Civil Rights Movement (1955--1968) Martin Luther King Jr

LBJ signs Civil Rights Act of 1964

As stated in UC Berkeley's Operating Principles, "We include and excel, together... We thrive when we celebrate the diversity in our community and our common committment to equity, inclusion and equal access to all." Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has reaffirmed Berkeley's commitment to these principles.

Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity are among the longest standing components of Berkeley's efforts in this area, with roots in historic civil rights struggles in the United States.

History and Background

The long struggle for equal rights reached its peak in the 1950s and 1960s with popular movements such as the Civil Rights Movement.

In response to public pressure, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, and national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established as the federal agency to enforce workplace nondiscrimination laws.

The following year, President Johnson signed Executive Order 11246, requiring federal contractors to develop affirmative action plans and to take positive steps to eliminate employment bias. Initially applying to race, color, religion, or national origin, the order was amended in 1967 to add sex as a protected class.

In the ensuing years, as awareness was raised about equal employment issues for other groups within the workforce, additional federal regulations were passed. Among these are individuals over age 40, certain classes of veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

UC Berkeley is required to engage in Affirmative Action and ensure Equal Employment Opportunity because it is a federal contractor. The University receives federal funds in the form of contracts and research grants. See here for a list of the various nondiscrimination laws and regulations with which UC Berkeley complies.