Skip to main content
Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Students for a Democratic Society

The UNC Chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (UNC-SDS) was a vociferous critic of the compromise and initiated efforts to oppose the speaker policy adopted by the Board of Trustees. Established in the spring of 1965, the UNC-SDS wanted to confront UNC officials by inviting speakers who were banned under the law. In early December, the UNC-SDS began sending letters to people who fell under the speaker ban and would be willing to come to campus to test the law. 

In early January 1965, the UNC-SDS invited Frank Wilkinson, the executive director of the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee and who had refused to testify in front of the HUAC, and Dr. Herbert P. Aptheker, a member of the Communist Party USA and a Marxist historian, to speak on campus. In a letter to Chancellor Sitterson by its leaders Stuart Matthews and Gary Waller on January 28, 1966, the UNC-SDS asked for permission to invite Aptheker to campus, describing his academic credentials and listing other schools at which he had spoken.