1968: Columbia in Crisis

Bibliography and Resources > Acronyms and Organizations

Acronyms and Organizations (alphabetical)

Ad Hoc Faculty Group (AHFG)

Chaired by Political Scientist Alan Westin and formed April 25, 1968, the AHFG consisted of faculty members that supported three resolutions: the immediate suspension of gym construction; the establishment of a tripartite disciplinary mechanism; and a commitment by participating faculty to interpose themselves between police and students should police be called to clear the campus. Through the remaining days of April, members of the AHFG sat down with administrators, members of the Majority Coalition and the strikers themselves in an attempt to end the standoff.  They met with little success.

Bitter Pill Resolutions

Drafted by five members of the AHFG steering committee - Immanuel Wallerstein, Daniel Bell, David Rothman, Robert Fogelson, and Allan Silver - these resolutions were presented on April 28, 1968 and included: calling up the students to vacate the buildings in exchange for Columbia withdrawing from IDA; the cancellation ofthe gym construction; the imposition of tripartite disciplinary procedures; and the provision for collective and uniform disciplinary action, intended to preclude serious reprisals against protest leaders.  Bothe the administration and the striking students rejected the "Bitter Pill" resolutions.

Black Students of Hamilton Hall (BSHH)

A group of eight-six black students who holed up in Hamilton Hall, barricaded it, and occupied it from April 24th to April 30th, when they were walked out by police.

Cox Commission

Under the leadership of chairman Archibald Cox, The Cox Commission was given the mandate to establish a chronology of events leading up to and including the Columbia crisis, and to inquire into the underlying causes of those events. The Commission held twenty-one days of hearings during May 1968, heard testimony from seventy-nine witnesses, and compiled 3,790 pages of transcript. The report, published in a paperback edition on September 26, 1968, stressed the lack of effective channels of communication between administration, faculty, and students, and implicitly endorsed the idea for a representative University Senate.

Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA)

An inter-university, nonprofit research office affiliated with the United States Department of Defense. The discovery of documents explaining Columbia’s affiliation with this department caused many students, including those involved in the SDS, to protest.

Independent Committee on Vietnam (ICA)

Columbia campus group that opposed Vietnam involvement, as well as all other instances of U.S. involvement in foreign matters.

Independent Faculty Group (IFG)

The name of the reconsituted Ad Hoc Faculty Group (AHFG) which formed after Chair Alan Westin left a AHFG meeting in McMillin Theatre hours after the violent police bust of April 30. Westin left refusing to bring to a vote a measure to support a student-faculty strike called for by the Strike Steering Committee and to censure the Administration. After he was gone, the reconsituted group voted to support the strike of academic classes.

Majority Coalition

A group of students opposing the protests and the strike.  It consisted of primarily undergraduate students, who were joined by some sympathetic faculty. Tagged “the jocks” by more radical students, many of the members were indeed athletes.

Student Afro-American Society (SAS)

A black student protest group that collaborated with the SDS to organize the Columbia protests. Many SAS members participated in the occupation of Hamilton Hall.

Strike Coordinating Committee (SCC)

A group formed by striking students in the days after the occupation of Hamilton, Low, Avery, Fayerweather and Mathematics. Their operations were based out of Ferris Booth Hall and members served as representatives of the "communes" and facilitated communication between the buildings, the faculty, the administration, and the press.

Students for a Democractic Society (SDS)

A large New Left student organization that developed from 1960-1974, and had chapters at universities throughout the country. The SDS had its first meeting at the University of Michigan, where the attending students drew up its manifesto, the “Port Huron Statement,” which called for universal disarmament, participatory democracy, reform of the democratic party (to advocate for candidates supporting civil rights), and supporting university reform. The Columbia University chapter collaborated with the SAS, and together were foundational in organizing the demonstrations about Columbia’s IDA affiliations and its plans to construct a segregated gym.

Strike Education Committee (SEC)

On May 2nd, the Strike Coordinating Committee )SCC) created a Strike Education Committee in response to what they saw as the failure of the “old Administration” to ensure a “free and democratic, creative and relevant educational institution.” The SEC created and coordinated an alternative “Liberation School” that offered “counter-classes” to replace those being boycotted. Keeping students, both undergraduate and graduate, from attending official Columbia classes remained one of the SEC’s central goals throughout May 1968.  This committee was dominated by SDS members.

Students for a Free Campus (SFC)

A student group that formed in October 1967 specifically to “promote open recruiting and the continuance of free speech at the university.” 

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

A student civil rights activism organization that promoted peaceful protesting, and supported such things as Freedom Riding and voter registration efforts.

Students for a Restructured University (SRU)

A group of student who broke with the SDS-dominated Strike Coordinating Committee (SCC) on May 7, 1968. The SRU emphasized their commitment to the rehabilitation of Columbia University, in contrast to SDS, which advocated the University’s destruction based on the perceived inherent bankruptcy of the American university system.

Student Homophile League (SHL)

The first gay student organization in the country, founded in 1966 by Stephen Donaldson (also known as Robert Martin Jr.), and recognized by Columbia University as an official student group during the following year. The league was one of the student groups that participated in the protests during 1968. It is currently know as the Columbia Queer Alliance.

Temple Committee

A Special Committee of the Trustees, chaired by Alan H. Temple, a private economist and banker who also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Committee sought to provide options for restructuring the university after extensively studying the incident and consulting with the Executive Committee of the Faculty and community leaders. Their statement was released on May 2, 1968 and was reprinted in the Spectator.

United Black Front (UBF)

Established in the late 1960s, the UBF was a unifying group of fifty black power organizations that sought to eliminate white oppression, to provide economic/political and educational/social status for black people, and to eliminate discrimination based on race. The UBF claimed that the IDA at Columbia was gathering information on the “black ghetto” in Harlem.

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