r reflect

Turbulent Times

Just over 50 years ago, Daily Utah Chronicle offices were occupied, the ROTC building was fire-bombed, classes were disrupted, and, as shown in this photo, thousands of students marched on campus to protest the Vietnam War and shocking killings at Kent State. On May 7, 1970, several hundred students attended a sit-in outside administration offices, and 81 of them were arrested for refusing to leave. The students sought agreements from university leadership including greater freedom of speech and barring the National Guard from campus. In a letter to the editor in the Chronicle, student Max Smart said, “Our protests will show Salt Lake, Utah, and America that we will not allow Americans to be needlessly killed.”


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  1. Let’s be extremely clear about this. Students protesting had nothing to do with bravery.
    Bravery is in the battlefield.
    The protests came to an end all across America when Nixon ended the draft. Protests were a puff!

    1. Tell that to the Kent State students who were killed by police for protesting the war. Read your history before making uninformed comments.

  2. Scoop, there’s no mention of bravery in this photo caption. During times when when a bogus war, and civil rights violations are happening, we all do we can do to right the ship, whether on the battlefield where brave soldiers put their lives on the line, or in a peaceful protest. We all play a role.

  3. The right to peacefully gather and protest was, and still is, a cherished part of life in this country As far as debating whgo was brave and who wasn’t, all I will say is some were in Vietnam because they wanted to be, but many were there because they were told they had no choice. I was there, and I marched, either on campus or downtown. Also, to give due credit, one of the leaders of campus protests began his remarks about his arrest by mentioning profusely the civility of University Police officers

  4. One of my favorite days at the U!! Maxwell Smart was right.
    This was before the University built hills behind the union building to prevent large crowds like this one from ever gathering again.
    ps The Utah 81 who were charged were later cleared!

  5. In partial answer to Scoop. Were you even alive at that time? Many of us lost friends, loved ones, simple acquaintances because of that senseless war. We attempted to end the madness but often were met by ignorance. To have several American college students killed by fellow Americans was well worth protesting for, ending that war was worth protesting for, challenging the immorality and illegality of the Nixon Administration and his illegal invasion of Cambodia was worth protesting for. I never demeaned any friend who chose to go, and never questioned others that left in anger. Some of us chose to do what we could here…there are different kinds of courage.

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