SJSU’s program began in the fall of 1969 with fewer than 200 students. At that time, the campus atmosphere was fraught with tension within the administrative & academic structures, as well as between the institution and student organizations.
There were two distinct EOP’s: “Black EOP” & “Brown EOP.” Each meant to serve distinct
student populations. Although SJSU did not experience the extreme police interventions
and beatings that characterized student demonstrations at other universities, EOP
students nevertheless incurred blatant hostility.
In the early 1970’s, the separate EOP’s were integrated into one centralized unit. By the end of the 1970’s, EOP at SJSU had grown into a more viable program and became the model program, which had significant impact on the campus and in the community.
EOP programs and services grew throughout the CSU system, providing more structure,
guidelines and regulations, and bringing more funding for EOP grants and services.
The seeds of change planted in the 1960’s & nourished in the 1970’s started to bear fruit in this decade. This was a hopeful time. By the early 1980’s, EOP was an established Student Affairs Department. Growing numbers of EOP students were being admitted to SJSU.
EOP became a comprehensive admissions & retention program with expanded services that
included pre-collegiate recruiting and pre-admission advising, academic orientation,
tutoring, skills development & test preparation, summer bridge programs for freshmen
& transfer students, career counseling, & EOP grants.
In spite of the progress made, challenges prevalent throughout the 90’s threatened
the hard-won gains. In California, Propositions 187, 227 and 209 had a chilling effect
on program development and access to education for underrepresented students, many
of whom come from low-income families. Policy decisions still under discussion had
led to heightened anxiety regarding the ramifications of projected increases in the
number of students who sought admission to college.
The 2002 the Administration made the decision to streamline all EOP services , which stripped away all dedicated EOP services and funding.
In 2008, SJSU faculty and staff organized to demand the full restoration of EOP. In 2009, an EOP Advisory Board was formed and members advocated for the following as base-line requirements for EOP: one MPP level Director, a designated space, a budget, and an institutionalized EOP Council with representatives from the task force.
In 2009, the University President agreed with the task force recommendations and sent
out a memo to the campus community stating the following: “SJSU is committing both
financial and personnel resources to renew and strengthen EOP in accordance with the
specific needs of our students and proven best practices.”
EOP was on a path to reestablishing itself on the SJSU campus. In 2010, the Administration reinstated dedicated funding to support rebuilding the program. An EOP Director was appointed in mid-2010 and was charged with evaluating the program and determining what programmatic changes were necessary and what the future plan for EOP would be.
In 2011, EOP moved into Clark Hall. The central location on campus allowed for students to access and connect with the program and EOP staff. In 2012, EOP began their own admission process for EOP applicants.
In 2015, EOP moved back under the Division of Student Affairs.
The Connect, Motivate, Educate (CME) group which served former foster youth on the SJSU campus was officially moved under EOP and renamed the Guardian Scholars Program (GSP).
Enrollment in GSP has remained at an intentional 40-50 students each year. GSP students are also EOP students. In addition to all the support services EOP students receive, GSP students also have a dedicated lounge space (created in 2018) and a basic needs and food pantry, and have a dedicated professional to assist with non-academic needs.
Being centrally located on campus for the past 6 years, the designated space for EOP students is always teeming with students in the lounge that are either studying, meeting with mentors or asking questions at the front desk. The program continues to be supported by the Administration and is thriving. There are approximately 2400 active EOP students participating in the visible SJSU program today.
EOP systematically rebuilt each related component of the program over a 6 year period. From EOP specific admissions, First Contact, Summer Bridge, Academic Advising, a Tutoring Center, and a variety of coaching and mentoring programs (ACES, NSM and ICIW), EOP has shown its commitment to student success and retention.
In Fall 2018, EOP began the EOP Transfer Connect Program which provides pivotal guidance and resources to first year transfers during their transition to SJSU. The program supports students in synthesizing their diverse life experiences and skill sets into pursuing academic, career, and personal advancement.
EOP continues to serve first-generation, low-income students on campus with a variety of support services. The student population has grown to and been maintained at approximately 2700 students. EOP also provides EOP presentations to prospective local high school and community college groups.