From Bancroft Way & Telegraph Avenue to Woody Hall:

Student Demands and University Failures at University of California at Berkeley

and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale


Katie Laux

Senior Paper


Dr. Robbie Lieberman

Department of History

Southern Illinois University — Carbondale


December 6, 2002

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Introduction 2

The Struggle over Rights 2

Free Speech Movement at Berkeley 2

Protests at Southern Illinois University 2

Comparing Berkeley and Southern 2

Bibliography 2 & Endnotes 4


Six years passed between the Free Speech movement at the University of California at Berkeley and the student protest movement at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC). Within those six years changes occurred in society that affected both the student participants within their respective movements and the administrations of both Universities as well as the state and local governments in both California and Illinois. However, these changes did not suppress the parallels between student activists at either Universities, or commonalities in the reactions administrations at both Universities had to those protestors. While the main focus of the student movement on each campus differed free speech at Berkeley, the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the university’s ties to the military the main concern at SIUC, the smaller, yet equally significant issues of racism and student alienation were present at both places. As well, both University’s administrations, and, in essence, the state and local governments which either controlled or interacted with the institutions, failed in their efforts to resolve all of these issues, both the large issues and the small. The Berkeley administration failed due to its further alienation of the student body, militant actions toward the student activists and their dishonesty during the Free Speech Movement. The SIUC administration failed due to its militant actions toward the students as well as police brutality toward the student activists.


At Berkeley, the main focus for student unrest became an issue of free speech. In the spring of 1964, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Alex C. Sherriffs brought the issue of forbidding on-campus political lobbying for off-campus issues to “a group of lower level bureaucrats,” and throughout July and September, administrators began to discuss the policy.[1] The proposed new policy became reality on September 16, 1964, when a letter from the Dean of Students, Katherine Towle, was issued to students stating that, effective September 21, 1964, no off-campus political activity could be advocated on-campus. According to the letter, this included the “’twenty-six-foot strip of brick walkway at the campus entrance on Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue,’” where students were accustomed to preparing tables for the distribution of advocacy literature and solicitation of donations.[2] “Specifically, section III of the [Regents] policy…prohibits the use of University facilities ‘for the purpose of soliciting party membership or supporting or opposing particular candidates or propositions in local, state or national elections…’” Section IV of the policy stated that University facilities “may not be used for the purpose of raising money to aid projects not directly connected with some authorized activity of the University…”[3] To students who were actively participating in fund raising and advocacy for off-campus issues, the University had taken away the First Amendment, silencing the rights of socially aware students. For these students, the free speech issue directly correlated with two smaller, yet equally significant issues, racism and the alienation of students from the University bureaucracy. 

May of 1970 brought turmoil and strife to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale during a time of nationally noted student unrest. And, as at Berkeley, the students at SIUC focused their protest efforts on larger issues. However, the main focus of those demonstrations was not free speech, but rather a combination of local, national and international events. According to a bulletin from the Chancellor’s office at SIUC the “Specific events which stimulated” protests and “served as catalysts” for unrest on campus” included, the “extension of the [Vietnam] war into Cambodia,” and the “deaths of four Kent State students.”[4] Outraged students across the nation, galvanizing them to protest a war that they believed illegal, but the war was not as tangible and visible as the symbols of it that existed on the SIUC campus, the Vietnamese Studies Center and the Air Force ROTC. The students, in a hand-made flyer, stated their local demands; “off AFROTC” and “off Vietnamese Studies Center.” The flyer concluded that both were fundamentally connected to the government through the “military industrial complex connection with the University.”[5] In a flyer demanding classroom strikes, students stated that “ROTC training continues to prepare young Americans to slaughter people of other nations…and the Vietnamese Studies facilities continue to function as an extension of imperialistic power and a source of painful frustration to all sensitive people who believe in the brotherhood of all mankind.”[6]  The Vietnamese Studies Center was developed on the Carbondale campus in 1969 in order to develop ways to “reconstruct Vietnam after the war.”[7]  Whatever the motives of the Vietnamese Studies Center, the students did not trust the governmentally funded project.  Student activists, “were convinced …that this was a training center and its purpose was counterinsurgency with CIA funds.’”[8] As at Berkeley, students at SIUC utilized the larger issues as a forum to express the smaller, yet equally significant student issues and concerns. 

At Berkeley in 1964 the student activists demanded that the racism in society, and specifically the administration, end; and nearly six years later, the student activists at SIUC stated the same demand, showing that despite the changes of the 1960’s, equality for every American was still a dream. Leaders of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley had gone to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 to participate in “Freedom Summer.” When these leaders, who fought on the front lines of violence, returned to University life, the University had implemented the policy of no off-campus political issues on-campus.[9]  The student leaders believed that the new policy enacted by the administration was purely in reaction to their work in the Civil Rights movement.  According to Mario Savio, a student activist, “It [banning student politics] combined an act of bureaucratic violence against the students themselves with open attack on student participation in the Bay Area Civil Rights movement.”[10] Student leaders believed that the “most meaningful opportunity” they had for political activism was within the Civil Rights movement, and that the administration’s ban on political activity on-campus was a ban on any Civil Rights awareness and Civil Rights activism on-campus.[11] The administration, according to the students, was not forbidding change of racial thought in the South, but it was actively prohibiting racial equality within the local area.[12] The racial make-up of the city of Berkeley was changing due to growth in the city’s African American population and students became aware of their own influence in this change.[13] Student activists at Berkeley saw the Civil Rights movement as the most influential political issue in 1964, and the only political issue worth fighting for, and when the administration took away their right to lobby for equality, the students viewed this as an attack on the local make-up of the city. 

