History repeats 1968 and 2024: Columbia University student protesters take over the campus

Bonnie K. Goodman
40 min readMay 6, 2024

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(1968 Originally published on HNN, 4–29–08)

On this day in history…April 23–30, 1968, leftist students take over Columbia University, NYC occupying five buildings on the campus before forcibly being removed by the police. It is fifty-six years later, and history repeats itself in the same week at Columbia University, where student protesters are again taking over the campus and its buildings, and the administration called in the police to end it on April 30, the anniversary of the 1968 raid. As the New York Times aptly put it, “Exactly 56 years to the day after the 1968 student occupation at Columbia University was violently cleared by the New York Police Department, hundreds of police officers moved into the Manhattan campus on Tuesday night to quell a different kind of antiwar protest.” [1]

In 2024, there were protests at Columbia University regarding the Israeli offensive in Gaza, resulting in a significant loss of lives. Similarly, in 1968, students protested against Columbia’s intentions to expand its campus into Harlem. Now, they insisted that the university withdraw its investments from companies connected to Israel. The protest concluded without any violence, yet the students’ strategies remained unchanged. They escalated their protest to such an extent that it disrupted the university’s operations, forcing administrators to take them into custody. On both occasions, the students took control of Hamilton Hall. [2]

On April 17, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel students started a wave of new protests that soon spread across the United States, Canada, and now Europe. The student protesters established a tent encampment at the Ivy League university in New York, calling it the “Gaza Solidarity encampment.” Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a student-led coalition, organized the campus occupation in collaboration with Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, who have been actively involved in pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The university administration responded with a heavy hand and called in the police, who arrested 100 students. The response was the opposite of how Columbia responded in 1968 when they negotiated and waited to call in the police. Administrators cannot win both ways. Then broadcast, print, and photojournalists captured the events; now they spread at super speed with social media, and soon the demonstrations spread to university campuses across the country where pro-Palestinian, or more precisely, anti-Israel protesters, set up camps. On April 30, the anniversary of the last day of the 1968 protest, students again took over Hamilton Hall, occupying it as they had in 1968.

The media and academic worlds are drawing parallels between the historic 1968 protest and the current movement, despite Columbia’s long history of student activism being nearly as old as the nation itself. Mark Rudd, a leader of the 1968 protests, pointed out that the protests then “Sparked a huge increase in student activism around the country. Myself and others spent the entire year traveling the country after April 1968, spreading the spirit of Columbia to campuses. Student protesters are not popular people in the United States of America. We weren’t popular in the ’60s. We accomplished a tremendous amount. But we also helped drive the country to the right.” [3]

Speaking of the 1968 protests’ legacy, Mark Naison, professor of history and African and African American Studies at Fordham University, who was also a participant, said, “When you go to Columbia, you know you’re going to an institution that has an honored place in American protest history.” Whenever there is a movement, you know Columbia is going to be right there.” Naison also noted, “It’s history repeating itself, but it’s also uncharted territory. What we have here is a whole group of people who see these protests as a natural extension of fighting for justice, and a whole other group of people who see this as a deadly attack on them and their history and tradition. And that makes it very difficult for university officials to manage.”

Historian Rosalind Rosenberg, a professor at sister school Barnard College, pointed out that 1968 was a successful protest. “Although the war in Vietnam continued for seven more years, the protesters were, in many ways, successful. They persuaded Columbia to put an end to classified war research, cancel construction of the Morningside Park gym, ask ROTC to leave, and stop military and CIA recruitment.” The Brown University encampment protest has also proven successful when, on April 30, the administration agreed to put divesting from Israel to a vote.

However, in anticipation of spring commencement ceremonies, college and university campuses in 21 states have apprehended more than 1,000 individuals since April 18. More than 25 campuses have taken into custody protesters, while numerous other schools have witnessed demonstrations without any arrests. The university transitioned to a hybrid learning model earlier and has its commencement ceremony scheduled for May 15. Other universities, however, are canceling their ceremonies. Students announced on Friday, April 26, that they have reached an impasse with administrators and plan to continue their encampment until they receive their demands. Columbia officials have expressed optimism about the ongoing negotiations, but that is not the reality. The protests are still going strong countrywide; however, administrators are losing their patience.

Despite criticism from faculty, Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, the trustees, who hold the authority to make decisions regarding the president’s employment back Shafik. A report by the university’s executive committee revealed that Shafik and her administration made choices and implemented measures that have had negative consequences for Columbia University, such as involving law enforcement, stating, “Many actions and decisions that have harmed Columbia University.” The Senate passed a resolution to monitor closely the changes made by the administration.

Outside Columbia University, a group of counter-protesters gathered, proudly waving Israeli flags and passionately advocating for the liberation of hostages currently held by Hamas and other militant groups. The university administration released a statement on Saturday night: “Dialogue between university officials and student organizers is ongoing. We want to be clear: There is no truth to claims of an impending lockdown or evictions on campus.”

Near Columbia University’s protest encampment, hundreds of anti-Israel students supporting the Palestinian cause gathered and were determined to defend it despite the expiration of the deadline to vacate the central lawn. Columbia University gave its students a strict deadline of 2 p.m. to vacate the premises, threatening immediate suspension for non-compliance. Columbia had set a deadline for students to vacate the premises by 2 p.m., threatening to suspend those who failed to leave the encampment, yet there was no indication of any law enforcement or university personnel taking action.[4]

Following the administration’s deadline, the student protest encampment in Gaza still had 80 tents and several protesters remaining. The university clarified that only those students who stayed in the encampment after 2 p.m. would be subject to immediate suspension. This decision did not apply to the numerous other students who were surrounding the camp to safeguard it and demonstrate their solidarity. Among those protecting the encampment were Columbia faculty and staff, who used the excuse that it was about free speech despite the anti-Semitic comments coming from the protests.

Student organizers deemed the university’s response to the protesters’ demand of divestment from companies linked to the Israeli occupation of Gaza to be insufficient. The students want Columbia to cut all ties with Israel. Negotiations between Columbia and the students have come to a halt. Consequently, the students within the encampment promised to stay unless forced to do so. The protests have been filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-Zionist slurs. A video from a January disciplinary hearing of Khymani James, a student organizer behind the Columbia protests, resurfaced. In it, he expressed controversial views, stating that he believes “Zionists don’t deserve to live” and that people should be grateful for his actions. The campus suspended and barred James, and even the White House denounced him for his anti-Semitic remarks.

