During the summer of 1987, the CIA arranged the appointment of senior officer George A. Chritton Jr. to the UCSB Political Science Department faculty as a lecturer. This was part of their new Officer-in-Residence Program, which launched in 1985 as an attempt to, “nurtur[e] relations between intelligence and academia” (Hedley 2008). For the 87-88 academic year, the agency managed to place senior officers at six U.S. universities, all with faculty status.
Agent Chritton’s appointment had been approved by Professor Dean Mann who, until the start of Fall ‘87, had been the Political Science Department chair. In a letter to Mann dated June 3rd, 1987 from Stanley Moskowitz, the chair of the CIA Training Selection Board at the time, Moskowitz nominated Chritton for the position. He laid out the agency’s goals for the program and explained that the Agency would fund Chritton’s salary. He stated the program, “will demonstrate the quality of CIA people…strengthen [the agency’s] professional ties to a fertile and indispensable source of ideas and technical expertise…[and] enhance CIA’s recruiting efforts.”
To the surprise of both the CIA and UCSB administration, Chritton’s appointment was quickly met with controversy. UCSB was the first campus where the Officer-In-Residence proved controversial according to Bill Devine, the CIA Public Affairs Officer at the time (Elzer 1987).
It was not until the first Academic Senate meeting of the school year when Chritton’s appointment was made public. Senate Chair A.E. Keir Nash expressed his concern over the appointment and the irregular hiring process leading the Political Science department to vote on the issue (Moss 1987). On the 28th of October, they voted to demote Chritton’s position to Visiting Fellow, which would prevent him from teaching; however, this vote was only considered advisory to the Cheadle Hall administrators, who ultimately held the hiring authority (Elzer 1987).
The same night as the faculty vote, a bill authored by Dan Zumwinkle passed 14 to 1 by AS Legislative Council. It called for “faculty, administration, and students to revoke the appointment of CIA agent George A. Chritton Jr. to the UCSB faculty and to take steps to ensure that this incredible situation does not happen again” (Zumwinkle 1987). The bill was presented to the then Chancellor, Barbara Uehling, on the 29th. It expressed concerns over the implications of the university being affiliated with “such a nefarious organization” (Zumwinkle 1987). Their main grievances were the morally questionable actions of the CIA, their recruitment on campus, the irregular hiring process, and concerns over the integrity of academic freedom. The bill deadline to dismiss Chritton from any position he may hold at UCSB was set to be November 4th.
On the day following the deadline, AS Student Lobby and Leg Council held a rally urging Chancellor Uehling to dismiss Chritton. The rally was held at noon in front of Cheadle Hall and attracted an estimated 600 people. Rally organizers had arranged for “John Stockwell, the highest-ranking former CIA official to speak out publicly against the agency,” though he was unable to make it due to a flight cancellation (Collins & Elzer 1987). Following the rally, 150 students occupied the Chancellor’s empty office, stressing that a CIA affiliated faculty member would corrupt the ideals of the university and the school would be “pledged to disinformation”(Collins & Elzer 1987). “If we allow this person to retain an official position within the University of California faculty, then we’re setting a precedent that says it’s okay for members of covert organizations to teach in universities. Anyone who is interested in preserving the ideals of this university has to oppose this all the way,” explained Todd Gooch, one of the rally organizers (Collins & Elzer 1987). Uehling returned later that day escorted by university police and let protestors know that Chritton’s appointment was still under review. The students remained inside until Cheadle Hall closed for regular business, at which point, police began arresting students for trespassing. 38 students were arrested and 35 of those were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for a day.
Though the anti-CIA sentiment was strongly felt on campus, many wrote to the Nexus voicing their support of Chritton. The overwhelming defense employed free speech. “I am not defending the CIA as an organization, however, I am defending the rights of individuals…do you not think that you are being just a little selfish by not letting somebody express their view?”, read one Letter to the Editor by Lawrence Leak. Another letter by Gregory Apt expressed a similar concern over freedom of speech. “I can only hope that the Academic Senate gets off their fascist, censoring butts and… allow this person to speak here.”
Two days after Leg Council’s deadline, the day following the rally, the Chancellor announced her decision to keep Chritton as a Visiting Fellow for one year with the possibility of a year extension. Chritton addressed the public for the first time saying, “The principle of the First Amendment has been upheld. My hope now would be that the volume of the rhetoric is lowered and the quality is raised,” (Elzer 1987). The Chancellor also cited free speech to defend her decision, stressing that what was of utmost importance was “freedom of speech and the capacity of a university to provide for the expression of a broad range of ideas” (Elzer 1987). The opposition viewed this decision as “blatant disrespect of student and faculty opinion,” Rob Christiansen told the Nexus(Elzer 1987).
The opposition insisted that Chritton’s appointment was more than just a symbolic gesture to preserve free speech and would legitimize the actions of the agency, as said in Elijah Lovejoy’s Letter to the Editor:
To support the CIA is to support destabilization tactics and murder, just so that big American corporations can keep you supplied with your conformist bourgeois life, I refuse to admit that the CIA has any legitimacy whatsoever and am appalled at the thought of having those spooks on Campus.
Others ridiculed the Chancellor for employing the free speech defense, like Brian Haley in the Nexus:
I know that I speak for all members of this campus community who have yet risen through the ranks of either the university or the CIA to the lofty positions of faculty when I thank the good chancellor for clarifying that freedom of speech is a right which I have not yet earned.
The opposition maintained that the appointment had nothing to do with free speech but everything to do with academic freedom; they insisted that an “agency of disinformation has no place in an institution dedicated to the truth” (Liles 1987). On November 16th, approximately 75 students delivered a coffin to the office of the Chancellor as a representation of the death of academic freedom. “We’re here to present the first of many casualties to result from the appointment of senior CIA Officer George A. Chritton to the UCSB political science department,” Jamie Acton told the Nexus during the protest (Sullivan 1987).
Some even criticized the academic freedom defense for looking past the CIA’s moral transgressions. Sandy Liles wrote in the Nexus:
What I find repellent is the element of self-righteous indignation: bad enough that the CIA should carry out torture, assassinations, and destabilization; God forbid they should invade our guiltless bastion of free thought.
In response to Professor Robinson’s question, “How can a university, a place of free inquiry, coexist with a government or any other institution which operates under secrecy?”, the opposition held a five-hour “Teach-in” exploring the relationship between universities and the U.S. government. “It was pointed out to us that if we just focused on the CIA…we’re missing a much broader picture, a much larger vision of the federal government in general and their involvement in the university,” Jaime Acton, Student Lobby Annex Director, told the Nexus (Sullivan 1988). One pamphlet for the event read, “UCSB is abundant with examples of academic orientation toward the interests of the military-industrial complex,”(Moss 1988). The Teach-in was organized by the Student Lobby for the Academic Freedom Defense Project, which raised money for the legal defense for the students arrested back in November, though the proceedings eventually ended in a mistrial. The event was held on Jan 28th, 1988, hosting several speakers including UCSB professors and ex-CIA agent Vern Lyon, who spoke about his involvement with spying on university campuses.
On May 3rd, 1988, the Political Science faculty voted not to reappoint Chritton due to lack of qualifications (Whalen 1988). Patrick Whalen’s Daily Nexus article announcing the decision read:
The decision ends nearly six months of unrest among UCSB students, faculty and staff who were outraged when they learned last October that a CIA agent was teaching on campus. Chritton, 55, will leave the university by June 30, when his current appointment is scheduled to end.
“At 6:23 a.m. on April 11th, 1969, a homemade bomb exploded in the Faculty Club. Caretaker Dover O. Sharpe was examining the cardboard box in which the bomb was concealed when it detonated. The explosion knocked him back about 15 feet across the patio of the Club and fatally injured him. According to the official report of UCSB, Sharp suffered ‘burns of 70 percent of his body, compound fracture of a leg, mutilated hand, an injured eye, and multiple shrapnel wounds.’”
(Report On Bombing At UCSB Faculty Club, University Archives Vernon Cheadle April 1969, Box 8. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records, UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.)
Dover O. Sharpe passed away 2 days later at Goleta Valley Community Hospital after having managed to crawl to a pool about 50 feet away and being rescued by students living in San Rafael Hall. He was survived by, “three sisters, three brothers, one son, three daughters, and six grandchildren”, as reported in El Gaucho.
