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Berkeley: Student Government

During the University's early years, students organized their extracurricular program by tacit permission of the faculty, then charged with student government. The class of 1874 was the first to organize formally; others followed suit.

ASUC Is Born
Admission of a non-student to the football team in 1887 motivated creation by the students of an over-all organization to authorize and control student groups using the University's name. The constitution of the Associated Students of the Colleges of Letters and Sciences of the University of California was approved on March 16, 1887, and two years later the name was shortened to the present ASUC.

College spirit during this early period was low, but conditions changed quickly with the establishment of Stanford and the inauguration of the Big Game in 1892. With the increased sense of community, there was demand for more centralized and effective management of student affairs. In October, 1900, the new ASUC constitution restricted active membership to dues-paying undergraduates, provided for a salaried graduate manager, and empowered the executive committee to control all matters affecting the student body.

But self-government, as then understood on the campus, meant not so much activities management as self-discipline, individual and collective. It was this self-government that Benjamin Ide Wheeler bestowed upon the Berkeley students. The President regularly consulted senior class leaders on campus problems. To this end, the Order of the Golden Bear was established in April, 1900. In 1905 a student committee effectively took over disciplinary functions from the faculty. In 1913 the Academic Senate formally recognized the Honor Spirit and advised faculty members to withdraw from the examination room. On April 26, 1921, the Senate formally withdrew from the government and discipline of students.

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ASUC Grows
Meanwhile, the ASUC's scope of activity expanded rapidly. Fences were built around the athletic fields and collection of admission fees insured. Independent student enterprises and societies requested and received ASUC sponsorship. The Daily Californian, founded in 1895, was assumed by the ASUC in January, 1909. The campus store, operated by a "Co-operative Society" since 1883, was purchased in 1913. The Pelican and Occident were taken over from the English Club and the Blue and Gold from the junior class in 1925.

By the mid-1920s, the ASUC had become not only the government of a large community of 9,000 undergraduate students (80-90 per cent of whom annually purchased ASUC membership cards), but a huge and ramified enterprise, financing and extending into every field of extra-curricular activity. Each major field was managed by a student council with a paid director. The ASUC executive committee was composed of representatives of these councils, together with officers elected by the general student body and a faculty and an alumni representative.

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The University Assumes Some ASUC Functions
However, the Office of Dean of Men, created in 1923, gradually assumed increased direct authority over areas customarily referred to student agencies. In 1943, all disciplinary functions were removed from the student committees and assigned to a new faculty-administrative committee on student conduct. In music, dramatics, and debating, programs initiated and operated by the students came under increasing faculty control, even when remaining nominally under the ASUC auspices.

The ASUC began to come under organized and sustained attack by student dissidents. In 1931, the Social Problems Club distributed literature condemning the ASUC as a "refined racket. . .controlled by the alumni and faculty." Attempts were made to assume leadership of the student body through annual on-campus "peace strikes." Although in each instance unsuccessful, these efforts were continued from 1934 until American entry into World War II.

As the great depression of the 1930s deepened, student concern turned more and more from campus to outside problems and the ASUC executive committee was modified accordingly. By 1940, the committee was taking actions to prevent American entry into war, to boycott strikebound industries, to end racial discrimination, and to establish a "Hyde Park" in Faculty Glade. Recognizing the committee's changed role, a constitutional amendment replaced the representatives from the activities councils with representatives elected at-large.

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Post World War II
World War II's interruption of campus life changed student government fundamentally and permanently. Class spirit largely disappeared, extra-curricular achievement brought less honor, appeals to Cal spirit aroused smaller response, and ASUC membership declined. In 1955, in order to provide a more adequate student social and recreational center the Regents agreed to replace Stephens Union and Eshleman Hall as student buildings to be financed in part by establishing compulsory student body fees. The Memorial Union was completed in 1961, a new Eshleman Hall in 1965, and construction of a theater-auditorium was begun in 1965.