At SIUC, most student activists were not actively participating in the Civil Rights movement, especially at the national level, but the demand for change, specifically at the local level, within the University and the surrounding community, was present. The student activists demanded an “end to both institutional and individual forms of racism at SIU.”[14] A student manifesto stated that “Black people are forced to live in ghettos. They are used as sources of cheap labor and openly referred to as ‘niggers’ by townspeople…”[15] The administration was not hindering the Civil Rights movement, nor was it directly impeding racial equality, but the administration and the local government were not attempting to educate local people about racial equality or preparing to make breakthroughs in the treatment of African Americans.  At both universities the issue of racism was significant. 

The second parallel between the Berkeley Free Speech movement and the SIU student protest movement is the alienation that students felt at both Universities. The alienation of students brought feelings of unimportance and irrelevance to student lives. At Berkeley, the students felt disenfranchised by the administration. A student was known only as a number on his or her admissions and records slip, not as a person. The Daily Californian stated that “’The incoming freshmen have a lot to learn-perhaps lesson number one is not to fold, spindle or manipulate his IBM card.’”[16] The psychological toll of this treatment, the feeling of being a nameless, faceless prisoner at a school, branched out further when the University began to treat the students as identical parts rolling off of a conveyor belt. The administration wanted to create a uniform student body that would, by graduation day, be a uniform workforce. Mario Savio stated that “They [University’s] have become factories to produce technicians rather than places to live student lives.”[17] The implementation of conformity, which made all students at Berkeley feel as though their thoughts, ideals and values did not matter in the University hierarchy, led to the student body resenting University officials. The assimilation of all creative thought into the perfect, prepackaged human led to the alienation of the student body, and the students at Berkeley blamed the administration for some of this alienation. 

A generalized feeling of alienation at SIUC partially derived from the administration and partially from the surrounding community.  Students craved any significant participation in affairs affecting their lives, however, the administration refused to change the system, leaving students the empty feeling of uselessness. One faculty committee found that “The curriculum, as well as general University policy, reflects a lack of relevance to the lives of the students and the problems of modern society.”[18] The administration’s lack of willingness to change, not only with the times, but also for the students caused dissent within the student body as well as unnecessary alienation by the administration.

The surrounding community alienated the students also. The Carbondale community seemed to blame students for all problems within the community, viewing students as a burden rather than as human beings. The image of this burden evolved into images of dollar signs, as students became monetarily manipulated by surrounding businesses and landlords.  The business owners tended to view the students as problematic and violent, without ever acknowledging that the only reason that their business was alive was due to the students.  “Merchants tend to look upon students as sources of money, only to be barely tolerated for the sake of their cash; rather than as fellow citizens capable of thought or feeling,” stated one student government manifesto.[19]  Landlords treated the students in the same manner as the merchants. Large amounts in rent were charged, but the upkeep on the property was poor, and the conditions of the property were deplorable. The landlords overcharged students knowing that they had no other choice but to live in unsanitary conditions, not acknowledging that the students who rented from them paid for the food the landlords ate.  A student manifesto stated that rent was, in some cases, greater than in large cities, with conditions that were “grossly substandard.”[20] Students at SIUC straddled the position where no one in the University or community seemed to want them physically in Carbondale, but the University and the community wanted their tuition and rent money. This caused students not only to feel unwanted, but also more significantly, to feel used for only the monetary value they could provide. 

Another source of alienation at both Universities was the inaccessibility of the faculty.  At Berkeley, the class sizes swelled to as many as eight hundred students, and the only one-on-one learning experience was in smaller sections supervised by a stressed, over-worked graduate student.[21] The faculty also had the added emphasis of the “’publish or perish’” element, where the Professor had to publish research in a certain amount of time or face penalties such as termination.[22] This “publish or perish” ideal resulted in the faculty giving up on undergraduate teaching and emphasizing research.  Students resented becoming the last priority on the faculty’s list of responsibilities.  “…The undergraduate has become the new dispossessed; the heart has been taken from his education …” wrote Berkeley students activist Mario Savio.[23] At SIUC, like Berkeley, the alienation from faculty stemming from Professors emphasizing research rather than teaching was prevalent.[24] Graduate students also became a source of discontent. Graduate students, at first only responsible for aiding a Professor, began teaching courses that Professors were responsible for because those Professors became too concerned with their research.  Therefore, graduate students were left teaching a course as well as taking courses.[25]  Another source of student alienation from faculty at SIUC was tenure.  Students found that incompetent Professors who already obtained tenure could not be fired; therefore students were often left to sit in a class and try to learn from a Professor who did not care nor know how to teach.[26]   Both Universities expected their students to attend a college where many Professors did not care enough to teach, so they passed the responsibility to graduate students.  In essence, these faculty members thought the student body insignificant as compared to their own reputation and research.  

