Vietnam War Peace Movement
The Vietnam War was a difficult time in our nation’s history. Peaceful protests occurred throughout the country, especially on college campuses. Many students believed that the war and the draft was unjust. Protests and peace rallies took place on the University of Cincinnati’s campus throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s in response to the war in Vietnam.
In the Spring of 1970s, the war in Vietnam began to accelerate and protests on college campuses accelerated too. On April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon announced that he had authorized an invasion of Cambodia by U.S. troops. The next day, approximately 500 students gathered on campus at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio to protest the escalation. That evening, some protests turned violent in downtown Kent. Following that the mayor called the Governor of Ohio to request help from the National Guard. During a protest on May 4, the National Guard opened fire on the crowd. Wounding 12, killing 4 students. A similar situation occurred at The Jackson State University with police officers opening fire killing 2 students.
After these events, the protest erupted at UC and other colleges and universities. Now the protest were not just against the war in Vietnam and the draft, but also the killing student protesters. At the University of Cincinnati, students staged an occupation of the administration building (see the photos below). Fearing additional violence, the University of Cincinnati and many other colleges and universities closed for the remainder of the semester.
Vietnam War protest Posters: Campus demonstrations over the escalating Vietnam War and the invasion of Cambodia, the deaths of protesters at Kent State University and Jackson State University, and discontent with the administration’s efforts in enfranchising African American students led to the occupation of Van Wormer Hall and Beecher Hall. UC came to a standstill as students, faculty, staff, and administrators grappled with the issues of world turmoil being faced at the university.
Resources for Further Information on Vietnam War Protests at UC and on other College Campuses
"Students Occupy Buildings," Univesity of Cincinnati News Record, May 8, 1970 https://drc.libraries.uc.edu/bitstream/handle/2374.UC/1754/1970_05_08.pdf?sequence=1
Jerry M. Lewis and Thomas R. Hensley, "The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy." https://www.kent.edu/may-4-historical-accuracy
Jessica Pearce Rotondi, "How Nixon's Invasion of Cambodia Triggered a Check on Presidential Power," History.com https://www.history.com/news/nixon-war-powers-act-vietnam-war-cambodia
Kevin Grace, "Protest! The Campus and Reaction Against War," UC Libraries LiBlog, https://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/liblog/2010/03/protest-the-campus-and-reaction-against-war/