Interview with Charles Epps

Dean Epps, as students focused on Dean Snowden with the charge that he was too classically oriented and he wasn't in sync with what they were sort of desiring, what they needed or they felt Howard should be symbolic of. What was your reaction to that? You had been one of Dean Snowden's students. Tell me about what was your reaction to the students.


Yes, I had been a student of Frank Snowden and he was a brilliant man who had an amazing command of classics. He lectured with great enthusiasm and insight. His classes were fascinating. Of course that would be in sharp contrast to what they were, what they seemed to have wanted, which was emphasis on Black studies or the immediate concerns of Black people. And while I think the university has a, has a role in trying to further the cause of, of Black people in general, ah, and producing Black leaders, ah, we can't model the, the curriculum necessarily in that direction. The university has a mission of preparing people to take their roles in society, for training engineers, physicians, ah, ah, teachers, you see. And, ah, I think the students were sort of overboard with the, with the Black studies business. That made a sharp contrast now. I think, ah, as someone who's reached this age and maturity it makes it possible to understand what the students' problem was. First of all, they're 20, 21, maybe 22 year-old and if you know, ah, young people at that age are supremely confident of their own knowledge, ah, they, while they have no doubts about their own abilities and knowledge they question everybody else, particularly individuals over 30. So, that, make them have questions about their, their own parents some time and of course the faculty and the Deans and president. I think as a, as a, a mature individual I can look back and understand that because they are, not only over confident about their own abilities but they want change immediately. They don't have patience. They don't have tolerance about these things. Very typically you see when they issued their demands they wanted all these things to take place within three weeks. That was part of their, their demands. And, ah, when one gets older you know that things don't happen like that. There's this old story about the son who, ah, was amazed that his father had learned so much between the time that when he was 20 and when he became 45. He could understand his father a lot better, it's that same sort of thing.