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Students Doth Protest Too Much

By Matt Wood in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 12, 2006 7:07PM

chicagoist_200610_trig.jpgDon't let your ex-hippie parents try to convince you that they invented the student protest back in the 60's. Even with all the sit-ins, marches, slogans, and weed, they were just continuing a long tradition of student oppostion to everything from the physical fitness of their professors to too much emphasis on trigonometry in the curriculum.

A new exhibit at the Northwestern University Library in Evanston chronicles the history of student protest at the school. Officially titled, "Student Life and Culture: Authority, Opposition and the Creation of New Traditions," the exhibit features pictures, flyers, clothing, and other artifacts culled from over 130 years of activity. In a press release, curator Kevin Leonard says that many aspects of student life taken for granted today, like athletics and performing arts, "in fact were developed without faculty and administration approval and, often, in opposition to their authority." For instance, Northwestern students organized sporting events as a way of showing up their flabby, pasty professors. Dramatic performances, now a staple of the NU experience, grew out of a ceremonial burning of trigonometry textbooks at the end of the term, called "Trig."

The exhibit is free, and runs through December 7. It is housed on the main floor of the library in Evanston, which is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and until noon on Saturdays.