Forty-five years ago today, President Richard Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia in a televised address. The speech set off a wave of protests at college campuses, including Princeton, where the response began one of the most tumultuous months in University history.
Hundreds of students handed in their draft cards at protest meetings in the University Chapel. Nearly 4,000 students, faculty, and staff attended a May 4 assembly at Jadwin Gym and voted to approve a strike against the war in Vietnam, postponing the remaining academic work in the spring semester. Students protested at the Institute for Defense Analyses on campus and firebombed the Army ROTC headquarters at the Armory. The activism continued through Reunions and Commencement: Members of the Class of 1970 boycotted the alumni P-rade and wore "Together for Peace" armbands at graduation. (Priscilla Read ’70, one of the first eight women to earn a Princeton undergraduate degree, was pictured on PAW’s cover wearing the armband.)
PAW spoke with six members of the Daily Princetonian staff from that year for a recent episode of our PAW Tracks podcast highlighting the newspaper’s coverage of the events. Greg Conderacci ’71, the Prince editor, recalled, “We had an amazing experience that I’m sure anybody who lived through it remembers it. ... I can assure you that I would not have that memory of any sort of courses that I took that semester. So it was a great lesson, I think, for all of us at the Prince, but I think also for anyone who was privileged to be at the University at that time.”