A Brief History


SJSU is the first public institution of higher education on the West Coast. The history of SJSU began with Minns' Evening Normal School in San Francisco in 1857. This school became the California Normal School, created by the California legislature in 1862.

In subsequent years, several cities attempted to get the school to relocate and San José was selected by the California legislature in 1870. The cornerstone of the school at the Washington Square site donated by the City of San José  was laid on October 20, 1870. That building was completed in 1871 and the students and faculty moved from San Francisco to San José.

SJSU was at one time served by night watchmen and security guards. Any and all law enforcement needs were provided by the City of San José. As did many universities across the United States, SJSU experienced its share of demonstrations and riots in the late 1960's and 1970's.

SJSU began employing sworn armed police officers in the 1970's. On October 1, 1975, UPD Police Officers became armed 24 hours a day by Executive Order of the CSU Chancellor's Office

UPD officers were recognized by the California Commission on Police Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) in 1975 and in the years since then the UPD has developed into a full-service law enforcement agency.



Dow Chemical Riots Dow Chemical Riots SJSU in the early 1980s University Police Department building in 2001