The student government underwent many changes after 1958. The executive committee was replaced in 1962 with a senate which, as the ASUC legislative branch, could devote more attention to policy matters, while a newly created cabinet of various board chairmen would, as the executive branch, coordinate the various activity boards and class councils.

The custom that each candidate competed individually for ASUC office was broken in 1958, when a group of students formed SLATE, a campus party which in elections thereafter presented candidates pledged to its program.

Always permitted to join the ASUC and to enjoy its ticket and certain other privileges, graduate students were first allowed to vote to be represented on the executive committee 1949. In 1955, they were made ASUC members, but in 1959, excluded from further membership and participation.

Interpretation of student government in terms of student rights and independence from University control, rather than in terms of responsible exercise of delegated powers, drew increasing student response, which culminated in the Free Speech Movement of 1964.

In February, 1966, a convention of elected undergraduate and graduate delegates assembled to draft a new constitution for the student body; they deliberated such fundamental questions as the source of authority and role of student government, its title to and control of on-campus student buildings, and the justification for continuing any overall student organizations.

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Student Body Presidents

Walter J. Barnett 1886-87
James P. Booth 1887-88
John A. Sands 1888-89
E. Coke Hill 1889-90
Fred A. Julliard 1890-91
DeWinter 1891-92
Edwin Mays 1892-93
Russ J. Avery 1893-94
Bryan Bradley 1894-95
William N. Friend 1895-96
J. A. Elston 1896-97
Philip R. Thayer 1897-98
Charles E. Thomas 1898-99
F. G. Dorety 1899-1900
Ralph T. Fisher 1900-01
John M. Eshelman 1901-02
Samuel B. Wright 1902-03
Max Thelen 1903-04
W. H. Dehm 1904-05
Prentiss N. Gray 1905-06
R. P. Merritt 1906-07
James M. Burke 1907-08
Malcolm Goodard 1908-09
J. C. Dean 1909-10
George A. Haines 1910-11
N. B. Drury 1911-12
Clare M. Torrey 1912-13
M. P. Griffith 1913-14
Victor Doyle 1914-15
C. E. Street 1915-16
L. W. Stewart 1916-17
Jack Reith 1917-18
Frank F. Hargear 1918-19
L. W. Irving 1919-20
John W. Cline 1920-21
L. W. Tenney 1921-22
Earl G. Steel 1922-23
W. W. Monahan 1923-24
Adam C. Beyer 1924-25
Brenton Metzler 1925-26
Robert E. McCarthy 1926-27
Wright C. Morton 1927-28
Chester Zinn 1928-29
John A. Reynolds 1929-30
Stern L. Altshuler 1930-31
Fred S. Stripp 1931-32
Powell H. Rader 1932-33
Wakefield Taylor 1933-34
Alden W. Smith 1934-35
Arthur Harris 1935-36
Leonard W. Charvet 1936-37
Stanley E. MacCaffrey 1937-38
Alan Lindsay 1938-39
James P. Keene 1939-40
John D. McPherson 1940-41
Ralph T. Fisher, Jr. 1941-42
Howard C. Holmes 1942-43
Joseph Mixer (Summer)
Natalie J. Burdick (Fall)
Phyliss Lindley (Spring) 1943-44
Jean Elliott (Summer)
Richard M. Bond (Fall)
Garrett Demaret (Spring) 1944-45
George C. Briggs (Fall)
Dick Rowson (Spring) 1945-46
Ed Welch 1946-47
Don Lang 1947-48
Jack Andrew 1948-49
Danny Coelho 1949-50
Pete Goldschmidt 1950-51
Dick Clarke 1951-52
Dick Holler 1952-53
Ralph Vetterlein 1953-54
Dick Marston 1954-55
Bob Hamilton 1955-56
Jim Kidder 1956-57
Roger Samuelson 1957-58
Bill Stricklin 1958-59
Dave Armor 1959-60
George Link 1960-61
Brian Van Camp 1961-62
Ed Germain 1962-63
Mel Levine 1963-64
Charlie Powell 1964-65
Jerry Goldstein 1965-66


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