'Power to the People'

A Chronology Of the Strike

February 4, 1969--Amid growing student protest on campus, and with the memory of the 1968 Columbia University riots still fresh in their minds, the Faculty votes to remove academic credit from Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) courses and faculty rank from ROTC instructors. They also agree to set up a standing committee on Afro-American Studies.

April 7--Students intercept correspondence between President Nathan M. Pusey '28 and Dean of the Faculty Franklin L. Ford indicating the administration's plan to delay implementation of the Faculty vote. Reports are circulated that Pusey has promised that the Corporation "will do everything possible to keep ROTC."

April 8--Three hundred sympathizers march at midnight to Pusey's house, and tack a list of six demands to his door. The demands include the termination of all ROTC contracts and their replacement with Harvard scholarships; no further Harvard expansion in Cambridge without the approval of two-thirds of the displaced tenants and adequate alternative housing; and immediate discussions to set up a Black studies program.

April 9

11:50 a.m. SDS convenes a mass meeting to protest Harvard's "intransigence" on terminating ROTC contracts and "imperialist expansion" in Cambridge.


12 noon--The demonstration, now growing, moves to the steps of University Hall. One speaker shouts into a bullhorn, "It is time for us to tell the Corporation by action what we've been telling them all fall."

12:15 p.m.--Chanting "Fight, Fight", 200 demonstrators surge into University Hall, and forcibly evict Dean of Students Richard B. Watson, Dean of Freshman F. Skiddy von Stade '38, Assistant Deans Archie C. Epps III an W.C. Burriss Young '55, and others.

12:45 p.m.--Ford orders students to leave the building. They refuse. The last of the University Hall administrators and staff leave, although Ford is allowed to return to the building to retrieve his coat.

6 p.m.--Ford, reading a statement from Widener Library, criticizes the protestors for refusing to discuss their demands, and closes the Yard until further notice. Throughout the day, Ford and Pusey meet with deans and House masters, trying to resolve the crisis.

10 p.m.--Students occupying University Hall settle in for the night, singing protest songs and discussing strategy for the next day. Slogans are spray-painted on some of the walls, but others repaint them to minimize the damage. The hall directory is rearranged to read "Liberated Area...Che Guevara Hall...Fight Racism...Get out of Vietnam...Power to the People...ROTC Must Go...Amen."

April 10

4 a.m.--Four hundred state and suburban police begin mobilizing in the Yard, wearing riot gear and marching in formation.

5:00 a.m.--Dean of the College Fred L. Glimp '50, speaking over a loudspeaker, gives students five minutes to evacuate the building. Students later says the announcement was inaudible inside the building.

5:05 a.m.--Police storm the building, breaking down the first floor door with a three-foot battering ram. Using billy clubs, officers clear the hall. Robert Tonis, chief of University Police, circulates throughout the hall, apologizing to students and saying that the administration is "way over our heads now." Two hundred and seventy-five students are arrested, and 75 are injured during the bust.

Meanwhile, 500 students in the Yard chant "Pusey Must Go," "Strike, Strike," and "Close the Place Down."