In loco parentis, translated to “in place of parent,” was a system used by both Universities to inflict specific rules on the student body that paved the moral road that students were to take while at the Universities. At Berkeley, the administration placed rules ranging from “sexual morals” to dorm hours for female students.[27] A possible repercussion for breaking this range of rules was expulsion.[28] The University also had a system where by if a student were to break the law and get caught, not only would the state authorities press charges and put a student through the judicial system, but the University would also enact disciplinary action.[29] The system of in loco parentis was also established at SIUC. At SIUC, the administration completely ignored the student’s right to choose the paths that their lives would take, in both the personal realm and the professional, academic career arena.[30] In loco parentis did not allow for the students to develop into adulthood by themselves, but rather extended the parental factor into an unmanageable area. According to a bulletin from the Chancellor’s office, the administration caused a “…failure to encourage or to permit the development of the student as a young adult in free society.”[31] 

Between the years of 1964 and 1970 the tactics of both the University administration and the protest movement evolved into bouts of conflict marred by violence.  At Berkeley, the administration’s goal was to silence the students, however, the administration did not want to resort to police violence. The students at Berkeley also did not want a violent confrontation for fear that it would dull the impact of the main issue, free speech. However, as the decade moved forward, student protestors often resorted to vandalism and a craving to confront police. Likewise, campus administrators opted to answer the new style of student protest with their own brand of violence.  By the late 1960s, University administrations resorted to, not fair, calm negotiations, but police brutality. For example, in 1968, Columbia University saw its first image of this change.[32] Administrators attempted to build a gymnasium in Harlem, a predominantly African American neighborhood, while only seventy African American undergraduates attended the University.[33] Demonstrators later captured a hostage and occupied Hamilton Hall, as well as the office of the President of the University.[34] Over two days, 1,000 students joined the movement, occupying three more buildings before negotiations between the activists and the administration failed.[35] Eventually, the President of Columbia ordered 1,000 police officers to campus, where some students taunted the police before the police pounced.[36] In total, 100 students were injured and over 700 students were arrested.[37] The evolution in student protest activity, from taking hostage a police car in 1964 to taking a person hostage in 1968, as well as the evolution from negotiating to moving in the police in order to regain law and order on-campus is evident. In just four years, protest tactics changed, as did control tactics by Universities. By the end of 1970, and many more confrontations similar to Columbia University’s, this more brutal method of problem solving proved lethal.  

The administrations at both Berkeley and at SIUC failed to reach any of the objectives that they sought.  This failure is the result of administration blunders ranging from militancy and alienation at both campuses to dishonesty at Berkeley.  Militancy took the form, at Berkeley, of using the police in order to intimidate student activists so that they would end the dissent and return to a life of college conformity. At SIUC, militancy, following the evolution of the times, grew more violent than at Berkeley. Militancy at SIUC surpassed intimidation and led to police brutality in order to end student protests. The alienation at both Berkeley and at SIUC resulted from both administrations setting forth moral standards and, in essence treating the student body as mindless children. It also resulted from both administrations treating students as identification numbers, as conformed factory parts, and as profits.  


Administration militancy, alienation, and lies at Berkeley began directly after the ban of political activity on-campus.  After the ban, students still set up tables on University property, provoking certain University deans.  The administration saw rule breaking at face value; the students did not want to obey.  When the administration’s frustrations grew, Dean Arleigh Williams stated, “students persisting in ‘illegal politics’ might be suspended.”[38]  This administrative action backfired; instead of intimidating the disobeying students, it angered the students, therefore igniting a torch.  Students continued to set up tables. At this point, the administration did not realize the motives of the students. As far as the administration was concerned, students again just wanted to ignore the rules, however, the students now had much more to fight for than what the tables were advocating; the students were fighting for the First Amendment right of freedom of speech, which the administration had pulled from them. This “misunderstanding” resulted in an even greater sense of alienation of the students from the administration. 

Later, two deans cited five students, Bryan Turner, Elizabeth Gardner Stapleton, Mark Bravo, Donald Hatch and David Lance Goines for breaking University policy through setting up tables.[39]  This led to the indefinite suspension of all five students as well as Mario Savio, Art Goldberg and Sandor Fuchs, for earlier pickets.[40] The students at Berkeley saw this repressive measure of the administration as both militant and alienating. The administration, through suspending all eight students for breaking rules that the students did not agree with, sent the message to the student body to either follow the rules or leave. Also, the administration’s unsympathetic, impersonal message became apparent; we do not care what you think, just do not say it in public. Mario Savio stated, “Students are permitted to talk all they want so long as their speech has no consequences.”[41] This mindset led the student activists to gain more support in opposing the administration.

