Wild Idea

Wild Idea
The night the Kansas Union burned, April 20, 1970, Richard Louv recruited his buddies for a rescue mission. Louv, j’71, was editor of the 1970 Jayhawker yearbook, and his office was on the bottom floor of the union. “We ran into the union as it was burning,” he recalls. “There’s water coming through the ceiling, electrical wires hanging down and we’re running through three inches of water. But we got the stuff out.” “The stuff ” was a yearbook that Louv calls “a little different than ones that came before.” It was a product of the times: Bombs, molotov cocktails and gunshots erupted that spring on campus and in town.

Racial violence flared at Lawrence High School. The governor set a citywide curfew and put the National Guard on standby. College students across the nation were protesting the Vietnam War in growing numbers, and four students were killed and nine wounded by Ohio National Guard troops during a Kent State University demonstration in May. Death would touch KU in July, as two young men—former student Rick Dowdell and student Nick Rice— were fatally shot during police responses to local incidents.

Louv was determined the Jayhawker would reflect that turmoil. “A Separate Peace, A Separate Battle” documents the social unrest of the day while preserving Jayhawker traditions like Hilltoppers, a photo spread featuring star students and their accom- plishments—albeit
with a snarky cheek that rattled a few cages. One photo- graph of a Hilltop- per (“an obsequious term designating…
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