Allen/Rashidi

April 29th, 1970


KCSB interview with Bill Allen, Rashidi, Jim Trotter, and Steve Plevin.

Transcript

Allen: [00:00:04] Allen.

KCSB: [00:00:04] And then what’s your status legally? I guess you were arrested during Reagan came to down, and what’s happened to you since then?  Have you been bothered by the police?

Allen: [00:00:14] Consistently. The state, status legally is that I have three trials coming up, one on the 21st of May, which is the raid-, no, it’s the, um, Isla Vista disturbances, in which I’m accused of breaking most of the windows in Isla Vista for January or February 24th, I guess it is. Then I have another trial on the 31st. And that’s where the Reagan demonstration, which we were accused of initially disturbing the peace. And then after, after the arraignment, at the arraignment, they tacked on two other charges of inciting a riot and vulgarity against a police officer, which is their trip. You know, I mean, they keep adding and and and harassing. And then on June 8th, we have the Santa Barbara 19 or now 20 trials since I’ve been consolidated in that. So I have a lot of court things going on.

KCSB: [00:01:11] They can’t put all this together into one trial? 

Allen: [00:01:15] Oh no, there are separate charges every day.

KCSB: [00:01:17] How can you afford the court fees for three separate, three separate trials?

Allen: [00:01:21] I can’t. There are people who’ve helped out.  We’ve helped out some people in the past and are helping people out now and people are helping us out. 

KCSB: [00:01:27] Well, who’s going to open your defense?

Allen: [00:01:32] On campus, the, for the Privilege and Tenure thing that people at, uh, conducted their defense were Richard Wasserstrom, who’s a Panther UCLA lawyer for the Los Angeles. And Leon Letwin, who’s also in UCLA law school with Wasserstrom. And that hearing is completed, the disciplinary hearing, and they still haven’t received a transcript of some 900 pages of transcripts, and only about 480 were done on Tuesday or [unclear] Tuesday in the Isla Vista militia mischief or whatever the thing is. John Sink is defending me and for the campus demonstrations of Santa Barbara twentieths, John Sink and Roden. And then I’m not sure who’s going to defend me for the, for the Reagan demonstrations.

KCSB: [00:02:29] What about your suspension by the chancellor? Is that still in effect, or have you had your final hearing on that?

Allen: [00:02:35] Well, I’ve had the hearing, as I said, on the discipline, but they haven’t come up with a decision yet as to what the, what the discipline should be.

KCSB: [00:02:43] So you’re still waiting on that.

Allen: [00:02:45] Right, and we’re also anticipating another hearing, the Privilege and Tenure Committee, as to the violation of my privileges that I mentioned earlier.

KCSB: [00:02:53] And you appeal, what was, what’s the final appeal or at what stage of appeal are you now then?

Allen: [00:02:59] Well, I, we’re waiting for the Privilege and Tenure Committee to reply as to our request, which was made a week ago Sunday for an opening again of the, of my, of the hearing on the violation of my privileges.

KCSB: [00:03:14] If I can, I’d like to ask you some things about the Academic Senate. Do you think there’s a possibility that there’ll be some real reforms in the [unclear] if the current student pressure’s kept up?

Allen: [00:03:25] Oh, for sure. I don’t, I don’t see any other alternative. I think the Academic Senate is, is just being pompous at this point, just being incredibly arrogant. You know, I mean, like, they must realize that students are not going to let up on that pressure. I mean, no matter how much repression that they’ve, they’ve brought down this year, the same kind of stuff is happening on every campus.

KCSB: [00:03:45] What kind of faculty support do you have? I noticed the Academic Senate meetings I went, there were a few people, you know, that seemed to be pretty vocal, but what percentage would you say?

Allen: [00:03:55] Oh, really low. This is a very conservative Academic Senate. I mean, this Academic Senate is more like dinosaur, like a dinosaur than any other Academic Senate in the system. I mean, it’s more conservative than UCLA and UCLA is just, I mean, like a lethargic mass, you know.

KCSB: [00:04:14] Who’s being vocal in there right now? I know, I know Richard Harrison’s come otu with a few, a few statements.

Allen: [00:04:22] Well, there are a number of people that have been, you know, fairly vocal over a long period of time on the left side, the right side is much more vocal. And that’s, you know, led by Harry Girvetz, who was supposed to be the bastion of liberalism but, you know, it’s just very conservative, and Andron, who is just completely out of phase with reality. I think that that faction is much more significant in the academic sense here and deserves a lot more, more, press. I mean, they’re the people that are doing all the things in the Academic Senate. No one else gets a chance. They’ve got so much time, and they’ve had it since it was a ci-, since it was a state college. Most of these people that are are powerful on this campus are holdovers from when this was, you know, just a mediocre state college. And that’s why, you know, you get this sort of attitude of just incredible conservatism.

KCSB: [00:05:17] How do you feel about the tenure system in general? Should it be scrapped altogether or revised or what would you propose?

Allen: [00:05:22] I think it should be scrapped. I think the tenure system is is just a poor excuse for some kind of refuge. You know, security. I mean, people build up a kind of specialization in their field, publish, you know, generally a lot of crap, but volumes of it and and then, you know, hide behind the tenure system. So they never create. They never produce. You know, it’s a, it’s really a bummer system, I think, all the way through.

KCSB: [00:05:56] We’re going to take telephone calls, questions if you can phone the minute nine six one two four two four, and we’ll have the questions brought in to us here. All right, well, Rashidi’s here with us and he’s got a trial going on a lot too, so could you rap about that for a few minutes? What’s the story, what are the charges, and how the trial is going?

Rashidi: [00:06:17] Well, the jury came in this morning and I was convicted of, on two counts. The counts were obstructing, no, counts were disturbing the peace, obstructing the pig and battery on a pig, and I was convicted on the obstructing and resisting and on the battery, and I have to go back for sentencing on May the 20th.

KCSB: [00:06:45] This was during the Reagan coming-. 

Rashidi: [00:06:47] Reagan demonstration.

KCSB: [00:06:47] Were you arrested in any other, in IV or, first time or second time?

Rashidi: [00:06:55] Well, in addition to that, while I was in court, you know, right after, I think it was Monday, I went up to court. The two sheriffs who were testifying against me, well we weren’t sure if [unclear] Santa Barbara policemen arrested me again after court on a charge of grand theft, which was a warrant which was put out by the UCLA police department on two counts. Now, this is something that is utterly ridiculous. They haven’t, still this, as yet, have not informed me of what I’m supposed to have stolen or when or anything, and I’m supposed to call down to the Los Angeles court and find out what this is all about. In addition to that, in one incident, which I would like to tell about is last Tuesday. Last Tuesday night, I was walking home about two o’clock and I was stopped by two Santa Barbara Sheriffs, and when they first stopped me they, the one on the passenger side said, Rashidi, what are you doing out this late at night? Don’t you know that there are people who would like to catch you out at night and off you? You know, and emphatically, you know, and he said it’s about two or three times, you know, then they said, well, can we search you, you know? And I said, well, do I have any choice? You know, so they got out and they searched me. Then one of them started looking around on the ground with a flashlight all around the area and he came back to me and said, you threw this. He came with a red pill and said, you threw this down. I saw you make a furtive movement and you threw this down. And they said, well, we can arrest you now or you can go down and talk to Sergeant Briganti. And I said, well, you know, I didn’t want to be arrested, so, you know, let’s go talk to Briganti. So they took me down to their station, their headquarters they had over in Devero, and they took me off in this little room and they said, well, we’re not gonna arrest you, you know, we just want to talk to you. And they went through this long rap, and in essence, what they said was that, you know, they made this appeal to me, you know, well, you’re an intelligent guy, you know, you’re a good guy, you’re going to make it, graduate, and you’re going to be going and getting a job and blah, blah, blah. And, you know, there’s no reason for us to be fighting each other, you know, with some of these other these white guys, you know, who are really insane, they’re crazy. They just want to cause trouble. You know, we really got to get rid of these people, you know, so why don’t you just stay out of it? You know, and this, they rapped with me for about half hour, 45 minutes.