On October 1, 1964, the administration militancy and alienation confronted the student body in the form of more deans on patrol at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. However, the student body reacted with much more passion and force than just merely setting up tables at the intersection and Sproul Hall.  Jack Weinberg, who had graduated from Berkeley one year before and therefore had no fear of being suspended by the administration, and saw no risk of University repercussions, was guarding a table in front Sproul Hall.[42] When approached by various deans, Weinberg refused to identify himself. Deans Murphy and Van Hoten, along with University police lieutenant Merrill F. Chandler approached Weinberg, who continued his refusal to identify himself. The police came and informed Weinberg that he was under arrest for trespassing, and then dragged him to a waiting police vehicle.[43] As Weinberg settled into the police car, a student observer ordered others to “’sit down.’”[44] Between two hundred and three hundred students squatted around the police car.[45] This incident, in addition to illustrating University militancy, also expressed the University’s alienation of the student body. Weinberg was carried out from behind the table at Sproul Hall, forced into a police car, and arrested in front of at least two hundred students. This incident, in essence, announced that the University would resort to unfeeling, militant police measures that they would take in order to suppress the voice of the students. The students already felt alienated from the administration and when the University chose to send in police who were willing to make arrests, the alienation of the students grew. 

The number of students around the police car swelled and the students refused to leave.  On October 2, the second day of the police car hostage situation, the Governor of California, Edmund G. Brown, in response to the protests “made a statement supporting the administration, calling for ‘law and order’” and reiterating that “this is not a matter of free speech but ‘purely and simply an attempt …to use the campuses of this University unlawfully…This will not be tolerated.’”[46]  Chancellor Strong stated that students were not demonstrating for free speech, but rather students did not want to follow the rules.[47] Through not taking the students’ objections to the policy seriously, the administration showed its complete underestimation of the student movement.  The administration as well as the state government believed that the movement consisted of immature college kids who only wanted to disobey rules, and those beliefs further alienated the student body, and caused the administrative measures to fail. The administration and the state government failed to recognize the truth, that these college kids wanted justice to redress the wrong that the University committed, not only with the arrests and suspensions, but also with the First Amendment violation, and they would not stop at a police car. 

By 5 p.m. on October 2, the negotiating process began. In order to push the student representatives into an uncomfortable bargaining position, the administration applied intimidation tactics. During negotiations between student activists and President Kerr in his office, his secretary interrupted several times, announcing that, “the [Oakland] cops were ready to move in, and they wouldn’t listen to her when she told them to hold off longer.”[48] Some of the student negotiators believed that this was the administration playing on student fears, however, the secretary was speaking the truth. The state was pushing the administration to settle the issue. David Lance Goines observed that “If Kerr couldn’t do it through sweet reason, Sacramento was going to do it through brute force.”[49] Six hundred thirty-seven Oakland, Alameda and Highway patrolmen were on-campus, as well as the Berkeley police. In total, the police numbered 965.[50] Although the police and the students did not confront each other, the obvious threat of violent police action was present.  When the students were peaceably sitting around the police car, listening to speeches from the roof of the police car, the police were ready to pounce. This obvious threat of militancy did intimidate the students enough to negotiate and accept terms that were undesirable.

During the negotiation process, both sides came to agreement on six points. The first was that “the students shall desist from all forms of their illegal protest against University regulation.” The students believed that the word “desist” forced them to stop protesting on that specific day, but it did not bind them from demonstrating on other occasions. The second point of agreement between the students and the administration was the establishment of a committee comprised of students, including Free Speech Movement leaders, faculty, and administrators specifically to discuss and make recommendations to the administration on political activity on-campus. The third point addressed Jack Weinberg, and stated that he would be booked, but the University would not press charges against him. The fourth point was that the cases of the eight original suspended students would be heard in front of a faculty conduct committee, not in front of the administration conduct committee, and within one week of the negotiations. The fifth point was that no student groups involved in the protest would have privileges revoked. The students thought this meant that there would be amnesty for all parties involved. The sixth and final point was the establishment of a committee to discuss the possibility of political activity taking place if President Kerr sold the property at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue to either the city or to the student government.[51]

Almost immediately, it became apparent that the University would not honor these agreements. The eight original suspended students declined the usual form of disciplinary measures for students, which would have them justifying their activities to some of the same deans who originally “cited” them.[52] The students refused this arrangement because under the agreement on October 2, a new committee comprised of faculty, independent from the grasp of Presidents Kerr’s hand, would hear the pleas of the eight students.[53] Kerr finally conceded to allow the Faculty Senate to appoint “an ad hoc committee” to consider these cases.[54] This move by Kerr showed the students that he would not apply good faith to the issues resolved at the bargaining table, and served to increase student suspicions. While the committee, later named the Heyman Committee, decided the student punishments, President Kerr “refused to reinstate” the students, even though the Heyman Committee recommended doing so.[55] President Kerr also “insisted that the Chancellor had final jurisdiction and the right to alter any penalties the faculty committee recommended.”[56] When the Heyman committee issued its recommended penalties, Chancellor Strong, acting on Kerr’s orders, increased the penalties.[57]  Point number four of the October 2 pact evolved into lies by the end of the Heyman Committee’s existence. President Kerr refused to move without being shoved on the birth of the ad hoc committee. When the committee asked for the reinstatement of the suspended students, he refused, and, along with Chancellor Strong, insisted on throwing the committee’s unprejudiced findings aside. The Heyman committee thus accomplished nothing more than wasting time and misleading the students to believe that the administration would treat them fairly. In just one point of the October 2 pact, Kerr and his bureaucracy managed to gain the mistrust of students. 

