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

Unrest on campus in the mid-1960s and early 1970s left a lasting impression on 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."

On November 4, 1968 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 CSUN student Archie Chatman, demanded Markham be fired for his actions. A meeting was held between Athletics Director Glenn Arnett and the BSU in which the BSU insisted on speaking with acting campus president Paul Blomgren. Students then occupied the Administration Building on campus (now Bayramian Hall), culminating in an agreement between Blomgren and BSU representatives that included educational reforms.

A 1971 book by Earl Anthony titled The Time of the Furnaces recounts the events surrounding November 4th as told by BSU students. In the telling, students discussed what they considered ongoing, systemic racism on and off campus, and specifically within the Athletics department. They recounted 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 ensuing events, up to and including their convictions on multiple felonies. Several members of the faculty and administration told the story differently. Many of these versions 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 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 of letter to Acting Campus President Delmar T. Oviatt regarding vigilante justice perpetrated by pro-administration students, January 20, 1969
Page 2 of 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 of pro-Administration student newsletter, Open Campus, January 17, 1969
Page 2 of pro-Administration student newsletter, Open Campus. Includes a point-by-point discussion of BSUs 12 points, dated January 17, 1969
Student newsletter, OutCry, April 7, 1970
Flyer for a rally in support of four BSU leaders
Flyer, "Resist the B.S.U," ca. March 18, 1969
Cover of student publication, Outcry.
Cover of Scene magazine featuring SDS leader Cliff Fried, January 1969.
Index page from court transcript of appeal of several SFVSC students convicted for actions taken during the November 4th occupation of the Administration Building. Campus Unrest Court Transcripts Collection.
Flyer, "Give to the Student Bail Fund."
Cover of the SFVSC campus newspaper, the Sundial, November 5, 1968
The SFVSC campus newspaper, the Sundial, November 5, 1968

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