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Hans Juergensen oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Nancy Hewitt.
Tampa, Fla. :
b University of South Florida,
1 sound file (71 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (30 p.)
USF 25th (1985) anniversary oral history project
Description based on CD version record.
Recorded July 10, 1985.
Hans Juergensen, professor of Humanities hired at USF in 1961, recalls relations between faculty and administrators over the years, the university's change in emphasis from teaching to research, the quality of life on campus in the early years, the status of minorities and women, and his involvement in community relations.
University of South Florida
University of South Florida
Hewitt, Nancy A.,
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
i CD version:
Juergensen, Hans, 1919-
t [Hans Juergensen].
USF 25th (1985) anniversary oral history project.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPT
C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0
DR HANS JURGENSEN Hewitt : t I am talking today with Dr Hans Jurgensen, Professor of Humanities, who also teaches in the English department, teaches courses on German Literature, and has been very active in service to the University and the community, as part of the Silver Anniversary Oral History Project Would you tell us Dr Jurgensen, first of all, what was your first contact with the University of South Florida and what made you decide to come here? Jurgensen : t Good question From '53 to '61 I was Chairman of an English department in a small college in Hamden, Connecticut by the name of Quinnipiae College After 8 years of being administrator and teacher I felt I needed to move out So I was looking One of the Board of Trustees of the College was Dr Francis Horn, whom I knew from Johns Hopkins where I got my degree He was my boss when I taught there He was at that time president of Rhode Island University He didn't want me to leave, but I said that it was time He said that there was a new university in Tampa, Florida, and that I might get in touch with Dr Russell Cooper, who is the dean So I did I wrote to Dr Cooper and told him what I would like to do, and he suggested that I go to the "meat market", that is the Modern Language Association meeting in Philadelphia, in December of 1960, which I did There I met Dr John Hicks who was about to start a department program in Humanities which meant the Arts It is a very unique department as a matter of fact, not many In the country I was then interviewed by Dr Cooper and by the Chairman of the English department and they all wanted me I didn't know that at the moment I was interviewed and I liked Dr Hicks tremendously So I went to the interviews and that was the funniest thing I have ever been through because he had
2 five people there I knocked on the door, he said come on in, and 1 said that it looked like it was a closed session He said no, that it was an open market So now here is what happened I'm a big talker as you have noticed I sat there for one hour and a half not saying a word and letting all the other people speak Finally Dr Hicks asked one particular question, he looked at me, and I answered at length So then he dismissed us and as I went out I said to him that this was something that really interested me and I've noticed, and I'm an enthusiast, and so he was very interested Now interestingly enough I had another offer at the University of Michigan State where I would have been teaching Comparative Literature, which is my degree in Comparative Lit But I chose to come here On the 11th of August we landed in this town, which I called a frontier town then and it has grown up since And here I am Hewitt : So you arrived after obviously the initial legislative law being passed and all of that, to develop the University, but soon enough that you must have been involved in some of the politics of USF and the state legislature Could you tell us a little bit about what you see as the role of faculty in communicating with the legislature about the needs of a place like USF? Jurgensen : t The need of USF is obvious It is an urban university It was badly needed It started, as I told you earlier, as a family Everybody knew everybody And then by 1963 or 1964, we didn't have departments, we had programs and divisions like the College of Basic Studies and so on I didn't like the name College of Basic Studies because I just didn't like it I thought it was a psychological misdemeanor Liberal Arts would have been much better In any case, I got very deeply involved in the
3 development of, for example, the German courses because I was teaching German, not yet English, that came a little latter I went through the Lamont catalogue of German literature and German books and started ordering I took my German class over to the library For weeks we tabulated what wasn't there So I started the German library which is quite competent Then the faculty--Dr Allen was a very forceful president in many ways--we had, of course, the legislature and other groups, including what is now called the Board of Regents in cases of academic freedom I was up to my whiskers in that Each time I was on the committee and each time we won So I was also a member of the AAUP and the State AAUP Board and so In other words, an activist My main concern has always been and still is students first, faculty next, and ten miles later, administration But I have always had good relationships with the administration I fought with them too I've been on committees as you will see from this list here I've been on search committees for presidents and vice presidents and so on I want a good university I want a faculty that is better than competent and as a teacher I want to teach and to do the best I can with my students I had a marvelous time doing it I've been teaching for 38 years So I am an old timer Hewitt : t I'm sure the relationship between faculty and administrators has changed over the years and also the relationship between faculty and institutions like the Board of Regents Could you tell us a little bit about what those relationships were like? Jurgensen : t Early in our career The doors were open in 1960 and so the Humanities program started in 1961 So I am on the bottom of that as well