Student organizers considered the university’s response to the protesters’ demand of divestment from companies linked to the Israeli occupation of Gaza to be insufficient. The students want Columbia to cut all ties with Israel. Negotiations between Columbia and the students have come to a halt. Consequently, the students within the encampment promised to stay unless forced to do so. The protests have been filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-Zionist slurs. A video from a January disciplinary hearing of Khymani James, a student organizer behind the Columbia protests, resurfaced. In it, he expressed controversial views, stating that he believes “Zionists don’t deserve to live” and that people should be grateful for his actions. The campus suspended and barred James, and even the White House denounced him for his anti-Semitic remarks.

Police attempted to suppress demonstrations by implementing roadblocks at intersections, strict instructions for students to stay confined to their dormitories, and the closure of the campus entrance subway station. As the police escorted the protesters from the building, a group of students passionately expressed their support for Palestine, shouting “Free Palestine.” After Columbia’s decision, universities all over the U.S. decided to take action to end the encampment, rising violence, and antisemitic rhetoric and they called in the police, who, on mass, are arresting students and ending the protests.[5]

2024 Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Israel Protests

April 17 — Day One

Columbia University President Nemat Shafik appeared before Congress in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, four months after a heated congressional hearing that resulted in the departures of two Ivy League presidents. Shafik strongly condemned antisemitism on campus and responded to allegations that she has allowed Columbia to become a breeding ground for hatred. She also addressed concerns regarding campus tensions surrounding the Israel-Hamas war. [6]

At the same time, at 4 a.m., 70 Palestinian protesters gathered on East Butler Lawn in tents, displaying banners that read “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” and “Liberated Zone” with an NYPD presence, as well as organizing a teach-in and film screening. The protest involved previously suspended student organizations Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.

April 18 — Day 2

New York police arrested over 100 demonstrators at Columbia, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. The police accused 108 student protesters of trespassing and impeding the government’s operation after dismantling the protest camp. The government suspended students from Columbia and Barnard College. NYC Mayor Eric Adams explained that university administrators sought assistance from the city to address the encampment. [7]

April 19 — Day 3

Students and pro-Palestinian demonstrators put up a strong resistance on Friday, as NYPD officers worked to clear protestors near Frederick Douglass Boulevard and set up barricades outside the Morningside Heights campus. SJP chapters at various universities, including Harvard, have declared their intention to hold rallies supporting the protesters at Columbia. Norman Finkelstein, a scholar with a different perspective, addressed the demonstrators. Both a Muslim Jummah prayer service and a Jewish Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service took place at the encampment.[8]

April 20 — Day 4

Encampment protests spewed anti-Semitic rhetoric toward ten pro-Israel counter-protesters at the university’s Sundial during the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” and off-campus protests. The harassment made Jewish students “fearful for their safety on campus and its surroundings.”

April 21 — Day 5

Through a group chat on WhatsApp, Rabbi Elie Buechler, the director of the Orthodox Union-Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus at Columbia/Barnard, expressed concern for Jewish students, advising them to consider leaving the university due to the presence of what he described as “extreme antisemitism and anarchy.”

Rabbi Buechler expressed, “The events of the past few days, especially last night, have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy. It deeply pains me to say that I would strongly recommend you return home as soon as possible and remain home until the reality on and around campus has dramatically improved. It is not our job as Jews to ensure our own safety on campus. No one should have to endure this level of hatred, let alone at school.” [9]

April 22 — Day 6

Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protesters returned to reestablish the encampment.
Columbia University students found themselves again in a state of increased tension after the university president’s testimony and the subsequent arrest of over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The prestigious university’s campus became a center of intense debate and passionate expression as individuals with differing views on the Israel-Hamas conflict made their voices heard through signs, chants, and a resounding message that reverberated throughout the weekend. The students also held a Seder on the first night of Passover. [10]

Several faculty members led a protest that led Columbia University to cancel classes on April 22, calling it an “unprecedented assault on students’ rights.” Additionally, they have announced a shift to blended learning for the remainder of the semester.

April 23 — Day 7

House Speaker Mike Johnson has demanded that Columbia University President Shafik step down in the face of ongoing protests. Johnson expressed concern about overtaking “the cherished traditions of this university.”

According to some Jewish students, the critique of Israel has resulted in feelings of insecurity and an increase in antisemitism.

President Shafik established a strict deadline for protesters to leave campus by midnight or face potential consequences for clearing the West Lawn. Students with a deep understanding of history organized a Passover Seder within the encampment

April 24 — Day 8

In the early morning hours, protesters halted negotiations at Columbia University in response to the university’s intention to involve the New York Army National Guard. They clarified that they would only resume negotiations once Columbia withdrew its threat.

The Columbia administration decided to grant an extension for the removal of protest encampments. They highlighted the ongoing progress with student protesters who have set up a tent encampment to support the Palestinian cause. The university has also granted an extension for the removal of the tents, emphasizing that the ongoing constructive dialogue will persist for an additional 48 hours.

Student protesters at Columbia University extended their demonstrations to include pro-Palestinian encampments at various college campuses throughout the United States. This movement has gained momentum in New York City, with students at City College of New York and the Fashion Institute of Technology establishing their encampments.

April 25 — Day 9

Columbia University decided to maintain its current investment stance regarding Israel, despite the presence of pro-Palestinian supporters who are camping on the Ivy League campus. Columbia President Minouche Shafik announced that the university is committed to expediting the review process for new student proposals, as suggested by the Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing.

The announcement came after the university notified the demonstrators in the encampment, informing them that they could complete the semester without any issues if they left by 2 p.m. and completed a form pledging to adhere to university regulations until June 2025, their anticipated graduation date. Nevertheless, activists boldly disregarded the imposed deadline, expressing their dissent through spirited chants, applause, and rhythmic drumming emanating from the encampment, which boasted a population of more than 300 individuals. There were no signs of any officials entering the encampment, as more than 120 tents continued to stand.

April 26 — Day 10

StandWithUs organized a counter-march in Columbia, during which pro-Palestinian counter-protesters harassed and targeted the participants. U.S. Representatives Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman visited the encampment, while Columbia library workers disapproved of Shafik’s decision to involve law enforcement and private security in handling the protesters. A large gathering of individuals supporting Israel happened at the intersection of 116th and Broadway. [11]

April 27 — Day 11

Columbia student Khymani James played a prominent role in the protest movement. However, the university suspended him for

his anti-Semitic video, although he apologized. The New York Times questioned the movement’s level of support for Palestinians in Gaza, posing the question, “To what extent is antisemitism tainting the movement in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza?”

The NYPD claimed that external instigators had taken control of the protests and made plans to conduct a raid on the campus.

