Most tapes will play in a Type 9 deck. Type 9 is the last generation of Umatic machines made before they were discontinued. They do have the best quality picture and error correction. They are also easier on the tape when playing, and you want to handle the tapes gently if they are from the 70's. If possible, use one of these first -- only use an older deck if necessary. You can tell once the tapes tries to play. If the picture is strange looking/garbled, you need a earlier deck.
Type 2 decks are top loading -- like the BVU-200, VO-2860... they also VERY heavy. I think around 75 lbs! The Type 9 decks are 60 lbs and a bit smaller in size. Some of the players are in the 35 lb range.
Try asking your friend at university -- likely they have a machine. I would be shocked if they did not.
If the dates are in the mid-80's, these maybe edited syndication copies -- Paramount recalled the 16mm films from syndication around 1984 and replaced them with video copies (35mm that was transferred to video on a telecine). 16mm films were distributed to TV stations prior to video tape and were uncut unless the station edited them. The station would transfer them to video on a film chain, which is essentially a 16mm projector with a TV camera mounted to it. Some stations would air directly off of the film chain while others would transfer to video and use the tape in their cart machines (automated control over multiple decks for airing commericals and programs).