Thie Week in Amherst History: Oct. 16, 1969

Some 200 students gathered in front of Frost Library at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 15 to hear music and impromptu speeches by members of the faculty. “Urging Amherst students to unite under the slogan, ‘Stop the War Now,’ Professor [of English Leo] Marx reminded them that ‘the whole world is watching American college students today,” The Student reported.

Following the speeches, students left Amherst for a day of canvassing in Northampton and South Hadley. At 4 p.m., over 5,000 students, faculty and townspeople gathered on the town common for an anti-war rally. The day ended with a march by over 2,500 people to the Northampton Unitarian Church.

While the results of the day-long canvassing were termed “very favorable” by student leaders, the moratorium drew criticism from many groups, including the UMass chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). “The organizers of the moratorium would have us believe that the war is merely a bad accident,” read a statement by SDS, according to The Student.

While some UMass students ignored or fought the moratorium, others enthusiastically supported it. “You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing and you don’t need a Vietnam veteran to tell you that we should get the hell out of there,” said John Fitzgerald, a UMass graduate student who had fought in Vietnam.