Title: Otis Jones
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Title: Otis Jones
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K: We are here with Mr. Otis Jones at 204 Tigert Hall and it is April 5, 1996, about

9:05. Could you state your full name?

J: The names is Otis P. Jones, Jr. I am assistant vice president for administrative

affairs, University of Florida.

K: What does the "P" stand for?

J: Paul.

K: Paul, o.k. Continuing on, where were you born?

J: Born in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Florida in about 1948.

K: What year were you born?

J: 1937, so I was about eleven years old when I came down.

K: What did your parents do?

J: My father worked for a railroad called, Savannah in Atlanta, part of the central

Georgia railroad system. He solicited freight for the railroad. He was a salesman

for the railroad. Mother was a housewife.

K: Did you move here because of your father's job?

J: Actually, yes, that was partially it. We moved to actually Jacksonville Beach, not

to Gainesville, when we first moved to Florida. I lived at Atlantic Beach. It was

partially his job with an opening in Jacksonville, but also health-related; he had

some asthma problems and thought the Florida weather would be better than the

Atlanta weather, which it did, it improved it.

K: Did you live in Jacksonville from then on?

J: I lived in Atlantic Beach from 1948 until I went to Florida State University in 1960.

So yes, I was in high school there. I spent a couple of years at Jacksonville

Junior College, it was called in those days. It is Jacksonville University, now, but

that was the only community college in Jacksonville.

K: What high school did you go to?

J: Fletcher High School, the only one at the beach. The beach was a lot more

isolated in the late 1940's than it is today. There was a small naval base at

Mayport, but primarily it was just a limited number of people living there. There

was only one road between Jacksonville and the beach, so I think I had ninety

persons in my graduating class in high school there. Most of them were involved

in lifeguarding. It was a rather unique upbringing.

K: Sounds like it. So you went to FSU after Jacksonville Community College?

J: Yes, just the luck of the draw. I thought about coming here or FSU, but I got a

partial scholarship. The had a hotel and restaurant school which I was interested

in. I spent a lot of my time working in restaurants at the beach growing up. I met

a gentleman who ran a food service program for independent life insurance

companies. They were offering a small scholarship and so it was the only small

scholarship I could get and you had to go to hotel and restaurant school to get it.

Since Florida State was the only state school at that time with that program, I

went over after I had completed junior college there in Jacksonville.

K: About what year was this?

J: Well actually I graduated in 1960, so I went to Florida State in 1957 for one

semester, had to go back to Jacksonville and work to make enough money to


stay in school the last two years I was there. So, I actually went back over in the

fall of 1958 and graduated in the spring of 1960 from the hotel restaurant

school,which is part of the College of Business.

K: What did you go into after you graduated?

J: I got married after I graduated and my wife still had a year to go in school so I

had to take a job close in the area so I went to work for a company called Retail

Credit Corporation, and did insurance inspection reports for them while she

finished up her last year. During that interim while I was doing part-time work,

and that part-time work, by the way, was at Fernindina and she was

Tallahassee, so I spent a lot of time on the road back and forth. So I did that for

a year, she graduated in 1961 and I took a job as assistant director for a union

building at Indiana State University in Terahoge, Indiana and was there about

three and a half years. My particular responsibilities in the Union building was

the food service program, programming, that type of thing. It was a college of

about 10,000 students in Terahoge and as I say, I was there until it was so cold, I

could not stand it any longer. So I started looking for opportunities back in


K: You did what your father did.

J: Yes.

K: Let me clarify a glaring omission on my part. Let me ask you about your wife. I

should have done that before.

J: We were married in 1960. She again was a student in what was called in those

days, fashion merchandising. It is part of the home economics school over there.


We have been married for thirty-six years now and have two children. Two

boys, both grown now, of course. One is a deputy sheriff here in Alachua County

and the other works for the county school system, he is a teacher.

K: What is your wife's name?

J: Dorothy, Dorothy Jones.

K: And your sons?

J: Mike Jones is the deputy sheriff and Tim Jones is the school teacher.

K: Sorry about skipping that, it is very important.

J: That is alright. They would have come up down the road, I am sure.

K: I am sure they would. So you were at Terahoge and you decided to come back

to Florida.

J: We had been looking for something, the weather was just too much for someone

who had been raised in Florida to adjust to. So we finally found a job, it was here

in Gainesville. It was called Horns Motor Lodge and Restaurant, which is now,

I believe it is a Roadway Inn. It is located out on the Williston intersection. It is

about a 100-unit hotel and of course with my hotel background, it fit perfectly and

it was a chance to get back to Florida so I came and operated that as general

manager. That was in 1966. I was out there until July of 1967 when I saw an ad

in the paper for a position as state university director of service activities, having

no idea it was the University of Florida, I mean I lived here in town, but it was one

of those canned ads, it was in the Jacksonville Journal. At that time there were a

number of state universities opening up, and I thought perhaps it was at one of

those. I was suspect that it was over at West Florida but when I applied, I got a


call a couple minutes later and it turned out to be right here in town, so it was a

good fit. I interviewed and came to work actually in July of 1967 as director of,

what was called at that time, service activities. The name was later changed to

auxiliary services and finally business services, basically doing the same thing,

but it expanded.

K: What exactly is that?

J: At the time I came here in 1967, the responsibilities of that particular position was

to act as liaison with the university food service contractor, which was

Servamash and Matthias, the vending contractors and also oversee the

university's operation of the laundry, the printing department and the campus

mail service. After a couple of years they added the parking department to it,

which was interesting and a book store. It has increased even further today. It

was a big auxiliary operation, meaning it is self-supporting. All of the functions in

it are self-supporting except for the campus mailroom which does receive some

state support. So, I did that up until 1989 and I was brought up here as interim

assistant vice president for administrative affairs and then I applied and obtained

a job full-time in 1991, I guess it was.

K: Administrative Affairs, what exactly is that?

