History of the BSU

June 29, 2006

  • Michael Torrence, co-chairman of Laney s BSU and BSA co-chairman, says they are currently investigating why none of the money allocated for organizations and activities is accessible. There used to be 12 work study slots allotted each organization; now there are none.

    Laney, like Merrit and Alameda colleges, is the hapless victim of the super-structure. Specifically designed to devoid the student of any affinity for school or comrades, coupled with the impersonal amount of 10,000 students, they successfully succeeded in disuniting the student body like massive, compound fracture. It is subtleness as this that we must be continually on guard for.

  • Laney College students are outraged over the police invasion of their campus on May 21st in search of Brother Charles Rodgers. Police claim Brother Rodgers was in Lakeside Park teaching his dog to attack ducks when he was approached by a ranger. Supposedly, upon seeing the ranger, Brother Rodgers ran. The ranger radioed for police assistance. Finally, two policemen caught Brother Rodgers in front of Laney's administration building.

    The police beating of Brother Rodgers that followed was witnessed by 25 people. One eyewitness, a Laney security guard, heard one officer ask Brother Rodgers, "You want to go the hard way?", both officers then began beating him around the head and face with their flashlights. At no time, assures the eyewitness, did Rodgers hit or try to attack the officers.

    In other protest action, a petition was started calling for the firing of a security guard who participated in the beating. The Laney Black Student Union held a meeting, here it was decided to form a committee to determine law enforcement policy at Laney.

    Many Laney students and faculty want to implement a law making it illegal for Oakland police to come on the campus. A group of students are also attempting to press charges against Oakland police. Several key witnesses have requested the Black Panther Party's, in particular, Bobby Seale's involvement in the matter. (2)

  • Over 1,000 angry students, part-time teachers and supporters packed Laney College gymnasium last Wednesday to confront school administrators over class cancellations.

    Student body president Austin Allen, who also serves as president of the Black Student Alliance of Bay Area schools and universities, told the predominantly Black and Chicano audience that it was "awkward" that classes would be cancelled when the enrollment at the school was the highest in Laney College history.

    Black Student Union Chairman Charles ("Doc") Longmyre followed, calling on the audience to mobilize and to "take control of these institutions, which directly affect our lives, out of the hands of people that have no interest in us."(3)

  • Austin Allen, Black Panther Party member and outgoing student body president at Laney College here, cautioned his fellow 1975 graduates last week that "One can have knowledge without understanding, but there is no understanding without knowledge."

    Speaking on the concept developed by Black Panther Party leader and chief theoretician, Huey P. Newton, Brother Allen told the predominantly Black audience of over 2,000 who attended the Laney College graduation ceremonies that Black and other minority students have the responsibility of using the knowledge they receive in school to implement programs that meet the needs of Black and poor communities. By so doing, Brother Allen explained, the students will gain a better understanding of the many problems that Black and poor people suffer and contribute to their solution.

    Following Brother Allen, Gus Guichard, Black executive vice-chancellor of the California Community College system, strongly criticized the "CIA criminal action and Watergate-type activities prevalent in the country" and emphasized the necessity of maintaining the American community college system so that Black and poor communities will continue to have greater input into higher education.(4)

  • How can Laney College better serve the community? (Asked at Laney College)

    Eric Washington
    8917 Seneca St.

    "First of all, they can open up more classes that pertain to Black people, Ethnic Studies and Black History classes." (5)

  • A Legal Aid/Community Survival Program has recently been proposed by the Student Council to the administration of Laney College here.

    According to information provided the BLACK PANTHER by Laney Student Council, the program will include seven specific services.

    The program will offer "free legal counsel to individual students of Laney College, on any issue (civil or criminal) requested by the student in need of legal counsel."

    Another objective is to inform incoming and transferring students of the proper procedures for obtaining financial aid and other assistance, such as book loans, lunch programs, orientation tours, etc., available to students at Laney.

    Information to make students on public assistance programs aware of their legal rights, with regard to financial aid received at Laney College -- if any form of aid has been denied, terminated or reduced -- will also be dispensed.

    The program will also be the advocate of the rights of all campus organizations to free assembly, self-determination and equal consideration by the administration for student sponsored programs and activities.

    A militant fight against cutbacks in financial aid and community services will be waged so that members of the Laney College community can sustain their right to an educational institution which serves the needs of the community.

    In the area of childcare for students of Laney, the program will insure the right for free and adequate childcare for both students and faculty members who require this service.

    The Legal Aid/Community Survival Program will investigate resources for funding of childcare and work-study for community colleges as well as determine the need for childcare at Laney College.

    The program will do all in its power to insure the preservation of an Ethnic Studies Department that meets the educational needs of the Third World community of Laney College in terms of curriculum content, hiring policies and administrative procedures. (According to unofficial estimates the total student population is 80 per cent Third World. Total enrollment is 50 per cent Black.) (6)

  • Black, Chicano, Native American, Asian and progressive White students were united last Monday at Laney College in an all-day protest against racist cutbacks in educational services and the refusal of the Laney administration to hire a Native American to head the Native American Studies Department.

    The unified protest began with a press conference in which representatives of the Black Student Union, Native American Student Union, Asian Student Union and other Third World and progressive campus organizations -- united in the Coalition Against Cutbacks -- denounced the Peralta College Board of Trustees and the Laney College administration for "systematic attacks on our education." (7)

    Following the press conference, several hundred students marched throughout the campus before participating in a noontime rally. The following demands were then presented to Laney College President Henry Davis:

    1) Reopen all classes and eliminate the 25-student requirements;
    2) Restore the full book loan program to all students;
    3) Expansion of child care program and construction of a child care facility on campus;
    4) An increase in financial aid and veterans benefits and expansion of tutorial services;
    5) An end to racist educational practices; and
    6) The removal of security cops on campus.

  • During his tenure, Mr. Homitz worked with the Black Students Union to develop a Black Studies Department.(8)

(1)Grove Street Gravevine Friday, October 27, 1972. Vol. 1, Issue C

(2)Police on Campus: Laney students condemn police brutality Black Panther Newspaper, June 2, 1973

(3)Laney College students angry over class cutbacks Black Panther Newspaper, March 1, 1975

(4)Laney College B.P.P. Member addresses 1975 graduates Black Panther Newspaper, June 30, 1975

(5)On the Block: How can Laney College Better Serve the Community? Black Panther Newspaper, October 14, 1975

(6)Free Legal Aid/Community Survival Program proposed at Laney College Black Panther Newspaper, November 22, 1975

(7) Laney students protest racist cutbacks in services, Black Panther Newspaper, October 8, 1977

Wallace T. Homitz, ex-president of Laney College, dies at age 83 Oakland Tribune, January 14, 2006 (8)


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