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Title: Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, November 26, 1990. Interview L-0145. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Friday, William C., interviewee
Interview conducted by Link, William
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 136 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
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Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-17, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, November 26, 1990. Interview L-0145. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0145)
Author: William Link
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, November 26, 1990. Interview L-0145. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0145)
Author: William C. Friday
Description: 150 Mb
Description: 20 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 26, 1990, by William Link; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Karen Brady-Hill.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series L. University of North Carolina, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with William C. Friday, November 26, 1990.
Interview L-0145. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Friday, William C., interviewee


Interview Participants

    WILLIAM C. FRIDAY, interviewee
    WILLIAM LINK, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
WILLIAM LINK:
I'd like to talk today about the Speaker Ban, and your handling of that academic crisis. Let's start first by talking a little about the background, before the law was actually passed in June 1963. For example, what sorts of policy decisions have been made towards speakers, at the University prior to 1963.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
We had established the policy of academic freedom, which is the one that's traditionally that of any major university in the United States. In fact, I have looked at quite a few of them, they were Trustees when they first qualified the code of the University had carried forward in the laws of the institution. A very full and complete statement about academic freedom that was drawn-up by Victor Bryant. The idea there was to codify what was, at that time, a common law tradition, so that everybody in any one of the campuses would know exactly where they stood. What rights were there. What guarantees were there. And the Board adopted that, and its in every document that I've seen since then. I believe its still in the codes, if they didn't delete it in the last three [unclear] . As far as I know, we had been following all of the accepted practices. Those were very tense times. As far as I have been told—now, this is all hindsight—but, what really went on here was an accumulation of irritations. Not only speaker's, but a lot of the things students were doing, at the time. The post-World War II tensions, and anxieties that were in the air. The racial problem that was so much upon us in the '50s. The Brown decision. Petitions for admission to the University here. The undergraduate, and graduate applications that went to court. All of those things created an atmosphere that people who were a lot more conservative, and a lot more anti-university. I don't mean that in a sense of anti-Chapel Hill, so much, but anti-intellectualism. You see this periodically in the country, about every twenty-five years. Well, they had been talking among themselves, apparently, and of course, none of this got to us, because they wouldn't let us know anything. And we had been merrily going along through this session. And we came up to the very last week, literally the last week, and I was sitting in my office one afternoon, about this time, and I got a phone call from one of the fellows over there from the Institute of Governor's State. Said, "Did you know about this bill?" And I said, "What bill?" And he read it to me. And I said, "Read it again." And he did. And I said, "I'll be right over there." And Fred Weaver was working with me at the time. And I got in the car and drove straight way to Raleigh. And walked in the lobby of the Sir Walter, and I was met at the door, right at the main entrance of the lobby there, Hathaway Cross, who was a lobbyist at that time, and he said, "What are you doing over here?" And I said, "You know full well what I'm doing over here. I came over here to tell you what you were doing to the University, with this kind of legislation." And Clarence Stone was then the President Pro-tem of the Senate, and they had great irritation with me. They just dressed me down for showing any resistance to it. And said I should leave this matter alone. It's a legislative question and not bother it. It was there business to set state policy's about matters like these. Well, we got to work, and over night—and we worked literally all night long—to force a reversal of this, and came within four votes of doing it. I think it was twenty-three to nineteen, I think, the next day of the Senate. But the thing that was so bad about this experience was, that here was a piece of legislation, that was never filed in the traditional way. That the people were not given notice of the law. There were no notices given to anybody that was impacted by the law. There was no schedule of hearing about the law. The rules were suspended. And the bill was enacted under suspension of rules for three readings. All at the same time. A very craftily, engineered piece of legislation, that swept through there. And we tried our best to reverse it the next day. And came that close to doing it. But that was a very bitter experience to have to go through. And then set off all kinds of controversy.

Page 2
Faculty resolutions, all kinds of student actions, and then the Board itself; especially the Executive Committee, started debating this. We kept bringing it up all the time. Trying to get a new policy. Trying to force a change here, because this was a very humiliating thing to have happened. The difficulty here was that you had to deal with people, in a legislator, who had enacted a piece of legislation. And trying to get them to reverse something, as openly and publicly approved, as this was. And it received—not from the editor's of the State, but from the public general news, American Legion and all of these people. It was their bill. Great stuff. And it was a long and torturous journey, that led to a special session, a special commission chaired by David Britt, about hearings in Raleigh which, in terms of the University's statement of its case, in my view, was as eloquent a day, as I've ever heard. People like Vermont Royster, William Aycock, a whole parade of people came from everywhere. And all of us made our statements. And all of this was a matter of record, and special publication that came out, at the time. And then they sort of tried to compromise. It became apparent as this worked on, that the only way in the world that this was ever going to end, was with a judicial decree. Because, the trustees, and legislatures, and different administrative agencies can change policies, that can do with or do without, but there's one thing nobody can ask you to do, and that's to disobey the law. And, the then president of the student body, by the time we'd come to this point, a young man named Paul Dixon, and lots of people who are strong liberal bent, didn't feel like we were prosecuting this thing the way it should have been. But I was doing it in a way that I couldn't talk about. And he, Dixon, kept me fully apprised of every move he was making, so that we'd inevitably come to a law suit. Because the Executive Committee, prior to that quite a series of conversations had reversed and turned down a motion that I made, and brought to them, which was the only time in thirty years that the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees ever turned me away, so to speak. And that was quite a shock. And people like Watts Hill stood with me. But Tom White, and the Eller's felt that they couldn't do it, and they went the other way. And all of that's in the Trustee minutes. It was a sad day. But I knew then that I was faced with the problem where the Legislature had expressed itself. And now here the Executive Committee and the Board, had done itself. And they were pretty much in alliance, in a sense of not completely negating the law, so the only recourse was the courts. And Paul arranged the suit. Then came the situation down here on Franklin Street, and the national humiliation that came from those two men, being on one side of the rock wall, and several thousands of students over on the other side of the rock wall, eighteen inches apart, and the University was pictured all over America. As dramatically as that was that day. I think, really the lesson that was learned from this experience, everybody who was at fault in it. And there were literally hundreds by the time it was over. And you've got to give McNeil Smith a lot of credit here, for working with the students and others. And I couldn't talk with him, but—for the obvious reason. But, please note for twenty-five years since that opinion, there have been people on the campuses on the University who were far more contentious, in a sense of who they were as speakers, like Louis Ferrankah, for example. And anybody involved in this series of events leading up to the law. And I tell you, to be salutary that really happened here was that everybody had an enormously intense, but very lasting experience of learning something about freedom. They learned how costly it is to turn it away. And how important it is to absorb it, as a part of the way you live. Now, this had an enormous amount of momentum that generated from all of the faculties—some of them, not everybody. The great and sustaining support from the press of the State. The News and Observer, the Greensboro Daily News, the Charlotte Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal, the High Point papers. All of them rallied behind this. And it took us a long time to pull it off, in a sense of getting it to litigation. Doug and I give McNeil Smith a lot

