UCOP > A Brief History of the University of California > The University Builders >

President Wheeler

The Faculty Revolution

Growth of the Campuses

The Modern University

President Sproul

The Loyalty Oath

Progress and Problems

The Chancellorship

The Multiversity

Achievements of the 1960s


Chapter 10: The Faculty Revolution

The number of UC faculty members tripled from 202 to 693 during the Wheeler era. By the end of his productive but authoritarian presidency, the faculty had become restive over its relative powerlessness in the affairs of the University. The Regents' decision to create a three-person administrative board to run the University pending the appointment of a new President brought matters to a head. On October 3, 1919, the Academic Senate sent a polite memorandum to the Regents laying out its proposals for change. In essence, the faculty asked for more control over matters within its purview and for a greater voice in decisions made by the President and the Regents.

Negotiations between the faculty and the Regents continued into the following spring. On June 24, 1920, the Regents adopted new Standing Orders that formally recognized the Academic Senate and its role in the governance of the University. Most important was the provision that the Senate (rather than the President) "shall choose its own . . . committees"—an authorization that has been called the "cornerstone of the Senate's power" because it established the Senate's independence.8 The faculty revolt of 1919-20 was a historic step toward the system of shared governance among faculty, administration, and Regents that has played such a prominent part in the development of the University.


8. Angus E. Taylor, The Academic Senate of the University of California: Its Role in the Shared Governance and Operation of the University of California (Berkeley, 1998), p. 4.

Henry Durant, President, 1870-72
Daniel Coit Gilman, President, 1872-75
John LeConte, President, 1876-81

Benjamin Ide Wheeler, President, 1899-1919

Photographs courtesy University Archives.




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Last updated 09/29/05.