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Black Student Union (Pacific University) Collection

Identifier: RG-7-152

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of one brochure issued by the BSU titled, "Pacific University: From a Black Perspective" (circa 1970); photocopied newspaper articles and editorials about the BSU's activities from the late 1960s-mid 1970s from the student newspaper, "The Index"; and color copies of the yearbook pages for the Black Student Union, the Concerned Black Students, and Cultural and Ethnic Minority Student Union groups, 1970-1982. To date, no other documents such as original meeting minutes, rosters or similar items for the Black Student Union have been given to the Pacific University Archives.


  • 1968-1975


Historical Note

The Black Student Union at Pacific University formed in February, 1968, as a group "designed to represent the Negro culturally on campus," to promote awareness, and to bring relevant speakers and entertainment to campus ("Integrated Campus" editorial, The Index, 4 Mar 1968). Its creation coincided with a rise in enrollment in African American students in the late 1960s-1970s. Members organized activities to bring awareness of Black issues to surrounding communities, while participating in political, cultural and social activities at Pacific. Beginning in 1969, they hosted various "Soul" parties highlighting African-American culture, such as a "Soul Stomp," "Soul Assembly," and a "Soul Dinner." They also advocated for making fairer rules in the dormitories and for beginning a Black Studies program.

From the beginning, the BSU was regarded by some sections of campus as a controversial and polarizing group. Because the last known person to have the school's mascot, Boxer (a bronze Chinese statue), in his possession was a BSU member, the organization became associated with its disappearance. The BSU's involvement in this incident was often portrayed negatively in campus publications, while the BSU's own officers contextualized it as a response against violence.

By 1976, the BSU had decided to change its name to "Concerned Black Students" (CSB). This iteration of the group continued the BSU's focus on raising awareness of Black history and culture, while also hosting "Soul" events and other social activities. The CSB was less confrontational in style than the BSU had been, putting more focus on making "each student's college life as rewarding as possible, while serving as an outlet during pressure times." (Heart of Oak yearbook, 1979). Membership in the group had declined by the early 1980s, coinciding with lower enrollment numbers for African American students. By 1982, the group had renamed itself the "Cultural and Ethnic Minority Student Union" (CEMSU), but according to that year's yearbook entry, it "lacked participation."


0.25 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Black Student Union (Pacific University) Collection
Eva Guggemos
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Pacific University Archives Repository

2043 College Way
Forest Grove OR 97116 United States