KCSB: [00:09:44] What was your response to that?

Rashidi: [00:09:46] Well I, well I told them, as always, they’ve made mistakes like that before, you know, that they are good dudes, you know, and I like them and we believe in the same things, you know, and, well, you know, naturally I wasn’t going to be belligerent, you know, and cuss them out or anything like that ’cause there was nothing but pigs in the building and, you know, they had me surrounded. I was in a little room and there was about 10 of them waiting outside. But I mean, I told them, you know, what I thought, you know, and then the two pigs who were really picking me up took me back to where, where they originally picked me up, and they parked, turned off the lights, and then they both got out on either side of me and, and one said, well, you know, no more games, you know, we’re this serious business from now on, you know, you’re an intelligent guy, you know what we mean, you know, that type of thing. And I, you know, took it as a threat, you know, I think that the, this is what was meant by, also previously, you know, in the building, I didn’t mention this. They said, well, Rashidi, what do you think’s going to happen, you know, and I said, well man, I said, I can’t say. It all depends if you guys rip someone else off. I feel like, I think if you kill someone else that there’s going to be a lot of shi-, crap, you know? I’m not supposed to say that, you know. In Isla Vista, and they said, well, if you guys keep doing what you’re doing, I think that’s what’s going to happen. And I said, well, you know, we’re right and we’re not going to stop because you guys are wrong.

KCSB: [00:11:17] Well, Jim Trotter also ran into trouble with the police department in the last few demonstrations. I wonder if you could tell us about that.

Trotter: [00:11:23] Well, I was charged by the grand jury with three counts of felony, arson, battery on a peace officer and interfering with an executive officer in the line of duty. And I was acquitted on all three counts by a jury trial in the superior court. And tomorrow I have disciplinary hearings with Dean Reynolds and the conduct committee or some such thing about events that took place on February 12th, which was a demonstration in front of the administration building in which several people got clubbed and things, and I’ve been charged with violations of the new student code that you can’t do anything, oh you know, the very elaborate one where I was charged with disru-, interfering with the operation of the university or something, and that was when the university had closed down the administration building and had the police out there, yet had not declared the building closed. So that’s the-

Allen: [00:12:23] That was the day that I went [unclear].

Trotter: [00:12:28] Yeah, right, clear, you’re correct.

KCSB: [00:12:28]  I remember when William Kunstler was on campus, he was talking about the jury and the judicial, judicial system in general. And he said, you know, in theory, it’s an equitable system and the jury system is as goody-, good as any if justice is done equally. What are your impressions about, all three of you, about the, about the judicial system [unclear]?

Allen: [00:12:47] I’d like to have had you seen Rashidi, I mean. Like, there, first of all, there were nine senile old ladies. I mean, that, you know, had never been sexually satisfied in their life, no way that they could have been, I mean, thin lipped, you know, and just flat foreheads and, and then three guys there. One was about maybe in his late 30s, early 40s, and the other two were like, you know, retired guys. I mean, you’re supposed to be tried by your peers, you know, and the average age of these people must have been in the late 40s, early 50s. Like, that is not, you know, those are not his peers. Those people don’t have the same lifestyle, they don’t have the same attitudes towards things. They’re more concerned with, you know, preserving their status quo, even though it’s ugly and unsatisfying to them. God, it was this ugly-, there’s no way that those people could find him guilty legitimately. They cannot possibly be a legitimate jury.

Rashidi: [00:13:46] You know, it would, what he said, you know, like, I defended myself, you know, on this particular charge, on these charges. And the first thing that I did was objected to the constitution of the jury, because first of all, of the people that were there, you know, available for selection, there was not one black person, first of all. There were a couple of young people, but the defense automatically exclude those when [unclear], you know, their policies automatically exclude any student or, or any black person or, or any young person, you know, because they feel that they’ll be sympathetic. And being there’s, by the jury commissioner’s own testimony, only one percent students that are chosen for the entire, the entire year, you know, serve on a jury. They’re very easily-, they get seven, they can eliminate seven people in a municipal, you know, a misdemeanor trial and 14 in a felony that it’s impossible for a student to get another student or almost impossible for a student to get another student on a jury so that the average age of jurors by the jury commissioner’s own testimony, really under this case, is 47 to 68 years old, and for the most part, retired people. And I mean, in my case, it was just ridiculous. You know, the pigs who testified contradicted each other. I had reputable witnesses. I had Kief Dotson from the news press who testified on my behalf. I had Catherine Peak, who’s lived here 50 years. I had Officer Becento who’s a sheriff, you know. Although he didn’t see the incident, he testified as to what I was doing there that was not try-, kinda-, trying to cause any trouble. And there’s just no way, you know, and, and, and, and the prosecutor handed down this thing, this rap about law and order and how these people, it was their duty to prosecute me, their duty to find me guilty to stop all these demonstrations, you know.

Allen: [00:15:54] Because it’s cost them tax dollars.

Rashidi: [00:15:56] Yeah. And, you know-

Allen: [00:15:57] That’s the thing they’re into, right.

Rashidi: [00:16:02] And they…thirty five that I, there’s no way they could have convicted me, but they did.

KCSB: [00:16:08] Can we ask you, Bill, about the events in Isla Vista and what you think about violence in general against, the difference in violence with-, against people and against property, and what’s your thought at both the burning of the bank and the police violence on the shooting of Kevin Moran?

Allen: [00:16:26] Yeah, well, I think there is a, you know, distinct difference between violence and sabotage. I’m going cough. I think that the acts of, of collective sabotage against the bank on the 24th of February and the 25th of February and again this last month, were, were acts that were actually, were, were clearly acts against property. They weren’t against people. In no case was any, was any person fired upon unless somebody had, had fired upon them first. In other words, in, in no case, that I know of in Isla Vista, were the pigs attacked until after they attacked first. And every case, they committed some brutal act and then people retaliated. And, you know, I think for all intents and purposes, what happened in Isla Vista is, is a direct result of an overzealous, ugly police force, I mean, that, that wants to see, you know, a lot of shit going on in Isla Vista, because that’s exactly how, that’s ex-, h-, that, sorry about that, that’s exactly, you know, how they’re going to bring this thing to a head and completely quash any kind of, of significant social change. And th-, and they’re so effective at it, man. Like they, they had the [unclear]. You saw what they did the last time with Operation Wagon Train, a sneak attack on a group of students, man, as if they were Vietcong, you know, like those are the kinds of sneak attacks that they have in Vietnam. Exactly. You know, and those are the kind of sneak attacks that they, you know, that they impute that the Indians used to have, even though it’s clear that the settlers had a lot more attacks on the Indians than the Indians had on the settlers.

KCSB: [00:18:19] Now, what about the main difference between the last demonstrations and the ones were part of the bank was burned, but quite a number of students have come out and said they’re against violence and were trying to defend the bank, one of them being Kevin Moran?

