1990-1999

ROTC protest
ROTC protest

April 18, 1990

Students begin a five-day sit-in outside Chancellor Donna Shalala’s office in an attempt to get her to sign a disclaimer about ROTC’s treatment of gays and lesbians. After 5 days, the protesters move to the Board of Regents Room in Van Hise. Police remove them on April 23, 1990.

Listen to Oral History Clip below.

Assistant Dean of Students Janice Sheppard comments on the ROTC and LGBT student leadership. (4:36)

November 16, 1990

700 people march from Library Mall to the Capitol to protest the buildup of US troops in the Middle East.


Bascom Hill cemetery
Bascom Hill cemetery

December 20, 1990

A cemetery is erected in front of Bascom Hall commemorating the loss of life during the US intervention in Panama a year earlier.


Anti-Gulf War protest
Anti-Gulf War protest

January 15, 1991

An estimated 2,000 people rally against the Gulf War, including an attempt to disrupt the UW-Iowa basketball game at the Field House.

On February 13, students rally to demand a teach-in about the war.


Protest by ACT UP! members
Protest by ACT UP! members

June 1991

Members of gay rights organization ACT-UP! Madison protest the child of an HIV positive mother being denied daycare services.


Stop the Church film protest
Stop the Church film protest

August 1991

PBS pulls distribution of the controversial documentary “Stop the Church”, a film covering the 1989. 5,000-strong protest of ACT-UP! outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

Though the film still airs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Denver, the campus affiliate decides not to air the documentary, sparking protests in Madison.


October 5, 1991

Students participate in a large rally for gay rights.


April 25, 1992

As part of the Midwest Regional Protest Against Vivisection, students protest the use of primates in experiments on the Madison campus.


May 2, 1992

Students participate in a 2000 person march from Library Mall to the City-County Building to protest the acquittal of LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King.


Employee firing protest
Employee firing protest

September 1992

The firing of a lesbian employee from the University Bookstore sparks protest.


October 12, 1992

Native American and Chicano students protest the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Americas.


Roe v. Wade rally
Roe v. Wade rally

January 20, 1993

Students take part in pro- and anti-abortion events on the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.


March 2, 1993

A group presents a tongue-in-cheek protest against Phyllis Schlafly’s visit to campus and her resistance to the Equal Rights Amendment.


February 8-12, 1999

40 students occupy Bascom Hall and stay until Chancellor David Ward signs an agreement pushing for stronger anti-sweatshop guidelines in the Collegiate Licensing Company code of conduct.


Tuition increase protest
Tuition increase protest

September 15, 1999

Students stage a walkout to protest tuition hikes.


September 30, 1999

Ward Connerly’s talk on affirmative action leads to protests before and after the speech.


November 9, 1999

The United States Supreme Court begins to hear the case of Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, et. al. The case involved students objecting to the use of segregated fees to support causes they did not approve of. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Board of Regents on March 22, 2000.