Blogs > Cliopatria > Some Noted Occupations ...

May 4, 2005 5:57 pm


Some Noted Occupations ...



Brandon Watson at Siris has an extended note about providential history, which is largely in agreement with Jon Dresner's"Worthwhile Discussions."

So, you are denied tenure. If you're a male, you strip naked, climb the vines of ivy on the walls of your building, and get the decision reversed. If you're a female, don't even try it. Margaret Soltan and Scott Jaschik have an interesting exchange about this piece in comments at University Diaries.

KC Johnson's reflections on"The Academy and the Solomon Amendment" looks back to the efforts to exclude the military presence on American campuses. Scott Glabe,"The Occupation of Parkhurst Hall," Dartmouth Review, 22 April, recalls the takeover of Dartmouth's administration building by Students for a Democratic Society on 6 May 1969. They were protesting the refusal of the College faculty to end ROTC on the campus immediately. Thanks to John at In the Shadow of Mt. Hollywood.

Jon Dresner asks if the occupation of campus buildings ever produced real results. I never joined the occupation of an administration building as a student in the 1960s. I didn't do that until I was a faculty member at Antioch College thirty years later. We were protesting the administration's failure to go to the aid of a female student who was raped by an adjunct faculty member in a study-abroad program in Egypt. Actually, the Dean of Students office wanted someone to go into the building to be sure that the students didn't cut off all telephone service to the campus and I was the only faculty member they were willing to admit.

Antioch students had a reputation for getting real serious about occupying buildings. When they occupied another building twenty-five years earlier, they had poured bags of cement into the building's water supply lines and, for another twenty-five years, that beautiful old building that Horace Mann had built in the 1850s was effectively closed down. When I arrived at Antioch in 1991, plastic sheeting flapped from its windows and pigeons flew in and out. By the time I got into the administration building in 1994, the students had already poured glue into the locks on the doors to the President's office. Besides keeping the telephone lines open, I persuaded the students not to go after my colleague, Hassan Nejad, who directed the study abroad program. He never thanked me for that. Did we accomplish anything? Not much. We got their attention.
Update: I appreciate Leo Edward Casey's corrections in comments about the student occupation of the administration building at Antioch College in 1973. He was there then. I was not.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Ralph E. Luker - 5/4/2005

I should add that I do vouch for the accuracy of my report on the administration building in 1994. As I recall, President Guskin threatened the suspension of the occupying students from school and I stayed through the night with them as they negotiated a peaceful settlement with him.


Ralph E. Luker - 5/4/2005

Thank you for correcting me, Mr. Casey. One would have thought that at some point in my three years at Antioch someone would have told me the truth of the matter. I reported it as it was told to me.


Leo Edward Casey - 5/4/2005

RE: Antioch students had a reputation for getting real serious about occupying buildings. When they occupied another building twenty-five years earlier, they had poured bags of cement into the building's water supply lines and, for another twenty-five years, that beautiful old building that Horace Mann had built in the 1850s was effectively closed down.


Sorry, but I was there, and this version -- whatever role it may have played in the Antioch equivalent of urban legend a quarter of a century later -- is not even close to the truth. No one occupied the building that was restored in 1994 in the late 1960s and early 1970s [I can't for the life of me remember if it was North or South Hall which is the building in question, but I do remember in my mind quite clearly how they both flank the main adminsitrative building; one was a working dormitory, the other a closed building in need of repair], because it had been closed down for some years prior since it was in need of basic repair -- little things like a new roof, and such, and the college did not have the money to take care of it. The main administrative building was occupied in the '73 strike, and some stupid damage was done to it by a bunch of vandals the night before the county sheriff opened it by force pursuant to a court injunction. The nature of the damage was setting off stink bombs, turning water on to flood parts of the building, breaking some pipes and that sort. Within a couple of days it was fixed and everything working.

Subscribe to our mailing list