Page 3
of credit for this. Although I've never discussed it. And when that day came and the decision was rendered, and we were put back to where we were, the University had endured a crises that, I think everybody is stronger in, but its a terrible way to have to learn. And I would hope never would repeat itself again. There was an awful lot of work between the day of the enactment and the day of the decision. And I've telescoped a lot of it, but its so far back, that I can't recall —
WILLIAM LINK:
Sure.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
...too much of it. But I do know those very difficult times.
WILLIAM LINK:
Let me ask you, there are two things that I hear that you partly mentioned—you mentioned these two things on writing your explanations of the origins of the law, the passage of the law in June 1963. And one was the general atmosphere of —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Accumulated animosity.
WILLIAM LINK:
Animosity and polarization that you got over civil rights.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
That's right. Primarily.
WILLIAM LINK:
With all of the marches that were going on the streets.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
And the confrontations at Sir Walter.
WILLIAM LINK:
Exactly.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
And George Hall over there with Mr. Frank Taylor, and others. All of that fitted together.
WILLIAM LINK:
And there was a collective image of the University that included students and faculty participating in this kind of thing.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah.
WILLIAM LINK:
The other thing that I've heard is the beating that the University took on the name change.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Oh, I don't think that has anything —
WILLIAM LINK:
Is that —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Oh, I think the name change was—well, that's a separate subject to talk about, but it was a very unfortunate thing, that should never have taken place. Literally. The only reason it did, was it was out-growth of all the reorganization. And I asked Chancellor Caldwell, early on, I said, "Now, are they going to change the name at Greensboro? Suppose they did the same at N.C. State, what difference would that make?" He said, "Oh, none." And that's one he misjudged. I didn't tell that story publicly, because it wouldn't do any good. I just bored the brunt of all that went on. But, there was not much substance to that argument. It was all emotion. And it went away as fast as it arose, as you've noticed. But I don't think that had a thing to do with—you see, the actors were not the same people.
WILLIAM LINK:
A different group of people.

Page 4
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
When you had the speaker that—the people like Clifton Blue, Senator Godwin, people like that. They couldn't care less. They were all Wake Forest people. They couldn't care less about the other thing. That—don't diminish the sense of the impact of any controversial issue, on the psyching of a body. And they were just in a bad mood, an angry mood, a vengeful mood. And it showed up, right there in that very simple little deal. And I will—I'll never forget how shocked I was to find Clifton Blue doing this. He was a newspaper editor, of all people. And he never once ever said a word to me about that. And what's so interesting is that not one of the people who were involved in that thing, has ever mentioned that bill to me, at any time, for any reason, for over a quarter of century. Godwin, Phil Godwin, who was speaker, you know, and senator at one time, has gone out of his way to praise the University in my presence, at other times since then. And I think all of them have a sense of guilt about it, after it was over. I really do. It was just a bad moment in North Carolina's history.
WILLIAM LINK:
Do you think it was a conscious—it seemed to have been a conscious effort, prearranged —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Oh, premeditated —
WILLIAM LINK:
Premeditation.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
From top to bottom. That was no accident. No, they'd gone and looked at other bills, in other state. And I have my suspicions about where they got help. And you do too, but I can't prove anything. So I don't name them. But I think he had as much to do with drafting that thing, as anybody. And because, it was just too pat. The thing was too nicely drawn. It showed where they'd looked at other constitutional questions. And as I had hired attorneys to look at it quickly. And they said, "This thing is no accident." It was as planned as anything that they'd ever done in that General Assembly. And they thought they had the horses by the—if we'd turned two people around, we'd beat them. And that really made me heart-sick that night. It's the one time I really felt like walking away. You know, I felt so rejected after that Trustee meeting. And I said to myself, 'Well, if I quit, I've turned it over to them.' You know? And that's no way to mend that. I'd let all of these faculty people down. And all these students whose tried to help. And its the one time that I felt an enormous unity in the University. There was really power there. No dissent anywhere, over anything. We went at them as a solid wall. And —
WILLIAM LINK:
How do you think this fit in to this—1963 begins almost a decade of rather intense [unclear] conflict, that involved the University, beginning with—well, before 1963, end of the fifties. Was it part of that pattern, do you think?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
It all began with Dr. Graham's election. You've got to go back there. The roots of all of this were planted right there. Because that second primary got to be so violent, so intense, and so full of hate, that it takes twenty-five years to dissipate that. And that was a part of it, too. Don't discount that. I'm as sure as that as I'm sitting here. Because I was involved with it. And I think, well, two things have got to be said here, Bill, one is: the University is a public body. It's into things. And I always contended the University is the part of the political process, but it's not in it as a partisan, and never should be, and never should be thought to be. And

Page 5
I've worked very hard to keep that out. It's not Democratic. It's not Republican. But, it's right in there helping the public decide what their future should be. When you do those things, you create enemies. You cause trouble. But, you shouldn't sit down in a chair, if you don't understand that. Because you're going to get hurt. Even when you do understand it, you get hurt. But, that was the way I always figured it. Now, in all of that mix, you see. You had the Graham campaign. You had the integration institution. You had the Speaker Ban Law. We had the ruckus over the [unclear] Extension Service under Luther Hodges. All these nervousness issues out here. And it was, I think, a reflection of the times, in the sense that the whole country was in turmoil. And when those things happen that way, people get on edge. And they start looking for a place to vent all of that. And when your a great big thing like the University, taking all of this money—you know, you've heard that a dozen times, I'm sure. Taking it away from the schools. Taking it away from the prisons. Well, that was because we had such a huge political race. People, they did a lot of things sometimes, not because they loved us, but because they feared us. Whatever it is, however our politicians minds work, I can't worry about that. I have to be for what I felt was the best interests of the Institution, and what that relates to being the best interest of the State. And that's why we always took the tact we took. I don't think—in those years, I doubt that there was a month that we didn't have some contingent, some crises. And when all of them fellows got together, you got trouble. And I ran into a rock wall. And I think every president has that experience before he's out of office. Certainly in a public institution, they do.
WILLIAM LINK:
And certainly in that period, especially.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Whoa. When I look back at that now, I wonder how I survived it, physically.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Because I know it took an enormous amount of energy. And the strain of it was so great. But I had wonderful people to work with. You see, Ed and I, among all of that, you see, we had this HEW controversy hanging over us. And it hung there for twelve years. And that was enough standing by itself.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah. Following the passage of the law, did your strategy remain constant? Was there a point, for example, that you believed that the law could be repealed, and then you later believed it could not?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
The first effort had to be to try to repeal. That led, after some debate, to the Britt Commission. Because the only way that we could get structured to do it. When that didn't work out the way it should have, and then the Trustees themselves took the position they took. And Dr. [unclear] representations about another policy change, you were left with no recourse, but the laws of the courts. It was one of those things where you were eliminating options as you went along. But the idea was, and we never varied in this, do whatever is necessary to get rid of it. And we kept that right on through. Sometimes underground, and sometimes out visible. Always negotiating, but never compromising. There were attempts made several times, to say, "If we do this much, will you do that much?" And I said, "No." And that brought us some criticism, because they looked upon it as a very unreal and rigid position for me to take, but there was no way you could compromise this question. And I know there were politicians; even the wisest politician, says that, "Politics is

