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Living History Project

A Collective History of Student Engagement at UC Santa Barbara

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Student Response to Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia

This section of the Associated Students Living History Project is meant to document local incidences of hate crimes and chronicle how the Isla Vista, Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Barbara community have responded to them.  

July 28, 1923
The largest Santa Barbara KKK parade was [124 cars, 2,000 Klansmen, and 400 initiates] held on State Street and led by Kleagle Hughes, local equivalent of a Grand Dragon Santa Barbara KKK was organized in 1923 by Kleagle E.L. Hughes, a retired businessman from Modesto, California.  

September 7, 1923  
On the 1500 block of Garden Street a group of Santa Barbara Klansmen mobbed a Latino man and threatened to tar and feather him.  The would-be victim brandished a gun and the assualters fled.  They were never brought to justice and the Latino was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. 

Many Santa Barbara police officers and well-known citizens belonged to the local KKK. Clan meetings were held in a skating rink on Castillo Street.  As a group their immediate goal was to rid the town of Jews, Blacks, and Catholics. Several horseback parades along State Street were held with members carrying huge burning crosses.  The parades began on upper State Street and ended in Walker Canyon.  

The Gauchos Basketball team was invited to participate in the 5th Annual National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament but Santa Barbara’s leading scorer and team captain Lowell Steward was not allowed to play because he was African American,  the rest of the team continued on and attended the invitational. 

June 17, 1957
The first Sambo's Restaurant opens in Santa Barbara on 216 West Cabrillo Blvd started by Sam Battistone Sr and Newell Bohnett.  Although the name was taken from portions of the names of its founders, the founders were knowingly capitalizing on the association with Helen Bannerman's racist children's story book The Story of Little Sambo. Sambo was a racist term used for East Indians long before the book was written and as a racist term used for African Americans originating in the U.S. South. The Santa Barbara location is the only remaining Sambo's Restaurant in the United States.
October 31, 1962
Notes from: "Playing on the Edge: Performance, Youth Culture, and the United States"  By Adrienne Marie Maclain 
The first reported IV Halloween event occurred in 1962, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that students took it to a whole new level. According to a Daily Nexus article, as more than 35,000 people piled into the streets of IV in 1986 there were reportedly 1,096 arrests, the highest in the event’s history.

In addition to sexual privilege, many of the revelers also appear to be invested in defending racial and/or class privilege. This is made apparent through the practice of ethnic stereotyping and mimicry.  The presence of blackface [both literal and figurative] on Del Playa, throws up a red flag regarding race and class relations within Isla Vista.

A remarkable number of costumes witnessed on Del Playa are essentially walking ethnic jokes:  Caucasian men seem particularly predisposed to don, for example an exaggerated sombrero and poncho, Japanese "ninja" gear, a Hawaiian shirt with fake grass and plastic lei, a Hollywood-style "Indian" loincloth and headdress or, perhaps most disturbingly within the context of the current political climate, a Middle Eastern tunic and turban with faux Osama Bin Laden style beard. 

Even more prevalent are ethnic stereotypes of non-white stereotypes of non-white cultures from within the United States. In 2004, the streets of Isla Vista were awash with Caucasian boys dressed as jive-talking "Homeys", Chicano gangsters, and blaxploitation-style, Afro-sporting pimps. Another fairly ubiquitous costume piece, for both men and women, was a Bob Marley style hat, complete with attached dreadlocks.  Some simply wore the hat, while others actually went so far as to walk the length of Del Playa in blackface.  Shockingly, this was not the only instance in which white students painted themselves "black": in 2001, for example a Caucasian man used charcoal to blacken his face, arms, legs, and midriff and, sporting a white skirt and stuffed tank top, and jovially bandying a racket, declared himself African-American professional tennis star Venus Williams.  Another young man, witnessed that same evening, had painted his entire body dark brown before donning war paint, a loin cloth, and tying a bone into his hair. 

A young African American woman named Julie Ann Stephens won a housing discrimination case in Santa Barbara against real estate broker Don Quinn.  Judge Frank P. Kearney ruled in favor of Ms. Stephens; granting her the cost of the suit but not the $750 in damages.  

Home Coming Parade at UCSB.  As part of the entertainment two White students are covered in black face and grinning like a "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation".  This photo is in the 1966 La Cumbre yearbook. 

Two cases filed with the Stat Fair Employment Practices Commission by UCSB African American students who alleged discrimination in housing.  In another case, a local White woman filed a complaint against her landlord who evicted her and her family for allegedly having African American visitors in an all White apartment complex.  [News Press 12/16/67]

African American students in the UCSB athletics program, along with members of the Black Student Union, accuse Athletic Director Jack Curtice and his assistant Arthur Gallon of mistreating Black athletes. The frustration from Black students towards UCSB administration for not responding to their accusations led to the take over of North Hall on October 14, 1968.  

