UNC System and HEW

J. D. Hayworth describes his experience, with other student leaders in the UNC System, of opposing the Department of Health, Education and Welfare's intervention in higher education in North Carolina during the 1970s.

Interview on 2015-07-11

Transcript

00:00:00.000 Joe Califano, who had been, I believe, legal counsel to L. B. J. and wrote a book that I found in the stacks here at D. H. Hill Library, A Presidential Nation,
00:00:11.516 Joe Califano, as Jimmy Carter's Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, decided essentially that he wanted to micromanage the University of North Carolina system,
00:00:22.777 that to achieve racial equality certain programs would be taken from certain institutions and moved elsewhere, and you can imagine the hue and cry.
00:00:36.151 For those looking at this who think it was some sort of racial thing, no it wasn't. It was the notion of your institution.
00:00:45.044 There was some talk, and this could be rumor, but some talk that the engineering program at North Carolina State would be moved to North Carolina A & T. Well, stop and think.
00:01:00.044 A & T had its own engineering program, and it's an incredible school - my old friend, Rev. Jesse Jackson, went to school there after transferring from the University of Illinois -
00:01:12.303 but why strip NC State of the essence of what made it a land grant institution?
00:01:20.059 So, I received a letter-. You know, you look back and this, and some of the political guys watching this I think will get a kick out of it.
00:01:28.835 I remember the guy's name to this day: James K. Wego, who worked as legal counsel under Califano.
00:01:39.307 "Look, as students we have some concerns about what you're proposing,"
00:01:46.482 and he sent me a letter in bureaucratese, basically telling me to mind my own business, that students had no role in this.
00:01:55.073 Well, as you might imagine, this made for great television, and since Channel 5 is located right across Western Boulevard
00:02:05.777 I called the newsroom and, I believe it's Mike Tescano - who, ironically, had worked as a press aide to Mo Udall of Arizona, very liberal Democrat who ran for president in '76 -
00:02:18.803 Tescano hears this and, boom, suddenly there's a story. So I end up doing a couple of pieces with Channel 5.
00:02:28.485 Woody was kind enough to say, "Well, you've got your one role as student body president and your other role with us at Channel 28."
00:02:34.615 So, I do that, and we finally get a meeting, the Association of Student Governments from the UNC system.
00:02:42.440 We go to DC to sit down. Now, Califano, I think by that time, had-. [Sound effect indicating that he had left] But they sat us down with a bunch of lawyers, and eventually this plan was abandoned.
00:02:55.535 I think it had to do more with where the calendar was, coming up on an election in 1980,
00:03:02.431 I think in retrospect the student involvement in stopping the federal government's micromanagement of the UNC system
00:03:14.853 probably was the most important achievement, and it wasn't exclusive to NC State so I can share that with my colleagues from the other constituent universities within the system.
00:03:26.881 That probably stands the test of time, although to be candid again it was probably election year pressure that helped Mr. Carter take a second look and back off of, I think, what was a wrong-headed plan. So that's probably the greatest achievement.