Overview of the Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Campus Unrest and Related Campus
Activities Collection ,
San Fernando Valley State College
5.50 linear feet
Language of Materials:
Abstract: California State University, Northridge,
then called San Fernando Valley State College, was a center for the wave of campus
unrest and minority protests that rocked the nation during the mid-1960s and the early
1970s. Radiating throughout the student body, faculty, campus administration, and
greater community, the atmosphere of turmoil bred discord and disruption for the
governing agencies within the university system, and within the state. The bulk of the
collection is made up of news clippings, arranged chronologically by date, and
interwoven with other types of documentation that afford an interesting fabric of
San Fernando Valley State College (as California State University, Northridge was known
in the 1960s) was a center for the wave of campus unrest and minority protests that
rocked the nation during the mid-1960s and the early 1970s. Radiating throughout the
student body; the faculty; the administration; and reaching into the external community,
the atmosphere of turmoil bred discord and disruption for the governing agencies within
the university system, and within the state.
As a consequence of emotion and protest, San Fernando Valley State gained a national
reputation for being one of the centers of campus activism during this period, and the
documentation supports the University's struggles against such national issues as
the Vietnam War; racism; and social and educational inequality.
Student demands for involvement in the administrative affairs of the university
escalated during the sixties. As the Vietnam War became more and more intrusive into the
lives of all concerned, the campus community lashed out in protest. In tune with the
emerging civil rights movement of the 1960s, Educational Opportunity grants were made by
the federal government, mainly to minority students from low income families. By the
latter part of the sixties, however, no more than two dozen African-Americans and a
handful of Chicanos attended San Fernando Valley State College. By fall of 1968, SFVSC,
in conjunction with other state colleges, implemented an Educational Opportunity Program
(EOP). Stanley Charnofsky, Associate Professor of Education, was selected to run E.O.P.
Approximately 224 minority students, predominantly black, were enrolled, and classes
with a multicultural focus were added to the curriculum.
In the meantime, the radical white Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) found a
strong base of support at SFVSC, and formed a quasi‑relationship with the minority
students on campus. At this time, with the help of the white radicals, the Black Student
Union formed its charter.
From the mid‑sixties on, events related to campus unrest, in all forms, continued to
escalate. One of the major events that occurred included a protest rally at the Van Nuys
Air National Guard Base, lashing out against the Vietnam War. At this point, the Los
Angeles Police Force became a visible presence on campus, ostensibly as an adjunct of
the administration to quell student unrest. The visible presence of the police generated
great tension, and remained a major bone of contention between the administration and
the students, as well as the faculty, for some time.
Under this cloud of dissension and turmoil, the President of SFVSC, Dr. Ralph Prator
resigned on September 1, 1968. Dr. Paul Blomgren became the first in a line of
secessional administrative changes during this period when he was appointed acting
In October of 1968, Columbia University activist Mark Rudd spoke on the SFVSC campus.
Students continued to push for representation in Faculty Senate meetings and to
accelerate incessant demands for more rights. A class called "How to Make a
Revolution" with Marxist and Leninist philosophy got under way, taught by student
leader Cliff Fried, and tensions on the campus continued to mount.
Racial tensions erupted by the take‑over of the Administration Building, quickly coming
to a head on November 4, 1968. Charges of racism were leveled against a white football
coach, Don Markham, and the Black Student Union called for his dismissal. A meeting was
set between BSU members and the athletic staff. As a result of frustrations that ensued,
twenty to twenty-five black students (with the white coaches in tow) marched to the
Administration Building to take up their grievances with acting President Blomgren. In
subsequent action, the black students took over the fifth floor of the Administration
Building in an attempt to have their demands met.
Blomgren agreed to sign the "twelve-point" demands dictated by the black
students, including the creation of a Pan‑African Studies Department on campus. The
statement was signed by Blomgren, the black student leader, Archie Chatman, and
Professor Charnofsky of EOP. The LAPD was called in, and subsequently, twenty-four black
participants in the November fourth incident were arrested and tried on over seventy
As a result of the November fourth incident, minority and white students alike became
more politically active. SDS, UMAS (United Mexican American Students), and other student
groups went into action, calling for the amnesty of the arrested students. The campus
administration, Governor Ronald Reagan and the State of California came down hard on the
side of law and order. On December 8, 1968, Blomgren's office on the fifth floor of
the Administration Building was gutted by fire. By the first week in January, Delmar T.
Oviatt had replaced Blomgren as acting President of the University.
Meanwhile, the "Open Forum" became a rallying spot for student protest
activities. The campus was heavily policed and under continual surveillance by police.
January 8, 1969 saw another outbreak of demonstrations on campus when approximately 350
black and white students marched once again on the Administration Building, this time
demanding to see Oviatt. On the ninth of January, Oviatt declared a campus state of
emergency. In defiance of the order, a rally at the "Open Forum" took place,
and the police made massive arrests.
After the fiasco of January ninth, the administration tried to establish a better
footing by opening communication with students and student groups. Departments of
Afro‑American and Chicano Studies were finally approved, but negotiations got muddied
once again after January 14, 1969. Finally, out of another series of negotiations, a new
"twelve-point" agreement was written and approved by all concerned --
students, student groups, the administration, and the Faculty Senate.
