Juan Oliverez (1971)

Activist Scholar, and Instructor at CSU,Monterey Bay

When I first attended Berkeley in 1971, I was teaching part-time in Sociology at San Jose State University. Later I became the Head Counselor in the Chicano EOP. In 1975, I was hired by the Chicano Studies Program to direct the Raza Recruitment Program. I was honored to work with Tomás Almaguer, Mario Barrera and Carlos Muñoz. In 1980, I was hired by Hartnell College to teach Chicano Studies but in my nearly 22 years, I have also taught Sociology, History, Political Science and Ethnic Studies. Since the spring of 1996, I have also taught at Califoirnia State University, Monterey Bay in the Social and Behavioral Science Center.

Berkeley's Sociology program helped me see the interconnectedness of the individual and society. For me the professors who influenced me most were Robert Blauner, Troy Duster and Herbert Blumer. I also want to thank Neil Smelser and Kenneth Bock from whom I gained an appreciation for the big picture.

Since arriving in Salinas in 1980, I have been involved in the civil rights and social justice struggles of the community. I served five and one half years as a city council member to empower my community and to address social problems such as the large number of youthful homicides in our community, housing and jobs. My proudest effort was using my sociological knowledge and skills in the redistricting movement in the Salinas Valley. Today most school districts, city councils and even the Monterey County Board of Supervisors are redistricted. Now Chicanos are represented politically throughout the Salinas Valley where for many years they were not. I hope that I have proved I can be an activist/scholar.

Dissertation Title: 
Chicano Student Activism at San Jose State College, 1967-1972: An Analysis of Ideology, Leadership and Change