Check out this compilation of sources in a timeline of the currently known events in IWU’s multicultural history.*
On April 17, 1970 Argus writer Paul McVicker (’72) introduced readers to the IWU activities planned for the first-ever United Nations Earth Day by saying, “The purpose of the program is to educate students and the community…about what they can do to help solve environmental problems.” McVicker was also a member of the College Republicans and the Chairman of the Intercollegiate Information and Programming Commission and so must also have been at the planning meeting for the event on March 20th.
The meeting announcement in the Argus on that date shows this was a student-driven effort organized by a “Special Pollution Committee” but that group is only mentioned once in IWU’s digitized news sources and the extent of its members is not know. The April 24, 1970 Argus reported on all the campus activities that took place that first year.
Curiously, the only student to list Earth Day as an organization he wanted commemorated in his yearbook list of activities is Kevin Jones, whose entry in the 1971 Wesleyana shows he was a Sophomore.
The 1971 Wesleyana carries a story by Kathy Larey Lewton (’70) that sets Earth Day into the larger context of student activism taking place in the 1969-70 academic year. The close ties between IWU and ISU are apparent in this article, and IWU also holds primary sources that we can consult to get a broader view on community activities involving the environment.
Sophomore Vicki Wenger is the only student who lists Operation Recycle among her activities in the 1971 Wesleyana or any of the yearbooks that were published afterwards. But Anne McGowan (’76), community activist and spouse of Emeritus Professor of English Jim McGowan, provided an interview in 2013 about her experiences. The excerpt below contains just the part of her remarks that include her involvement with the community-based Operation Recycle and the origins of her interest in recycling.
IWU’s archival holdings also include contributions from Abigail Jahiel, Professor of Environmental and International Studies, who led a May Term 2003 course on Environmental History in which her students interviewed local citizens who influenced the ecological health of our community. Dr. Jahiel deposited these materials to complement IWU’s existing special collections that are related to Environmental Studies. An online collection is now available of the recordings that could be digitized and whose subjects gave permission for their interviews to be released:
- Operation Recycle/Ecology Action Center interviews: Michelle Bell, Michelle Covi, Myra Gordon, and Carol Reitan.
- John Wesley Powell Audubon Society interviews: Angelo Capparella and Laura Miller.
- The Land Connection interviews: Terra Brockman, Teresa Santiago and David Williams.
If you have additional information about these people or groups, comment on this post or send an email to email@example.com. And visit this page if you would like to know more about the records of local organizations that are held in Tate Archives & Special Collections.
This post provides a timeline for the student and faculty activism that led to the designation of an annual Teach-In day in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
[N.B., Many governance records, like Faculty and Student Senate Meeting minutes, are accessible online. If using the site from off campus, an IWU login is needed. I have summarized my findings for those who lack the necessary credentials.]
First mention of the issue being raised is in January 17, 2000 (pdf p. 3) by Faculty Meeting by Jared Brown. The minutes note that “a large number of faculty supported closing the university on this date. Other faculty spoke against closing fearing a lack of student participation in the many events the university plans to celebrate this day. “
Corresponding Student Senate minutes for March 5, 2000 (pdf p. 5) ask for a Senator’s participation on CC to draft a proposal.
There is a call-to-action in a January 20, 2006 Argus (p. 4) Editorial that provides some comparisons to the 2000 proposal but emphasizes that classes should be canceled on this national holiday as is the practice elsewhere.
A Faculty Meeting packet dated February 13, 2006 (pdf p. 17) contains a CC proposal from 2000 that suggests several ways in which the holiday might be celebrated:
“Curriculum Council recommends that IWU expand its current celebration by creating a three-day symposium that would celebrate King’s life and values in a variety of ways.”
Discussion on Martin Luther King day continues at the March 6, 2006 (pdf p. 8) Faculty Meeting.
Political Science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha sponsors a teach-in, reported in the January 19, 2007 Argus (p. 1) and some faculty bring their classes.
