American society seemed to fracture and unravel in the late 1960s; a time of social revolution and mutual distrust characterized by the generation-gap, Nixon’s Southern strategy, tense race relations, anti-war and draft protests. Many of these protest movements found natural outlets on college campuses. But the University of Portland was not much disturbed or disrupted by the larger social unrest. As reflected on in this retrospective piece from the July 1971 UP Alumni Bulletin:
During the time of unrest and splintering, UP practiced a measure of ‘Social Distancing’ seen appropriate to the circumstances.
(looking out from the Bluff over a not-yet-developed industrial Swan Island, and Mt. Hood, circa 1968)
However, some assembly of persons was allowed—and even encouraged—to move towards healing divisions, expressing grievances, and valuing the free exercise of speech and opinion. Though students were expected to observe the ‘5-minute rule’ (the context for this directive is found in the exhibit at the bottom).
Gatherings and communication were expected in that moment of national stress; however, the Administration anticipated that after people had their say, then dispersal would follow, all students would return to studies and the work of education would resume. Asking for continuity-determinedly so—in unsettled times. So that, despite not being able to see the future clearly, the academic community continued to watch and prepare whatever the future would bring.
(this image cheats a little, grainy; The Columbiad October 1923, p.17; another old view of Swan Island)
This last exhibit is spliced and edited from the Alumni Bulletin, January 1969, pp. 6, 11.