Equally striking was the fact that the bomb was fairly sophisticated. In an El Gaucho article, Fire Chief Arthur T. McGarry stated that the bomb consisted of, “a half gallon wine jug filled with a volatile liquid, such as gasoline, a timing device, a battery, and a piece of six inch pipe packed with an explosive compound.” Apparently, the bomb was made to kill instead of making an alarm.
Although no one was eventually arrested, speculations on the bomber’s motive abounded. When testifying before Congress, Captain Joel Honey of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department conjectured that it had something to do with the Club’s exclusion of students: “there had been a radical element which had denounced the Faculty Club as a closed club that would not allow the admission of students without the express invitation of a faculty member.” When reflecting on the event in 1991, Sociology professor, Harvey Molotch, believed that “there was logic behind the events that occurred in the 1960s and ’70s…stopping the Vietnam War and other issues of the day.” For Molotch, the bombing was one instance. Another hypothesis was furthered by Physics professor, Robert Schrieffer. He was convinced that the bomb was intended to assassinate Professor Freeman Dyson, a visiting Princeton University physics professor residing in the Club at the time. According to Schrieffer, Dyson’s study in nuclear weapons made him the target.
It is impossible to tell which theory is correct, but there is little doubt it was political action. As Malcolm Gault-Williams, author of Don’t bank on Amerika, pointed out that the bombing “came at a time of rising student activism at UCSB.” Indeed, it was within the life span of the New Free University (NFU). The NFU was established on February 17th by the United Front (UF), constituted by the Black Student Union (BSU), United Mexican-American Students (UMAS) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They had peacefully occupied, or “liberated”, the UCen since then. They attempted to educate themselves on courses not accessible through the curriculum, ranging from Black Literature to Philosophical and Environmental Revolution.
(NFU—SBEC Schedule of Classes Friday, University Archives Vernon Cheadle April 1969, Box 8. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records, UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.)
An El Gaucho article on the NFU reads that, “[the] UCen is now more populated them it ever was; over 90 classes have now been scheduled. Even Vice Chancellor Goodspeed is teaching one.” This was reported on the April 11th issue, the same day of the bombing.
In a 2015 article, David Minier, who served as district attorney in Santa Barbara County at the time of the bombing, asserted that “[there] was no outrage,” after the tragic incident; however, it is, if anything, a false claim. “What the hell kind of campus do we have?” a following El Gaucho editorial questioned with apparent anger. In a letter entitled, “Pandora’s Box Opens”, Alana Kathleen Brown, a Graduate English student, stated that, “I doubt that the bomb was intended to kill anybody, but whoever did it is now a murderer.” “This is our school,” junior Bill James declared. “Thus we are victims of the senseless bombing as well as Mr. Sharp.” Not only did students condemn this tragedy in words, but also in action. About 150 students led by student James Marino rallied on April 14th at the UCen in protest of the bombing. Earl MacMillan of the BSU stated that the BSU “ deplores all acts of violence.” Greg Knell, speaking for SDS, uttered that, “we should be condemning the violence of our society … we should be condemning all violence.”
In his 1991 reflection, sociology Professor Harvey Molotch remarked that “the death of Dover Sharp was one of the low moments of the anti-war movement in the 1960’s,” and a “disappointment to the majority of the left.” Indeed, the left took a big hit because of this tragedy, although “[everyone] from the Young Americans for Freedom, the Associated Students, the Black Student Union and the Students for a Democratic Society voiced their opposition to it,” If we believe Geoffrey Wallace, who was himself a student at the time, those radical associations were much discredited among students. Michael M. Engler, a Junior Political Science student apparently blamed the SDS for violence and declared that “I would like [the] SDS and its mickey-mouse crew of amateur revolutionaries and stormtroopers to tell the rest of the student body exactly what kinds of violence and terrorism it favors, and exactly which of us are not ‘innocent’ men.” Another Political Science Junior Doug Pittman certainly felt the same and wrote satirically that “[specific] violence is wonderful to the SDS I take it, since only random’ violence is condemned. That certainly makes the rest of us feel safe and secure, now doesn’t it?” As a result, the NFU, which was maintained by the left, lost its supporters. Two weeks after the bombing, NFU abandoned the UCen. Their statement reads that “[our] support has fallen. We hope that through our dissolution, the students here at UCSB will realize that the problems we have attempted to correct require support.” Yet no support came back, nor did the NFU. There were many reasons, and the bombing unfavoring activists was certainly one of them.
Nowadays, we are living in a world hardly insulated from violence. At the same time as I am researching this article, violence is spotted around the globe, so far as in Asia and South America, and so near as Santa Clarita, California. These instances keep reminding us that history matters and still haunts us, or, as Karl Marx famously framed, “weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living”. What’s the lesson then? The answer is that violence cannot further the pursuit of political demand, no matter how justifiable and legitimate; rather, it could do only harm to the cause since it inevitably alienates bystanders and even some supporters. We all want to make our world better, but violence is by no means the way to achieve it.
“The United Front stands committed to justice in its fullest sense. We will never compromise the interests of any oppressed peoples, realizing that the interests of any one group cannot be isolated and dealt with separately from the interests of all oppressed people. Disunity and factionalism serve the interests of the powerful and betray the interests of the oppressed…We are all in it together.”
February 2nd, 1969 The United Front
Following the North Hall Takeover on October 14th, 1969, the UCSB administration had yet to move forward with honoring any of the BSU’s demands. Three months passed before students rose, yet again, to push for necessary change on campus.
[United Front Forms at UCSB, The United Front, Box 28]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records. UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
On January 10th, members of the Black Student Union, United Mexican-American Students, and Students for a Democratic Society came together to form a “United Front” in the fight against administration. The BSU fought against racially charged police harassment on campus and the delayed development of an Ethnic Studies Program; UMAS submitted demands to the university for two years with no results; SDS sought to coalesce white radical efforts with minority issues. Each organization combined their grievances with the university to create the United Front, a joint student movement fighting for concrete administrative action.
The United Front demands built upon the original 8 North Hall Takeover and 5 UMAS demands and added 4 new ones reflecting recent issues on campus.
[Demands of the United Front, The United Front, Box 28]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records. UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
After presenting their demands to the administration, the administration requested to meet in private to discuss the status of their demands, but the United Front wanted an open discussion with all students. They held a public meeting in Campbell Hall, inviting the Chancellor to address these issues openly with the students.
In a packed auditorium, student speakers brought to light repeated instances of administrative delay, saying, “…the administration tells us there are no FTE’s [full-time equivalency] in the ethnic studies major…they have the money to build a new football stadium…we have been lied to again”; “…our demands are not new…they have been presented over and over again…this university does not respond to our people”; “Our demands have been sent from one commission to another…nothing has been done…we want a commitment”. The Chancellor responded, saying, “I came to this meeting with a quite different impression of how it was going to be conducted. I thought I was going to make a few comments and answer questions. Fifty minutes have now gone…”. He then reiterated his position in support of minority students and said, “…we are moving as rapidly as we can in this direction, but we cannot move as fast as some of us would like to…We can’t set up programs and make proposals that do not have our hearts and our souls in them”. He remained for an hour of the hour-and-half discussion, leaving students disappointed with his comments. Full dialogue of United Front Conference Link
Following this event, the United Front agreed to engage in private conversation with administration to move forward with their demands.
. The Assistant Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and Chancellor along with United Front representatives and several faculty members began meeting on January 27th. After several days of consistent communication, the talks were postponed due to the arrest of several key BSU members on February 3rd, including James Johnson (Rashidi).
Following the arrests, the United Front released an undated document regarding the progress of discussion with the administration.
[Statement to the people and the chancellor, The United Front, Box 28]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records. UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
On February 17th, around 1,000 students held a 3-day demonstration in the UCen involving classroom sit-ins, rallies, and marches.
[February 17th Demonstration account, The United Front, Box 28]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records. UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
On the same day, the Chancellor responded in agreement to continuing discussions with students.
[Statement from ucsb chancellor vernon I cheadle, The United Front, Box 28]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Office of the Chancellor, Chancellor’s Records. UArch 17. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
On February 26th, the United Front released several statements regarding their transition to the New Free University and continued fighting for minority rights on campus.
[United front statement, The United Front, c. 1969-1974, Box 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Student Organizations collection. UArch 101. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
On March 3rd, the United Front released a replication of their previous demands, writing “Why have these demands not been met?” across the top.
[“Why have these demands not been met”, The United Front, c. 1969-1974, Box 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Student Organizations collection. UArch 101. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
The official Proposal for Black Studies at UCSB was submitted on April 1969, six months after the original demands posed by BSU in October 1969.
