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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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.

"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.

Oral History Interview with Irwin Yellowitz

This oral history interview was conducted by Bill Friedheim on November 5, 2014 at the offices of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC). Irwin Yellowitz discusses his experience as a professor of history at City College of New York, events [...]

"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 [...]

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 [...]

CCNY Protest Flier

This April/May 1969 flier was created to protest police presence on campus and police brutality that many student activists objected to at City College. College administrators requested the police in order to secure the conditions necessary to [...]

Statement of Policy by the Board of Higher Education

This "statement of policy", attached to the minutes from a meeting of the Board of Higher Education on July 9, 1969, reflects the culmination of negotiations between college officials and protesting City College students. The students, most of whom [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Press Release from Black and Puerto Rican Student Community

This press release, written by protesting black and Puerto Rican students at City College on April 26, 1969, offers insight into the group's motivation behind their protests in the preceding months. Arguing for CCNY to better serve its surrounding [...]

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 [...]

"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 [...]

"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 [...]

"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 [...]

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