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Watkinson Library - Virtual Museum

On Campus, Fall 1966—Spring 1970

During the late 1960s, Trinity College underwent its share of turmoil related to changing student expectations, new curriculum choices, and anxiety over the involvement of the United States in southeast Asia. Even before the class matriculated in 1966, student activism and social protest became increasingly visible and better organized. A Trinity chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had been founded in February of that year. The Trinity Association of Negroes (TAN) was established in April 1967 and renamed itself Trinity Coalition of Blacks (TCB) during the following year. At the same time, college administrators and faculty seemed to be open to the idea of letting students contribute to the transformation of the curriculum, the guidelines for selecting prospective students, and the decision to change the school's composition by allowing women to apply.

This highly selective collection captures just a slice of the experiences of the Trinity class of 1970. Events may be followed more closely by reference to the coverage in the Trinity Tripod and local newspapers.

Hover cursor over each article to browse the titles of each article. 

Click on itemsto read further.

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Timeline

Among the most notable events between fall 1966 and spring 1970:

  • the Curriculum Revision Committee, which included Steven Bauer '70 and Eric T. Rathbun '70, formed in March-April 1967;

  • a call for a general student strike in February 1968;

[Series of Articles] by Robert Washington '69 and Stuart Hamilton '70
  • the Trinity College Council, an advisory group of faculty, administrators, and students, including James M. McClaugherty '70, was formed to negotiate a number of concerns important to students;

  • 33 Trinity students, including at least 17 members from the class of '70, spent the spring semester of 1969 taking classes at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie (NY) as part of a four-college exchange program to understand the issues around becoming coeducational, which Trinity's Trustees approved on January 11, 1969;

  • a large group of students demanded in early 1970 that the Trinity faculty offer a teaching position to Professor Sumner (Chuck) Stone, an African-American who had taught as a visiting professor at Trinity, though Stone ultimately turned down the eventual job offer;

"Demonstrators Demand Explanation: Lockwood Says Appointment Group's Deliberations Must Remain Confidential"
"Trinity Students Back Poll", [February 2, 1970], [photo caption by Hartford Times]
  • a fire bomb on March 25, 1970 destroyed an office in Downes Memorial, near the administrative suite of President Theodore Lockwood; and

  • a voluntary general strike in May 1970, of some 800-900 students who protested the Cambodian intervention by writing letters and circulating petitions.

Just weeks before Trinity's class of 1970 graduatedon May 2, 1970four Kent State students lay dead at the hands of National Guardsmen and, on May 15, 1970, two African-American students at Jackson State College were killed (and others injured) by city and Mississippi state police.

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"The Lockwood Years: A look back at his thirteen-year presidency" [excerpt]

Fall 1981-Winter 1982

"The Early Years": [Coeducation, excerpt]

April 1990-Fall 1990

"25 Years Out: Reflections from the Class of '70 on Life and Trinity"

June-September 1995

Reflections by Participants

To give perspective of time's passage, participants commented decades after the tumultous on-campus events.

Secondary Accounts

To give added context, a non-participant historianin this case, the former Trinity Archivist Peter J. Knapp, class of 1966describes the 1968 sit-in.