1968: The Global Revolutions

Build a Free University: Columbia Belongs to You! > The Bust

In the early hours of Tuesday, April 30th, as the strike entered its eighth day, Columbia President Grayson Kirk formally requested the police to enter campus and retake the occupied buildings from the student protesters. The students inside Hamilton Hall left peacefully, but the police assaults on Fayerweather and Mathematics were particularly violent as students linked arms and refused to cooperate. Officers clubbed and punched students, dragging many across the campus bricks and cobblestones en route to waiting police vans. There were nearly 150 injuries among protesters and bystanders. After the buildings had been cleared, police returned to trash the classrooms and offices where students had been living in an attempt to frame the radicals for damaging the facilities. More than 700 students were taken to jail during “The Bust”; at the time, it was the largest mass arrest in New York City history.

 Condemnation of the administration’s choice to involve the police made the protests far more popular. Students mounted a campus-wide strike, and continued to rally and demonstrate against university policies. Classes were suspended for the remainder of the semester. President Kirk would announce his retirement over the summer. The Morningside Park Gym plans were never resurrected.

Valtman, Ed.
Political Cartoon, 1969
Dennis Ryan Papers

University Buildings and Grounds
“Confidential Memo”, 1968
University Protest and Activism Collection

Photographs, 1968
“The Bust,” Two photos
University Protest and Activism Collection

University Protest and Activism Collection

"A Survey of Campus Damage”
University Protest and Activism Collection

“Police Arrest Lists”
University Protest and Activism Collection

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