activity increased during the depression, President Robert Gordon Sproul imposed a ban on
all political and religious meetings on campus (1934). After twenty years, with the
effects of the McCarthy periods and the catastrophic loyalty oath controversy lifting,
this ban was modified in 1957 after the students lobbied behind the scenes. The students
at that time received support from Chancellor Kerr and from the Academic Senate in their
efforts to convince President Sproul to allow political meetings on campus. In 1959, when
the Sather Gate section of Telegraph Avenue -- long a center of off-campus free speech --
became a campus plaza and walkway, political activities were restricted to the campus
entrance at Bancroft and Telegraph. This entrance strip was considered city property and
as late as the Spring of 1964, the Dean's Office directed organizations to get permits
from the Berkeley police department to set up tables. In the years following 1959, the
Kerr Directives were promulgated and revised. They provided for the open forum policy, but
established criteria which made it easier in most cases for groups to pay fees for rooms
outside of the campus than to use campus rooms. Tables on campus for soliciting funds and
recruiting members were prohibited , but this restriction never hit home as long as the
Bancroft and Telegraph "safety valve" remained accessible. Complaints about the
inadequacy of Hyde Park areas -- where students could say anything without prior
notification -- were ignored for three years, and again Bancroft and Telegraph became a de
facto Hyde Park area, satisfying this need. This is the background to the free speech
September 14: Dean of Students,
Kathryn Towle writes heads of all "off campus" organizations to notify them that
Bancroft and Telegraph sidewalk is University property and University rules apply there;
henceforth, no tables, fund-raising, membership recruitment, or speeches will be permitted
September 17: Upon receipt of
letter, heads of off- campus organizations join as "united front" to protest the
new ruling and submit request to Dean's Office that Bancroft and Telegraph free speech
area be restored, and that various restrictions on free expression be
September 21: First day of
classes. Dean Towle meets with united front -- i.e., the leaders of nineteen student
groups, including Young Democrats, Students for Goldwater, Congress for Racial Equality
(CORE), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Friends of Student Non- Violent
Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC), Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), and others -- to clarify
rules and announces two modifications in interpretations: 1) a new Hyde Park area is
granted on the steps of Sproul Hall to replace the three-year-old, but never used, area
behind the snackbar and the de facto Bancroft and Telegraph area; 2) tables with
University permission will be allowed at Bancroft and Telegraph but only under rules
prohibiting fund-raising, recruitment, and advocacy of partisan positions. The students
refuse to accept these pronouncements. When Dean Towle finishes clarifying the rules,
dwelling at length upon the difference between advocating and informing an audience of a
position, the students reject the administration pronouncement as infringing on their
Constitutional rights. They request a change in the rules. Dean Towle says she cannot
change the rules. The students, with permits from the University, set up tables; however,
traditional practices -- including fund-raising, membership recruitment, and advocacy,
mostly related to the upcoming elections -- continue during this first week of school.
September 28: Since the rules
are supposed to be campus-wide, the united front decides to set up tables at Sather Gate,
another traditional table area; and exercises traditional prerogatives of selling
literature and advocating positions. They also decide to demonstrate their point of view
by picketing a University meeting at which Chancellor Strong is presenting athletic
awards. One thousand pickets support the call for rules change. At the meeting, Chancellor
Strong makes a surprise change in the rules. Henceforth, advocating a position for or
against a candidate or a ballot proposition will be allowed, but no further changes are
envisaged. The matter is closed. Meanwhile, four organizations -- SNCC, SDS, DuBois Club
and Slate -- are warned that action will be taken if they continue to break University
regulations. Three organizations are told to make appointments with the Dean.
September 29: Further warnings
are made to groups setting up tables at Sather Gate. Meanwhile, an appointment is set up
with the united front for Wednesday, September 30, at 4:00 p.m. to further
"clarify" the rules.
September 30: Five individual 3
are cited for violating University rules at-tables and are asked to appear at 3:00 p.m.
for a meeting with the deans Many other students sitting at tables request to be seen at
the same time. Over six hundred sign a statement declaring they are equally responsible
for manning the tables. Over three hundred of these students appear in Sproul Hall for the
3:00 p.m. appointment but are refused access to the deans. Instead, the five are requested
to appear alone. At 4:00 p.m., three names of leaders are added, and Dean Williams asks
all eight to see him. The three hundred students again request similar treatment and are
rebuffed. Dean Williams then cancels the meeting scheduled with the leaders of the groups.
