Boilover: The Galpin Takeover
Tensions over the treatment of Black campus community members boiled over around 7a.m. on a Thursday in April 1989. Led by twelve black students, anywhere from 100 to 200 students took the Galpin Administration building by storm. In protest of the institutional racism students observed on Wooster’s campus, and in response to recent incidents of racially-charged violence on campus, students occupied the building en masse, locking out deans and administrators.1 Speaking to his comrades in demonstration, 20-year old student Robert Kennedy from Pittsburgh assured onlookers that, “we do not plan on leaving this building. …We plan on staying in here until our demands are met – next week if necessary.” Having sent previous correspondence to President Henry Copeland and the administration regarding raced campus issues in need of attention, the students took action after being, “tired of…[the] situation getting lost in the bureaucracy,” of administrative response and change. After thirteen hours of protest and hours of heated discussion between Copeland and students, some of the demands for change were met with affirmative commitment, effectively ending the protest around 8p.m. that evening.2
1 “150 College of Wooster students end sit-in,” Akron Beacon Journal, April 21, 1989; The Plain Dealer, April 1989 (Cleveland, Ohio).
2 Henry Copeland, memorandum to College of Wooster Board of Trustees, April 20, 1989.