What Were They Thinking?


What Were They Thinking?


Origins and intentions of the Special Educational Opportunities Program


Alicia Goodchild
Aaron Lowe

Collection Items

Project 500: 'Not Racist'
David Eisenman, a graduate student on the chancellor's committee charged with implementing Project 500, explains mechanics of the 500 program to the Daily Illini and dispels popular myths about the program.

Extra<br /><br />
    - Project 500
Given on September 7, 1968 at Allerton Park, two days before the incident at the Union, this speech discussed what role Illini Guides played in welcoming the new students. The speech explained that Project 500 students came from backgrounds that may…

Demands of the Black Students Association
Following the incident at the Illini Union, the BSA created a list of their demands from the University.

David Eisenman's unpublished Harper's magazine essay on the conception and implementation of Project 500 at Illinois, disadvantaged students and higher education, the incident at the Illini Union in September 1968, and media reaction to the program.

The 500 Program and the Incidents at the Union
"The 500 Program and the Incidents at the Union" addresses a number of things surrounding the attitudes of different people on campus. Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the University of Illinois decided to bring in 500…

Rough Draft: Proposed Program of Supportive Services for Students in the Special Educational Opportunity Program 1968-1969
This document describes the tentative plan for SEOP. By formalizing the plans, the students would be able to take fewer hours during the semester. The budget breaks down exactly how much the school planned to spend on each part of the program,…

A Progress Report on Developing a Procedure for Handling Disadvantaged Cases (February-March, 1968)
This document identifies what qualified a student as educationally disadvantaged. It also outlines what qualifications students needed to meet in order to become part of the program. The university visited many high schools to recruit students to…

Campus Report
This edition of the Campus Report explains the purposes and goals of Project 500. It was published shortly after the events at the Union. Because of the date, it can be seen that regardless of the incident, the University of Illinois was hopeful…

Rumors Fly
This publication of Student Affairs includes an explanation of Project 500 and an interview with Clarence Shelley, the project director for SEOP. Given the nature of the questions, there were many thoughts about the quality of the program. In the…

A survey designed by the ad hoc faculty committee for the SEOP program that sought to define the program for future school years from its spring and summer 1968 origins. This document is from November 7, 1968 and includes notes from David Eisenman.…
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