January 1969
The United Front was formed at UCSB and the organization organized frequent rallies to promote awareness of the presence of oppressive actions and racist statements at UCSB and Isla Vista on the part of police officers and landlords.  

February 3, 1969
Six UCSB students active in BSU were arrested during an early-morning raid by Santa Barbara County Sheriffs, who were quoted as using nasty racial epithets such as "damned niggers".  

February 4, 1969
Twelve hundred students turned up at the County Courthouse in protest of the targeted arrest of six BSU members.

The Black Student Union calls for the resignation of James Garnes, an Assistant Chancellor for Minority Affairs. 

Harold Banks an Black UCSB student called for the resignation of UCSB's Executive Vice Chancellor, John Snyder.  John Snyder is accused of working toward the decline of minority programs and creating division between Black and Chicano students and administrators. 

Murv Glass, a candidate for External Vice President in the Associated Students April elections, filing charges against the UC Regents, Chancellor Cheadle, the Daily Nexus, and Associated Students.  Murv Glass accused the defendants of denying him the right to seek and hold office because of his race.

Students request an apology from Richard Bernstein, the Sports Editor of the Daily Nexus, for his argument that the UCSB baseball team's Asian shortstop "has an inherent ethnic disadvantage when squinting his already slanted eyes.    

Members of Common Ground and El Congreso picket the UCSB Administration building, charging that the decision to dismiss Assistant History Professor Jesus Chavarria was racist.  

UCSB continues to have the lowest undergraduate Black student enrollment in the UC system at 2.1 %.  The graduate program at UCSB had an enrollment of 2%, the second smallest percentage in the UC system.  

September 1982
For the first time in UCSB history, black faculty members and administration met with Chancellor Huttenback to discuss plans to increase the black student population at UCSB.  Los Angeles Times September 1, 1982 issue titled “Riding High On Waves He Makes”  by Anne Roark, which prfiled UCSB Chancellor Huttenback was the impetus for the meeting.  In the article, Huttenback had a negative attitude toward Black Student recruitment at UCSB.  “It’s foolish for us to spend a lot of money trying to recruit Black students.”

A review of UCSB's progress in Affirmative Action by Federal investigators specifies a problem area in the recruitment and retention of Black and Hispanic females in both faculty and managerial positions.  

Which stands for Greeks for Racial Awareness and Cultural Education where created [198?] in response to numerous incidences of racism directed at students of color by fraternities and sororities. One of G.R.A.C.E.'s events was a three day series of workshops open to all members of the UCSB/Isla Vista community.  Conference activities included workshops on interrupting homophobia and heterosexism on college campuses and developing White allies against racism, a panel discussion on interracial relationships, and dialogue about multiculturalism within the UCSB greek system.

Associated Students sponsored an event  titled "Air Jam" in Campbell Hall where six White males from Sigma Chi fraternity placed show polish of their face and performed a lip-sync skit depicting Otis Day and the Knights in blackface and afro wigs.  The master of ceremonies a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity told racial jokes.  This particular incident was a catalyst for students of color at UCSB who used this incident to establish the Multicultural Center at UCSB. 

A member of the Harlem Globe Trotters, in Santa Barbara for a game, was handcuffed face down on the ground and booked for fitting the description of a burglary suspect [even though he explained who he was an what he was doing in Santa Barbara].

November 1985
The Greek Review Board found the Delta Tau Delta chapter at UCSB guilty of creating, posting, and distributing a racist poster of an African woman as an advertisement for rush.

The Daily Nexus, in reporting the Challenger explosion, failed to include Ronald McNair [the only African-American astronaut on the shuttle].  This enraged students who already viewed The Daily Nexus as a racially offensive publication.  Shortly after, a group 70-80 students called Concerned Students Against Racism [CSAR] began meeting with campus administrators to discuss ways to sensitive the UCSB campus community.

A review of UCSB's progress in Affirmative Action by Federal investigators specifies a problem area in the recruitment and retention of Black and Hispanic females in both faculty and managerial positions.

January 16, 1986 
A Daily Nexus column about space shuttle Challenger victims left out the name of the only African-American astronaut Ronald McNair.  The Daily Nexus fueled anger from students of color for printing a staff correction and apology 19 days after the mistake was made; even though students had had complainted the same day. 

Winter quarter of 1987
There were two reports of racist acts against Black UCSB students.  One involving a group of White students in car throwing trash at a Black student, and in the other, a Black student was jeered at and called racist slurs by White students. As well as charges by UCSB Chicano students of harassment, illegal entry, physical abuse and racially discriminatory remarks by officers of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol and Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

February 12, 1987 
During a 50 person meeting at the Cafe Interim,  the newly formed [CSAR] Concerned Students Against Racism called upon UCSB administrators to establish a new racial harassment policy that would penalize student, faculty, and staff for racist actions.  This was one of eight demands presented to UCSB administrators.  CSAR was instrumental in developing the working group that provided the basic organizational framework for the MCC, which opened its doors on January 28, 1988 in Building 434.  

