South Carolina police shoot and kill three at South Carolina State College after a civil-rights protest at a segregated bowling alley.
Activists take over five buildings at Columbia U. (left) in the largest protest of its kind, with 700 arrested — sparking a culture of student unrest.
Students and other protesters battle the police at the Democratic National Convention, in Chicago.
Notre Dame’s president, Father Theodore Hesburgh, releases his "Tough 15-Minute Rule," encouraging student dissent against the war but stipulating that it must not interfere with the civil rights of others. Violators would get a timeout.
More than 100 students at Cornell U., some later carrying guns, occupy Willard Straight Hall to protest the campus racial climate.
Gov. Reagan fires Clark Kerr as U. of California president. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education is subsequently established with Kerr at the helm.
Yale announces it will admit women. Princeton follows within months.
Clifton R. Wharton Jr. is named the next president of Michigan State U., the first black leader of a major, predominantly white state university.
UCLA undergraduate Charley Kline transmits the letters "L" and "O" to a computer at Stanford, the first message sent on the precursor to the internet. He was typing "LOGIN," but the system crashed.
National Guardsmen kill four students at Kent State (above). Eleven days later, police fire on protesting students at Jackson State, in Mississippi, killing two more.
Title IX and the precursor to the Pell Grant become law.
The first Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is released.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 becomes law.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reports that academics in "over 100 colleges, universities and related institutes" have clandestine relationships with the CIA.
The U. of Phoenix enrolls its first eight students.
Demonstrators at a National Academy of Sciences forum protest the potential for alteration of human genes in recombinant-DNA research.
The Supreme Court’s affirmative-action decision on the U. of California v. Bakke bans quotas but approves advantages to minorities in college admissions.
Hanna Gray becomes the first woman to lead a major U.S. higher-education institution, the U. of Chicago.
The U.S. Department of Education is created under President Jimmy Carter.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Title IX bars sex discrimination against employees and students in "any education program or activity" receiving federal money.
In a report, "A Nation at Risk," a federal commission warns that a "rising tide of mediocrity" threatens the nation’s schools and colleges.
Rejecting a plea from Bob Jones U., the Supreme Court rules against tax exemptions for educational institutions that practice racial discrimination, even on religious grounds.
William J. Bennett, the controversial head of the NEH, becomes secretary of education. In his first news conference, he endorses a plan to cut federal spending on student aid and suggests that some students may have to consider "a stereo divestiture, an automobile divestiture, or a three-weeks-at-the-beach divestiture."
Michigan approves the first statewide prepaid-tuition plan, allowing parents to start saving for college when their children are still in diapers.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson leads some 500 Stanford U. students on a march chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, Western culture’s got to go!" Stanford eventually replaces its Western-culture requirement with a new one including courses on non-European cultures.
Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind causes a sensation by asserting that students are dispirited and universities are in disarray.
Hundreds of students and other protesters are slain in China’s Tiananmen Square massacre.
George H.W. Bush signs the Americans With Disabilities Act, expanding protections for college applicants and students with disabilities.
Colleges’ exemption to the Federal Age Discrimination Act expires, allowing professors to work past the age of 70.
A federal appeals court rules in Hopwood v. California that the 1978 Bakke decision no longer justifies racial preferences, heralding a new era in which affirmative action is put on the defensive.
A Chronicle article on the 10th anniversary of Black Monday says, "one of the longest-running bull markets in modern history has enriched institutional investors, boosting endowments by millions — and, in some cases, billions — of dollars." The market climbed for 13 years, from the October 1987 crash until the burst of the dot-com bubble in 2000.
The Chronicle reports that authorities are confounded by separate mail-bombing attacks against professors at Yale University and the University of San Francisco. The FBI says the attacks are believed to be the latest in a string of 14 that began in 1978, and they’re calling the case "UNABOM," for "university and airline bomber."
FBI agents find and arrest "the Unabomber," Theodore Kaczynski (above left, in an FBI composite sketch released in 1987, and above right, after his 1996 arrest), a mathematical prodigy and former UC-Berkeley professor with degrees from Harvard and the University of Michigan, at his primitive cabin in Montana. Kaczynski, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, killed three people and injured 23 others, many with university ties, during his 17-year terror campaign.
Two Stanford Ph.D. candidates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, start a new company called Google.
In a case involving the U. of Michigan, Gratz v. Bollinger, the U.S. Supreme Court sets strict new standards for affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, still allowing race to be considered.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita cut a swath of destruction across three states, displacing thousands of students and ultimately causing thousands of college employees to lose their jobs.
Mark Zuckerberg, a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate, launches thefacebook.com, a dating site for the university’s students.
Lacrosse players at Duke U. are accused of raping a stripper at an off-campus party. The team’s season is canceled, but DNA evidence fails to corroborate the accusations, and the state attorney general ultimately declares the players innocent.
Lawrence H. Summers resigns as president of Harvard U. after suggesting a year earlier that women might lack an aptitude for math and science.
A panel chaired by Margaret Spellings, U.S. secretary of education, issues a controversial report that criticizes colleges for not preparing students for the 21st-century workplace.
A mass shooting at Virginia Tech leaves 33 dead, including the gunman. It was — at the time — the worst such massacre in modern American history.
The subprime mortgage crisis, which had already spun the U.S. economy into recession, begins to pummel colleges, The Chronicle reports.
Some 2,200 people sign up for the first massive open online course, or MOOC, taught at the U. of Manitoba. Twenty-five students pay tuition for the course.
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights issues new guidance to colleges on complying with Title IX, heralding a wave of investigations into alleged incidents of sexual violence on campuses.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that total student-loan debt will top $1 trillion by year’s end.
A package of articles in The Chronicle describes a gradual but steady decrease in state spending on public higher education that will, if trends continue, dry up altogether — as soon as 2022, in one state.
Rolling Stone publishes a horrific account of a student’s gang rape at a U. of Virginia fraternity. The magazine retracts the story five months later after the woman’s accusation unravels.
Ten people, including the gunman, die in a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Oregon.
Protests by black students at the U. of Missouri (above), including a threatened boycott by the football team, culminate in the resignations of the university system president and the flagship’s chancellor.
Texas allows permit holders to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses. The law takes effect on the 50th anniversary of the Texas tower massacre, the first mass murder on an American college campus, which left 15 people dead.
The Education Department continues its crackdown on for-profit colleges as its "gainful employment" rule goes into effect. At least two for-profit chains — Corinthian and ITT — eventually go belly up, and the department proceeds to strip its recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a major accreditor of for-profit colleges.