J: Administrative Affairs oversees eleven divisions at the university. It has about

1500 employees in it, some of them include the comptroller's office in finance and

accounting, environmental health and safety, the University Police Department,

the Physical Plant division, Business Services is one of the divisions, the

O'Connell Center is a division, Campus Planning and Construction Management,


the Purchasing Division. Administrative Functions, those are typical of the type

of things we do up here. As I say there are eleven directors that report and there

is one vice president of administrative affairs, an associate vice president and I

am one of two vice presidents with some specific responsibilities for

environmental health and safety and campus planning and construction

management. I also do special projects, primarily land transactions for the

university, whether it is an easement, sub-leases, things like that all flow through

this particular office.

K: What kind of land transactions are there?

J: Well, I will name some that are going on right now. We currently working on an

easement, two easements, a drainage easement and an ingress and egress


K: What is an easement?

J: An easement, is, we have property on Mallory Road, if you are familiar with it.

Mallory Road and Archer Road, between there is called the O'Neil property, it is

private ownership. The state owns the property on three sides of it and so the

easement is where we grant the right of way to use part of state property for

them to run a road way or to improve drainage. So we essentially have a legal

description of that land and go through a bureaucratic goop of going through

agencies in Tallahassee to get it approved for them to drive across state land.

That requires some legal papers that are done. So that is an easement. We are

working with Pebble Creek Apartments to be that is going in that area down

there. Also dealing with a sublease with a proposed hotel conference center for


the campus. That would be the sub-leasing of eleven acres of state property to

develop or construct a hotel and conference center. Other sub-leases; we have

one we are working with Shands Hospital who is proposing to build two parking

garages for health-related activities down there. Since they want to construct

them themselves, we would be sub-leasing state land to them so then they could

go and build the garages. So those are some of the property issues.

K: I understand that. It sounds like a lot of, definitely a lot of hoops to jump through.

J: For instance, the University of Florida is not really a legal entity. Our board of

regents, as you know is the incorporated entity for the state, so we have to go

through the board for any type of land transaction and then the board actually

recommends, in the case of subleases or property exchanges to the Bureau of

Land Management, which is in the Department of Environmental Protection in

Tallahassee. That is finally recommended to the board of trustees of the Internal

Improvement Trust Fund, who is the cabinet, the governor and all the cabinet

members. They sit and they eventually approve subleases or property

exchanges that we wish. So you can see the different areas that you have to

through, each with their own set of people like me and attorneys that have to

review the documents. So it takes a little time to get a piece of state property


K: Does that get to be a little frustrating, dealing will all the different people just to do

something that should be simple?

J: Well, yes. I think it is. There are so many people that can be affected by land

transactions; citizens in the community, you have to notify them that it is


happening and I think it is just for safeguards to protect the citistry of the state

so that nothing slips by that might have a negative impact. It is frustrating from

the standpoint of that most persons who are in the commercial field do not

necessarily have a good idea of all the bureaucracy that this transaction takes.

They are usually in a big rush so there is always this dramatic intense request to

get this thing done immediately and it is pretty much out of our hands once we

review it and recommend it to the board because in the case of sub-leases or

property exchanges, it actually has to be agendaed and the board of regents has

to approve it. So that has to be there thirty days before the board of regents can

vote on it, assuming no one finds a problem with it and sends it back to you.

When that happens, then it is kicked over to the Department of Environmental

Protection Bureau of Land Management. Then it is reviewed by that staff and

then agendaed for the cabinet. You can see how it gets stretch out. So the main

problem I have is just remembering where everything is in the tunnel that goes

up there.

K: I can imagine that because I am the type of person who likes to start something

and get something done and then do something else that you could not do it

J: There is an issue on the May agenda up there that started in January of 1995

and so fourteen and fifteen months for this particular issue. Some are less than

others. Easements are fairly simple but sub-leases where there is actually

exchange of property management in the case of a sub-lease or a property

exchange. That takes a lot longer just because of the number of people who

have to review it.

K: That is obviously your longest thing. Are all your other functions you do

surrounded by that same bureaucracy?

J: No. As I say, because of the land management issues, all of these are

regulated, Environmental Health and Safety for instance has heavy federal

regulations and state regulations that we have to follow and that the director of

Environmental Health and Safety has to analyze. The police department, of

course, is a little bit different type of thing; more daily operations. Campus

planning and construction management, that deals with this university master

plan, there is about five or six volumes over there that we have been dealing with

the city and county on. That is governed my some very rigid rules and

regulations and state laws that is a time consuming chore. It has been about

two-and-a-half years in development right now and we probably have another

year to go or six months to a year before we finally completed and resolved some

of the problems associated with it. Also that division builds all of the projects

over $500,000, such as the new physics building you see underway down there,

engineering building down below Black Hall on Center Drive is under


K: Florida Gym?

J: Yes. That is a renovation project. You have the second phase of it starting in

June. There is always something being built on this campus since you have

been here; I am sure you have seen it. That is subject to a very close liaison


relationship with what is called the office of capital programs at the board of

regents office. They have their own office of architects and they have a person

who is assigned to the University of Florida that works closely with our local

project managers on the projects. As I say, there is a tremendous amount of

standard practices and rules that you have to be aware of to build.

K: That is what I was going to ask you about. I worked for the government for five

years in Civil Service and it seemed like every time you wanted to get a new pen

you have to fill out five forms and take them to five different places.

J: Things move along surprisingly fairly rapid in that area. We have a good working

relationship with the Office of Capital Planning for the board of regents, but we

are always on the road to Tallahassee for meetings and so forth. The reason

that is the case is that the board is the legal entity for the state university system

and they sign the contract. So obviously they have their own persons and so

when we select architects, engineers and contractors, they are involved in that

selection process along with us. There are folks who come here to visit us and

we are up there and so forth.

K: So do you go to Tallahassee all the time?

J: Yes, quite a bit. We know that route very well. Fortunately they have interstates

now not two-lane roads, so we can make it in a reasonable time.

K: O.k., would you like to change gears?

J: Yes, sure.

K: That was very interesting, I did want to know all that. I have always wondered

how this stuff worked. Can I get back to the subject a little?


J: Sure.

K: When you first came to Gainesville, what was it like here?