The issue is brought up in Senate again February 25, 2007 (pp. 10-12) and in the March 11, 2007 (p. 6) minutes, the Senate President announces the group reached a consensus on their desires for the day that will go to the President’s Office but the statement is not explicitly defined. At the October 7, 2007 (pp. 8-9) meeting, Senators state they want to revisit the issue.
The Action Research Center and Pi Sigma Alpha sponsor the next Teach-in. The January 18, 2008 Argus Editorial (p. 4) again calls for a day off.
The Teach-in became a regular, cross-campus offering in 2010. (See Argus article on January 22, 2010.) The class schedule for the day remained unchanged but the Argus notes that “Students came in waves from their classes….”
Students today may not know that their predecessors were responsible for bringing the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to campus twice in the 1960s. The first time was in 1961 for an event sponsored by the Religious Activities Commission. Articles in The Argus and Wesleyana offer details. In a Letter to the Editor published a week after King’s assassination, IWU alumna Sara Ellen Long recalled her role in the 1961 group that invited King (April 12, p. 2).
The University Archives received a special copy of the program for this event just a few years ago. The story of how this artifact came to the archives is told below the pdf version of the program.
Dr. King visited a “Principles of Sociology” class during this visit and is shown below talking with Sociology professors James K. Phillips and Emily Dunn-Dale.
In 1966 Dr. King returned at the request of the Student Senate’s Convocation Commission. This event took place after Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was held at the Fred Young Fieldhouse to accommodate the crowd. IWU student Elizabeth Lindblom was Chair of the Commission and provided an introduction to the event.
University Communications maintains a series of web pages with a transcript of the 1966 event and a link to a recording of a broadcast from local radio station WJBC. The University Archives holds an audio cassette tape of that broadcast, photographs and the other records of Dr. King’s two visits to IWU.
The death of famed conservative activist and constitutional lawyer Phyllis Schlafly brought to mind an IWU connection from the 1970s. The University Archives contains a recording of a faculty member rebutting a position Schlafly took on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
Apparently WESN aired an anti-ERA piece by Schlafly and then Anthropology & Sociology Professor Emily Dunn Dale provided a rebuttal to Schlafly’s points. The Schlafly recording is not part of the archives’ collections, but the Argus published an opinion piece by Schlafly that seems fairly close to the points Dale takes up in hers.
A 19 minute recording on reel-to-reel tape contains Dale’s remarks. We had it digitized several years ago out of concern for its condition and you can listen to the whole thing in a collection of historical materials online. Here’s an excerpt from the larger recording, with the text for just this segment below.
“What I have found out, in the process of being a professional breadwinner for my family, is that I had a lot more to gain in terms of self-respect, than I lost in security. As a matter of fact, I found out what most men have to discover: that performing and providing for those who are dependent on you, is a deep source of ego-fulfillment and self-satisfaction. One of the major reasons why I am in favor of the equal rights amendment is that I feel men have paid a terrible price for overprotecting females like Phyllis Schlafly.”
A March 22, 1974 Argus article covered a campus forum on the amendment. Dale and IWU alumna, later professor of English, Pamela Muirhead relate their personal experiences of gender inequality in commercial settings.
The cartoon below and a short opinion piece appeared in the February 12, 1982 Argus when the issue surfaced again.
Congress actually passed the ERA in 1972 and then the states had to ratify it…22 states did so almost immediately but 38 were needed. After a lengthy struggle, detailed on a website devoted to this topic, the proposals failed to be ratified by the extended deadline of 1982. Successive efforts have not advanced as far since then.
Periodically, people go through attics and storage boxes and send items to the archives that are related to IWU history. Sometimes amazing finds arise from the people who take time to send them “home.”
Just today I opened a box that held Student Senate Minutes dated May 17, 1970…how timely! On May 4 of this month, we took part in a commemorative event for the 45th anniversary of the Kent State killings in 1970. Documentation for events on our campus that were recounted in that blog post were limited to the Argus, Wesleyana and a few photographic files.
While researching that event, I marveled to discover that the IWU archives holds no Student Senate meeting minutes from March 22, 1970 until January 10, 1971.
It sure would help us appreciate the Senate’s actions if we had the primary sources they created to consult! Don’t get me wrong, the news sources are great to have, but it’s these kinds of gaps that make anyone doing historical research a little crazy.
