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Materials from The Fergusson Years: Vassar, 1986-2006

1990 Sit-in


"Student Takeover of Main Building Prompts Moynihan Resignation of Roosevelt Lecturer," Miscellany News, 16 February 1990.

An alleged racist comment by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan at a reception following his address as Vassar's Eleanor Roosevelt Chair raised a maelstrom of controversy in 1990. Students called for Moynihan's immediate removal from the honorary position and requested a timetable by which the administration would deal with several other general issues. When negotiations seemed to move too slowly, the students staged a 35-hour occupation of Main. Moynihan did resign his chair, and the administration responded to each of the other student concerns over a period of months and several meetings. Although the events were initially contentious, the result was a sense of open communication and cooperation between the administration and the college community. See item in checklist.