Chancellor Strong’s committee, created in order to discuss further political activity on-campus, also crumbled through the weight of lies by the administration. The administration led the students to believe that this committee would be fairly divided into three groups; six students, six administrators and six faculty members. However, the student activists only held four seats on this committee, creating a difficult, if not impossible atmosphere for the activists to achieve any of their outlined goals.[58] According to one of the Berkeley student activists, “The activist students on the committee rejected an administrative proposal for limited political rights on campus, while an activist counter proposal that rights be based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution got no support from faculty members or the administrators.”[59] 

Seeing that the two committees were forever deadlocked, the student activists decided to take action. On November 9, students manned political action tables outside Sproul Hall, therefore defying the agreement between the administration and the students.[60]  The result led to certain deans at the University citing, in just one day, sixty-five students manning the tables, while over one-hundred students voluntarily “signed complicity statements,” agreeing that they were also guilty. Later, the students who signed the complicity statements were sent disciplinary letters. The student body responded by engulfing the Dean’s office with “835 letters…denouncing the administration’s violation of Constitutional rights.”[61] To further alienate the students, the administration, when Teaching Assistants began advocating at the tables, did not cite them because the administration feared a strike.[62] Both administrative actions alienated the students. Granted, the students broke the agreement through noncompliance with the October 2 agreement, but the administration’s actions alienated the students through singling out undergraduates for harsh disciplinary action, yet taking no action at all toward a group of people who had a so-called legitimate stake in the bureaucratic machine at UC Berkeley. 

Towards the end of November, Kerr decided to go forth with disciplinary action against four students, Jackie Goldberg, Art Goldberg, Mario Savio and Bryan Turner for their involvement with the hostile takeover of the police car.  Kerr believed that his “grant of amnesty in the pact of October 2 had excluded the events of the hostile takeover of the car.” Acting on Kerr’s orders, Chancellor Strong mailed “disciplinary letters” to the four students.[63] This administrative action may have been in response to the students beginning to set up tables, however, the administration’s actions were, once again, suspicious. No other student was being persecuted for his or her involvement in the takeover of the police car; therefore the administration was singling out the most public Free Speech Movement leaders. After thousands of students sat around the car, only the four most vocal were in danger of disciplinary action. 

In response to the administration’s bad-faith bargaining, the frustrations with the failed committees, and their own alienation, the students organized a take-over, through the medium of a sit-in. In early December, more than 1,000 students overtook Sproul Hall.[64] The police began patrolling the building. A police officer falsely reported that the students had ransacked an office. This led to a chain of militant events ordered by Governor Brown and endorsed by President Kerr and the rest of the UC Berkeley administration.[65] After the assistant county prosecutor, Edwin Meese III, received the false report that the students damaged an office, he called the Governor stating that, “’They’re busting up the place. We have to go in.’”[66] At 3 a.m., Chancellor Strong came to Sproul Hall, announcing to the students, once again on Kerr’s orders, that the police were ready to make arrests. About two hundred students fled, anticipating the reality of jail.[67] The police moved in. The students forced the police to carry them out, serving two purposes. The first was to slow down the clearing of the building so that students the next morning would see the arrests. Also, the student demonstrators anticipated the brutality that police would use when carrying them out. Passing students would witness the brutality, therefore building more support for the student movement.[68] Passing students witnessed this brutality when male students were being tossed or dragged down the steps of Sproul Hall. One policeman stated, “Take ‘em down a little slower, they bounce more that way.’”[69] 

This public brutality combined with the lies and the original police threat from October 2, drew more support for the students. In essence, the students had fought for their rights, while the administration fought for the rules, and the students had won. By the end of the December sit-in, only one-third of the students supported the administration.[70] The lies, militancy, and the alienation had finally forced the administration to concede defeat. On Monday December 7, Kerr announced to a student crowd of between 16,000 and 18,000 “amnesty in the disciplinary cases” of Jackie Goldberg, Art Goldberg, Mario Savio and Brian Turner and no disciplinary action taken against the students involved in the December take-over of Sproul Hall.[71]  However, it was apparent to the students that the University had not accepted the principle of free speech.  Mario Savio, after Kerr announced the agreement, sprang to the stage to announce, “A noon rally sponsored by the Free Speech Movement at Sproul Plaza.”[72]  However, before he could make this announcement, police wrestled him to the stage floor and carried him off-stage. In front of 16,000 to 18,000 students, the police, in front of Kerr, his presence implying his authorization, had muffled free speech by using brutality.  The brutality, lies and the alienation culminated in defeat for the Berkeley administration.  On December 18, the Regents announced “new rules that regulated political activity on campus along the lines laid down by the Free Speech Movement activists during the tripartite rule committee discussions in October.”[73]


