Squire Hall Demonstrations records
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The controversy surrounding the closing of Squire Hall came to a boiling point in 1982 after five years of tension between the student body and the administration. The controversy first began in 1977 when Norton Union on UB's South Campus was renamed the "Daniel H. Squire Hall," after a former dean of the Dental School, in anticipation that the building would be converted one day into a dental clinic to provide much needed space for the Dental School.
In January of 1982, the University at Buffalo Council members finally voted to support plans to close the student union on March 1st of that year with no plans to open a new one in the near future. Student and faculty groups immediately formed in protest to the closing. By late January there was a large student-organized trip to Albany to try to persuade SUNY Chancellor, Clifton Wharton, to allow the union to remain open at least throughout the spring semester. Student organizations like KABASH rallied hoping they might have a chance to keep the union permanently.
However, Dr. Robert Ketter, the President of the University announced that Squire Hall would have to be "sacrificed for the UB School of Dentistry, which eventually will use Squire for expanded facilities. The Dental School is facing the threat of losing its accreditation if it doesn't get additional facilities... Dr. Ketter told students that the master plan for the Amherst Campus envisioned smaller student unions for the various schools, rather than a large, centralized student union such as Squire Hall" (Buffalo News, January 23, 1982).
But since there were no solid plans for a new union on either of the campuses, both students and faculty were concerned. One reader wrote to the Courier-Express that "Squire Hall is not a 'fun and games' building... Many hundreds of hours are given by volunteers for the Community Actions Corps., Anti-Rape Task Force, and many student clubs and organizations that make life on a large split campus just a little easier" (Buffalo Courier-Express, February 2, 1982).
An organized sit-in demonstration was held February 3rd when 300-400 students refused to leave Squire after the midnight closing call. The "majority left slowly and by 1 a.m., when the others still inside had not left, they were issued the tickets charging them with trespassing and requiring them to appear in City Court" (Buffalo Courier-Express, February 4, 1982). Eight-seven persons were given court tickets that night.
Then on February 28th, with only one day left before the official closing of Squire Hall, two hundred "mourners" gathered in the Haas Lounge for a second time singing Vietnam war protest songs, student association anthems, and 1960s protest standards to a "Squire beat". Two hours later 39 individuals were issued court appearance tickets for criminal trespass. As Dr. Ketter's last act as President of the University, he signed the papers suspending 32 out of the 39 arrested.
"The 32 suspended students have been banned from the campus until after they appear before the new university president, Dr. Steven Sample" (Buffalo Courier-Express, February 28, 1982). When Sample first stepped into office, he lifted 28 of the suspensions. And on March 12th, he gave an update on the status of Squire Hall: "I do not believe I am in a position to reverse these[previously made] decisions, nor do I believe that a reversal at this point would serve the best interests of the University. I believe instead that we must now turn our efforts from the past to the future."
Accruals and Additions
- Jackson, Harry R.
- Ketter, Robert L., 1928-1989
- Sample, Steven B., 1940-2016
- Student movements -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Student protestors -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Student unions -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Student-administrator relationships -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Students -- New York (State) -- Buffalo -- Political activity
- Finding Aid for Squire Hall Demonstrations records
- Finding aid prepared by Jessica Tanny; updated by Nathan Tallman, July 2008.
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