Page 6
defined is compromised." But not on an issue like this. And there are some things you cannon divide, and these are one of them.
WILLIAM LINK:
Did you think that the Britt Commission's solutions, the amendment of the law, to what extent did you think that was going?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, I thought it was a step forward coming back. And I thought we could do pretty much anything under the law, to tell you the truth, with the way it was phrased. It was ambiguous enough that you could work. It was all that could be gotten. Whatever you thought of, that was as far as you could push the thing, at that time. But I had in the back of my head then, that I knew that it wouldn't be long before somebody would file suit. And I knew then that's a different ball game altogether, when you get over into the courts. Because their line of decision was abundantly clear. And as you've seen since, on all these issues. The first real rupture in that was last week, in that CNN case. The first time I've ever seen the Supreme Court vary from the hard line consistent free speech position. Which I regret that decision. I don't know if CNN was right or wrong. I haven't looked at it that carefully. But, I just hate to see any erosion. Because there not many things left in this country that you can stand on without any fear. And one of them is the right to say what you think. But its getting more costly. And we paid a terrible price for it here, before we were through. But we've vindicated it. But, yes, this was a composite strategy. I always conferred with Bill Aycock, and John Caldwell, and our lawyers. And all of the people in the Board who were attorney's. We'd meet them from time to time. There always working toward any way to kill the starkness of that thing. And it's so harsh. And so inclusive. And meant to be, you see. I've often suspected that the drafters of the legislation put it that way so that as they lost cases, they still had some residual to fall back on, you know. But, when it got to the Federal Courts, it was all over.
WILLIAM LINK:
During the Brent Commission the—or prior to the Brent Commission—I've forgotten the name of the organization —the accrediting organization, that sort of forced —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Emmett Fields. Southern Association. That brought on intense controversy. But you have to give Dr. Fields a lot of credit. He was in at Vanderbilt. And they'd brought themselves into this issue, to testify in the Britt Commission here. And divided their handling of it, but always was there as an increasing threat just to the accreditation of the University. I felt that they would—I never did feel they were ever going to take it away. Because I didn't feel like we would wind up that helpless. Because somewhere, somehow the intelligence of the State would come to bear. And I never will forget the testimony over there one day. Judge John J. Parker's brother, who was a Congressional Medal of Honor man in World War I, of all the speeches that I ever heard, that fellow was powerful. And he made that Commission listen. And they listened to him. And it shook them up.
WILLIAM LINK:
You knew this kind of challenge [unclear]
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
I didn't fear it as a ultimate consequence. I always had faith that somehow, someway we were going to reverse this thing. I didn't know how it become about in the end. There was no way you could. There was nothing to go by. You had no precedent in Dr. Graham's administration. And Mr. Gray's and I had looked at everything I could find. He was sort of making it up each day as you went along. But always aiming squarely at the removal of that law. And that's the one thing that never, never changed. Our determination on that part.

Page 7
WILLIAM LINK:
How did the composition of the Britt Commission occur? And was there ever a point at which you had some input into —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
No. I was asked about David, whether I would be [unclear] . And of course I'd known him since we were freshmen in college. He was a sophomore when I went to Wake Forest. I've always admired him. He's a very reputable, able man. He'd later became, you know, a chief justice. I didn't think he'd pull any—he'd try to pull anything on me. And I went to—I had several private conversations with him, about the whole business. He was always open. He'd ask me to study the proceedings. There's just a ton of material—people kept peckering him with petitions, and all kinds of things. I don't know why on earth he's doing with all that material. I think he was pleased with it when it was through, as the best it could be done. I think everybody acknowledged that, given the circumstances. We pushed as far as we could get. Because all of that animus was still there, in lots of ways. It changes cloaks, but it never changes motivation. And it never changed personality, in the sense of those who felt that way. I knew from then until as long as I stayed at school—stayed in the job, that we were going to be exactly like that. Head to head. Unless they left, or died, or I left or died. One of the other. No reconciliation on this point at all. And —
WILLIAM LINK:
I've read the transcript of the Commissions, and one of the—I may be wrong in this perception, but one of the antagonist in the University seems to be Colonel Joyner, is that an accurate —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Oh, he was the attorney. And was a very —
WILLIAM LINK:
Inquisitorial.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah. Oh, yeah. He was trying to prove that he was—I think he was a past Commander of the Legion, wasn't he?
WILLIAM LINK:
I believe that's right.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah. No, he was not what I'd call a friendly participant.
WILLIAM LINK:
What when he had Fields, one of the things he was trying to prove, for example, was that you put Fields up to this.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah. I had engineered the thing from top to bottom, and I didn't do any such thing.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Because you see, when you get to where reputable people start casting motivations upon you, what you did or didn't do, that's not sticking to the issue. That's trying to create a reaction. And that kind of stuff was hard to contend with. He's a very skillful lawmen, in his days. That was no accident.
WILLIAM LINK:
And you mentioned 1950, having just read this book on Frank Graham, I noticed he was involved with that, as well. On the Anti-Graham side.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
He saw it all the way through.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah.