J: It was interesting. You think back now and you cannot believe that it was like

that and maybe we fool ourselves, you never know. When we came here in

1966 and I worked out at Horn's, the interstate had been put through only a few

years before that, Interstate 75. So there was a lot of development going on out

there; we were one of the first hotel/motels. I think the place was built in about

1965, 1964 or 1965. There must have been about 17,000 students here at the

University of Florida then, it was very similar to what summer school is now

during the fall term. The hotels were still filled up for football weekends and

everybody was still required to stay two nights if they got a reservation. But it

was interesting that if you went out to eat in those days, there was maybe three

places in town that you would go to. You drive around town now and you see,

every night of the week, people filling up these restaurants. I know there are a lot

more people here, but I always conclude that people did not eat out as much in

those days. I do not know, it is real strange. There was a general games room,

which was across from what it called University Inn, there is a hotel/motel, used

to be a Holiday Inn. It used to be a Holiday Inn, I do not know what it is now. But

there was a restaurant there that people would go to, then there was a place

called Arch Steakhouse which is further down 441 across from where the old

Brown Derby used to be, it burned down. There was a place back out there

called Arch Steakhouse, which was the creme de la creme as far as everybody


going there. And then, you go on down and go into Marion County before you

come to Ruby's Place, which was the other. Other than that, unless you went to

one of the cafeterias in town, there just were not a heck of a lot of places to go

and eat. Of course, this had been a dry county, it must have changed in the

early 1960s. It was before I came, but it was a rather new phenomenon and

there was not that many bars or places for night life here. There really was not

many for a college town. Most of those activities occurred on campus and so it

was a unique experience. It was quiet, it was much livelier than Terahoge,

Indiana. The difference in students is amazing in that situation. I had gone from

FSU as a student and work part time there during school in Morrison's

Cafeterias, who ran the food service over there then. But to go to Terahoge, I

was in charge of programming for the union, such as the union here and a big

event was to rent a jukebox and have a dance, you know, on a Friday night. The

draw of the students there were from rural farming communities in Indiana and

Illinois and the expectations were totally different from what the expectations

were here in the 1960's, totally different expectation of what entertainment is and

what you do, you know. We had a madrigal dinner we put on, like they used to

have the madrigals over at union building at Christmas. Here would have fifteen

or sixteen madrigal dinners, there we had one. You know, we would have 400

people there but it was a real low, low key university. It had been formerly called

Indiana State Teachers College and it was primarily to train teachers and it was

just your typical small mid-western-type college. So it was quite a difference and

even then, there was not much activity here at night, but it was a great place to

raise a family. It still is a great place to raise a family. We did not want to move

anymore, so we decided just to stay here and make a career out of the University

of Florida.

K: Where did you live when you got here?

J: We first lived up on, I go by old landmarks, I do not know street names. You go

up 13th Street here to where the Center Theater used to be that is no longer

there. It is now Applebee's restaurant. It used to be a movie theater on that

corner. We lived two blocks over from Applebee's. We rented there for a year,

rented up further in the northeast, then finally bought a house in 1968 over in the

northwest section of town. We lived there for about twenty years. We sold it

about six years ago. Both of our children, of course moved out, so we did not

need a house. We moved into basically a condominium over in what is called the

Courtyards, near Thornbrook up here so that the only thing I have to do when I

get home in the afternoon is push the garage door opener to get in. Let

somebody else cut the grass, paint the house, put a new roof on.

K: Sounds ideal to me.

J: So yes, you get lazy really quick.

K: I am already like that, that is kind of scary. What high school did your kids go to?

J: The went to Gainesville High School, both of them. The older boy played

football, well the younger one did too, a little bit. He was on the team that won

the first state championship for Gainesville High School. He was a linebacker

and he went to FSU and played a little football up there actually in the early


1980's until he finally decided there was a better way to go through college than

getting beat up. He played up there through the 1981 season, 1982, maybe and

then stayed on and got his degree in criminology and came back here and as I

say, he is a deputy sheriff now. He actually worked at the University Police

Department for about three or four years, before he went with the county.

K: What about your younger son?

J: He went to school there at Florida State, too, did not play football. He got, I

guess what you would call a liberal arts degree. He could not quite decide what

he wanted to do when he graduated and he worked at several jobs. He worked

with AvMed, one of these HMO-type insurance companies, for I guess about five

years and then finally decided there was a little more stability in the school

system. So he moved over last October and he is teaching up in Alachua or

High Springs, actually. Actually it is a training program for families is what he

does. He also teaches, but he primarily works with disadvantaged families trying

to get them in the workforce and helping children of disadvantaged families,

those type of things. Yes, he is very happy with doing that.

K: So they must like Gainesville too.

J: Yes, they never moved. We have one about three miles west of us and the other

three miles east of us and they each have two children, so we get in a lot of

babysitting duty these days. They never wanted to live anywhere else but

Gainesville, which is good, it is understandable. I hear from people all the time

wanting to come back that have graduated looking for jobs here. There is an

attorney next door who just came back after working in Jacksonville for three or


four years. It is surprising the number of people that you get that come back.

Once they live here it is hard.

K: I did the same thing. I moved away and came back. I missed Gainesville a lot.

J: Well, I think that once you get to be a Gator, you know, it is hard. That is part of

it. The whole thing is a part of it. The community and everything. It is a neat

location, though. What are you, an hour-and-a-half from one coast and an hour

from the other? You are an hour-and-a-half from a fairly big city in Jacksonville

or down to Tampa and Orlando, so you can get all of that, but still it is remote

enough and they have done a good enough job controlling the growth here

where you do not have those problems to the same degree that you do. Though

May, June and July are still the best months as far as traffic because you are

back to the student enrollment that you had in the 1960's and all these

restaurants and movie theaters you can go to.

K: They are wide open for you.

J: Back when we moved here, you talk about restaurants, but there was the Florida

Theater that is still downtown, that was one of the movie houses. There was the

State Theater that was on University. Those were the two movies. That was it.

