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The men approached their car, then shot and killed all three young men.The murders received national attention, and six conspirators were brought to trial and convicted by federal prosecutors for civil rights violations.The three activists were stopped and arrested for allegedly driving over the speed limit on a Mississippi road.After being brought into the sheriff's department and released, the three young men were stopped by two carloads of KKK members on a remote rural road.The city planned to house 500 mental patients from Randall's Island Hospital, who were temporarily displaced by the construction of the Triborough Bridge. Colden appointed and chaired a committee to assess the feasibility of opening a free college in Queens.In September 1935, the committee recommended the establishment of such a college.
The college campus grew as buildings were constructed and enrollment increased.
The New York Times reported in December 1976 that "Queens College, considered the jewel in the university's crown, has been particularly hard hit by the cuts, which have gone to the heart of the faculty." All hiring and building on campus was halted. But with a 5 million building program in place by 1986 for the college's 50th anniversary, enrollments were expected to rise and the college was beginning to recover from the financial crisis of the 1970s. Under President Allen Lee Sessoms, the college underwent some growth but also some missteps, including the highly publicized inability to fund the planned AIDS research center that Dr. Queens College students were active participants in the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, including the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
In addition, the student body, in accordance with the mission of the short-lived Open Admissions program, had grown much more diverse, and college faculty were trained to understand Latin American culture and how to teach American literature to non-American students. The most well-known student activist was Andrew Goodman, who was slain in Mississippi in 1964 with two other young men, James Earl Chaney, and Michael H.
Queens College is consistently ranked among the leading institutions in the nation for the quality of its faculty and academic programs, the achievement of its students, and its affordability.
In 2013 Queens College was ranked #2 nationally by Washington Monthly for giving students the "best bang for their bucks." Before Queens College was established in 1937, the site of the campus was home to the Jamaica Academy, a one-room schoolhouse built in the early 19th century, where Walt Whitman once worked as teacher.
Mayor La Guardia backed the recommendation and pushed for the free college's creation.