The University of Padova is the protagonist of the 1968 Student Protest Movement and the years of protest right from the start: the student body, enormously increased (from about 10,000 enrolled in 1960 to over 30,000 in the academic year 1968-69)
, is in the forefront. At Palazzo Bo, the protests put an end to the six mandates as rector of Guido Ferro, in office from 1949 to 1968.
Initially the university institutions reacted to the change in conditions with a policy of slight concessions, for example, increasing the degree courses or giving a more incisive representation to the students, but without really touching the management and internal balance of the university.
The student organizations increasingly raised the level of requests, for example asking for the “democratic” co-management of spaces and programs, the abolition of exams and the political vote. Thus at the end of 1967 the faculty occupations began: at stake there was also a generational conflict that put students against teachers, with increasing political and social veins and extremist implications of opposing tendencies.
Padua, “city of vipers” according to the Padua university historian Angelo Ventura, would soon prove to be a particularly disturbing and violent political laboratory: from bombs of black matrix, even in the study of the new Rector Enrico Opocher, to the first murder by the Red Brigade, committed in the headquarters of the MSI in via Zabarella (1974).
A leading role was certainly played in those years by students and professors of the Faculty of Political Sciences, a microcosm that reflects a certain type of common evolution in those years in different segments of society.