“I am Cindy Lopez and for the last…well since 2006, I’ve been the assistant director for Budget & Finance.”
Interviewed by: Christine Hoang
When did you first come to UCSB?
Sure, I came here in the year 2000, started in Late January of 2000 and I came into the AS Administration office, the same office but I started as just an administrative assistant and I would cut checks and just learned a little about Associated Students because I haven’t been at UCSB before. Then in 2002, I went downstairs to the AS Ticket Office and that year we changed a lot stuff down there. They used to have a lot of all the notes and all the readers, sold in publications and then the Ticket Office only sold tickets. So what they did was combine everything else into the Cashier’s Office so that there was no money over there in the publications office because they do not have a secure room, so its not locked in the back. They were not supposed to have cash there. They were just adhering to University standards so they changed a lot of stuff. So I went down there to start running the ticket office and I did that for a few years and in early 2006, I came up here in the current position that I have.
Wonderful, that’s great! So you’ve been at UCSB for a while, what is your favorite aspect of UCSB?
I think being on a college campus because when I started here, my kids were in 9th and 10th grade, so I lived up in the Santa Ynez Valley, kind of in a small area not a lot of diversity or anything, so I came down here and I actually got an idea, first of all, of what college life is because my kids were going to be going to college at some point and its been a long time since I’ve been in college. So, it’s kept me in touch with what college students are thinking because college students kind of get involved with everything that is going on in the world and its just a really great age because they leave home and then they come back and then they kind of devote their own ideas instead of growing up, or their parents ideas and its an independent thing. I just being around college age students, I find. They keep me young, keep me interested…in world events, in national events, more so than if at home, taking kids to soccer practice or whatever you’re doing.
Same thing, I think that UCSB is a great campus for ideas and people just learning to be who they are. I understand that you manage the finances and budgets for Associated Students, if you could maybe elaborate a little more about your job.
Alright, so basically, I do manage the budget, so that goes all the way from format. I help the students formulate the budget, Finance and Business committee in the Senate. They formulate the budget for the next Senate school year and to manage it, I have to make sure…we have so many different student fees and they all have to be kept separate. I have to make sure that they each have their own separate account and that they’re all the right charges go to the right account so keeping that sorted out making sure what’s allocated to each different area is put into the right accounts. Then the whole financial aspect of Ekta makes sure that everybody who’s spending money by using the requisitions for AS or following policy and making sure we have all the correct backup and we’re following AS policy and university policy. I also I have to bring the fees over from the university so when students pay they pay in the BARC office, so we have a university account all the money’s there so I’m in charge of keeping track of it bringing the money over into the our AS accounts because AS has our own bank accounts which is unusual on campus everyone else has to have all their money in the university accounts. so we manage our own which is very unusual for on campus, so I keep track of that.
Is there a reason why it’s a separate bank account rather than with the university?
We’re allowed to, so other departments would like to but they won’t let them because we’re student government in regental policy, we are an exception, so we’re allowed to have some financial autonomy.
“Is there any message or anything that you would to send out to the students and UCSB?”
I understand that as students, we pay student fees and that it parts of it goes to different departments, but I know that you know a certain amount goes to AS, how do you think student fees have changed over the years: increase, decrease and just overall how they’ve changed over the years?
When I first started, I’m trying to think how much the student fees were they were $56 per student that was it, now they’re in the hundreds. I know we get 210 per student, but with the fact that return to aid and all the other fees on top I’m sure it’s 300 or 400 something per student, back then it was 56 so we got a lot less money, we had a lot fewer boards and committees we had a lot less going on, we had fewer staff, we were actually more in a financial bind where we had to be super careful about everything that was spent and students really didn’t get to do as much because we didn’t have the funds for it. Then it was still pretty tight and then in 2006, the students passed The Students Initiative in a special election that added a hundred dollars per student to the already $56, so it became one hundred and fifty six dollars that that came in, what that did is it increased our base fee so that’s the undesignated portion that comes in that amount has to pay for everything. In AS, that does not have a lock in. That initiative also increased a lot of the lock-ins. So they were getting more money to do more stuff and when we had a larger base fee we could pay for all of our budgets that didn’t have lock-ins much easier, we didn’t have to recharge the lock ins like we used to do just to have funds for our infrastructure, so that was a huge difference and all of a sudden we were flush with money, so when you have a lot of money you don’t quite know what to do with it right at first so it took a couple years to really grow into that and start using the money. That’s when the bottom line was formed that’s when SIRRC, Student Initiated Recruitment Retention Committee was formed and I’m probably leaving out a whole bunch more, but we started up the AS Media Center we took over those offices. When students had ideas and let’s do this, we had funds to develop new programs and then AS expanded, widely, quickly and then about 2008-2009 all of a sudden we started to feel a crunch because we started using all our funds and we felt we didn’t have any money again because everybody got used to spending a lot of money on a lot of different things. We had students going to conferences which they hadn’t been able to do before, we had a newspaper, we had just so much more going on, so then little by little we’ve added a few more lock-ins, the Bottom Line, we added an AS Food Bank, that got a lock in, Worms got their own lock-in, the Compost area, Queer Commission got a lock-in. I know there’s more that I’m not thinking of but we added enough lock-in so that money was locked in, so now we are fairly flush with our budget now. I feel we have a lot of money but I know at some point we’ll expand our programs to where maybe we feel we won’t again.
So what types of organizations didn’t previously didn’t have a lock-in fee?
So Finance and Business Committee used to be called Finance Board, never had its own lock-in, so whatever was left over when we allocated all the money in the budget to everybody, whatever was left over, that was what they had to give out to student groups: all the OSL organizations. Some years, it was a lot. At some point, one year it was down to ten thousand dollars or something which isn’t very much money to give out for all the events that the students want to put on. So they got their own lock-in, so that they always had three to four hundred thousand dollars to give out to student groups. That was really big, it was really good for all of the OSL groups because they knew there would be money here if they came and asked for money for an event, that was really helpful. Again, Program Board has increased their lock-in so they can do more programming. They’ve started doing Halloween and Deltopia concerts during those times of the year to keep students out of IV, that was kind of requested by the Chancellor, so they started doing more. As I said, Worms, the Composting Program, USSA, so that’s a lobbying lock-in for students to lobby for what students all over the country need. Queer Commission, AS Food bank, CFF Community Financial Fund was a new lock in once we got the lock-in and then we had to create the program because it wasn’t really specified in the lock-in except that it was a community financial fund, so we created that program once the lock-in had passed and I know there’s some more, I think we did the bike circle over there by KCSB be that was a lock-in only for three years to fund that because it was a really dangerous area the way it was, there was a lot of bike accidents so AS funded the new circle that’s there, it’s much safer. A lot of groups have gotten increases, Legal Resource Center has gotten an increase, I can’t think of all the rest of them now I know there’s more, the Bottom Line they got their own lock-in after a while after they’ve been around for a while too.
I know you’ve been around UCSB for a while and you’ve seen a lot go on, I’m wondering if you have any experience with student activism or what types of things have you seen in the past?
In fact, I remember Mahader, the very first year I was here, he was the AS President. So we knew who he was and he came back and as a Special Project Coordinator, that’s when they started doing Living History which was awesome. But I do remember one year for quite a few years in the early 2000s, our students were protesting the raising tuition every year it seemed, the tuition went up it went up astronomically at that time so our students of course we’re fighting against that and they had a couple huge protests, I remember one day they went out and actually closed the freeway, Highway 217 and they marched all the way down and just walked in middle of the freeway.
Oh, they did that?
