At Manhattan College in the late 1960s-early 1970s there was turmoil over a tuition increase, which led to student protests and a strike on the Quadrangle, and small unrest over the war in Vietnam. Certainly not the widespread unrest that had been demonstrated on other College Campuses like Columbia University or Kent State, but one consequence of Manhattan College’s conflict was the establishment of the College Senate in 1971.
The first constitution and by laws of the Manhattan College Senate was written in the fall of 1970. In the January 1971 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the motion was approved to have a functioning Senate. The Board reasoned that a Senate could be a stabilizing influence and could provide the students with a good understanding of the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing the future of the College, thereby counteracting any potential extremism.
The College Senate is comprised of representatives from the administration, faculty, students, staff and alumni of the College. The Senate is a policy making body which considers all, and deals only with, matters of college-wide concern. The Senate initiates, formulates and recommends proposals affecting College policy to the President and the Board of Trustees. The Senate is the primary channel through which the Board and or the President obtain a representative view on any subject affecting College policy.
One of the most significant influences the Senate has had over College policy was regarding coeducation. The Senate was tasked with studying the prospect and recommending the College go coed in the early 1970s.