Robert D. Clark at San Jose State College and the University of Oregon
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The 1960s and 1970s were turbulent times all over the world. The Cultural Revolution introduced freedom, rebellion, and protest into the minds of the young. The war in Vietnam and civil rights issues provided the perfect opportunities for young people to practice the new freedoms that they were acquiring. Civil rights protests and protests against the United States’ policy in Vietnam became commonplace. College campuses were ideal locations for protests because they were full of young, idealistic, educated students. Officials of higher education had to deal with a generational clash that involved parents who wanted an authoritarian college president and students who wanted more freedom. Robert Clark had to deal with these conflicting interests when he was president of San Jose State College and the University of Oregon. At both institutions, there were many trying issues that challenged Clark to please both the parents and the students. In his five years at San Jose State, Clark dealt with three large issues: black student civil rights, the Dow Chemical protest, and the AFT strike. At the University of Oregon, the three main problems that Clark dealt with were the Weyerhaeuser protest, the Johnson Hall sit-in, and the ROTC looting incidences. Clark handled these situations at both schools similarly by listening and talking to students and by making changes in school policy when he deemed it necessary.