In the summer of 2007, a group of representatives from a variety of departments and offices – including myself, as an alumna with a passion for Barnard history – met in the Career Development conference room for the purpose of designing a year-long series of events as a part of the 40th anniversary of the 1968 student protests on campus. A “Town Hall” discussion for students on student activism, a lecture by noted historian, Estelle Freedman ’69, and videotaped oral histories, all became part of the plan. Someone raised the idea that a timeline or an archival project should also be included – and this exhibit was born. Shown at both the Freedman lecture and then later at Reunion 2008, it now finds new life online.
The story of 1968 is well-known and oft-told, mostly from the perspective of Columbia and its all-male student body at the time. I wanted to tell the story of those tumultuous days from the Barnard perspective. Because, while Barnard women may have felt just as passionate about the same issues as Columbia men, they also had their own set of unique concerns that spring – embodied in the “LeClair Affair” chronicled here.