CUNY Digital History Archive

CUNY Digital History Archive

A participatory project to collect and preserve the histories of the City University of New York — A work in progress
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Oral History Interview with Stuart Schaar

This interview with Stuart Schaar, Professor Emeritus of Middle East History at Brooklyn College, was conducted by Douglas Medina for his research on Open Admissions at CUNY. Stuart Schaar was raised in the Bronx and attended the City College of [...]

Oral History Interview with Khadija DeLoache

Khadija DeLoache entered City College in the fall of 1966 with support from the CUNY Seek program. In this oral history, DeLoache discusses growing up in Harlem, her experience as a student activist, and the development of the Black Studies [...]

Oral History Interview with Allen Ballard

This oral history interview was conducted on April 4, 2014 at SUNY Albany. Allen Ballard grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and arrived at the City College of New York in 1960 as an assistant professor of Political Science. He was one of the [...]

Newton Hall Statement

“We as white students, can either be a part of the solution or a part of the problem. At Huey P. Newton Hall of Political Action we are attempting to become a part of the solution.” In solidarity with black and Puerto Rican students, a group of [...]

Five Demands

This handout, created by a group of protesting City College students, offers insight into the motivations behind a campus-wide strike in April/May 1969. Black and Puerto Rican students, as well as white supporters, demanded the college meet these [...]

"A three-pronged experimental approach to the problem of undiscovered college potential among the young men and women of New York City"

This memorandum from Chancellor Bowker’s office called for three new forms of CUNY desegregation programs (pp. 1-2). This “three-pronged experiment” would be excused from CUNY’s general obligation to admit only students with the highest [...]

Minutes from 4/8/1965 CCNY Faculty Council Meeting

In these notes from a liberal arts and sciences faculty council meeting at City College, CCNY President Gallagher describes a tentative plan to admit 100 “disadvantaged” students into an experimental program in fall 1965. After discussion, the [...]

Letter from Samuel B. Gould to John H. Hughes

In this letter to New York State Senator Hughes, SUNY Chancellor Gould describes the new SUNY SEEK Program. Gould had shown copies to CUNY’s Chancellor Bowker and Julius Edelstein, CUNY’s “Coordinator of Urban Studies,” who had forwarded the [...]

1967 - 1968 Annual Report of the SEEK Program

This is a CUNY-wide report for the SEEK program during the 1967-68 academic year. Included in the document is a cover letter from SEEK director Leslie Berger to CUNY Chancellor Albert Bowker, a table of contents, a list of SEEK administrators, and [...]

A New Role for Psychology: Working with Disadvantaged Persons in a College Setting

In this 10-page "position paper," Berger describes and offers a theoretical rationale for the central role of psychological counselors within SEEK. A handwritten note adds an additional source on page 10. Short for "Search for Education, Elevation, [...]

To Help Them Achieve: The Academic Talent Search Project 1966-68, Part II

In the Fall of 1964, (armed with a Rockefeller Foundation grant) Brooklyn College’s School of General Studies launched a 42 student pilot program using Bowker’s model, which it called the “Academic Talent Search Project” or “ATSP.” The [...]

The Pre Baccalaureate Program at the College

In this December 1966 City College Alumnus article, Leslie Berger publicly describes and advocates for the City College SEEK model and challenges all traditional college admissions criteria as incompetent measures of student potential. Short [...]

Anthony Penale as a Young Man

Anthony Penale was a City College lecturer and writing teacher in 1965 when he was appointed by English Chair Edmund Volpe as the first SEEK English coordinator/director. Penale became ill in the summer of 1967 and Volpe then appointed Mina [...]

"Pre-Baccalaureate Program Student Statistics -- Fall Term 1965"

This early summary of the first semester of SEEK (then known as the Pre-Baccalaureate Program) details the courses, schedules and teachers for the 113 SEEK students in Fall 1965 at CCNY. These first SEEK students took a mix of mainstream and special [...]

"Will Everyman Destroy the University?"

In this article, CUNY’s new Vice Chancellor Timothy Healy writes of SEEK as both a practical and theoretical model for open admissions. He cites the success of the program--intended to improve higher education access for the underserved--as proof [...]

"The Faculty Council Interim Report of the Committee on Enrollment Policy"

This April 1964 report shows the deep conflicts within the CCNY faculty with regards to expanding access to new students. Complaining about limited facilities and student unreadiness, the faculty committee resisted both loosening admissions [...]

SEEK Matters, Spring 1969

SEEK Matters, a bilingual literary magazine produced by the SEEK University Center in 1969 published student essays, poems and illustrations that reflected their experiences. Short for "Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge," SEEK was [...]

Minutes of the Board of Higher Education - November 25, 1968

These minutes of proceedings from the November 25, 1968 meeting of the Board of Higher Education record the establishment of new admissions criteria for CUNY four-year institutions as well as university-wide budget requests for the following year. [...]

Special meeting of the Faculty Council- Agenda

This agenda from a "special meeting of the Faculty Council" features three proposed "emergency" committees designed to handle the rampant student unrest that ensnared Queens College during its spring 1969 semester. Each of the committees was [...]

Student Representative Meeting Notes

These handwritten notes were taken during a meeting between Queens College student body representatives and President McMurray and other college administrators. Among those items discussed were the college's options regarding security/police [...]

Faculty Committee Meeting Notes

These handwritten notes were taken during a Faculty Committee meeting held on May 3, 1969. A large segment of the meeting was devoted to handling issues with Queens College's SEEK program. Short for "Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge," [...]

"Taught" by Marie Jean Lederman, 1973

In this piece of narrative nonfiction, Baruch College Professor Marie Jean Lederman reflects on her experience teaching remedial Freshman English at the University Center SEEK in the late 1960s.

Letter from UFCT President Requesting Protest

In this letter to the membership of the United Federation of College Teachers (UFCT), union president Israel Kugler stresses the UFCT’s support for both a more diverse student body at CUNY and the newly established Open Admissions program. Kugler [...]

UFCT Legislative Memo: Petition Against State Budget Cuts

This memo was issued to the members of the United Federation of College Teachers (UFCT) on behalf of union president Israel Kugler. It announces a petition drive against proposed budget cuts at CUNY. The document illustrates that even in times of [...]

CUNY SEEK and Open Admissions Oral Histories

This is a website of oral histories by CUNY students and teachers telling stories about the founding and early years of SEEK at City College. It also contains stories about teaching writing in the first decade of Open Admissions across CUNY.

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