1970 Peace Retreat

Richard Gusler describes NC State's reaction to the Cambodian Campaign during the Vietnam War and the 1970 campus Peace Retreat.

Interview on 2012-07-20

Transcript

00:00:00.000 That year in the spring when the Peace Retreat thing happened,
00:00:07.664 I just was out in the back of the Erdahl-Cloyd Union and there was a huge rally going on, people speaking about the war and everything,
00:00:18.463 and I don't know why but next thing I know I found myself standing up there and talking,
00:00:23.483 which is the first time I'd ever done anything like that in my life, and it just blew up from there.
00:00:28.693 What was really odd during that period of time is the center of the anti-war movement, although Chapel Hill and Duke were supposed to be these bastions of liberal following and whatever,
00:00:39.323 the bulk of the anti-war movement and things that happened in North Carolina centered around NC State, not Carolina or Duke,
00:00:51.254 and part of that was because we were in the state capital, so what was going on on campus was unbelievable.
00:00:58.106 But the entire university was-. I think that Carolina and Duke professors were used to this kind of liberal following and whatever.
00:01:09.340 State professors weren't used to that. It was a shock from the chancellor all the way down. They just didn't know what to think about it.
00:01:17.110 So there was a lot of tension between the students and the faculty and it sort culminated with the Peace Retreat and the request that they suspend classes
00:01:28.909 and give people the grade they have at that point and drop classes and we'd set up these seminars and speakers and things on campus for the rest of the semester.
00:01:40.655 ut it was wild, the research everybody was doing and the writing and putting together these seminars and discussion groups and all.
00:01:49.568 It was pretty incredible, and I mean the number of people-. You know of course the university's attitude was, oh, this is just-.
00:01:57.139 All these people that are supporting this are only supporting it because they want to get an early vacation for the summer and get out of here, and it proved them wrong.
00:02:05.283 A huge number of people stayed around and participated in it and it was pretty exciting. It was really good.