Allen: [00:18:30] Yeah, I think that, that what happened there was, was that there weren’t very many people that I knew that really were hot to have a riot on the, in this last riot kind of situation. I don’t think anybody was, was turned on to see any more kinds of rioting going on in Isla Vista. You know, several of us went down to, to talk to Jerry Rubin and attempt to, to get him to come up here and just be in the park, in that, you know, we felt that it was important that, that he come, but it was also important that, you know, that we show that there was a sense of community in Isla Vista starting to develop, and that that sense of-. 

KCSB: [00:19:06] Was Rubin actually here that day?

Allen: [00:19:07] Well, if he is, if he was, he was in a good disguise because I didn’t him there. And, and, and the riot that ensued, you know, after Jerry Rubin was here, was not because, you know, Jerry Rubin didn’t come. I think most of the people felt somewhat disappointed that he didn’t come, but what happened effectively, it seemed to me, is that, is that the police desperately wanted a riot, you know, and when all of those people were standing on the steps of the bank on, on Thursday night, it was clear that nobody was going to go out and throw a Molotov cocktail at a, at a bunch of liberals and conservatives standing on the bank trying to protect it. I mean, nobody was going to do that, you know, and it was over effectively. And yet the police had to come in. They felt compelled to come in. And the next night, the same thing happened, you know, it seemed to me. The fire had been put out and nobody was going to, I think, run up and throw another Molotov cocktail at those people standing there.

Rashidi: [00:20:02] You know, I think, in terms of, you know, you know, all this tal-, talk about violence, you know, which mainly, all the people who talk about it in the Academic Senate, the Chancellor, you know, they alwa-, you know, they always refer back to, you know, that damn bank, you know, or, you know, something of this sort. They try to play down, you know, the fact that Kevin Moran was killed by a pig. You know, they play down the acts of brutality that were committed against the people in the community. They play down the acts of brutality that instigated the whole thing, you know, and, and-

Allen: [00:20:37] You know, nobody talks about this guy getting hit with a police car. Nobody talks about the nine people who were shot, you know, one of them now dead. And yet, you know, we keep hearing this thing about, you know, people out, you know, out against violence, you know? Well, most of the people that I know that are fairly radical on this campus were against violence, and I too, and, and to some end, they were trying to build barricades so the police didn’t swoop in and kill people like they finally did. I mean, they were, people were left merciless. They were left right, you know, in the hands of the pigs when they swooped in.

Rashidi: [00:21:11] And, if I could, yeah, I, I, I, you know, personally hold, the, specifically the Academic Senate, the Chancellor, you know, and number of other people on this campus who, and, you know, in Santa Barbara, who have consistently resisted change. I think they are responsible. You know, I think that the people who are engaging, you know, the small, who’s engaging in, you know, the real daring acts, you know, were reacting out of the, the, the, I mean, from legitimate, let me word the le-, legitimate emotions. I mean, they were frustrated because every time they try to get anything done, they’re constantly, you know, they just spit in their face, you know, the Chancellor just, just, just said, to hell with student voice. You know, the people in Santa Barbara said to hell with you people, you’re out of this control, and how do they expect people to react? This people reacted normally. They were frustrated. And, you know, they taught me in psychology, frustration leads to aggression, and this is something that they knew was going to come about. And I thin-, you know, I think Cheadle’s responsible and I think that he ought to be hunged for it.

Allen: [00:22:16] I’ll tell you, if there were-

Rashidi: [00:22:18] Mmm hmm. And the Academic Senate.

Allen: [00:22:18] If the grand jury were-

Rashidi: [00:22:18] You can bet.

Allen: [00:22:18] -composed of Isla Vista residents, I’ll tell you who the people that would be indicted would be. It’d be Cheadle and Varly and Evans and Reynolds and Webster and Buchanan and all the rest of those, those people, Mayor Firestone, county supervisors-

Rashidi: [00:22:35] Yeah, and I think also those people, you know, the students who didn’t, like, you know, for a long time-. 

Allen: [00:22:40] And Ronald Reagan.

Rashidi: [00:22:40] -the whole, the whole thing that, that we were trying to say was like students, let’s get together and let’s show them that we’re all together and we all want change. People are so apathetic. They wouldn’t come out. You know, a lot of them wouldn’t come out. 8 thousand, yes, you know, 8 thousand came out for a while and then, you know, they started to, drifting off, you know, and then pretty soon was left, maybe 500 people still struggling for change, and the rest of the people said, to hell with it. You know, I think if they had all come out and got together and, and shown that they were behind change like they say they are now, you know, when all these things have happened, like has been killed, people have been shot, and things have happened. You know, if they had come out and showed that there was student support, and we had exercised student power, real student power, like the BSU’s been calling for, ever since we started this whole thing with North Hall. We always related the things that we were doing to the larger issues of student power. If you check back on the records, and our statements always been related to students should get together. But they didn’t, you know, and now they all sorry, or mad, or whatever, but when they could have got off their asses and done something, they didn’t, and now they want to come and condemn those people who had guts enough to do something and to beat and to defy that illegitimate authority that’s oppressing them and oppressing all of us.

KCSB: [00:23:53] We’ll be back to this discussion with Jim Trotter, Bill Allen, and Rashidi in a few moments after election coverage from KCSB FM, Santa Barbara.

Rashidi: [00:28:27] So therefore, you know, I mean, that’s the whole thing that they’ve been running down on Black, you know, Chicanos, that, that we’re irrational, we’re emotional. Yeah, you know, and, and-. 

KCSB: [00:28:36] We’re back, back on the air with Rashidi, Bill Allen, and Jim Trotter, talking about the violence in the streets-. 

Plevin: [00:28:43] Steven Plevin.

KCSB: [00:28:43] And Steve Plevin also, excuse me. I think we got a telephone question? Yeah, this is for Bill. Where do you stand on issues such as the Goleta Slew and other conservation issues, or do you have time for such concerns, in light of your present predicament?

Allen: [00:28:57] Oh, yeah. I think that there was a statement recently by the Chancellor, and I think it’s an outgrowth of what’s happened here, and that is that they’re not going to touch the slew now. A lot of things have been saved, you know, since we started demonstrating and putting our bodies on the line out here. One of them was Rexroth, and the other one is the slew, and so some good things have happened. I’m very much, you know, more concerned with ecology than, than it would appear in the last two or three months. Some people may remember that like three months ago in a day we said in its terms, we [unclear] on the oil. That was the day before the demonstrations started here. I would like to see people really getting militant about ecology. And I’m not, you know, I’m not really mincing any words. I’d really like to see ’em get it on against the kinds of polluters and exploiters that, that corporations are in this country.

KCSB: [00:29:44] You don’t think the environment issue is a cop out then, like a lot of people do, taking-

Allen: [00:29:49] No, I just think it has to be put in political perspective, man. It’s a political problem right now because the major exploiters and, and the major polluters and, and those people concerned with, you know, increasing their consuming base, which is basically an exploitative kind of trip, are the corporations in this country. And they’re so good at it, man. I mean, they’re just, they’ve got all the technology that they need to destroy the Earth to turn it into one agrobusiness garden kind of environment, you know, and smooth out all the regularity, I mean all the variability, just like they’re, they’re cutting off all the cultural variability.

Rashidi: [00:30:26] They like to pave the world.

Allen: [00:30:27] Right on.

Rashidi: [00:30:27] Just have the whole world-

Allen: [00:30:28] And they’d like to have the whole world culturally middle class, which it means that they’re going to consume for creature comforts, and it’s just, I mean, that’s their, their scheme of the world, you know.

KCSB: [00:30:38] Well, I’d like to ask Rashidi about that. There’s been some talk, I understand, from Black leaders in the East and they’re saying that ecology is a cop out and isn’t the real issue and that that should be put secondary and fighting racism first. Would you go along with that?

