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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 24, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Wednesday, March 84,1971 - THB liTHMIDOt* HERAID -43 TORONTO (CP) - After a turbulant tenure as president or the U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto, Claude Thomas Bissell is resigning to translate Chinese poetry and take on some teaching duties. U of T president resigns to teach, translate Chinese poetry Looking back on the 12 years, Dr. Bissell, 55, said the commission on university government was his major achievement. The commission is drafting proposals for new decision-making structures at the university. "It will be looked upon as a minor classic of its kind. I suppose it will be looked upon as a statement of a moderate position, a moderate-radical position." But establishing the cotnmis- YOU assists youths solve Edmonton problems By PAUL GESSELL EDMONTON (CP) - Got a drug problem? Looking for a place to live? Need a job or money or just want someone to talk to? The Alberta department of youth is attempting to help Edmonton youth solve such problems with an organization called Youth Opportunities Unlimited. YOU, as it is commonly called, attempts to put youth into a self-help situation by counselling and through referrals to other agencies instead of becoming a 24-hour drop-in centre. The youth department started YOU in October, 1969, with uncertain goals, hoping it would develop and mature into something substantial Roy Agnew, 24, one of YOU's two staff members, feels communication on an equal level with youth is the key to getting them to help themselves. "Once you lose communication, you lose effectiveness," he said. Communication is a popular word around YOU. The staff must be in constant touch with drug crisis centres, legal aid offices, employment agencies and the department of welfare. When someone asks for help, one of the staff directs them to an agency that specializes in the problem which has arisen. LONG-HAIRS GATHER "We operate on a street-level communication with people," Mr. Agnew said. And various types of "street people" can be found seeking help at YOU-transients, hippies, "f r e a k. s," "greasers" and many unemployables visit the office. It is the long-haired crowd In general. Unemployed males come with long . hair and many times the two characteristics go hand-in-hand. "We don't encourage them to cut their hair," said Mr. Agnew. "Instead, we try to find employers who tolerate long hair." The centre is located in an area many youths frequent. A teen centre and a coffee house is nearby; a row of hippie boutiques is only a block away and both the fashionable and the sleazy downtown areas are within a couple of minutes' walk. One of YOU's jobs is to communicate to government the "hows and whys" of the culture that is "turned off with the establishment. YOU also tries to give youth an insight into the workings of the government departments that they have to deal with. DRUGS ARE PROBLEM One of the biggest problems affecting youth who make use of YOU is drugs. Since YOU is a government agency it cannot condone their use! However, it doesn't make a "hard case against drugs" because to take such a position would alienate the people YOU is set up for-young people. Education week held IRON SPRINGS (HNS) -Education Week was marked at the Huntsville School recently with open house. Outstanding displays were visual aids used . for mathematics including an abacus, clocks, clock devices, money mediums, and place value stands. The science display included a rock and mineral collection and a science apparatus display which included instruments and materials used in the electrical program. These included a galvanometer, parallel circuit and a contact swiiich. A background for the notebook and art display was provided by a panel of varied paper weaving. Classroom projects included "Friends Around the World" with displays from several countries. There was a study on ancient civilizations including Egypt and Greece. It featured unique mobile panels and hierogylpha. "We do represent a department and we have to live with it. Our job is to create understanding between government and youth, not to take sides." A day at YOU begins at 8:30 a.m. and can last until the early hours of the next morning. Besides the regular counselling there are meetings and YOU projects to be attended to. Mr. Agnew helped organize the Edmonton Musicians' Guild which holds regular practices and concerts, tries to promote youth-oriented music and searches for young talent in all creative fields. Blaring music of trying-to-burst-out rock groups practising is a common .sound at YOU's single-storey building. Where is YOU going? Mr. Agnew isn't sure. Assistance to summer transients and to rural youth migrating to the city are two areas in which he feels YOU will be more heavily involved in future. But g e n e r a 11 y YOU moves on a day-to-day basis looking for solutions to youth problems and searches for projects for the young. slon was not easy, and before it started work he almost resigned. The commission was his response to students and faculty who were questioning the structure of the university and demanding participation in university decision-making. Dr. Bissell, who became president in 1958 after two years as president of Carleton University in Ottawa, recalled his first contact "with the techniques of confrontation," a 1966 student petition about the cost of textbooks. "I said the university didn't work by petitions. Well, they asked, how did the university work? How did I establish myself and how did the board (of governors) establish itself in terms of authority, etc.? "So I pointed out that the university was a creation of a provincial act and that parliaments are democratically elected so that our origins are political in that sense. "It was the first time that I had seen students questioning the whole structure of the university." During a sabbatical year at Harvard, during which he studied student unrest at Columbia University, Dr. Bissell decided the challenge must be met by taking "very strong steps to present to the students a vigor-ous and politically-advanced point of view." After his return, he held a aeries of talks with Toronto student leaders, concluding that "these students were highly intelligent, well informed, quite ruthless in their determination to change the structure of the university and that they had many powerful forces on their side." He proposed the commission on university government, on which he would sit with representatives of students, the faculty, the administration and the board of governors. The first blow came when the students' council and a faculty meeting voted to exclude administration and board representatives from the commission. The students also called for the exclusion of Dr. BisseLL He considered resigning since he had apparently lost the confidence of the faculty, "but I had some reassurances from the staff and I decided to fight it out." Despite Ms clashes with student leaders, Mr. Bissell has managed to avoid serious trouble. At worst, he said there is "half-hearted violence" from revolutionaries. "Occasionally the group will work itself into a frenzy and break down a door or scuffle with a professor." Throughout his term of office, he has avoided calling in the police, disapproving of their pres- ence on campus. Now he sees a new crisis for the university-money. "We're behind in salaries. We are behind in the general upkeep of the university. This university must find new sources of income, from private sources, or do a thorough job of internal analysis, which will involve some highly-painful surgery." But after July 1 this will be someone else's worry. Mr. Bissell has been offered senior posts elsewhere, but he said: "I've had my fill of detailed administration. "My chief aim in life now is to do some teaching, but not to be on the treadmill of teaching because that can be a terrible treadmill." As relief from teaching, he will work with Prof. William Dobson of the university on a translation of Chinese poetry. "My mood is that perhaps I have done as much as I could do. I hope most of it for the good. It's time to get out and let somebody else take over." \JJma by Pontiac ;