Vietnam Protests

During the Vietnam War, campuses around the United States erupted with demonstrations and riots.  Although students at Northern Michigan University had proven they were capable of rallying en masse in protest during the McClellan controversy they did not support the anti-war movements with nearly as much enthusiasm and preservation.  That said, there were students who demonstrated with great fervor and constantly tried to involve their peers.

The anti-war campaign at NMU did include a pair of Vietnam War moratoriums.  The first took place on October 15 1969.  Put together by the Vietnam Moratorium Committee (VMC), the moratorium included an all-day teach-in and a candlelight march through Marquette.  The names of more than 37,000 Americans killed in Vietnam were read, and an open forum followed the service.

The second moratorium, which was held on Nov. 14 1969, was considerably less successful.  Although it was broadened to include even more events, the overall attendance and active participation was significantly smaller.  Only 80 students showed up to plant the 74 crosses needed to commemorate those Upper Peninsula soldiers who were killed in Vietnam.

On Nov. 1965 Marquette's conservatism was displayed when a pro-war parade was held.  Two hundred and fifty students marched through the streets in support of the war effort.  The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) was the leading rightwing organization on campus and was constantly at odds with those who spoke out against the war, as well as the university. Some felt the YAF was regarded very highly by the administration and special privileges were granted to them whereever possible.  In fact, Mark Stevens, editor of the Campus Courier, stepped down after accusing the YAF of taking control of the newspaper.  He stated that he was no longer allowed to make editorial decisions and was forced to conform to their rightist agendas.

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