STUDENT LIFE SINCE 1945
The end of World War II found the University change from a student body characterized by many specialized programs serving the war effort to a great influx of students pursuing the academic fields which characterized the University prior to the war. The fall term in 1947 saw 12,000 students enroll with 12,500 attending in February. There were 6,350 veterans enrolled that year, a third of whom were married. They were intent on earning degrees and getting jobs. Many more students drove cars than prior to the war. The pattern of increasing enrollments continued through the remainder of the 40's.
In the spring of 1952 the first organized panty raid occurred when the men from the southeast side of campus marched to the women's dorms near the University Hospital. The news media greeted that panty raid with alarm, expressing concern that while some young Americans were fighting a war in Korea others could partake in such frivolity. Panty raids were to become a frequent occurrence until the early 60's when the dual factors of men and women living in the same dormitories and the new calendar that reduced enrollment during the warm spring nights brought about the demise of panty raids.
Student life in the mid-50's was characterized by a strong interest in student government and the policies of the University governing student-initiated events outside the classroom. In December, 1954 the Regents endorsed the overwhelming mandate of a student referendum and replaced the Student Legislature and the Committee on Student Affairs with a new Student Government Council. Substantial authority was vested in SGC to govern the activities of student groups and student initiated extracurricular programs. An era of student-administrative cooperation was begun by the founding of SGC. In February, 1955 the Regents modified the previously strict ban on student Page 2automobiles (except married students) to permit students 21 years of age or older to drive. Further minor modifications in the driving regulations continued to occur as the result of SGC-initiated requests until 1968 when it was determined that the right of a licensed driver to drive on public streets took precedence over the regulation of student driving by the University.
In 1960 with student enrollment on the Ann Arbor Campus at 21,774 student organized activities begin to broaden their interest beyond the campus community. The National Student Association in which SGC was a strong participant was a focal point for the debate over whether or not students should concern themselves with off-campus issues. The National Student congress at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in August, 1959 voted to take a stand to oppose the testing of nuclear weapons with U. of M. students leading that direction. That stand plus a soon-to-emerge strong student role in support of ending racial segregation in the South, was the beginning of student activism. Interest with national issues, however, did not deter students at the University from also being concerned about University regulation of student conduct in areas such as women's hours, coed residence halls, and driving. Effective with the fall term, 1961 women over the age of 21 were no longer required to observe curfew hours or live in University approved housing.
A commission was appointed by President Harlan Hatcher in May, 1961 to review the University's philosophy of student affairs and to make recommendations designed to strengthen the administrative structure of its Office of Student Affairs. That commission, chaired by Professor John W. Reed of the Law School, made its report in February, 1962. That report committed the University to the greater involvement of students in its decision-making processes and outlined a new administrative structure which replaced the Dean of Men and Dean of Women with a functional organization to serve students in Page 3the traditional areas of financial aids, housing, student activities, and related fields.
The Michigan Daily was a strong voice in expressing student concerns. Thomas Hayden, editor of the Daily in 1960-61 was an outspoken critic of what he perceived to be the undemocratic nature of universities and American society at large. The Board in Control of Student Publications, charged with management of the Daily became concerned that the editorial policy of the Daily had been captured by a small, self-perpetuating group of students. In the spring of 1962 the Board refused to endorse the new editorial appointments recommended by the preceding student editors. This prompted a series of discussions which culminated in accepting the recommended appointments and a retreat of the Board in Control to being solely a fiscal management agent.
Traditional male-female identities in housing and student activity centers came under study prompted by recommendations in the Reed Committee report. The male student activity organization of the Michigan Union and its female counterpart, the Women's League, had programmed student activities within the Michigan Union and Michigan League respectively since the 1920's. In May 1963 the recommendation that these two student groups be merged into a single University Activity Center was approved. UAC activities began to take place in both buildings. Similar changes occurred in traditional housing patterns, as first South Quad and Markley Hall were remodeled to house both men and women, followed by a succession of other residence halls to accommodate both men and women until 1972 when Stockwell Hall was the only large hall remaining that accommodated only women.
Fraternities and sororities represented significant housing facilities and student activity centers throughout most of the period following World War II. In 1951-52, 2,218 students or 14.44% of the Ann Arbor Campus were housed in fraternities and sororities. While the percentage declined in ensuing Page 4years peak, residency was reached in 1966-67 when 2,930 students resided in these small group housing units. In the fall of 1973 that number had declined to 1,588 students or only 4.73% of the student body. While in the 50's and the early 1960's the fraternities were pressed to respond to concerns about racial discrimination in membership selection, the late 60's saw a fight for survival as student life styles seemed to demand an independence that was not found in fraternity and sorority life.
A decade of protests over U.S. intervention in Indo-China began in the fall of 1963. On October 2, 1963 Voice Political Party, the Students for Democratic Society, and the Student Peace Union held a rally on the Diag to protest U.S. aid to South Vietnam. During that same fall President Kennedy was assassinated and the Ohio State-Michigan football game was postponed. For the remainder of the 1963-64 year serious moods created by the Vietnam concern and the assassination were momentarily lifted as Cazzie Russell-led basketball saw a Big Ten Championship captured in March and the excitement of a new sport era on the Ann Arbor campus. The year 1963-64 also marked the end of an academic calendar that made students anxious about exams that occurred after the Christmas break, and the warm and relaxed days of that May and June were to be last experienced by a massive student body.
