Troubling Times

The View from Broad Street

A group of students peacefully marching down Broad Street from campus to the MacDonough Monument to protest the Vietnam War.  November 1969.  

As American military involvement in Southeast Asia escalated and the Vietnam War intensified in the 1960s, so too did resistance at home.  Societal divisions in the United States continued to deepen as opposition to the Vietnam War increased and the social justice and civil rights movements expanded.  Campuses became focal points in the fight for a peaceful and expedient conclusion to the war in Vietnam, and students and faculty across the country expressed their aversion to the policies being enacted in the name of the American people.   

Students at Plattsburgh State joined the scores of colleges and universities engaged in sustained resistance, and a significant part of the student body, along with faculty and staff, worked together to form an expansive peace movement on campus.  By highlighting the questions of the constitutionality of the war, the ways in which it was in contravention of international law, and above all the humanitarian implications, students sought to register their dissent and contribute to social and political transformation in the hopes of preventing a protracted war resulting in staggering destruction and massive loss of life.

In it Together

Students rallying on campus.  Student Association President John (Jack) Reilly stands to the right of the speaker.

Losing with War

Students in the Kehoe Administration Building during the national student strike.  The poster reads "We Are Losing with War - Let's Win with Peace."  May 1970.

Sending a Message

Students occupying the grounds of the Federal Building on Margaret Street.  Week of May 4, 1970.

Plattsburgh State found itself in a unique position due to its location in an area with extensive military ties dating back to the 18th century, and which had been home to the Plattsburgh Air Force Base since 1953.  Indeed, for those in disagreement, the protest movement could be seen as not only calling into question the actions of the US government, but also the social and economic fabric of the community.  Nonetheless, the movement was robust and lasted throughout the course of the war, shaped over the years by the dedication and ideals of the thousands of students, faculty, administrators, and members of the local community who made their voices heard.

Tell Them How You Really Feel

A form letter used by students demanding immediate action from their senators.