A New Perspective on 1968

Published April 2018

Columbia is a far different place today than it was in the spring of 1968 when protesters took over University buildings amid discontent about the Vietnam War, racism and the University’s proposed expansion into Morningside Park. After a weeklong standoff, New York City Police stormed the campus and arrested more than 700 people. The fallout dogged Columbia for years.

It took decades for the University to recover from those turbulent times. Columbia now has one of the most socio-economically diverse student bodies among its peer institutions. It has added a new campus designed to be open to the community and pursues fields of inquiry unheard of a half-century ago. Columbia is commemorating the 50th anniversary of those long-ago events with a deep dive of scholarship and exhibits chronicling what happened then and its effects today.


1968 Columbia in Crisis
Columbia University Libraries

An online exhibition from the University Archives

Man with a mustache in a room
'Reluctant Revolutionary'

Writing Prof. Phillip Lopate reflects on his experience in the protests.

The facade of a building with columns
50 Years Later

Alumni unpack the complicated history of the spring of 1968.

Columbia 1968 + 40
40th Anniversary Conference

In 2008 Columbia organized a conference on the protests.

Close of a hippy
Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead held a free concert for students.

Seal of Columbia University
Commencement 1968

Columbia broke from tradition with an address by Richard Hofstadter.

Basketball team
1968 Ivy League Champions

Athletics honored the basketball team on Alumni Weekend.

Close up of a colorful brochure
'Abstract 2017'

Architecture students commemorate 1968.