April 28 — Day 12

The administration urged the protesters to disperse, emphasizing that reinstating the NYPD would not be beneficial.

April 29 — Day 13

Following discussions between the protesters and the university, the administration took a firm stance, warning of potential suspensions for students involved in the encampment. Additionally, they proposed a partial amnesty deal. Even after the deadline had passed, the CUAD decided to remain in the encampment, with faculty members joining together and forming a human chain around it. Later that day, the university initiated the suspensions. A Jewish student filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging a lack of safety measures, prompting the police to establish barricades outside the campus. Alumni requested that Shafik evacuate the encampment.

April 30 — Day 14

During the early hours, student protesters took control of Hamilton Hall, breaking the windows and fortifying their position inside. They renamed the building “Hind Hall” in honor of Hind Rajab, a young girl who tragically lost her life. The campus underwent lockdown amid heightened security measures, with an increased police presence in the vicinity. The NYPD and university declined to provide police assistance, while the administration issued warnings of potential student expulsion.[12]

House Speaker Mike Johnson, along with other GOP lawmakers, announced a comprehensive initiative to address and combat antisemitism on college campuses. In a united effort, Republicans are committed to enhancing scrutiny by expanding investigations and oversight across multiple committees. Johnson expressed: “We will hold these universities accountable for their failure to protect Jewish students on campus. That’s why today we’re here to announce a house-wide effort to crack down on antisemitism on college campuses. Nearly every committee here has a role to play in these efforts to stop the madness that has ensued.”

In response to an escalation in activity, Columbia University witnessed a significant increase in security measures as riot police deployed outside the campus, advising students to seek shelter. The New York Police Department made preparations to conduct a campus operation following authorization from Shafik. Protesters persisted in their chants, and around 9 p.m., the NYPD gained entry to the campus with the approval of the administration. The administration attributed the occupation of Hamilton Hall to the protesters, believing them to be unaffiliated with Columbia. The use of flash-bang grenades led to the arrest of more than 100 protesters. At the end of the night, they had cleared Hamilton Hall and the entire campus, including the encampment.

Columbia University witnessed a significant increase in security measures as riot police deployed outside the campus, advising students to seek shelter in response to an escalation in activity. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced a total of 109 arrests at Columbia University. The New York Police Department made preparations to conduct a campus operation following authorization from Shafik. Protesters persisted in their chants, and around 9 p.m., the NYPD gained entry to the campus with the approval of the administration. The administration attributed the occupation of Hamilton Hall to the protesters, believing them to be unaffiliated with Columbia. The use of flash-bang grenades led to the arrest of more than 100 protesters. At the end of the night, they had cleared Hamilton Hall and the entire campus, including the encampment. [13]

Early Columbia Protests

While the public is well aware of the previous 1968 student protests in Columbia, their protest history dates back to the pre-Civil War era. As historian Mark E. Boren recounts in his book “Student Resistance: A History of the Unruly Subject,” “From 1765 to 1860, student resistance actions and uprisings consistently and often shook American campuses. Columbia, the University of North Carolina, Yale, the University of Georgia, and the University of Virginia all witnessed tremendous student turmoil at various times during the era, primarily due to extremely rigid university behavioral policies, strict rules against drinking, poor university food, and little student participation in government, combined with the strong sense of American liberty and personal independence among students, as well as the prevalence of violence and the justification for the use of force against oppression promoted by the advocates of the American Revolution.” (Boren 36)

In 1915, the Collegiate Anti-Militarism League began at Columbia to protest the United States considering entering the First World War. (Boren 73)

When local authorities halted a planned demonstration in 1932 to support miners in Kentucky, the National Student League gained national recognition. Despite the exclusion of the students from the coal conflict, the use of police violence and the violation of civil rights garnered public sympathy for both the students and miners. The league organized a mass demonstration in New York City to protest the expulsion of the Columbia Spectator student editor. The editor had made allegations of corruption against the school’s food service. The strike proved to be a triumph, leading to the university’s decision to reinstate Harris. The league organized various forms of protest, such as a public trial for President Frederick Robinson, resulting in his conviction for censorship. (Boren 94)

In 1933, Robinson once again became the focus of the league’s attention. This time, the league accused him of infringing upon academic freedom by imposing suspensions on demonstrators and the City College Student Council. The students of City College escalated their protest and demanded Robinson’s ousting from office.

In 1934, a national student strike for peace brought together over 20,000 students from universities across the United States. The National Student League and the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID) joined forces to organize this significant event.

In 1935, a similar strike took place, drawing an impressive number of over 150,000 participants, among them Columbia and Berkeley. (Boren 95)

1968 Columbia Protests

The year 1968 was one of the most turbulent years in modern American history, the year was just beginning and yet as early as April it was already volatile. Opposition to the Vietnam War was at an all-time high, so much so that President Lyndon Johnson chose not to run for another presidential term. Just a few weeks before Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated, and student protests raged across the country’s universities, peaking in April 1968 with the standoff at Columbia University.

In his article “Lionel Trilling & the Crisis at Columbia,” historian Jeffrey Meyers recounts the protests “took place during a volatile and often explosive period in American history: between the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (September 1964) and the student riots in Paris, May 1968, between the assassinations of Martin Luther King in Memphis, April 4, 1968 and of Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles, June 5, 1968, between the March on the Pentagon, October 1967 and the bloody protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, August 1968, between the Tet Offensive February 1968 and the My Lai Massacre, March 1968, and the escalating protest against the war in Vietnam.” (Myers 2003)

Music historian Beate Kutschke in her book, “Music and Protest in 1968” concurs, “In terms of American political life, 1968 has almost mythical resonance. The year of a presidential election is always fraught with partisan tension and general public activism, but the path to this particular showdown bears some exploration. The events which unfolded during the early months of 1968 — the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4 April and Senator Robert F. Kennedy on 5 June; the student protests at Columbia University in April and May — were manifestations of much larger social unrest.” (Kutschke)

The Vietnam War had a significant impact on American cultural life, with 486,000 American troops in Vietnam at the beginning of 1968. By the end of 1968, the total number of American combat deaths had exceeded 30,000. The conflict had a significant impact on American political life, with many Americans having faith in the rightness of American foreign policy. However, by 1968, this faith began to falter, and the public’s anger towards the war became undeniable. The cost of the conflict increased as the 1960s turned into the 1970s, with military and civilian deaths, prisoners of war, and American soldiers missing in action. The Vietnam War was the first military conflict seen on American television, and the reporting became starker. Early in 1968, the disastrous Tet Offensive led to President Lyndon Johnson’s decision to declare his reelection impossible. This shift in public perception of the rightness of American action ultimately led to the election of Richard M. Nixon in November 1968 and a further escalation of the conflict in Vietnam.