4 And we have an excellent staff I am very lucky, we have very good And I've been a chairman so I know about administrative procedures I've also been an active dean in an art school So I know about these things We have just gotten along well We have had very few turnovers Our people are here forever As a matter of fact we may need new blood right now The faculty was not always as involved as it should be And some of us, Charlie Arnade, among them and others, we fought We were members of the AAUP and we objected I spoke at some of the Board of Regents meetings It was called the Board of Controls and they were down on us We were accused of We had some very, very grave problems, homosexuality and the whole bit Communism, you name it We fought And I was in the middle of those fights, everyone of them Incidentally, that is one reason I became the leader of the faculty one way or another, the total faculty as well By '68 we had an all University Senate I served on the senate for 13 years Well, I realized that while in principal the University Senate might be very good here, the president was its chairman As chairman he also acted as judge and executioner So whenever we had a real problem and the faculty voted one way, he would call another meeting He did that three times at least that I know of He brought all the administrators in and we were out voted We lost some very important benefits that way We had real technical problems with retirement and so on Some of these things have evolved very nicely Phyllis Hamm was involved in that and I was involved with Phyllis Hairm when she got stabbed They were wrong I have been a strong supporter of her and I have worked with her for years In fact, I worked for the woman Women were, of course We were the first department, I think, to have a full professor We now have two
5 full professors who are women We fought In fact I'm not the only one Dr Ruttenburg with salaries In 1968, 1 think Dr Ruttenberg and I discovered what the salary picture was He never looked at salaries We discovered all these discrepancies and injustices So he and I went to work We got nowhere at first By 1968 1 realized that the old University Senate doesn't work So I began to realize that being the faculty senate and the staff senate and so on and we began to work on it When President Mackey became president I forced the issue Within a year, we had a Faculty Senate and worked on the constitution I was on the senate again for three years and there were others who were involved in that So we have had all these problems My complaint now is, and I mentioned that earlier, yesterday I spoke to Dean Strange and I suggested again and to every administrator within earshot that during legislative sessions the administrators are called in and they give the figures and so on Deans are called in, but the troops are not And some of us who have been here long, and who know the history, would be very useful in straightening out some of the still existing problems The fact that the liberal arts, your area and my area, are neglected, and you don't know how I've screamed with and dragged in everybody But at the same time my relationship with administration has always been very good and friendly I mean Dr Brown and I are friends I do it usually by letters and I finally get answers and so on I've been very much involved in having the faculty and administration meet in sessions to straighten out, to talk, and communicate That I really initiated and so that a number of times, we had one in spring, that was chaired by Jim Ray He and I have been on God knows how many committees together
6 Either he was chairman or I was chairman The problems of getting freedom were very difficult and I had really gotten involved in that Hewitt : t Were you involved with the Johns Committee investigation? Jurgensen : t No The Johns Committee had started before me The Johns Committee investigation switch started in 1962 I really got involved in the Grebstein case From '64 to '68 we were censured by the AAUP In '67 I was suppose to be promoted to full professor Because of my big mouth it was denied So in spring of '68 I was the negotiator between the University and the AAUP in Washington and got us off censure I was inrnediately promoted I can laugh about this That year was one of the few times I was bitter I don't usually get that way I happened to like Dr Allen very much personally and saw him alot socially, but we could fight And we did So you asked me and I have to tell you Until about 2 years ago I was involved in all these things Now I'm mostly in the college level and outside of the University because I have trained some people who are now the leaders In '68 1 was the chairman of the faculty caucus and we met on the day, this was during the student rebellion period, and I had ten men there I still remember that professor from the College of Business Administration He said he didn't want to have anything to do with me He wrote that in a letter to me and I wrote him back saying "too bad ." The upset of that was that a few years later he came and apologized He knew I was right It's nice to be right I'm not always right I assure you But in any case, it was very, very interesting and I spent a great deal of energy I felt it was necessary Justice is terribly important to me So whatever I have done is for I never really fought for myself It was mostly for others
7 But then, in 1970-71, somebody finally started fighting for me because my salary had dropped or had not been increased properly The first two years we got very good salary increases until about 1964-65 Then they had dropped bottom and we have never recovered from that And of course the legislature is partly responsible That is why we unionized Now when the union came to be I waited a year before I joined But then I became very active in the union Hewitt : t What year was the union ? Jurgensen : t I don't know off hand Bob O'Hara and I have been working together Bob O'Hara and I were on a pornography committee downtown That was interesting Hewitt : t Really? Jurgensen : t Oh yes! We were called in And that was also interesting because We saw magazines and so on that still make my skin crawl, but we insisted on freedom of the press A very interesting committee with the state's attorney We met every week and looked through some awful stuff and I had to read alot of books I have one of them left And then we wrote reports One of the problems there That's when I had an argument with Dean Cooper because he should have been more insistent on that and he was kind of pulling back, but Bob and I went to work They were looking for volunteers and didn't find them Bob and I said yes, so we served Hewitt : Now you mentioned that you thought that liberal arts should have more emphasis now My understanding is that when USF first began, although they called the major program the College of Basic Studies, that
