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 Henry Arce

In this interview conducted about CUNY’s Open Admissions program, Arce describes his journey from the NYC Public School system to graduating from college. He credits his mother, who raised him alone in a Puerto Rican, immigrant community, for [...]

"Free Speech Victory"

Published by the "Citizens Committee for Constitutional Liberties," this is a collection of news clippings featuring articles relating to free speech issues on CUNY college campuses in 1961. The committee had formed in opposition to 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 [...]

"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 [...]

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 [...]

Medgar Evers College - The Pursuit of a Community's Dream

In this short book, Medgar Evers College: The Pursuit of a Community's Dream, CUNY retired professors Florence Tager and Zala Highsmith-Taylor tell the story of the founding of the college. As an institution born largely out of 1960s [...]

Minutes of Proceedings: Establishing Community College Number Seven

In these minutes of proceedings from a January 22, 1968 meeting of the Board of Higher Education, the Board resolves to create the "Committee to Seek Presidents for Community Colleges Seven and Eight." The committee is first tasked with filling the [...]

Telegram from Walter Pinkston to Chancellor Bowker: Lack of Community Involvement

In this telegram sent to Chancellor Albert Bowker on February 6, 1968, Walter Pinkston, executive director of Bedford Stuyvesant Youth in Action, decries the recent announcement of Community College No. 7 because the message was delivered without [...]

"Julius Edelstein, 93, Dies; Devised CUNY's Open Admissions"

This New York Times obituary describes the career of former Vice-Chancellor Julius C. C. Edelstein, one of the primary architects of the open admissions policy at CUNY.

Letter from Al Vann to Mr. Chandler: New College Must be Four Year College

In this letter from Al Vann, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Coalition, Vann forcefully reasserts his organization's demand that the new college be both a 4-year institution and community controlled. Addressed to Porter [...]

Letter from Chancellor Bowker to Members of Community College 7 Planning and Presidential Search Committee

This letter from Chancellor Bowker to members of Community College 7 Planning and Presidential Search Committee came in response to a series of requests made by the Bedford-Stuyvesant Coalition in prior weeks. Those requests, expressed in a June 18, [...]

"York Kids March on City Hall, Call It a 'Class' Fight"

This Daily News article details a May 1968 march by York College students in protest against what they considered inadequate campus facilities. York, the newest of the CUNY schools at the time, relied on temporary space within Queensborough [...]

Cartoon on College Protest

This political cartoon, originally from the LA Times and reprinted by the New York Times, reflects on the student unrest on college campuses across the nation in 1969. Depicting the military in charge at and around the desk of the [...]

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