The students wait outside the Dean's Office until early morning when Chancellor Strong
announces that the eight students have been suspended indefinitely.
October 1: The indefinite
suspension -- a sanction which does not appear in the University regulations -- cause
widespread student resentment. About ten tables are set up -- this time in front of the
Administration building -- and a rally is planned for noon. The united front now demands
not only a change in the rules, but equal treatment for all students under the rules and,
specifically, the lifting of the suspensions. At about 11:45 a.m., Dean Van Houten and a
campus policeman approach one of the tables (CORE) at which about a dozen persons are
sitting. Jack Weinberg, a recent Cal graduate, is told he is violating University rules
and is placed under arrest when he refuses to leave the table. Students spontaneously sit
down around the police car which has arrived on the plaza and block the car from removing
Mr. Weinberg. Mario Savio, head of Friends of SNCC, removes his shoes and begins to
address a crowd of over a thousand, from atop the police car. He discusses the position of
the united front and the injustice of the Administration's response to their free speech
demands. Many others also make speeches. The protest is extended by sitting-in in Sproul
Hall. Meanwhile, a group of faculty members tries to mediate during the afternoon and
evening. The Administration tells them, and tells the students as well, that the issues of
the rules and the disciplinary measures are not negotiable. The protest demonstration
grows and grows. During the late evening, a knot of one hundred, mostly fraternity men,
assemble and hurl lighted cigarettes and eggs on the hundreds sitting in the plaza; but
after many tense hours, violence is averted when the hecklers leave in response to the
silence of the demonstrators and an appeal from the Catholic chaplain.
October 2: Clergymen and
student religious leaders who support the goals of the protestors try to mediate behind
the scenes. Meetings with the deans are fruitless. Meanwhile, a similar group of faculty
members works out a compromise and, together with some legislators, convinces President
Kerr to meet with the students during the late afternoon. President Kerr summons five
hundred policemen to disperse the crowd of over one thousand if an agreement is not
signed. A long, tense meeting results in a six-point agreement: 1) restoring the
privileges of student groups suspended during the week; 2) ending the demonstration; 3)
submitting the student suspensions to a committee of the Academic Senate; 4) submitting
rules to a tripartite study committee; 5) dropping charges against Mr. Weinberg; and 6)
working to deed Bancroft and Telegraph sidewalk to the City of Berkeley.
October 3-4: The united front
constitutes itself as the Free Speech Movement with an executive Committee representing
each of the nineteen "off-campus" groups, independent students, and religious
organizations. A nine-man steering committee is elected to plan interim policy and to
choose negotiators to serve on the student-faculty-administration Study Committee. Mr.
Savio will speak at the rally planned for Monday to explain the new developments and FSM
strategy to the other interested students.
October 5: A few minutes before
the rally, the Administration reverses an earlier order to arrest Mr. Savio if he tries to
address his fellow students. Meanwhile, the Chancellor chooses ten of the twelve men to
serve on the "Campus Committee on Political Activity" (CCPA) without waiting for
recommendations from the students or faculty. He also announces that the
Chancellor-appointed Faculty Committee on Student Conduct -- not an Academic Senate
committee --will hear the cases of the eight students he has suspended and will recommend
to him action to be taken. The FSM denounces these moves as violations of the October 2
agreement. Nevertheless, a moratorium on further demonstrations and tables is declared
pending further negotiations on these matters.
October 7: Ignoring the call
for revisions in the structure of the CCPA, the Administration allows it to meet. The CCPA
calls for an open meeting Tuesday, October 13, to discuss its structure.
October 8: Six hundred
unaffiliated students (called "independents"), meeting in a local church, choose
five members to serve on the FSM executive committee.
October 10-12: The executive
committee expands the steering committee to twelve adding a representative from the
Republican and Democratic Clubs and the religious organizations.
October 13: Academic Senate
endorses need for rule liberalization. Three hundred students in Harmon Gymnasium meeting
of CCPA hear testimony from fifty students, all but one requesting dissolution of CCPA as
presently constituted pending talks on fair reconstitution of body. Meanwhile graduate
students from Graduate Co-ordinating Council with delegates from each department choose 7
representatives to FSM Executive Committee.
