UO Black Student Union

UO students created the Black Student Union (BSU) in 1966 to foster activism regarding issues of racial discrimination on campus. The BSU promoted Black culture and history through talks, film festivals, and social events.

Unnamed students participate in the Black Student Union’s Black Arts Festival, 1974.
Image credit: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Archives
BSU officers are pictured in the 1975 UO yearbook Oregana. From left to right: Willie Branch, Cecil Ashley, Vinie Bethune, Yolanda Russell, Philip Anderson, Vassielonia Sanders, and John Welch.
Image credit: Oregana Yearbook 1975, University of Oregon Libraries


In April 1968, the Black Student Union submitted a list of grievances and demands to UO President Arthur Flemming. One demand—to grow Black enrollment—produced Project 75, a program that provided academic scholarships to 75 Black students.

Despite the initial response to the 1968 demands, little changed at the UO. Nearly 50 years later, in 2015, Black students submitted an eerily similar list of demands to UO President Michael Schill. The lack of Black students and faculty remains a pressing issue.


Percentage of Black students at UO in 1974 (earliest data available)


Percentage of Black students at UO in 2018