Goodbye Lander Hall
On Aug 1, I drove into the University District, looked up to see Lander Hall, and it was gone—almost gone. Some concrete caves were left, but machines were ripping them into rubble.
The new Lander Hall will have rooms with private bathrooms, and some with kitchenettes. When I lived in Lander Hall 42 years ago, I shared one of the little rooms with a roommate, and the bathroom was down the hall. You got used to it, and it wasn’t so bad, but expectations were different then. (And I got out, then, after four quarters, and rented an apartment from the district's slumlord, loving the luxury of having my own jerrybuilt shower.)
My sharpest memory of Lander Hall was during the protests in the spring of 1970, which erupted after Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia and the shootings of four students at Kent State University. There were huge protests here, one of which shut down I-5 until police chased protesters off at Mercer Street.
During that time, I remember standing with a group of students at the basement entrance on the south side of Lander Hall, looking out on N.E. 40th Street. In the street a few dozen protesters were being chased westward by Seattle Police in riot gear. The protesters, taunting and cursing the cops, ran toward the Applied Physics Lab. The cops caught some of them, and whacked them with riot sticks.
Another line of protesters followed behind the cops, throwing rocks at them. There was a signal, and the cops, let go of the students they had captured, swiveled around and charged the group behind them. We were in the shadow of Lander Hall, set back from the street, and the helmeted cops were running obliquely toward us.
At that moment, one of us—a guy I didn’t know—yelled, “PIGS! You PIGS!” Several of us told him to shut up, but it was too late. Three or four cops branched off and charged across the small parking lot toward us. We scrambled into basement and fled up the stairs. Somebody barred the double glass doors . Students were yelling to the cops that they couldn’t come in, there was a crash of glass, and the cops were in. I don’t know how far they got; they didn’t make it to the third floor, where I was.
The police were angry—so angry that one of them attacked the bicycles parked by the basement door. My roommate put in a claim to the city for damage. I can't recall whether they paid it.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics