Chants of “Down with hate before it’s too late” rang out on Main Street and in downtown Poughkeepsie, as over 450 Vassar students joined the March Against Hate. The march was in part motivated by the arrival in Dutchess County of the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to arrange bail for a Klansman arrested on weapons charges and by the Ku Klux Klan’s growing presence in Dutchess County. Student organizers stressed, however, that the rally was meant to combat hate more generally, and a group manifesto declared their objective: acceptance of the cultural and religious pluralism within the Poughkeepsie community.
The group published a map of its route, and although about 50 students were trained and willing to engage in acts of civil disobedience, this tactic was not used. The march was both supported and contested by Poughkeepsie residents, one town student remarking that Vassar wrongly judges Poughkeepsie as a city fostering hate. As a result of the march, students created a multi-college activist group The Alliance to Stop Hate, drawing on students from Vassar, Dutchess Community College, the State University of New York at New Paltz, West Point and Marist College.