Rashidi: [00:30:51] I think that, the, what most of the Black leaders are saying and what my side down in the Black Panther Party out in UCLA said, you know, today is that, and like, you know, I’ve been here in Isla Vista, you know, for over a year, you know, like I’ve gotten out of the, you know, the environment, you know, of living, you know, in the ghetto, you know, and that people are there-, people there are concerned with much more basic personal things, you know, like eating, you know, like working like, you know, pigs constantly, you know, I mean, I mean like here, you know, we have harassment, you know, and it’s, and it’s, and it’s intolerable, you know, because the people aren’t used to it, you know, to that extent like in the Black community, at least once a week, like a young Black person is ripped off by a pig, you know, and, and, you know, it’s, you know, justifiable homicide. And these are things that these people are concerned with. The thing about ecology is, I think that [unclear] a lot of people do use it as a cop out. A lot of people, like Nixon, you know, got behind it, you know, and Reagan even said that, you know, that bull sh after he came out and said this thing about, we have to find a happy medium between progress and preserving natural resources, you know, and that a lot of, I think a lot of people are into it, you know, as a cop-, I, you know, as something that, that, that, that no one can condemn them for, you know, and yet they can still say that they’re trying to, you know, to help, you know, but I think there are a lot of serious people. I think Bill’s serious because I seen him, you know, put his own body on the line, you know, his own self, his who-, his own career, you know, risk going to jail, you know. I think if people are concerned enough to get at the cause of it and point out who’s doing, like you know, these corporations and then tie that in, you know, to their exploitation of the ghetto, the exploitation of, of the students here, the exploitation of the entire world, then they’re really on the right track, but if they’re only talking about preserving their own environment for their own personal enjoyment, you know, then I say, to hell with ’em.

KCSB: [00:33:07] Well, if I can give you just one specific case, I know in South Carolina, they’re trying to put a factory [unclear] Head, I think it’s called, and the choice there is whether they’re going to put in this factory and pollute the Bay or whether the factory will be put in and it will give jobs to a large number of Blacks who are in the poorest county in the United States. How do you make a choice like that?

Rashidi: [00:33:28] Well, I really couldn’t, you know, not being here, not knowing the specific situations that they’re confronted with, you know, all Black people are not necessarily working for the good of, you know, the entire world to give the community or whatever. You know, they’re Black capitalists who only care about making money. You know, I’d want to find out if those Black people have some interest in that factory being built, you know, but I think that the important thing is that if technology is used correctly, you know, I think, and I think me and Bill at times disagreed on this and [unclear] other, you know, the radicals, to quote white radicals in quote, you know, that I think that technology can be used to increase, you know, people’s lives, and to better people’s lives, but as long as it’s under control of the corporations and not in the hands of the people that, you know, that we’re just going to keep polluting, and, you know, none of us are going to have any place to live. I think Trotter, you know, really is more into that to me. I like-. 

Trotter: [00:34:44] Well, the whole, the whole ecology movement, the whole concept of ecology is, is ultimately a very revolutionary concept. There’s no way to deal with the problems without having a revolutionary perspective, because ecology is a, is based in scientific fact that demonstrates that the whole world is one global sphere and that internationalism is the only possible solution to these problems. You can’t have specific national interest or local interests.

KCSB: [00:35:09] You’re probably aware of what happened to the Honeywell Corporation’s stockholders meeting yesterday, which was disrupted by a lot of people, young people who’ve held proxies, and [unclear]. Do you see this sort of thing happening in the future?

Trotter: [00:35:22] Yeah, I personally know several friends of mine whose parents are very wealthy that are buying stock in, in corporations designed to end pollution, or clean up pollution, or are using their stocks in whatever way they can. It’s a very minimal type of effort because using, trying to vote in non pollution measures, say, in a stock-, in a board meeting is almost contradictory because you’re going to vote yourself out of your profit. Our pollution is some of these profit is, you know, as a little slogan goes, and it happens to be very true. There’s just no, there’s no question about the reason that there is pollution is because it is in the interest of a capitalist class to, you know, to sluff off that duty. They have a social duty because it’s not enforceable.

KCSB: [00:36:09] Probably the major issue of last month’s regents meeting was moved by Regent Dutton to have the university’s seven million dollars worth of General Motors stock. The proxies for that being used to fight for some reforms of GM, and this, this failed do you have any comment on that? 

Allen: [00:36:26] Can you repeat that?

KCSB: [00:36:26] Last, last month regents meeting, one of the biggest issues was how the university would vote their stock in the upcoming General Motors stockholders meeting.

Allen: [00:36:40] Yeah.

KCSB: [00:36:40] The university holds seven million dollars worth of GM stock and there was a move on to have the stock used to put some pressure on some reforms in General Motors, and this failed.

Allen: [00:36:54] Where did it fail, the Regential level, or-

KCSB: [00:36:56] The Regents.

Allen: [00:36:56] They, they refused to. Well, sure, you have all the biggest capitalists in the state, I mean-. 

Trotter: [00:37:02] They did a lot to tear down the image of the University as a liberal vehicle for reforming society when in reality, it’s the University of California that produces all the nuclear warheads that the country uses; it’s the University of California that won’t vote for reform in the, the largest producer of air pollution, and it’s stripping away all of the facades that the University has been trying to maintain over the past few years while all the disruptions have been going on.  They’ve been trying to say, we’re working for social change; we’re trying to improve the environment; we’re trying to improve people’s lives, but when it comes down to the vote, they’re not.  They’re not interested in that.  They’re interested in their own profits and this is, this is the kind of issue we’ve been talking about now for a long time, and people are going to start seeing it in a real sense when they see how these votes go.

KCSB: [00:37:45] Well, we have environmental problems a lot closer to home right out in Isla Vista, so I wonder if each of you could give an idea on how you can make Isla Vista a decent place to live? How can they clean up this community?

Allen: [00:37:55] Yeah, I think we ought to shoot for, on Isla Vista, a program where we do away with cars in Isla Vista completely. I mean, if it’s going to be a student [unclear], let’s turn it into, as utopian a one as possible? To that end though, we might do is have just emergency lanes running down the streets that presently exist and, and have those emergency lanes on any bike lanes and, and the rest of the street be torn up and turn into organic gardens. And it could happen, like people are starting to plant all over Isla Vista in vacant lots, you know, and there, there seems to be a lot of energy towards functional kinds of things like that Isla Vista. I mean, you know, a lifestyle that people are starting to evolve is, is not just a communal one for sex and, and leeching off of people, you know. It’s one in which people can start living real lives in which they, you know, can control some of their own subsistence, hopefully all of it eventually. In addition to that, I think that, that, that they ought to put a limit like the, that limit being right now on, on any more building in Isla Vista.  No more building should go up there. There’s too many people already, and they ought to turn some of those vacant lots that the realty companies own that they can’t build on anymore anyway if we put the limits on; gotta build at least one of them into a daycare center to give some of the women in Isla Vista some liberated time. And then I think we ought to, we have to think about getting some of those merchants who have been gouging the people for years now to start contributing some money to, say, a breakfast program for some of the kids on Isla Vista and, and in some of the Goleta ghettos down here where the kids certainly don’t get very good meals. And I think that we ought to start evaluating exactly how much longer we’re going to permit the kind of rent gouging and the kind of inflated market prices and the kinds of inflated gasoline prices to persist in Isla Vista. So I think that, you know, that the best way to get any kind of sense of community out there is to start turning the place into something that, that people really want to live in, you know, instead of, that people just want to be transient in, you know, and that people are willing to put up with because they’re getting a quote education so they can fit within the system again.

