|All Sources > Manitou Messenger (DA-MM) > The Manitou Messenger (1916-2014) > 1969 > No. 20, Vol. 82|
Moratorium in Madison
Author: Jon Nordby, Norine Meister
The goal of the University of Wisconsin at Madison was a peaceful Moratorium for peace. Its student organizers tried to discredit those who had predicted violence.
Activities on Thursday—a "Day of Thought"—included a series of educational and political programs focusing on the idea of immediate withdrawal from Vietnam and on the university's involvement in military research. Participants also felt that the university's investment in war-related industries threaten the institution's academic ideals and demanded that such ties be broken.
Many small rallies were held on Thursday in Madison's junior high schools, neighborhood centers, downtown, local technical school and high schools. The only serious incident occurred in connection with the 300-person rally held at the university library. As a result of previous disorders at public rallies, the school's regents banned all sound systems except for use at all-campus events such, as homecoming. Three people at Thursday's rally on the library mall were charged by campus policemen with "illegal use of sound equipment." The microphones being used at the time did not work well enough for the crowd to hear the speakers.
One of the arrestees was the head of University's Afro-American Center and another was a member of SDS. The Moratorium Committee posted $107 bail for each of the two arrestees charged with illegal use of loudspeakers and $207 bail for the SDS member who was also charged with disorderly conduct. Observers stated that the third person did the same things as the other two.
After their concert at the coliseum, Peter, Paul and Mary joined in a march down State Street to St. Paul's Catholic Center where the marchers talked and sang through an all-night peace vigil.
The Moratorium Committee decided that on Friday—the "Day of Quiet"—it would be most appropriate to gather with friends or go to church services. Friday's only rallying was done by high school students who cut their classes to meet on State Street. "The silence of the campus on this day," the committee reasoned, "will be more eloquent than 30,000 voices."
While 600 students boarded buses for Washington, students that stayed in Madison were asked to go into the community and talk to people about the war. A girl covering the east side of Madison said that she received basically positive responses to the students' effort. Most people were grateful that the students had tried to explain their position to the community. Only about one citizen in ten slammed his door.
The University's position, pushed by the regents, was that professors were supposed to hold classes during the Moratorium, but that the contents of classes were up to them. Some professors called off classes, and others held discussions in which they generally upheld the goals of the Moratorium but debated the tactics of some groups working for the Moratorium.