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From April 23-27, Columbia University is practically shut down as Columbia SDS launches an unprecedented antiwar demonstration.

After the initial invasion of a university building where three school officials are taken hostage for 24 hours, on April 24, additional buildings are occupied by a growing mass of rebellious students, estimated to be 700 to 1,000 strong and extending beyond the original core of SDS (whose Columbia chapter consist of about 150 members) and the Students Afro-American Society. Student protesters ransack the university presidentís office and go on to occupy a total of five buildings. On the sixth day of the disorders, more that 1,000 policemen enter the campus and clear the buildings in a violent and chaotic student-police encounter. Classes at Columbia come to a virtual standstill for the rest of the academic year.

SDS pamphlet, April 1968. NYU Archives Collection.
National SDS proceeds to issue a public statement calling for "two, three, many Columbias." SDS secretary Carl Davidson designates the Columbia action as the model for all campus organizing efforts by SDS in the 1968-69 academic year, while radical leader Tom Hayden describes the action as "a new tactical stage" in the development of student protest. Hayden considers the Columbia action a means of "bringing the war home," and calls on other universities to emulate the Columbia model.
SDS poster, April 1968. NYU Archives Collection.
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