KCSB: [00:40:05] I got a fact from a listener. He says that the ecology problem exists from a consumption economy supported by advertisement.  If advertisement were outlawed, would it help the ecology movement?

Trotter: [00:40:18] It certainly couldn’t hurt the ecology movement, but the single biggest problem is not necessarily just advertising, but the fact that people, you know, have to live a certain type of lifestyle in this country to survive. I mean, you know, people that live in, especially in Isla Vista kinds of situations, where you’re, you’re really dependent on grocery stores for your source of food and the fact that the energy necessary to supply, say, a TV dinner, you know, go to the icebox, open the icebox, take the [unclear] out, put it in your oven, and prepare that. The energy necessary to do that in this country is, is, is in fact the real manifestation of imperialism. The United States uses 54 percent of the world’s resources and it’s only five percent of the world’s population. Those resources are used to accomplish acts just like that, to open your door, to prepare a TV dinner, to drive your car, do all these very highly technological processes that require energy that is deprived in the other 95 percent of the world’s population.

KCSB: [00:41:15] Would you go along with Jerry Rubin’s idea of having planning in the morning and farming in the morning and playing music in the afternoon and then making love at night?

Trotter: [00:41:24] That’s definitely, that’s not just Jerry Rubin’s idea. Buckminster Fuller advocates, you know, the same thing-. 

Allen: [00:41:28] Tribal people all over the world have been doing it for thousands of years and digging it. I mean, it’s just, I’ve lived in that kind of environment, and it’s hip.

KCSB: [00:41:37] I’d like to get into a few questions concerning the student elections that are going on right now, at least the votes that are being counted. One question that we asked the candidates last Sunday night and might be worthwhile asking you is the fact that a couple of years ago, most radicals on campus and minority groups were condemning AS government as being totally ineffective. And this election at least, we’ve seen a lot of minority groups and radical, radical individuals seeking office. Can you explain this, the change?

Allen: [00:42:05] Let’s wait and see the results.

Rashidi: [00:42:07] Well, I think that the reason that, I know, you know, before last year, you know, we got into it, we pointed out to people that the student, the student government really didn’t have any power. The administration really didn’t listen to them. You have people like Paul Sweet, you know, in there who, who basically were administration boys, and this is the type of people that, you know, were in there. And the reason that I think that we became involved was to force the administration to deal with the question of whether students had any power or not, or they were gonna listen to students or not, and I think that this year, you know, they showed that they wouldn’t. And I think that most of the people who are running this year who, you know, have labels on, you know, whatever side you want to label them, you know, are dealing with this question and the whole thing, the whole reason is to bring it out to the students, you know, that they will not listen to us, you know, and that the present system is ineffective and that there is no power whatsoever in the hands of students. People like, Taz Do, you know, and Perry, you know, we talk about getting lawyers, you know, and things like this, you know, that is not going to work, you know, and it’s obvious and I don’t see how after the, the, the, the way that the administration has acted, the statements that they’ve made, have you been reading the things they made in the news press, you know, about the students? You know, how we are distorting issues, you know, while they’re the ones that are distorting issues, how the Academic Senate has been con-, they just completely ignoring. They have just said, to hell with you. You know, and people have been really reading what they’ve been saying, you know, and I think this is a thing, And students are going to have to realize that because as long as they think that that student government, you know, as it presently stands, is going to bring in some results, it’s just going to be going down a blind alley and eventually, it’s going to happen, you know, because people’s awareness, you know, you know, like the awareness today is much more than it was last year at this time, and it’s going to be at a higher level at this time next year. You know, eventually they’re going to realize that this present system, you know, is, is just not one that’s designed to give students any voice. You know, the university wasn’t built that way and it wasn’t the students, you know, the way the system was set up, students weren’t, you know, it’s a game, you know. They let the students play around here with their little money, which they’re now trying to take back, you know, and I personally think that they financed this move to take away, you know, to do away with the student funds you raise, and then this propaganda thing they’ve been running, you know, about where this money is going, you know. I think if the issues are made clear to students that keep that, but I think that’s the reason people have become involved, you know, because they, the people who were n-, were on there before were not even attempting to really articulate truly, you know, the grievances of student issues, but they wanted to be, you know, quote, responsible, end quote. And that’s another thing that I’ve, you know, had experience with in the Black community, you know, the responsible Negroes, the house niggers, we call them. And you got a lot of house nigger students, you know, one in particular, you know, I won’t mention, you know, on that committee that they put me and [unclear] on, you know, after Bill’s thing, you know, to, to investigate, for student input into departments, you know. We resigned because we knew basically that the committee did not have any power whatsoever. There was one student in there who is now working for the administration who called various other student members and told them, well, you know, you ought to stick on this committee because, you know, like, it’ll be really good for you. You know, you’ll make a lot of good contacts, you know, and basically they’re selling out student interests, you know, you know, their, for their own personal gain and not there to, to, to, to see the students really get a voice. They’re there because they’ve been handpicked by the man, you know, and there are a number of students in these positions. And, and that’s the type of thing we’re going to see through. That’s the kind of thing we’re going to have to deal with, you know.

KCSB: [00:46:04] From the earlier election returns from the UCEN, where they’re counting the ballots from the student elections, it looks as if the more moderate candidates are building up a sizable lead. Do you interpret this as a sign of, some sort of student backlash to what’s been going on, this, the radical, well, I don’t know what you want to call-, the office holders that we’ve had, and the disturbances in Isla Vista?

Allen: [00:46:25] Yeah, I don’t think there were too many radical officeholders. There were, you know, some that supposedly are-. 

KCSB: [00:46:37] If you could call him-. 

Trotter: [00:46:37] The part of the, the moderate upswing in candidates, I think is not necessarily due so much to a backlash; the backlash is probably a benefit than more the number of people who voted, you know, a more conscientious student body. I’ve forgotten how many s-, they’ve estimated voted this time, but it’s more, much a significant greater number than last time. But the fact that in the last year, student government has been so insignificant, so totally insignificant, that only, like the fraternity and established traditional organized groups have any kind of power to win those seats. And last year, those people who can see themselves as radicals or were in groups such as that, had an organizational base in which they could, you know, run for office and won. And this year, people have learned that organizations’ how it’s done, and the more moderate elements are better, are more organized now. And it represents their organization because I don’t think the student body has become any more backlashist than it ever was. It’s still basically progressive.

KCSB: [00:47:30] Will the campus be a swing towards conservatism while people try and control El Gaucho and groups such as Asia and the Radical Union.

Trotter: [00:47:38] Any depth of, any organization that finds itself in a structured power situation like this is inevitably going to try to take control of El Gaucho and whatever media things they can.

Rashidi: [00:47:48] And I think a lot has to do with fear, you know, how the students are afraid of, you know, of the man coming. I think KCSB is afraid, you know, that the man is going to come down on them again. I think that what happened to KCSB was just, you know, inexcusable, and I, and, and the response that came from KCSB in regards to what happened, you know, I remember-

Allen: [00:48:13] It was lukewarm at best.

Rashidi: [00:48:16] Yeah, when they tried to play that album, and went [unclear] when they just called and told you not to play that album, you know.

Allen: [00:48:22] And that’s amazing, you know, I remember that, man.

Rashidi: [00:48:23] What, what i-, what is this man, you know, and people, you know, still make justifications, you know, they said, well, we don’t underst-, you, you guys said, I said, well, we don’t understand because we were so responsible, you know, and we were really being good guys, and you cut us off, you know.