On April 23, leftist students began a strike at the university, which lasted eight days, culminating in a riot in the early hours of April 30 when the police busted the students.

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Columbia University

In 1962, Tom Hayden, a twenty-one-year-old student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor created the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Along with other student activists at the university, they wrote out the Port Huron Statement, the organization’s statement of principles. In only two years, there were 40 SDS chapters on university campuses. Among the organization’s purposes was educating their fellow students about “the evils of capitalism, the plight of blacks, and the perfidies of the military-industrial complex.” (McCaughey, 427) In 1965, as the US was going on the offense in Vietnam, SDS turned its attention to the war.

On March 10, 1965, Columbia University established the fifty-second chapter of SDS, led by Ted Kaptchuck and Dave Gilbert. In its first few months, the chapter focused its attention on building its membership, which included campus radicals and sympathetic faculty, and trying to determine what the relationship was between the university and the country’s defense establishment. (McCaughey, 427) There were other leftist student groups at Columbia including the Columbia Citizenship Council (CCC), organized in 1959 with a mission to help the local community. Most of the University’s chaplains sympathized or supported the leftist groups.

During the revolt, a majority of students supported neither the protesters nor the counter-protesters. Columbia University historian Robert A. McCaughey notes in his book Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, “The students who joined SDS, CCC, and anti-war groups and who became sufficiently persuaded of the complicity of the university in the perpetuation of whatever evil they were protesting to move to shut it down were a minority in a minority.” (McCaughey, 428) Columbia University had 20,000 students at the time, 6,000 of whom were undergraduates. By comparison, the radical organizations on campus boasted just three hundred members, with another seven hundred more providing moral support. SDS had just fifty members with another hundred supporters. The majority of the student activists were undergraduates. (McCaughey, 428)

Leading up to the Revolt: SDS Protests 1965–1967

Student protests against the university’s authority commenced in the spring of 1965. The university took minimal actions against the protesters to minimize media attention. University President Grayson Kirk believed the best policy was to keep the disruptions to a minimum, which would have worked. According to McCaughey, “had student protesters wanted immunity in exchange for not directly challenging the president’s disciplinary authority. But it was precisely the latter that the protesters wanted.” (McCaughey, 431) The students primarily opposed military-related recruiters on campus including the NROTC, the Marine Corps, the CIA and Dow Chemical (which supplied Agent Orange for the Vietnam War).

The university’s patience was tested in the spring of 1967 when CIA and Marine Corps recruiters came to the campus sparking anti-war protests. Two incidents prompted President Kirk to ban all indoor demonstrations for the next academic year. By the fall of 1967, SDS seemed to be losing momentum. The majority of Columbia’s students opposed the protests, SDS could not forge alliances with other leftist groups, and the groups were divided by internal battles. The student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, noted on October 30, 1967, that the tactics of SDS were ineffective.

The Three Issues at the Center of the Revolt

There were three central issues behind the revolt with two factions merging for a common goal; opposition to the university’s administration. The first issue was Columbia University’s proposed expansion into Harlem. The university was planning to build a new gymnasium on city park property in Morningside Heights bordering Harlem. Both Columbia students and local residents would be using the gym; however, they would use separate entrances. Although Harlem civic organizations approved the project, militants objecting to the use of separate entrances, claimed this was an example of blatant racism. (Meyers, 2003) African-American students from the Students’ African-American Society (SAS) and the CCC protested the expansion, calling the new building “Gym Crow.”

At SDS, there was a power struggle between Ted Kaptchuk, who wanted to focus on membership, recruitment, and education (what critics referred to as the “praxis axis”) and Mark Rudd, who was more interested in “direct confrontation with authorities.” (McCaughey, 437) Rudd, a junior who had just returned from an extended trip to Cuba, believed in participatory democracy. On March 13, 1968, Rudd was elected chairman of the Columbia SDS chapter on the slogan: “How to get the SDS Moving Again and Screw the University All in One Fell Swoop.” (McCaughey, 437) Rudd was unpopular with many. Columbia’s faculty disliked his arrogance, and those on the radical left objected to his suburban New Jersey upbringing, his athletic country club good looks and his male chauvinism. Tom Hayden described Rudd as “absolutely committed to an impossible yet galvanizing dream: that of transforming the entire student movement through this particular student revolt, into a successful effort to bring down the system.” Hayden also described Rudd as “sarcastic and smugly dogmatic.” (McCaughey, 437)

The second issue that preoccupied radical students was the university’s often-secret involvement and affiliation with the Institute of Defense Analysis. (Conlin, 284) The IDA did not issue contracts, but affiliated universities got preferential treatment from agencies that did. Columbia’s involvement with the IDA was common knowledge. What was not known, however, was the extent of the university’s military research. Columbia’s Institute of East European Studies was accumulating economic data for the CIA, while faculty members may have been conducting some contract research. The news came as a surprise to the university community. SDS was firmly committed to convincing the university to disengage itself from the IDA, and in March 1968, around 1,700 Columbia students signed a petition urging the university to break its affiliation as had other universities such as the University of Chicago.

The third issue was the university’s crackdown on the protesters, though this was slow to materialize. In February when two hundred students protested against Dow Chemical recruiters on campus, they went unpunished, as did Mark Rudd a few weeks later when he shoved a lemon meringue pie in the face of the visiting New York City director of Selective Service. When at the end of March Rudd and a hundred members of SDS staged a new protest at Low Library six of the group’s leaders were identified and put on probation. Immediately the gym issue became relevant, and SDS students began protesting the disciplinary action, declaiming, “No disciplinary action against the Low Six.” (McCaughey, 440) The students claimed their constitutional rights had been violated.