Well not legally yeah, this is stuff that when they decide to do it work we try to advise him not to if it’s something that puts them in extreme danger. I think one year and I wasn’t here then, they wanted to shut down 101 as a protest. They advise, please don’t do that, the 217 was caught on a day where not a lot of people were coming to and from campus it might have been one of those Monday holidays or something so there wasn’t a lot of traffic, so they got through and got it shutdown and then I think the police came and kind of helped them shut it down just to make things safer. I remember that, that was a big one. There’s been a lot of them throughout the years it’s hard to remember them all. A lot of stuff that’s been going on in the nation oftentimes the students here will also you know in solidarity have some kind of a rally or something going on it’s been a lot of really great speakers here I haven’t heard too many of them, but I’ve heard a few, but yeah and then there’s some times there’s some really controversial speakers that will come in that the students protest against. In fact the interesting part is, I remember when David Horowitz came and spoke here and he had just taken out an ad in the Daily Nexus, a full-page ad basically saying that all Muslims were terrorists. So the students first were upset that the Daily Nexus even took the ad then when they were here and so then the College Republicans brought him here and they came to ask for funds from Finance and Business Committee, who didn’t want to give them funds, but there’s a regental policy on viewpoint neutrality that you can’t refuse to give someone funds just because you don’t agree with their speaker that’s if the free speech thing, so they ended up funding them partially. The Muslim Student Association was very upset they came to Senate and were very upset about that that was a huge thing that was one of my first years I worked with Finance and Business Committee and at that time I kind of agreed with the students who said you know we don’t fund hate speech and the Muslim students actually felt they weren’t safe with him on campus. But there’s that fine line about are you really safe are you not safe, did he say I’m gonna come shoot you or is he just talk about you in a way that you don’t feel safe so that was the first time? I remembered that I know that happened again last couple of years when they brought Milo I think came and spoke here and then there was oh who was the last I can’t remember his name, but he spoke against the Black Lives Matter movement so that and again, Finance and Business Committee can’t say we’re not going to fund you because we don’t agree with you, so they’d fund them and then the students would get upset at them because they funded it. That’s always very contentious and we’ve had quite a few years where our students want to divest from any companies that work with companies working in Israel so we have a big divestment meeting, usually it’s at the Senate meeting we often have over 200 students coming in to speak for and against and then they vote. At the end of the night we’ve never voted completely to divest, most of the campuses haven’t, but it’s a huge very controversial thing and usually the Senate meeting will go all night long.
Yeah, I’ve seen the articles and the photos of people just speaking to 2 a.m.
All night. I came back one time and I come in at 7:30 I came in and the meeting was still going. It is a fairly active campus. I went one time with a group of students up to UC Berkeley. We all took a bus all night long, got there at 6:00 in the morning to protest at a regents meeting and pretty sure it was because of tuition being raised. So our students went up there and there’s actually more UCSB students in the protest and than there were Berkeley students at the time, so UCSB at that point was very active in all of that. We had a couple students who really got everybody going and organized these trips to go up and do a protest yeah there’s been a lot of stuff going on and I’m sure I’m not barely remembering very much of it.
It’s different as a staff person because you’re watching it happen and we often will attend it you know to support our students who are doing the protest, but I remember one when our students, they block off the road and then the police come and then one time somebody got arrested, the students sat around the car so that the police car couldn’t drive off, so you say you’re worried about the students, you know you’re a UC employee. You’re supposed to try to protect them on the other hand, also they have a right to be protesting what they’re protesting. It’s kind of an odd position to be in.
AS operations, how has it evolved over the years within finances and budgeting? Has it always been a committee or how is it changed?
Well we’ve had different student leadership, sometimes our leadership is more conservative, sometimes it’s more liberal and it kind of just goes that way. I think right now because we do have a lot of funds to give out our students are able to be more active and they’re able to participate in a lot of different things which is great so regardless of the leadership there’s just opportunities for students to become part of a group and to kind of steer it in whatever direction they want to go in. There’s just a lot of opportunity to do stuff there’s opportunity to go on trips to go to conferences. We’ve had students go to Norway for the Power Summit, they’re really fascinating things. Our students have gone to Washington DC, most years to do lobbying with their representatives there. They’ve often lobby in Sacramento, there’s all kinds. Now we have the alternative break that happens with CAB twice a year where they’ll go. I think they just came back from Florida helping out with where the last hurricane was so it’s a very wide variety of stuff that students can become involved in. Which it’s really there’s more and more opportunities as we keep expanding to get involved and we employ 300 students, 3 to 400 students we give them employment and they’re doing work in the AS Food Bank or they’re working in the ticket office or they’re working in the media center or stuff where they’re actually learning really good job skills.
And again you know having money gives an opportunity to students depending on what they want to do with it and again we’re a student-run organization so staff people we kind of we might have some ideas and feed some ideas to students but mostly it’s students coming up with their own ideas of you know, you know Community Financial Fund was a student idea. They went for a lock-in and got it and then as staff we kind of help develop the program with a student board. So it’s always in collaboration with the student ideas and stuff to do that.
I’m kind of curious about aspect of funding new organizations, is it just they just go to the finance committee or has the process changed?
It’s pretty much been the same throughout the only thing that really changes is how much money finance and business committee has to give out. You know, back when I started they didn’t have much they give a couple hundred dollars to groups here and there to go do their funding. Now they have it they have a lot of money three to four hundred thousand every year to give out, granted there’s a lot of requests for funds but they’re able to give out money every year to different groups for there things. We went through a time when s didn’t have much money to give out all of our student groups are spending a lot of time doing fundraising selling food at the MCC and there was so much fundraising activity to try and fund enough money for all of their events because we didn’t have the money to give out and then there’s less fundraising when we have more money to give out, I notice that a lot.
Is there any message or anything that you would to send out to the students and UCSB?
Just get involved, get involved and it seems to me that there’s a place not even necessarily in AS, but in some organization on campus where they would find a lot to do and I think it’s really important to do some of those extra activities rather than just go to class. You can learn a lot in class, but sometimes it’s those outside activities that you can do that really enrich your whole time here because you’ll get your degree, but sometimes all the activities really make the experience so much better and you just learn so much more different kind of knowledge.
“My name is Denise Rinaldi, I’ve had several different positions over the last 27 years with UCSB. Currently I am back here as a retiree being rehired as the Assistant Director for Special Projects, but before that for a lot of my career I was the Assistant Director for Human Resources and External Communication.”
Interviewed by: Christine Hoang
When did you first come to UCSB?
Well, I came as a student. I actually transferred here as a student, I started University of Colorado in Boulder for two and a half years and then transferred here and took a year off school to establish residency in California and then many several many years later I came back on staff. I started in a 50% time job down in the main office helping with the legal code in 1990 and legal code at that time was sort of a mess, that this the Senate had computers were still fairly new there we had a little Mac network, but this Senate had written something like a hundred bills what was called Legislative Council then and sometimes I still slipped and call it Legislative Council had written something like a hundred bills that it was March when I started and not a single one of them had been entered into the legal code and every piece of legal code wasn’t its own separate document. But of course like I say we had those little tiny Mac SEs, these little tiny boxes, you probably have never seen one. It was definitely before your time, computing and networking was all very new. Email didn’t exist at that time so it was, everything was kind of hardwired, but that’s what I started.
What is your favorite aspect of UCSB?
My favorite part of Associated Students is even though I’ve been in a lot of different positions over the years, it’s always new. It’s always interesting. The students always bring fresh ideas or sometimes it’s about the same issues if you go back into the historical files, but they don’t give up. There’s new technology, there’s new things happening in the world and students are always the ones who are on top of that. So one of the things I love about being here is it keeps me in touch with what’s going on in the world and what matters to students and it’s always just new and different. There’s never a dull moment, so the job itself at Associated Students is always, you can come in and plan your gonna get this done today and something happens and in fact it’s sort of thrown out the window and you’re doing something else, which you know, can be frustrating too I suppose, but it’s really it’s just so it’s flexible it’s a it’s a great environment, we have great colleagues. UCSB in general, I think well one of course it’s a beautiful, beautiful college campus and I’ve seen various college campuses but it is really beautiful. And there is a lot of different stuff going on. There’s a lot of arts offerings, theater offerings, dance offerings… lectures. There’s so much happening on the campus in this beautiful place and Associated Students is part of the Division of Student Affairs and I think Student Affairs is really always tried to find ways within the limitations of their budget and people to really make things work for us to do to help students as much as possible. And it’s not always perfect, there’s certainly a lot of need out there that’s not met I’m sure, but I think that there is a lot also that is offered and so that really is one of the exciting things I think about this campus. It’s wonderful and my time here in Associated Students I’ve always felt really supported as a staff person, there’s been, I’ve been through about four different executive directors, but the culture for staff has been supportive of that work-life balance and you don’t always find that everywhere. Even though, the campus in other departments and on campus, I think but there has always been support there for people who have different needs and I think what happens too, is in the staff I know for myself because I’ve given so much. I’m willing to do stuff that is outside my working hours or jump in and try to help with different projects. I want to give the best to this department because that it’s a wonderful place to work, I love the students and the department is supportive of me. So I wanted to be around and be supportive too.
Elaborate a little bit more, so I understand you recently retired but you worked at UCSB and have had association with UCSB for about 30 years overall, how was your experience within AS?
