Robert Carlock is an adjunct instructor of Modern American History at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He recently graduated with a master’s degree in history from BGSU, along with a certificate in public history, and is looking forward to continuing his academic career in pursuit of a PhD next year. His teaching and research both focus on the connections between social movements and education, especially how education can shape social change. This naturally drew him to the era of the 1960s and his study of student activism at BGSU, where he found a prime example of education being used as a tool for social change.
A New (Bowling Green State) University: Educational Activism, Social Change, and Campus Protest in the Long Sixties
The Kent State shooting is one of the most tragic events in modern American history, representing the peak of violence in an era defined by radical activism. Often people question how such a tragedy could have happened, but what if instead the most important lessons can be found in how people responded to the tragedy? Following the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970, students at Bowling Green State University worked with faculty and administrators to organize a series of teach-ins to hold open discussions about contemporary social issues and create potential plans of action to implement change. This program, known as the New University, was the result of the successes and failures of previous protests which created an environment at BGSU where educational activism, a non-violent and constructive method of activism, became dominant. As a result of the New University, BGSU experienced nonviolent activism in May 1970 and was the only public residential university in Ohio to remain open indefinitely that spring. This talks examines this period and allows the audience to collectively reflect on its continued significance.
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