The 1970 occupation of William’s Hall on Virginia Tech’s campus

In 1970 after the murders of 4 students and the wounding of 9 others, by the Ohio national guard, at Kent State, there was a wave of demonstrations, rallies, and other solidarity actions by students across the country.

One such action took place on Virginia Tech’s campus, but these days is little remembered.

William’s Hall on the drill field was occupied by around 100 students, including members of the student government.

The students took over the building and barricaded themselves inside chaining the doors.

Police came from all over the area, not just Blacksburg and campus.  After they arrived they hooked chains up to the doors and ripped them off the building with a truck.  Then proceeded to raid the building and drag the students out.  Around 70 arrests were made.

The students were all suspended.  However, later they were given the option of returning if they wished.  After that semester.

Some of them did.  Others were left with bad taste of the administration and refused to return.

The fat that the students were suspended and the given the option to return is not a fact of the beneficence of the administration but rather the power of the students themselves.

If you go to Squires today, outside of the SGA offices there is a shirt with a power fist on it and a little plaque.  This is all that remains of this powerful day.

You can learn more about the occupation and events surrounding it here.


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