Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
SLATE Records
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (121.57 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Organizational History
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Preferred Citation
  • System of Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: University Archives
    Title: SLATE records
    Creator: SLATE (Organization : Calif.)
    Identifier/Call Number: CU-592
    Physical Description: 6.8 Linear Feet (4 cartons, 4 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1948-1988
    Abstract: This collection documents the history and activities of SLATE and its predecessor, TASC (Towards an Active Student Community), student political organizations active on the University of California, Berkeley campus from 1957 to 1966.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection documents the history and activities of SLATE and its predecessor, TASC (Towards an Active Student Community) , student political organizations active on the UC Berkeley campus from 1957 to 1966. There are records related to the formation of SLATE and TASC; correspondence from, essays, and papers collected by SLATE members; election materials and political platforms; ephemera; materials related to the Associated Students of the University of California; meeting minutes; SLATE publications; newspaper clippings; and materials related to a 1984 reunion. The collection is divided into four series: TASC and SLATE Political Activities; SLATE Reunion; Peter Franck Papers; and Michael Rossman Papers – SLATE Political Activities and Publications.

    Organizational History

    SLATE was a student political organization that was active on the University of California, Berkeley campus from 1958 through 1966. It was one of the first student groups of the emerging New Left and a precursor of the Free Speech Movement. In 1957, Ralph Schaffer, Fritjof Thygeson, and Rick White formed an ad hoc group of students, Towards an Active Student Community (TASC), to run for Associated Student University of California (ASUC) office. Their goal was to force discussion of socio-political issues, like racial discrimination, that affected both the campus and society at large. TASC also campaigned against apartheid in South Africa, the loyalty oath, and nuclear testing, and for free speech on campus.
    TASC was short-lived, but in late 1957, Cal senior Mike Miller called together a group of student leaders, including former members of TASC, and proposed they run as a “slate” for student government office. None of the “slate” was elected in Fall 1957, but they gained nearly 40 percent of the vote and contributed to increased voter turnout. SLATE was officially organized on February 5, 1958; roughly 100 hundred students held a convention from February 28-March 1 and committed to run candidates for student office who would engage in issue-oriented political education both on and off campus. Around that time, members of SLATE also founded the independent newspaper The Cal Reporter.
    SLATE campaigned for “fair bear” minimum wages and affordable housing for students, and led demonstrations against compulsory ROTC, the death penalty, the California House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and racial discrimination. They also worked to modify “Rule 17,” which limited the free speech and political organizing of students on campus. SLATE became a model for similar campus political parties across the nation.
    The University administration routinely tried to diminish SLATE’s popularity and political power on campus. Overwhelming graduate student support for SLATE led, in April 1959, to the University disassociating graduate students from the ASUC, in an effort to take away some of SLATE’s electoral power. Though the group continued to run candidates, following the 1959 decision few were elected. SLATE remained politically active, which led to repeated clashes with the university, and in June 1961, the administration revoked SLATE’s status as a recognized student organization.
    In 1963, SLATE began publishing the SLATE Supplement to the General Catalog, which offered student evaluations and recommendations of courses and professors. The supplement served as a guide for new undergraduates about how to enroll in classes and navigate the large university. SLATE members took an active part in the formation and life of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) in 1964-1965, and SLATE candidates swept the December 8, 1964 ASUC election. SLATE came close to winning a majority in ASUC in spring 1965 but lost badly in the fall. During the life of SLATE, both as an on campus and off campus group, roughly 850 students were “card carrying” members. For a more detailed history of SLATE, see the SLATE Archives website: http://www.slatearchives.org/history.htm

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The SLATE records were given to The Bancroft Library in 2013 by the SLATE Archives Committee.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital reproductions of selected SLATE publications and leaflets are available through the SLATE Archives website and Calisphere.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], SLATE records, CU-592, University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Jessica Moran, in cooperation with the SLATE Archives Committee in 2003, and by Marjorie Bryer in 2017.

    Publication Rights

    Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright 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 owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Student movements -- California -- Berkeley
    University of California, Berkeley -- Students -- Political Activity.
    Free Speech Movement (Berkeley, Calif.)
    University of California, Berkeley -- Associated Students
    SLATE (Organization : Calif.)