Celebrate with us! On Wednesday night, the Associated Students will convene for its last legislative assembly of the Fall Quarter. There will be more than just listening to representatives argue over “by-law changes” and “position papers;” A.S. will be pausing in its daily routine to honor a very special UCSB professor for making a difference in students’ lives.
In 1969, when he was appointed to a tenured faculty position in UCSB’s sociology department, Dr. Richard Flacks was described as a “revolutionist,” “communist” and “threat to our country.” The opposition to his appointment arose because, while at the University of Michigan, Flacks helped found Students for a Democratic Society, a historically progressive student organization. Furthermore, he was accused of attempting to overthrow the government and of causing an uproar at UCSB due to his radical and pro-student views.
In response to the high number of complaints against Dr. Flacks, UCSB’s first chancellor, Vernon I. Cheadle, issued the following statement:
“It seems to us that no one is accusing [him] of the unlawful exercise of free speech and expression … rather, he seems to be accused of advocating unpopular views. And, if in the final analysis it is the offensiveness of his ideas that is of concern, then let his opinions be heard, let them contest with contrary persuasions, let them compete especially in an institution dedicated to the freedom of the mind, let them be subject to critical analysis, logic, scholarship, and the test of reason rigorously applied.”
But Richard Flacks is still here, and just as letters protesting his then-unpopular views piled on Chancellor Cheadle’s desk nearly 30 years ago, piles of letters have recently been submitted to A.S. supporting that same person in the competition to name the newly created A.S. Leadership Intern. Although it was difficult to pick a single name out of the many high-caliber nominations, I am pleased to officially announce that A.S. has chosen to name its new internship the Richard Flacks Intern to the A.S. Executive Director, in Dr. Flacks’ honor.
During his 30 years at UCSB, Dr. Flacks has been responsible for molding the Student Affairs committee into a full-fledged council in order to ensure that students have a direct influence on the faculty legislature; he is also the longest serving chair. Dr. Flacks is instrumental in educating students about the history, structure and governance of the university through his class, Sociology 102: University and Society, and his co-founding of Interdisciplinary 20: The Freshman Experience. Dr. Flacks continues to extend his service to the community as a member of the Fund for Santa Barbara, and is highly regarded for his published research on student culture and student activism.
The Flacks Intern is a concrete bridge between the students, the administration and the university community. Through its substantive projects, duties and goals, students gain valuable leadership experience by working closely with the A.S. Executive Director. Just as Dr. Flacks has challenged institutions, altered structures of power and taken ownership in the community, the Flacks Intern will simultaneously challenge student leaders and administrators to better serve and represent the student body. By utilizing the local, state and national resources of A.S., the Flacks Intern can make an everlasting change in the community through the projects that she or he chooses.
This yearlong internship will begin in the 2001-2002 academic year. The student chosen this Spring Quarter will be the first ever to serve as the Flacks Intern – so apply today! In return for his or her efforts, the Flacks Intern will receive administrative office space, a budget for personal projects and a yearly stipend ranging from $1500-$2000. If you are interested in applying, applications are currently available at the UCen information desk, Division of Student Affairs, A.S. Main Office, all six on-campus residence halls, and will soon be available on the A.S. website. If you have any questions about the internship, please feel free to contact me anytime at
On behalf of A.S., I congratulate the distinguished professor of sociology, Dr. Richard Flacks, by naming the A.S. Leadership Intern in his honor. With Chancellor Yang, faculty, administrators and student leaders already confirmed for attendance, I would like to personally invite YOU to the naming ceremony tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Flying A Room in the UCen. Tonight’s ceremony will be a memorable occasion, recognizing not only Dr. Flacks himself, but also those students who, as Richard Flacks Interns, will make a difference in people’s lives for many years to come.
Mel Fabi is the founder of the Richard Flacks Intern to the A.S. Executive Director and a senior film studies and Chicano studies major.