Page 8
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
He and Robert Morgan. Wasn't he in the Attorney General's office at the time? When this was all going on? Or he was in the state legislature.
WILLIAM LINK:
State legislature.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
One or the other.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah. I was going to ask you about Morgan [unclear]
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Robert Morgan, Colonel Jordan. They were a good system. Have always been. And I knew exactly where they stood. You read that testimony of Morgan's?
WILLIAM LINK:
Right.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
It told you exactly where he was.
WILLIAM LINK:
He was part of that whole line up. The Britt Commission between the conclusion of the Britt Commission's last hearings and the point in which Legislature considers the matter—considers the question of amendment. There's a period of rather intense negotiation, I gather, —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
There always is. I can't recall anything specific about it, but we've never—once you've got that Commission report out, you just couldn't do your other work, you had to stay right with it. The difficulty was we had to get changed. The other side could just sit still. They didn't have to do anything. We had to overcome all of that accumulated [unclear] . People were sick and tired of this thing.
WILLIAM LINK:
Sure.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
You know, been in the press for weeks and weeks and weeks. And they just got abused by it. And they thought—Channel Five was not on our side at all. And everything, you see, was working against us, in the sense of pressure for a change. And it was really a pretty disheartening time to be dealing with an issue like that. But that's what makes it tough. And in the process its where you learn the rule that adversity strengthens the character of a man. We certainly got plenty of opportunity to learn that.
WILLIAM LINK:
Did your handling of the crisis involve mainly the chancellor's?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah.
WILLIAM LINK:
And the key people on the Executive Committee?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
The Trustees, the Chancellor's, and some members of the Legislature, and the press. I kept them as fully informed as I was capable of doing. Because I realized they were the one ally I had. They could keep people, thoughtful people who weren't—one of the real problems you have, Bill, being a university administrator, is that you get so immersed in something, you begin to believe that everybody else knows what you know. And that's true about one percent. So, you have to drop yourself down a notch and say, "Well, why can't I get everything told the way that it should be told, from the point of view being fair?"
I had to rely on the press, because I couldn't rely on the Board of Trustees at that time. So, Bill Snyder and Joe Doster, and Claude Sitton, and Pete McKnight, and his successor's. I'm sure that we talked every week. Because they were the one's that said the people, like yourself,

Page 9
would be reading your morning paper and see an editorial, here's where this thing is and here's what the contending forces are trying to do. If you had any sensible mannerness, you were kept informed. But even those people grew weary. You know, you can wear people out with things. And I learned that quickly. And so that's why you try to do some things without being in the press all of the time. You try to move it along. Well, that's something only an administrator will decide to do. So many people, you know, want to stand up and slay the dragon with drawn sword and pull plug its visibility. It doesn't happen that way. It never has and never will. And you have to swallow a lot of criticism, because you have to do it the way that you know it can be made to work. That was to take these successive steps. When you took one, then the next one suggested two or three options. And then you move from there to here. Always aiming that way though. But, sometimes it works. Most of the time it works. Sometimes it doesn't. And you just keep moving.
WILLIAM LINK:
I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit more on the nature of your contacts with editor's, the editorial page people —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah. What happens in the case involving something as sensitive as this, you see they see it from their own interests. Because what you can do to an institution, you can do to anybody else, too. The Legislature—but they also saw it as something driving a nail right through the heart of the University, because it had to be a free—a place of free ideas, of free expression, and free debate, or it's no University at all. Each one of them had been to school here, or had been associated with the place. They'd been associated with the Daily Tarheel, or something. And they all understood this, very carefully. And Bill Snider, and Claude Sitton particularly—the News and Observer paper, were very strong in the advocacy of the University, and our position. And what we were trying to do. I don't think there was any major movement here, that I didn't keep them advised about. Because—not for my sake, but for the institution's sake. Because I knew, that—unless they knew exactly why Emmett Fields came into this picture, who he was representing. What his arguments were? Did I differ with him? What would the consequences be? All of that took an enormous amount of time, but it had to be done, because you would never understand the issue, if we didn't. Because your natural reaction when somebody like the Southern Association comes upon the seam, and they say, "Well, let's run those fellows out of here." They've got no business telling us what to do. When they were trying to get the position of saying, "We are your best friend. Because we hold the power that the General Assembly can't impact. We can take your accreditation away." Well, a threat is one thing. The fact is another. And you couldn't say to them, "Stay out of here." That's not our option. They have the right to do that. But you can say, "Let's try to work with people." And that's what I was doing. Fields and all of his people. And it took a lot of doing. But, a hard road.
WILLIAM LINK:
The point of which you mentioned earlier that the Board of Trustee's, and Executive Committee, essentially reversed your position.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
That's right.
WILLIAM LINK:
Didn't support the position that you took.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Turned me down flat. Well, it was seven to two. Something like that. But a very decisive move against me.
WILLIAM LINK:
Can you date the kind of origins of this vote? Do you think—
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
No. Well, they finally forwarded an index of the Trustee minutes that's available to you.

Page 10
WILLIAM LINK:
No. That's not what I mean. I mean, were there—do you think this goes back to the beginning of the Speaker Ban crisis?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
No. This way long into the controversy. Because the vote that they took was over a yet further modification that Carlyle Sitterson had come with as Chancellor. And I was supportive.
WILLIAM LINK:
Right. Right.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
And anytime you go before the Board, I had to be the spokesman. But I made it very clear that this was something we were doing together. And it was smacko. And I think it was from that decision that the sidewalk incidence came. After that.
WILLIAM LINK:
I don't think I asked the question very well, because what I meant was, was there a background, you think, of differences of opinion between yourself and the Board?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yes.
WILLIAM LINK:
That you were aware of?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, I knew where Mr. White would like to have come down. And Mr. Barber, I think he was still on the Board. Mr. Taylor. I knew that I was skating on thin ice. But I had no option. I had to do it. And I wanted to. Because I thought this was another case of eroding the law away a little more. You just keep chipping, and keep chipping, and keep chipping. But when they came out flat, as flat as they categorically know, then I knew it was all over. [unclear] was closed.
WILLIAM LINK:
Do you think—how do you explain it? Do you think the Board and the Executive Committee was going to [unclear] ?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
I think they really believed it. I really do. Their position—not the Board, but those who voted on it. But there position was to keep these people off the campus, doesn't infringe on anything. Your still free to do what you want to do in the classrooms. We just don't want this kind of person speaking on the campus. My answer to that was, "That's precisely why you have the rule." You have people that speak out that way, who are contentious. Who are argumentative. Who bother us. Because societies must change. You have to know what the options of change are. The one's who are extremist, you never go with, but you need to know what their thinking, because somewhere between where you are, and where they are, is where your going come down. And how would you understand that, if you don't hear his case? I said, "I don't agree with these people anymore than you do. But that isn't the issue." Not accepting a doctrine, what your trying to say is this is a free country. And most of all, universities are places where freedom should be spoken. It stood for it. You've got to keep these places open. I couldn't win. We've been over that argument so many times, they've just grown weary. And what I really believe in their hearts, is they wish we'd never brought the thing before. But Carlyle Sitterson and I knew that you can't stop a movement like this. It's got to go. So, we just marched right in and we knew what was going to happen. I did. I felt it. And it hurt. [Laughter] Because those people I had known as well as I knew the back of may hand. But they got under a lot of local pressure, Bill, and that was one of the things. You know, they go back home and they hear all of this stuff that, they just said, "We're not going to do anything with the University. We're not going to hurt it." "You don't want that kind of fellow speaking on the campus, you know." Can't you hear it—this I'm sure is the

