Community Productions

2012: Beyond The Tie-Dye: Counterculture In Champaign-Urbana, 1965-1975


During the height of protests against the Vietnam War on the University of Illinois campus, students confronted the National Guard, conducted sit-ins to protest recruiting on campus by defense contractors and chemical companies, and met in “hippie” houses in the area where the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is today. Beyond the Tie-Dye: Counterculture in Champaign-Urbana, 1965-1975 is a radio documentary and series by Urbana University Laboratory High School students about that era.

People were protesting a lot of things at once: against Vietnam, for civil rights, for women’s rights, and weren’t willing to wait any longer for change, said Katherine Gorski, who was on campus at the time. “I think the part that I liked about campus at that point was just the comradeship you felt with everybody …,” she said. “And you could always find somebody to help you. Everybody was a ‘sister’ and ‘brother.’ ”

The programs include compelling stories of students arrested in protests, participating in classes when rocks began sailing through the windows, and manning crisis intervention centers for students experiencing the rapid social changes of the time. But the programs also delve into how the counterculture movement spurred alternative business models in C-U and what lasting effects the counterculture movement had on participants.

The students interviewed 16 men and women, including Gorski. The documentary, produced by Aishwarya Gautam, Shruti Vaidya and Sarah Yockey, features different stories from those included in the series. Dave Dickey of Illinois Public Media and Uni High teacher Janet Morford directed the collaboration of Uni High students and Illinois Public Media. Others interviewed were Richard Adkins, Nathaniel Banks, Debbie Cox, Vern Fein, Victor Fein, James Holiman, Joseph Miller, Renee Pollock, Mark Rubel, Howie Schein, Clarence Shelley, Phil Strang, Hester Suggs, Penny Hanna and Bill Taylor. Interviews for the series and documentary were conducted by the Uni High Class of 2015.