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Dean retires after years of seeing antics, achievement

February 10, 2001|By DAVE McMILLION

Dean retires after years of seeing antics, achievement



CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - From streaking, to outrageous pranks to demonstrations, Harry C. Young Jr. has seen it all at Shepherd College.

As the long time Dean of Student Affairs at Shepherd, it was Young's job to handle discipline problems and deal with complaints from students.

"A lot of people thought I was crazy, but I liked dealing with discipline problems," said Young, who retired last month after 31 years at Shepherd.

The 62-year-old Kanawha County native said he enjoyed working with students with discipline problems because it was rewarding when they got beyond those roadblocks and went on to be successful.

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Young saw plenty during his years at the college, some of it humorous, he said.

"I remember streaking very well," he said.

Streaking - the short-lived fad of running naked through public areas - took on all forms at Shepherd.

Young said one of his first memories of streaking was during a parade on campus in the mid-1970s. A truck was in the parade, and all of the sudden, several nude students appeared walking in front of the truck.

Then came the day when a streaker appeared in a student dining hall.

The man walked into the dining hall, wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his neck, and sat down to eat, Young said.

School officials called Young for help.

"I said, 'Let him streak.' They said, 'This is a little different. He's down here eating,' '' Young recalled.

Young walked into the dining room, approached the man, and kindly asked him if he would mind putting some clothes on.

"I'll be glad to, as soon as I'm done eating," Young recalled the man saying.

The man's antics weren't over.

One day, the student was watching a movie in a biology class, Young said. When the teacher flipped the lights on after the movie, the student was standing naked in the middle of the class.

"We got him out of here to the hospital," Young said.

He recalled another episode he refers to as the "54-ton earth-mover incident" that occurred around 1980 when the new creative arts center was being built at Shepherd.

The Shepherd College baseball team was playing at home one day when a student donned a hard hat and crossed into the outfield driving a piece of construction equipment.

"People scattered everywhere," Young said.

After driving through the baseball field, the student drove the piece of machinery toward town, down German Street and left on King Street. He re-entered the campus along King Street, rounded the flagpole in the middle of campus and wiped out six cars parked along the road, Young said.

"We suspended him from school for a period of time," Young said.

Like on any college campus, there were student demonstrations. Students protested about internal combustion engines, the Vietnam War and recycling issues, Young said.

He never minded much, as long as they followed a few rules.

Number 1, he said, was don't attack anyone personally. Number 2 was try to work out your problems at the lowest levels before showing up at the presidents office or running to the press.

And number 3 was don't fight anyone's battles but your own.

Young remembers a time when students became involved in a volatile issue regarding former college president Michael P. Riccards. In 1994, a long-running dispute between Riccards and teachers over how the school should be operated came to a head when the college's employees voted in favor of a no-confidence resolution against Riccards.

While the controversy was going on, someone broke into the president's home. All of the furniture and rugs were taken out of the first floor of the house and set up on the front lawn.

Young believes it was a student prank. At the time, it caused concern on the campus, he said.

"On the other side, you have to see the humor in it," he said.

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