We had a couple of drive-ins and then up where I say Applebee's in about 1968,

they built the Center Theater there, which has since been torn down. Next, in

about 1969, came, it used to be Wometco Plaza Theaters, but it was a couple

of theaters up--

K: Up on 13th.

J: Yes, up on 13th to the left. They have the cheapo movies now.


K: The Plaza.

J: The Plaza, yes. They are trying to revive it, I guess, but it was two huge movie

houses in there in the late 1960's and operated on through the 1970s. So that

was the primary movie houses, certainly nothing like we have now it town with all

the miniature, mini-movies that they have everywhere.

K: Continuing on. You talked about the students here were, I guess a little more

energetic, I guess the people at Tarahoge are expecting a little more--

J: I say sophistication, I think it was a little higher. As it is today, I would think,

because well, the university draws top-quality students. I mean even moreso

today than probably in the sixties. Though I was working over in the

administrative side, but just in my association, there were always a lot of bright,

energetic, very aggressive students, though in a general tone, it has gone, you

see curves from more conservative-bent students to perhaps more liberal and

radical is not a good word. But you go back to the Vietnam protest days, there

was a lot more aggressiveness, maybe because of the issue and maybe had that

issue been at any time that same degree would have been there because it is

just like, you know, I was raised during the 1050's which is pointed to as the

happy days and everybody was running around with a goofy grin on their face

and did not know what was going on basically. No one questioned authority, no

one did anything. But again, it was because really nothing was going on in the

world. It was a fairly calm. We have a cold war going on. But then Vietnam, you

had the marches on campus, everything was radical. That carried over to

everything. There was a more confrontational attitude.


K: We will talk about that then.

J: Yes.

K: When you started working here is about when that really started.

J: Yes, just a couple of years before, yes.

K: Let me ask you first, was your office always in Tigert?

J: No, I was over in Johnson Hall, which was burned down in 1987. It used to be

the sight of the first Ratskeller, the first beer and wine parlor on this

campus,which I can tell you a little bit about in a minute. I was in there because

that is where the food service director's office was and the biggest part of my job

in those days was to act as a liaison with the food service director and kind of be

the shadow food service director for the campus. Because the university

previously had run their own food service, prior to 1966. They had their own

director and they decided to try this contracting business out. So they were not

quite sure it was going to work out so I was hired to kind of shadow their director

for the food service company and if it did not work out, I was going to step in as

the director of food service, because that was my background. Fortunately the

director stayed on and things worked out and I did not have to do that. But to get

back to the Vietnam issue, yes, in about 1969 or 1970, I guess, is when the

marches started to occur. I do not, without research, know the exact dates, but

with the Kent State, where the students were killed up there, there were simply

marches here, of course candlelight marches. In those days I had nothing to do

with the police. I am sure it was much more of a tense situation for the police to


handle this. I remember coming up here and working in this office actually in an

interim position. One of the persons working here had become ill and I spent

three months up here working. During one of the demonstrations we were

blocked in the office. We could not get out. Students were sitting in the hallways

around the president's office and this office. We just had to lock the doors and

stay in there. They blocked 13th Street, the city police came, the fire department

came, hoses and water were flying to break up the demonstration. These things

went on routinely, well I guess you cannot say that, there is nothing routine about

it, but marches occurred over a period of a couple of years here. Nothing too

traumatic. It was scary to some people here because you had this mob situation,

you know that you had. That occurred for a couple of years, it carried over

somewhat in the business I was in and focused on such as food service and

vending in that there seemed to be a tendency to people were more aggressive

regarding complaining and so forth and issues. I think one thing stimulated the

other. I do not know, but that is the way it seemed to me. Then after, 1974-

1975, it went down again and there was a period of really great calm; I mean

very little going on. Again, it may be the world situations impact and you kind of

see these little curves during that period of time. During the late 1960s when I

first came here, when I was mentioning the Ratskeller, a big issue at that time

and the state university system was we were the first university to obtain a liquor

license actually for the campus. There were none. It was a hotly-debated issue.

We had to come up with an extraordinary scenario to obtain a license to have

the first beer and wine here on campus because as a university entity, we could


not hold a license and it was more restricted in those days, so the faculty club,

the University of Florida faculty club is a private organization, actually obtained a

private club full liquor license and we arranged a structure whereas they were the

license holder and the license property was what was developed into the

Ratskeller. I do not know if you had ever had the chance to see it.

K: It was here right when I got here and then it burned down.

J: Back in the late 1960s, we chose not to bring hard alcohol, it was just beer and

wine. It was an extremely popular place. They brought in some talent that went

on. I mean, Tom Petty started in there. He had a band called Mudcrudge, or

something like that. My office was right back there. They would come in here on

Friday afternoon practicing and just about--. They had speakers as tall as this

office sitting on each side of it. That was an ongoing struggle.

K: Nobody knew who he was then of course, you know.

J: I was trying to think. It was an interesting collaboration there, because I was

representing the university administration, the faculty club was the holder for the

license and therefore the ones responsible for the premises and student

government was responsible for the programming. We all worked together and

they brought in as I say some extraordinary talent in those days from all over the

country really. It was quite a successful operation. There were a few times

where we had some problems as they were concerned with underage drinking, it

was one of the most difficult things. But then the age limit was dropped to

eighteen. Then that ceased to be a issue.

K: Was it twenty-one?

J: It was twenty-one back in the 1960s when we first started then sometime in the

1970s I think it dropped to eighteen. That made it much easier. Then in 1976,

the Orange and Brew was created and that was the second beer and wine.

Those things have gone, boom, boom, boom. And it is down here now. There is

not that kind of demand, but as you can imagine 1969, the limited places in town

for entertainment and had beer and wine, there just were not that many, there

was not competition. So, they had to turn people away on Friday and Saturday

nights. It would only accommodate, I think, 350 people. They had people

standing outside on most weekend nights waiting to get in for the next show. It

was a great success here. It is a shame it burned down, though by then it had

pretty much reverted to primarily a cafeteria, a food service facility with beer and

wine. It was not programmed. Most of the programming activities were

transferred over to the union building or to the Orange and Brew to a lesser

degree. So its era passed, I guess you could say.