I started at AS in 1990 as it was really more of an office assistant position, trying to help straighten out the main office. We were over in the other part of the building at that time, where the food bank is…the upstairs office is there. It was a 50% time position, but it was a career position and I took that position partly because I’m also a ballet teacher and so I was able to have steady income that was an interesting job. And then go teach ballet everyday and that job grew and I learned and I got a lot of professional development and I went from being down in the main office where you’re really with a lot of students and their government and you’re hearing students talking about the issues and dealing with the legal code and policies and all that. To becoming more of an assistant for this executive director at the time, and then that executive director left. Then and I became more into helping with human resources, so my job really grew and changed over the years, very slowly, but one of the things that’s great about this department is that there’s a lot of professional development. The other thing is, of course though moving in that way, I started off really in there with students all the time and so it was very close to whatever was happening with students and over the years my job shifted, so that I am not as in touch with what’s happening now. I don’t know the students as well, but I’m really impressed with how things continue to grow and how I think the students are on our campus affect student issues a lot and from what I hear, our campus is represented really well at the Regent meetings up in Berkeley or down in wherever they are, people go and they support it. They fight for the issues and all of that for this stuff. So over 30 years, the campus has grown a lot… a lot of different buildings. one time I drove way over by the dance building and over there, when the first the buildings first went up and I went wait a minute, Where am I? I don’t recognize this part of campus because I hadn’t been there yet and so there’s a lot of parking lots that have been turned into buildings now. A lot of buildings and an increase in student population, which sort of comes with its own problems when the growth happens and infrastructure is not always in place. But wow, it’s that, it’s the same and yet there’s a lot of growth and change. Certain governmental issues remain the same, you know, different election kinds of things,watching the elections over the years has been interesting.
“Is there any message that you’d like to just give to UCSB students or any final remarks?”
I think it’s amazing that you witnessed the growth and to see UCSB change. Over the years, what have you had any experienced or what is your experience with like student activism?
I think the students here today yes are that what are the most active governmental groups in the UC system and I’ve only experienced one Regents meeting here at the campus that were I was really aware of what was going on anyway and so that was very interesting… how there were only a few students let into that and how it was controlled. The Regents controlled the environment, which I can understand on one hand, but also it gives you the feeling is that people who are deeply affected by what they’re talking about couldn’t cut out. But our students and all of the boards and committees we have do so much work on that behalf. I mean, yes there’s the Senate, which used to be Legislative Council and representation on UCSA and USSA, those things I think have been really important. Our campuses always supported them, but the work of boards and committees is huge and I think that when you think what Student Lobby has done and training young people for the future and you think that the number of students that have left here and gone to Washington D.C. and worked there and been part of USSA are part of other lobbying efforts, are part of of US politics, the marches that happen every year, things like Take Back the Night that happens every year and there’s those standard things that have been become traditional voices over the years and then there’s new things. In the last presidential election, the marches that happened were really empowering and I think that was really actually one of the first times I personally went to the marches and the protests and listened to what the students… followed along with that and I found it really empowering. I think our students are very they’re in touch with what’s going on, they research things, they speak up and there’s a history of it on this campus and every time that the students make progress here it reflects out to the other campuses and then to our students… go to Washington, it reflects out. I mean I know there’s students from other campuses everywhere, but I’ve just seen a lot. I’m thinking about Bill in 2006, I forget his last name at the moment, but he was really instrumental in passing the students initiative which was the fee that raised Associated Students’ budget so dramatically and it was a coalition of lots of different departments and Boards and Committees on campus and and that was just one example of what he did and how he was just very instrumental in it. He wasn’t the only one of course about building those coalitions and students do that all the time. I know he ended up in Washington. So yes we have a history of activism and I think we have a video on it too. When we hire new staff members: Aaron Jones, who used to be our Assistant Director for Community, he would take people on a tour. It wasn’t just a tour of the campus, it was a little tour about AS spaces and what AS has done and AS activism. When students took over Campbell Hall and why those planters are out there…you could get some many people right in front of them. When you go through North Hall,l the information about the Black Studies and that all of that is visually represented there, so things like that are there. I love that Aaron has such a history himself. He as a student, as an activist, and as a support. I’m sure you’ll interview him at some time if you already haven’t. But yeah, when I first arrived, Mike Stowers was President. I think Aaron was shortly after that, not too many years after. So it was it’s kind of fun to see him too and how he grew from a Student President, student here and left right away for a while, did all sorts of remarkable things, came back got a PhD, and was here back as a staff member supporting students for so long. He’s the director of the EOP, so still doing good work for students, but in a different capacity. He’s just a wealth of information.
From what I understand, I know you essentially created the Associated Students legal code or took a huge part in it?
Making it cohesive, let’s say.
When did the legal code begin, or when did you begin working on it?
The legal code began in early early years when the Association was first created and so I mean, you could go back at history… I know we went did some research all the way back to the 30s and then in the 50s when it became an official university campus and so it’s been there in some form, but when I started, it was the first time it was more than a regular typed form, it was actually on a computer for the first time and the typed forms, like I said it was really kind of a just a series of documents. It wasn’t a code, it was a series of documents and students changed it by a similar process to what we had now, but then, in that document it wasn’t changed and a new document was put in. So when I came along, it was then finally ‘Here’s in the Constitution on the computer’ and that hasn’t changed terribly much, although it is has changed a little and then ‘Here’s all the legal code’ and it wasn’t all everything in its own document, in different sections. So one of the first things I did when I was here was to take all of the legislation.. the hundred bills or more they had written and put them into each, make the changes that they had wanted me to make and then I put the whole legal code into one book, so it became one document. So you can reference it. I mean in part of that it’s just the advent of computers so that you could more easily compile things so students create the legal code, but staff really kind of make sure that everything that is changed by students then gets into that document and maintain that document in the integrity of that document, so that it is an accurate picture of what students have wanted every year and I think I have some documents some of the legal codes going back to like 1987.
How did you end up taking up the project of compiling everything in the legal code?
That happened because there were students in the main office and only students. The staff was quite a bit smaller then and so students wrote the legislation that were on Leg council and then left it to students in the main office to try to do something with it and of course students who are working there: schooling is coming first and they are here 10 hours a week maybe. Maybe somebody’s here on Monday for a couple hours and the scheduling… So students have finally decided they did need help with one just even supervising and scheduling and hiring people for the main office… and to shepherd all that and and to keep the lead to maintain the legal code and so I was fortunate enough to get that first job. It was a brand new newly created job to help with that process the first main thing was the legal code and then the students in the main office. So that I happen to be looking for a part-time job at the time because I was a ballet teacher and who would have known that I’d be here for 30 years and become full-time eventually and all of that so yes it was a need that the students identified and went out and hired. I kept that in my job description for many many years until it was finally turned over to a few other people, but every time that we somebody left that was doing the legal code it would find its way back to me. We’d hire someone I’d be training that person, but Holly’s got it down there, she’s really good.
How long did it take to get the legal code to how it is now?
