Columbians’ student participation in the Vietnam conflict was limited, and casualties among those who did serve were low. All the same, the war had a profound impact on the University.
Like the rest of the country, the Columbia community was deeply divided about the war. Some students enlisted; others were drafted, and still others enrolled in Naval ROTC to obtain commissions to serve their country. Opposition on campus to the war grew over time, creating intellectual as well as political ferment among students, faculty, and staff. While not the precipitating cause, resistance to the war contributed to the atmosphere of unease and unrest that culminated in the student strike of 1968.