K: It had its time. You tell me about how these speakers were blasting your walls

students like that. Did you interact at all with them? How so did you

do this?

J: Yes. Well, we had a Ratskeller advisory board that I was a member of and then

the faculty club members were members and the rest were students. So it was

like the Union Board of Managers that they have over there. So the students

pretty much made the call but we had a lot of student advisory committees that

we worked with because primarily we were providing service to students, Food

Service Advisory Committee. So, I would say that I worked with certain students,


no a lot with all students, but with certain students hoping that they were

representative of the student body in general. But we had a bookstore advisory

committee in those days, a Ratskeller advisory committee, a food service

advisory committee, we just had a load of student-type committees that we

worked with. It was great. The quality of students has always been impressive

here and continues to be moreso. I do not recall ever having any problems with

students, aggressive or not, you know. That was good because they were

challenging in many instances, which was kind of neat to work with because you

came up with some real good ideas. Some would get frustrated with rules,

regulations and so forth in trying to do things. I cannot recall now, but just getting

this beer and wine license for the Ratskeller was a major effort that we worked

very closely with the students on and it took a year. Then to build the facility, I

think we spent $60,000 to $70,000, which in the late 1960s was a lot of money.

To renovate the old dining hall, which was nothing but your old institutional dining

hall basically, built in the 1920s and 1930s, I think the last renovation had been in

the 1040s at that time. I did an extraordinary job, I thought. I have always been

impressed with the student leadership. I have seen some of the past student

government presidents I have worked with come back and their positions, like

Steve Euphelter, who was here--he is a board of regents member now. Steve

was student government president during that Vietnam era. He had hair down

below his shoulders, a big handlebar mustache. But again, he worked with me

on a more administrative level, so my relationship was not like the dean of

student affairs or so forth because I was dealing with students more on a

business-like basis on operations and services and not regarding their activities--

K: So you saw them in a completely different light than some of the other people

might see?

J: Oh yes. And as I say, they were very helpful, very mature--some, some were

very mature. Suggestions were always great, so yes, that has been an enjoyable

part of it. Actually, I do not get to deal with students quite as much dealing, as

you can understand from the topics I deal with now, like construction

management and so forth as when I was in business services and I had the

opportunity to deal with them on food service vending and things they actually

utilized on a daily basis. We still have some contact. I deal with fraternities and

sororities a lot now on land issues but certainly not to the degree I used to.

Parking issues in those days?

K: Was that a problem then, too? Has it ever not been one?

J: Prior to 1969, there was a very simple system. There was not parking

department. The police department operated the parking program. It basically

cost you a dollar for a decal. It was not a problem then. But with the rapid

growth through student enrollment and the fact there is no state funding for

parking, it has to be paid by the user, they decided to create the parking

department and put that in business services. That department started in 1969

with three persons: a director of parking, a secretary and a clerk. That is when

we grew into the current size now. The police department continued to operate

the fines department. That is when we got the first bus system on campus, in the


early 1970s and built the big parking lot that now has a garage on it, North South

Drive. That was built then. And [the university] started actually coming up with a

parking program. Prior to that, you would buy a dollar decal if you had a car.

Also in those days, freshman could not have cars on campus or Alachua County,

supposedly, but you could not get a decal if you were a freshman for a couple of

years. But that changed in the early 1970s, so still as today, everybody can park

on campus, whether you are a student, staff or faculty member. It is just where

you park. It continued though to be problem. Just as it has continued to be one,

there are probably over 20,000 parking spaces on campus now, a little over

20,000 parking spaces, but there is still demand. Though today as we sit here,

there is parking garage down on Archer Road that has 600 vacant spaces in it,

so there are vacant spaces, it is just not where people want it to be. So you have

to ride a bus. Parking has been the most challenging thing I did over twenty

years because there is never a day without a problem. It was, as I say, very

challenging to try to resolve some of it. Sometimes, because of this tremendous

demand, without actually restricting certain people from bringing a car on

campus, you cannot do anything. You are just dealing with mass 26,000 to

28,000 people with automobiles coming to this campus and 20,000 parking

spaces. So fortunately I no longer supervise that area.

K: Did you deal with that during the football games when they blocked of all the


J: Yes. The police department takes care of special event parking. There is a

captain of police down there that organizes and takes care of all special event


parking, which includes football. He works very closely with the athletic

association. That has been true as long as I have been here, there has been

that special arrangement. The parking department, under business services is

only responsible through the Monday-through-Friday-type activities where

controls are in place.

[end side 1]

K: O.k., this is side two of the interview of Mr. Otis Jones on April 5, 1996, about

10:00. We are going to start talking about the Plaza

J: The Plaza of the Americas has always been a central gathering point for the

students on the campus, as long as I have been here and I guess it always will

be. As I was talking about the Vietnam days, almost every demonstration started

from the Plaza of the Americas and worked it's way outward. I remember back

when Doug Dickie was football coach here, he had, what was referred to as,

"Doug's Rug", he wanted to put down. That was the first astroturf to go on

Florida Field. When they dug up the Florida Field grass, they transplanted it over

to the Plaza of the Americas. So there may be some pieces of Florida Field

grass still on the Plaza, but that is where it went after Doug's Rug was inserted.

Of course the Hare Kirshnas started giving away their free lunch on the Plaza

about in the mid-1970s and it continues to this day and kind of becomes one of

the focal points as well as the ministers that drop by to preach on the Plaza.

That has been going on since the early-1970s as well, so there is quite a variety

to see out there. Our involvement in this office with the Plaza is with student

organizations. Those requesting to use the Plaza as a place to get their


message across to the university community. The Office of Student Activities

actually student organizations to do whatever it is they are going to do on the

Plaza and there is also a specific section of the plaza that the Office of Student

Activities allows banners to be placed by student organizations to advertise

various things. But we get involved because the organization that wants to do

whatever it is they are going to do that day, wants to put a tent up incase it rains

or to stay or to stay out of the sunlight. So we have a restricted section of the

Plaza where we allow people to put tents up on a temporary basis, not for

overnight camping, which is not allowed, but just to use during the daytime.