Subsequently, Malcolm Sillars was named acting President of the campus, as the November
4, 1968 incident was tried in the Municipal Court of Los Angeles. Judge Mark Brandler
handled the trial, and as a result, Archie Chatman and Robert Lewis, along with one
other defendant were given twenty-five year prison sentences.
Meanwhile, the repercussions of the November fourth incident, along with the steady
tensions of campus unrest, directly affected the faculty. Racial tensions, mounting
opposition to the Vietnam War, and student demands for involvement created two political
factions, one liberal and one conservative, to emerge among the professors on the
campus. This division tended to linger and would again surface with regard to choices
over union representation for collective bargaining.
In fall of 1969, under the direction of CSU Chancellor Glenn S. Dumke, Governor Ronald
Reagan and other administrators, James Cleary was chosen as the new President of SFVSC.
He had past experience at the University of Wisconsin in dealing with student unrest. He
remained President at SFVSC/CSUN for twenty-three years.
Despite Cleary's efforts, however, campus unrest did not end. On the contrary,
protests against the war in Vietnam now occupied center stage. More student rallies,
protests and arrests ensued. On October 15, 1969 a student strike was called, and a
large rally was held in the "Open Forum".
As a result of the May 4, 1970 Kent State University incident, Valley State students
retaliated with rallies and more protest meetings. By May 6, Governor Reagan ordered all
California university campuses to shut down. This time, the General Faculty responded on
the eve of the campus shut‑down with a call for troop withdrawal from Cambodia. Faculty
and students were drawn together in support of one another and for a time it appeared as
though they would defy the Governor's order. However, they all dispersed before the
midnight deadline and retired from the campus.
The following week, classes reopened, and convocation was called for and established by
President Cleary. A student strike was called but classes were to continue, according to
the administration. In addition to a call by the Faculty Senate for increased
participation by students in campus government, student boycotts of non‑union picked
lettuce, in support of the United Farm Workers, were successful and consequently
celebrated by Chicano students on campus.
Other focuses of protest centered on the presence of ROTC and CIA recruiters on
campuses. Race and Vietnam continued to be volatile concerns. By Spring of 1971,
opposition to the war in Vietnam had reached an all time high. Jane Fonda spoke at the
"Open Forum". The Bank of America, a conservative voice against the protest
movement, also became a target of student demonstrations, resulting in another series of
arrests. Even as late as 1988, retrospective articles on California State University,
Northridge were being written and speculated upon. They remain turbulent times, even in
This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
University, Northridge -- Student strike, 1968
University, Northridge. Dept. of Afro-American Studies
University, Northridge. Dept. of Chicano Studies
Student movements -- California -- Los
Conditions Governing Use:
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s)
of this collection has not been transferred to California State University,
Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or
reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond
that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of
the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Conditions Governing Access:
The collection is open for research use.
[Identification of item], [date],
Campus Unrest and Related
Campus Activities Collection
, Special Collections and Archives, Oviatt
Library, California State University, Northridge.
Other collections documenting California State University, Northridge's history
are available in the
Arrangement of Materials:
Series I: Administration, 1963-1988
Series II: Faculty, 1967-1971
Series III: Off-Campus Activities, 1965-1971
Series IV: Students, 1962-1983
Series V: Photographs
Scope and Contents
The bulk of the Campus Unrest collection is made up of news clippings, arranged
chronologically by date, and interwoven with other types of documentation that afford an
interesting fabric of events. Also included are addendum, Assembly and Senate bill
listings, university and student bulletins, correspondence, editorials, fact sheets,
flyers, form letters, gate literature, interviews, joint statements, ledger sheets,
course lists, magazine articles, memoranda, military and police intelligence reports and
summaries, minutes, negotiation proposals, notes, official responses, petitions,
photographs, policy statements, posters, proceedings, public service statements,
questionnaires, resolutions, and surveillance lists of organizations. The collection has
been divided into five series: Administration (1963-1988), Faculty (1967-1971),
Off-Campus Activities (1965-1971), Students (1962-1983), and Photographs.
Series I, Administration (1963-1988), consists predominantly of news clippings,
memorandum, correspondence and so forth, pertaining to the SFVSC administration's
point of view on campus unrest and with regard to the events surrounding the November 4,
1968 incident and minority issues.
Series II, Faculty (1967-1971), consists primarily of news clippings, statements,
memorandum, literature, resolutions, notices, flyers, and so forth. In part they express
the SFVSC faculty's point of view with regard to the events of campus unrest and
those surrounding the November 4, 1968 incident and minority issues.
Series III, Off-Campus Activities (1965-1971), consists primarily of gate literature,
news clippings, flyers, posters, correspondence and so forth. It offers examples of
related and unrelated activities that took place off the SFVSC campus during this time
period, and gives insight into the tumultuous times of the 1960's and early
1970's. In part it reflects generic unrest, while a portion of the series is
directly related to the events surrounding the November 4, 1968 incident.
Series VI, Students (1962-1983), contains many news clippings, newsletters, flyers,
bulletins, correspondence, statements, and so forth. The documents help to illustrate
the students’ point of view during this period at SFVSC.
Series V, Photographs, includes 26 Photographs documenting President Lyndon B.
Johnson's visit to SFVSC, unrest negotiations between the administration and
students, faculty demonstration against Gov. Reagan's budget cuts, AFT
demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles, student demonstration against ROTC on campus and
classroom discussion regarding Afro-American student protests.