The past thirty years have witnessed enormous social and cultural change. Founded in 1965, UCSC was conceived and born into the quiet and relative affluence of the early Sixties. No one could have imagined the tremendous social and political shifts that were to shake the world within a few short years. The tumultuous Sixties and early Seventies soon arrived in a wave which transformed the campus community. The impassioned spirit of the Anti-Vietnam War Movement during that era filtered into every aspect of campus social life, altering everything from hair to curriculum. By October 1970 The Black Flag Bulletin #1, published by the anarchist revolutionary movement would editorialize, "We know the problems that concern us: racism, imperialism, ecology. What do we do about them here? We sit in our seminars and intellectualize (impress each other with our command of vocabulary) about Mesopotamian culture or the 19th century French novel."
The activism of the Anti-War movement helped give birth to the early Feminist movement on campus in the mid-to-late Seventies. This movement fought for the establishment of Women's Studies, the tenure of Nancy Shaw, and organized one of the first Take Back the Night marches against violence against women to take place on any college campus in the United States. The Seventies and Eighties also saw the rise of the Lesbian and Gay movement, a movement which has been particularly strong at UC Santa Cruz. The Anti-Apartheid and Anti-Nuclear movements have also been potent forces at UCSC. Teach-ins, rallies, sit-ins, and marches have long been a vital part of the UCSC student community. This activism and involvement also carried over into students' concern for community issues such as farmworker rights, housing and health conditions for Beach Flats residents, and preserving the natural environment of Santa Cruz County. Even the endearing efforts to preserve the Banana Slug as UCSC's beloved mascot in the late 1980s are a testament to the strength of the UCSC student voice. When UC Santa Cruz opened its doors in September 1965 there were no students of color on campus. The efforts in the past thirty years by students of color and their allies to diversify this campus and its curriculum are reflected in this exhibit. That activism continues in the Nineties with the struggle to preserve affirmative action and ethnic studies programs, and prevent budget and program cuts.
But not all is politics at UCSC. Flourishing alongside this tremendous activism is a plethora of literary journals and newspapers. Over the years UCSC, students have published an astonishing number of diverse literary journals. From the sublime, to the ridiculous, to the educationalÜall these publications have one thing in common: a commitment to the free expression of the student voice in all its tenors and variations. These literary journals produced finely crafted, elegant, and honest prose and poetry by UCSC students. From the fine printing of the austere Observations, to the edgy computer graphic zine Waffle, students have uniformly articulated their passion for expressive literature. Books like Between the Lines: a Pacific/Asian Lesbian anthology have made groundbreaking contributions to world literature. Newspapers such as City on a Hill Press, Leviathan and Twanas continue to publish high-quality journalism. And not to be overlooked are the musical, theatrical, and artistic creative achievements of UCSC students represented here.
The journey the three of us took through the archives of Special Collections here at McHenry Library to put this exhibit together was a journey through time, through thirty years of activism and expression, folders upon folders of posters, flyers, newsletters, journals, and photographs. What you see represented in this exhibit is only a small sampling of that journey and we invite those of you with specific interests in this material to pursue those interests more in depth in the Library's collection.
The students who began their education here on that opening day in September 1965 are now turning fifty. The world is not the same. UC Santa Cruz has evolved from a few trailers and many dreams to a full-fledged research university with many accomplished graduates. But many of those graduates treasure their years at UCSC and the environment which both nourished and altered their intellect and spirit. This exhibit is a tribute to that spirit. May it endure.