essentially it was an interdisciplinary, humanities, liberal arts program Jurgensen : t Yes, and it was good But you see, nobody is to blame We were first to grow too big, too fast We just exploded It started with a little over 2,000 students in the first year and then bingo So then we needed new staff, we got it, and we got pretty good people And here is one problem that I'm sure you are not aware of It started as a teaching university So what happened, and that is a very sad story, is that they engaged the best teachers that they could, but many of them were not scholars And they came here to teach and they were wonderful What happened was that sooner or later, and I knew that was coming, and I warned them to please do some writing See I have never had any problem because I publish alot They couldn't or wouldn't so they dropped to the bottom of the heap Many of them are bitter because of that and burned out They got the tenure You see, in '64, everybody that was here got tenure After that it became tougher Now it's almost impossible We got automatic tenure So this had been a very big problem simply because we have very fine teachers Some of them are associate professors and that is where they will stay That is OK because that is true in the great universities as well Some of them are so good Some of them were promoted to full professor even though they didn't do much writing, but that is over Then of course we had quite a number of people who had no Ph .D .s and there I fought We have some marvelous, creative people who have no Ph .D .s, and a number of them had trouble getting promoted to full professor They wrote fiction and so and that is when I fought I fought for them to be full professors because I know how good they are 8
9 I will fight in a university when I know my colleagues are good This is important Hewitt : t What do you think were the forces that sort of shifted USF away from, I guess, the "Accent On Learning" mission and towards a more standard academic tradition of publication ? Jurgensen : t Growth is one of them The other is, of course, that the market changed So the competition became fierce The result of that is, of course, that people who do not produce what's called scholarship are left behind So it becomes apparent that you must publish And it goes in cycles Engineering became big Business Administration became big and they got the money Then the medical school Liberal Arts was left behind And you can see that on salaries That is the story there Not a very pleasant one For the past 20 years we have been sliding downhill The time is coming, and I hope I am right in that, that we will be big again because now the big universities themselves realize that the humanities have been neglected and technological society must have humanities or else Clarence Brooks' famous statement that the technological society, the humanities, literature and so on begin to be put back and that becomes decadence It is not good for the nation So the story itself is important By the way, I have taught alot of history I have written historical monographs and I read it all the time So this sort of thing It is another cycle I hope we will be swinging back We now have an MA, Master of Arts in Humanities, and we are training people In a few years they will be getting jobs, which at the moment are absolutely nonexistent It is terrible But it was true when I got my doctorate in 1951 Jobs were very difficult to get I had quite a tough time getting
1 0 a full-time position I got into the University of Kansas as an instructor A friend of mine, who was a chemist, made twice my salary and was an Assistant Professor in Chemistry So it's nothing but we need it and this area needs it Hewitt : t Now you talked about the Humanities program and obviously given the number of committees and departments you have been involved in, you really helped to develop alot of these careers in the University Could you talk about the programs, colleges or departments, whatever they were called at various times, that you were involved in developing, that you think are the most important in terms of basic curriculum at USF? Jurgensen : t Well, see I am as convinced about the need for mathematics, the sciences, and sociology as I am with the arts, which is my particular area, and literature So I would say that wherever I could, whenever I was asked, and I wasn't always asked, but I did wherever I could help I would say, "OK, this is important, let us keep a certain perspective This is as important as this ." I tell my students, "Now, if you are a business administration major, welcome to the humanities, you need them ." But business is important too You have to make a living I have wonderful experiences with engineers because engineers come into our courses and are very skeptical They wonder why they need this sort of thing Very often what happens, as it did last year, a student who was in my class came up to me while I was having a cup of coffee and told me that he didn't want to take this course He paused and said that I hooked him So what really happens is when I get my hands on the engineers they end up as very good students I show them the cohesion, the concurrence, the ambiances, you name it, between engineering (which is also very aesthetic
1 1 if you look at it properly) and the arts You have to know alot in my field You have to know alot And we all do So while we are specialists we also know a great deal about other things and we are interested But all programs are important None should be neglected There are alot that have not been getting the money and the salaries because of the market place t Nor do we get the grants If one of us gets a $500 or $1000 dollar grant we think that it is terrific But they get $50,000 to $100,000 dollar grants, so it has something to do with the entire national priorities situation The sense of values Hewitt : t From that perspective, a number of people have suggested, in the process of doing these interviews, that there was a rather dramatic change from the presidency of John Allen to the presidency of Cecil Mackey in terms of the direction of the University Other people have suggested that the changes were more a result of larger, social, economic and political changes Jurgensen : t When Dr Allen resigned we were looking and we got Cecil Mackey I was on that search committee, and I remember saying when we were in St Petersburg in one of the lawyers conference rooms, "I want a humanist I don't mean a humanist by profession I want somebody ." And I was very strong, even emotional about it I wanted somebody who had a sense of art, of the the whole total life Well, Cecil Mackey, in many ways, fit that bill But he had been in Washington and he began to And I must say you will hear alot of opposition I was one of his few friends, by the way I liked him I also argued with him clot, but it was nice and friendly I've always had these good relationships I liked everyone of them I think that makes it easier because I do know something
