1970-1979

January 2-4, 1970

On January 2, vandals cause $1,300 in damages to the Army Reserve Center on Park Street. On January 3, a firebomb causes $20,000 in damages to the Red Gym. On January 4, the Primate Lab is firebombed (photo below).

Other attacks during this week target the Dane County Selective Service Board, the ROTC building, the Racine County Selective Service Board, and the Army ammunition plant near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Primate Lab bombing

Primate Lab bombing

February 12, 1970

2500 people march from Library Mall toward the Engineering Building to protest GE recruiters on campus (photo below). When met by police, the crowd rampages through State Street and University Avenue breaking windows.

Listen to Oral History Clips below.

GE protest

GE protest

February 19, 1970

Over 1,000 people rampage around campus breaking windows and confronting police, after five members of the Chicago Seven are convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots.

The Chicago Seven had been arrested during protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Chicago 7 protest

Chicago 7 protest

March-April, 1970

The Teaching Assistants Association (TAA) calls a strike on March 15 over collective bargaining issues with the university. The strike lasts through early April, when the TAA accepts the University’s contract offer.

While results of the strike are mixed, TAA does win recognition and exclusive representation and bargaining rights for TAs, more job security and a clearer grievance process.

Listen to Oral History Clips below.

Visit the Campus Voices page on the TAA Strike for more information.

TAA Strike on campus, Abe Lincoln statue on Bascom Hill.

TAA Strike on campus, Abe Lincoln statue on Bascom Hill.

TAA Strike on campus

TAA Strike on campus.

early May, 1970

The killing of students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State (OH) and Jackson State (MS) spark a week of protests and violence on campus, including several firebombings.

The National Guard is again called to campus and uses tear-gas against protesters.

Campus Crusade, First Aid flier

Campus Crusade, first aid flier

Students dodge tear gas on campus.

Students dodge tear gas on campus.

May, 1970

Following bombs being found in Memorial Library, the Association of Student Library Workers strike in protest over the rising violence on campus.

UW library workers strike

UW library workers strike

July 26, 1970

The power substation, reservoir, and telephone exchange at Camp McCoy, near Sparta, Wisconsin, are damaged by explosions. Three soldiers, Tom Chase, Steve Geden, and Daniel Kreps, are accused of the bombings.

Rallies are held intermittently on campus in support of the three until they are given 18 month sentences in March 1973.

Camp McCoy protest

Camp McCoy protest

Free Political Prisoners flier

Free Political Prisoners flier

August 24, 1970

The New Year’s Gang led by Karl Armstrong and three other protesters, bombs Sterling Hall in an attempt to blow up the Army Mathematics Research Center. Robert Fassnacht, a postdoctoral fellow in physics working in the building, is killed.

Over $ 2.7 million of damage is done to at least 6 buildings. The bombing marks a turning point in the protests on the Madison campus.

Listen to Oral History Clips below.

Visit the Campus Voices page on the Sterling Hall Bombing and library research guide on the bombing for more information.

Sterling Hall bombing

Sterling Hall bombing

Sterling Hall bombing

Sterling Hall bombing

November, 1970

The contracts of UW English Department assistant professors David Siff, Frank Battaglia, and Irving Saposnik are not renewed. Many feel the decision is based on their close association with the student movement.

Listen to Oral History Clips below.

Battaglia flier

Battaglia flier

February 13, 1971

The Wisconsin Student Association, United Front, and Madison Area Peace Action Council sponsor an indoor anti-war rally at the Camp Randall Memorial Building (the Shell).

Over 2500 people attend and afterward attempt to march to the capitol, but most are stopped by police.

Anti-war rally at the Shell

Anti-war rally at the Shell

February 17, 1971

A small silent peace vigil is held on Library Mall.

Peace vigil on Library Mall

Peace vigil on Library Mall

March 24, 1971

Vets for Peace In Vietnam march at the 5th Army Intelligence offices on East Doty Street in Madison.

Vets for Peace march

Vets for Peace march

March, 1971

Protests occur over the use of non-union lettuce at Memorial Union and local eating establishments.

The protests are part of a multi-year conflict between Cesar Chavez‘s AFL-CIO United Farm Workers Organizing Committee and the Teamsters Union.

Lettuce protest

Lettuce protest

April 5, 1971 The annual Mifflin Street block party turns violent with clashes between students and police.
May 5, 1971

Students and police are involved in a melee during demonstrations marking the anniversary of the Kent State killings.

Students dodge tear gas on campus.

Students dodge tear gas on campus.

March 20, 1972

An estimated 3,000 students demonstrate, boycott businesses, and clash with police in a 10-hour protest over making the lower part of State Street into a mall.