Page 11
kind of monologue that went on thousands of times. Different levels of intensity. But different dimensions of it. But always the same argument. "We just don't need our students hearing that stuff." Today it wouldn't be a racist argument, it would be something else. Somebody coming in on some sex case, or some pornography argument. Or some abortion business. The issues in that sense changed, but never the principle.
WILLIAM LINK:
Could it also have been that although many of these people were great supporters of the University over the years, [unclear] they didn't exactly—their thinking —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, the people who brought it on in the first place, you're absolutely right, they never—well, let's put it this way. They always felt comfortable with the University until some of these things happen. It was always a where they wanted their children to go to. They knew that it was right. That it was good. Not exactly knowing why specifically. But, you know, Bill Friday's over there. And Tom Pearsall's on the Board. And Watts is on the Board. And Victor's on the Board. Everything's all right. You don't have to worry. Now that element stayed together. It's when the strategy that was worked out by Senator Godwin, and those who supported him. And they got to some members of the Board that didn't operate at the level these others did, and pulled them away. And put them under intense personal pressure. Because keep in mind, that Trustee membership was determined by the same General Assembly that passed the law. And that was speaking with a voice that a lot of them heard. Some of them were up for reelection. I'm sure of that. And that gets to be a problem, you know.
WILLIAM LINK:
What about the governors during this crisis?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, I had no problem with Governor Dan Moore. He was the principle all the way through. He was a judge himself. He understood this. He did everything he could to keep it in balance. To keep it—he was very helpful to me. He really was. He stayed out of it, in the sense of not using his office unduly to influence it. He had no sympathy at all for the speaker's. I'm sure of that. And he didn't think that they ought to be speaking on the campus. But he didn't step across the line. And he has never—he never once turned me down on any conversation about this whole quest. About where we should go. He did not vote in that Executive Committee vote, because there was not ties, so he didn't have to vote. He sought more clearly that most people, the damage this was doing to the University. Because he was getting it from everywhere. And being a personality that dealt in the national scene, he was getting it from there too. And it's like today now, when you take—I can't go anywhere in the United States today, without the first question coming up, "What's happened to North Carolina?" And that's a media identification. But, Dan Moore, from my point of view, he was an ally. Although we were not of the same mind, as to the academic freedom. His was more of a judicial orientation. Mine was the academia. He never once used any effort to influence me at all. He left me alone. And he was always very respectful, as I was to try and be to him. And that sort of relationship is much to be cherished. Because there have been lots Governor's who try to, you know, to box you in.
WILLIAM LINK:
So, generally, he's a Governor that's just as consistent with his attitude toward you?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
That's a clear of a beautiful illustration of the man's personality. He was born to judge. Was always a judge. And lived as a judge, in my opinion. He just had a tremendously significant judicial manner that nobody ever flustered him. You'd come in there with any argument that you want,

Page 12
waving your hands, and spouting and screaming, and he'd tell you, "To sit down over there and be quiet, and I'll talk to you." And that's the kind of thing—I never saw him do that—but, I would bet any amount of money he would. You just don't—the dignity of the man was so great, you didn't abuse it. You were ashamed to do it, if you had anymore sense.
WILLIAM LINK:
What about Terry Sanford? Did he have much of an involvement in any of this? [unclear] stages?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yes. In a way. He said that at the end of it, he would have vetoed it, if he'd had the power. But Terry was very helpful in every way. He never once—in fact, I don't know of anybody in the gubernatorial chain that had anything but the best willingness to help. They looked upon it as the University's argument with the Legislature. And then it became the University and the public. But, no, quite the other way around. They were all very positive. They had different judgments as to where it should come out, as Dan Moore did. But, there was never any—you never felt that they were manipulating in any way. A political game. Because actually in a thing like this, once the law was passed there was no probability what we gained to be had. Everybody got hurt in this one. It was a no win situation. From top to bottom.
WILLIAM LINK:
Tell me a little bit more about your communication with student leaders. Were you in contact with anyone aside from Paul Dixon?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Nope. Because he was—well, the others got active and got interested, but no one communicated the way Dixon did. I had none him for a good long while. And we had a very unusual personal relationship, there for a president and the student body president. We were perfectly open with each other. We understood each other. He was a controversial figure on campus himself. But he saw, as clearly as I've ever seen —
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
We were acting with more emotion than reason. But he was working with attorney's, and I think they disciplined the thing as much as they could. But I admired him very much. It was a real tragedy when that boy was killed. A terrible loss to the State.
WILLIAM LINK:
So, you had known Paul Dixon —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
As a student.
WILLIAM LINK:
As a student?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah.
WILLIAM LINK:
[unclear] Beginning at that point.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Before he ever became Student Body President. I did not get that involved with the Greensboro and State. Some reason that State, it just didn't become that great an issue. The Faculty Senate did its thing, and AAUP Chapter, but that was about it. The same thing as Greensboro. It was looked upon as Chapel Hill's problem. And I guess it was. At least they thought so here.
WILLIAM LINK:
So that the nature of your communication with Dixon was to urge subtly, or not so subtly urge [unclear] ?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
The purpose of the business was he would come and say, "Here's what I'm doing." It

