Re: two questions/60's

Richard C. Crepeau (
Wed, 15 May 1996 08:27:21 -0400

I would like to reply to Eide's second question concerning the decline of
academia. As someone who was both a student and faculty member in the
Sixties I would say that you have misunderstood the decade in reference
to academia. Indeed your description of academic life as stimulating,
involved, intellectually challenging, worldly, political, etc. is an
accurate one. It was marvelous to be on campus at that time and it
probably will never be as good again, nor was it ever so good before the
upheaval of the decade.

What has happened since, I would suggest, is not a decline. Rather that
period was an abberation born of specific time and place, which may not
ever be replicated. What went before and what came after are in fact in
continuity. The campus has been through most of the late 19th century and
all of the 20th century a place whose greatness has been defined by its
research and its athletic teams, especially football teams. It has been a
place controlled by conservative trustees who support the university in
America for its ability to turn out acolytes for the machines of any
particular age, who do research to stimulate the economy, and who
entertain both alumni and the masses with the games they stage.

Academics have often thought of themselves as definers of American life,
as people listened to and respected. In fact that has seldom been the
case, but seems to be an illusion that isolated Ph.D.'s still fondle in
their egos. The Ph.D. is that item coveted by many but respected by few.

So bring on the cheerleaders and strike up the band, the big game is about
to begin.

Dick Crepeau
Orlando, FL
"In the Shadow of the Mouse"