March 1, 1988
75 students students held a candlelight vigil at Santa Cruz Residence Hall to protest the production of an official hall t-shirt that was deemed sexist.  Residence of BOHICA hall, "bend over, here it comes again."  produced a t-shirt with a picture of a demon perched atop a keg of beer, with a whip in one hand, and a bikini-clad woman on her hands and knees in front of him with the inscription "man's best friend" below.

October 1988
During Halloween, Alpha Kappa Alpha fraternity accused Gamma Phi Beta sorority members of dressing in black, black face, and participate in a mock slave auction.  [Nexus 11/15/88]

April 1988
A Delta Tau Delta pledge hurled a series of racial and sexual affronts at two black women walking to campus.  As a result of the action, Delta Tau Delta was expelled from the International Fraternity Council and stripped of recognition by UCSB. 

October 4, 1988 
A.S. Commission on Minority Affairs and former Delta Tau Delta fraternity members began a dialogue to discuss the fraternities lack of respect towards people of color and first steps towards ending ill feelings students of color have harbored toward the former fraternity. [Nexus 10/5/88]

April 7, 1990 
UCSB Math teaching assistant Jacob Neal Sarvela physically assualted Tom Tieu after a disagreement in San Raphael Hall lounge about access to the lounge television.  Tieu suffered multiple contusions to the face, one requiring stitches and a broken nose.  UCSB's Asian Student Coalition urged Tom Tieu to go public with his assault.  Tieu and members of the Asian community felt that the incident was racially motivated. 

April 9 
Asian Student Coalition [ASC] held a rally at Storke Plaza and press conference at San Raphael Hall to bring attention to the beating of UCSB student Tom Tieu.

April 1990
The Santa Barbara's Elk lodge in Goleta twice denied Jeremiah Garrett to be the first black man to become a member of the group.  [SBNP 4/22/90]

Fall of 1991
Beta Theta Pi fraternity members [5 members] who were part of an intramural football team named the "Running Reggin's" ["reggin" spells "nigger backwards"] drew anger and concern from intramural officials and Black students.  BSU president James Staten filed a complaint with the Greek Affairs Office and with the UCSB dean of students. 

May 20, 1999
Coinciding with the beginning of an African-American high school outreach program at UCSB sponsored by 100 Black College Men and Akanke, UCSB student Belinda awoke to the words, 'BELINDA IS A FAT NIGGA" carved in to three restroom doors on the Multicultural Interest Hall of San Nicolas Hall. 

Fall of 1998
And escalating through the Spring quarter of 1999, UCSB student Daniel Magpali was the victim on "homophobia-free zone" signs continuously being ripped from his San Nicolas Hall and homophobic vandalism on his door stating, "Daniel SUCKS DICK", "QUEER FAG", and "DANIEL IS GAY". 

June 2, 1999
Student Commission on Racial Equality at UCSB organized a noon rally at the Arbor to protest the racist and homophobic hate crimes that occurred in San Nicolas Hall.  8pm the same evening S.C.O.R.E. hosted a teach-in at San Nicolas Hall to dicuss the reality that hate crimes are not isolated incidences only committed by neo-nazis but that hate crimes are part of the everyday experience of people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community and all other marginalized groups.

April 29, 2006
The phrase "Fuck Niggers" was written on the female bathroom on the Black Studies Hall in the Santa Rosa Residence Hall.  About 25 of the 44 residents were away at a regional African American conference at U.C. Davis and only 10 residents were around the time when the incident occured.  A police report was filed on Monday, May 1st but there were no leads as to who wrote the racial slur.

Campus Response:  Several community meetings took place in Santa Rosa to process feelings and to organize a response.  A letter drafted by the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and Dean of Students was published in the Nexus for one week and distributed to students in all of the residence halls.  The "Educate to Stop Hate" campaign was organized by several members of the UCSB campus community who sought to discuss diversity and tolerance for all groups.  It consisted of a march through campus with students ending the event with an open mic program that addressed community issues and concerns with the incident. 

UCSB student and Ghanian native Eric Frimpong was charged with the rape of a 19 year old female UCSB student.  There remains a lot of doubt amongst African-American students and Santa Barbara community members as to the truth behind those allegations.

March 2009
Several men outside the Pi Kappa Alpha [PIKE] house verbally assaulted and violently beat UCSB student Thanh Hong and Paul Elekes, screaming 'gook', 'ching-chong-ching', and other racial slurs throughout the assault. 

A “Gangster” themed party, advertised on Facebook with a monkey holding a gun. The event was met a silent protest, with protesters standing in front of the with mouths taped, wearing all black. 
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