Ethnic Warfare

A bitchy academic fight within SFSU's College of Ethnic Studies puts the future of the program in question

Recalling the article today, Hirabayashi offers a sort of resigned chuckle. In his telling, he was an accidental pioneer -- one who joined the teachers' union because it was easier than arguing with his officemate -- but once he became dean, he ran the program with a sort of moral fervor, full of idealistic notions about what could be taught, who could teach it, and where, exactly, the anthropologists could stuff their kinship charts. His disillusionment with ethnic studies, then, was that much more pronounced.

Former Dean Tomás Almaguer says he was a 
"change agent." A colleague calls him a "hatchet 
man."
James Sanders
Former Dean Tomás Almaguer says he was a "change agent." A colleague calls him a "hatchet man."
Then-S.F. State President S.I. Hayakawa unplugs a 
demonstrator's loudspeaker during the 1968 student 
strike.
Then-S.F. State President S.I. Hayakawa unplugs a demonstrator's loudspeaker during the 1968 student strike.

Today, he only shrugs. "We gave it our best shot," he says. "We were doing this back in the '60s, and we still haven't resolved our problems yet." Perhaps it's time to do something else.

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