The hiatus in growth, while demoralizing to some, at least offered the campus a chance to “catch its breath.” It was a time for engagement with major academic, social, and cultural changes—some noisy, many quieter—that would orient the campus in future decades.
Highlights from a decade of change:
• Student-led protest and advocacy—rallies, marches, and sit-ins—became annual events from the late 1960s onward. Among their targets: the Vietnam conflict, civil rights and social justice, campus diversity, increased fees, proposals to change the college structure and grading system. Activists made use of the Upper Quarry Amphitheater, Central Service offices, college plazas and dining halls, campus roads and pathways, and even downtown streets and highways as their stages.
• The uneven growth of a multi-cultural student body prompted the dedication of existing spaces in both colleges and core to serving these students’ needs and interests. Located in Kresge College, an emerging academic program in Women’s Studies (later Feminist Studies) would achieve international recognition.
• During the 1970s an increasing number of women and minority professors were hired, and several influential women and minority scholars took up administrative posts. The campus, whose pioneer faculty and administration had been overwhelmingly white and male, began to work toward an environment that could attract and support a more diverse citizenry, better connecting the City on a Hill with a wider world.
Reimagining Existing Spaces
The building freeze also forced faculty, staff, and students to work creatively within existing spaces: arts studios emerged in Applied Sciences, the Eloise Smith Gallery was carved out of Cowell College, and Professor Eduardo Carrillo and his students enlivened the gray walls of Applied Sciences and the Classroom Building with large murals.
Responding to student, faculty, and staff demand, coffee shops sprang up in former residential college lounges. Deprived of a new set of buildings, College Eight settled into a floor of the Social Sciences Building (named Kerr Hall in 1978) and created a supportive environment for transfer and older students.
Although sparked in reaction to change and challenging financial realities, many of these transformations have become integral to the university’s legacy.