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Guide to the Vassar College 1971 Sit-In Records, 1970-1971

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Vassar College
Title: Vassar College 1971 Sit-In Records
Dates: 1970-1971
Quantity: 0.7 cu. ft. (2 boxes and one film reel)
Abstract: Materials relating to the 1971 Vassar College Sit-In, which was inspired by tenure decisions and academic governance issues at the College
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, reports, film, audiotape

Administrative History

From April 22 to May 5, 1971, student activists occupied the administration wing of Vassar's Main Building to protest the College's tenure process. On May 27, 1971, the College Court found 11 seniors and 52 underclassmen guilty of disobeying public order regulations. They all received "suspended expulsion." The records show that, over the previous year, tensions had risen over several tenure decisions as well as college governance issues.

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Scope and Content Note

The records document the growing discontent among Vassar College students in 1970 and 1971 regarding tenure decisions and academic governance that led to the two-week-long occupation of administrative offices in Main Building. Materials discuss individual tenure cases, student and faculty reactions, and responses from the administration and trustees. A workprint of a film about the event Endless Bummer by Bruce Styne, Vassar Class of 1974, is included.

Also of interest is correspondence from a student at Colgate University offering guidance on how to manage a long sit-in protest, and material relating to Vassar's negotiations with Union College and Syracuse University to establish a Graduate Center in Science, Technology and Human Affairs.

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Access and Use


This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Film and audiotape materials are restricted due to fragility; surrogate copies must be made at the expense of the researcher.

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Subject Headings


  • Student protesters


  • Vassar College--Students.

Document Types:

  • audiotape
  • film

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Jessica Kemm, October 2009

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Due to the condition of the 16 mm film and audiotape, surrogate copies must be used and made at the researcher's expense.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Vassar College 1971 Sit-In Records, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bruce Styne, Vassar Class of 1974

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Container List

Folder 1.1 Correspondence, reports, clippings
Folder 1.2 Correspondence, reports, clippings
Box 2 Film (3 reels)
Box 2 Audiotape. Outside Main Interview, Thursday; Jewett Speech, Thursday evening
Box 2 Audiotape 5: E. Inman Fox
Box 2 Audiotape 6: More Jewett House Meeting, Thursday night; Thursday night
Box 2 Audiotape 7: Kurt Beck, Linda Pommer
Box 2 Audiotape 8: Outside Aula, 4/23/71; Circle in Front of Main, Friday Afternoon
Box 2 Audiotape 9: Sunday [4]/25, North Wing 7:00 meeting; Monday 4/26 North Wing
Box 2 Audiotape 10: Devin Sounds; Dance of the Hours; Larry Wittner [Lawrence S. Wittner]
Box 2 Audiotape 11: [illegible]
Box 2 Audiotape 12: Larry Wittner
Box 2 Audiotape 13: John Christie 12/2/71; VC Sit-in Mr. Christie
Box 2 Audiotape 14: Norman-end of sit-in; Warren [illegible]
Box 2 Audiotape 15: D. Merrill, 2/29
Box 2 Audiotape 16: Vassar Spring Revolution (crossed out); Ted Lieverman Red Side
Film Reel Endless Bummer, Bruce Styne. (VC Student Sit-In 1971) Workprint.

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