Interview with Dr. Robert Ellis
QUESTION 18
INTERVIEWER:

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT'S COME UP IN FACT ABOUT THE GOVERNOR'S POSITION IS THAT THE UNIVERSITY MAY HAVE ACTED THE WAY IT DID, SOME PEOPLE SAY, SO THE GOVERNOR WOULDN'T CLOSE THE SCHOOL. WAS THERE A FEAR THAT HE MIGHT DO THAT IF YOU DIDN'T STAND FAST?

Dr. Robert Ellis:

Well there certainly was the threat that Governor Barnett would uh, close the University. It's difficult to say whether he would actually have done it. I think perhaps if it had come to that and he had closed the University, that he probably would have uh, created so much opposition from the people in the state, uh, certainly the alumni in the state that he wouldn't have gotten away with it. We went through this same kind of thing back in the 30s under Governor Bilbo, when Bilbo was so involved in the firing of faculty members and the reorganizing of the institutional leadership, that we lost our accreditation. And the alumni came then to the front in helping the institution to get reorganized and get, gain re-accreditation. And we even developed the constitutional board of trustees out of that experience. So I, I really can't see that uh, the governor would have accomplished anything by closing the university. But uh, it was difficult for me to see any consistent rational on the part of the governor at that time.