Spring 1968 Events Leading up to the Campus Revolt

In early 1968, the tension that had been mounting around the country’s campuses had “reached a fever pitch.” (Davis, 39) The primary reasons were the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson’s announcement that he would not seek another term, and Martin Luther King’s assassination. SDS saw Johnson’s announcement as a reason to distrust all US institutions including the university administration. Kirkpatrick Sale explains in his book SDS, “April began the escalation of student resistance that would mark this spring as the most explosive period up to that time in the history of American universities.” (Sale, 429) Columbia’s SDS protest coincided with the Tens Days of Resistance, a massive demonstration against the Vietnam War on campuses all over the country. Fifty colleges and universities participated. On the campuses, there were “rallies, marches, teach-ins, and sit-ills, climaxing in a one-day ‘student strike’ on April 26.” As Sale writes, “It was a demonstration of significant proportions — probably as many as a million students stayed away from classes … and yet somehow its impact on the public was slight.” (Sale, 429)

It was the memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. at Columbia that made the April riots all but inevitable. One of the chaplains at Columbia, John D. Cannon, believed there should be a memorial service. President Kirk and Provost David Truman were not invited until they heard about the plan and insisted on participating. Their presence prompted the SAS not to attend. Held on April 9, the service was well attended and was going smoothly until Mark Rudd came to the pulpit while Truman was speaking and “proceeded to declare the service an ‘obscenity’ given Columbia’s systematic mistreatment of blacks and workers King had lost his life championing.” (McCaughey, 441)

Afterwards, Rudd left the chapel with forty other students; the walkout shocked the faculty and administration in attendance. The administration was unable to take disciplinary action against Rudd because Chaplain Cannon essentially blessed Rudd’s action by claiming “that St. Paul’s welcomed the views of anyone ‘who sincerely believes he is moved by the spirit.’” (McCaughey, 441) Although it appalled history Professor Fritz Stern, who caught Rudd before he departed and told him “his actions in the chapel were akin to the takeover of Socialist meetings by Nazis in Weimar Germany.” (McCaughey, 441) As McCaughey claims, “This would not be the last time this analogy was invoked in the weeks that followed.” (McCaughey, 441) SDS found what they believed was a legitimate excuse to protest the administration. SDS adopted the race issue and the gym as their own, and on April 12, the chapter’s steering committee voted to mount demonstrations throughout the spring in protest of the gym and the university’s connections with the Pentagon “war machine.”

Then on April 17 at the SDS general assembly, nearly a hundred students voted in favor of spring demonstrations. April 23 was set as the day for the first day of the protest, which would begin with a noontime rally at the sundial in front of the Low Library. Rudd’s mastermind planning included two pre-protest steps to “assure a crowd at the sundial.” (McCaughey, 441) In a letter entitled “Letter to Uncle Grayson” on April 19 Rudd “listed three non-negotiable demands that SDS had settled on: the cessation of gym construction; Columbia’s withdrawal from the IDA; and no disciplinary action against the Low Six.” (McCaughey, 441) Rudd also began negotiating with other student groups to embrace their issues of concern. According to McCaughey, this “marked a new departure for SAS, which until now had avoided involvement in any campus issues that were not directly related to the circumstances of black students.” (McCaughey, 441)

Although the Ten Days of Resistance was according to Sale “the largest student strike in the history of the country,” it was dwarfed by the sheer size of the Columbia strike, which dominated the press. The media made it seem as if other universities were copying Columbia. (Sale, 429) Over a million students participated in the nationwide strike on April 26. The next day there was a huge anti-war rally in Central Park with eighty-seven thousand pro testers attending. Still, the eight-day saga at Columbia unfolded in the media and stood out in the minds of many as the ultimate student protest. (Davis, 41)

April 23, 1968: Day One

On April 23, 1968, at noon the SDS, CCC, SAS and the university’s black students joined at the sundial in a protest that drew more than a thousand students. (Davis, 39) The SDS and SAS demonstrated at Columbia’s Low Library but decided they needed to take a more active approach. The groups wanted to get into the Low Library to confront President Kirk, but counter-protesters, the anti-SDS–Students for a Free Campus–blocked the front entrance and the building’s rear entrance was locked. Mark Rudd tried to take charge, using a bullhorn to organize the students. Someone spontaneously suggested the group exit to the grounds of the proposed gymnasium. At the gym site, they were prevented from entering by the police and one student was arrested. As a result, SDS’s main grievance shifted to the student that had just been arrested. Rudd wanted to organize “a democratic decision-making event, proposing a future student strike.” (Boren, 174) However, when someone suggested regrouping again at the sundial the frustrated group moved again.

Instead of moving to the sundial, they went to the lobby of Hamilton Hall. It was there that Rudd gained leadership control of the protest, suggesting that the protesters “take a hostage and occupy Hamilton Hall, the main classroom building of Columbia.” (Boren, 174) Their chosen hostage was the university’s interim Dean Henry Coleman, who had not left the building after 6 P.M. in the evening when the majority of the students and faculty had already left. The protesters held him in his office for 24 hours. Coleman was an agreeable hostage, partially because he was treated well by his captors: “We had more food than we could possibly eat.” (Davis, 40) Although the protests had started haphazardly, the students began organizing themselves. Rudd acted as the leader, and “appointed a steering committee.” (Boren, 174)

The students began drafting their demands to the university and organized a standoff with the authorities. They also set about posting all over the interior of the building Che Guevara posters and political slogans. (Boren, 174) As Meyers reports, the students “took their revolutionary style and dress, their beards and berets, from Che Guevara” and seemed, as “Dupee wrote, ‘to unite the politics of a guerrilla chieftain with the aesthetic flair of a costumer and an interior decorator.’ “ (Meyers, 2003) Hamilton Hall became a closed occupation and several dozen armed black activists were invited. (McCaughey, 443) The students made six demands. The first two were the withdrawal from the IDA and a moratorium on building the gym. The others included the right to stage indoor demonstrations, the establishment of open hearings on student discipline, the dropping of charges against the student arrested at the first demonstration, and the granting of amnesty for past, present, and immediate future acts of the protesters. (Colin, 287)

April 24, 1968: Day Two

On April 24, the second day of the revolt the two factions broke ranks, the black students no longer wanting to collaborate with the white ones, and kicked them out of the building. The dynamic changed at midnight when the SAS voted “that an ongoing occupation of Hamilton–now dubbed Malcolm X Liberation College–should be a blacks only project.” (McCaughey, 444) Although Rudd and SDS were shocked, they agreed to leave. The black students began fortifying the building against a possible police attack and they took over keeping Coleman hostage. (Boren, 174–175) The white students not knowing what to do, took up the suggestion by one of the black students to “Get your own building.” (McCaughey, 444) Rudd, SDSers and white student protesters chose to take over the Low Library, and particularly make their headquarters in President Grayson Kirk’s office. They easily took over the building almost uncontested in the early morning hours. Soon however, there were rumblings that the police were approaching, prompting Rudd and other SDS leaders to jump from the window.