about administration By the way, when Cecil Mackey became president, there was a group of students and faculty who wrote me a letter asking me if they could nominate me for president I said, "Thank you, but no ." There are many reasons for that I am a writer and I need time for that That is a tremendous job up there and very difficult Cecil Mackey came in and reorganized the University At that time I was in favor of that because some things had gone wrong The College of Basic Studies was going down the drain because it wasn't handled properly So I was ready to have that changed I never liked the idea anyway By that time we knew that we had to become a kind of traditional academic institution because we were so large We had departments already Some of those changes I welcomed Others of course, I didn't But I felt they were necessary He sometimes was a little bit of a hatchet man and cut heads off a little too abruptly If you've talked to Jean Battle you know what I am talking about He got kicked out, and I happened to know him very well As I said some of it was justified But it was he who helped me form the faculty senate It started out with the faculty senate with 100, and he thought it was too big I said, "Not for the time being Let's have 100 for awhile because we need as much representation as we can get ." And then came the time when they and myself I was no longer in the senate seat "let's reduce it to 50, it's more manageable ." The senate still doesn't have as much to say as it ought to But I have been strong from that because the others who are younger and who have more energy than I have Hewitt : t You don't seem to lack energy! 1 2
1 3 Jurgensen : t No, lots of energy, but I reserve that now for my students because there comes a time when you are a little older and you have to be strong You should Younger people should take over For example, I was on the college council and I was elected chairman and they kept re-electing me Finally last year, after four years of this, I said that was a president's term That was it I wouldn't permit them to There is another thing When you get into the kind of situations I was in, you accrue power You can't help it You become powerful Whether it is obvious or not obvious I'm terribly scared of power It can be so easily abused So that is another reason why, in some cases, I was strong I don't like that much I used influence the best I could I lived in a dictatorship and so whenever somebody becomes dictatorial, whether it is here or in the city, I fight There is a whole philosophy and experience behind that Very interesting Hewitt : t Could you tell us a little bit about the quality of life at USF in those early years? It's hard to imagine now that we've got over 50 buildings spread over 3 miles . Jurgensen : t Well, first of all we had alot of sand, and no trees And that was horrible Now we have the trees up I've been here long enough to see the trees grow I'm very happy about that Well, what we did have was the "All University Book ." Everybody, the faculty and students, everybody read the book Then we had discussion groups, big discussion groups I was on those panels and other professors were on it too I remember Dr Donrose from Mathematics We were the devil's advocate We had a wonderful time We also had better social intercourse The president's reception every year That went up to Mackey and then it
stopped Now everybody plays a song and game I regret that to a certain extent I like to get dressed up in a tuxedo once a year Some of this was very fine So we don't have that cohesion anymore Of course I no longer know as many faculty as I did We did have that kind of relationship, it was fun But of course when you get 10,000 students you can't do that anymore, it doesn't work Things change naturally Hewitt : t Was there more interaction not only among administrators, but among faculty and students in those early years? Jurgensen : t I don't know whether it was anymore than it is now I can only speak from my personal experience and for my colleagues here I am deeply involved with students This office is full of them Whether they are students of mine or not, it doesn't make a bit of difference I spend hours downstairs in the coffee shop talking to students, whether they are my students or not, it has nothing to do with it We sit down, we philosophize, we kid, and we do all kinds of things Not everybody can do that I've always done that I did that I remember some time ago somebody asked me, "When did you start doing this?" And I thought about it and I suddenly remembered when When I was a graduate student I taught German and English and all the students were either my age or older In the army, navy, and airforce they all outranked me It was very funny I was a corporal We were the same age We were veterans So after class we would go for a cup of coffee That's when it started And I never stopped I have been an advisor to student groups all of my academic life Hewitt : t You mentioned before we started this tape that you had been involved in helping to establish the student government 1 4
