Mentions in The Dartmouth

Today's issue of The Dartmouth mentions two events we lived through on campus: the George Wallace protest and the Parkhurst takeover:


During the late 1960s at Dartmouth, there were at least two student protests that received national news coverage. While this attention was partly negative, Carini said that some people supported the protests. 

Segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace visited campus in May 1967; in response to his visit, students and community members mobilized a protest. During Wallace’s speech at Webster Hall, Black Dartmouth students chanted “Wallace is racist,” triggering a counter-protest from white audience members, who yelled “shut up” and “get out.” The Black protesters left the auditorium, before being joined by more supporters and deciding to push back inside and rush up the center aisle. At this point, Alabama state troopers ushered Wallace out of Webster Hall and into his car. The protestors followed him outside, surrounding his car and rocking it back and forth; Wallace was only permitted to depart after the police intervened. 

Carini said there was national backlash following this event, with people writing to the College to say that they were disappointed in students’ conduct and that the students involved should be expelled. Some people were writing some “really horrible racist stuff, because some of the students involved were Black,” Carini said.

This is echoed in the 1967 New York Times piece titled “Dartmouth Gives Wallace Apology: Regrets Attack by Hecklers — Alabamian Flies South,” which describes how “a mob attacked the car, rocked it and dented its roof.” Another Times article, titled “Students Facing Ouster,” was written about a week later and detailed how some of the students who “overtly” participated in the anti-Wallace demonstration would be suspended. 

In 1969, there was another major protest on campus. English professor and former co-chair of the College’s 250th anniversary events Donald Pease explained that “Dartmouth students protested what they understood to be the campus’ support of the Vietnam War.”

According to religion professor Randall Balmer, on April 22, 1969, the local chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society issued a manifesto calling for the end of ROTC training on campus. It set April 28 as the deadline for the administration to respond to their demands to abolish on-campus ROTC and to provide compensatory financial aid for the students involved in the program, according to Balmer.

With no response from the administration, on May 6, several dozen students and community members occupied Parkhurst Hall and the office of then-College President John Sloan Dickey. Students even forced the then-Dean of Students out of Parkhurst, according to Pease.

According to Balmer, the Grafton County sheriff dispatched deputies with armored vehicles to campus to break up the protest, where they arrested 45 students and fined them $100 each. Many of the students involved were also expelled, Balmer added. 

The major protest was also the subject of national news coverage. In June 1969, the New York Times published “Men of Dartmouth Are Troubled by Lingering Echoes of Protest.” This article describes how the College set up a joint faculty-student committee to decide on disciplinary action, which got pushback from students frustrated by the College’s response to the Parkhurst protests.