It changes weekly actually, but well I could tell you that when I first started which was the beginning of March and it took me working practically most of my time almost probably fifteen hours a week. It took me till July, that was in 1990, to get it in order and get all those bills in and then there were more being done. Of course I was doing some other things at the time as well, it probably depends on the number of changes that the students make. But I would say weekly, because there’s more to it than just putting the input into the code itself. The student writes a bill and then and it says I want to change this section and then the Senate has to table it and it goes through the internal committee and then the Senate votes on it, so then that person has to make sure they get the right final copy of the bill and it is put into a copy that pasted into a bill form and there’s a log we keep that I started a hundred years ago that they’re still doing, so it’s logged what the bill number was, what the name of it was, who the authors are, it was tabled which date, then passed or not passed, or tabled again and any notes about it, was it amended or was it not, so there’s this log and then you go through the log and you have to pull up each bill and say ok this was passed on this date and it says ‘Changed section four on Student Lobby to these people and you go through and literally make the changes– strike out that person and ideally a bill is written so it just shows strike out, what they want removed, and italics about what they want added, but it’s not always that clear because sometimes they’ll miss something so you do have to look to make sure your language of the bill is matching what’s already in the legal code and then sometimes things happen like in September, Section Ten got amended and that’s been put into the legal code and then come February somebody amends that section again, but they’re using an old version of the legal code. They forget to get the newest version from someone, so then it’s not matching and you have to fare out their intentions or talk to them and make sure that’s what this new bill like, did they mean to take out that section or not or leave out or is it just that they were using the old version? So there’s some detective work there and sometimes it’s not always clear, but it’s getting better and better, especially with technology. They have more things in Google Drive that students can see right in front of them. But it’s not always just that straightforward and then the other thing that the person who’s doing the legal code does is…a student will change a section not realizing that affects another section. Especially there may be something understand in policies and so they not matching and I can’t change the legal code, only the students can. The job of that person is then to say you’ve got this section you’ve just done, but it’s conflicting with this. This part takes precedent or not, so you might want to consider rewriting this or changing this part, so it doesn’t conflict, so then you go through all of that. Because the legal code, here’s the Constitution: like I said there’s not been very many changes to the Constitution over the years because first, it’s a broad document and secondly, the student population votes on it. So if somebody wants to change that document they have to present it to the student body at elections. Then and it’s not meant to be changed frequently, it’s like the Constitution of the United States, you don’t have to change it every week. But the bylaws are and the standard policies, those can be changed frequently. Those are supposed to be a guideline for this board and committee and how they do it and maybe they’re changing how they’re doing things, so they’re updating it but some of the policies that is housed in Associated Students operates. Here are your policies that you’re going to live by and in the financial policies: how you’re gonna spend money, how you’re going to allocate it, who gets to allocate it, what your process is that you have to go through to request money from something, the rules about ‘you’re not gonna spend that money on alcohol’, and because they are student funds right? You have to be good stewards, students might debate more or more and then there’s laws around certain things, you have to be content-neutral. Students cannot say, ‘Oh I’m gonna fund this person, but not this person because I like that person,’ you have to be equitable and neutral and all of that stuff, so there’s a lot that goes into the policy because this policy that has to fit in with campus policy, which has to fit in with free gentle policy, state law, federal law…
Just seeing the legal code, I guess I didn’t think about how much effort and how many people it took to truly develop it how it is now.
Not too many years ago when Jonathan Abboudwas President, they redid the whole thing and that’s when this came about. He reorganized it, well him and the Senate at that time and Jonathan is the one that did a pretty that was a pretty big overhaul of legal code, the biggest one that I’d ever seen in many years. I like this particular graphic because it really shows what they were thinking and how the branches of government fit together and how the boards and committees fits in there, the creation of units, and that units were a new thing and of course there are still some holes in the legal code where they took what existed, put it all in units. I was the advisor of the creative media unit, it was a new thing and so at first it was just in there and then you had to write how’s it going to operate and get that in there and now it’s going and now it’s updated, but there’s probably still a few things in the legal code that never got all of their policies and procedures and stuff in there.
At some point, the Living History Project will have to go through this process, once it’s more established.
That’s part of what the internal committee should be doing it also – that’s a huge job, it’s not something that could happen all at once and now that they have Holly, that’s part of what she’ll be doing. As she’s putting things into legal code, she looks at it carefully and she will be the person who has the whole thing with her the most and she’ll be making notes and suggestions to different committees that ‘You might want to update this or…’ and of course the boards and committees, they look at their own parts, but it’s the other policies that somebody has to kind of keep their eye on.
I’m aware AS has numerous BCUs, how were they created or how did they start?
I probably can’t tell you the very first creation of it, although you because you can find some of them like Community Affairs Board with different names if you look in the historical archives at Special Projects, there’s stuff way back there and so they grow out of a need. For example, there was three new ones created last year: the Transfer Student one, there’s a Gaucho Health one and I forget the third one, but there were three new groups, so either a student has an interest in a particular area and starts to have a group and they start to meet and then it grows in interest and the students identify a need, like more support for transfer students and so they decide that they want to create a group and meet and see what how can students help other students who are transferring and how can they be involved in the transfer policies of the campus and then that grows and it becomes formalized and so okay now we know if we want to identify goals and what kind of money is that going to take and then you have to go through the AS budget process and get funds allocated and so after that you’ve got funds so now you can do some of these projects and then this students about to graduate so hopefully they pass on all the information to younger students coming up, those students then come into the leadership roles so committee either grows and blossoms because there is interest and and a need or it fades away because there is no longer an interest and a need or it’s being done by someone else. There are various committees over the years, AS Program Board being a really strong committee that’s been around for a long time, so there is Community Affairs Board… there’s probably 20 committees that have been here since I first started and before and then others that have disappeared and new ones started like Creative Media Unit was a new one as well and so that unit is only probably five years old and I could remember well the first year it had one person that wanted to have these goals and the next year we had three or four people and they were trying to make the guidelines for how it would operate and then pretty soon it had a real committee and real weekly meetings and submitting minutes to the Senate and getting a real budget and producing events and having projects and so now it’s thriving because there was a need and there was an interest and they were able to grow it. Hopefully the Living History Project is similar.
We are in the process of aiming to be a BCU, but still developing a little bit more. Actually this quarter, starting to get outside interest, more student participation.
We had a project at one time, there was a small staff member group there were three or four of us who went to Special Collections and we looked through all the boxes there. When you start to read some of the issues, you got students are still working on that today: tuition hikes and more fees and the cost of trying to get your degree here, but there’s lots of things like that and then there’s lots of other different things that’s just fascinating and you can learn a lot about what was done before. History is, I’ve always found it fascinating myself. I think the activism part of the Living History Project is really good to capture.
As a closing remark, is there any message that you’d like to just give to UCSB students or any final remarks?
I really think just keeping up the work, keeping up the activism, the voice, because it’s very easy to either get discouraged, especially and I’m discouraged right now in this particular political climate we’re in, but it will roll around. Well it’s discouraging sometimes and you’ve got a lot to do and there’s so much, but our voices matter and students are the ones that I really admire because I see students really thoughtful about their voices and it’s important and students make the difference. They do make a difference. That’s how a lot of stuff has come up about on campus so I just would say students don’t give it up. Keep going.
UCSB’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) formed in 1997 and has remained true to the organization’s core values since. It was created by and for a different generation trying to escape political turmoil in their home country. They came to America for respite rather than resettlement and held the temporary mindset that they would eventually return back home. VSA stemmed from this older generation’s need to lift up and support members of their community during this stressful time of assimilation and integration into a different society. They needed to create their own space where they could hold onto their cultural identities during this time of temporary relocation. These self-made ethnoburbs allowed the Vietnamese American community to connect, share their experiences, and practice their heritage within an organization that encouraged cultural preservation and community support.
Over the years, VSA has stood by their core values of providing a space space for Vietnamese Americans to exist not only within their own group, but among the entirety of UCSB. Since its inception, VSA has opened itself up to include not just Vietnamese Americans, but Asian Americans as a whole, creating an even wider and stronger sense of cultural community. Through events such as Vietnamese Culture Night (VCN), Phở King, Vietnamese Outreach Initiative for College Education (V.O.I.C.E), Anh Chi Em (ACE), and more, VSA has created a cultural family within its own organization and provided a platform to showcase Vietnamese culture with the world. Vietnamese Culture Night, one of the biggest events hosted by VSA, is an annual, student-run production incorporating dance, spoken word, and singing into a cultural script celebrating and informing the audience about Vietnamese history, culture, and identity. This event is a shining example of providing a sense of community within the contributors of this event while sharing Vietnamese culture with the world through these artistic outlets. Another outreach program created by VSA is their Vietnamese Outreach Initiative for College Education, or V.O.I.C.E. This conference allows low-income, underrepresented high school students from Orange County, California, to experience a weekend in college and encourage them to seek out higher education. Through campus tours, bonding activities, college prep workshops, and other social and informational events, VSA actively encourages students to pursue higher education and provides them with the support system they need to reach those goals. In addition to these outreach programs, VSA practices Anh Chi Em within the organization, also known as ACE. The ACE program matches up an Em, a little sister or brother, with an Anh, a big brother, or Chi, big sister. The older siblings are veteran members of VSA introducing new members, or little siblings, into the family. These match-ups instill a sense of family and belonging for new members and perpetuate the strong network and support system stemming from VSA’s origin in 1997.
VSA has grown over these past 21 years into a widespread community for not only Vietnamese Americans, but Asian Americans on campus. They serve as a safe cultural space to validate Asian American experiences and provide a sense of “home away from home”, says Lilyanne Pham, president of VSA. Through outreach programs and showcasing events, VSA has evolved into more than just a student organization, but into a hub of culture, support, connection, and family. These core values stand at the heart of UCSB’s Vietnamese Student Association and will continue to uphold this sense of community for years to come.
Pham, Lilyanne. (2018, November 30). Personal interview.