So yes, it was good to see minutes in a recent donation, but it was a huge letdown to find that pages 2-15 of those minutes had been removed. We may never know why that happened, but on the very last page there is evidence that helps us understand a little more about the May 1970 student reactions in that turbulent month. The first image below was scanned from the minutes and it contains an announcement that the Black Student Union was responsible for the walkout. From this brief note, we also find out why they felt compelled to walkout 14 days after Kent State.
There was also a green flyer (image below) that explains the Peace Symbol students wore during Commencement in 1970–that event was also described in the previous post on the May 4th commemoration. These kinds of documents connect us with our past in tangible ways…stop by the archives if you want to see the real things someday!
Think you can’t make a difference? There’s only one way to find out…if you ever come across Senate records — or other records from IWU — give me a call! (309-556-1538)
And here’s a catchy little phrase to help reinforce the point:
When in doubt, don’t throw it out!
[click on images to enlarge]
In the early days of May 1970, Illinois Wesleyan University joined more than 1,250 colleges in protesting the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. In coordination with the May 4 Visitor’s Center, today the archives is remembering four students who died at Kent State University and looking back at the effects that these killings had on students at IWU.
Below is a timeline of student activities and images drawn from the collections in IWU’s archives. If you have memories, documents, or photos of your own to share, feel free to comment but use the #May4Matters so that IWU’s recollections will join others who are commemorating this day.
“The Kent State killings set off a planned program of protest and community education unlike anything previously seen at Wesleyan. It brought together an unlikely coalition of ex-Senate officers, freshman activists, moderates, radicals, tired seniors and enthusiastic underclassmen.” — Kathy Larey Lewton. IWU 70, in the 1971 Wesleyana, pp 6-8)
The events of May 5-8 were reported on in the Friday, May 8 issue of our weekly student newspaper The Argus. The links for each day in the timeline below lead to the pages in that issue containing the stories mentioned.
Tuesday, May 5: 11:40AM The flag was lowered to half mast “in mourning of the four students killed at Kent State University and those who have died in Southeast Asia.” Following a 3:30PM meeting with 200 students attending, “The consensus was that the goals should be campus and community education, rather than alienation.”
Wednesday, May 6: Memorial services led by Chaplain William White. “Students scattered in the audience then read ‘some words for reflection in a time of. crisis.'”
Thursday May 7: President Robert Eckley cancels classes “to permit those who wish to participate in the activities planned by the Action Committee for Peace.” The decision followed a vote by Student Senate Wednesday calling for classes to be recessed all day Friday to acknowledge the incident at Kent State and the expanded Southeast Asian war.
Friday, May 8: The Action Committee for Peace (ACP) announces organizes a group assembly on the Quad at 3:45PM for a march to downtown Bloomington. 7:00PM rally with faculty and students speaking on campus.
The May 8th Argus also includes a range of feelings among students, such as those expressed in a Letter to the Editor shows that some found the responses at IWU disrespectful:
The tragedy of Kent State should not be blown out of proportion by a small minority of dissenters who find it to their advantage to martyr four violent demonstrators as heroes of their cause. – Richard Reinert and 64 other students, May 8 Argus, p. 2
Another student used artistic expression:
The killings at Jackson State University in Mississippi received less coverage in the Argus but one photograph of a class walkout appears on May 22, p. 7. Other images are in the gallery below.
“…the whole issue of what kind of free speech students could have, and what kind of political activity and political involvement or political activism students [should] have, I would argue, was basically redefined by that era here at Wesleyan.” — former ACP member Mark Sheldon, Class of 1970, oral history interview, August 2012.
Friday, May 22: Honors Day Convocation, Ron Klipp wore an American flag upside down (universal distress symbol) upside down, walked in last and started an uproar.
Tuesday, May 26: “Seniors received a ballot Tuesday concerning whether or not Commencement should be held.”
Wednesday, May 27: “They suggested a senior caucus be held Wednesday afternoon to decide on a third alternative for a possible new ballot.” (photographs below)
Below is a gallery of images selected from the photographic negatives in the University Archives: