Straub Hall: Uncovering a 1970s funding controversy

Posted by Ian Campbell on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 5:45 pm.

Even 40 years ago, students were upset about using money from their own pockets to fund a University building project.

Straub Hall was built in 1928 to replace Friendly Hall as the men’s dormitory. The project was put through a bidding process to determine which firm was best suited for the job. Ultimately, the project was given to a Portland firm that promised to fill all positions by local workers and would keep the proposed budget.

The building cost $300,000 — $4 million in 2012 dollars according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and included state-of-the-art technology, including a fireproof asbestos roof with copper flashings and a refrigerator plant “which will be of the latest structure,” according the Oregon Daily Emerald in 1928.

A problem arose with the construction of Straub. Since Friendly Hall would cease to exist as a dormitory, the University would no longer have to put money into a dormitory fund.

Unfortunately for the students attending schools in the state system, the burden would be passed down to them in the form of a $5 fee — a $67 fee in 2012 dollars.

“It is not fair that dormitory residents be the only ones to pay for something that will benefit the general student population on only the University campus,” Iain More, the ASUO president in 1928, said.

Despite dramas, the hall acted as a dormitory for 47 years before being remodeled and converted into the University Psychology Department in 1975.