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.

Spheric: Ground Zero

This issue of Spheric, a Hunter College newspaper produced by activists from the CUNY Coalition, covers efforts organized by the Students Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!) to protest New York Governor George Pataki's plan to decrease state funding [...]

"Building a Movement"

This is a photocopied Village Voice article that was used to promote a citywide demonstration on April 25, 1995 that united groups fighting for education, jobs, housing, health care and AIDS care. They also called for an end to police brutality and [...]

"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 Stella Zahn, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

In this impromptu interview conducted on July 27, 2013, Stella Zahn discusses the mission, students, and founding years of the Sophie Davis Biomedical School established in 1973. Stella was initially hired to be Director of Student Services but [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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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