1961: Anti-communist loyalty oaths disappear
- Total enrollment: 4.1 million (62.4% male; 37.6% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 2.6 million (61.8% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 1.6 million (38.2% of total)
The loyalty oaths professors were required to take during the McCarthy years began to abate during the 1960s, notes Ellen Schrecker of The Chronicle of Higher Education. This helped usher in a new era of academic freedom on college campuses.
1962: Riot breaks out at Ole Miss over integration
A riot broke out at the University of Mississippi in 1962 when James Meredith, an African American college student, tried to act upon a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in his favor affirming his right to enroll at the all-white university. A group of at least 2,000 students tried to block his entrance. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy deployed 31,000 federal troops to the school to ensure Meredith could enter, per History.com.
1963: College students form first Muslim association
- Total enrollment: 4.8 million (62.0% male; 38.0% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 3.1 million (64.5% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 1.7 million (35.5% of total)
College students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign formed the Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada in 1963. Composed mostly of international students, it was the first major Muslim student association in the country, according to Geneive Abdo in “Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11.”
1964: Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination at public universities
- Total enrollment: 5.3 million (61.5% male; 38.5% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 3.5 million (65.7% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 1.8 million (34.3% of total)
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. It prohibited public colleges and universities from discriminating based on color, race, sex, religion, or national origin.
1965: President Johnson signs Higher Education Act
- Total enrollment: 5.9 million (61.3% male; 38.7% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 4.0 million (67.0% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 2.0 million (33.0% of total)
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Higher Education Act of 1965 in November of that year. It would establish federally funded scholarships and low-interest loans for college students, new community colleges, subsidies for academic libraries, and other forms of assistance for institutes of higher education.
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1966: First college shooting occurs in Texas
- Total enrollment: 6.4 million (60.3% male; 39.7% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 4.3 million (68.1% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 2.0 million (31.9% of total)
Ex-Marine Charles Whitman, a student at the University of Texas, climbed into the campus clock tower and fired at passersby on Aug. 1, 1966. He killed more than a dozen people and injured 31 others, according to the Associated Press. The event is considered the first college shooting.
1967: Gay student group gets recognition for first time
- Total enrollment: 6.9 million (59.8% male; 40.2% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 4.8 million (69.7% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 2.1 million (30.3% of total)
Students at Columbia University founded the Student Homophile League in 1967. The organization is considered the first university-recognized gay student group in the country.
1968: Student activists take over Columbia University buildings
- Total enrollment: 7.5 million (59.6% male; 40.4% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 5.4 million (72.3% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 2.1 million (27.7% of total)
Civil unrest led to the takeover of five buildings on the Columbia University campus by student activists in May 1968. Some 700 people were arrested, and the events are considered the spark for “a culture of student unrest,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
1969: Prestigious universities go coed
- Total enrollment: 8.0 million (59.3% male; 40.7% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 5.9 million (73.7% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 2.1 million (26.3% of total)
The late 1960s and early 1970s marked a period when a number of prestigious universities in the U.S. began admitting women. Princeton University, Trinity College, and Yale University admitted female students in 1969, followed by Colgate University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Virginia in 1970, according to CollegeXpress.
1970: National Guardsmen fatally shoot four Kent State students
- Total enrollment: 8.6 million (58.8% male; 41.2% female)
--- Total public enrollment: 6.4 million (74.9% of total)
--- Total private enrollment: 2.2 million (25.1% of total)
Four Kent State students lost their lives and nine others were injured after National Guardsmen fired on them during a Vietnam War protest in May 1970. Less than two weeks later, police killed two protesting students at Jackson State University, per The Chronicle of Higher Education.
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