1 5 Jurgensen : t That is vague now because everything has changed so much It has become a big political organization But when the old University Senate began to fall apart we had alot of meetings trying to keep it alive and I knew it wasn't going to work Then I sat down with the other groups, the professional A&P people, and said they need to have their own senate and the students need their own senate I sat down with the students and most of them have graduated a long time ago I simply talked with them and helped them I have written alot of constitutions in my life I did the best I could Details I forgot And out of this, we have this present student government who, with very few exceptions, don't know what I did originally and they don't have to They need more independence I still tell students if they really want something bad enough and they could get enough people to go to Tallahassee, they would get it But, of course, we have commuting and that means you don't have as much activity In fact it was mentioned yesterday in the Oracle, in connection with the basketball team, and so on, the fact that the spirit isn't there It's that people just don't stay on the campus And these are things that have to be taken into consideration Hewitt : t Now you have also had some You mentioned the Oracle You also had some involvement with the student newspaper I believe? Jurgensen : t Well, of course I have taught journalism among other things and have been a journalist I was an art critic for the Tampa papers from '61 to '67 and I have done some free lance writing and I do some occasionally So I was always interested in what they do and many of my students are journalists They come to me and they ask me this, that, and the other
1 6 thing I an not a professional journalist, but I know about writing and I taught journalism So anyway, I wanted to be a journalist originally That is how that started So when they got into trouble I simply went to the administration and said, "Look, you can't do that ." Because in the long run Dr Mackey said I am responsible if it ever appears in the paper But at the same time you want to have a free press and also these people need to be trained So they need to learn restraint on their own They make some mistakes and they still do for that matter But that is part of the University and I don't know how much impact I had on him (Mackey) directly, but I think I did because he desisted from it I got to know the editors and sometimes I scolded them for not giving enough publicity to the arts and to the humanities and sometimes I get some results and sometimes I don't Hewitt : t In the last few years one of the big issues, not only at USF, but at many universities, particularly in the south, has been affirmative action and there are kinds of articles in the Tampa Tribune whether or not USF is doing a good job in providing minorities opportunities or not I wonder if you would talk just a little bit about those situations in the early years? Jurgensen : t More on the periphery But whenever I have been called upon I did the best I could I'm very strong obviously for women's rights and that sort of thing Now I can tell you that in this department we have been looking for a minority, as a matter of fact we do have minorities, but we don't have a black professor We have looked for years We have not found one that is properly Qualified That is the problem I know that, especially, Dr Brown is strong Sometimes it seems as though he is
1 7 indifferent, he is not He has had groups in his house and so on I remember I was moderator in his house one evening when we had blacks and what not Katie Brown started and we had dinner and all the rest of it She said, and I didn't know it was coming, they didn't tell me She said, "Hans, would you be moderator and let's talk about these things ." Dr Brown has made all kinds of approaches, even to tutoring blacks on his own He is a very concerned man The administrators get so damn busy They have to run to Tallahassee so often that they can't do certain things I realize that That's why sometimes I remind them to please remember so and so and this and that The blacks too are not always but they began to segregate themselves again Begin all of that We do have black Yes, I remember before we had a retreat which I instigated and it took me four years to get professors, deans, and administrators to get together for two and a half days outside of town There were blacks there In fact the chairman, I was the chairman of the committee, but Kofi Glover, one of our black professors, he was the overall chairman I remember one of the black professors, who had a chip on his shoulder, said to me, "I am curious how we are going to be treated ." I said that there wasn't going to be any treatment We are colleagues We were sitting around the fire outside, during that retreat in the evening, and I went up to him and I said, "Well?" He said "I apologize, you were right, we are colleagues ." Thank God! But it is terribly important Again, remember that I am a refugee from a dictatorship I don't take any of that nonsense So to me, only the individual has are individual cause And that has predicated all these actions of mine That is why I have never said no whenever there was a problem Nor has Charles Arnade and others, who have had not quite our
1 8 experiences, but who feel strongly and who are men and women of integrity Hewitt : t Now in 1961-1962, those early years at USF, the south was not integrated in any substantial sense and certainly Tampa was not far ahead of the rest of the south since the Jurgensen : t At the college where I taught, when I resigned, we had a black professor of English He was an assistant professor who came from Georgia and he and I became friends And don't think there wasn't that over there too We became friends We visited each other, had dinner at each others home, and when I left I recommended him to become Chairman of English I went to George and I said to him, "Alright, I want to go, but I have my doubts because of segregation and that sort of thing ." He said, "Hans please go, they need you ." Those were his words And I went I think if he hadn't said that I might not have taken it because I had another offer So we came here and we went to Maas Brothers and there were women, black and white, and I almost exploded So of course, little by little, I did again Here I couldn't get involved, I didn't know the region, I didn't know the politics and one thing at a time But certainly when I had black students that was it So then integration came and of course I went wherever I could and wherever I was I talked freely about it I have a big mouth I have had one all my life So that of course has changed, luckily Students rebelled I remember they would, there was a very hairy moment once at the flagpole, not those blacks, but you know I was there in front of my students A girl said "Dr Jurgensen, please go away, this could be dangerous ." But I said to her, "But you are here and as long as you are here, I am here ." And then at
