specially rolled caps, and jackboots, walked in pairs around the campus as though they owned it. At the time, they did.

Item: in 1969, at a quiet time, being woken at about 6 a.m. in my off-campus apartment by the sound of an enormous gong, and discovering later it was an explosive charge that moved the bronze Alma Mater 3-4 inches off its plinth.

Item: remembering some of the finest teachers I've ever seen, including at Oxford and elsewhere, such as John Middendorf, Ted Tayler, Jim Clifford, Joe Kissane, all available to me through General Studies.

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