1968: Columbia in Crisis

The Protests > The Majority Coalition

"Ban SDS" sign

Conservative students protesting against SDS.

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On April 24, the day after demonstrating students took over Hamilton Hall and Low Library, a group of students opposing the protests and the strike met in McMillin Theater to form the Majority Coalition.

The Majority Coalition 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. Like the students occupying campus buildings, Majority Coalition members made savvy use of the growing media presence on campus: their short hair, coats and ties, and symbolic blue armbands served as a strong contrast to the long hair, red armbands, and “hippie” clothing of many of the protesters.


Silent Vigil Circular

Circular announcing a "Silent Vigil Non-Violent Action by the Majority Coalition."

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The Majority Coalition maintained a visual presence on campus throughout the last week of April. They recruited anti-demonstration students to form a human barrier around Low Library in order to prevent students sympathetic to the strike from bringing the Low occupants food and supplies, and they held their own counter protests calling for the abolition of SDS on campus. A number of tense but nonviolent student-to-student confrontations occurred between the Majority Coalition and the student protesters throughout the week.

While the Majority Coalition remained adamantly opposed to the actions of the student protestors, they were nonetheless the only organization involved in the strike to accept the Ad Hoc Faculty Group’s “Bitter Pill Resolutions,” a compromise proposal written up by the AHFG.

After the April 30 bust and the extension of the student strike, the Majority Coalition changed its name to Students for Columbia University in order to contrast themselves with the strikers who, they argued, wanted to destroy rather than rehabilitate the University.









Student protesting against student occupation of buildings.

"Committee for Defense of Property Rights Charges"

Circular: "Committee for Defense of Property Rights Charges…S.D.S.: Today's Version of Nazi Thugs"

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Anti-SDS students often compared the group and its tactics with the Nazis.

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