protest fascism

Student activists are as troubled about the spread of fascism in Europe as they are about growing militarism at home. President Frederick B. Robinson invites an official delegation of students representing Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime in Italy to be honored on October 9, 1934 at a special assembly in CCNY’s Great Hall. A fight breaks out at this event when campus authorities seek to halt the anti-fascist remarks of the CCNY student body president.

The Robinson administration expels twenty-one anti-fascist student leaders for disrupting this college event and dissolves the Student Council. Over one hundred students are called before a college disciplinary committee. This is the most extensive political interrogation of students on any American college campus during the Depression years.

“City College, dubbed ‘the little red school house’ by the Hearst press, was now recognized as perhaps the most radical school in the country.”

-- Dorman, Arguing the World, 2000

student news strike The Student News, a metropolitan student newspaper, prints a special edition on November 19, 1934 to publicize the strike at City College.

quad rally Two- thousand students strike on November 20 to protest the expulsion of the twenty-one anti-fascist students and to demand the removal of President Robinson.

effigy Flyer advertising the November 20, 1934, student strike, with a two-headed figure representing President Robinson (left) wearing academic cap and clutching his umbrella, and Italian fascist premier Benito Mussolini (right) holding an ax. Both wear swastikas on their lapels.

gutterbutton President Robinson shouts to the anti-fascist students that they are “guttersnipes” at the assembly in Great Hall. At the November 20 demonstration called to protest the expulsion of the anti-fascist students over two thousand students wear buttons that read “I am a guttersnipe-I fight fascism”.


effigyphotoA seven-foot cardboard twin effigy of President Robinson and Premier Mussolini is carried by the demonstrators, and later burned in protest. The students chant “Smoke Robby out.”