Six years later, on a campus far removed from UC Berkeley, another public University, SIUC, found itself engulfed in protest.  In reaction to the shooting deaths of four Kent State students by the National Guard and the expansion of the Vietnam War, as well as the ROTC and the Vietnamese Studies Center and the racism and alienation on-campus, SIUC exploded into a violent protest in early May of 1970.  On Thursday, May 7, SIUC students demonstrated in downtown Carbondale, on Main Street and Illinois Avenue, directly adjacent to notoriously busy railroad tracks.[74]  The police and National Guard detoured vehicular traffic.[75]  Students obtained a permit from the city to demonstrate, however, when a small number of students began to obstruct the railroad tracks, violence ensued.  The city of Carbondale, the University and the state police as well as the Jackson county Sheriffs office and the National Guard met and decided to disperse the student demonstrators.[76]  The student demonstrators, numbering approximately 1,500, were taken completely aback by the advancement of the police.[77]  The police force assembled, along with the National Guard, and decided to tear gas the student crowd in order to disperse it.  According to the newspaper The Southern Illinoisan “About forty state police officials fired tear gas into the crowd.”[78]  The students began to flee toward the University, with police officials in pursuit. Tear gas was, once again, used by the police and the National Guard on the students, who believed they could find refuge on campus.[79] By 11 p.m., the students who had moved to the student housing on the east side of campus were vandalizing a police vehicle, therefore the police responded with more tear gas.[80] The Mayor of Carbondale, David Keene, declared a civil state of emergency. A curfew was implemented, forcing all to be inside their residence from 7:30 p.m. until 6 a.m., or be subject to possible arrest.  Students who were arrested for curfew violation or other infractions of the criminal code during this period were subject to summary suspension.[81] The Chancellor of SIUC, Robert MacVicar, in response to this riot, forbade all student gatherings of over twenty-five people on-campus. Also, Mayor Keene prohibited the sale of all alcohol for the upcoming weekend.[82] While students had been permitted to protest in accordance with the city and the approval of the administration, the police officials violently attacked the student activists. The use of tear gas was excessive.  Tear gas and not billy clubs or bullhorns was used to separate students from the railroad tracks.  Students did become violent while the police officials were tear-gassing them, however, the vandalism that the students partook in was a purely reactive gesture in response to the police brutality. The police violence continued into the next day, Friday May 8, when an apartment building only occupied by residents was tear-gassed.[83] But, by Sunday, May 10, all except 250 National Guard retreated from Carbondale.[84] However, on May 11, the police violence resumed. A group of student non-demonstrators were gathered and reported being tear gassed. The police stated “unlawful assembly.”[85] By 9 p.m., the police began to tear gas the east side student housing. In response, the students from the three dormitories began to throw rocks and taunt the policemen.[86] 

On Thursday, May 12, one thousand students gathered at Morris Library with the crowd eventually swelling to 2,500 students.  The students began to march through the streets of Carbondale.  The march led to SIUC President Delyte D. Morris’s home where students began to throw rocks, breaking windows.  The marchers eventually reached the President’s office where MacVicar was, and threw rocks.[87]  After the vandalism, the University indefinitely closed down campus, meaning the administration terminated classes, beginning May 13.[88]  In front of a student crowd at Morris Library, President Morris announced that polling places would be designated around campus for students, faculty and staff to vote in order to see whether the University would remain closed or reopen for the remainder of the spring quarter.[89]  The decision, however, would not rest on the shoulders of the voters.  The Board of Trustees for SIUC would merely consider the vote, but it had final jurisdiction on the decision.[90]

Raymond Dillinger, Jackson County Sheriff, along with Mayor Keene requested more National Guard. By the evening of May 13, 1,200 National Guard were in Carbondale.[91] Along with the newly allocated National Guard, “state police from three districts were ordered into Carbondale to stiffen police units in the city.”[92] Also, all liquor sales in Carbondale were once again forbidden. These measures by the local government and endorsed by the administration equated to militancy and further student alienation. The city government, by militarily preparing for the students, led the students to believe that the city and the University were ready and willing to become violent in order to keep the students in the grip of their idea of peace and conformity. With the past history of police violence and the newly called upon National Guard, the students had reason to believe that they might be violently attacked.  The suspension of liquor sales in Carbondale as ordered by Mayor Keene alienated the students. In suspending liquor sales, the Mayor and the University implied that alcohol was the main cause for student activism, protest and vandalism, not the real issues.   