Then they have to get a digging permit so they do not strike utility line. It gets

real complicated and they get real frustrated with us sometime. We have had

some come in here with three-foot-long anchors for a tent and drive it in through

a utility line and we either cease having electricity or something in one of the

buildings. So we have to be fairly restrictive on that. So that is our activity with

the plaza.

K: So they have to go through a lot of bureaucracy then?

J: Yes. There is a form that a student organization must fill out before they are

approved by the student activities center to have the event. Then if a tent is

acquired, they come through here and we have to sign off on it to have a tent

installed on the Plaza of the Americas. Beyond that, I do not know. I guess the

Student Health Services Department, they have a tent on the Plaza about every

month. They have everything in there from giving out educational material on

health-related issues to providing, I believe they provide free condoms before


spring break or whatever. Of course the police use the Plaza for Bear's Fair

every year, which leads up to spring break where they bring the Daytona Beach

Police Department over for the students. They explain things to be careful about

when you go on spring break, how Daytona Beach is operating this year as far as

enforcement of various things from alcohol to you name it. There is a number of

neat exhibits on and hopeful it is helpful to students who are going to be going.

So it has always been a gathering place used as a central gathering place for

students and as I say, it always will be. But our administrative responsibility is

fairly limited there. Mr. Jack Helseth who runs the University Auditorium is

actually responsible for any activities on there, if they want to do any audiovisual

activity or so forth. So he would probably be more attuned to any unique

happenings on the Plaza.

K: I believe one of my classmates is doing the same thing, too.

J: Oh is he? O.k. Great, well, I am sure he will have some interesting stories on

the Plaza.

K: On a personal level, did you ever, while walking through, see anything unusual?

Anything memorable? I guess if you are here and people are sitting outside your

office blocking you in--

J: That was the most unusual thing that has happened since I have been here, yes.

K: Everything else pales.

J: Yes. No, not up there. I cannot think of any, other than the marches, the

candlelight marches they had during the vietnam period that would come out of

the Plaza.

K: Did you actually see any of that? You were here for that?

J: Sure. I was here on campus. It was very orderly. There were demonstrations

where streets were blocked and the city police had to come out, but I think

compared to what, through television, what was happening in the rest of the

country on university campus', it was not that severe here. There were times,

like I say, there were at least two or three occasions where the hallways filled up

with students and the streets were blocked out there. Usually the intersection

down there at 13th and University were blocked. That was in the day Scott

Chemile, a name out of the past, that was what they called the Gainesville

Seven, that was being indicted by the federal government for certain things they

were doing in dealing with the anti-war movement. They were instigating a lot of

the demonstrations. It was an interesting period of time, but aside from the

demonstrations, I cannot recall any other things of that much uniqueness,

K: I was not even born then to obviously know what was going on. But when you

see stuff on t.v., everything looks like a bunch of long-haired drug people going

crazy doing whatever they want. You make it sound like it was much more


J: It was here, I thought.

K: So you think this was unusual?

J: It was less than what you would see at Berkeley or Columbia, where they had

some really serious protest. I mean it was serious to us, of course, because

anytime anybody takes over a facility, but it was not where people spent the night

in the building and days went by and you could not utilize it. It was maybe three


hours you had a problem, or the streets were blocked for four hours. People

were arrested, certainly. People had long hair then, that was the style though.

As I say, Steve Euphelter had long hair and a big mustache in those days. They

had orderly marches, though, here. Some of the ones I saw were orderly. I give

a lot of credit to the University Police Department in that they kept some of those

confrontations down; they did not try to aggressively keep people. But you know,

it was within reason. So I think, and maybe time dulls the memory in recording

that, maybe then it was more traumatic than it seemed to be, but I think in

comparison to what was happening in a lot of the country, it was not that


K: Also, it seems like the adults at this time, when you see the movies and t.v.

shows were very much against it. You know, the anti-hippie, anti-long hair stuff.

Sounds like you were not like that at all.

J: I think you have a different perspective working on a university campus and

working with students all the time. At least in my opinion it was. No, I did not

have any problem with that and again, it may be because I worked with so many

of those students and knew them as themselves and not this image that scared a

lot of America of the long hair. I got used to seeing it. I guess it was telling that

even some of the neighbors who did not work on campus, I did not have that

same perspective. I suppose if I had not been used to dealing and knowing

people first hand, and essentially recognizing everybody had long hair, not that

that was the only issue. The way people dressed, even. Seeing it on a daily

basis, working with it on a daily basis, when it finally got a lot of publicity, it just


did not seem to make that much of an impression on me as it did others who did

not see it on a daily basis and were used to working in a more conservative

environment, I guess you would say, that everyone still had the real close

haircuts and they were not protesting--. You did not know who they were. You

see this on television and things are burning and people are marching and they

are marching against whatever and they think it is authority or the United States.

So I think you had that difference of opinion. That is why I think anyone who

worked here worked on a daily basis, while there were certainly different degrees

of feeling, I mean some people were more conservative that others in their views.

Particularly, some of the people who were most upset about this were my

contemporaries who had children of the age who were serving in Vietnam. They

thought a lot of this betrayed their children. I remember those comments

distinctly. There was that group. Perhaps, if my children would have been of the

age, that they would have been there, I may have had some of the same

feelings. You had those people over there dying in Vietnam and then they see

this group of students protesting. It was hard to get straight what they were

protesting. They were not protesting necessarily against those people who were

fighting, but it was a protest against the war itself. That was not quite separate in

their minds, you know. They just saw it as a protest against what their son may

be giving up their lives for. So I think that was some of the issue. It depends on

your circumstance at the time, I think.

K: I think you were in a very fortunate situation because you could get the entire

picture that I do not think a lot of other people got.


