San Francisco State University College of Ethnic Studies Launches 50th Anniversary Celebration

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 8, 2018 – The College of Ethnic Studies holds its 50th Anniversary Celebration, November 8-10, 2018 at San Francisco State University in the Towers Conference Center. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 student strike. 

The celebration begins with a reception on Thursday evening from 5pm-7pm; on Friday, a plenary session and panels will be headed by veteran strikers from 9am-5pm. On Saturday, the luncheon keynote address will be given by actor, film director, producer and political activist Danny Glover. The College will stream the conference via Facebook Live.

“In a time of backlash and cynicism, this fiftieth anniversary is an opportunity to herald the good news of the College’s tremendous success in increasing student achievement and leading in community development. Additionally, it is an opportunity to announce the College’s leadership for the next fifty years in providing accessible, relevant, quality education and contributing to the success of our constituent communities,” says Ken Monteiro, Immediate Former Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies.

History: In 1968 and 1969 the Black Student Union, Third World Liberation Front, select staff and faculty, and members from the larger Bay Area community organized and led a series of actions against systematic discrimination. Protestors spoke out against lack of access, misrepresentation, and the overall neglect of indigenous peoples and people of color within the University's curriculum and programs. Their specific demands included the establishment of four departments: American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Black Studies (now Africana Studies), and Raza Studies now (Latina/o Studies) within a College of Ethnic Studies. These demands reflected a respect for the diverse intellectual traditions and cultural expressions of scholars, activists, and artists of color and indigenous people throughout the United States.  

The College Today: The faculty, students, and staff of the college today recognize and affirm the above founding principles through the college's fierce commitment to community-engaged research and teaching, student leadership and activism, and self-determination through education. This affirmation includes respect for holistic and integrative educational models, epistemologies, ecologies, and worldviews of our diverse communities. The College of Ethnic Studies provides safe academic spaces for all to learn the histories, cultures, and intellectual traditions of native peoples and communities of color in the U.S. and to practice theories of resistance and liberation to eliminate racism and other forms of oppression.

“My commitment to the College of Ethnic Studies began in 1968, was sustained through to my start as President in 2012 and will continue into the future. Generations of students will continue to benefit from the College’s work. I am particularly proud of their work," said San Francisco State University President Lesley Wong.  

The College of Ethnic Studies offers over 175 courses each semester to meet the needs of 6,000 students. Its curriculum assists students in completing their general education; pursuing a personal interest in ethnic studies; teaching subjects in elementary, secondary, community and college level institutions; or critically informing their professional and vocational skills in areas such as business, social welfare, law, and medicine.

The Ethnic Studies field is unique as an educational experience that redefines the lives of people of color from their own perspectives. This is implemented through the cooperative efforts of students, faculty, and members of the community invested in meaningful education who provide resources and curricula to the University and the community at-large. The curriculum fosters both a comprehensive understanding of the unique experiences of American Indians, Asian Americans, Blacks, and Latina/Latinos in the United States and intersectional analysis amongst the different communities.

“I look forward to our next 50 years where we grow our College to remain relevant for our increasingly diverse communities. As we advance student success and empowering education, we will continue to provide transformational learning that impacts both the individual and also larger society,” says Amy Sueyoshi, Interim Dean, College of Ethnic Studies.

For information on all events, please go to