Frank Erwin called students who came out to protest the 1968 visit of President Lyndon Johnson to the UT campus “a bunch of dirty nothins” who were disrupting “the workings of a great university in the name of academic freedom.” “Dirty Nothin” buttons soon appeared on campus. Bumper stickers later appeared saying “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby and Frank Erwin.”
When Erwin proposed cutting down the beautiful trees that shaded Waller Creek on the campus in order to enlarge Memorial Stadium in 1969, some students came up with a compromise solution to build a tunnel arch through a corner of the stadium, but Erwin rejected this. Student protesters managed to stay in the way of workmen who came to fell the trees for two days. Meantime a coalition was working on getting a restraining order that would prevent the trees from being cut down. Erwin came out the morning of the third day and ordered the students removed and the trees cut down. This happened, though he had not consulted either the other Regents or the university administration.