Timeline of UCSC’s struggle for Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies Timeline at UC Santa Cruz

1969-Students take over first graduation ceremony to protest the marginalization of and discrimination against students of color on this campus

1977- Coalition against institutional racism mobilized students to rally against the racist government of South Africa, the lack of ethnic studies courses, higher SAT requirements, and to support the Third World Teaching Resource Center

1977- Conference created by students of color for students of color to find out concerns of students of color on campus

1977- Proposal by groups of Third World students calls for the implantation of Third World and Native American Studies (TWANAS)

1978- Second conference is held for Third World students to discus proposal written by Provost Michael Cowan. The proposal creates call for a Third World Studies Institute.

1978- Administration creates committee on Third World Studies to take recommendations from students on TWANAS proposal

1978- A fourth proposal is written to be a synthesis of the previous two drafts and is presented to the chancellor for response and recommendation.

1979- “Reorganization”: fourth proposal is lost in a shuffle of the administrations priorities. No commitment is made on the part of administration to Third World Studies.

1981- Third World and Native American Students (TWANAS) organizes a forum for all Third World groups and campus organizations, they vote to support Third World and Native American Studies.

1981- Ed Castillo, the only Native American Studies instructor at UCSC is dismissed without reason.

1981- 600 students march to the chancellor’s office with a list of 5 demands to be answered within 5 working days. The administration responds by forming another committee rather than addressing Third World and Native American Studies.

1981- TWANAS and Native American studies support group combine as the Third World and Native American Studies Support Coalition. The coalition presents demands to secure permanent faculty positions, expecting this to generate more demands and changes in the UCSC curriculum.

1981- In response, TWANAS support coalition organizes a hunger strike where 24 students commit to fasting until all demands are met. Meanwhile the Chancellor flies to East Coast to attend to some business.

1981- What begins as a rally against Homophobia and Racism becomes an all night sit-in at the McHenry library. Students were concerned that the $44,000 of funding for 1990-91 designated to Ethnic Studies classes would be withheld by Chancellor Tanner. Tanner promised the students that he would work with the deans of Humanities and Social Sciences, “to see that Ethnic Studies stays on an even footing.”

1996- Hahn Student Takeover: in response to the passage of Prop. 209, students occupy Hahn Student Services Building for 12 hours to secure access and services for historically underrepresented communities.

2001- Ethnic Student Organizing Council organizes a vigil in response to series of racist hate violence incidents and the administration and campus community’s lack of support. Engaging Education (e2), student-initiated outreach and retention center, is conceived.

2003- During the spring elections an opinion poll is taken asking: Would you like to see departments and/or minors created in the following areas?

2006- The e2 fall class, frustrated with the lack of an Ethnic Studies department at UCSC after strong and long her/history for ethnic studies, creates a pamphlet on The Need for Ethnic Studies to remobilize students.

2007- A delegation of students attend the Ethnic Studies conference at San Francisco

2007- 5 SUA representatives and 5 representatives from each of the big 5 ethnic orgs attend the Ethnic Studies conference in New York. From this trip the Committee on Ethnic Studies is created.

May 3, 2007- An info session is held at Oakes College to inform people about the importance for an ethnic studies department.

May 7, 2007- Strategy session to continue the struggle for an Ethnic Studies department.

2009- Jim Crow and nativist graffiti (“San Diego Lynch”) appears throughout campus. Administration and campus community fail to meaningfully respond.

2009- Community Studies and American Studies are suspended.

2010- Students, faculty, and staff reorganize for ethnic studies at UC Santa Cruz.

2011- Students Rally together at the Quarry Plaza on a national day to defend public education continuing with a retreat to the Ethnic Studies Resource center.


About UCSC Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES)

This blog is maintained by students throughout UCSC. We recognize that students have been working around Ethnic Studies for multiple decades and at many levels of the university. We claim no ownership over any movement or material that is produced. We ask that any materiel used from the blog is cited and used for only educational purposes. Most importantly that it is done with honor and respect for the many people who worked in the struggle for Ethnic Studies. We would also like to point out that the name Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) was created to acknowledge the intellectual development of Ethnic Studies since the beginning of this struggle. The name came from countless meetings and hours with many different undergrads, graduate students, and faculty.
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2 Responses to Timeline of UCSC’s struggle for Ethnic Studies

  1. essapmi says:

    There is a lot missing from this timeline. I was heavily involved with the actions beginning in 2007. It would be great to have a representative interview some key individuals to help leave better documentation of this struggle. The movement for Ethnic Studies is not solely identifiable with a department, but it has a lot to do with admissions, professor and student of color retention, hunger strikes demanding resources for students and the constant struggle of critiquing and working to dismantle institutional forms of ideological and literal suppression of movement of CRITICAL students of color, not to be confused by simple student of color ‘cultural or social organizations OR Engaging Education (which is now a completely institutionalized organization.

  2. leisette rodriguez says:

    Great timeline. Only, there are a couple of errors. You have “1981” and then go on to talk about a 1990-91 budget for Ethnic Studies under Tanner. The year was 1989. Also, I’ve seen this demarcation of “12 hours” as the sit-in time at Hahn in 1996 and that simply is untrue. We started out at the building at 7am and did not end negotiations until 11pm that night. It was very cool to see that everyone had gone to get sleeping bags and pillows, preparing to stay the night if necessary. –Leisette Rodriguez (organizer and all-around troublemaker)

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