Faculty Club Bombing

Faculty Club Bombing

April 16th, 1969


“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.


By: Yiyang Zhao

KCSB

KCSB 91.9

By: Mara Stojanovic


       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.

 

Works Cited


Coe, T. (2019, March 8). Personal interview.

KCSB, KCSB-FM, Retrieved from https://www.kcsb.org/.

(1970, April 19). “KCSB ordered shut down; Ban in effect during curfew.” El Gaucho, p. 1. https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/5h73px13f.

 

Vietnam War Protests

Vietnam War Protests

May 1965


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:

[(Matson, R. 1971, November 3). “The Time to Act is Now.” Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/t148fj11g]

[(Okamura/OPS 1972, April 19). Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/3x816n74p]

[(Levine, D 1973, May 11). Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/rj4305584]

[(1967, October 20). “Scoreboard” El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/bk128b88g]

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.

[(Winograd, B. 1965, October 15). “Viet Nam protest today; vigil stirs counter-pickets” El Gaucho, https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/h128nf83m]

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.

[(Shelton, J. 1966, October 20). “Joan Baez describes Non Violence School” El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sd947]

[(Shelton, J. 1966, October 20). “Non-Violent revolt asked by pacifist” El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sd947]

 

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.

[(1968, October 17) El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/bg257g27q]

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.

[(Samuelsen, M. 1967, October 3). “Peace Committee ROTC Clash on ‘Academic’ Debate” El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/tq57ns101]

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).

[(Hankins, J. 1971, November 3). “‘Friends of ROTC’ Formed by Santa Barbara Citizens” El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/ww72bc81w]

[(Russ, B. 1967, October 18). “A Defence of ROTC” El Gaucho,  Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/r494vm27z]

[(Russ, B. 1967, October 18). “A Defence of ROTC” El Gaucho,  Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/r494vm27z]

[(Krend, J. 1967, October 31). “ROTC Dispute Rages on” El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/9s161716b]

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.

[(Rimer, S; Haight, A. 1972, May 10). “2,500 shut down S.B. airport” Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sd972]

 

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).

[(Cline, V. 1972, May 10). “Night actions rock Isla Vista” Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sd972]

[(Eber, R.1972, May 11). “Riot damage in Tuesday action at approximately $6,000” Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/g445cf259]

This event angered many students who felt that these violent protests were unjustified, as demonstrated by this letter to the editor of the Daily Nexus:

[(Randall, T. 1972, May 10). “Letter to the Editor” Daily Nexus, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sd972]

 

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.


By: Sophia Chupein

North Hall Takeover

North Hall Takeover

October 14th, 1968


“Today Black University students, like the Black freedom movement of which they are a leading part, take change within the community as the point of departure for their social and political involvement.”


On October 14th, 1968, members of the Black Student Union organized to give voice to campus injustice.  They demanded that UCSB take action to support the Black students on campus and implement a Black Studies Department educating students and faculty alike about the complexities of the Black experience.  Sixteen members pioneered the movement, barricading themselves in the North Hall computer center around 6:30am:

(Bettinger, Oct. 1968, El Gaucho)

They were tired of being ignored and took to North Hall to force the Chancellor to accept this list of demands:

  • “The establishment of a commission designed to investigate problems resulting from personal or individual racism
  • The development of a college of Black Studies
  • Reaffirmation of President Hitch’s directive calling for increased hiring of minority persons
  • The hiring of a black female counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
  • The appointment of black coaches ‘whenever this becomes possible’
  • Non-condonement of any harassment by any students, whatever color
  • The development of a community relations staff ‘to be actively prosecuted’
  • Asking for the firing of Athletic Director Jack Curtice and Arthur Gallon, head of the Physical Activities department” (Bettinger, 1968).

According to Bettinger, there was a tentative mood shift throughout the protest, beginning with a small crowd of students throwing food at the Black students barricading the hall, to around 1,000 people supporting these students by bringing them food and maintaining a mellow crowd.  

Andrea Estrada’s article reflecting on the North Hall Takeover 50 Years Later says, “UC Santa Barbara undergraduate Booker Banks played a key role in the occupation, using a microphone to mesmerize, inform and entertain the large number of white students who surrounded the building”.

Sanya Kamidi and Sofia Mejias-Pascoe, Assistant News Editors for the Daily Nexus, report that, “students planned the ‘high-risk operation’ two weeks in advance.  BSU members located all the exits in the building, prepared for attempted infiltration from police and threats of violence. They also determined how they would communicate and negotiate with key players on the outside” in their article titled, 50 Years, 12 Student and the Takeover That Changed Everything.

During the protest, there were several instances of opposition, from individual outcries to one student physically attempting to end the demonstration:

(Henry, Oct. 1968, El Gaucho)

The Black students inside deterred him using a fire extinguisher, and as Dooley was being treated for a slashed hand, he said, “‘Their gripes are petty…there’s no real racism on this campus, nothing overt anyway’”.

Later that day, Chancellor Vernon I. Cheadle accepted 7 out of 8 recommendations, not agreeing to the demand to fire the “Athletic Director Jack Curtis and Arthur Gallon, head of the Physical Activities department”.

Almost a year after negotiations, the Proposal For a Black Studies Program at UCSB was finally created, outlining the administrative and academic set-up of the department.  The introduction states, “Black Studies, thus, represent the conceptualization and programming of the Black community’s aspirations as they affect the university…in short, Black students are seeking to realize a genuine freedom of expression within the university and society-at-large”. 

[Proposal For a Black Studies Program at UCSB, Proposal for Black & Chicano Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Black Studies Records, UArch 14, Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]

 

In the Spring of 1968, one year before the North Hall Takeover, the Afro-American Student Union proposed a similar UC-wide document titled Proposal For Establishing a Black Studies Program to the University of California.  

[Proposal For Establishing a Black Studies Program, Original Formation of Black Studies,, 1968-1971, University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Black Studies Records, UArch 14, Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]

 

In it, they stipulate the same goals and issues that the BSU expressed during the North Hall Takeover.  This document, published months before the Takeover, may have possibly served as inspiration and influenced the BSU’s  demand for change at UCSB.

When the administration ignored their griefs, Black students turned towards each other to fight against the injustice they experienced on campus.  BSU members faced a myriad of obstacles, including threats of suspension, a violent student, and an unsure, tense crowd, to make their voices heard.  The North Hall Takeover stands as a powerful example of student action, and opened the door for establishing future Ethnic and Gender Studies departments at UCSB.


By: Frances Woo