1968: Columbia in Crisis

1968: Crisis at Columbia


The occupation of five buildings in April 1968 marked a sea change in the relationships among Columbia University administration, its faculty, its student body, and its neighbors. Featuring documents, photographs, and audio from the University Archives, 1968: Columbia in Crisis examines the the causes, actions, and aftermath of a protest that captivated the campus, the nation, and the world.

This online exhibition is based upon a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library from March 17 to August 1, 2008.

Unless otherwise noted, all images and documents are from collections found in the Columbia University Archives.

Exhibit Curator

Jocelyn Wilk

Causes »

The events and situations which contributed to the student protests of April 1968.

Timeline of Events »

A timeline summary of the events of April 23-30, 1968.

The Protests  »

A more detailed description of what transpired on campus - inside and outside the occupied buildings - during the student protests of April 23-30, 1968. This section includes audio of a WKCR promotional tape detailing the radio station's coverage of these events.

The Bust »

Details the events and responses to the April 30, 1968 police bust of occupied campus buildings.

Campus "Liberated" »

Information about the May 1968 strike and some of the other after-effects of the police bust.

Commencement »

The 1968 commencement was like none other in Columbia's modern history. This section includes audio of the commencement speech given by Professor Richard Hofstadter.

Consequences »

What happened at Columbia as a result of the April 1968 protests.

Bibliography and Resources »

1968: Columbia in Crisis is but a summary of a complex and compelling event in the history of Columbia University.  The following list of published and primary sources is provided should you wish to learn more.

Columbia University Libraries / Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5590 / rbml@libraries.cul.columia.edu