October 14: FSM denounces
refusal of administration to negotiate outstanding differences in interpretation of
October 2 Kerr-United Front agreement, and reveals plans to end moratorium on direct
action if administration continues to "refuse to sit down and discuss issues."
Professor of Industrial Relations, Arthur Ross volunteers to mediate.
October 15: President Kerr
agrees 1) to remand the cases of the eight suspended students to an Academic Senate
committee and 2) to reconstitute the CCPA with eighteen members -- four from the FSM -- to
discuss rule changes.
October 20: Expanded CCPA
agrees that all decisions will be by consensus of students, faculty and administration,
each voting as a unit with one vote.
October 28: While the CCPA has
been meeting to examine various proposals for new rules, the panel of five professors,
appointed by the Academic Senate and headed by Professor of Law, Ira Heyman, begins
hearing the cases of the eight suspended students.
October 29: Dean Williams
testifies that the suspended students were singled out from among many students observed
violating the rules to discourage students from protesting the regulations.
November 3: Though the table
moratorium and the dispute itself have hampered canvassing for the elections, the FSM
sticks exclusively with committees as the way out of the dispute.
November 7: The Administration
contingent on the CCPA declares itself unalterably opposed to the students' position on
political advocacy. The University demands the right to discipline students and
organizations advocating activities that "directly result" in "unlawful
acts" off the campus. The students demand that the definition of legal speech be left
solely to the courts, citing the stand of the American Civil Liberties Union and that of
the American Association of University Professors: "In the area of the first
amendment rights and civil liberties, the University may impose no disciplinary action
against members of the university community and organizations in this area, members of the
university community are subject only to the civil authorities."
November 9: The FSM decides to
"exercise our constitutional rights" and resumes manning tables. Still, it plans
strategy aimed at reopening the advocacy issue at the Wednesday CCPA meeting. But
Chancellor Strong disbands the CCPA on the grounds that the students had broken the
October 2 agreements.
November 10: Dean's office
sends letters to 70 students citing them for violations of previous day. Hundreds of
graduate students man tables or sign petitions of support assuming equal culpability for
November 11: Three hundred meet
to organize a teaching assistants' union and voice support for FSM demands. Administration
ignores graduate student violations at this time.
November 12: President Kerr
calls the proposals of the faculty contingent "a basis for constructive solutions to
the current and difficult problems." The proposals would allow solicitation of funds
and members, and would allow a faculty committee to recommend action to be taken against
illegal advocacy. Tables continue; the Administration ignores them. The Heyman Committee
criticizes the Administration's handling of the eight students. It recommends that six be
immediately re-instated and charges expunged from their records, and that the remaining
two receive a six-week suspension. This meant immediate reinstatement, for they had by
then been out of school for longer than this period. Chancellor Strong states he will not
act on the cases until after the December 8 meeting of the Academic Senate.
November 16: The FSM collects
hundreds of signatures on a petition urging the Regents to leave the question of advocacy
to the courts. -- Tables continue up. The Dean's Office announces appointments will be
made for the following week for the seventy students cited for manning tables. The Dean's
Office announces that graduate students who submitted their names as equally responsible
will receive letters.
November 20: More than three
thousand students rally at Sproul Hall Hyde Park area for two hours, than snake their way
down to the west gate of campus to hear Joan Baez and await the results of the Regents
meeting across the street in University Hall. Student representatives are barred from
speaking at the meeting. The Regents adopt President Kerr's version of the CCPA faculty
contingent proposal, allowing fund-raising and recruitment, but banning "illegal
advocacy." They also recommend organizations and individuals be disciplined for their
violations of rules over the past three months. Significantly modifying the report of the
five man faculty panel (Heyman Committee) which asked only censure of the six students,
the Regents reinstate all eight but do not clear the records of the six as the faculty
group asked. Two students are placed on "probation." The students debate ways of
expressing their disappointment. Some graduate students want an immediate sit-in, but Mr.
Savio convinces the thousands of students to return home for the weekend and calls a rally
for Monday to discuss future action.
November 21-22: The FSM
Executive Committee and Steering Committee both split on tactics with a majority of each
finally favoring a sit-in in Sproul Hall on Monday to express their feelings of despair
over the Administration's refusal to meet with them or to permit students full
Constitutional rights on campus.