Protest on Library Mall

Protest on Library Mall

April 19, 1972 Police use tear-gas to disperse a crowd of approximately 1500 at the Capital protesting the escalation of bombing in North Vietnam.
April-May, 1972

The Memorial Union Labor Organization calls a strike over minimum shift length and work week. The strike concludes with an agreement on May 27.

MULO strike

MULO strike

May 1, 1972

Students participate in a marijuana “smoke-out” and protest march sponsored by the Youth International Party (Yippies).

Smoke out at UW

Smoke out at UW

May 1-10, 1972

Huge crowds of around 10,000 march from Library Mall to the Capitol to protest US mining of North Vietnamese harbors and continued bombing.

Strike flier

Strike flier

Anti-Nixon march flier

Anti-Nixon march flier

June 19-21, 1972

Students protest the Mathematics Research Center’s conference on population dynamics, which many see as an expansion of military related research on campus.

Death Conference flier

Death Conference flier

January 20, 1973 Around 1500 people march from campus to the Capitol on the eve of President Nixon’s 2nd inauguration, accompanied by Madison Police Chief David Couper.
March 9, 1973

Students participate in a support rally for Native American protesters at Wounded Knee, who occupied the town from February 27 to May 8, 1973.

Clyde Bellecourt, a founder of the American Indian Movement, would later speak on campus about the stand off on November 13.

Cyde Bellecourt rally

Cyde Bellecourt rally

March 10, 1973

Students participate in a rally as part of several days of events around International Women’s Day.

Womens Day rally

Women’s Day rally

Womens Day rally

Women’s Day rally

September 11, 1973 Students participate in a protest at the headquarters of the state Work Incentive (WIN) program, which they say forces women on welfare to work for low wages rather than care for their families.
September 13, 1973

400 students demonstrate against US involvement in the military coup in Chile, during which President Salvador Allende died.

Chile protest

Chile protest

late September, 1973

Students protest the closing of the Afro-American and Native American Cultural Centers and support new centers for Latinos and Asian Americans. Protests include a call for a one day boycott of classes on September 17.

Cultural Centers protest

Cultural Centers protest

October 15, 1973

A group of students perform guerrilla theater outside the Dane County Courthouse, where a sentence mitigation hearing for Karl Armstrong begins.

Guerrilla theater protest

Guerrilla theater protest

September 9, 1974

Approximately 2,000 gather to protest the pardon of former President Richard Nixon by President Gerald Ford after Nixon’s resignation in the face of likely impeachment.

Nixon pardon

Nixon pardon

October 1, 1974

After the First Wisconsin National Bank of Madison’s increases checking fees for people with “insufficient” balances, 75 students partake in the “Take Your Money and Run” demonstration, withdrawing their money and burning checkbooks in the bank’s lobby. In the street, students burn an effigy of the building.

“Take Your Money and Run” demonstration

“Take Your Money and Run” demonstration

“Take Your Money and Run” demonstration

“Take Your Money and Run” demonstration

February 6, 1976

Protests begin over the killings of 2 Menominee tribal members on February 2 by Menominee County Sheriff Kenneth Fish, after officers responded to a domestic complaint at the home of one of the men. Demonstrations include a march to the State Capitol.

Fish protest

Fish protest

July 3-18, 1977

The 24,000 member Wisconsin State Employees Union (WSEU) holds a 15-day strike, supported by students.

WSEU strike

WSEU strike

WSEU strike

WSEU strike

June, 1978

Students protest against the ruling in the Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. The ruling established that race could not be the sole factor governing academic admissions.

Bakke protest

Bakke protest

November 17, 1978

Around 200 students, many of whom are Iranian, protest against the Shah and US involvement in Iran.

Shah protest

Shah protest

November 16, 1979

The Madison Committee Against the Backlash (MCOB), which supports the Iranian anti-Shah students who took over the American embassy in Tehran and are holding American diplomats hostage, holds a rally.

The 600 plus attendees are fairly evenly split between MCOB supporters, and anti-Iranian protesters.

Khomeini protest

Khomeini protest

March 13, 1979

At the Orpheum Theater on State Street, students hand out anti-nuclear literature at showings of The China Syndrome, a movie about safety cover-ups at a nuclear power plant.

China Syndrome

China Syndrome viewing

July 13-15, 1979

Students hand out pro-nuclear power literature at the Capitol on the last day of a three-day series of events called Nukewatch.

The event was sponsored by The Progressive magazine and the Madison Press Connection, after the Three Mile Island incident and censorship of an article in The Progressive about secrecy around the government’s nuclear weapons program.

Pro-Nuke protest

Nukewatch event

Nukewatch event

Nukewatch event