Page 13
was never a question of veto. His main concern was, "Am I hurting something?" "Am I violating something?" "What suggestions do you have?" And, "I'll be back." This kind of—now, that isn't the way it literally operated, but that's the structure that it hung on. And he never—as far as I know, I have never known a variation in that. All of this is fuzzy to me, Bill, it was so long ago. It's as best as I can reconstruct it. Cause you can obviously see that I was very fond of the young man. I felt that he had an enormous courage about him. I really did.
WILLIAM LINK:
Do you think—this particular crisis seems to be a good example of a rather unusual you had to play as a President of a public university, particularly a public university in this specific historical context. Interpreter you had to bridge some rather wide gaps, as to what was going on over here, and —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Awfully hard. In fact, you don't—there was no way if you set out to try to succeed at doing that, your going to fail to start with. You don't—you finally realize that there's only one course of action you can follow. And that is to take the circumstance, try to judge the reality of it as best you can, that is, where are the obstacles that have got to be overcome? Who is the defensive structure? What's the best tactics? Or, what are the best tactics to ploy now, looking strategically at this objective? And then you just go at it as best you can. You can't—that's why your doing that. Because ideally, you see, your working with the press over here. Your trying to persuade some Trustees over here. Your picking on going to see a Legislator or two here. But an enormous amount of this time had to be alumni associations. And AAUP Chapters. And faculty senates. And you'd just wear yourself completely out, trying to get one message. That's all you could do. And you keep all these lines open, and all of them working toward that objective. And you hope that its going to work out somewhere. But once you learn something like that, this one will go faster than this one. And [unclear] faculty and for very good reasons. It's concerns of greater and more intense, than would be this alumni chapter. But if you've got a Lamont Royster over here, or you've got, like the fellows in Charlotte, there going to get busy. They're going to be jumping on some legislator's. Well, you've got to keep that moving too. So, it's a—I don't like to use the word orchestration, that implies more [unclear] about it, than there really was. The great thing about all of this was the spontaneity of it. Because people were acting out of conviction. And out of a league(?), when we started turning it around. When they finally concluded what the court decision, I'm completely satisfied in my own mind, that we'd done as well as we could to educate the people as to what the issue really was. And having done that, you'll notice that it disappeared quickly. I bet if you took every newspaper in this State, and looked at every issue of it, two weeks after that you won't find a word about it. People—they've had it. You know, there's just exhaustion with it. But nobody was willing to turn it loose. And that said something about the rightness of the position. But there's where you'd burn an enormous amount of energy. Your working with all of these various groups, constantly contacting. They'd call you. You'd spread yourself as thin as you dare do, day and night. Running around all over talking, visiting, working. And then you worry sometime about what about the rest of the University? There's something else happening here, you know. Like all great controversies, sixty percent of the people don't even know what you're talking about. Couldn't care less. They just go right on. And their lives are very much impacted by it, but they just don't want to spend any time dealing with it. Sometimes you think the whole place was burning down. But that isn't so.

Page 14
WILLIAM LINK:
You think that by the time this was over, that my perception is that there are other issues on the horizon, but even at the Chapel Hill level, or the Chapel Hill campus, there is a whole new degree of student unrest, that is beginning to appear that makes all of this seem —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Vietnam.
WILLIAM LINK:
Vietnam and the unrest of '69, particularly at this campus, and some of the others within the system.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
I've even forgotten what was in '69. Was that the restaurant workers?
WILLIAM LINK:
Yes.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, that was all in the same [unclear] notion.
WILLIAM LINK:
Right.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
And, yes, those were very trying times. In fact, there was a ten to twelve year span there, when we were not put out some very severe crisis. And I'll tell you, it is very hard to keep a program going while your dealing with all of that. And that particular issue just moved the actors over into another arena. But the intensity factor didn't diminish. The public factor didn't diminish. The animus, if anything, increased rather than decreased. And the extent of it—the spread of it all over was bigger. And, maybe I told you before, with reference to the cafeteria issues. Howard Fuller was the man who was leading the workers' side of this thing. And I knew that he knew of all the controversy that was going on with Governor Scott and everybody else, about the troops, or no troops. And I've never met the man, but I give him credit for avoiding, what would have been a very unfortunate confrontation kind of thing. He took his people out of the [unclear] . And there was nothing left in front. And I've remembered all these years later. Because I thought that was an act of—it showed that man had a sense of judgment about the situation. Where all would be lost from his point of view. He became a militant confrontational kind of leader. Also, there was a recognition that if anything could be done, it had to come from us. And the best way to do that is to work with us to get it done. And then we've set back to raise the pay, and do all of those things we did with the personnel office. And get—these were legitimate changes that should have been made. I never will forget those days. Governor Scott had one advisor over there who was going to send the troops tomorrow morning. And I said, "No your not." And we had a violent argument right there in the Governor's office, one afternoon. About who was going to do what. But Fuller, Howard Fuller deserves a lot of credit. And he's over in your town now, I understand.
WILLIAM LINK:
Is that right?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Running some kind of college over there. You might be interested in reviewing his point of view.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah. I didn't realize he was in Greensboro.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
He just dropped out of the whole activism cycle, at that time. I don't what or where he went. But he's at Greensboro, I think, running a college over there of some kind.

Page 15
WILLIAM LINK:
Did you—One of the—I guess the culmination of that conflict over the cafeteria strike was the intervention plan of Bob Scott. Did you see that coming? Did you see —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, you don't see it that clearly. Any of these things. Your there, with living literally hour by hour. It wasn't day by day. You didn't know where it would break out. And I think the wisest thing that happened was the whole business of saying that the personnel office would be willing to sit down, and go through all of the job qualifications. You had problems there of reaction to supervision. Hostility toward them—you see, all of these kinds of things a president never hears. Or never knows about. Or nor chancellor's as far as I know. It's just something that should be settled down at another level of administration. But when it boils over, you know where it is. And it was a part of the syndrome of the times. It was going on all over the United States. And happily for us though, it worked out the way it did. Because we avoided gun fire and burning, and stopping school. And all of these things. We didn't do a bit of. You've got to give people—the participants a lot of credit here. I've often felt Bill, that Chapel Hill, in terms of student self-discipline, with all the violence that you see here, there is still something that's very important here. And I think that when all those thousands gathered out there in the mall of the South Building to Wilson Library one day, and listened to the Chancellor and had their say, and all of it worked out in a conversational way. [unclear] and all of that. But still no taking of the law into your own hands attitude. Well, that comes about when you trust people. And you say to people, "Alright, your free to be free. But you've got to remain responsible if you going to maintain your freedom." That means you act with a certain sense of self-discipline. And I've recounted all of this to President Nixon, when I was one of the eight President's up there, after Kent State, as a means by which you get students to believe in you. That they are heard. Now, you can't do it as some kind of superficial sham. You've got to be genuine about it. And I think Carlyle Sitterson deserves an enormous amount of credit for what happened there. He took a lot of criticism. But he was right. And he saved Chapel Hill from a lacerating scar that would have been there to this very day. So, I've always praised him. I think he was a—showed a lot of strength. And I know of other administrators around the country who would have gone the other way. Stacked the guns and been very happy about it. I've saw them do it. And there no longer presidents. [Laughter]
WILLIAM LINK:
As a president of a system, and working with chancellor's, you would only be involved—you were only involved when things got —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, most of the time they'd call and we'd be talking a long before anything happened. That's a problem. And that reflects the personality relationship you have with each one of these people. Happily, I was the one who recommended that John be in the office with me at [unclear] . We knew each other. We understood each other. And most of all we trusted each other. And no president can know the intensity of what's going on a campus. He's not there living with it. Breathing it. But your close enough to know how hard it really is. And that's why I never was one to be critical. I was always looking for ways of improving. It's the easiest thing in the world in a crisis state, Bill, is to second-guess. You can always be wiser than the fellow making the decision, until you say, is that great Indian saying is, "You go and stand in the moccasins of the chief and find out for yourself." And its never the same. I was an acting Chancellor one time, and found it out in a hurry. Although I'm very sympathetic. It's a terribly difficult relationship under the best of circumstances, when there's an intensity like we lived with. Because this means calling the Attorney General with only two seconds notice. Or,

