Hennessy Garcia led a Black Lives Matter march through Washington Square Park in New York City, during the summer of 2020, toting a loudspeaker and hair scrunchies. As she handed the megaphone off like a torch to people who wanted to voice their thoughts on police brutality and the justice system, a woman unaffiliated with the march made her way to the front and stripped naked. Garcia laughed.

If you ask a Stony Brook University student about activism on campus, they’d likely have little, if anything, to say. To Mitchel Cohen, a student from 1965 to 1975, that reality is hard to swallow. Just half a century ago, Cohen’s days were punctuated with protests on what, according to him, was the most politically active campus on the East Coast. As it turns out, the history of Long Island’s “sleeper campus” is littered with smashed windows, smoke bombs and student arrests.