May 5, 2015-February 4, 2016
3rd Floor Atrium, Rosenberg Library
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City College of San Francisco has had a college newspaper since it began. This exhibition, a collaboration with CCSF’s Journalism Department, tells the College’s history through articles from The Guardsman archive. “The Guardsman is really the prime source of reporting for the college, both on student matters and on governance. Without it, there would be little narrative of the college past, certainly not with the level and breadth of coverage that The Guardsman has given us,” says Dr. Christopher Kox, Interim Dean of the City College Library.
BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS
Originally titled Emanon (“no name” spelled backwards), The Guardsman switched to its current title after only a few issues. The push for a centralized campus for the “trolley car college” became a major theme in the paper’s early days before the construction of the landmark science building in 1940. “We got plenty of nothing,” complains a 1937 article on the far-flung City College locations of the time. The dirt and photos in this case show the building of the new campus on “Windy Hill 29” (out of San Francisco’s 49) while an early spread in the paper illustrates the complex printing process of the pre-digital age.
CITY COLLEGE IS YOUR COLLEGE
The paper’s history reflects City College’s unique niche as an urban community college in one of the country’s most diverse cities.
During World War II, Ruth Kay, whose family fled Nazi Germany, shares her story, while a headline from the same page ruminates on “The Superiority of Negro Street Car Conductors” under a cartoon of
Adolph Hitler. The school’s mission of inclusivity and job training are echoed throughout its pages. Post-World War II, married veterans lived in on-campus Quonset huts built under the GI Bill, while flyers and pamphlets emphasize the range of classes and training programs available to students.
INCLUSION AND RADICALISM
“Transexuality is a reality” proclaims a 1977 Guardsman headline. The article profiles a transgender sex worker and City College student, including quotes from a registrar assuring students that sex had no bearing on admission. In 1968, The Associated Students Council founded an alternative paper, The Free Critic. From La Raza Unida to the Women’s Resource Center to the Black Student’s Union, the Critic featured groups that still play major roles at City College. Hua Sheng, or China Voice, was a handwritten feature published weekly in the Free Critic under the name Han for English speakers. The Associated Students and Chinese students pushed for the project despite initial opposition, and it became a regular part of the student-run Critic.
COMMUNITY AND NEW MEDIA
Today, The Guardsman has expanded its scope under department chair Juan Gonzales to include community-wide news stories, a website and Facebook page, and color photos. Etc. Magazine features longer-form stories from City College’s journalism students. Like The Guardsman, it covers issues affecting the school and its surrounding community, such as the ongoing fight for accreditation. The newspaper and magazine continually take top honors at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges state convention, and regularly win general excellence honors each semester. The publications join Forum, the English department’s literary journal (established 1937 and revived in the 2000s) to tell the story of City College through the printed – and digital – word.
——-Marynoel Strope, co-curator
Download Celebrating 80 Years CCSF the exhibition assignment and list of resources.
Special thanks to Susan Hathaway who designed the running banner at the top of the cases with the many different mastheads The Guardsman has used over the years. Thanks also to Mark Albright and Johanna Rudolph.