The student-led strike of 1968 didn’t come out of nowhere. A number of issues — such as the draft and debate about the development of black studies courses — had already sparked clashes on campus. In fact, in early 1968, before the strike even started, CSU Chancellor (and former SF State President) Glenn Dumke asked then-President John Summerskill to resign due to the turmoil. It was Summerskill’s successors, Robert Smith and S.I. Hayakawa, who would face the strike, which began in late 1968 and ended the following spring.


    September 1968

  • September 10

    Black Panther Minister of Education George Mason Murray is hired to teach students from minority and low-income backgrounds for the English Department.

  • September 27

    CSU trustees request that Smith place George Mason Murray in a non-teaching position.


    October 1968

  • October 31

    Chancellor Dumke orders Smith to suspend Murray. The Black Students Union (BSU) threatens a strike and presents 10 demands, including the creation of “a school of Ethnic Studies.”


    November 1968

  • November 6

    In response to Murray’s suspension, the BSU and the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF), call for a strike and add five more demands. When protesters march on the Administration Building, the police are called in. Confrontations between police and students continue for the next week.

  • November 13

    Campus is closed

  • November 20

    Hundreds of students return to campus for discussions and demonstrations. Protesters and riot police clash, with more violence in the following days.

  • November 26

    Smith resigns. Hayakawa is appointed acting president.


    December 1968

  • December 2

    Hayakawa issues a “Declaration of Emergency” and personally confronts protesters, disconnecting the speakers they’re using to address the crowd. Months of violent demonstrations follow, with police arresting and sometimes beating strike supporters.

  • December 11

    The SF State chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) sets up a faculty picket line around campus.

  • December 13

    Campus closes early for winter break.


    January 1969

  • January 6

    Campus reopens, but AFT members go on strike.

  • January 19—20

    Student protesters stage a “book-in” by removing books from shelves in the College Library.


    March 1969

  • March 20

    The BSU, the TWLF and a committee of faculty members sign an agreement regarding the protesters’ demands.

  • March 21

    Hayakawa accepts the agreement. The strike ends.


    September 1969

  • September 22

    SF State students begin attending School (later College) of Ethnic Studies courses on Asian Studies, Black Studies, Mexican-American Studies and Native American Studies.