1 9 one point I took the bull horn to calm them down There are all kinds of things one does Hewitt : t Was there, during the late 60s and early 70s, anti-war protests at USF? Jurgensen : t We had them, but they were good In fact I wrote a letter to the editors which I not only sent to the Oracle but to the newspapers, in which I pointed out because we had enough professors who worked with the students, and so we never had the violence But what we did have was neo-nazis I had to have an unlisted phone because in 1978 1 was threatened We had police protection for two weeks, my wife and 1 Some other professors were threatened and there were swastikas all over the campus So we have been through that So we had to fight that I am on the regional board of the Anti-Defamation here among other things By the way, during the '68 election I was the Bay Area chairman for Eugene McCarthy Hewitt : t Were there students on campus who worked in that ? Jurgensen : t Oh boy I was in my house students got a petition up, tremendous petition I was in my house and didn't go out of the house for four days Mine were the headquarters t My daughter was very young, and she worked on it and the admiral and his wife worked on It All kinds of wonderful people and students They were all over town and they came and reported to me and we got a tremendous petition up I was on every radio and TV station I had a wonderful time Finally Eugene McCarthy came, but I was downtown I didn't meet him personally until 1974 at a conference at the Library of Congress, which was a literary conference and
there is where we met And he didn't even know who I was I said I was the Chairman of McCarthy for President in Tanipa He said, "You were?" We had a nice conversation All kinds of fun things happen to you in life, right? In fact the members of the Humanities department and some of the English department are very involved Jim Spillane, for example I am not now I have other fish to fry And they know the political picture much better than I do In '64 I worked for Johnson Not so good I mean it was alright then, but then came Vietnam Well, you see I have written a book about My protest poetry was read all over the country and I was invited to San Francisco and New York I didn't always go Oh yes, I have protest poetry about Vietnam I am a ham! Hewitt : t That is good That's what we like in these interviews The other group that I understand that you have been involved in, even if you didn't formally help them to get organized, were the women on campus I'm sure early on there must not have been many women in faculty and administrative positions Jurgensen : t No we didn't have many The work I did was mostly behind the scenes As I said, Ellen Kimrnel came to me, and of course Maxine McKay who is retired She was chairperson of the Women's Equality or whatever, I never remember these things She and I worked on these things, on reports She is a lawyer So she did a very good job and my work there was mostly by consultation and committees and they knew, so Ellen came to me first and I was very enthusiastic Hewitt : t Now was this to organize the Status of Women's Committee? 2 0
Jurgensen : t Yes, that's what it is And I simply in whatever I was needed they became very independent, very soon They didn't need me anymore And that was fine That is the way it should be But whenever they needed you know sometimes, promotion problems and this or that Hewitt : t We were talking about the Status of Women's Committee One of the probably most notable cases on campus that involved affirmative action in women's issues was the Phyllis Hamm case and I understand that you were involved? Jurgensen : t I was involved in the beginning when I heard that she was shifted around I was simply very angry The president at that time was interim president, Smith, whom I admire very much In fact I wanted him to become the president here He met with a number of women and a number of men He was amazed and at one point he said, "What you are telling me is that this couldn't happen in a lawyer's office ." And I told him that in a lawyer's office that you are the boss It is a little different here I still don't know all the details I do know she was unjustly treated I signed the petitions I worked on a committee for a while Then of course it became a court case and I offered myself as a character witness But I was not taken it may have been a mistake I don't know because I knew Phyllis for a long time, and I know because she has helped everybody She was too successful She was too efficient Hewitt : t This is when she worked in the EO office? Jurgensen : t She was too efficient and she became the scapegoat So I don't know all the detail As you know, finally, when it was appealed, the case was 2 1 So
2 2 thrown out It happened a long time ago because she suffered deeply Many of us contributed to her lawyer's fund and so on It's over now more or less It cost her an awful lot of money and grief Wherever I had knowledge Oh, I wrote letters on the unfairness, but there are many details I didn't know, so I couldn't be as effective as if I had been called to the witness stand So that is one of those things Instead of being demoted and here I disagree with Dr Brown and I told him so, he kept out of it He said that if he had been president, he would have stopped it right then by executive order I suggested it to him One of our points of disagreement was that he didn't follow my advice I wish he had because it shouldn't have happened It was awful She should have been promoted She is a very efficient women, and she has helped every faculty member who needed her help My wife goes to her when she wants something It has been a tremendous load on her mind Hewitt : t I am sure one of the things that you disagree with Dr Brown about in this case, and I would think that one of the things that you agreed with him about in general and also Dr Allen as I understand, is the importance of faculty involvement in the community and developing community relations I know you have been involved in many, many areas of community relations Could you tell us about that? Jurgensen : t Yes I am Well first of all, when we came here we were looking for a synagogue and we joined the reform temple In '68 I was asked to be the chairman of the religious group which I became for five years 1 also became member of the board of trustees for five years, so I got involved in that part Through that I got involved in other groups and so on I've given alot of lectures to schools, from grammar school and up As
