Bruin Alumni Association
Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign Archives

Chapter 1
“Born to Raise Hell” – at UCLA


Chapter 2 - A Media Blackout on Villar’s Past

Chapter 3 - What Tony Villar Wrought

Understanding MEChA - Introduction

Understanding MEChA - El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan

Understanding MEChA - El Plan de Santa Barbara

Understanding MEChA - The Philosophy of MEChA

Press Release Announcing Victory in Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign

Press Release on Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign












Antonio Villaraigosa Educational Campaign

Antonio Villar(aigosa) – UCLA MEChista

Chapter 3
What Tony Villar Wrought


    The UCLA Chicana and Chicano Studies Department, and its associated Cesar E. Chavez Interdisciplinary Studies Center, today bears the mark of Villar’s “by any means necessary” philosophy.  The Chicano Studies Department, upgraded from interdepartmental status just this year, is the outgrowth of the Chavez Interdisciplinary Studies Center, itself the 1993 creation of radical direct action, Hispanic community pressure and the gutless then-Chancellor Charles E. Young. 

    The cause of creating a Chicano studies major at UCLA had been an ongoing one since the late ‘60s, and started innocently enough with the Chicano Studies Center that Villar found not radical enough for his liking in 1974.  Much as it was in that year, the events of 1993 epitomized the bullying tactics of Chicano radicals in their cause of establishing a narrowly exclusive minority-interest major at UCLA. 

    In April 1993, Chancellor Young rejected student demands that the Chicano Studies Program be given departmental status.  The announcement, in an example of incredibly in-fortuitous timing, came on the eve of Cesar Chavez’s funeral.  The Chicano students and MEChA members who had been leading the campaign for departmental status responded by occupying and laying waste to the Faculty Center on May 11, 1993, causing between $35,000 and $50,000 in damage.  The president of the non-ideological, private Faculty Center noted that protestors “smashed windows within a few feet of our [occupied] lunch tables…rifled a purse, stole a wallet and tossed car keys in a toilet. Walls were defaced, honorary plaques [were] cut.”[1]   91 Chicano radicals, half of them not even students, were arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department.[2]   Bad enough was that 84 of the radicals were let go within days of the incident.  Worse yet was that supporters of the remaining seven that still faced stronger vandalism charges, were allowed to donate two works by Chicano artists “Gronk” and “Elo,” (alleged combined value of $25,000), as compensation for the riot damage.  Gronk’s “The Mug,” was even hung at the very scene of the crime, the UCLA Faculty Center, as a final insult from the radical Chicanos.[3]  
 
    The student radicals were emboldened by their successes in trashing the school with impunity, but still smarting from the rejection by Young.  On May 25, 1993, a group of nine Chicanos (including seven students) initiated what would eventually be a 14-day hunger strike.  Two UCLA students, Marcos Aguilar and Balvina Collazo, and one high school student, Norma Montanez, adopted Azteco-babble names; respectively, Huitzilixtlitiu, Chitlichicoshayotl, and Ixtlapapayotl.  The nine, which included an assistant professor from the medical school, rallied to their cause nearly every Chicano-interest activist and politician.  Then-State Senator Art Torres (later to become chair of the California Democratic Party) threatened to withhold state funding unless demands were met.  Cesar Chavez’s son Fernando led a rally of Chicano students on June 3, 1993 supporting the hunger strikers.  And in an evolution that would have warmed Tony Villar’s radical heart, UCLA MEChista Gil Cedillo, and Chicano radicals Vivien Bonzo and Juan Jose Gutierrez, came together to lead a “United Community and Labor Alliance,” that agitated for departmental status.  Even old-time white radical Tom Hayden, then a State Senator from Santa Monica, threw his lot in with the mob.

    Not surprisingly for a man who built a long legacy of favoring student radicals on campus and opposing racial neutrality in UC policy, Chancellor Young quickly wilted under the pressure, signing a Hunger Strike Agreement.  This agreement was a victory for special interest racial affiliation groups, and was a victory for the philosophy introduced by Tony Villar twenty years before: that Chicano Studies be ‘relevant’ to the community at large.  Of special note was the involvement of the UCLA MEChA alum Gil Cedillo’s “United Community and Labor Alliance,” which established (though not for the first or last time) that UCLA academics would be converted by pressure groups into an ideological assembly line for labor and minority political interests.  Education and dispassionate inquiry were out – ‘relevance’ was in.  
   
    The creation of the Interdisciplinary Center via the Hunger Strike Agreement was done with the further proviso that when “the evolution and the experience of the center for interdisciplinary instruction warrant[s] it, departmentalization will once again be on the table.”[4]   With this principle, full departmental status, and a realization of a ‘relevant’ department acting as an ideological factory for the radical Chicano movement, became a fait accompli.  The path was clear, in that, barring a melt-down of the Center, full victory was only a matter of time.  Thus it was that in 2005, many long years removed from the tumult of 1993, Villar’s vision was fulfilled.  Unfortunately for Californians, there will be for the foreseeable future, a radical Chicano fox in our university’s hen house.  And alumni like Antonio Villaraigosa and Gil Cedillo, who disguise radicalism with suits and smiles, will issue forth into the public, pursuing the MEChA agenda.

    An “affirmative action baby”[5]  and a radical Chicano, Antonio Villaraigosa has charmed his way into power, and now seeks to become the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since the 19th century.  But will Villaraigosa win if voters understand that the one-time Tony Villar is an unreconstructed MEChista, dedicated to the goals of Aztlan liberation, whose radical past at UCLA informs his thoughts and actions today?  We will know soon enough: Election Day is May 17, 2005.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2

1  “Protest Over Chicano Studies,” by Paul D. Sheats, May 21, 1993, Los Angeles Times
2 “Protesters Attack UCLA Faculty Center,” by Larry Gordon and Marina Dundjerski, May 12, 1993, Los Angeles Times
3 “UCLA Drops Charges Against Student Protesters,” by Metro Desk, May 6, 1994, Los Angeles Times
4 Cesar E. Chavez Center for Interdisciplinary Instruction Departmental Proposal, May 27, 2003, http://www.chavez.ucla.edu/history/DeptProposal052703.pdf
5 “Crunch Time,” by Harold Meyerson, January 31, 2001, LA Weekly