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1969: The Spring That Shook Harvard


Feb. 4--The Faculty votes 207-125 to withdraw academic credit for ROTC courses, but nixes a resolution that would have expelled the program from Harvard.

Feb. 11--The Faculty votes unanimously to create a committee on Afro-American studies.

Feb. 20--The Corporation approves the faculty resolution withdrawing credit for ROTC, but says it will try to find a way to keep units operating at Harvard.

March 25--President Nathan M. Pusey '28 tells a student-faculty advisory committee the Corporation has decided to "do everthing possible to keep ROTC." At least 150 anti-ROTC students disrupt the meeting.

April 8--After a four-hour SDS meeting, 300 anti-ROTC students storm the grounds of President Pusey's home and tack their six demands on his front door at 17 Quincy St.

April 9--Shortly after noon, about 100 students raid University Hall and eject all administrators and staff, some of whom resist. The administration seals off the Yard while the students continue to occupy the building.

April 10--Complete with storm helmets, gas masks and billy clubs, 400 police officers from Cambridge and neighboring towns storm University Hall at dawn. Arrests total 250 to 300, and 75 students are injured.

At 10 a.m. 2000 students in Memorial Church vote overwhelmingly for a three-day strike.

April 11--The faculty votes overwhelmingly to drop charges against the sit-in participants, and instead votes to pursue disciplinary action within the University. Despite the faculty decision, the students will go on trial in May.

At a meeting, 150 of the College's teaching fellows vote unanimously to strike.

April 13--In response to the takeover, the Corporation decides to form a University-wide body composed of faculty, administrators and students to discipline sit-in participants and to discuss the causes of the incident. The body will come to be known as the Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.

April 14--During a mass meeting at Soldiers Field, students narrowly vote to continue the strike for three more days.

April 17--The Faculty votes to accord ROTC no more rights than any other extracurricular activity. One day later, the Corporation endorses the decision.

April 18--At another mass meeting students vote to suspend the strike.

May 1--District Court Judge M. Edward Viola finds 170 of the 174 prosecuted sit-in participants guilty of criminal trespassing.

May 29--The Committee of 15, which has been commissioned to pursue possible disciplinary action against strike participants metes out its penalties. Sixteen students are forced to leave Harvard, 20 more face "suspended suspension" and 99 are placed on warning.

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