I note with modest interest your article on the 1969 sit-in ("Which Side Are You On?" Jan-Feb/10). How about a sit-in, so to speak, that goes back to 1951? That was the first post-Hutchins year, and for whatever the reason, the faculty, in its wisdom, chose to rename the capstone course of the then-mandatory College curriculum. No longer would it be named OII—Organization, Interpretation, and Integration of Knowledge. Henceforward, it was to be called OMP—Organization, Methods, and Principles of Knowledge.

For the life of me (I was then a freshman), I cannot remember why we thought this was a betrayal, an insult to everything we'd been led to believe the College held sacred. It was an act of heresy.

Accordingly, we sat in—or, more precisely, we sat out. We plunked ourselves down around the flagpole in front of Cobb Hall and sat. I do not remember for how long we remained, but I remember precisely what happened when we dutifully walked off to class. Ned Rosenheim was the professor, and when we entered the classroom he looked at us balefully and said, "I have not seen such consternation furrowed on the brows of students in this academy since—"and here there was a long pause"—the day that Barcelona fell, and I cannot bring myself to equate the two occasions."

Never had I felt quite so small—as evidenced by the fact these words have stayed with me for more than half a century.

Leonard Fein, AB'55, AM'58

I read with great interest the several letters in the Core about the 1969 sit-in and the return of football ("Letters," Jul-Aug/10). Following the tumultuous expressiveness of '69, campus culture in the '70s was characterized by ennui and alienation. The Vietnam war dragged on and most of us opposed it, but passionate opposition was spent and none of us were going to be drafted.

There was still interest on campus in the early '70s for social justice. Vanloads of students participated in pickets of Jewel grocery stores in solidarity with United Farm Workers and grapes were boycotted in the cafeterias. But confrontation was an effort, and it lacked the energy and excitement of the late '60s. We just didn't have that much at stake. It is conventional wisdom that we turned inward in the '70s.

Some of us also turned on in ways less conventional than meditation and pot. I chose football. I refused to play football on my high school team because of the fascistic nature in which it was coached. The coaching staff aped Hollywood imitations of Marine Corps drill sergeants. I fit right in on the Maroons. I scheduled classes to conflict with practice three days each week, so I only practiced twice and had games on Saturdays. That seemed a reasonable amount of time to devote to a sport and hobby. The athletics department had a rule that no athlete could be disciplined or penalized for missing practice or a game for academic reasons.

The football coach and chairman of athletics, Wally Hass, was a beautiful person. He was the perfect grandfather. He often waxed eloquently about the ideal of the scholar-athlete.

Yes, football is a violent sport and players are injured. But it is a hell of a lot of fun. If all other colleges modeled their athletic programs on the laid-back way we played varsity sports at UChicago in the '70s, instead of the standard military-industrial-complex model (followed even by Division III teams), athletes would have more fun and could be real students instead of unpaid employees. For more, see my article in Chicago Magazine.

I am grateful to the students who sacrificed to end the draft and end the Vietnam War. I am also grateful to the students who resurrected football at the U of C.

—Jeff Rasley, AB'75

More Odd Jobs

"Gainful Employment" (Jul-Aug/10) was a delight. I remember trying to knock down the hand-set bowling pins in Ida Noyes, and I always thought setting them would be a really hard job!

In the old kitchen of Hitchcock in the summer, I got an offer I couldn't refuse. A perennial graduate student didn't like to cook and didn't like to eat alone. He would pay for whatever groceries I bought if I'd make dinner. But my morning job the rest of the year was probably the most rewarding. I was the "milkman" at Green Hall. Students would give me their dairy orders. In the morning Hawthorne Melody would deliver the orders, along with free milk for me. I'd parcel out the marked orders to the various refrigerators. When Christmas came, there was a free quart of eggnog for me, in addition to my milk! As I was keeping my food budget to $4 a week, you can see that these extra opportunities were an amazing help.

My roommate tended laboratory mice in the children's leukemia lab—a bit more exotic than my jobs. And my fiancé searched for lost books in the Harper stacks. When he'd found them all, he got a ladder and started washing the grime-encrusted gothic windows—probably the first time anyone had in a decade.

—Elaine (Stilwell) Locke, AB'61