Cornett Memories

A memory can be shared as a photograph, a story, a poem, a limerick, or a video. Do you have an entertaining memory of your undergrad years in Cornett? Are you a faculty member with a story about teaching in the Cornett?

The Wall
Submitted by Alison Farquhar on Friday, November 26, 2010





One of the most legendary stories of the Cornett building is The Wall. In the early 70s there was a group of mostly geography students who were certainly the most social of the social sciences. Amongst us, though, was an economics major whose professor declared in a class one day the school spirit at UVic is dead!. The seed was planted; the plans drawn up.

For all those students who have had classes in the Cornett, you know what a puzzle the building was and still is; going from the 3rd floor of one tower, down to the 1st floor and then trudge back up the stairs to get to the second floor in another tower or even better, go outside to the roof area and use the wooden walkway and hope that the access door was open. We decided to add another obstacle to the puzzle; a wall. But where to build the wall? The building was reconnoitred. The width of the hallway outside the Economics department on the third floor was the narrowest.

In the dark on Sunday evening, April 1, 1973, a group was dispatched to the Commons Block residences. Cinder blocks, still warm from being used as a barbeque for the residents, were loaded into an old Cortina and brought to the SW corner of the Cornett. From there, they were carried up to the geography grad student office on the second floor. Another group was sent to the McPherson Library where a new extension was being built. Two bags of masonry cement were absconded.

The cinder blocks were moved, using office chairs, from the 2nd floor up the elevator to the 3rd floor building site. The walls and floor were protected by newspapers to minimize damage and allow an easy cleanup. The mortar was mixed in waste paper baskets in the geography staff room and brought up. The wall was constructed with great geographical engineering skills. Posters were added for a camouflaging effect.

The next day, Monday April 2, it is rumoured that Dr Chernoff of the Economics department, came out of his office, reading a paper and ran smack dab into the wall. This may have been fitting as he is the one who is rumoured to have uttered the famous phrase "the school spirit at UVic is dead".

Reactions were disbelief to laughter.
The Times Colonist sent a photographer and writer to report on the story. A maintenance crew was called in to take it down. Needless to say, they were not impressed. My roommat's Cortina was used for the great cinder block heist. It so happened that someone watched the heist and reported the license plate number to Campus Security. My roommate was called into Security and endured questioning for more than an hour that would have made the Inquisition proud. She never gave up names and in due course she was sent out the door. In the end, Security actually said they were impressed with the prank because of the care taken.

The Economic students took great umbrage to where the wall was placed the narrowest corridor in the building. They believed they had been blasphemed and retaliated by placing plastic sheeting, approximately 50 to 100 pounds of manure, followed by at least 5 pounds of odorous chicken manure in front of the Geography Department offices. The Geography office staff were not happy. The Departmental Chair's secretary is rumoured to have hoisted her dress up over her knees and stepped over the manure. Once inside the office, she phoned the Chair and announced she was going home until the matter was fixed!

We weren't finished with the wall that night. There is also the story of how did that Riley car end up on the podium in front of the MacLaurin building? Ah, but that is a story for the MacLaurin Memory Project!

I would like to thank the following for filling in the blanks for me, 37 years is a long time ago; Bob McLeod, Edna Joyce, David Purser, Tom Carlson, Doug White, Sue Martin, and Ken Carnes.

You can download a short slideshow at http://www.tcarlson.ca/wall/




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