Student & Faculty Activism

Halsey and Bynum
(Left) Willie Halsey, a member of the Afro-American Student Union
Photograph from The New Hampshire taken by Ed Penhale, 1968

(Right) Bruce Bynum, Vice-President of UNH Student Government, member of the Afro-American Society and Student Senate Black Studies Committee
Photograph from The New Hampshire taken by unnamed student photographer, 1969

In addition to the Afro-American students, other members of the UNH community in 1968 called for significant change. Students, faculty, and administrators wrestled with issues of student participation in the governance process through a reorganization of the University Senate. Students wanted stronger representation in decision-making processes.

Student interest groups, including the Student Political Union and the Afro-American Student Union, formed and then splintered into radical and moderate factions.

Many people desired a similar outcome, but most disagreed on methods and process. Students who converged on President McConnell in T-Hall in November, 1968 disagreed among themselves as they staged a "symbolic demonstration" against the NH legislature and William Loeb of the Manchester Union Leader.

According to The New Hampshire, Prof. Robert Craig spoke to the Memorial Union Students Organization in 1968 and urged student activists to, "Get in there, do what you have to do, and go like hell." Craig was referring to racial issues in voting and the choice of Presidential candidates in the United States.

In the spring of 1969, the Joint Student-Faculty Board on Black Student Affairs at UNH presented to the University Senate a five page proposal for a Black Studies program at UNH. The report called for:

  • Recruitment of black students, faculty, and administrators
  • Curricular changes

The proposal was unanimously approved in March, 1969, with a statement delivered by Professor Paul Brockelman of the philosophy department.

When Prof. David Larson raised the issue of funding, supporters replied that "federal aid, foundations, and private sources will make contributions." Larson's concern for funding proved to be a valid one. By 1970, Prof. John T. Holden, chair of the Senate ad hoc committee for funding, stated that letters would be sent to all employees of the University requesting they contribute money to support Black Studies programs. Holden managed to collect about $8000, hardly enough to run a program.