Indiana University Archives Exhibits

Cambodia Strikes: Main Rally

Indiana Daily Student, May 7, 1970, page 1

The Main Rally and March

May 6, 1970 marked the largest student protest in I.U. history. Prompted by American advancement into Cambodia and by the Kent State tragedy two days earlier, students joined together to express their dissent. The student participation was initially stated to be approximately 7,500 students, but  was later revised to a total closer to 10,000.

The protest began as a rally at Dunn Meadow. The group vocally endorsed a call for a two-day strike. The following are excerpts from a speech Student Body Vice President Mike King made at the rally:
“We must express our outrage and disgust at what’s going on in America and Asia today. There’s been a lot of feedback from student bureaucrats on the nice liberal issue of speaking out against the war; but they talk differently about the delicate issue of racism…The situation is serious. The people who run this country are willing to kill, slaughter, commit genocide, and even destroy the whole world rather than give up one ounce of their power. We must turn this country around and take the power from the people who have usurped the power of the people, seize that power and return it to the people. And if we face death in the struggle, let our last words be ‘All power to the people!’”

Led by Student Body President Keith Parker and a line of student marshals, the crowd then paraded from Dunn Meadow, down Jordan Avenue, past Wells Library (then called “Main Library”), and reassembled at Briscoe Quad. Popular chants among the protesters were “U.S. out of Cambodia ‘now’” and “Join us”.   Despite the size of the crowd and the high emotions, the rally and march remained peaceful.  At the end of the parade Parker expressed gratitude towards the marshals and congratulated the demonstrators on a peaceful protest.

Founders Day Walk-out

Also occurring on May 6 was a Founders Day celebration. Held in the IU Auditorium, there were about 600 honor students in attendance. President Sutton invited Jody Lanard, a freshman honors student, to speak to the audience.  Upon taking the podium, Jody expressed her disapproval of the invasion of Cambodia and reaffirmed "the almost lost faith in the ability of students to peacefully dissent.” After her short speech, Jody walked out of the event, with 300 of the honor students following behind. One of the honor students, Jane Feuer, claimed “It was an honor to walk out”.  President Sutton stated at the event that he was “extraordinarily proud of the I.U. student body (for peaceful expressions of dissent).”