Interview with Joseph T. Burch, November 14, 1980

Project: University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Joseph Burch was the Director of Public Safety at the University of Kentucky from the fall of 1969 until 1974. He was also the Assistant Dean of Men, and worked in the Vice President of Student Affairs Office, Vice President for Business Office, and in 1975 became Dean of Students at UK. Burch was the Director of Public Safety in the spring of 1970 when campus unrest permeated the country.

The University of Kentucky campus was not as violent as some other colleges, but Burch describes how he witnessed and dealt with some serious problems in the final weeks of the spring semester of 1970. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) sponsored many anti-war and anti-draft demonstrations, lectures, meetings, and they even planned a candlelight march in which they paraded around campus carrying caskets. Burch describes how the group of nearly 500 students ended up at Buell Armory, the ROTC building. He states that even though some of the leaders of the group wanted to burn down the building, it was only subject to a few stone throws.

In reaction to the students' protests, Burch states that he had help from campus police, and he also called in reinforcements from the Lexington city police, Kentucky State Police, and even the National Guard. Although the students did not set fire to Buell Armory that night, within the next two weeks a seldom used building on North Campus caught fire and even managed to spread to parts of Blazer Hall. Burch explains that the National Guard was very helpful in protecting the University property, but the Kentucky State Police were the ones actually doing the arresting. Burch just wanted the students to get through finals week, and once they did, the momentum behind the protests died down.

Interview Accession

1980oh201_af117

Interviewee Name

Joseph T. Burch

Interviewer Name

Mitchell Hall

Interview Date

1980-11-14

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Burch, Joseph T. Interview by Mitchell Hall. 14 Nov. 1980. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Burch, J.T. (1980, November 14). Interview by M. Hall. University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Burch, Joseph T., interview by Mitchell Hall. November 14, 1980, University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7stq5r8w88