In the Spring of 1968, six black West Indian students at Sir George Williams University accused a biology lecturer (later assistant professor) of racism. The complaint was lodged to the Dean of students, Magnus Flynn. Dissatisfied with how the administration was handling their complaint, the students decided to make it a public issue in the Fall of 1968. They wanted to establish a Hearing Committee - with representatives from the students, the administration and the professor - to investigate the charges.
The university agreed to establish a Hearing Committee, but problems arose with the nominations to the committee. The complainants escalated pressure tactics by organizing sit-ins and distributing leaflets informing the public about their protest.
The Hearing Committee was established although the students did not approve the representatives. On January 29, 1969, all of the complainants as well as about 200 other students walked out of the hearings in protest and occupied the Computer Centre on the ninth floor of the Hall Building. Nine days later, the occupation spread to the faculty lounge on the seventh floor.
On February 10 and after many days of negotiations, lawyers for the administration and the students drew up a set of proposals to settle the occupation. The proposal included the condition that the students would stop occupying the Computer Centre if the administration established a new hearing committee and helped black students catch up with courses or labs they had missed during the hearings and the occupation. While members of the administration met to ratify the proposals, it was assumed by the student protesters that the document had been accepted, and the occupation of the Computer Centre began to break up.