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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The Struggle Continues

Promoting solidarity and coalition building across CUNY campuses, this flyer called on students at Bronx Community College, Lehman College, and Hostos Community College to join a May 2, 1991 rally at Hostos Community College in the Bronx followed by [...]

Harlem Demonstration

"Why pay more for less" read a protest sign. As student takeovers spread to more City University of New York (CUNY) campuses, CUNY students organized marches and rallies across the city. These images show students marching to City College in Harlem, [...]

We Can Win! Your Involvement is Crucial! – CCNY Student Strikes

Written three weeks into the City University of New York (CUNY) strikes of 1991, this flyer, signed CCNY STRIKE STUDENTS (City College of New York), urged students to support the movement and attend general assemblies. Daily mass general assemblies [...]

CUNY Students March and Rally

This flyer promoted a city-wide protest scheduled for April 24, 1991, at the World Trade Center. Drawing connections between the struggles of students, community, and labor, this flyer stated, “success in our struggle will only come if we fight [...]

Support CUNY Student Strikes!

“No Budget Cuts! No Tuition Hikes!” This 1991 flyer promoted a City University of New York (CUNY) wide rally on April 12th at City College of New York (CCNY). Chronicling April 8th’s CCNY and Borough of Manhattan student takeovers; and April [...]

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 [...]

Minutes of April 1965 CCNY "Special Committee"

One week after CCNY President Buell Gallagher obtained faculty approval for its creation, he sat in on this “Special Committee” meeting chaired by Bernard Levy to begin to plan a new racial and social justice admissions and support program that [...]

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 [...]

Janet Mayes: An Oral History of the CCNY 1960’s SEEK Program

In this oral history interview, Janet Mayes, a City College SEEK writing teacher reflects on her experiences with the program. Mayes joined CCNY in the spring of 1967, making her one of the seven original SEEK writing lecturers. She co-taught a SEEK [...]

Statement of Professor John A. Davis

In this 1965 statement Professor John A. Davis demands that his colleagues at City College take action to increase minority representation at the school. He writes that two years had “passed since various units of City College have been [...]

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 [...]

Allen B. Ballard: An Oral History of the CCNY 1960s SEEK Program

In September of 1965, City College launched SEEK, a desegregation and supportive teaching program that quickly became the direct model for new Equal Opportunity Programs at dozens of New York colleges. Here SEEK founder Allen Ballard remembers the [...]

Francee Covington: An Oral History of the CCNY 1960s SEEK Program and The Paper

In 1966, Francee Covington entered City College as one the first class of SEEK students. Here, Francee remembers growing up in Brooklyn, her years as a City College student and her student journalism work on The Paper. Short for "Search for [...]

Marvina White: An Oral History of the CCNY 1960s SEEK Program

In this interview, Marvina White recounts growing up on Dyckman Street in Upper Manhattan and entering City College as part of the first class of SEEK students in 1966. White also analyzes how SEEK-- especially SEEK teachers and counsellors Barbara [...]

Eugenia Wiltshire: An Oral History of the CCNY 1960s SEEK Program

In this oral history interview, Eugenia Wiltshire (nee Dorothy Robinson) recalls her time attending City College in 1966-70 as one of CUNY's first SEEK students. Short for "Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge," SEEK was established in [...]

"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 [...]

The Struggle For Speech at CCNY, 1931-42

Based on the exhibition "Protest and Repression: The Struggle for Free Speech at CCNY, 1931-42," mounted at The Graduate Center, CUNY, February 4 to March 4, 2005. This exhibition was first mounted at the Morris Raphael Cohen Library, The City [...]

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.

CCNY Anti War Notices

“Nip Fascism in the Bud” This collection contains 337 pamphlets, newsletters, and flyers, which were circulated at City College of New York during the 1930s and 40s by student political organizations, which included the Young Communist League, [...]

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 [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #1: William Steig

William Steig, famed American cartoonist and illustrator, created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #2: Philip Reisman

Philip Reisman, a social realist artist, created this print for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education, tells the story of the [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #3: Sylvia Wald

Sylvia Wald, a politically and socially conscious artist, created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #4: Marston Hamlin

Marston Hamlin created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education, tells the story of the Rapp-Coudert [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #5: Art Young

Art Young, a socially conscious cartoonist and writer, created this cartoon for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education, tells [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #6: Harry Gottlieb

Harry Gottlieb, a social realist graphic artist, employed by the WPA, became a leader and active member of the Artists Union and the Artists Congress. A life-long member of the Communist Party, Gottleib created this illustration for inclusion [...]

Winter Soldiers, Selection #7: James Egleson

James Egleson, an American WPA artist, created this illustration for inclusion in the 1941 book, Winter Soldiers: The Story of a Conspiracy Against Schools. The book, published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education, tells the story of the [...]

Subpoena issued to the College Teachers Union

This is the subpoena that was issued to the College Teachers Union on January 27, 1941. Commanding the union's presence at a January 31st hearing before the Rapp-Coudert Committee, the document requests extensive union membership records, meeting [...]

New York College Teachers Union Newsletter, January 1941

The cover of this issue of the College Newsletter, a publication of the New York College Teachers Union, includes several articles regarding the then ongoing Rapp-Coudert hearings of the early 1940s. They report on mass meetings with thousands of [...]

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