Allen: [00:48:36] They were being, you guys were being less than responsible, I think, you know. Freedom in this country doesn’t mean, you know, freedom from responsibility. I mean, it means exactly that you have to be responsible and find out what’s going on and I don’t think this station has done.

Rashidi: [00:48:49] You’re supposed to be responsible to-

Allen: [00:48:50] I don’t think this station’s been objective.

Rashidi: [00:48:52] The students, you know, and not to, police about the show-

Allen: [00:48:57] Could you imagine what Beck would have done? Could you imagine what Beck would have done if they told us she had to stop publishing the papers? She’d have told them to get, get hosed, man. She would have published it anyway. She would have gone publish it any place, you know, on, on toilet paper, you know, and what you guys should have done has gotten another transmitter and transmitted, man, because you could have done it.

Rashidi: [00:49:17] That whole myth of, you know, objectivity, and what do you, I mean, what do you mean by objective? To me, it seems like with people usually, you know, what I mean by responsibility and objectivity, they mean you are using the official reports of the police departments, you know, or the official statement by the mayor. And then they say, well, you know, now we’re being objective, you know, and that’s bullshit because the, the, the sheriff, you know, has a definite point of view, you know, and obviously, if people [unclear] anti-student, you know, and I think that Becca’s positions, Becca’s position and the position of the El Gaucho this year has been pro student opinion, you know, I think most students do agree that there need to be change. They might all, not all agree on, you know, the tactics, you know, what they generally agree on the things that should be done. I think that that was reflected, you know, in the newspapers and, and she, many times I read in the paper myself that, you know, I thought that they weren’t militant enough. You know, I thought that they should have declared, you know, you know exactly, you know, where they were coming from, a, they did eventually, you know, what, from the get go, they tell exactly where they’re coming from and, you know, explain all this, you know, and ran it down, you know. What she asked for, peop-, you know, if you don’t agree with me, come on in and write your own article, you know. You know, and people didn’t, you know. So like basically, you know, they were just jiving and they, I don’t know if they’re just, if they’re still so hung up in the authoritarian shit that they went through with their mothers and fathers or what, you know, I think I’ve been in this authority, but you got to recognize that you are a human being, that you have a mind, you know, and that you are legitimate in yourself, you know. No one has to give them, you legitimacy. You’re responsible, you know, you are responsible yourself. You make yourself responsible. You’re responsible to whatever you believe in, you know. But, uh, you know, I think that’s just, you know, that whole argument, you know, objectivity, you know, it’s just, and you know, so-called factual reporting, just like, OK, if, if someone said, well, you know, the pigs shot Kevin Moran, then people would say, well, that’s an irresponsible statement, you know, it’s true. You should have said, well, Moran was killed. And then, that’s one fact, OK, we know he was killed. OK, another fact, at approximately [unclear] of the time, a policeman said that his rifle accidentally fired, you know, and the sheriff even admits that, you know, you see what I mean? I mean, and then you might say, well, the sheriff before that there were snipers, and we all knew that there was no snipers, see, I mean, you can just completely distort what went down, you know, see what I mean? But, you know, I think that’s just, you know, totally bullshit. I think what these people mean by objectivity is they want a pro establishment, pro police, pro authoritarian trip going down in the El Gaucho, you know. And I think that, you know, I just keep remembering, you know, a statement that the guy, that, that day, we had one of the rallies, got from Berkeley. He said he was trying to figure out when this fascism began, you know, when can you actually say that there’s fascism, and he said, that he figured out that it’s when the people succumb to the authoritarian trip.  They succumb to the oppression. When KCSB says, OK, the sheriffs are wrong, they’re denying our constitutional right, but we’ll go out there anyway, you know, and that’s when fascism is in. And, you know, when people say, well, they’re pissed off at us, you know, and even though we’re right, well, we’ll be responsible, what they consider responsible and we’re right with they agree with, you know. If the Santa Barbara News Press is responsible, you know, and you know where they’re coming from, they’re considered responsible, you know, and you know what they are?

Allen: [00:53:05] They’re supposed to be one of the best papers on the coast. I hope you never-. 

Rashidi: [00:53:09] I hope you never become responsible. That’s what being responsible means, because they’re responsible to the sheriff, they’re responsible to the mayor. You know, they’re responsible to-. 

Allen: [00:53:17] The oil interests, man.

Rashidi: [00:53:18] Damn right. You know, that’s who they’re irresponsible to.

KCSB: [00:53:21] Ok, well, thank you very much. We’d like to thank our guests tonight. Steve Plevin, Jim Trotter, Bill Allen and Rashidi. Following this program will be the news. Our guests next week on this program should be the president elect of the Associated Students and the administrative and executive vice president select. This is KCSB FM from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

KCSB: [00:53:45] The opinions expressed reflect those of the speaker and not necessarily those of KCSB, the Associated Students or the Regents of the University of California. Responsible representatives of opposing viewpoints are offered reasonable opportunity to respond, address requests to the general manager, KCSB, University of California, Santa Barbara.

[KCSB.4.29.70 Allen/Rashidi interviewed, Proposal for Black & Chicano Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, KCSB Audiotape Collection 1969-1970, SBHC Mss 58, Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.]

February 26th, 1970 Timeline


5:00 PM


William Kunstler, an activist lawyer, gives a speech at Perfect Park.

Richard Underwood is beat and arrested by police for holding a “molotov cocktail”, which was actually an open bottle of wine.

Students start hitting patrolling police cars with rocks in protest of this beating and attempted arrest and the crowd grows to round 500-700 people.


5:30 PM


Windows at Isla Vista Realty, Embarcadero Company, Income Property Management, Ventura Realty, Finear Realty, the Brazen Onager, and the Village Green are broken.


6:30 PM


Someone puts a burning trash can inside of Bank of America and 100-150 officers arrive in full riot gear and begin sweeping the crowd.

Police approached from around the Enco station and the Magic Lantern.

Students tried to flee but were met with more police force and the students turn and charge the officers.

The police run while students hurl rocks at them and then officers in turn throw rocks back at the crowd.

Second batch of police officers arrive from a transit bus parked on Camino Pescadero.

The first group of officers leave on the bus while students continue to pelt them with rocks, breaking five or six windows on the bus.


7:30 PM


Crowd reaches 1,500. A patrol car is burned and overturned in front of American Records on Embarcadero Del Mar. All Isla Vista and campus entrances are roadblocked by police and no cars can get in or out of the area.


9:30 PM


Four cans of tear gas are thrown into the crowd from a 1962 Ford Falcon.

Tear gas is also thrown around “…Isla Vista Realty, on Sabado Tarde, and at the corner of Embarcadero del Norte and Seville” (El Gaucho, 1).

Students block traffic using garbage cans and there’s a second tear gas raid around Village Market and the Bank of America building.


11:30 PM


Someone burns a pile of papers and furniture inside the Bank of America building and soon the whole building is on fire.


12:00 AM


The building burns, the roof caves in, the crowd grows even bigger, and the police place more barricades in the streets.


2:30 AM


Law enforcement agents from other schools congregate at San Rafael Dorm.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff James Webster flies overhead in a helicopter and warns the crowd to either be arrested or disperse.


3:00 AM


Crowd begins to die down.

Police sweep the streets and arrest people who failed to disperse.

Police search apartments of those suspected to participate in the demonstration.

A helicopter shines a spotlight on the streets, searching for crowd members.


4:00 AM


The helicopter leaves.