J: I think working on campus' in those days put--and I think that is true to a large

degree. You look at things a little bit differently, I believe, working on a college

campus, dealing with students. You are always dealing with younger people, all

the way through your career, you know? There is a lot to be said for that. It is

one of the benefits of working out here. That is one of the reasons I got into the

work was because you continue. I enjoyed going to college, believe it or not,

even though it was in Tallahassee. I started working at Indiana State University

because that was the first good job I could get in the field. The once I got to

working in it, I enjoyed working with the students. So that is one of the reasons I

stayed in. I think, as I say, it is great working with younger people, you are

always being challenged with ideas. The University of Florida has been a good

place to work. It is a great institution. We have had some terrific leadership here

from the presidents. I have worked with five different presidents here. From J.

Wayne Reitz [J. Wayne Reitz, president, University of Florida, 1955-1967] who

was here when I first came to work. Steve O'Connell [Stephen C. O'Connell,

president, University of Florida, 1968-1974] on to the current president who

provides great leadership; great guy.

K: What was the president's reactions during all these riots? Did you deal with him

at all?

J: I would have if I had been in this position. Stephen O'Connell was the president

during that time; a very rough five years I would think he had here because he

was seen as the authority figure, as you might imagine. There were marches to

his house and so forth. He had some very tough calls to make during that time. I


know it had to be a rough experience for him, you know, because you saw what

was happening throughout the country. I think that because it was to a lesser

degree, I think you have to give some of that to his leadership and the leadership

of the entire administration at that time. They must have done a wonderful job,

though I was not conscious of it at the time., but I think things could have been a

lot worse, had he not been the president. He was a Florida Supreme Court

Justice before he became president here. He was an attorney, a lawyer, so he

had a nice level mind in the way he operated things. As I say, I am sure that it

must have been brutal for him, but he was a great guy and he provided some

terrific leadership during those years.

K: How about the Plaza now or the mood now, do you think it is one of the down

times again, where there is not as much?

J: Not so much that, I think that probably there are more creative ideas than ever

coming up now, though I do not think you see the demonstrations, obviously you

are not seeing demonstrations or the ways to resolve it. An example of things

coming around, I noticed in the paper the other day there were some Alligators

stolen after the student government election. I remember 20 years ago some

Alligators were stolen just prior to student government elections, so I do not know

if we are in that same kind of period now as we were. So it was the same issue;

exactly the same issue. There is more positive creativity now then perhaps there

were a few years ago.

K: Can you give an example of creativity and creative ideas?

J: Yes. I think some of our best ideas for projects, for instance, whether it is the

food service program or so forth have come from some students on some of

these advisory committees. I guess the food service facility on North-South

Drive, that type of operation where it is going to be of very, very low cost all-you-

can-eat-type facility was kind of generated through some student ideas that were

percolated on through the administration. There is more student input that is

enacted than people really think. A lot of the programs we have on campus have

come from students. Even the parking programs, believe it or not.

K: I would say not, I mean at first glance

J: Yes, right. I guess that is what I was getting at. To go back to the Ratskeller

being basically a student idea that was carried through. I mean if you would

have waited until the university decided you were going to have a beer and wine

license on campus, you probably would not see it today. But that was a student-

driven idea. I think we have seen other things that are probably not as apparent

as that, but that have really enhanced a lot of programs on campus.

K: It sounds like you have a very neat perspective. You say a lot of things that

sound a lot different than what the popular opinion is. The popular opinion now is

that students are very apathetic and do not seem to care. You do not feel that at


J: My perspective is from the administrative side. If you go to talk to Tom Hill who

deals with a lot of students every day, he may have a-- Maybe I am dealing with

the best of the best, I do not know. Because people who get involved and are on

these advisory committees, even fraternity and sorority leaders all tend to be


more focused. So that is my perspective and maybe that is why I give these kind

of opinions.

K: That is why I said they were neat, because not everybody is getting this.

J: I do not come back from a meeting with students where they are giving me

suggestions and I say, boy, that is goofy. You always come away with

something, you know? Sure they have some of their own vested interests. But I

enjoy working with the ones I work with. Unfortunately I am not getting out there

like I used to when I was in business services. I did deal with a lot more

students. Now it is more focused to student leadership, I guess you would say.

There are some really bright guys that really try hard. But I am sure, as I say,

Dean Hill would give you a totally different perspective.

K: Your perspective is just as important. You deal with it a totally different way,

something nobody else ever sees.

J: It is more behind the scene type of things. You know, we are dealing through a

structure more.

K: When you are reading a newspaper, it tends to focus on negative things anyway

and you are not getting as much of that, so, o.k. To completely change gears a

little bit. I am a sport manager and sports is my life, I really do not know what to

make of it, I really like it.

J: That would be interesting.

K: I think so. I wanted to ask you about football. When you came here, I know this

has nothing to do with the Plaza but it is part of the mood, when you came here,

what was the general attitude toward the football team? I know a lot of people


were questioning it during the Vietnam years saying it was like a military type

thing. Are you for or against that?

J: When I came here Ray Graves was the head coach. He was also athletic

director, he was both. I worked with him. As a matter of fact, Ray Graves was

my original boss when I came here. He was part-owner of this hotel that I

managed when I came to town. That was one of his side businesses. But yes,

Ray was there. I remember you go to football games like this, with a coat and tie

on. I cannot believe I did it, I cannot believe anybody did it and sit out there in

that heat like that. I do not remember it being that hot, so apparently it was not

as hot in the 1960s. I was, but I do not understand why we did it. That went on

for the early years. People's attitude about football? Football has always been

number one as far as the school is concerned. I think Florida State to that

degree when I was up there. That was the big supporter. When I was at Indiana

State it was not, basketball was by far, as a matter of fact I was shocked when I

went to my first basketball game, they had an entire band parade on the floor at

half-time. It was like a football game to them.

K: I have never seen that.

