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S.F.V.S.C., November 4, 1968

Sundial, page 1, November 5, 1968Many are unaware that the campus unrest of the mid-1960s and early 1970s left a lasting impression on the campus of San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN). Special Collections is home to several books and archival collections that discuss this discord, including two books representing different sides of what is known on campus as the "November 4th Incident."

The facts surrounding the incident are as follows: 

An on-field incident occurred between an African-American football player and his own (white) coach in which the coach (Markham) assaulted the player. The Black Student Union (BSU), led by Archie Chatman, demands Markham be fired for his actions. A meeting is held between Athletics Director, Glenn Arnett, and the BSU. The BSU insists on seeing acting campus president, Paul Blomgren. There is an apparent occupation of the Administration Building (now Bayramian Hall). A negotiation occurred (or demands were made) between Blomgren and BSU representatives that included educational reforms.

The 1971 book by Earl Anthony, The Time of the Furnaces, recounts the events surrounding November 4th as told by BSU students. In the telling, the students discuss what they considered on-going, systemic racism on- and off-campus and specifically within Athletics. They recount a meeting with Athletics Director Dr. Glenn Arnett, the decision to discuss the matter with Acting President Dr. Paul Blomgren, the walk to the Administration Building, and the ensuing events, up to and including their convictions on multiple felonies. 

Several members of the faculty and administration told their stories differently. Many of these renditions included terms such as "coerced," "intimidated," and "duress." Dr. Blomgren later said, "It appeared to me that the personal safety of the college personnel was definitely in jeopardy." 

The events are also retold in John Broesamle's Suddenly A Giant: A History of CSUN, in this case primarily through the recollections of Dr. Stanley Charnofsky, the (white) director of the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) who had taken on the role of intermediary between the BSU and other factions on campus. In this version, the BSU wanted both Markham and Arnett fired. Charnofsky confirms Anthony's contention that Arnett passed responsibility to Blomgren but insists he could have dismissed Markham because he was a volunteer. 

These events polarized the campus for several years and their effects were even more long lasting. The negotiations subsequent to the November 4th Incident  resulted in an increase in the number of African-American and Chicana/o students admitted to the college as well as the creation of today's Africana Studies and Chicana/o Studies departments.  

In addition to these two books Special Collections and Archives holds Broesamle's research files, including several oral interviews conducted specifically for the book, the Campus Unrest and Related Campus Activities Collection, the Dr. Richard Abcarian Campus Unrest Collection, and the Campus Unrest Court Transcripts Collection, which deals with the appeals of many of those convicted on charges related to the "November 4th Incident". 

Statement by Dr. Paul Blomgren, acting president San Fernando Valley State College, regarding Nov 4, 1968
Student flyer regarding arson in Administration Building, December 1968
Parody of BSU Demands issued by SFVSC students sympathetic to the College Administration
Letter from College Board of Trustees to all Faculty regarding community support for Administration, February 20, 1969
Page 1, letter to Acting Campus President Delmar T. Oviatt regarding vigilante justice perpetrated by pro-administration students, January 20, 1969
Page 2, letter to Acting Campus President Delmar T. Oviatt regarding vigilante justice perpetrated by pro-administration students, January 20, 1969
Statement to the Press issued by the November 4 Committee, November 8, 1968
Page 1, pro-Administration student newsletter, Open Campus, January 17, 1969
Page 2 of pro-Administration student newsletter, Open Campus
Student newsletter, OutCry, Administration Conspired to Arrest Students, April 7, 1970
Flyer, Free Valley State Political Prisoners
Flyer, Resist the B.S.U, ca. March 18, 1969
Cover of student publication, Outcry
Cover. Scene magazine featuring SDS leader Cliff Fried, January 1969
Court transcripts index page of appeals process for several SFVSC students convicted for actions taken during the November 4th occupation of the Administration Building
Flyer, Give to the Student Bail Fund
Cover, Sundial, November 5, 1968
Page 3, Sundial, November 5, 1968

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