Curtailing of Student Deferment in the Late 1960s as a Motivation for Violent Student Protests at Columbia University

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Curtailing of Student Deferment in the Late 1960s as a Motivation for Violent Student Protests at Columbia University

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Title: Curtailing of Student Deferment in the Late 1960s as a Motivation for Violent Student Protests at Columbia University
Author: Bailey, Lisa M.
Citation: Bailey, Lisa M. 2016. Curtailing of Student Deferment in the Late 1960s as a Motivation for Violent Student Protests at Columbia University. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
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Abstract: When President Lyndon Baines Johnson escalated the Vietnam War in 1965, he ordered more man to fight. The Director of Selective Service System, General Lewis B. Hershey, ordered local draft boards nationwide to curtail the granting of student deferment in order to induct more men to the military. In 1965 to 1968, many college students saw themselves being reclassified. In 1966, when General Hershey reissued the dormant Selective Services Qualifying Test (SSQT) for registrants who wanted to keep their student deferments, angry students began disruptive, war-related protests. On October 26, 1967, Hershey sent his “Hershey’s Directives” to local and appeal boards nationwide, in order to punish registrants who protested against the Vietnam War and the changing draft laws.

This thesis will address this primary question: Were students at Columbia motivated to take part in demonstrations because of “Hershey’s Directives?” In addition, the secondary questions are: Were student activists motivated to act violently and disruptively because they were suspended for participating in previous demonstrations? Did local boards send disciplined students to Vietnam? This historical case study of student activism at Columbia in the late 1960s focus on four issues such as the loss of student deferments, General Hershey’s attitude toward student deferments, arguments for and against student deferments, and war-related student protests. This thesis concludes that a majority of Columbia students, as well as a majority of students throughout the United States, were motivated to take part in demonstrations because of “Hershey’s Directives” and the changing draft laws since 1967.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33797340
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