Someone starts a trash fire at the top of the loop and KCSB members are ordered to leave the Wooden House Restaurant on Embarcadero Del Mar.


4:30 AM


Local hospitals report injuries from that night.

Two people are treated for tear gas burns and two officers are treated for superficial wounds and a face laceration.

Eighteen to twenty five police cars continue to drive by and arrest anyone on the streets for failing to disperse.


6:00 AM


Around 15-20 people were reportedly arrested over the course of this night.


El Gaucho, Vol. 50-No. 87

Boycott BofA Pamphlet

“With the money you deposit at the Bank of America, B of A:

Supports the racist system of apartheid:


As of April 1977, BofA had African interests. According to B of A, ‘Nearly one-half of this $188 million represents short-term loans to commercial banks.  Over one-fourth of the total was to private and public corporations for trade-related purposes or financing of industrial development policies.  The largest recipient of the balance was the government, which received short-term loans to cover balance of payment deficits.

 

Supports the military-industrial complex:


Throughout the Vietnam War, B of A loaned money to manufacturers of armaments. For instance, B of A, along with several other banks, established a $200 million revolving credit fund for Boeing, manufacturer of the B-52 and the Minuteman missile.  B of A also loaned money to transporters of military supplies.  B of A loaned $54 million to World Airways, $21 million to Trans International, $20.1 million to Saturn Airways, and $16.5 million to Capitol International.  In 1970, B of A controlled some of the largest holdings in Aircraft International and Flying Tiger, the two largest transporters of military freight in the world at the time.  Litton Industries, holder of almost $500 millio[n] of defense contracts in 1968 was $474 million in debt in 1969, much of that to B of A.

 

Takes money from poor communities (such as Isla Vista) and invests it in richer communities:


Although B of A claims to be a community bank, at present it has no business loans, no home mortgages and only one minor home improvement loan in Isla Vista. In fact, it doesn’t even have a loan officer at the Isla Vista branch.  In other low income neighborhoods such as Guadalupe and Santa Barbara’s Eastside, the pattern is similar.

 

Supports giant agribusiness and the exploitation of farmworkers:


B of A finances over 50% of California agribusiness. In the past, B of A has refused to negotiate with the United Farmworkers Union on land that it owns.  In 1972, the bank donated $10,000 to the Prop. 22 campaign to prevent farmworkers from organizing.  B of A donated the money to start and continues to donate money to the Giannini Foundation at U.C. Davis.  The Giannini Foundation does research on farm mechanization that puts farm-workers out of work.  No research is done on how to transfer farmworker to other work once their jobs are taken away from them by machines.. In 1964, the president of B of A and Chair of the State Board of Agriculture Jesse Trap fought the termination of the Bracero Program.  In 1970, B of A president A.W. Clausen supported the Murphy Bill, a bill to restore the Bracero Program.  Senior Vie-President for Agribusiness Robert Long stated that the bill would ‘provide a necessary labor force that is not available elsewhere.’

 

Actively discourages unionization among its employees:


B of A’s own literature says: ‘WE will continue to review all policies related to personnel in order to assure that those policies effectively discourage unionization.’

 

Supports an unbalanced ecosystem:


B of A underwrote the issue of bonds for the State Water Project. Much of this water will find its way to B of A’s customers in Central California.  B of A administered $900 million of bids the state of Alaska received for the land on the North Slope, the home of the oil to flow through the Alaska Pipeline.

 

Supports nuclear power:


B of A and seven other shareholders comprise the Societe Financiere Europeene, which is extensively involved in financing nuclear power.

 

Supports U.S. imperialism and opposes democracy in foreign countries:


From TIME magaz[i]ne, August 18, 1975: ‘Until recently, international publicity about political repression in Chile had undermined Pinochet’s (leader of a military coup that murdered Salvador Allende and overthrew the democratically elected government he headed) efforts to obtain desperately needed aid. In the past few weeks however, a group of American banks that included First National City, Bank of America, Morgan Guaranty, and Chemical Banks had put together a $70 million renewable credit for Chile.’  B of A is the world’s largest non-government owned bank.  It has 96 foreign branch offices, numerous subsidiaries and affiliates in 52 countries or territories.

 

Is part of the increasing concentration of financial power in the United States and the increasing control of your life by corporations:


As of 1973, members of the Board of Directors of BankAmerica Corp. or the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association also sat on the Board of Directors of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph (5), DiGiorgio Corp. (4), Broadway-Haly Stores (4), Union Oil (2), Getty Oil (2), Standard Oil of Cal. (2) Standard Research Institute (2), Southern Cal. Edison (2), Time-Mirror Inc. (2), Ford, Bank of Hawaii, Household Finance, Northrup, Chrysler and many others.

B of A’s corporate connections go even further. They own stock (as of 1973) in American Cyanamid, American Home Products, Amfac, Atlantic-Richfield, Catapillar Tractor, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemicals, Exxon, General Motors, Mersh and Company, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Pabst Brewing, Procter and Gamble, Quaker Oats, Standard Oil of Cal., Standard Oil of Indiana, Texaco, Tennaco and Union Carbide

 

Uses you as an experiment in marketing techniques:


That’s right! The Isla Vista branch of B of A is an experimental branch to study marketing for college-aged people.  We hate to say it, but you are the guinea pig.”

 


Works Cited

“Boycott BofA” pamphlet, Bank of America: South Africa, 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Bank of America Burning

February 27th, 1970


The IV Bank of America Burning was an intense, historical moment of student activism and social justice at UCSB.  It began as a peaceful protest at Perfect Park and spiraled into a community-wide retaliation against all symbols of corrupt justice.  Students sought to fight bigger powers at play such as Bank of America, and clashed with Isla Vista police during the chaotic events that occurred on February 27th, 1970.  

This historic night originated with protests and boycotts of Bank of America, sparked by the students at UCSB.  BOFA had been giving illegal loans to South African countries and indirectly supporting apartheid against government regulations, amongst other unsavory endeavors.  It illegally funneled money to the Pretoria Regime, which consisted of mostly white men in South Africa enforcing discriminatory apartheid rules towards the black population.   By funding their military and economic endeavors, Bank of America was supporting the perpetuation of a deadly racist society in order to gain access to mineral resources in South Africa.  Corporations like these have monetized human suffering for years, and the students in Isla Vista no longer tolerated the blind acceptance of Bank of America’s human rights violations. Supporting apartheid was only one of the numerous reasons why students were against Bank of America; the rest are outlined in archived pamphlets, flyers, and informational documents created for students by students to shed light on the power we hold as consumers to invest in businesses that are economically and socially held accountable for their actions.

 

 


[Reasons to Boycott BOFA, Bank of America: South Africa File, Box 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Despite numerous protests, pamphlets, and speeches, people continued to use Bank of America and Bank of America continued to support apartheid, amongst other unsavory endeavors.  And though these students were inspiring change, it wasn’t at the national scale it needed to be to execute a long-lasting, effective boycott by consumers.  This frustration in addition to already tense relations with police officers caused students to attack any symbol of “lawful institution” that tried to control them.

