Morehead State University

Poster Title

The War Comes to Campus

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

During the late sixties and early seventies, many students across the United States began to feel that university officials were infringing upon their rights. In particular, students were concerned about in-loco parentis, meaning the university assumed the role of the parent on issues like dorm hours. This coupled with the politicization of the Vietnam War forced students into action as young adults. Although a small campus in rural eastern Kentucky, Morehead State University also experienced these pressures and students began to speak up to defend what they felt were their undeniable rights. During this time, the college established ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corps, which was compulsory for both freshman and sophomore men. This was a major issue for some students, who saw the creation of the military organization as an invasion of their rights. They focused their protest movements on ROTC, along with attacking the administration, especially President Adron Doran. Yet these protests were never as large or volatile as the ones at bigger schools or its close neighbor, the University of Kentucky. Doran, a former Speaker of the House for the Kentucky Legislature, was politically astute and considered skillful when dealing with sensitive campus situations. Many believe his skills kept the campus from undergoing major disruption. An examination of Morehead State’s protest movement indicates that activism emerged even on smaller campuses and in many ways, addressed the same fundamental issues as the ones at more urban schools.

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The War Comes to Campus

During the late sixties and early seventies, many students across the United States began to feel that university officials were infringing upon their rights. In particular, students were concerned about in-loco parentis, meaning the university assumed the role of the parent on issues like dorm hours. This coupled with the politicization of the Vietnam War forced students into action as young adults. Although a small campus in rural eastern Kentucky, Morehead State University also experienced these pressures and students began to speak up to defend what they felt were their undeniable rights. During this time, the college established ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corps, which was compulsory for both freshman and sophomore men. This was a major issue for some students, who saw the creation of the military organization as an invasion of their rights. They focused their protest movements on ROTC, along with attacking the administration, especially President Adron Doran. Yet these protests were never as large or volatile as the ones at bigger schools or its close neighbor, the University of Kentucky. Doran, a former Speaker of the House for the Kentucky Legislature, was politically astute and considered skillful when dealing with sensitive campus situations. Many believe his skills kept the campus from undergoing major disruption. An examination of Morehead State’s protest movement indicates that activism emerged even on smaller campuses and in many ways, addressed the same fundamental issues as the ones at more urban schools.