TRITON Magazine Fall 2020 - Page 32

THE TIME HAS COME The Black Student Caucus ( BSC ) and Mexican American Youth Association ( MAYA ) united and rallied the student body to demand that Third College focus on marginalized populations , then characterized as the " Third World ."
The antiwar movement had risen up on campus alongside the civil rights movement , with coalitions of students and faculty actively working together to organize protests , sit-ins , walkouts and rallies for both causes . Students like Angela Davis , MA ’ 69 , could often be found speaking to large groups alongside professors like Herbert Marcuse and Carlos Blanco . The atmosphere teemed with the possibility of change , especially with the prospect of a new college .
After King ’ s murder , Rappaport proposed a marked shift for Third College . He and the planning committee decided on key goals that would honor Dr . King ’ s values : recruit disadvantaged students , bring seminars and tutors to local children in the city , and promote the full integration of students of color on campus . The committee stopped short of naming the college for Dr . King , reasoning that it must first live up to his ideals . But with Dr . King as the new muse , discussions began with the Black Student Caucus ( BSC ) and Mexican American Youth Association ( MAYA ) to see what they wanted in Third College .
The demands from the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition were issued in March 1969 .
“ Ethnic studies departments were getting started back then , but we wanted an entire college ,” says early Third College student , Armando Arias Jr . ’ 76 , MA ’ 77 , PhD ’ 81 . “ We were excited for the possibility of a third college with a quote-unquote ‘ third world ’ focus .”
Recalls Spriggs , “ We needed a college that would set the example and be the moral leader on campus . And if any college was going to be the leader in the social consciousness of the campus , that was the time .”
BSC AND MAYA put forth demands for Third College , with an emphasis on people of color in leadership and faculty roles as well as populations served and studied . The proposed name , Lumumba-Zapata College , would honor Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba alongside Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata . The Lumumba-Zapata Coalition was formed to advocate for these plans , as well as demand a curriculum “ devoted to relevant education for minority youth and to the study of the contemporary social problems of all people .”
The proposed curriculum also included studying revolutions around the world , race and class consciousness , economic exploitations and sound community economies , and basic research sciences . Arts and cultural heritage for people of color was also an emphasis , as was recognizing the positive and negative elements at work throughout the history of Western Civilization .
Chancellor McGill was presented with these demands in March 1969 . By May , an edited proposal for Third College had passed in the Academic Senate , but the students involved were dissatisfied with the changes and at one point walked out of negotiations . They were joined by over 400 other students on a march to the Registrar ’ s Office , where they shattered a glass door and occupied the office as the Academic Senate debated the proposal .
When it finally passed , much of the plan ’ s radical language was not included and the proposed name was not accepted , but its core commitment to students of color was still at the center . Third College was becoming a reality , but this first push would not be the end of its struggles .
30 TRITON | FALL 2020