Thursday, January 19, 2017

More than Death and Taxes

The old adage is wrong - death and taxes are not the only certainties. There's also lack of parking spaces at UNC Asheville, and complaints about the university's snow policy. Or, that is the impression gleaned from looking through forty years of student newspapers for the ruby anniversary of Special Collections.

Firstly, since this blog looks at things that happened in January, we'll mention snow. On January 23, 1986, the Blue Banner reported that students received an extension to their holiday break when, on the first day of the semester, classes were delayed due to snow and icy roads. Delayed start equals longer lie in bed and happy students, right? Not according to the Blue Banner editorial, which considered the roads "quite passable", complained about the "inconsistent snow policy", and that whilst some students would enjoy the additional relaxation, "the more pragmatic, money-mind students [would] see it as a loss of their investment in the institution".

Err, maybe.

The Banner, Jan. 29, 1998

However, there were seemingly no complaints in January 1998, or they went unreported, when the Banner (during a period of its life when it wasn't Blue) had a front page story about a surprise snow storm that caused cancelled classes, and damaged cars.

From damaged cars to parking cars.

Blue Banner, Jan. 26, 1995
As noted previously, lack of parking spaces is a perennial cause for compliant, and additional spaces seemingly don't always lead to peace and harmony. In January 1995, the Blue Banner had a front page lead about the opening of the new parking deck, and although some seemed happy there were additional spaces, there were complaints about still having to park "way down below Owen [Hall]", whilst others just saw student "laziness".

There's no pleasing some folks.

Blue Banner, Jan. 25, 2007
To wrap up this month's retrospective blog, a mention of blogs, and a reminder of how quickly things change.

Way back in the days of yore (i.e. January 25, 2007), the Blue Banner reported that, "Gone are the days when people protested in city streets with fists and picket signs, They've packed up and headed into the blogosphere."

After explaining what a blog was, the Blue Banner quoted several student bloggers, who advised that blogs be "read as a secondary source of news", and that by bloggers "eliminating false reporting", the blogosphere was more credible than the New York Times.

So, blogs or the Times? There may be some bias here, but if you want a credible information source, see a librarian. Or an archivist.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Forty Years On

1977. The year Star Wars arrived, and Elvis left the building for the final time. While, across the Pond, the Sex Pistols released God Save the Queen to commemorate (if that's the right word), Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.

Also in 1977, the Southern Highlands Research Center (SHRC) opened at UNC Asheville. Although less of a global event, we in Special Collections think it is at least as important as those in the last paragraph, because the SHRC became UNC Asheville's Special Collections.

So happy 40th to us!!

During the upcoming year, we will be dipping into the archives of UNC Asheville student newspapers since 1977, and highlighting the things we think are historic, interesting, or just plain quirky.

We start, not in January 1977 (too obvious!), but September that year, and a report from the Ridgerunner, about the opening of the SHRC.

Although much has changed since 1977, it is notable that the focus of our collections has not. Back then, Bruce Greenawalt described how the SHRC would collect materials reflecting, Asheville's role in the development of the region, the religious history of the region, the history of the African-American community, the records of local organizations, and photographs of the region. Fast forward to 2017, and that is what we are still doing. As our mission statement says, Special Collections "collects, preserves, organizes, describes, and provides print and digital access to manuscripts, books, photographs, and other materials that document Asheville and the surrounding region", to support UNC Asheville students, along with community members, and other scholars.

Which means this cartoon from the same edition of the Ridgerunner applies as much to Special Collections as it does to a history class. (And we like to think cartoons have got funnier since 1977.)

Next time, a look at January events since 1977. There may be mention of snow.