Page 16
calling the Executive Committee to do this or that. Doing this. These kinds of decisions and the intensity of them is never envisioned when anyone talks about the University administration. It's looked upon as sort of a comfortable, tweed jacket, that sits around and read a book, and talk a while. But there was more tension, more strife, more stress, in running the University in those days, than any corporate executive ever imagined. Ever! And I've had corporate executives talk to me about this, and tell me, "How in the name of goodness can you survive?" They wouldn't have touched it with a seventy foot pole. But in that way it was salutary. They got to see what doing this was really like. It's—while its the best job, in the sense of professional fields. I think in the same state its also the most difficult. Because the clear distinction is in a university no one gives an order. No one. If you ever do, it will be the last one you gave. You won't be there another year to tell about it. And you shouldn't be. Because that's not the way it works. That's a very difficult lesson for military people, and corporate people, and political people to understand. But there is no other way you can do it. And its the right way.
WILLIAM LINK:
I had a colleague of mine a while ago tell me that, at Greensboro, he remembered you appearing during their crisis in '69. And I think that it may have been, if I can recall correctly, in the wee hours of the morning —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Spencer Hall. Was that it?
WILLIAM LINK:
That's right. The cafeteria. The similar sort of thing as Chapel Hill. I think, almost identical. ARA.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah. I remember that.
WILLIAM LINK:
And I think he remembers you, and in the early morning hours, Ferguson, Jim Ferguson.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
I was there with no specific plan in mind. I just wanted to give him comfort, that I was there. Whatever value that meant to him. It was important to me, for my Chancellor to understand that there was no gap here. That I was there to be used. To help him. To participate with him. And to say to the others, you see, "You've got to deal with both of us. And we're two different people, but we have one common. And you know what it is? So, if you want to talk, let's sit down." And none of these experiences did we ever close the door. Because when you do that, you've admitted to defeat, I think. Because if there ever was—if any place in America society, where that conversational option should always remain open, is in the university. And more so than ever in critical stress situations. Particularly when people are beginning to harden, and grow very bitter. And they slip off into camps of opinions. Which is easy to do. And, it's again another one of those illustrations of where when you are in a public university and you have a visible executive on campus; be it chancellor or president, or both of them, they more than anybody else have to keep in mind that the professor in the School of Home Economics doesn't know anything. So, now all this hurly burly that's going on around your head, you find time to sit down, and say, "Look colleagues, here's what's happening." That's one of the reasons I went over there. Because I knew being there was testimony to those people, although I didn't say a word. He cares enough, this is important enough that he's over here trying to help. And that's what your trying to do. It's confidence [unclear] .

Page 17
WILLIAM LINK:
What if the Board of Trustee's and the Legislator's had trouble understanding the whole Speaker Ban question, they must have certainly had even greater trouble understanding all of this. Do you think the Speaker Ban had an effect of educating them toward understanding —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
I think the Speaker Ban Law had the effect [unclear] , well let's them try and work it out. We didn't do a good job before. While it was not that articulated, but the lesson learned is one being a part of something that turned out to be a disastrous consequence. You guys, if you want to do that, you go and do it yourself. Don't pull me in this time. I'm not going to play with you. That's the way the politician talks. The more thoughtful people backed off. Here though was where you began to get serious-minded people, in becoming fretful. They couldn't see a way out of it all. I'm talking about the people like Thomas Pearson, and Virginia Lathrop, and those. Because I had such profound respect for people like Victor Byrant, and Warfield, were so thoughtful about how things should happen. Laura Cone from Greensboro. We all knew that we were dealing with something from which there was no precedent in [unclear -- printer in the background]
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
literally. And you had to start feeling your way in the darkness. That didn't permit of hasty decisions which troubled some people. They would take the baseball bat and go at it. But in the end I think you always come out with a better level, when you've been as deliberate as you know how to be. And that's why so much time and effort went into these things. Jim Ferguson was as fine a human being, as I've ever known. As decent in a man. He was so decent that people took it as weakness, sometime. But when Jim Ferguson got his dander up, he could be as hard as anybody I've ever worked with. And that was because—it was not something borne in him, or me, I hope, so much of anger, as it was a massive disappointment. That people would sit down and find out what was going on. No, we had to win. You know, this attitude, "I'm in it." And I said, "We've got to drive the administration to the wall." Or, "Why don't you go and drive them to the wall? Don't sit there and be so patient with them. Your being too —" My answer to that is, if I can't do it the way it should be done, get you somebody else. You just finally come to that decision. And then that issue doesn't get drawn in. It was a very trying time. But when you put all of those things back to back, and look at the next ten years, you see, look how quiet it got. Not only on campuses, but all over the country. Mr. Reagan introduced a sleep title. Intellectually speaking. What troubles me about today, Bill, is that I think they are vastly misjudging what the academic campus student reactions are going to be if they go into the war. It doesn't have to have a draft to provoke this bunch of young people. The television set has made them so imminent, that they'll see blood, and death, and body bags. And they'll all immediately say, "Uh-oh, me." And you talk about reaction. And I fear for the day. Because that one will be very deep. And they'll throw over a president, like they did Lyndon Johnson. It can be done. You and I have lived to see it.
WILLIAM LINK:
I'm wondering about Bob Scott's role in this. And—
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, once Howard Fuller pulled his people out, it just dropped.
WILLIAM LINK:
Yeah.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
He didn't—as far as I know, now he could have done things I don't know about. But he was not belligerent and hostile. He was under an enormous pressure. I acknowledged that. And he really tried to find a

