"Citadel of Apathy"?: Student Activism at UNL, September 1968-May 1969

Project Editor:Jillian Gotfredson, History 470: Digital History, Spring 2008

Active or Apathetic?

Lincoln, Nebraska: A Reflection of the Movement on a Different Scale
Public Displays of Activism: from protests to talk-ins
Hyde Park Forum
Students Unite: committees, groups, and unions
Who Protests?
What is Apathy?
National Context: a timeline of student activism on campuses
International Context: a timeline of student activism on campuses
Works Cited

University of Nebraska Activism Was Tailored to Fit

Activism at the University of Nebraska, like the worldwide Movement, tailored itself to the local community. In the mid to late Sixties, several Movement groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality organized in small communities in the South. They immersed themselves in the local community and worked with local-based needs (Dittmer); this is exactly what student activists at the University of Nebraska did. Love Library didn't have enough space for students so they demonstrated. Trees were being cut down during construction, so students started a petition. Two African Americans were denied an apartment because of their color, so an open housing march was arranged. Activism at the University reflected the Movement by conforming to local needs.

Structure Resembled the Larger Movement

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Afro-American Collegiate Society (A-ACS), Young Republicans, Young Democrats, Students for Peace and Freedom, etc. all lack one thing: "articulate people who can tie the issues together." (Eckholt, Nov. 20) Each group has its own leaders, its own voice, but there is no central leadership amongst all the groups and power is divided and distributed accordingly. President of ASUN, Craig Dreezen, said "contrary to what many would like to think, or might suspect, there is no top-level student structure thinking up issues and organizing action" (Eckholt, Nov. 18) and Stuart Frohm, an organizer of a Biafran relief drive, said, "a lot of people are associated in some way together. They help stimulate each other. But they do not organize or plan together" (Eckholt, Nov. 18). This decentralization of organizations and the inability to coordinate actions among groups not only reduced effectiveness of campus action, but mirrored national Movement which saw several groups splinter and fail from lack of unity.