Occupy Wall Street Protests Are Only the Newest . . . The Biggest Student Protests in History

Barry Lenson

Occupy Wall Street Protests Are Only the Newest . . . The Biggest Student Protests in History

The Biggest Student Protests in History“10 Biggest Protests in College History,” an article on GeneralStudiesDegree.net, will convince you that campus protests like the current Occupy events are nothing new on the American political landscape. In fact, students have been protesting for years. The article is pretty scary, because it reports that many student protests over the decades have resulted in violence and even death.

Here are some of the historical protests that the article describes . . .

  • The Columbia University Protests at Columbia University, New York, 1968. In April of that year, students protested the school’s affiliation with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a military think tank that was involved in planning the Vietnam War. Students took over and occupied Hamilton Hall, an administration building on campus. The occupation lasted nearly a month before the New York Police Department arrived and forced them out. More than 150 student protestors were hospitalized.
  • The People’s Park Demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley, 1969. A group of citizens seized a park that was located near campus and turned it into a camp. Students joined in the occupation. Then in May 1969, Governor Reagan sent in police forces to clear out the park. A battle ensued and one student died.
  • The Kent State Protests at Kent State University, Ohio, 1970. In May 1970, students on this Ohio campus were protesting President Nixon’s announcement that U.S. forces would invade Cambodia. The Ohio National Guard used tear gas to break up the crowd. Then on May 4th, the troops opened fire on students, killing four. According to reports, two of those killed were not protestors, only students who were walking to class.
  • The National Student Strike in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, 1970. On May 8, 1970, 100,000 protestors arrived in Washington, and another 150,000 in San Francisco, to protest the Vietnam War. Students battled police at more than two dozen schools and President Nixon sent the National Guard to 21 campuses to quiet the protestors.
  • The California Tuition Protests at various University of California campuses, 2009.  When the University of California Board of Regents announced a 32% tuition hike, students started a protest at multiple campuses in the U. of C. system.  More than 200 students were taken into custody statewide as part of the protests.

And now . . .

We have the Occupy Campus movement, which is demanding cuts in tuition and increases in government aid for college. These new protests might be part of a pattern of protest that stretches back decades. Let’s hope that certain events in earlier protests – like harming our nation’s sons and daughters – never happen again.

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