After the announcement by President Morris in front of Morris Library, the students began to flood the campus, urging others to leave class.  By 1:45 p.m., 1,500 students flooded toward Woody Hall, on the northeast corner of campus, however, only fifty students entered the building.  Mayor Keene called the entire Carbondale police force into action, and at 2 p.m., he requested the state police. This over preparation by the police showed that the University and the local government expected the students to participate in violence and vandalism, not a peaceable protest.  Also, the police possessed the correct gear and permission of the local government to stop student protestors at any cost.  

By 3 p.m., students entered Wheeler Hall, where the ROTC was housed. The students began to ransack and vandalize offices. By 4:30 p.m., Sheriff Dillinger requested the Governor of Illinois, Richard Olgilvie to deploy National Guard. At 5:30 p.m., 300 to 400 students occupied Woody Hall, where police later moved in to clear the building through dispensing tear gas.[93] The militancy and the brutality of the local government, the University administration and the police forces do not compare to the vandalism that the students carried out. The students vandalized property in response to the brutal measures of the police; however, the police, the city and the University used this vandalism as an excuse to abuse the students. The result of the police brutality and the militancy of the administration and the state and local government was the closing of the school until the beginning of the summer quarter.[94] This period allowed a time for both sides to calm frustrations, however, the lasting legacy of police violence and student blame still exists in Carbondale.


Students in 1964 at Berkeley fought against racism and student alienation, and in 1970, students at SIUC struggled with those same issues. The issues did not change in those six years because the administration and the state and local government did not change. Berkeley administrators and the state and local governments failed to achieve any of their objectives due to dishonest negotiating, militancy in the form of police intimidation, and further alienating the student body. President Kerr and his staff failed to fairly implement the decision of the Heyman committee. The administration also failed when Chancellor Strong’s committee dissolved. President Kerr also failed in honest negotiating when he ignoring the fifth point of the October 2 agreement by deciding to take disciplinary action against four students for their contribution in the taking over the police car. Throughout the entire Free Speech movement the Berkeley administration continued to alienate the student body. The Berkeley administration refused to address the issue of in loco parentis, and completely underestimated and undermined the motives of the student activists, believing that those students only wanted to break the rules of the University. This alienation allowed Berkeley students to unite as one against the University. This united front led to the defeat of the administration. The administration also failed due to the police intimidation tactics and brutality. The police threat, from the hostile take-over of the police car combined with the image of students being dragged along the steps of Sproul Hall, created more student support.  The mounting lies, the further alienation of the student body and the police intimidation and brutality led the Berkeley administration to admit failure. 

At SIUC, the administration and the state and local government reacted to the student dissent much like their counterparts at Berkeley. The SIUC administration continued to alienate the student body, and, after the demonstrations began, the University, and local and state government employed police brutality and intimidation, however, the police brutality, like the times, grew more violent. The SIUC administration further alienated students by refusing to accept the reasons why the students were demonstrating. The Vietnamese Studies Center was never taken off campus, nor was the Army ROTC. Removing those institutions from campus was never even discussed. The administration refused to allow students the opportunity to discuss solutions to the escalating war during classes. These student demands, if met, may have prevented the closure of the University and the events preceding it, however, the administration simply ignored the concerns of the students. The police brutality in May of 1970 also contributed to the failure of the SIUC administration. From the excessive use of tear gas to invading innocent apartment buildings, and attacking a peaceful demonstration, the university, local and state police as well as the National Guard beat down the students.    

These two student movements, on the surface, are very different.  One concerned the issue of free speech, while the other confronted the Vietnam War, the killings at Kent State and the local affiliations with the national government. However, at the root of both movements stood racism and student alienation. Nothing significantly changed in the years between 1964 and 1970 that erased racism or alienation from these college campuses. The administrations continued the underestimation of the student motives, and the refusal to listen to the student body at SIUC mimicked Berkeley. Six years passed and the SIUC administration still degraded student concerns as Berkeley had. Police brutality only changed as society changed. The California state government did not call in the National Guard as the Illinois state government had, and tear gas was not used to control the student activists at Berkeley.  However, the intimidation and the violence that emerged at Berkeley did not hinder the SIUC administration from implementing the same strategies, instead, those strategies became bloodier. The attitude toward the students of each administration and the governments surrounding and supporting those administrations did not change. The administrations sought to conform the student body, and when that student body refused, demanding to be heard, the administrations simply beat them into submission. The universities’ refusal to change refutes the adage that the 1960s changed every aspect of society. Many things changed society during the 1960s, however, the attitudes of the authorities was not one of them.   


Primary Sources

Busch, Thomas C. Papers.  Special Collections, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Carbondale Illinois.


Dunayevskaya, Raya, Mario Savio and Eugene Walker.  The Free Speech Movement and the Negro Revolution: A News and Letters pamphlet.  Grand River Michigan, 1965. 


Goines, David Lance.  The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960’s.  Berkeley California: Ten Speed Press, 1993. 


The Presidents Papers.  Special Collections, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 


Secondary Sources


“Confusion, Indecisiveness Reign at SIU.”   Daily Egyptian, Carbondale (Illinois), 14 May 1970.


