SCSU At 150: Minority Students Have Interesting Past on Campus
ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud State University is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Once a month SCSU Archivist Tom Stemen comes on the News @ Noon Show to talk about the history of the campus. Tuesday he focused on minorities.
He says during World War II St. Cloud State admitted six Japanese-American students.
There were five women and one gentleman who were here between 1942 and 1947. Four of them graduated. They were let out of internment camps in the western United States to complete their education here.
Steman says the United States allowed students to leave the camps under certain conditions.
There were three conditions: If they got accepted from a college that allowed Japanese-Americans to attend, if they had the financial means to pay for college, and if they were cleared by the FBI. There were 4,300 students who were able to leave the camps that way.
Steman says two of the six Japanese-American students at SCSU married each other in July 1946.
He says 1968 was a tense year on campus, as well as across the country. In November of that year, a group called "B-SURE" -- Black Student Union for Racial Equality -- occupied SCSU President Robert Wick's office. Les Green was a student at the time and remembers the sit-in lasting more than a day.
It was a very serious issue. It was not a very happy time. The police and others were concerned.
The students had nine demands including their own cultural center, more black students, and more black teachers. Green says while the majority of the students were white at the time, everyone was aware it was going on.
It was a big issue campus-wide. There were 8,000 students here and probably 6,000 of them were out on the mall at the time.
A Minority Cultural Center was finally established in 1972.
More recently, minority students organized a hunger strike in 1995 that lasted nine days. Some of their demands were the creation of a cultural center in Atwood, the hiring of a legal advocate for students, and the establishment of a multicultural resource center.