A Complicated Relationship
After the devastation of the dust bowl and the Great Depression, the community was a tad jaded of the university. Boucher reluctantly sent out publications regularly to the community detailing his plans for the future of UNL and what the university had been up to recently in terms of events, programs, or research (a few examples are located in the gallery and on this page). This helped to create a relationship between the university and Nebraska as a whole. While the majority supported Boucher in peaceful neutrality and isolationism, the 1941 petition for action by the UNL faculty sparked anger in the community. After the outbreak of the war, the university increased the frequency of its publications to the community, now detailing the war programs in place. In 1942, some courses, such as Special Engineering and Defense courses were open to the community as a whole, not just UNL students. There was also the Food for Freedom campaign, where the agriculture college of UNL sent out 1,600 volunteers to teach members of the community how to grow their own victory gardens and conserve food. Nebraska as a whole applauded UNL’s war contributions and service, despite a passive chancellor.
In the postwar years the pranks and hijinks of the student population of UNL caused quite a stir. The community was outraged at the audacity of the students, the parking riot and panty raids of the late 1940s were just a few examples of the “complete lack of moral character” they felt UNL students possessed. Drinking on campus grew with the influx of older students attending college on the G.I. Bill, which also made parents and community members worry. Chancellor Gustavson attempted to smooth things over by emphasizing the impact of UNL’s research, especially that of the ag college, which put out publications on their work and improvements in the field of agriculture. Nebraska was and still is an agriculture-based state, and the advances in research were a cause for celebration for many.