November 23: Three hundred
students sit in for three hours in Sproul Hall after hot debate during rally splits the
November 24: Chancellor Strong
says the new rules are in force only at Bancroft and Telegraph. He says the administration
has met the faculty demands almost completely. The FSM goes back to setting up tables.
November 28: In the midst of
the Thanksgiving weekend, Art Goldberg and Mario Savio receive letters opening new
disciplinary action against them for acts allegedly committed October 1 and 2.
November 30: Jackie Goldberg
receives a similar letter. Several professors offer package proposals close to that of the
FSM. FSM appeals again for talks regarding the advocacy issue and demands the new charges
against some of its leaders be dropped. Plans for a sit-in in Sproul Hall are discussed if
President Kerr still refuses to discuss the FSM position.
December 1: The Graduate
Coordinating Council and the Teaching Assistants decide to go on strike Friday, December
December 2: Eight hundred
students move into Sproul Hall after a rally. They regard the action as a last resort in
the face of the Administration's refusal to negotiate the student grievances and its
"arbitrarily singling out students for punishment." The fourth floor becomes a
quiet study hall, while movies are shown and classes are held on the second floor. Strict
discipline is maintained; orders to stay out of offices are given and obeyed.
December 3: Governor Brown
dispatches more than six hundred policemen to arrest the eight hundred students. The
arrests go on for about twelve hours. Faculty are barred from the building during arrests.
Meanwhile, a spontaneous strike is called and most classes are not held. Lawyers and
faculty meet with the judge and the district attorney all day and finally, late at night,
work out a bail arrangement. Nine hundred faculty members meet and call for amnesty and
complete political freedom, including unrestricted advocacy. All day department chairmen
try to contact Administration to no avail; apparently, Administration has orders not to
talk to faculty members.
December 4: The final busload
of released students arrives on campus shortly before noon. Meanwhile, the campus is being
struck; the Office of Public Information calls the strike 85% effective in figures later
withdrawn. Other observers estimate 60 to 70% of the students stay away from class. Two
departments cancel classes and many professors honor the picket lines. The chairmen of all
the departments constitute themselves as Council of Chairmen to fill the vacuum of
authority on campus.
December 5-6: All weekend the
Chairmen meet to work out a compromise to save the University. Sunday, Professor
Scalapino, head of the Council of Chairmen, meets with President Kerr and works out an
agreement which is approved by chairmen and is presented to an informal Regents meeting in
a motel near the San Francisco Airport. On Sunday, two hundred professors meet to plan
strategy to get the Academic Senate to endorse complete political freedom and amnesty. The
FSM and the GCC (Graduate Coordinating Committee) agree to call off the strike as of
December 7: The departmental
chairmen call off all classes between 9:00 and noon and hold departmental meetings to
discuss the Chairmen's agreement with the President: complete campus amnesty for acts
through today is granted. No position on the advocacy question is taken.
Scalapino, Chairman of the Political Science Department, and President Kerr address 18,000
students at an "extraordinary convocation" in the Hearst Greek Theatre. Many
faculty members express their reluctance to support President Kerr by their cool reception
of his speech.
Mr. Savio walks to
the podium after the adjournment of the meeting, but is grabbed from behind by two
policemen and.detained in a dressing room. Finally, he is brought out and allowed to
speak. He says that he had only intended to announce a.rally at noon on the SprouI Hall
At the rally,
several departmental chairmen speak along with the FSM leaders, who explain that the
strike will be called off so that the Academic Senate may deliberate in peace the
proposals on political freedom of the two hundred professors. Meanwhile President Kerr
meets with the professors who drafted these resolutions; word is spread that he has
endorsed the resolutions. Later that afternoon, the Academic Freedom Committee and.the
Chairmen's Council endorses the proposals with little change. The students call off the
December 8: A tense campus
focuses quietly on the meeting of the Academic Senate. After an hour and a half of debate,
the Senate endorses 824 to 115 the resolutions of the Academic Freedom Committee. The FSM
applauds the move as victory for the entire university. Faculty and students voice hope
that the Regents will heed this 7-1 mandate.
December 10: Academic Senate
tables motion aimed at thwarting future student strikes.
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