Documented here is a timeline of events that occurred in Isla Vista during the several days that the Bank of American Burning took place:

Kaye, Hillary. (1970, February).  Cops occupy I.V.: injuries. Arrests.  El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/pr76f457z

 

Student responses to this violent protest were also documented during a Letter To The Editor publication about the Isla Vista Bank Burning.  They shared their opinion on the violence that took hold overnight, and the students’ struggle for worldwide justice versus their struggle for local peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the 25 year anniversary of the Bank of America Burning, the Daily Nexus recovered more personal accounts of the night from faculty, students, and local residents that were in the area during the riots:

 

 

   
Robertson, Nick. (1995, February).  Witnesses recall the day that caused a ‘State of Emergency’ Declaration in Isla Vista, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/3b591979r

This account clarified many misconceptions about the catalyst of the Bank Burning.  William Kuntsler, the chief defense attorney in the “Chicago 8” case, gave a speech at Harder Stadium that people believed would incite a riot.  Cops gathered in Perfect Park, awaiting a massive disturbance, when the students were simply participating in a peaceful union in the park.  “‘They were dressed up in full riot gear, ready for anything. Then came a bunch of peaceful students coming back from the speech. It was an interesting contrast’” (6).  This account of the burning pinpoints Richard Underwood’s violent apprehension as the spark that set off what would be known as one of the most violent instances of chaos, confusion, and destruction in IV history.  

There are more details about the night presented in this special anniversary spread, as well as  snippets of resident testimonies and personal recollections of the events that occurred:

 

 

 

 

ROBERTSON, NICK. (1995, FEBRUARY).  WITNESSES RECALL THE DAY THAT CAUSED A ‘STATE OF EMERGENCY’ DECLARATION IN ISLA VISTA, RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.ALEXANDRIA.UCSB.EDU/DOWNLOADS/3B591979R

 

The testimonies surrounding the Isla Vista Bank Burning portray a closer look into the resident mentality during this state of mass destruction and violent chaos.  The events that spiraled out between students and police officers originated with Bank of America’s devotion to profit from human suffering. Students in IV protested such gross mistreatment through gatherings, marches, and informational flyers.  The goal of the Perfect Park protest wasn’t to destroy the city they live in; the people simply wanted their voices heard and concerns acted upon. They wanted some semblance of control on their side and to make a change on behalf of those who couldn’t speak for themselves.  This doesn’t excuse the violence that erupted out of this movement, nor does it attack the actions of the police officers attempting to quell this event. It merely emphasizes the deep-seated rift between those who seek to enact and those who enforce justice in Isla Vista.


By: Frances Woo


Works Cited

[“Bank of America and South Africa” article, Bank of America: South Africa, 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

[“Looking for a Place to Bank?  Five Good Reasons to Consider Avoiding the Bank of America” flyer, Bank of America: South Africa, 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

CIA Officer-In-Residence Program

1987


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.

(Daily Nexus and its Antecedents > Daily Nexus, Nov 6, 1987 > Page 1)
(Daily Nexus and its Antecedents > Daily Nexus, November 5, 1987 > Page 3)

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)

(Daily Nexus and its Antecedents > Daily Nexus, Nov 17, 1987 > Page 1)

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.

(Daily Nexus and its Antecedents > Daily Nexus, Jan 29, 1988 > Page 1)

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.

(Daily Nexus and its Antecedents > Daily Nexus, May 9, 1988 > Page 6)

 


By: Gabriel Macias

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.

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

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

Bank of America Burning

February 27th, 1970


The IV Bank of America Burning was an intense, historical moment of student activism and social justice at UCSB.  It began as a peaceful protest at Perfect Park and spiraled into a community-wide retaliation against all symbols of corrupt justice.  Students sought to fight bigger powers at play such as Bank of America, and clashed with Isla Vista police during the chaotic events that occurred on February 27th, 1970.  

This historic night originated with protests and boycotts of Bank of America, sparked by the students at UCSB.  BOFA had been giving illegal loans to South African countries and indirectly supporting apartheid against government regulations, amongst other unsavory endeavors.  It illegally funneled money to the Pretoria Regime, which consisted of mostly white men in South Africa enforcing discriminatory apartheid rules towards the black population.   By funding their military and economic endeavors, Bank of America was supporting the perpetuation of a deadly racist society in order to gain access to mineral resources in South Africa.  Corporations like these have monetized human suffering for years, and the students in Isla Vista no longer tolerated the blind acceptance of Bank of America’s human rights violations. Supporting apartheid was only one of the numerous reasons why students were against Bank of America; the rest are outlined in archived pamphlets, flyers, and informational documents created for students by students to shed light on the power we hold as consumers to invest in businesses that are economically and socially held accountable for their actions.

 

 

[Reasons to Boycott BOFA, Bank of America: South Africa File, Box 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

 

Despite numerous protests, pamphlets, and speeches, people continued to use Bank of America and Bank of America continued to support apartheid, amongst other unsavory endeavors.  And though these students were inspiring change, it wasn’t at the national scale it needed to be to execute a long-lasting, effective boycott by consumers.  This frustration in addition to already tense relations with police officers caused students to attack any symbol of “lawful institution” that tried to control them.

Documented here is a timeline of events that occurred in Isla Vista during the several days that the Bank of American Burning took place:

Kaye, Hillary. (1970, February).  Cops occupy I.V.: injuries. Arrests.  El Gaucho, Retrieved from https://alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/pr76f457z

 

Student responses to this violent protest were also documented during a Letter To The Editor publication about the Isla Vista Bank Burning.  They shared their opinion on the violence that took hold overnight, and the students’ struggle for worldwide justice versus their struggle for local peace.

 

During the 25 year anniversary of the Bank of America Burning, the Daily Nexus recovered more personal accounts of the night from faculty, students, and local residents that were in the area during the riots:

   [Robertson, Nick. (1995, February).  Witnesses recall the day that caused a ‘State of Emergency’ Declaration in Isla Vista, Retrieved from https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/3b591979r]

 

This account clarified many misconceptions about the catalyst of the Bank Burning.  William Kuntsler, the chief defense attorney in the “Chicago 8” case, gave a speech at Harder Stadium that people believed would incite a riot.  Cops gathered in Perfect Park, awaiting a massive disturbance, when the students were simply participating in a peaceful union in the park.  “‘They were dressed up in full riot gear, ready for anything. Then came a bunch of peaceful students coming back from the speech. It was an interesting contrast’” (6).  This account of the burning pinpoints Richard Underwood’s violent apprehension as the spark that set off what would be known as one of the most violent instances of chaos, confusion, and destruction in IV history.  

There are more details about the night presented in this special anniversary spread, as well as  snippets of resident testimonies and personal recollections of the events that occurred:

 

 

 

 

[ROBERTSON, NICK. (1995, FEBRUARY).  WITNESSES RECALL THE DAY THAT CAUSED A ‘STATE OF EMERGENCY’ DECLARATION IN ISLA VISTA, RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.ALEXANDRIA.UCSB.EDU/DOWNLOADS/3B591979R]

 

The testimonies surrounding the Isla Vista Bank Burning portray a closer look into the resident mentality during this state of mass destruction and violent chaos.  The events that spiraled out between students and police officers originated with Bank of America’s devotion to profit from human suffering. Students in IV protested such gross mistreatment through gatherings, marches, and informational flyers.  The goal of the Perfect Park protest wasn’t to destroy the city they live in; the people simply wanted their voices heard and concerns acted upon. They wanted some semblance of control on their side and to make a change on behalf of those who couldn’t speak for themselves.  This doesn’t excuse the violence that erupted out of this movement, nor does it attack the actions of the police officers attempting to quell this event. It merely emphasizes the deep-seated rift between those who seek to enact and those who enforce justice in Isla Vista.


By: Frances Woo


Works Cited

[“Bank of America and South Africa” article, Bank of America: South Africa, 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

[“Looking for a Place to Bank?  Five Good Reasons to Consider Avoiding the Bank of America” flyer, Bank of America: South Africa, 4]. University of California, Santa Barbara, Associated Students Records. UArch 21. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.