1971-1975: Bringing Minority Studies to Claremont

The Black Studies Center of the Claremont Colleges existed from 1969 to 1979. In the mid-1970s, admitting more students of color and offering new minority studies courses were the Center's main goals. The BSC offered many innovative courses, including Swahili, African American Art, and Black French Literature. In 1975, faculty of the Center clashed with Consortium administration over isses of tenure and funding. These tensions were ultimately resolved with the reorganization of the Black Studies Center in 1979.


In 1975, six years after the implementation of the Black Studies Center, the faculty raised a number of issues to the Council of Presidents, including the lack of funds for the pre-freshman summer program, the inferior status of the BSC faculty compared to other faculty, and concerns about the administration of the center. Although the creation of the BSC was a victory for campus activists, administrative issues, apathies, and prejudices persisted. As BSU members noted, progress is often slow and nonlinear.


1975 was a turbulent year for the Black Studies Center (BSC). In this statement, the Council of Presidents, lead by Scripps College president Mark Curtis, responds directly to the concerns raised by the BSC faculty. To give Center faculty the same privileges as other consortium faculty, "Center-only" faculty members were appointed to the faculties of consortium colleges. The Council denied the request for funding for the proposed Pre-Freshman Program, but restated the consortium's efforts to recruit new students of color.