Saturday, April 24, 2010Source: Foster
DURHAM — The Peace and Justice League at the University of New Hampshire will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student-led strike at UNH against the Vietnam War on May 4 at 6 p.m.
The event will be held in Horton Hall, the Social Sciences Building on Academic Way. A short 30-minute documentary film, "MayFlowers," will be presented followed by a panel discussion with Mark Wefers, student body president of 1970, and other activists from the time period.
In the spring of 1970 at UNH, Wefers arranged for Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Dave Dellinger to speak at UNH. The three were members of the Chicago 8, a group of eight leaders and activists indicted on federal charges for their roles in the protests and riots outside of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. They became known as the Chicago 3 at UNH. The University Administration was opposed to the event and eventually the decision was sent to the District Court in Concord.
The event was originally scheduled for May 5, 1970, at 7 p.m. The court decided the event would be allowed to happen but had to take place between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. On May 4, the day before the Chicago 3 event at UNH, four students at Kent State were killed by National Guardsmen during a protest against President Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, in what later became known as the Kent State Massacre. A wave of student protests swept across the nation in response to the massacre and there were many calls for students to go on strike against the war.
The speaking event on May 5 at UNH became known as "The Strike Rally "and the Chicago 3 refused to speak at 2:30, the time they were allotted by the court. At 7 p.m., 4,000 students showed up to the Hamel Center Gym, and another 3,000 listened outside as the Chicago 3 took the stage. The next day, UNH became one of the first universities to officially go on strike. In the end, about 350 Universities went on strike that spring.
Mark Wefers was indicted on federal charges for disobeying the courts order to hold the event at 2:30. UNH was on strike for three weeks until the semester was over.