The archival material submitted by The Ohio State University provides a wide variety of Vietnam era student demonstration files, including fliers, first-hand accounts, photographs, news clippings, films, and recordings. Noteworthy submissions include: the Committee of Inquiry Collection, containing transcripts and recordings of demonstrators; The Photography and Cinema Collection, containing a film of a 1968 student demonstration; and the Spring of Dissent Online exhibit. OSU submissions also contain significant materials related to African-American student concerns, including the Black Studies Broadcast Journal Collection, a civil rights issues oriented radio program done by an OSU professor, and Our Choking Times, an African-American student newspaper. OSU submissions include 11 total collections, representing over 100 cubic feet of manuscript materials, as well as significant audio-visual and born digital content, including:
- Archives Collection on the 1970 Student Demonstrations Collection– The May 1970 Ohio State University student demonstrations were a result of tensions between Ohio State University administration and students over racism, gender inequality, and the Vietnam War. On May 6, 1970, OSU President Novice Fawcett closed the university for 13 days. The collection contains fourteen (14) black-and-white photographs of the student disruptions on the Oval, a flyer, and some administrative records related to the disruptions from various departments on campus.
- Black Studies Broadcast Journal– The Black Studies Broadcast Journal was a radio show done by an OSU professor to discuss civil rights issues and talk to important people within the community.
- Committee of Inquiry Records– Transcripts and recordings of interviews with people who were at the demonstrations. Also includes newspaper clippings, flyers and miscellaneous relevant documents.
- Demonstration Photographs, 1968-1971– Photographs taken during the various demonstrations on campus, organized by subject and then by date.
- Department of Photography and Cinema– Included in this collection are 4 reels of the 1968 Spring Oval student demonstration.
- Harold Enarson Papers– Papers of the 9th president of the Ohio State University, the collection includes several folders relating to the 1970 Student Demonstrations, including correspondence about various situations and topics related to student unrest.
- Office of the President: Novice Gail Fawcett Records (Sections 3 and 4)– Sections relating to student demonstrations include correspondence, publications and various material relating to the president’s response to events on campus.
- Oral Histories– Relevant oral histories include, but are not limited to: William H. Halverson, Robert M. Boyce, Frank W. Hale, David Hopcraft, Tommy O’Shaughnessy, Lou Heldman, Steven Hirsh, David Williams, David Kettler, Jeff Schwartz, Rick Greene, Forrest Brandt, Novice Fawcett, Robert Edwin Jewett, Celia Crossley, Jane O’Shaughnessy. Elaine Hayden Hairston, Harold Enarson, Jack Rimmel Frymier, James Tootle, Edward Q. Moulton, Niki Schwartz, Lucy Caswell, and A.V. Shirk.
- Our Choking Times– A student newspaper created by and for African-American students at Ohio State University. Our Choking Times began in 1970 and was published until 1982 when its name changed to Spectrum and then Dimensions. Dimensions was published until the mid-1990s.
Image: Student Protester in a Tree
In May 1970, The Ohio State University shut its doors for nearly two weeks – the longest period the Columbus campus had ever been off-limits to students and staff. For much of that spring, large and sometimes unruly crowds had been demonstrating over a number of issues, ranging from the Vietnam War to racial and gender inequality. Various student groups had joined together to prompt the administration into taking action on certain demands related to these issues. As the spring quarter wore on, however, little progress had been made, and the number of demonstrators marching across campus rose. Clashes between protesters and police – and eventually the National Guard – grew more heated.
After four students were killed during a May 4 demonstration at Kent State University, OSU administrators decided to prevent a similar scenario by clearing out the campus. The University officially closed on May 7 and reopened May 19, less than a month before finals week. For the most part, the strategy worked: After the campus reopened, there were fewer demonstrators, and the rallies were less contentious. Meanwhile, the talks between student and administrators resumed, with progress eventually made on a number of the students’ demands.
In the end, the physical effects of the demonstrations – injuries to participants or bystanders, destruction to campus property – were temporary, but the cultural impact on the University from that spring of dissent was far reaching and still resonates today