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Vietnam War Protests at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Archives Dept.: Beginnings, "Bitch-Ins", and Dow Chemical, 1966-1968

Overview of protests and rallies held at UWM against the Vietnam conflict during the 1960s and 1970s. Includes photographs and references.

Beginnings, "Bitch-Ins," and Dow Chemical, 1966-1968

November 2, 1966:  Students picket Marine and Air Force recruiter stations in the UWM Union and denounce the Vietnam
War. The crowd cheers when counter-protesters intervene and destroy the protesters' signs.

The UWM Post reports that the "dispersing of the crowd was aided by the start of 1:30 classes on campus and the
general disinterest at the idea of standing in the union lobby and arguing."

 

November 4-9, 1967:  UWM students demonstrate against Dow Chemical for its production of napalm for use in the war,
and against the CIA for its alleged complicity in war crimes.
The Student Life and Interest Committee (SLIC) considers a
formal proposal on November 9 
"requesting that the use of the UWM facilities for the Dow and CIA interviews be denied."

 

November 29, 1967: After the decision is made to proceed with the Dow Chemical interviews at the UWM Civic Center
campus, over 100 students rally in front of the Union, then march downtown for a picket of the potential interview site.
Chancellor J. Martin Klotsche, in a released statement, praises the peaceful nature of the protests, noting that "
the
actions of the students were in the best traditions of the university."

In response to the protests, the Chancellor appoints a special committee to study the feasibility of continuing the
interviews on campus.

 
February 8, 1968: The Chancellor's committee releases the "McLaughlin Report," which indicates that while the Dow and
CIA interviews were not strictly educational, the university nevertheless had a responsibility to provide job recruitment
services to students while protecting the rights of other students to peacefully demonstrate. The report also recommends
that in the event of threats to life and property that the UWM security forces could not handle, it would be appropriate to
seek outside assistance from the Milwaukee Police Department.
 
February 26, 1968: Dow Chemical Company interviews are held in Mitchell Hall. Approximately 40 to 50 protesters gather
in the Union before marching to the second floor of Mitchell Hall to protest the interviews. Two students are arrested while
blocking access to the Chancellor's office, in what the UWM Post calls "t
he first disruptive protest in UWM’s history." The
protesters deliver a list of demands to the Chancellor, including the release of the arrested students and cancellation of
the remaining interviews.
 
February 27, 1968: Twelve students from the previous day's demonstration meet with Chancellor Klotsche, who affirms
students' right to protest, but not in a disruptive manner. He also explains that UW Regents policy requires him to allow
recruitment except under extraordinary circumstances. The arrested students are charged with disorderly conduct and
sentenced to 30 days in the House of Correction, but are released after Dean David Robinson has their bail lowered from
$1500 to $100.
 

March 14-15, 1968: In light of a number of planned protests at the Federal Building in downtown Milwaukee, the CIA
cancels its area interviews, citing a new policy in which interviews are not held if there is a possibility to "disturb the
peace of the University or the Community."

Members of Students for a Democratic Society and sympathetic UWM faculty proceed nonetheless with a Teach-In on
the 15th, citing the need to "look into the causes of war and the system which causes it."

 

 
March 19, 1968: The play "Madame C.I.A." is staged in front of Bolton Hall as part of a larger protest of the CIA at UWM.
The revised theme of the protest, in light of the previous week's cancellation, is "Where is the CIA?"
 
April 26, 1968: UWM students participate in activities associated with the national "April Days of Protest," including a
march from campus to the Federal Building, burning President Lyndon Johnson in effigy, and a "Bitch-In" on the Union
Lawn sponsored by the Campus Action Party.

Photographs

March 6, 1968

February 25, 1967

November 27, 1967

March 6, 1968

March 6, 1968