Mementos

From the Archives

Remembering the Strike Collective

Arden Sugarman (BA, Music, ’77) was going through old college boxes this winter when she stumbled upon some memorable items. Inside were copies of The Wildcat, The Orion, and the Butte County Bugle, along with a cassette recording, carbon copies of a speech she gave over the radio, and a white bandanna emblazoned with the word "strike" and a crossed-out gun painted in red.

The memorabilia reflects a chapter in not only Sugarman's personal past but also that of Chico State and the CSU system. On December, 3, 1975, then-Chancellor Glenn Dumke issued an executive order requiring all campus police to carry sidearms on a 24-hour basis.

The decree was met with outrage from students at several campuses, including Chico State, where hundreds of students and faculty gathered in the Free Speech Area for a rally. Then, many moved inside the administration building, which they would continue to occupy around-the-clock for two months, seated in the hallways night and day, even throughout winter break. They vowed not to leave until guns were removed from campus.

In her speech given on January 26, 1976, Sugarman drew comparisons between Dumke and King George of Britain in determining "the need for a force of arms on one of his colonies."

"We are a free people. We will not, we shall not, we cannot submit to the force of arms. We believe that an administration which maintains its authority through the use of a force of arms has no right of leadership over a free people," she proclaimed, encouraging others to join the cause of the Chico Strike Collective.

Ultimately, the strikers were unsuccessful in their mission. Despite repeat meetings and discussions with then-University President Stanford Cazier, Dumke, and an aide to Governor Jerry Brown, and a referendum where more than 4,500 students, faculty, and staff voted overwhelmingly against the presence of sidearms on campus, the Chico Strike Collective quietly faded out in February 1976 after the arrest of 35 students who were still occupying the building.

"I can’t tell you how scary it was. These people weren’t trained. They were just going to walk around like 'I have a gun.' And of course, when you are in college—and in those days, we had come off the Vietnam War—a lot of us were still pretty impassioned. It was a different time.

It was fun to look back on that history now," Sugarman recalled.

Strike Collective memento

The clippings, audio recording, and striker's headband were donated to Meriam Library Special Collections to be added to its collection on the strike.

 
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Alum Notes

CRISTINA RAMIREZ

CRISTINA RAMIREZ

('08) was promoted to assistant superintendent of Calcrete Construction.

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JOEY KOCHLACS

JOEY KOCHLACS

(’12) runs his own sustainable furniture business.

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BOB GEISER

BOB GEISER

('88) received a distinguished service award from the Boy Scouts.

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