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By Horace Hood III
Times State Editor

Administrative Work At Tech Ordered Reorganized By Board

Visitors Create Committees to Deal With Pressing Problems

Blacksburg, Aug. 18. --- Acting to correct certain conditions at Virginia Polytechnic Institute here which have evoked criticism by students and others throughout the state, the college's board of visitors, in an all-day called session today, ordered a reorganization of administrative work at the college and created three committees --- one to deal with student problems, another with the mess hall situation and the third to study senior class privileges.

The board's three resolutions were approved unanimously. All members were present except Senator Harry Ford Byrd who was unable to attend because of the press of his Washington duties.

Meeting with the board were Governor Colgate W. Darden, Jr., Dabney S. Lancaster, Richmond, State superintendent of public instruction, and Charles W. Wampler, Harrisonburg, president of the State board of agriculture and immigration, and latter two being ex-officio members of the board.

Stating that the growth of V.P.I. has placed upon Dr. Julian A. Burruss, president of the college, "an ever-increasing burden, so heavy that the mass of detail to be attended to has become overwhelming" and that "it is of the utmost importance that the president and certain others of his staff devote a large part of their time to the educational development of the students in the broadest sense of the term," the board called for the administrative work of the college to be reorganized "in such a way that sufficient assistance be afforded the president to enable him to devote time and attention to questions of educational policy and student life.

The board appointed a committee composed of members of the faculty and staff "to sit with the president (who shall be chairman of the committee) and to confer with the officers and other duly appointed representatives of the corps of cadets and official representatives of V.P.I., about all matters that affect student life." Such meetings are to be held once each month and more frequently when desirable, the board stipulated.

Members of this committee will be: Dr. Burruss, chairman; Dr. John E. Williams, dean of the college; Col. Ralph W. Wilson, commandant of cadets; Prof. C. P. Miles, professor of modern languages; Henry Redd, alumni secretary; Paul Derring, Y.M.C.A. secretary; Dr. W. L. Sandidge, professor of English; and Dr. T. W. Hatcher, professor of mathematics.

A special committee with power to act was appointed by the board to deal with the mess hall situation, which touched off a flurry of criticism by students and parents and a midnight demonstration by cadets last month in front of Dr. Burruss' home. The following were named to this committee: Cadet Colonel J. R. Cawthon; presidents of the four classes at the college; Dr. C. R. Woolwine, college health officer; Colonel Wilson, Dean Williams, Mr. Redd and Prof. J. B. Jones, head of the mechanical engineering department.

Concerning senior privileges, which were revoked by Colonel Wilson following the demonstration against what some students termed Dr. Burruss' "attitude," the board named a committee to consider the question and charged it with the responsibility "of studying this question with a view to developing a permanent policy for the future." This committee is to report to the board at its next meeting which is scheduled for October.

To this committee the following were appointed: president of senior class, president of junior class, colonel of corps of cadets, Colonel Wilson, Dr. Burruss, Dean Williams and Professor Miles.

The board began its deliberations in executive session in Dr. Burruss' office in the administration building here at 10:20 A.M., and except for a 30-minute luncheon period met continuously for more than six hours.

Meantime, Cadet John E. Catlin, Jr., president of the corps of cadets, released today a letter he had written to Dr. Burruss, under date of August 17, apologizing for the burning of the college president in effigy during the cadet demonstration on the night of July 27.

In transmitting a copy of his letter to Dr. Burruss, Catlin specified that "the apology is only for the effigy and is not meant to include the demonstration itself."

The text of the letter follows:

"On behalf of the Corps, I should like to apologize for the burning of the effigy of you during the demonstration by the students on Monday, July 27. I might add, Sir, that the burning of the effigy was not intended as an attack upon your person as such acts are usually interpreted. The effigy was intended to be a representation of the past policies of your administration. The fact that it was not labeled as such was a grave mistake on the part of some individual or individuals, and this mistake is deeply regretted by the Corps."

Apparently this morning's session was consumed in discussion of the problems before the board and in reading of reports. It was at the afternoon session that the resolutions were drawn up and presented. Dr. Burruss and J. B. Fogleman, treasurer of the college and also secretary of the board of visitors, attended this morning's session but both absented themselves from the meeting while the resolutions were drawn up, discussed, and approved.

As Dr. Burruss described it, "this was the board's meeting and I did not sit in on any of the deliberations this afternoon."

The resolutions were released to the press by Dr. Lancaster immediately.

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Last Updated on: Wednesday, 30-Jan-2002 15:52:09 EST