The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) was created in 1966.  The political volatility of the 1960’s, created the context for EOP at UCSB. Educational equity and social justice were themes that emerged from the Civil Rights Movement & civil unrest beginning with the Watts’ uprising in 1964 and other movements that spread throughout the country, including major protests against the Vietnam War. In 1965, EOP student numbers made up less than 2% of the 8,400 students enrolled at UCSB (D. Leon). The staff and faculty percentage was even smaller.

In its early years EOP was charged with the responsibility of recruiting, admitting and providing a variety of student support services primarily to Underrepresented minority undergraduates. These services were provided to students from admission to graduation. EOP has continued to improve and succeed from its original three students to its current 7000+ undergraduates, now representing approximately one third of the UCSB student community.

In 1997 the state of California passed Proposition 209, which meant that race and gender could no longer be considered as a preference for admisison within the State of California. Anticipating the impact, EOP made internal programmatic changes prior to 1997, which changed EOP from a program based on ethnicity to one unified program based on serving students from low income backgrounds and from first generation status. EOP continues to operate in this unified programmatic structure, providing services to all UCSB undergraduate students.

Harold Salas-Kennedy, Ph.D.
Former Associate Director, EOP