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A Lever Long EnoughA History of Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science Since 1864$
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Robert McCaughey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166881

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166881.001.0001

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Bottoming Out 1965–1975

Bottoming Out 1965–1975

Chapter:
(p.155) 6 Bottoming Out 1965–1975
Source:
A Lever Long Enough
Author(s):

Robert McCaughey

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166881.003.0006

This chapter examines the problems that hounded Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) during the years 1965–1975. A decade-long campus conflict began at Columbia in the spring of 1965, highlighted by protests against American military involvement in Southeast Asia and parallel actions against the university's role. Demonstrations escalated as the war in Vietnam intensified. The most disruptive events occurred in the spring of 1968, when protesters occupied five campus buildings for a week and precipitated a violent police action that led to the arrest of 705 Columbia students. These disturbances forced the shutdown of the university four weeks before the end of the semester, produced competing commencement ceremonies, and led to the resignation of Grayson Kirk as Columbia president. The chapter first considers Kirk's tenure and the engineering faculty's role in the antiwar movement before turning to William J. McGill's appointment as sixteenth president of Columbia and the moves he made for its engineering school.

Keywords:   protests, demonstrations, arrest, Columbia University, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Grayson Kirk, faculty, antiwar movement, William J. McGill, police

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