1968: Columbia in Crisis

Bibliography and Resources > Cast of Characters

Cast of Characters (alphabetical by last name)

Harry Coleman in Hamilton Hall

Dean Harry Coleman speaking to students in lobby of Hamilton Hall

giving his "Can I leave" speech.

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Henry Coleman

Dean of Columbia College, Coleman was held in Hamilton Hall during the protests on April 23rd for 24 hours. He had attempted to leave his office but was not permitted to do so by crowds of protestors who pushed furniture in front of his doors. He was provided with food and water while he remained. Four years later, in 1972, he was shot by a disgruntled student. After recovering, he returned to Columbia, serving as Dean of Students until 1979. His obituary notes, “After his retirement, he started Coleman Associates to counsel college-bound high school students and administer various scholarship programs. He wrote law school recommendations for some of the students who had held him captive.”

Andrew Cordier

Following the upheaval of the 1968 protests and the resignation of President Grayson Kirk, Andrew W. Cordier, a former United Nations diplomat and dean of the School of International Affairs, was appointed acting president August 23, 1968.  In August of 1969 he agreed to stay on as President for an additional year or until a new president could be found. Following the appointment of William J. McGill in 1970 as his successor Cordier continued to act as Dean of the School of International Affairs, a post he held throughout his tenure as president.

Joel Frader

Columbia College sophomore and SDS steering committee member during the protests. At the time, he was in charge of the SDS’s draft resistance efforts.

Nick Freudenburg

Vice-chairman of SDS and a Columbia College sophomore at the time of the protests.

Kirk and Truman Press Conference

Grayson Kirk (left) and David Truman (right) at press conference in Faculty Room of Low Memorial Library, April 25, 1968

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Grayson Kirk

Dr. Grayson Kirk was the President of Columbia University during the 1968 Crisis who made the fateful decision to call in the police after negotiations with Columbia students could not be completed. A Columbia University professor and provost, Grayson Kirk was elected president following Dwight D. Eisenhower’s departure for the White House and was officially installed on June 2, 1953. Responding to numerous calls for his resignation after how he handled the events of April and May 196, he finally complied in August of 1968.

Tom Hayden

The Founder of the SDS, at the University of Michigan, and one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement.

Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs was a popular American singer-songwriter who focused on protests and political issues. He performed at Columbia several times during the 1960s.

Mark Rudd Speaking

Mark Rudd leading a discussion in Fayerweather

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Mark Rudd

Chairman of the Columbia chapter of the SDS and, prior to the events of April 1968, stager of many protests on Columbia's campus from 1967-1968. He would later go on to be a leader of the Revolutionary Youth Movement, a radical offshoot of the SDS, and a member of the Weather Underground.

David Truman

Dr. David Truman was the Vice President of the university from 1967-1969. He had formerly served as a Dean of Columbia college from 1962-1967, and before that served as a Professor of Government from 1951-1962. He instituted small, liberal reforms throughout campus, and was known for supporting many of the causes about which many of the students were passionate. By the end of 1968, however, many students regarded him as a stooge of President Kirk. In 1969, he left Columbia to become to president of Mount Holyoke College.

Westin and Wallerstein Press Conference

Alan Westin (left) and Immanuel Wallerstein (right) at Press Conference announcing 'bitter pill' resolutions, April 28, 1968

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Alan Westin

Dr. Alan Westin was a Political Science professor, and public law specialist, who chaired the Ad Hoc Faculty Group (AHFG). He taught at Columbia from 1959 until his death in 2013.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Dr. Immanuel Wallerstein was a Professor of Sociology at Columbia from 1958 to 1971. He was a member of the Ad Hoc Faculty Group (AHFG) and co-drafted the “Bitter Pill Resolutions" with Professor Alan Westin.

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