Goldberg, Robert A.  Grassroots Resistance; Social Movements in Twentieth Century America.  Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1991.


Haverman, Joel.  “Guard Returned to SIU; Reopening Weighed.”  Chicago-Sun Times, 14 May 1970.


“Keene Proclaims New Emergency.”  Daily Egyptian, Carbondale (Illinois), 14 May 1970. 


*Lieberman, Robbie and David Cochran.  “’They Closed the Damn School’: The Party Culture and Student Protest Southern Illinois University During the Vietnam War Era.”  Peace and Change 26 (2001): 


Rorabaugh, W.J.  Berkeley at War.  New York, Oxford: Oxford Press, 1989.


“Tear Gas used to Disperse Crowd.”  Southern Illinoisan Carbondale (Illinois), 8 May 1970. 


“Text Board Resolution.”  Southern Illinoisan Carbondale (Illinois) 17 May 1970.




[1] W.J. Rorabaugh, Berkeley at War (New York, Oxford: Oxford Press, 1989), 18-19. 

[2] David Lance Goines, “The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960’s (Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press, 1993), 113.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Student flyer handed to the Chancellor during the May 7, 1970 demonstrations, The President’s Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[6] Flyer entitled, “Why should you strike classes.”  C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[7] Robbie Lieberman and David Cochran,”’We Closed the Damn School’: The Party Culture and Student Protest at Southern Illinois University During the Vietnam War Era,” Peace and Change26 (2001): 324.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Raya Dunayevskaya, Mario Savio and Eugene Walker, The Free Speech Movement and the Negro Revolution: A News and Letters Pamphlet (Grand River Michigan, 1965). 

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., 16.

[12] Ibid., 15

[13] Rorabaugh, 18.

[14] Student- Community United document entitled, “We Protest.” C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[15]Document entitled, “Carbondale Manifesto” prepared by the Student Government.  C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[16] Rorabaugh, 18.

[17] Dunayevskaya, Savio and Walker, 17. 

[18]“Bulletin to the Faculty and Staff from the Office of the Chancellor.” C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[19]“The Carbondale Manifesto,” prepared by the Student Government. C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 

[20] Ibid.

[21] David Lance Goines, 61. 

[22] Ibid.

[23] Dunayevskaya, Savio and Walker, 17. 

[24]Reasons for discontent in higher education according to faculty sub-council member Howard Olson.  C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 

[25] Ibid.

[26]Document prepared by the Joint Committee on Campus disorders. C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 

[27] David Lance Goines, 62-63. 

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30]Bulletin to the Faculty and Staff from the office of the Chancellor.  C. Thomas Busch papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 

[31] Ibid.

[32] Terry Anderson, The Sixties ( New York: Longman, 1999), 111.

[33] Ibid., 110.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid., 112.

[37] Ibid.

[38] David Lance Goines, 131. 

[39] Ibid, 142. 

[40] Rorabaugh, 21.

[41] Dunayevskaya, Savio and Walker, 19.

[42] David Lance Goines, 162-163. 

[43] Ibid, 163-165. 

[44] Rorabaugh, 21.  

[45] David Lance Goines, 165-166. 

[46] Ibid, 205.

[47] Robert A. Goldberg, Grassroots Resistance; Social movements in Twentieth Century America (Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1991), 177. 

[48] David Lance Goines 217-218. 

[49] Ibid, 222. 

[50] Ibid, 224.

[51] Ibid, 231-232.

[52] Rorabaugh, 26.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid. 

[58] Ibid, 27. 

[59] Ibid.

[60] Goldberg, 182. 

[61] Rorabaugh 29.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid, 30. 

[64] Ibid, 32.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Ibid, 34.

[71] Ibid, 36.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Ibid, 37.

[74]Chronology of events related to the closing of SIU-prepared by Max Turner.  C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[75] NA, “Tear Gas Used to Disperse Crowd, The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale), 8 May 1970.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Document prepared by Max Turner, C. Thomas Busch Papers.

[78] Tear Gas Used to Disperse Crowd.

[79] Ibid.

[80]Document prepared by Max Turner, C. Thomas Busch Papers.

[81]“Special Bulletin from the Office of the Chancellor” May 8, 1970.  C. Thomas Busch Papers, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

[82] Tear Gas Used to Disperse Crowd.

[83]Document prepared by Max Turner, C. Thomas Busch Papers.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Ibid.

[88] NA, “Confusion, indecisiveness reign at SIU, The Daily Egyptian (Carbondale), 14 May 1970.  

[89]Document prepared by Max Turner, C. Thomas Busch Papers.

[90] Joel Haverman, “Guard Returned to SIU; Reopening Weighed,” Chicago-Sun Times, 14 May 1970.

[91] Ibid.

[92] NA, “Keene Proclaims New Emergency,” The Daily Egyptian, 14 May 1970.

[93]Document prepared by Max Turner, C. Thomas Busch Papers.

[94] NA, “Text Board Resolution,” The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale), 17 May 1970. 



Reprinted with permission from the author Katie Laux

© 2003