Vietnamese Student Association, UCSB Vietnamese Student Association, Retrieved from https://www.ucsbvsa.com/
The 1970s were filled with monumental changes for women’s rights in the United States, and much of this history can be traced through our very own UCSB community. The first Take Back the Night protest in the US likely took place in San Francisco in 1978, which catalyzed an eruption of marches across the states. Take Back the Night (TBTN) organizations and movements serve to raise awareness of domestic, sexual, and relationship violence, topics that continue to be ignored and undermined to this day. In 1979, UCSB held its first TBTN protest in response to both the national movement and local hostility. This TBTN student organization continues to thrive, bringing awareness to a topic still ignored to this day.
TBTN organizations across the nation formed during a time of hostile national debates over the necessity for equal rights. The debate around the passing of the Equal Right Amendment not only fueled antagonism between women and men but within the feminist movement itself. Those who supported the passing of the ERA, such as the National Organization for Women (NOW), saw it as a vital step towards eliminating gender-based discrimination. Others saw it as both regressive for women’s rights and the beginning of the complete destruction of traditional American society.
[“Women’s Right Resolution Halted”, Women, Box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara community was facing hostility on a local level as well. The Isla Vista Women’s Center, hoping to provide refuge for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, initially struggled to assert its presence in the community and receive financial support.
[“Women’s Center seeks funds to continue”, Women, Box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[“New Location Forcing Center to Close Women’s Crash Pad”, Women, box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[“Need for Tougher Sentencing Told by ‘Battered Wives’ Author”, Women, box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[“Task Force Member Indicates Need for Emergency Shelters for ‘Battered Women’”, Women, box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Take Back the Night protests were also fueled by the efforts of the Santa Barbara chapter of NOW, which formed in solidarity with the Women’s Center
[“NOW Aims at Womens Issues”, Women, box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
The first Take Back the Night protests at UCSB had to face issues with the police Santa Barbara Police Department, who were initially not willing to close State Street for the march because of the extra police they would have to station. While they eventually came to an agreement (see “Santa Barbara Women March Tomorrow – No fear of attack”), this was not the only compromise the organizers had to make. As with many Take Back the Night protests across the country, men had been asked to walk behind the marchers, both as a symbolic gesture and as a form of protection. Jennifer Freed, co-coordinator of 1983 protest, called it a “poor compromise to have men back up the march and walk behind”, but that was a compromise that had to be made “until there is total freedom and equality for everyone”.
[“Santa Barbara Women March Tomorrow – No Fear of Attack”, Women, box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[“Local Marchers Light the Night”, Women, box 58]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 41. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
As women’s rights organizations have gained momentum over the past forty years, so has UCSB’s Take Back the Night organization. Current co-chair of UCSB’s Take Back the Night Julianne Amores sees the organization as vital, since “we are the people who make the changes on campus, and we can’t wait for other people to make the changes”. Not only has the organization increased in membership and support, but is continuing to strive for diverse and intersectional perspectives. Amores accounts how “especially this year, I think we’ve become more inclusive, because I know TBTN traditionally was about women, but now we’re really acknowledging that it can really happen to any gender, anybody, any race” The organization hosts an annual spring rally and meetings throughout the quarter that provide a safe space for people to talk about their experiences and listen to others. Amores happily encourages everyone to attend the 2019 spring rally, which will be held on April 16th from 3:00-7:00 in between Storke Tower and the bike paths
Our community is still struggling to adequately address sexual, relationship, and domestic violence. One in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2017.1295014), and UCSB is no exception. Both listening and speaking up are vital to promoting equality, and UCSB’s Take Back the Night is continuing to do just that.
Amores, J. 2019, February 27th. Personal interview
UCSB Special Collections
[Support Group Comic, Students, box 12]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. SBHC Mss 44. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[Materials provided by Julianne Amore]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[Materials provided by Julianne Amore]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[Materials provided by Julianne Amore]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[Materials provided by Julianne Amore]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
[Materials provided by Julianne Amore]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
UCSB’s radio station, KCSB, first started broadcasting in 1962 from Anacapa Hall. The station was founded by sophomore student, Bill Harrison, and friends, and was originally known as Radio Navajo, after the Anacapa floor hey lived in. KCSB’s commitment to non-commercial and educational programming by and for the public has been evident throughout its history. In the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November, 1963, KCSB’s news reporting and provision of logistical information cemented its role in the community and its position as the campus radio station.
During the 1960s, KCSB became the first University of California station to be licensed by the FCC. According to the KCSB website, by the end of the sixties, KCSB’s programming had expanded to include “free-form music, news, campus sports, public affairs, and cultural-arts programs.” While KCSB initially avoided broadcasting controversial rock music, the very nature of its mission to provide diverse music, news, and information unhindered by commercial interests to its community, already made it the subject of unwelcome attention.
The early seventies were a rocky time – students in Isla Vista protested the Vietnam War, slum conditions, over-policing, and large corporations. KCSB’s reporting of the turmoil occurring in Isla Vista led to the police ordering the station to shut down in April 1970. KCSB is the only licensed radio station to ever be shut down by the police this way, and while it was soon brought back on air, this event remains a crucial aspect of KCSB history because it serves as a demonstration of its commitment to providing the community with necessary information and representing unheard voices.
(1970, April 19). “KCSB ordered shut down; Ban in effect during curfew.” El Gaucho, p. 1.
Throughout its time at UCSB, KCSB has worked to connect with the student community and beyond. Community members run the station in a democratic, collaborative, and group oriented way. According to Ted Coe, KCSB’s advisor, “nothing exists [on campus] that’s quite like KCSB – a focus on the arts, a focus on underrepresented voices, emerging talent, people who don’t have corporate major level backing. There’s a focus on trying to help the little people that don’t have that support, and the ordinary folks, and that’s really unusual.” The station’s focus on representing voices in music and public affairs that could otherwise be drowned out by corporate interest makes it a natural part of student activism at UCSB. Students and community members who get involved with the station bring their activism with them, and the programs they create and news they share are shaped by their commitment to these ideals. KCSB highlights people from marginalized communities, people with political messages, people who would otherwise be ignored by more commercial stations focused on immediate profit. For example, students have put together programs dedicated to women in domestic and international music. KCSB also works to create events in the community, ranging from shows supporting local musicians to organizing panel discussions on topics such as environmental racism and natural disasters.
At its core, KCSB is about serving the community through its provision of music, art, and news that clearly differs from stations influenced by commercial interest. KCSB creates an opportunity for students to discover underrepresented musicians, learn about music and public affairs, and share their passions by listening to the station and participating in it. The station’s history shows its commitment to presenting the UCSB community with an educational platform dedicated to expanding the community’s sphere of interest while also connecting us through their creation and coverage of local events.
In 1994, eight students participated in a hunger strike from April 27 to May 5. As members of El Congreso, a Chican@/Latin@ support group and political student organization, these students were striking to bring attention to the university’s repeated dismissal of the needs of Chican@ students. They outlined their demands in a statement titled, “Our Struggle,” announcing their strike as part of an effort to “fight for a better life for students… to help all peoples who are fighting for social justice.” Students called for actions such as the establishment of a Chican@ Studies Ph.D. program, adherence to the United Farm Workers Union grape boycott, and increased recruitment and retention of Chican@ and Latin@ students.
Claudia Leiva, Alma Flores, André Vasquez, Edwin Lopéz, Tino Gutierrez, Gilberto Limón, Heather Gonzalez, Salvador Barajas and Naomi Garcia camped out in front of Cheadle Hall during their strike and together with the rest of El Congreso organized rallies to demonstrate further support and push for a response from the administration. During that time, the students only consumed water. This kind of protest was not a sudden or unprecedented course of action. Students also carried out a hunger strike in 1989, with demands including the implementation of a general education ethnicity requirement. The continuous efforts of Chican@ students to push for reform highlights the difficulty of achieving institutional change.
(“Procession – March – Rally” flyer, Folder 1, Box 1). University of California, Santa Barbara, El Congreso Collection, UArch 104. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
[(“Viva La Huelga” article, Folder 19, Box 1). University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection, CEMA 93. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
Reactions to the strike among the students were mixed. Some students decried their tactics as extreme and unnecessary in a series of letters to the Daily Nexus, and others published articles such as Kathryn Mulligan’s “We Whites Want Equality and Justice.” These students didn’t see a pressing need for the fulfillment of El Congreso’s demands or understand the frustrations faced by the Chican@ student population, particularly when dealing with the university.
[(Brett Orlanski, 1994, May 4). “To Die For.” Daily Nexus, p. 10. https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/k930bz15n.]
