1975

It was just one thing after another, that year of 1975, the year the CN Tower was built. (About the biggest construction project at Waterloo that year was the ramps leading up to the Dana Porter Library promenade.) The central fact in everybody's life was steadily rising prices, to the point that photocopies in the library doubled from a nickel to a dime, and the Math Society coffee outlet jacked doughnuts up from 10 cents to 15. The weekly living allowance from the Ontario Student Assistance Program was raised to $57.50. Most staff members got a 15 per cent pay raise that summer, and faculty got 11.4 per cent plus their usual merit increases. It must have been news of those eye-popping figures that prompted prime minister Pierre Trudeau to bring in wage and price controls and the Anti-Inflation Board in October. Warriors centre Mike Moser makes another shot. Waterloo would survive the AIB, of course, as it survived a fair number of other things in 1975. Students lived through a housing crisis, and everybody together made it through a Kitchener Transit strike, a mail strike, a march by the Anti-Imperialist Alliance with signs proclaiming "Long Live Liberated Vietnam" (Saigon fell on April 30), and a blizzard that hit on a Thursday afternoon during April exams, closing the campus. I don't know whether it belongs in the same category, exactly, but one night in September, person or persons unknown took blunt instruments to the big red fibreglass sculpture that sat, in those days, on a grassy knoll between the library and the Physics building. They smashed a hole in it and dragged it a few yards along the sidewalk. Rather to the regret of some folks on campus, though, they didn't finish the job, and "Convolution", as the alleged artwork was called, was repaired and put back in place. It took a more concerted attack the following year, apparently with explosives, to finish it off for good. An amusing sidelight on the sculpture and its importance to the campus is that Burt Matthews, the president of the university, who used to park his car in the old "B" parking lot on the east side of campus, walked right past the site of the depredations the following morning and didn't notice that anything was wrong. Signs of the times in 1975: well, no-smoking areas were beginning to expand -- even the Modern Languages coffee shop got one. The libraries were no longer open 24 hours a day, but closed for a few hours each night. (That was a budget-cutting move, I think. The chief librarian also announced that the number of serials received by the library was going to be cut roughly in half, as the subscriptions budget fell from$510,000 to $250,000 a year.) The staff association man aged to enlist "50 per cent plus one" of staff members, paying dues that I believe were$1.50 a month, and won official recognition from the university's administration. There were a couple of new faces in the administration, with Tom Brzustowski taking over as vice-president (academic) and Gordon Nelson arriving from Western to be dean of environmental studies.