A Window Into the Past: NYU in Retrospect
academics       Marching for Change



From civil rights marches to antiwar demonstrations, Americans in the 1960s watched as their neighbors and their neighbors' children participated in events that were far from business as usual. Student voices, in particular, made themselves known. Children from the postwar baby boom first came of age in the 1960s and through sheer numbers created a vocal presence at universities and colleges across the country. New York University students were no exception.

Students at NYU organized a variety of political organizations and groups, including the NYU Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). During the first half of the decade, CORE promoted civil rights in New York City while SNCC raised funds and participated in voter registration drives in the South.

By the mid 1960s, however, student politics were drawn to the growing U.S. involvement in the fight between North and South Vietnam. In February 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, a program of sustained bombing in North Vietnam. The NYU Committee to End the War in Vietnam (CEWV) set up one of the earliest national anti-war teach-ins. One month later, American ground troops landed in Danang.

From 1965 to 1970, students not only voiced their opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam but also called strikes to protest tuition increases and rallied for more active participation in university affairs. Student organizations began to target the university’s links with the military, such as on-campus recruitment by war-related industry or ROTC programs. In 1968, activism became radicalism for some students such as those in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) or Transcendental Students (TS).

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