(“We Whites Want Equality and Justice” article, Folder 19, Box 1). University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection. CEMA 93. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
Not all of the community reactions were negative. Students also received an outpouring of support from family, faculty, and fellow students. Many students responded in particular to Brett Orlanski’s letter to the editor. One staunch defender called the strike a demonstration of “guts, intent and unbending will.” Others, such as the A.S. Women’s Commission, simply shared their belief that “the issues the students are striking for – fees, EOP, the Chicana/o Studies Dept., the grape boycott and a diversified student body – concern us all.” They recognized the strike as a response to a pattern of neglect and indifference.
After a series of meetings and email exchanges with the administration, the strikers ended their fast on May 5, bringing the length of their strike up to nine days. The administration and students signed a formal agreement delineating the university’s commitment to meeting El Congreso’s demands. Students, parents, and supporters celebrated, viewing the event as a step forward for the Chican@ student community.
[(“Hunger Strike Ends with Agreement And Breaking of Bread” article, Box 1). University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection. CEMA 93. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
[(“Status of Hunger Strike Demands” flyer, Box 1). University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Ethnic Studies Protests Collection. CEMA 93. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
A follow-up on the status of those demands, however, showed a lack of progress and lagging implementation of the points formally agreed to by the university. This kind of non-response demonstrates the difficulty of achieving reform at a college campus full of administrative roadblocks. Despite the slow initial progress, the efforts of the strikers and El Congreso paid off. In a fact sheet describing their demands, students said that “these issues are not new. These demands are not new. It has been 25 years and the administration still has not kept its promises or fulfilled its responsibilities to students and the community… we want to see results now, not in another 25 years.” Twenty-five years later, UCSB has a strong Chican@ Studies department and PH.d. program. Students must push continuously for their voices to be heard and valued by the university, and even then progress is often slow and frustrating.
College students played an indispensable role in the anti-Vietnam war movement during the 1970s, and UCSB was no exception. Beginning in May of 1965, students protested and discussed the war in every way imaginable. Students participated through draft resistance, engaging in faculty discussions, attending teach-ins, and joining organizations such as the Student Peace Committee (see below). A large part of the UCSB student body, however, did not view these forums as adequate measures to protest the Johnson administration’s foreign policy measures. Student protests, both peaceful and violent, erupted across America as the U.S Army continually invaded and bombed Southeast Asia beginning in 1965. The validity of the UCSB Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) was being brought into question during this time as well, since many students believed its actions should be more accommodating to protestors. UCSB students expressed their vehement anger towards U.S foreign policy through a series of violent protests in 1967, causing thousands of dollars worth of property damage in Isla Vista and the temporary shutdown of the Santa Barbara Airport. These protests sent an unfiltered message to the U.S Government: that they would be held accountable for their decisions, no matter what the cost.
[(“New Draft Policy”, University of California, Santa Barbara, Student Organizations Collection, Box 4). University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 101. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
[(“Are You in Favor of Peace in Vietnam”, University of California, Santa Barbara, Student Organizations Collection, Box 4). University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 101. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
[(“University Committee on War and Peace”, University of California, Santa Barbara, Student Organizations Collection, Box 10). University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 101. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
Protests, marches, and calls to action were ubiquitous around campus. These took the form of movie showings, theater productions, lectures, speeches, and artwork. Here are some of the many postings reminding students of the urgency of protest and circumstances of the war:
In October of 1965, Students for Free Political Action (SFPA) sponsored the first teach-ins, movie screenings, and speeches from nationally recognized activists at UCSB. October also marked the first of many rallies in opposition to the war, which in turn sparked the first student conflicts regarding the morality of America’s involvement in Vietnam. For instance, the previously inactive Young Americans for Freedom group mobilized in 1965 in order to protest SFPA actions on campus.
Joan Baez, a widely known folk songwriter and activist, came to UCSB in October of 1966 to speak in David Arnold’s Sociology 128 class about the war in Vietnam, non-violence, and taking political action. Joan Baez was a part of the outspoken liberal minority that had been speaking out against U.S involvement in Vietnam since the beginning of the conflict.
Though Baez’s non-violent rhetoric resonated with many UCSB students, frustration with the war and the rise of organized student activism in the 1960s mobilized thousands of UCSB students. 1967 was filled with both peaceful and violent student protests. One of the primary debates within the UCSB student body was regarding the rights of the ROTC. The ROTC was voluntarily established at UCSB shortly after World War II and provided a way for male students during this period to fulfill their military obligations. When student protestors began attacking the ROTC during the height of the war, many students defended the military program, claiming that ROTC officers were facing injustice and stereotyping. Major Bailey told the Daily Nexus in 1967 that the ROTC faculty members would “jump at the chance to discuss the issues with anyone willing to take the time…Pacifist attacks such as those witnessed here recently do not help matters any” (1971, November 3) Daily Nexus.
During Fall Quarter of 1967, The Daily Nexus and El Gaucho were covered with letters to the editor about how the ROTC should handle student activism, and whether or not the ROTC should be considered for academic credit. It was during this period that widespread disillusionment with the war began reaching the general American public. The televised atrocities of the war and the exponentially rising cost to taxpayers was becoming increasingly evident. The Student Peace Committee was a prominent voice in the ROTC debate.
Perspectives on the ROTC debate took on many forms. Many students viewed protests against the military institution as unjust and unsubstantiated. While most of these opinions were made public through the Daily Nexus, a group of students and Santa Barbara citizens formed an organization called “Friends of the ROTC”, which defended the military group’s role on campus (see below).
Each escalation of U.S involvement in the war brought with it a new wave of student protest. When the Nixon administration approved the U.S invasion of Cambodia in 1970, rising anti-war sentiments coalesced into an unprecedented national student strike. The magnitude of this strike delivered an ultimatum to the U.S government, warning that if the U.S extends the invasion in Southeast Asia, turmoil will ensue on the home front.
[(“The U.S. Military has Invaded Cambodia”, University of California, Santa Barbara, Student Organizations Collection, Box 10). University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 101. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]
When Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger further escalated the war through implementing Operation Linebacker in 1972, UCSB students grew furious. The day after the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, students shut down the Santa Barbara airport, resulting in the cancelation of all flights for that day. The violence of these riots resulted in one person falling from a three-story building, while 13 others were arrested.
When police forces tried to subdue the protest at 9:30 pm, students began yelling “freeway!”, and headed to Hollister Avenue and Highway 101. By 10:00 pm, when students realized a fence stood between them and the highway, they began walking back to IV, telling police officers they wanted no confrontation. A police car then sped directly towards the back of the marching group and swerved off the road, injuring and arresting protestors. As police officers continued to drive through the crowds, one woman parked on Hollister told the Daily Nexus “Well they must have been [beating protestors], didn’t you hear the screaming?”. At 10:35 pm, a bonfire was set off in Perfect Park, and protestors began marching through IV to gain members for a march on the ROTC. When the group was confronted by the ROTC, a protestor drove his car directly into the line of ROTC members. As rocks were being thrown back and forth, the ROTC threw a total of five canisters of tear gas into the crowd on Pardall. By 2:00 am the demonstrators had dispersed (Rimer, S. 1972, May 11. Daily Nexus).
The following day, 1,000 UCSB students gathered on the UCen lawn to continue the anti-war rally. They marched throughout campus and into Oglesby’s History of California class in Campbell Hall, gathering more and more students as they went. Before the Isla Vista rally later that day, about 250 students confronted 25 ROTC officers at the ROTC building. “One officer was hit by a can and knocked down…two students climbed on top of the building, and 10 students were eventually allowed to enter the building to speak with Army Officers” (Daily Nexus, May 10 1972).
On May 11th, the following day, Ronald Reagan walked off his helicopter onto Santa Barbara grounds, where he was greeted by 1,000 demonstrators. While 1,200 members of Santa Barbara’s social elite dined with Reagan, the demonstrators (mostly from UCSB) sang and chanted outside. No confrontational or violent incidents occurred.
The events that occurred during these years at UCSB reflected the anger, disappointment, and frustration of students with the U.S government’s decisions. The debates, teach-ins, rallies, and protests that took place on campus are testaments to the abilities of young people to enact meaningful change. The Santa Barbara airport protestors received national news coverage from NBC and CBS, mirroring the American public’s growing opposition to the Vietnam war. Additionally, reactions to the anti-war protests demonstrated the wide range of political opinions that have always been present on the UCSB campus, and how social unrest can facilitate meaningful debate.