2 3 art critic I became rather prominent Everybody invited me and I had to write up all the shows and some very fascinating things happened I used to judge shows and that is all part of the community Then in 1972, the literary chairman of the Foundation for the Arts came down from Tallahassee and called a few poets and asked us to help him set up poetry in the schools So I did in Hillsborough County This is very fascinating A doctor from the University of Tampa and I started I did most of the administering We both taught Many of my poetry students taught poetry in the schools wonderfully I edited pamphlets with their poetry and we still supply them My wife taught for seven years She is a very fine poet From '72 to '76 I administered that program I was so successful that under that grew all the "Artists in the Schools" program that are in existence now You know how I feel about that So last February I was asked, from Tallahassee My wife called me, I had just got my check after 3 or 4 months Anyway, they asked me to execute this time not to teach the administrators of these programs, but the artists themselves I had a ball I spoke on creativity We had a wonderful discussion I looked at their work They had wonderful things happening I am going to digress here Among the young artists, and some not so young, they gave reports on what they were doing with the slides and towards their work They were good I talked to them three times on different things and they talked back, which is wonderful I saw some of their work One of the young men had surrographs which impressed me very much Yesterday I went to the museum, with my grandson, to enroll him in the mini classes They have a big exhibition of southern artists And I went through it and there are two of the surrographs I was so happy Of course my judgement was right But it
2 4 was a very pleasant thing to see that here It is a very fine exhibition I was involved with the arts council on the periphery because of the poetry schools and political things and during the McCarthy campaign I served on the Chamber of Commerce for one year They didn't ask me back I was too strong for them They weren't quite I can be very diplomatic and sweet, but I told them a few truths although I had many friends in the business, by the way, many friends in the business community and I lectured a great deal I've given lectures to the Tampa Museum I don't even remember all of the things, but I live here I am part of it And so it is important to have done slot of volunteer work in one thing or another I had some fascinating periods talking to one of the business groups about poetry in the schools Well, the chairman who had invited me told me "Hans, you know, you are an artist and a poet and so on, you are talking to businessmen ." I knew what he meant Well, I ignored him I simply talked about what the kids had done It was fascinating First of all I caught them because I read some of the poems and they were beautiful The children were so wonderful After I got through, I was surrounded by businessmen who kept saying that they had once written poetry Sears and Roebuck had sponsored the Vincent Price Collections ) and for four years Sears and Roebuck people engaged me as their art expert I had some fabulous experiences there The salesmen treated me to supper because they made the sales I got the flat feet and they got the commissions I spoke to Vincent Price on the radio, telephone We liked each other, although we didn't meet personally We had a nice conversation Of course, I am involved in other things the Holocaust, of course I am special advisor to the National U .S Holocaust Memorial Council I have written historical papers for them and
2 5 I've conducted conferences and meetings here I taught in temples and churches Not always on the Holocaust Hewitt : t Do you think that the faculty in general, or the administration at USF, is as interested in community relations now as it was in the early days? Jurgensen : t We had to build first The community was not too happy and I think, for instance Here is an Interesting thing, too, because I got very much involved with things at the University of Tampa You see, my daughter was an actress and as a kid she was in all kinds of productions, childrens theater and so on I used to take her and I used to put her make-up in the theater That was something I enjoyed doing An actor I am not So, I got around alot But the University of Tampa was, of course, scared of us But actually what happened eventually is they even became better because of us I used to lecture there and I got around alot and still do It was fun I had alot of exhibitions myself, one man, or other exhibitions of my own work I had a one man show in New York I am an artist as well and I publish poetry alot I just was told that two of my Holocaust poems were going to be in an anthology So we have our triumphs and our tragedies The communities are important in the certain things I can do and will do and there are other things But now, of course, Dr . even Allen became very prominent in the community and now our public relations are so much better They can still be better It takes time We are only 26 years old That it is in operation You have to take that into consideration We are not yet John Hopkins or Yale and it will take time However, until we see, we need certain things We need to strengthen the foreign
languages, which have been neglected This whole college needs to be strengthened And I don't know how often I have told Jack Brown that he won't get Phi Betta Kappa until that is done because otherwise we are in very good shape Well we have a big complex of hospitals Very important, very good But some things have not been supported as well We won't be that great, but we could be And eventually if we get it, your college, my college, needs more attention and I hope we will get it Hewitt : You mentioned the effect of USF on the University of Tampa Did you have any interaction or any sense of the relationship between USF and what was considered the flagship institutions in Florida Jurgensen : t The rivalry is there But you see I have given poetry readings at the University of Florida and now let me brag a bit or boast or whatever Some of these things are really humorous In 1970 I got a letter from the Special Library from the University of Florida "Would you please send us your books and your manuscripts for our artists collection ." So I sent them some stuff I got a letter back asking for my worksheets I wrote them back telling them I threw them out I got a letter back telling me to please keep it So they started this way, and they have a big file on me now and one on my wife, too My relationships with the various universities One of the presidents who resigned long ago, I knew personally One of my fellow students from John Hopkins, I think he just retired, he was at the University of Florida But usually I go to the University when I am invited to give a reunion or some of those functions And my daughter got her MA at FSU, so I know Fallon and some of the others there Also because of the union and so on, when we meet in Tallahassee I'm not anymore I have copped out simply because I 2 6
