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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 2, 1979)
frlday, november 2, 1070
Today's students less alienated
By Shelley Smith
The erA of the Vietnam war has lowered the level of
unrest on college campuses across the country, according
to NU President Ronald Roskens.
Ten years ago, when riots and war protests dominated
the campus atmosphere, students felt alienated because
they were shut out of the administrative process, Roskens
"Administrators were expected to operate as parents.
We were the sheperds of the flock."
Because things weren't discussed 10 years ago, Roskens
said , problems ballooned .
However, the administrators' approach to university
leadership and to students has changed, he said.
There is more openness, candor, and desire to be
forthright on the part of all parties," Roskens said.
Roskens, born in Spencer, Iowa, was educated in a one
room country schoolhouse. He received his bachelor's and
master's degrees in education from the University of
Northern Iowa. He received his PhD., also in education,
from the University of Iowa in 1958.
After teaching at Minburn, Iowa, High School, and ,
serving as an assistant dean at the University of Iowa,
Roskens was appointed to the administrative staff at Kent
State University in Kent , Ohio .
Roskens was an administrator at Kent State from
1959-1972. On May 4, 1970, four Kent State students
were shot by Ohio national guardsmen,
ROSKENS SAID IT was hard for him to remember his
exact thought the day of the shootings because it was so
long ago, but said "it was without a doubt a horrible
experience for all of us."
"It was something I and others hopefully will never
have to repeat," he said.
He said it was difficult to compare administrators
during that period with administrators now because he
said he must look at both roles in context with the time
"In the last ten years we (administrators) have been the
product of new learning, of new experience performing in
our roles," he said.
If a riot, broke out on one of the NU campuses today,
Roskens said he 'would try to do now what we tried to
"WE WOULD KEEP the avenues of communication
clearly open so the grievance we were dealing with could
openly be discussed. We would try to keep the
atmosphere as devoid of emotion as possible. If someone
has a 'reason to demonstrate, that reason needs to be
he finds middle -American values comfortable.
HE WAS APPOINTED interim NU president in
January, 1977, and was chosen as president in April.
He said he enjoys his job, despite his hectic schedule,
and he said he likes Nebraska's university atmosphere.
Roskens was interviewed for the Michigan State
presidency by MSU officials last January.
He said he talked extensively with Michigan State
trustees and search committee members, but after
reflecting on the situation, he decided that he preferred to
stay in Nebraska.
Many people ask him how he can enjoy a situation like
Nebraska's where he' has multitude "live" problems, he
"I typically respond, 'Is there any place anywhere
which does not have problems which require channels and
tough explanation of alternatives?" he said.
He said although heated disagreements arise between
the regents themselves, and between regents and students,
he doesn't let those disagreements upset him.
"The university process is the provision for an. arena
for disagreements," he explained.
"What I am concerned about is the ability of this
whole enterprise to both continue and maintain a
qualitative base," he said.
DM THE FUTURE, he said, universities and colleges
throughout the country will see their enrollment leveling
and eventually declining.
Continued on Page 15
discussed," he said,
Roskens said he senses that today's students don't feel
alienated as they did JO years ago because of the
emergence of independent spirit in students. . ;
"Students are not inclined to be shaped by, or allow
themselves to be shaped by a single issue. Some call it
apathy, but it's not really the case," he said. .
Roskens returned to the midwest in 1972 to serve as
chancellor at UNO. He said he came to Nebraska because
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