The remaining twenty-five students remained there unchallenged for the next six days, with many others joining. Rudd wanted to occupy other buildings, but SDSers voted against it fearing it would scare away support, prompting Rudd to resign briefly his post. The administration made its headquarters in the unoccupied part of Low Library, and although President Kirk wanted to call in the police and resolve the strike quickly, Provost Truman opposed such action. The administration feared the black students would incite residents in Harlem and was cautious in dealing with them. Support grew rapidly for the strike with students taking over other buildings on campus. Students opposed to the strike “began marching on the city campus” and tried to retake Hamilton Hall, without success. (Boren, 175) (McCaughey, 444)

April 25, 1968: Day Three

Day Three ended with graduate students taking over Fayweather Hall. The most important event of the day was the faculty’s decision to try to resolve the strike. The faculty made their headquarters in Philosophy 301 where they convened an emergency meeting. Daniel Bell offered the most popular resolution, which called for the students to vacate the occupied buildings and a tripartite committee consisting of faculty, students, and the administration to decide on appropriate disciplinary action. He ended by claiming, “We believe that any differences have to be settled peacefully and we trust that police action will not be used to clear university buildings.” (McCaughey, 447) The SAS released Dean Coleman, and he joined the meeting that almost unanimously endorsed Bell’s proposal.

Kirk and Truman were not as supportive. President Kirk announced that classes were canceled until Monday, and Provost Truman told the faculty the police might need to be called in. In response, the faculty created the Ad Hoc Faculty Group (AHFG), which would insert itself between the police and the students. The students were, for the most part, were unwilling to work with the faculty. The university hoped to end the standoff by announcing that construction on the gymnasium would stop. But things remained at an impasse for four days. The students demanded amnesty for those involved in the revolt, while the administration resisted, fearful that amnesty would give students an incentive to stage another strike later. (Boren, 175) The day also marked the occupation of another building, after students in Fayerweather considered abandoning their occupation, hard-line SDSers moved on to Mathematics Hall. Later it would be the scene of the most radical protests. National radical leaders came to the campus to endorse the plight of their local chapters. Black Power leaders Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee also came into to speak with the African-American students occupying Hamilton Hall.

April 26, 1968: Day Four

Faculty members were staying round the clock at Philosophy Hall, but in the early morning, Provost Truman warned that the faculty must leave. The administration called in the police “to secure the campus,” and plainclothes policemen scuffled with faculty members at the building. (Boren, 175) Still, President Kirk decided to withhold widespread police action, holding out the hope that the AHFG could work out a compromise. A break seemed in sight after a meeting with SDS leadership; Rudd agreed to meet on the next day, Saturday, with AHFG at Philosophy 301.

April 27, 1968: Day Five

AHFG was willing to offer Rudd full amnesty for the protesters at the meeting, but he exclaimed, “Bullshit,” and left. Day Five also saw the appearance of national SDS leaders including Tom Hayden, who held control over one building. (Boren, 175) Counter-protesters tried to stop food from being delivered to those involved in the strike. Other strike supporters served as supply blockaders around the occupied buildings. A routine set in on campus. With the exception of those in Hamilton, protesters moved in and out of the buildings easily. The protesters made themselves comfortable inside the five buildings they were occupying. Historians Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin recount in their book America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s, “protesters slept in the president’s office, smoked his cigars, drank his sherry, and rifled through his files for politically incriminating documents…. Life inside the ‘liberated’ buildings was tense but passionate, sleepless yet amusing.” (Isserman, 229)

On day five even a marriage took place between two of the protesters, Richard Eagan and Andrea Boroff, who recalled, “We went out on the balcony, and the [university] chaplain proclaimed us children of a new age. There were flowers. There was cake. They took us out and marched us around campus with people banging on pots and pans. . . . Someone had keys to a faculty office and they gave us a honeymoon suite.” (Isserman, 229) The day ended with a rally: “The effective united front among all the variety of SDSers was neatly symbolized on Saturday night, when three SDS leaders addressed a crowd of antiwar marchers who collected outside the university gates: Mark Rudd, Ted Kaptchuk, and Tom Hayden, “ as Sale recounted. (Sale, 437, 438)

April 28, 1968: Day Six

The calm peace was about to turn violent. On Sunday, the AHFG, consisting of sociology Professors Immanuel Wallerstein, Daniel Bell, Allan Silver, history Professors David J. Rothman and Robert Fogelson and economics Professor Peter Kenen, drew up the “Bitter Pill Resolutions”:

1. Cancellation of the gym construction.

2. Columbia’s withdrawal from the IDA

3. Establishment of the principle of collective punishment for the building occupiers

4. The disavowal by the faculty of either party, students or administration, that refused to accept these resolutions. (McCaughey, 452)

The faculty involved with AHFG voted in favor of the resolutions, but when Kenen and Bell presented them to Provost Truman, he asked them not to present them at the joint faculty meeting or he would resign. At the meeting, 400 members of the faculty from the university’s six schools decided to take a centrist position, neither repudiating their president nor abandoning the students. (McCaughey, 453) Meanwhile, outside of Low, the power struggle between strikers and counter-protesters increased, reaching a boiling point as the anti-protesters circled the building, blocking the delivery of food. The scene, featuring strikers precariously balanced on window ledges, Life magazine famously captured in an iconic photograph.

April 29, 1968: Day Seven

Day seven was make or break in the strike and became known as “the day of decision.” Desperate to resolve the matter, the administration told the police to prepare to remove the students in the next 24 hours if they would not agree to end the strike. The intervention would take place in the early morning hours. This detail was kept from AHFG. President Kirk was open to considering the “bitter pill” resolutions, but the university’s trustees wanted changes made. (McCaughey, 455) The protesters’ reaction to the resolutions showed that police action was inevitable. The SDS’s Strike Coordinating Committee refused to compromise without a guarantee of amnesty. Hamilton Hall protesters also refused to go along. Only the Majority Coalition accepted the resolutions, and after one last skirmish with Low’s food suppliers, they vacated their barrier to the building.

April 30, 1968: Day Eight

Eight days into the standoff, there was no solution in sight. The two groups could not meet in agreement, and university officials were concerned that the confrontation was only escalating. As Boren writes: “With major facilities of the campus held by student radicals, a growing national interest in the students’ revolt, and the threat that residents of Harlem might decide to intervene, President Kirk gave the police permission to remove the students on April 30, eight days into the occupation.” (Boren, 175) It was the only way to end the stalemate. The administration, the police, and Mayor Lindsay feared that despite an attempt to remove the students quietly, there would be a riot. It was this fear that had prolonged the strike for so long. One of the mayor’s advisers, Barry Gottehrer, who had watched the proceedings develop since early on in the strike, believed police action could “result in a massacre.” (McCaughey, 456) Mayor Lindsay looked for advice from Yale’s President Kingman Brewster, who told him, “the very future of the American university depended on punishing the strikers.” (McCaughey, 456) His advice helped persuade the mayor to allow the police to move in.