J: They had a giant coliseum. This is a little 10,000-student school. This is where

Larry Bird played basketball. Later, not when I was there. It was incredible to

me. They had as many people at the basketball game as they did they football

game up there. So it was a totally different perspective coming from Florida,

where football from high school on up was absolute king of everything and it still

is today. Now as far as the way that they ran the football program over there, I


do not know if it was militaristic, I guess to a certain degree. I think, and this is

probably amidst the reasons for success for some of these long-term coaches in

being able to deal with the athletes. But right after that Vietnam period where

people were more, I am going to use the term, aggressive, I am not sure that is

correct or not, from hairstyles, you know everybody had the crew-cut and so

forth. Before then everybody seemed to be that way. I do not know if it was by

dictate or not, but most of the athletes were that way, you know with a crew-cut,

but so was everybody else, basically. Then the hairstyles changed and then

everybody kind of did their own thing. That must have been an interesting period

in the late 1960s and early 1970s to be a coach coming from the old style where

your word was law. Of course people were probably questioning it, I do not know

if they were, and not being fully-participating in that. It would seem to me that

would because you look at the pictures on the walls in there of some of the hair-

do's you know, in those days, coming down below the helmets and so forth. I

think it that just carries on a certain attitude that the student-athlete had.

Certainly they can answer those questions at the athletic association better than I

can. It was a whole appearance from the crowd to being the conservative coat-

and-tie crowd sitting there. I remember seeing the first Florida State/Florida

football game out here. I very well remember sitting there with a coat and tie on.

K: When did that change? I mean about, I know you do not know the exact date,

but when did people stop doing that?

J: I do not know. It just seemed to happen.


K: They still do it at every other southern school. Out of the state of Florida, they

still dress up to go to football games.

J: I started going to college football games, it was 1957 I think they played the first

Florida State/Florida football game. It was either 1957 or 1958, I forget now. We

were dressing that way. Late 1960s they quit doing it. So somewhere in that

decade between 1957 and 1967/1968, they stopped. I was away from college

football being at Indiana for three years in the early 1960s because it was not

hardly thought of as a sport up there. It happened sometime during that period.

People just got better sense than go dress that way.

K: Is that when people started dressing differently and students started dressing

differently in going to class?

J: A little bit more toward the late 1960s, I think. There was a dress code when I

was at Florida State, though. You could not wear shorts to class--

K: [inaudible]

J: Well, not that you had to wear a uniform, but you could not wear shorts.

K: Stuff you could not wear, not stuff you had to wear.

J: yes. If you did, you wore coat over it, like a trench coat. So you would get out of

class and whip that baby off, you know.

K: I see all the old pictures of people walking around here and they are all wearing

their khaki pants.

J: It may be because the selection of clothing left something to be desired. You

either had blue jeans or khaki pants, I think or t-shirts seemed to be the dress

mode of the late 1950s and early 1960s.


K: That is funny because now you very rarely see somebody without shorts.

J: When I went to Florida State, I was poor as I lived in a room that cost

fifteen dollars a month. There were four of us. It is one of these old hard stories.

I worked for Morrison's so I could eat. They gave me three meals a day, so I

worked each serving period and went to class in between, which is a great job,

you know? They even gave you a couple of bucks an hour plus your meals.

That was great in those days. It is just like society in general, it just appears to

me that the student body is probably more fluent than it was then because

people in general must be more fluent. It just goes from what I was talking about

people eating out. You know, you go to any of these restaurants and you cannot

get in them if you go after 6:30. Whereas we had three and it was never

crowded except Friday and Saturday night. You could go on a weeknight and

there is nobody there. I do not know what people did or where they were eating,

at home I guess, or a cafeteria. That was a big thing to do in those days. There

were about four cafeterias in this town. There was one right across the street

about one block from where Florida Bookstore is now. On that next block there

was a big, big cafeteria in there.

K: By the Purple Porpoise?

J: Yes, in that area. Boy, that was the place to go.

K: For cafeteria food?

J: Yes, that was the thing. There was Long's Cafeteria, down where the Southern

Bell building is, there was another cafeteria out in the old shopping mall and then

there were four cafeterias on campus. Everything was strictly cafeteria style.


The meal plan in those days was that you would come through and get one

entree, two vegetables, a roll, on pad of butter and your choice of beverage.

Pretty vanilla. Now you go around here and you have a Taco Bell, you have a

Wendy's, you got whatever. It is like a mall now.

K: The food court is.

J: So it was a really conservative-type food service approach in those days.

K: That is something that is very unique. Who thinks of the food? That is

something that I never would have known.

J: I mean a big day out was that you go to church and you go to the cafeteria after

church. Seriously, Morrison's came to town and you would have though we

struck gold here. The first one opened up at Publix up there. That was a place

for us on campus to go check out to see if our cafeterias could compare with

Morrison's Cafeteria. There were price checks on their portion sizes. We would

go buy their chicken breast and weigh it to see if it weighed the same as our

chicken breast and what were they charging for it. The same with hamburgers.

McDonald's finally opened a place here in town and that was the same. The

institutional food service was really that, institutional, in the early 1960s. It finally

started breaking away from that but nothing like we have seen with this branding

thing the last {?}.

K: Did it break away because people were not eating the food?

J: No. I think it was yes, the trend. I think people were raised with mall food. You

go out there and they have these food courts. You can get anything from

Chinese food here to you name it. So I think in order to give that same variety on


campuses, the university started looking at this. There was always this feeling

of, well, your child is here and we are going to take care of them just like they

were at home so parents would feel good about knowing they can buy a meal

plan and they are going to get an entree and get a nice balance. We had a

dietician that made sure that all the stuff was there. You do not do that anymore,

we just do not do that.

K: The role of parents.

J: Yes, you take over the role of parent and that is not the case from that food

service perspective because now there is a very liberal [system]. You can use a

Gator Card. You put money in there and use it for whatever you want to. So you

have a variety as much as you would if you go any place in this town. You can

get that right here on campus. Pretty much so and it is getting moreso; everyday

they are adding different things it seems like. That has been a fairly recent

phenomena since the late 1980s as far as that type of--

K: {inaudible}

J: Yes. Prior to that, you could get sandwiches and things and short-order-type

food and there was a more flexible meal plan than there was in the 1960s and

early 1970s. But not to the degree that we have it today.

K: I think that is about it.

J: O.k.

K: Unless you have anything else to say.

J: No, I do not think so. I enjoyed talking about it. If you listen to it--


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