2 7 haven't got the time And also I am very much involved with the arts council They have asked me time and again to be on the panels judging grants So I have done that a number of times This year I couldn't, but I was asked Hewitt : t Even though the universities have been competitive at times t Jurgensen : t My own relationships with individuals, I don't give a damn about that stuff I go person-to-person and I have met so many wonderful people and that is that I think that each university has some of its own functions But surely the University of Florida is scared of us because we are here in this metropolitan area and we are growing For a long time we didn't get the time of day because we didn't have the alumni Now we have more and more alumni in Tallahassee who have clout and so we are going to get more Just how much more I don't know Talking about the University of Florida, when I got my doctorate in '51, there was an opening in German at the University of Florida and I was thinking about it because of very few jobs, but I was told not to go there because it was lousy Now of course it has changed over those thirty-two or thirty-three years Now it is a good university In some ways we are just as good And now I have students who have gone to Florida and who have come back here and have said that we were better than the University of Florida or FSU and so on But these things become subjective I suppose Well, we used to meet at board meetings, Board of Regents and so on I spoke up occasionally and had something to say I do wish working professors, or what I call the troops, would be invited to legislative committees because some of us know Of course you don't go there aggressive and with a chip on your shoulder, you explain what you are doing and
2 8 what is needed Sometimes it might help I think I could have convinced some of them, my friends among the legislators, Helen Gordon Davis, Pat Frank, and others whom I have know for a long time, and I am very friendly with Sam Gibbons Hewitt : t So you think that the faculty could have a bigger role than ? Jurgensen : t Many members of the faculty just don't want to They want to be left alone And that I can understand Look, we are from different make-ups I am an activist, that is the third time I have used that word, and whatever will do us good I am going to work on I like people There are not many people whom I dislike I have that kind of nature, there is nothing I can do about it In thirty-eight years of teaching I only wanted to get rid of one student I never had to But once I was insulted and that was that So, all these things personalities Hewitt : t I know it is hard to even begin to summarize a career like yours at a place like USF that has changed so much in the years that you have been here But if you had to sort of pinpoint what you see as sort of the best developments over your career here and the worst developments over your career here, what would they be? Jurgensen : t That is difficult Well, personally, of course, I have had a good career here I have published 15 books now, mostly poetry, but some translation and historical monographs and I have done alot of lecturing on the Civil War So my personal creed has been that I wouldn't change anything And of course students are my great joy I spend time with them when they need it and we have a good time As I said, you spoil the hell out of me and you spoil us But I am very demanding I am extremely demanding and
2 9 I'm also very my students have to write You see I don't give true and false so, well, although I will have to next semester I will have 150 students But I do my own obviously, you know that I do my drawing and my paintings and find time for that whenever I can I don't teach summers anymore And I like my colleagues We have some very eminent people who are not properl y recognized and that hurts me So this is a problem that some of our best teachers have not been given the credit they deserve, so I think that is a minus The other things are growing pains I would like to see the Humanities and Liberal Arts in better shape I think we have done very well in the twenty-six years that we have been open Remarkably well Of course if you are a builder that is what you like I was offered a job at Yale when I was in Connecticut I did not take it, not that I would not have enjoyed it, but I told my friend, who offered me the job, he was chairman, and he wanted me, and of course I was trained I was trained at John Hopkins and that is the toughest school that there is In any case, I was well trained, but I wanted to do a scholarship when I wanted to do it And my creative work comes first When I do scholarship work, I love it, I enjoy it, but on my terms I didn't take the position and I was glad because there I would have had to write stuff that might not have interested me Here we have freedom Of course, one time I had six bosses, six superiors which meant I could do as I please and still do t I am one of the lucky ones, I do as I please Hewitt : t Is there any other topic they we haven't asked you about I know you are involved
3 0 Jurgensen : t It has been very strong It's a way of life, just as my writing poetry is a way of life And all the other things I do and what I am very grateful for is that I can do these things and I can do some of them simultaneously It is a matter of concentration and timing Hewitt : t Thank you very much Dr Jurgensen and I hope that in another 25 years you are still here so that we can come back and ask you Jurgensen : t You know what happened last year We were talking to the chairman and I said that I was almost 65 now and one of these days I will have to retire He said that I couldn't do that It was the greatest compliment I ever got He was upset So I will stick around a few more years