In making that decision, the university administration was giving up its right to control the situation, leaving the police in charge. Provost Truman claimed afterward: “It was like deciding to take an airplane ride and having to leave everything in the air to the pilot.” (McCaughey, 456) The police intended to clear each building one at a time. A thousand police officers were sent in to remove the approximately 1200 students. Police would enter unarmed and the removed students would be transported in vans to jail and booked. Many things could go wrong and ultimately they did. Outside, students and faculty could attempt to stop the police from entering, and inside the officers would be dealing with uncooperative students. It was the perfect recipe for an eventual riot.

At 2:00 A.M., police officers entered the campus to break up the revolt. James Kirkpatrick Davis says the “assault by officers” lasted “nearly to dawn.” (Davis, 41) The first building emptied out was Hamilton Hall; the black students holding the facility had agreed in advance to leave peaceably. Fifteen minutes later the eighty-six protesters were escorted out of the front entrance. The second building emptied was Low Library, at 2:25 A.M. When the police entered they met only passive resistance; ninety-three students were arrested. As one student recounted: “We all gave passive resistance and were dragged out–heads were banged, clothes were torn, some people were bleeding. Nothing serious though.” (McCaughey, 457) Avery Hall was next at 2:30 A.M. After students refused to leave the police broke down the door. Inside they encountered some resistance and both students and police officers received minor injuries; forty-two students were arrested.

With each building, the resistance escalated, and it became more difficult to remove the protesters. Fayerweather Hall was the next building the police entered at 2:45 A.M. There the police encountered faculty and students who stood in their path in front of the doors. In the scuffle history Professor James Shenton received a head wound. The injuries continued to mount inside as students resisted the police; 286 students were forcibly removed. The last building was the Mathematics Hall, which was the most difficult to clear. It was there that the most radical students, SDSers, and Mark Rudd, were held up. The lights were turned off, leaving the police in the dark. Students poured liquid soap all over the stairs to hinder the officers’ access. Students resisted removal and were taken out by force and injured in the process. They threw “bottles, flashlight batteries, furniture and anything else they could get their hands on at the oncoming police.” (Davis, 41)

They could get violent, “biting, scratching, punching and even kicking police officers.” (Davis, 41) Stairwells and halls were barricaded with broken furniture, and even a janitor was thrown down a staircase to stop the police from advancing. (Davis, 41) In the end, 203 students were removed. In a little over an hour, all of the buildings were cleared of 711 strikers: 239 were from Columbia, 111 from Barnard, and the rest from other universities and college campuses. Three faculty members were arrested. (Davis, 41) The removal process was far more peaceful than many had feared with only 148 injuries, most of them minor. One police officer suffered a permanent back injury in the process.

However, as observers, students, faculty, and families on the South Field were watching students being placed in the vans, a call went out from officers in the vans to other police on campus. It was then that the police came charging at the crowd, and riots and violence commenced. As McCaughey recounts: “A phalanx of police charged the spectators in the South Field, forcing them to retreat south and west until they were backed up against Ferris Booth Hall and Butler Library.” The gates were locked and the crowd could not escape the police. That was where the worst confrontations and violence occurred. Peter Kenen observed, “Even those of us who were intellectually ready for police action were not emotionally ready for what we saw.” (McCaughey, 459) As Davis states, “the New York Police Department received the highest number of complaints ever received for single police action. This was also the largest police action in the history of American Universities.” (Davis, 42) In the process, the police injured hundreds of students and faculty and arrested hundreds more. The day would be remembered as the Battle of Morningside Heights. (Boren, 175)

The Aftermath

When the standoff was finally over seven days later on April 30, 1968, Columbia’s president Grayson Kirk went into his office at 4:30 A.M. to survey the damage. Protesters had placed a sign on his window ledge that read “LIBERATED AREA. BE FREE TO JOIN US.” (Davis, 39) The state of the office surprised Kirk and the police officer who accompanied him. Kirk wondered, “My God, how could human beings do a thing like this?” The officer exclaimed, “The whole world is in these books. How could they do this to these books?” (Davis, 39) Provost Truman wondered: “Do you think they will know why we had to do this, to call in the police? Will they know what we went through before we decided?” (Davis, 39)

The university remained closed for the next week. Meanwhile, student radicals and SDS planned their next protests. For the rest of the term, the students essentially remained on strike. (Boren, 175) On May 21 the students “placed a poster in Ferris Booth Hall which warned of ‘Showdown №2.’” (Davis, 42) They also distributed flyers that claimed: “Can an administration, which helps make weapons for Vietnam, steals people’s land and homes discipline anyone?” (Davis, 42) May 22, 1968, marked the second showdown, a much more violent revolt than the April strike. Students occupied Hamilton Hall again, and the more radical among the protesters set fires to parts of the campus. With this revolt, the administration wasted no time and called in the police.

Again, a thousand police officers were called to campus, and the confrontation turned violent. As Davis reports, the police “were in no mood to be pushed around by rowdy college students. Students threw bricks, rocks, and bottles at the lawmen. The police gave no quarter. It was a bloody, wild fight.” (Davis, 42) As with the last strike, the police forced back the crowds that had assembled to watch. Two hundred students were arrested. In a final revolt, that academic year in June students and faculty “dramatically marched out of Columbia’s official commencement ceremonies and held a counter-commencement exercise, officiated by former Sarah Lawrence College President Harold Taylor.” (Boren, 176)

Many of the liberal students at Columbia wanted to reform and restructure the university; many of the students’ demands were met to accomplish this. The university wanted to move on from the strikes, and in August President Kirk resigned, another marker of change that pleased the students. With the changes, SDS lost its less radical liberal advocates. (Boren, 176) Dick Greeman, an SDS veteran and one of the few Columbia faculty members that unconditionally supported the radicals wrote them: “To student rebels, allies must be sought in the black ghettos and in the ranks of labor, not on campus. It means that ‘a free university’ will only exist after we have won a ‘free society’ “ (Sale 440, 441) Many of the radicals left the university after that spring, while others were suspended for the most destructive actions, including Mark Rudd, who soon became the leader of the violent radical group, the Weather Underground.

