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BIPOC SCU Student Archival Resources

Information regarding conducting research on the experiences of BIPOC students using SCU Archives & Special Collections materials.

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A Quote from Carter

“If archives are not created and kept, stories can, are, and will be forgotten. And with no archives there is little chance that the marginalized groups can seek redress for the wrongdoings inflicted on them."

- Carter, Of Things Said and Unsaid: Power, Archival Silences, and Power in Silence, 2006, Archivaria 61

A Note on Content

Santa Clara University’s Archives & Special Collections department makes publicly available historical materials which reflect a variety of viewpoints on social, political, and intellectual issues of the past and recent past. The collections include materials which contain negative and/or discriminatory stereotypes, language, or symbols aimed at marginalized groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, social class, or religion, to name a few. Archives & Special Collections does not condone these viewpoints. We affirm that these viewpoints are not only discriminatory and offensive, but also disrespectful, inhumane, and unjust.

Whenever possible, we make these materials available without redaction, abridgment, or exclusion because we believe that to do otherwise would serve to suppress the fact that such prejudices and discriminations have existed at our institution and in the broader community. In making these materials available we are guided by the core values of the Society of American Archivists, particularly our responsibility to contribute to the public good by ensuring the authenticity and continuing usability of the records in our care. In this guide, we have placed a warning on materials that contain incredibly offensive and/or racially-charged language. 

We believe that providing access to and supporting engagement with various materials, including those that may be offensive, is critical for understanding our history and that of the broader community. We offer reference and research services to facilitate learning from all of our materials and to support scholarship and dialogue that seeks to create a more equitable society. 

Undertaking Research with the SCU Archives

SCU Archives & Special Collections preserves and makes available a variety of materials, including but not limited to the following:

  • Rare books and manuscripts
  • Materials of historical importance to Santa Clara University
    • Ex: President’s papers, student records, student newspapers, faculty papers, student life memorabilia, athletic films
  • Materials originating from Mission Santa Clara
    • Ex. Fr. Viader’s Miscellany book, choir book, sacramental records

We also digitize select materials and make them available online.

The purpose of this Research Guide is to assist users who are interested in pursuing research into the experiences of BIPOC students at Santa Clara University. It was created as a result of working with Jesica Fernández's ETHN 165 Community-based Research Methods course.

For tutorials regarding how to use and search the physical SCU Archives, please visit the Guide to SCU Archives & Special Collections.

For tutorials regarding how to use and search SCU's Digital Collections, please visit the Guide to SCU Digital Collections.

What information sources from archival materials might potentially align with community-based research?

  • Interviews
  • Editorials
  • Letters & mails
  • Quotes
  • Oral histories
  • Documents/”Official Statements"

These types of information items can provide insight into an individual's thoughts and experiences. Instead of asking an individual now, the information gleaned from these sources has been created because an individual was asked certain questions in the past. This information can be used to create a picture of a community at a certain point in time. That picture can be informed by the reported experiences of those within or outside of a community.

Questions to ask yourself when working with archival materials:

  • What materials are available?
  • Who created the materials?
  • When were the materials created?
  • Where were the materials created? 
  • Why were the materials created (for what purpose)? 
  • What materials or viewpoints are missing?
  • How do multiple documents interact to create the "bigger picture"?

Types of Resources

Student Newspapers

These articles give us insight into campus events from the students' perspective, and the editorials, interviews, and letters-to-the-editor provide us with a view of campus happenings in the words of those who are experiencing them (although we must also recognize the power held by The Santa Clara in choosing what or what not to publish). Issues from 1922 to Spring 2013 are available online in SCU Digital Collections; later issues are available in Scholar Commons and at The Santa Clara website. Please note that only a sampling of articles have been included--we encourage you to perform your own search as well based on your research needs.

University Records

Usually archival research involves an in-person appointment where the researcher makes discoveries while going through the contents of boxes of documents. We have opted to expedite access to materials that we have scanned per past research requests to facilitate student research into these subjects in our collections. Digital surrogates of those documents are linked in this guide. Please note this is not a comprehensive list of all physical materials available at the SCU Archives.

Articles vs. Editorials vs. Letters to the Editor

The Santa Clara student newspapers include articles, editorials, and letters to the editor, amongst other types of informational sources. The differences between articles, editorials, and letters to the editor as as follows:


Articles are fact-based pieces that are written with the purpose of informing readers of a publication about certain events or topics. They should not be written in such a way that reflects personal bias; however, it's important to review the content of the article and an article's author to discern what biases they may have or express. 


Editorials are generally written by a staff member of the publication publishing the piece and reflect the opinions of the publication.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor are generally written by members of the public at large who are not on staff at the publication, or who are writing as a private individual and not in the role of a staff writer. The opinions expressed in these pieces are the opinions of the individual writer or group who submitted the letter, not the publication that has printed the letter.