1980: Mike Wallace interviews John Silber on 60 Minutes

John Silber, the cantankerous academic who died today at 86, was the Bad Man On Campus (B.M.O.C) at Boston University when Mike Wallace interviewed him in 1980.

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In 1980, cantankerous academic John Silber -- who died today at age 86 -- was the "Bad Man On Campus" at Boston University. That's what called him, anyway. Wallace interviewed Silber that year for 60 Minutes, just as Silber was becoming a national figure for his passionate and controversial leadership style as president of B.U.

Accused by students and faculty of being a campus dictator and censor, Silber told Wallace, "A university is certainly not a democracy, if it is any good. The more democratic the university becomes, the lousier it becomes."

At the time this piece aired, Silber's faculty and student body were in revolt, and the Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union had charged Silber with violating civil liberties and academic freedom. Of course, that wasn't the end of the story. Silber led the university for a quarter century and loomed large on the political and academic scene for decades.

Today, Massachusetts says goodbye to a hugely influential figure, John Silber.