On the heels of the Masterson Crisis, another crisis in the Spring of 1970 yet again sparked student uprisings against the administration. Despite Rice’s relatively calm political atmosphere regarding the events and attitudes of the sixties compared to other college campuses, tensions remained heightened.
In late March, the Student Center Board invited Abbie Hoffman, a radical activist and an icon of the anti-war and counterculture movements, to speak at Rice University for a public event. The proposal was rejected by the dean of students and revised by the students multiple times without reaching a consensus. Over the next few weeks, the conflict escalated amid arson and bomb threats as the Student Association, the university president, and the Board of Trustees got involved.
While Hoffman ultimately gave a five minute speech at Willy’s statue, the next two weeks were marked by protests, negotiations, and most notably a student occupation and clash at the Allen Center.