As Western faces strenuous fiscal challenges,
it may help to remember that the institution has met and surmounted such situations before, notably in the mid-1970s. At that time, budgetary cutbacks resulted in invocation of the dread Reduction in Force (RIF) policy resulting in numerous lay-offs.
Western’s faculty engaged in vigorous debate with then-President Jerry Flora, a peppery leader with a distinctly confrontational style. Out of this environment came Up Western, a slim volume illustrating the viewpoint of the then-faculty union (AFT Local 2084) through cartoons and sharp caricatures of Flora created by faculty members Bob Balas and Bob Urso, professors of French and Art, respectively.
Balas, who taught from 1969 to 2001, passed away in 2006; Urso came to Western in 1969 and retired in 2008. Together, they created indelible images of the interactions between equally passionate parties at a pivotal moment in Western’s history. As Up Western demonstrates, a little humor at such times never hurts.
~Marian Alexander, Special Collections