The student strike of 1969 was the result of student activism from the previous five years. The grievances started in 1965, as students from the School of Architecture felt they were not receiving a quality education under Dean Grossi. This evolved into disgruntlement with the entire Pratt senior administration. By 1968, the seeds of protest and strike started to bloom, as further administrative decisions left the student body feeling unheard.
This document from 1968 gives an overview of previous actions taken by the students and administration that eventually led to the strike.
Students gathering with handmade signs calling for the resignation of Dean Grossi.
In 1969, Pratt decided to increase tuition and, along with a plan convert buildings on Willoughby Avenue to student dorms, this decision revived the student strike from the prior year. Students felt like these specific decisions fell into a long-time pattern of going against the will of the student body.
On May 7th, 1969, an anonymous open letter decried the treatment of the Black Bedford–Stuyvesant community. The letter writers condemned the Instutite’s actions, such as closing the campus and it’s facilities to the larger community and failing to condemn white vigilante groups.
Students disseminated all sorts of literature in order to inform the Pratt community of the various misdeeds of the administration. In this example, they used the budget numbers to show that more should be invested in the students.