The new calendar, with school starting before Labor Day was initiated in fall, 1964. It was also the first fall for the Opportunity Program, when seventy students from disadvantaged backgrounds were given financial and tutorial assistance to make possible attendance at the University of Michigan. The basketball championship of the year before was then topped by a football championship and Rose Bowl victory in January, 1965. To many, those sports highlights were dwarfed by the first all-night teach-in on the Vietnam war attended by 2,500 students that March and 50 U of M students traveling to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama to protest the denial of votng rights for Page 5southern Blacks. The teach-in was a new form of intellectual involvement with controversial issues. A teach-in consisted of lectures and other form of academic meetings wherein issues were discussed and debated.
Soon the Vietnam protests were increasing in number and severity. In the fall of 1965 Vietnam involvement was protested at Homecoming. On October 15, 1965, 200 students protested at the draft board office on Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Thirty-eight persons, 32 men and six women, participated in a sit-in within the draft board. All thirty-eight were arrested and convicted. The tempo increased in 1966. On September 20, 1966, thirty students remained overnight in the office of Vice-President Wilbur Pierpont protesting plain-clothed police personnel on the Ann Arbor campus. A student referendum was held in November, 1966 and overwhelming opposition was voiced to the University's maintaining class rankings which would be used by the Selective Service system. A teach-in on November 2, 1966 attracted 4,000 attendees. Student Government Council severed its formal ties with the University administration. When the Regents of the University rejected the withholding of class rankings from the Selective Service authorities, 1,000 students conducted a sit-in in the Administration Building. A teach-in followed that sit-in. The calendar year 1966 concluded with the National SDS Convention being held in Ann Arbor.
The year 1967 was the University's sesquicentennial year but protests continued. In February, 1967 President Hatcher appointed a student, faculty and administrative committee to study the role of students in University decision making. In March, 1967 the first press conference of newly announced President-designate Robben W. Fleming was interrupted by the students for Democratic Society. Protesting the presence of classified research on the Ann Arbor campus was the subject of a November sit-in in the University Page 6Administration Building. In April, 1968, 500 students marched on the draft board offices without effect for a second time in two years.
Vietnam protests were not the only subject of student interest and involvement. In September of 1968, 241 persons participated in a sit-in the County Building protesting the lack of adequate financial aid to recipients of Aid to Dependent Children. One-hundred and ninety-two persons were eventually convicted, of whom 37 were students. Additional police costs exceeding $21,000 were created by the ADC sit-in. In February, 1969 the formation of the Ann Arbor Tenants Union and a rent strike involving perhaps 1,000 tenants was announced. The University remained neutral but both sides on the rent controversy felt that the University quietly favored their opponents. In March, 1969 the office of a recruiter for the United States Navy was barricaded while he was interviewing candidates for the Navy. Nine persons were arrested.
Protests did not subside even for the summer. In June of 1969 disruptions occurred on South University. A vigorous and outspoken Washtenaw County Sheriff was confronted by a University President who urged more common sense in law enforcement. Sixty-nine persons were arrested in the street disruption. In September of 1969 the ROTC building was taken over by protesting students and only threats of arrest emptied the building. threats of arrest, however, were not enough for the bookstore advocates' sit-in in the administration building in later September. One-hundred and eight persons were arrested and the Regents eventually voted to permit the establishment of a student-operated bookstore using $100,000 from the Student Vehicle Fund, the recipient of a multitude of $7.00 fees for the infamous "E" student driving stickers.
The 1969-70 academic year continued at a frenzied pace. In October 20,000 persons gathered in the Michigan Stadium calling for an end to the war. Page 7The winter term that followed saw the largest student protest ever experienced in Ann Arbor when virtually half of the student body boycotted classes in a support of what became known as the Black Action Movement. That protest urging admission of more Blacks and other minority student culminated in some damage and a University commitment to providing resources to make possible by fall, 1974 a Black enrollment of ten percent of the student body — the percentage of Blacks within the population of the State of Michigan. Despite adequate financial aid, the goal was not reached.
While Ann Arbor did not again see protests of the magnitude experienced in the preceding years, the early 70's were not exempt from bizarre incidents of student behavior. The fall of 1970 saw tents erected near the Diag protesting the cost of housing in Ann Arbor. "Tent Village" as it became known was occupied mostly by nonstudents and was finally closed by the health authorities who returned personal articles of the protestors after a thorough cleaning at the University Laundry. April of 1971 saw strong University student support of the Peace March on Washington, and in October, 1971, 300 students marched on the County Building in support of an end to the war in Vietnam. The Homecoming football crowd in October, 1971 saw black balloons sail high above the stadium as the Vietnam protest became part of the formal half-time festivities. While concerns about mistreatment of homosexuals, affirmative action for women, and outrage against a 24% tuition hike were subjects of considerable campus interest in the early 70's none attracted the magnitude of participants nor the level of disruptive behavior characterized by the student protests of the late 60's. Perhaps a new era of more reasoned approach to conflict resolution had been born.