Page 18
way. And he didn't let the confrontation that I referred to earlier get out of control.
WILLIAM LINK:
He felt as though he had to act and had to —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, he really was fearful of damage in property, and the Governor has that option. Not for very long. He doesn't have it very long. If there had been a fire or something like that, the criticism would have moved entirely from the University onto to his back. And I understood that. It was just one of those things that you just pray for some rational solution. And it worked out the right way. But it just didn't happen. There was a lot of hard work in it.
WILLIAM LINK:
But there was a basic conflict between —
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Well, he felt an obligation to exert the power of the office. My argument was just as it had been the Speaker Ban Law. Leave it alone and let us have it. We'll work it out. We are working it out. I didn't read Bob Scott as wanting to make a big display for publicity purposes. Some of the people around him would. But, I gave him credit though. And I understood why he was trying to do what he was trying to do. Because he realized that thing was really loaded with dynamite. But it just worked out. Thank goodness. But, if he had done something much more dramatic, you know, like call in the National Guard, or something like that, we would have had—I think now looking at it, some people are just waiting on something to trigger here. Just the way at looking the Persian Gulf right now. Just any little incident would have set-off a [unclear] .
WILLIAM LINK:
It was that tense?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
It was that tense, really. And I think before your through, I hope you'll talk to Carlyle Sitterson about this. The man just not got the credit for what he's done. And I want to give him credit.
WILLIAM LINK:
You mentioned earlier that compared to other campuses, Chapel Hill got off rather lightly. Do you think that?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Yeah. Well, when I—you see, when—remember what happened at Cornell with my friend Jim Ferguson? Or at Berkeley? Or at Michigan? Or wherever? We've paid the price. No doubt about that, but ours was in the arena of debate. A compromised conversation. And change. Never did we step across the law. And to that I give the students credit. We could have had a really bad thing here. Very bad. But here, this is what renews your faith in the kind of student government we had. The leadership knew what was at stake. And they didn't listen to them.
WILLIAM LINK:
Did this affect—do you think it affected the position of Chapel Hill in Legislature very much, by 1969, say?
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
No. I don't mean it [unclear] . I just think the Legislator had other agenda's. And they were the leaders of the Board this time. Until the great stress about reorganization in the '70s came on.
WILLIAM LINK:
So there wasn't connection between reorganization and this all —

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WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
Now, that had an entirely different generating base. When the University took in Charlotte, no one—and certainly I didn't anticipated the flow from one decision. I thought we were going to do it the way we'd done Charlotte. Systematic. Careful analysis, the study of the demography of the place. The land availabilities. All these things. We spent an enormous amount of time. And did a thorough job with it. The next thing that happened was there was a bill in the Legislature saying that everyone in the public university was authorized to give Ph.D. degree tomorrow morning. And I never will forget Louis Dowdy; over at A&T. He was a dear friend of mine, called me and said, "I want you to understand that we know that we're not ready to do this. And we know that its not the right thing to do. But you know, and I know that I can't resist this politically." And there he was being as honest with me as he could be. And when your dealing with people like that, you know, you respect them. And you know there's bound to be a way that you can put back into some focus. But that decision and what happened behind that with Asheville and Wilmington four years later, set off all of this business of name change, for everybody. Medical school arguments. Veterinary school arguments. There was a massive scramble for whatever you can get to further legitimation of the use of the word university. Not by the politicians, but by boards, and administrators who knew they were going to be judged some day for what they've done in the educational contest. And no one of them knew that what happened was right. They all knew that. But here, I think, it was an inevitable thing. Because when you look at what happened after World War II, and the huge numbers of people, and the pressure that that generated. And we tried to answer one aspect of it by building a community college system, and starting it in the '50s. And that's now ballooned to a fifty-nine institutions all over the State. We converted Greensboro to a coeducational institution. We made all of the four-year colleges liberal arts institutions. All of these were steps in the process. And it was the beginning of the inevitable confrontation with the Board of Higher Education, as we talked about last time. Because when you went from three, to four, to six, the issue was drawn. And then the General Assembly began to rebel that all of this pressure; which you know generated in part from Leo Jenkins' ambitions of the ambitions of the University itself, and its Board of Trustees. And then how the others who were involved was the administrators. They sort of tapped their little wagon on to the fray, and off we went. And, as you look back on it, you can only conclude that all of it was an inevitable thing. Because what happened in North Carolina is not unique. It's happened in every major State in the Union. It had teacher's colleges that wanted to be universities. It had ambitions for industrial growth that brought on community colleges. You see this replicated in every State of any consequence. Like California. Or Michigan. Michigan now has five campuses. California has nine in the university. And thirty some in the State University System. And you can just go on. We kept ours under some sense of discipline. It worked out, I think, fairly well. But when I think back to that day in 1956, to say July 1, 1975, all that went on in that block of time, I'm amazed that we survived it as well as we did. Because there was so much controversy. And usually three and four at the same time. And that, in some sense, was good. Because there were different interests working. I don't the University ever wavered from its position in all of it. But the outside forces were different.
WILLIAM LINK:
As a historian you tend to see these things happening one at a time, but as you say, they started happening simultaneously that that's going effect the way you view them.
WILLIAM C. FRIDAY:
They just sort of ran all over each other. You know, you've got the expansion problem. The Speaker Ban problem. The HEW problem. The unrest problem. The Vietnam problem. All were bunched right in that same

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bit of time. You can't—an historian can write about one of them, but brother you can't write authoritative if you don't look at that panorama. And there were times we were having as many as twenty meetings of the Board a year. There's, you know, always meetings. And I began to sense at one time, that they were getting tired of their meetings. So, it was a hard, hard twenty years. But, kind of [unclear] of exhilarating, in the sense of, you felt like something was happening here that was important to North Carolina. Not that I was doing it. But that I had the best seat in the house, cause I could watch it all happen. And be some small part of it. I've often asked myself, what would I do different, if I was going to go back and do it again. The answer is: That's a stupid question. Because you didn't handle it in isolation when it came along. Half of this was stuff you had to reckon with once it came upon you. Not that you generated it. And the things I tried to generate got lost all too often. So it was a defensive war, in lots of ways. But what you gain out of it is a clear, clear eye about what a university really is. Why its frequently so necessary. And in this particular case why and how, and to the extent, the University of North Carolina is so much the beating heart of the State itself. Because it impacts the schools. It impacts some all kinds of health care programs. It is the agriculture research center. It is the industrial research center. It is the training ground of all professional people. The State, I don't think, has ever appreciated the range and scope of what an enormously important asset this whole Institution is. And here it had a chance to demonstrate that, and all of these controversial questions. And I think in that sense we gained a lot. The loyalty base was so intensely broadened. Whether that's true today is another question. Because the public's interest moves around, and there's a fickleness to it, Bill. It'll stay with you just so long, and then its going to leave you, whatever it is. People just will not stay preoccupied very long. They don't really believe in it. It's not that they don't believe. They're just going to say, "Well, Mr. Link you're the president, you go on and take care of it now. We'll be with you. But don't bother me anymore." I can hear them saying that right now. I can laugh now, but I didn't laugh then.
END OF INTERVIEW