"We are human, and universities are not organized for the kinds of actions and decisions that have had to be made constantly this week."

-Edgar Finley Shannon
University President


interviewed by Corks & Curls 1971

C&C: President Shannon, what about your actions during last Spring's strike?
If you had it to do over again, would you take the same day-by-day steps, especially those at the end of the week with your speech to the University community and the letter to Virginia's senators?

Shannon: I think that it's impossible really to look back, but I think that we came through the whole business with essentially our objectives: maintaining the full operation of the University, no one hurt, no property seriously damaged, all of us closer together, and perhaps communicating and talking among all sides, faculty, students, and administrators. So I think that the whole thing in the long run came out pretty well . . . I wouldn't try to second-guess the whole thing.

C&C: The week did strain your relationships with not only the Board of Visitors and the legislature, but also the alumni. Would you cater a little more to those sides of the University had you to do it over again?

Shannon: I can say this . . . I always do the best that I possibly can as to what I think is good for the University. You have to do that, and let the chips fall where they may.

C&C: How do you approach the problem of trying to please all sides of the University community - the students, faculty, administrators, and alumni?

Shannon: I think University presidents are like prime ministers and other government officials in a way, because certainly no matter how good they are or how effective, under certain circumstances they either have public support or they don't. There are always certain decisions that some people don't like. But I try not to react to pressures from one side or the other. In making decisions, I always try to do what is best for the University, and essentially, those members that are actually right here. If I make too many of the wrong ones, I won't be President anymore.