4. 1967 occupation of the Catholic University
In the late summer night of August 11, 1967, students took over the central premises of Chile's Universidad Católica, pressing for a shift in administration. Their resistance, lasting till August 22, plunged the campus into high-stakes negotiations involving not just students and faculty, but also the Chilean Church, the Vatican, and the government.
The students' union, FEUC, had earlier identified a need for university reforms, noting a crisis in authority and calling for fresh leadership. Their plan was to nominate a non-clerical figurehead to spur these changes, coinciding with the end of the Pro-Rector's term that August.
Earlier in April, the students had voted on this shift, and a general strike was scheduled for August, aiming to suspend university functions through the occupation.
The students demanded a university accessible to all, with economic barriers removed and the needs of the disadvantaged prioritised. They also sought greater participation through co-governance, advocating for comprehensive representation in decision-making.
However, the vision of an inclusive, democratic university was dashed by the conservative Gremialista Movement, capitalising on the left's divisions to seize the 1969 elections.
A Spanish language clip about the occupation from a Chilean TV station.
The event seemed important enough to merit a brief mention in The New York Times.