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Ron Ridgle, ASUCI President 1968-69 April 5, 2010

Posted by ucisca in Activism, Early UCI Campus.
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Ron Ridgle was the only black student when UCI opened in 1965-66 with 1,589 students enrolled.  Ridgle, a graduate of Dorsey High School in Los Angeles,  was a third year history major when he was elected ASUCI President in May 1968, on a platform addressing student government finances.  During a year of intense student activism, Ron Ridgle was involved in a wide range of additional issues in1968-69.  For example, he supported the right of students  to invite Eldridge Cleaver to participate in a panel discussion on “America as a Racist Culture.”   UCI received heavy criticism from the community for Cleaver’s participation. In October 1968, Ridgle along with student presidents from UCSD and UCR, twice invited California governor Ronald Reagan to discuss on statewide television “the role of the Regents in the administration of the University of California.”  Reagan declined both invitations.  In 1968-69 there were 29 black students and one black professor on a campus with a total enrollment of approximately 3,600 students. 

Early Campus Photograph Albums 1959-1969. AS-056. Special Collections and Archives. The UC Irvine Libraries. Irvine, California.

 (l to r) Chancellor Aldrich, Dr. Robert C. Weaver (President of Baruch College of CUNY), and Ron Ridgle. April 16, 1969, just before Weaver’s address on Charter Day, the 101st anniversary of U.C.  Dr. Weaver was Secretary of Housing & Urban Development in the LBJ administration and the first black cabinet member.

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1. Richard Privette - November 9, 2010

I disagree with the above statements about Ron Ridgle.

I eas UCI’s elections commissioner for his election as Student Body President. Ron was, at that time a conservative Republican.

I then was UCI’S Programs Director, where I was responsible all bookings.

Ron had already cancelled on me, Joan Baez and her husband, David Harris. Alao in the prgram was Mark Hatfield, then Senator from Oregon, along with local draft board officials, to talk about the draft right after the 1968 election.

I booked Eldridge Cleaver behind Ron’s back. At that time Eldridge was receiving death threats and he said he’d rather die in Orange County. I had an ambulance standing by for his speech.

BTW: For Orientation week. I booked Big Brother and the Holding Company on their last U.S. gig before they broke up. Also that week, I had the Committee from SF, the first of the improv groups. There were several other events also. I charged $3.50 and we actually made money. I used to work with the programs director of UC Riverside to reduce costs by “sharing” bookings.

The number of blacks, as it was called at the time, grew from 5 on campus, to 20 something. I booked several acts that year, which the newly formed Black Student Union took credit for, even though nothing was discussed between us.

You can see me reference in the KUCI blogs, as I was the money man that paid for these programs.

I really hate to see history misstated and Ron painted in an incorrect light. Ron fired me 4 times, hiring me back 3 times to fix screwups of his buddies did.


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