Class of 1986...
Hundreds of students gathered in The Great Hall and the Nat Holman Gymnasium for registration. The endless lines often resulted in closed classes and students scrambling to find alternatives. In September 1986, the College moved to computerized registration.
Given the rich diversity of the class of 1986, students actively participated in international political movements. For example, CCNY students rallied against apartheid by demanding CUNY and SUNY institutions withdraw investments from companies doing business in South Africa. They succeeded in achieving this goal.
Students at City College also protested American foreign policy in Central America. A standing room of 150 students and faculty gathered at the College to hear world renowned MIT linguist and historian, Noam Chomsky express his views on the subject of the U.S. campaign policy in Central America, particularly El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Closer to home, CCNY students were concerned about President Ronald Reagan's proposed cuts to the Student Loan Program and racism on campus. Public hearings were held at CCNY by the City University Student Senate to address student complaints against faculty racism.
Another significant cause uniting the class of 1986 was the lack of decent and affordable food options on campus. On March 6-7, 1986 a coalition of 17 student clubs and activity groups held a boycott against the Tastyvend cafeteria service in response to what they called high prices and unsanitary conditions.
In addition to protests, the class of 1986 celebrated historic events around the world. Haitians at City celebrated the fall of Jean Claude Duvalier who fled to Paris after 29 years of ruthless dictatorship by him and his father.
CCNY President Bernard Harleston proposed a popular but expensive plan to refurbish the field on South Campus. The proposed field would consist of a 40-meter competition running track and an artificial surface field which would be capable of accommodating our soccer, lacrosse and baseball teams. In addition, the Park Gymnasium would be refurbished and transformed to a 24 hour recreational facility for students. Securing the funds necessary for the plan was difficult.
City College instituted a study abroad program at the Kenyatta University in Kenya. Approximately 150 students and faculty went to Kenya for a two week stay to attend lectures, seminars and meet with business, government and community leaders. The program was part of CCNY's African Initiatives Program, which was initiated by President Harleston in 1983.
CCNY athletics were reorganized with major changes in every supervisory position. The Intercollegiate Athletic Program received additional support when Student Government passed a referendum to increase the student activity fee.
The changes in CCNY athletics produced positive results. In 1986, the City volleyball and soccer teams took the CUNY championship. The women's track team also had a strong season, finishing second in the CUNY conference and setting several CCNY records. Two CCNY fencers won gold medals to lead the City College Men's fencing team in second place in CUNY Conference Championship. The women's basketball team finished with an impressive record and was invited to the Division III Basketball Tournament.
Graduation Day 1986 was held in the plaza of the new North Academic Center. The class valedictorian was Marie-Elena John, an immigrant from Antigua.
Mayor Edward Koch '45 spoke at the Alumni Dinner on May 20, 1986.