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Andrew Friedman

Andrew Friedman

Human rights researcher | Columbia University | Class of 2007

By the time Andrew Friedman arrived on campus, Lincoln Hall was fast approaching its 100th birthday. 

“And it showed,” says the Columbia University lecturer and human rights researcher.

"The home of political science at the U of I was falling — or perhaps had fallen — into disrepair, but it was still easy to tell that it had once been what an academic building should be: beautiful and imposing in a way that says ‘You had better learn this.’ 

“While much of the building kept at least some of its beauty, there were rooms where it was long since gone — 300 Lincoln Hall was one of those rooms.

"While I would go on to have several classes in the room, I remember my first time entering it. I walked past it several times because the number was written on the door in chalk, something I was certainly not looking for. Upon entering, I found myself tiptoeing, worried that I would fall through the bare floor.

"That feeling was enhanced by the stack of tiles in the corner, a stack that would grow during classes as professors and TAs had a tendency to pick up tiles they had slipped on and toss them into the corner.

“The room and building certainly needed an update, but it’s hard to imagine my collegiate experience without those types of classrooms. There’s a charm in them that doesn’t, and really can’t, exist in the more modern parts of the campus.

"It was easy to tell that a whole lot of interesting topics had been discussed in that room, even if  the walls and floors were too tired to tell the stories.”