Protest at the University of Virginia

One might imagine that revolutionary sentiments would run high at

the University created by one of our nation's great revolutionaries, Thomas Jefferson. But compared to Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley and others, the move to protest here at the University gathered momentum slowly. Radical student publications began appearing by October of 1966, with the appearance of the Virginia Patriot, followed in 1967 by the Virginia Weekly. The Sally Hemings' Newsletter came later, and each called in varying degrees for a radical departure from the status quo. President Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia in April 1970, and the killing of four students by National Guard troops at Kent State University on May 4, galvanized many of the University students and set off a wave of protests that in effect closed down the University for several days. Attorney William Kunstler and Yippie Jerry Rubin came to lend support, buildings were occupied, and marches were held down Rugby Road. Finally, on Friday May 8th, after a tense evening of protests and marches, 200 baton-waving policemen stormed the Lawn and arrested 68 students. University President Edgar Shannon read his now famous anti-war speech on the steps of the Rotunda two days later, and the volatile situation that had threatened to close the University, slowly subsided as students went home for summer break.

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