Remembering the Strike
SF State Magazine periodically reminds me of my superb six years at SF State (1963-1969). It was an exciting, thought-provoking time. I remember watching Professor Nathan Hare rally hundreds of our classmates to the strike and President S.I. Hayakawa yanking wires from a speaker to silence dissidents (us). In spite of hundreds of SF Police and much hatred, we prevailed. More African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other people of color became an integral part of our wonderful college. We helped integrate the “hallowed halls of America.”
Michael H. Schneider, B.A., ’69, Tiburon, Calif.
“Remembering the Strike” discusses the student-led strike like it was a glorious revolution. It was a dark time in our history. The end results for education may have merit, but the destructive behavior leading up to it has left a permanent bitterness with many of us who were there. It is not a time that I wish to remember. I hope today’s students have a better feeling about their University days.
Peter Meyer, B.M., ’69, Clayton, Calif.
“Remembering the Strike” talks about the actions of the San Francisco Police Department, “whose baton-swinging tactical squad injured scores of protestors and arrested hundreds.” Your imagery of the strike is one of victimhood and sacrifice for the cause. You wrote about the “penalties paid by arrested strikers.” I would have like to have known, for example, what one striker did to earn 16 months in jail. I suspect that he deserved every nanosecond of time served.
Raymond Brown, B.A., ’75, Fort Worth, Texas
My recollections and thoughts about the strike and its aftermath are quite different from those of the individuals cited in “Remembering the Strike.” I remember very well the day in November 1968 when a group of people came into my geology class and announced that class was dismissed. We did not know who they were and if they carried weapons. We only knew that they looked threatening. Our professor quickly dismissed the class. I clearly remember the anger I felt in the ensuing days that my rights to an education were being denied because a group of students felt their needs outweighed my own.
I am very surprised that the article only quotes those who supported the strike, not the thousands on campus who did not. A university that prides itself on diversity should also honor diversity of thought, which this article does not do.
Lydia Tolmacheff, B.A., ’71; M.A., ’73, San Francisco
I too remember the strike at SF State in 1968 but not in the terms of the story “Remember the Strike.” I was not a young student but a veteran who had returned to college to get my teaching credential and a master’s degree. The protesters disrupting my classes were not the heroic saviors of equality and social justice but a group of rowdy trouble makers who could care less how their illegal behavior affected other students. And the idea that organizing the Black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front -- the groups that caused all the trouble -- brought diversity is ridiculous. It separated the races and brought polarization and disunity to the campus.
Don Sharp, B.A., ’60; M.A., ’73, Santa Rosa, Calif.
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