Vietnamese Student Association

1997


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.


By: Frances Woo

 

 

Pham, Lilyanne. (2018, November 30). Personal interview.

Vietnamese Student Association, UCSB Vietnamese Student Association, Retrieved from https://www.ucsbvsa.com/

 

United Front

January – March, 1969


“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.

(Jan. 1969, El Gaucho)

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.

(Feb. 1969, El Gaucho)

. 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).

(FEb. 1969, El Gaucho)

Students held a rally in response to the BSU arrests, stating they were “…part of a large-scale police ‘conspiracy’ and based on ‘trumped-up charges’”.

(FEB. 1969, El Gaucho)

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.


By: Frances Woo

Vietnamese Student Association

1997


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.


By: Frances Woo

Pham, Lilyanne. (2018, November 30). Personal interview.

Vietnamese Student Association, UCSB Vietnamese Student Association, Retrieved from https://www.ucsbvsa.com/

Take Back The Night

1978


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, 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.


By: Sophia Chupein


Works Cited

Amores, J. 2019, February 27th. Personal interview

UCSB Special Collections

Photo Gallery


[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.

KCSB

1962


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.


By: Mara Stojanovic

Featured Image: 1978 Staff photo, pulled from KCSB
[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.]

Hunger Strikes

April-May 1994


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.

[(El Congreso, 1994, May 3). “Our Struggle.” Daily Nexus, p. 7. https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/tx31qj818.]

 

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.]

 

[(C-J Conklin, 1994, May 5). “Students, Administrators Still Negotiating.” Daily Nexus, p. 1. https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sf073.]
[(“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.

 

 

[(1994, May 5). “Striking Distance.” Daily Nexus, p. 5. https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/mp48sf073.]

 

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.  


By: Mara Stojanovic

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