The events at Columbia radicalized the student movement. The SDS’s slogan of “two, three, many Columbias” inspired radical students all across the country. As Boren explains, “The incident immediately ignited a number of student power demonstrations on campuses throughout the United States, fueled more by antiestablishment sentiments than by specific attainable goals.” (Boren, 176) Rudd later admitted that the stated reasons for the revolt at Columbia were just an excuse to challenge authority. “We just manufactured the issues…. The gym issue is bull. It doesn’t mean anything to anybody.” (Meyers, 2003) As Sale observes: “Conservative critics were right, for the wrong reasons, when they argued that if the university had given in on these demands the radicals would have found three others just as urgent; or, in the words of a famous Berkeley slogan, ‘The issue is not the issue.’” (Sale, 435)

Protests after 1968

Following the infamous 1968 protest and building occupation, several subsequent protests were less discussed, with students again targeting Hamilton Hall.

1972: In April, students staged a powerful demonstration by locking themselves inside Hamilton Hall during antiwar protests, effectively barricading the doors with furniture. The police evacuated the building through an underground passageway in the early morning, fortunately without any injuries or arrests.

1985: In April, a group of students made a bold statement by barricading Hamilton Hall for three weeks. They demanded the university divest from indirect investments in South Africa, pointing out the country’s discriminatory apartheid policy. The demonstrators renamed the building Mandela Hall, paying tribute to the iconic figure Nelson Mandela. When a judge ordered the students to remove the chains and padlocks from the front doors of the hall, their demonstration came to an end.

1996: For four days, a group of 100 students took over Hamilton Hall, advocating for the establishment of an ethnic studies department at the university. Additionally, a small number of students engaged in a hunger strike that lasted for two weeks.[14]

Each subsequent student protest at Columbia seems to follow the same pattern, with history repeating itself. However, the 2024 protests at Columbia and across the continent do not focus on issues directly affecting the students, nor do they target their university administrations or politicians. Rather, these protests are filled with vitriolic antisemitic rhetoric geared towards a country, Israel, Zionists, and Jews that support Israel. The so-called pro-Palestinian protesters claim to support Palestinians, but these students do nothing to help the Palestinians in reality; instead, more accurately, there are anti-Israel protests, making it the most vicious student protest movement in history.

McGill University Professor Gil Troy pointed out about the current wave of campus protests, “Please spare us the false 1960s’ analogies. Most college activism then opposed abstract entities like “the man,” the “establishment,” the “president,” the “war.” Today, too much of the “activism” is deeply personal, especially against fellow students who dare to be Jewish or Zionist…. IT’S TIME to start thinking big — because our students and our society face a growing problem. Thinking that firing some university presidents will solve today’s academic crisis is like deciding that recycling newspapers saved the planet. The rot runs much deeper; it’s systemic, to use that favorite academic term. Only a multidimensional approach can calm this craziness.” [15]


Boren, Mark E. Student Resistance: A History of the Unruly Subject. New York: Rutledge, 2019, 2001.

Conlin, Joseph R. The Troubles: A Jaundiced Glance Back at the Movement of the Sixties. New York: Watts, 1982.

Davis, James K. Assault on the Left: The FBI and the Sixties Antiwar Movement. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1997.

Isserman, Maurice, and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Lewis, Michael J. “Activism & Architecture: A Tale of Two Cities,” New Criterion, Volume: 16. Issue: 10, June 1998.

McCaughey, Robert A. Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Meyers, Jeffrey. “Lionel Trilling & the Crisis at Columbia,” New Criterion, Vol. 21, January 2003.

Sale, Kirkpatrick. SDS. New York: Vintage Books, 1974.

Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS, is a historian, librarian, journalist, and artist. She is pursuing an MA in Jewish Education at the Melton Centre of Jewish Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of the recently released “On This Day in History…: Significant Events in the American Year,” and “A Constant Battle: McGill University’s Complicated History of Antisemitism and Now anti-Zionism,” which will be released as an ebook and paperback on May 14, 2014.” She has a BA in History and Art History and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University. She has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies, where she focused Medieval and Modern Judaism. Her research area is North American Jewish history, and her thesis was entitled “Unconditional Loyalty to the Cause: Southern Whiteness, Jewish Women, and Antisemitism, 1860–1913.” Ms. Goodman has been researching and writing about antisemitism in North American Jewish History, and she has reported on the current antisemitic climate and anti-Zionism on campus for over fifteen years.

She is also the author of among others, “Silver Boom! The Rise and Decline of Leadville, Colorado as the United States Silver Capital, 1860–1896” (2008), “On This Day in the History… Of American Independence Significant Events in the Revolutionary Era, 1754–1812” (2020), and “We Used to be Friends? The Long Complicated History of Jews, Blacks, and Antisemitism” (2020). She contributed the overviews and chronologies to the “History of American Presidential Elections, 1789–2008,” edited by Gil Troy, Arthur M. Schlesinger, and Fred L. Israel (2012). She is the former Features Editor at the History News Network and reporter at Examiner.com, where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She currently blogs at Medium, where she was a top writer in history, and regularly writes on “On This Day in History (#OTD in #History)” Feature. Her scholarly articles can be found on Academia.edu.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/01/nyregion/columbia-university-protests-arrests.html

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/01/nyregion/columbia-university-protests-arrests.html;


[3] https://www.abc4.com/news/top-stories/ap-top-headlines/ap-how-columbia-universitys-complex-history-with-the-student-protest-movement-echoes-into-today/

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/29/nyregion/columbia-student-protest-encampment.html

[5] https://www.jta.org/2024/05/01/ny/police-raid-columbia-u-building-occupied-by-anti-israel-protesters-arresting-dozens

[6] https://www.fox5ny.com/news/columbia-university-protests-today-timeline

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_Columbia_University_pro-Palestinian_campus_occupation

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_Columbia_University_pro-Palestinian_campus_occupation

[9] https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2024/04/21/rabbi-advises-jewish-students-to-return-home-as-soon-as-possible-following-reports-of-extreme-antisemitism-on-and-around-campus/

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_Columbia_University_pro-Palestinian_campus_occupation

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_Columbia_University_pro-Palestinian_campus_occupation

[12] https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/01/nyregion/columbia-university-protests-arrests.html

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_Columbia_University_pro-Palestinian_campus_occupation

[14] https://ca.news.yahoo.com/factbox-columbia-building-barricaded-students-150451592.html

[15] https://www.jns.org/when-professors-propagandize-students-suffer/;



Bonnie K. Goodman

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University) is a historian, librarian, and journalist. Former editor @ History News Network & reporter @ Examiner.com.