Masters Thesis

Taking Back Our Education: How Students Shaped California's Public Higher Education System, 1960-1996.

The student movement in California has influenced the direction of public higher education since the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s. Students have largely been ignored within the historical narrative despite directly affecting the progress of California’s public higher education system. This project discusses the accomplishments of the student movement, which include the creation of the Ethnic and Women Studies programs, the fight against the Bakke decision, Proposition 187 and Proposition 209, along with students standing up against the privatization of public higher education. The successes for the student movement created a significant conservative backlash that drove California’s public higher education system further into the private sphere despite the student movement’s best efforts. Oral histories from various student activists along with flyers, pamphlets, protest signs, video footage, newspaper articles, audio recordings, and other archival evidence make up the primary sources for this project. The oral histories from student activists provide narratives normally left out of the history of California’s education system and create a more complex history of California’s public higher education system.


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