Viet Nam and Kenyon

Photo by Robert McManus
The Kenyon Committee to End the War in Viet Nam in their first vigil.

There were at least two articles per week in the Collegian concerning the war in Viet Nam. Students, faculty, and administration voiced their concerns about the war. Some felt that America had no right involving itself in a conflict on the other side of the globe, expending its resources on a war that had been raging without American involvement for so long. Others thought it was our duty to aid others in whatever way we were able. The Kenyon community on both sides expressed interest in escalation of war according to a poll taken in 1967. For those both against the war and those who supported it, bombing would bring about a swift end to the war.

In November, 1967, Kenyon students expressed their concerns in a peaceful vigil, forming the Kenyon Committee to End the War in Viet Nam (KCEWVN). They stood outside Peirce Hall in protest of Navy recruiters on campus. The protestors sat in the snow, with a simple banner which read, "WE OPPOSE THE AMERICAN WAR IN VIETNAM". Perhaps the biggest impact of Viet Nam on Kenyon students was that the senior class members would be draftable when they graduated, and many professors were already being drafted.

Photo by Bill TaggartThe drafting of Kenyon professor, James Covello, to duty in Viet Nam in 1968, fueled the anti-war sentiment already on campus. The KCEWVN intensified their demonstrations, putting more pressure on recruiters to leave, and on Kenyon to express its opinions, for or against, on Viet Nam. The more aggressive approach of anti-war protestors forced Kenyon to consider its position as well. The College deliberated whether to disallow recruiters on campus, or to prohibit protesting on campus grounds. The resolution was to keep recruiters as low-profile as possible, and to keep Kenyon students at a distance.

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