From the Archives & Special Collections: Campus activism in the 1960s

Every semester, the Archives & Special Collections welcomes students from many classes into the A&SC for specially designed classroom sessions. As the Archivist, I work with faculty members and the liaison librarians to create sessions that use archival materials and rare books to supplement the classroom curriculum. These are fascinating sessions that use the resources of the library to support the teaching that is happening all over campus.

This semester I was given the opportunity to create a new archives session for the History department. The session was titled “Moments of ‘Disruption’ at Puget Sound during the Vietnam Era,” and it investigated four key moments of our history during the late 1960s. With the help of Peggy Burge, the library’s Coordinator of Teaching, Learning, and Digital Humanities, I went through boxes of archival materials to curate the classroom session. We identified four moments of ‘disruption’ during the late-1960s at Puget Sound: the faculty divide in support for the Vietnam War; the presence of the Air Force R.O.T.C. program on campus; the Vietnam Moratorium protests; and the list of three demands students presented to the administration at the end of 1969. All four of these moments highlight campus agency and voice during a tumultuous time in our nation’s history.  The students who participated in this class were able learn about campus history and position those events within a greater national context.

By diving into our campus’ history, the students were able to see examples of campus and local activism. Today, as we see signs of protest and activism all over the news, I think it is important to compare and contrast these expressions of activism. What ties these moments together? What separates them?

If you’re interested in learning more about our campus’ history, please reach out to us by emailing

Student protest, 1967 Tamanawas yearbook, p. 128








(From left): Student call for a Vietnam Moratorium, undated; Advertisement in “The Trail”, October 8, 1971)

The Archives & Special Collections is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.

By Adriana Flores, Archivist & Special Collections Librarian


This entry was posted in From the Archives. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *