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Collection on Student Unrest

Identifier: USRC

Scope and Contents

The Collection on Student Unrest consists of documents dated 1965 to 1971. Materials include official university press releases, student produced flyers, and miscellaneous notices regarding various student protests on campus, especially the liberation of the student center and the demands and protests of the Black Student Alliance (BSA) and the Mexican-American Committee for Equality (MACE). Newspaper clippings are from local and regional papers covering the protests and reaction of the administration; topics are wide ranging and cover the larger protests on campus, such as the liberation of the student center and the BSA/MACE protests, but also arson and vandalism on campus. There is little coverage of the arson in Old Main. Most of the 2 and 3 inch reel-to-reel tapes were recorded by the Office of Information and Public Service and are of official meetings between the BSA and MACE members and the university administration. Some miscellaneous reel-to-reel tapes are also in the collection, including a recording of Lauren Watson, a leader of the Denver Black Panthers, who attended the BSA/MACE sit-in. Items that have been digitized are available in CSU's digital repository, Mountain Scholar.


  • Creation: 1965-1971


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Colorado State University, like many college campuses, saw a rise in student protests in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Protests covered civil liberties and civil rights, women's rights, control of student resources by students, and government war policies and actions.

One of the first protests of the 1968-1969 academic year at CSU was to liberate the student center. In October 1968, members of the Student Center Board felt they had little to no input on the policies of the student center as the Director of the Student Center was not obligated to take into account the board's wishes in his decision making. The students wanted to be given "policy and program control over the student center." Approximately 3,000 students participated in a liberation of the student center, a peaceful protest to try to change the "philosophy of student center operations." One proposal put forward was a resolution to sell 3.2 beer in the student center. This action was supported by the joint faculty-student body, the Student Life Committee, but was rejected by the State Board of Agriculture. In protest, students held a "beer-in" which over 100 students attended, with approximately 30 drinking 3.2 beer on campus, a violation of campus regulations and city ordinance. Those caught drinking beer on campus were disciplined but the protest did bring about change when President William Morgan assigned policy decisions to the Student Center Board. In 1969 the State Board of Agriculture did allow for consumption of 3.2 beer on the CSU campus.

On November 14, 1968, a group of 15 students and non-students barricaded themselves in the upper floor of the Agriculture Building to protest the recruiting on campus by Dow Chemical Co., a company which the protestors associated with supporting and funding the Vietnam War. The protesters were forcibly removed from the building and prosecuted.

The Black Student Alliance (BSA) formed in the autumn of 1968 to oppose racial segregation and advance civil rights; the Mexican-American Committee for Equality (MACE) formed concurrently. (MACE later became the Union of Mexican-American Students.) The BSA and MACE established joint demands and presented them to CSU administration on April 7, 1968. On April 8, a delegation of members went before the Board of Agriculture reiterating their demands and asking for swift action. On April 9, members occupied the Administration Building to show resolve in their demands and moved their non-violent protest to the lawn of President Morgan's home when they were told staying after business hours would be illegal trespass. Non-CSU students began to attend the gathering including Lauren Watson, a leader of the Denver Black Panthers. The following day the protesters returned to the Administration Building. The demands of the BSA and MACE resulted in the formation of a task force that recommended adding 400 "new Chicano, Black, and Indian students of academic potential for the academic year 1969-1970." After the task force recommendation a meeting was held with the Governor and Joint Budget Committee to ask for increased funds to recruit these 400 students; the General Assembly rejected the special request and the CSU student body did not support a 50-cent student fee increase to be dedicated to minority student recruitment.

The January 1970 CSU-Brigham Young University (BYU) basketball game was marked by a protest against the Mormon Church's racial policies. An approved, non-violent protest was held at the start of the game, but during half time a group of students ran onto the court while giving the black power salute. Calls from the Dean of Students to disperse were ignored and as riot police arrived, fighting between protestors and police broke out. Items were thrown into the crowd and one newsman was knocked unconscious. Racial tensions remained high on campus for the rest of the academic year.

Historical information was taken from the collection and Democracy's College in the Centennial State: A History of Colorado State University by James E. Hansen II, pp 449-473.


3 linear feet (2 record cartons)

Language of Materials



This collection contains materials documenting student unrest on the campus of Colorado State University from 1965 to 1971. Protests, sit-ins, building take-overs, and arson are covered in the collection, as well as the official university administration response. Materials include press releases, flyers, newspaper clippings, and reel-to-reel tapes. Items that have been digitized are available in CSU's digital repository, Mountain Scholar.


The collection is arranged chronologically by series.

The collection consists of 3 series in 2 record cartons:

Series 1: Press releases, flyers, and notices, 1968-1969

Series 2: Newspaper clippings, 1965-1970

Series 3: Reel-to-reel tapes, 1969-1971 and undated

Subseries 3.1: BSA/MACE tapes, 1969

Subseries 3.2: Miscellaneous tapes, 1969-1971 and undated


The Collection on Student Unrest was transferred by the Office of Information and Public Service in 1983. An additional file donated by Daniel Robinson was added in September 2010.

Online Materials

Some materials have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.


Processing was completed in October 2014. Materials were maintained in their original order and were rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Guide to the Collection on Student Unrest
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Karen Spilman
Copyright 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA