UCLA student activism dates back to 1934 when Provost Ernest Moore suspended five members of student government for allegedly having communist ties. Following this suspension, over 3,000 students, around half of the student population, flooded Royce Quad in protest. After protests and hearings, the five students were eventually reinstated.
1969 proved to be an eventful year on the UCLA campus. Three days after the UC Regents meeting protest, 1,200 students occupied Murphy Hall following a memorial service in honor of UC Berkeley student, James Rector, who was killed by police gunshot while protesting in Berkeley. Chancellor Charles E. Young canceled classes for the day. Demonstrators remained peaceful, linking arms as they walked.
In May 1969, 1,500 students protested a UC Regents meeting at the UCLA Faculty Center. The student demonstrators were angry that the UC Regents refused to let members of a student activist coalition speak on issues involving the Vietnam War. Students at the protest described a notable gap forming between the interests of the Regents and those of the students. Around 170 police officers responded to the demonstration after protesters started breaking windows. The Regents meeting was halted by the disruption and the Regents were evacuated from the building.
In May of 1970, UCLA declared a state of emergency after a student protest turned violent. During this demonstration, students protested United States military involvement in Cambodia as well as the shooting of anti-war demonstrators at Kent State University in Ohio. UCLA canceled classes due to vandalism as students marched from a rally in Meyerhoff Park to central campus buildings. During this march, students threw rocks, set fires in Ackerman Union and attacked ROTC headquarters. In the end, 200 police officers responded to the protest and 74 people were arrested.
In 1985, students joined together to protest apartheid in South Africa. Specifically, students condemned the UC Regents $2.3 billion investment in companies supporting apartheid. 2,000 students demonstrated outside Murphy Hall yelling, ''What do we want? Divestment! When do we want it? Now!'' After clear student and faculty discontent, in July of 1986, the UC’s enacted a new investment policy to slowly divest from certain companies that supported apartheid.
In October 1995, students protested the University of California Regents' controversial decision to dismantle affirmative action. 3,000 students boycotted class, marching into Westwood in protest. During this march, police arrested 31 students who were protesting in the middle of a major intersection. Despite the students discontent with the decision, affirmative action remains illegal in California to this day.
Many of the most notable recent UCLA protests involved the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Trump’s controversial stances on subjects such as immigration, national security and women’s issues directly affected and upset many members of the UCLA community. In response to the election results, in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, hundreds of distressed students spontaneously filled the streets of Westwood. Students passionately yelled ''Fuck Donald Trump'', ''Fuck the wall'' and ''Not my president.''
Recent activism has not been limited to students. This January, UCLA workers held a five-day strike that ended in a march through campus and into Westwood. Workers held signs that said ''UC Unfair!'' and rallied in the streets of Westwood, closing down intersections. The strikers wanted a contract from the university along with a raise.
Most recently, students gathered in front of Kerckhoff Hall on Feb. 2 in protest of Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. Students spoke out against Trump and his executive orders at a rally before marching throughout campus.