Stephen A. Arditti: Assistant Vice President and Director of the Office of State Governmental Relations: Representing the University in Sacramento, 1969-2007

Conducted by Ann Lage in 2008, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.

Stephen A. Arditti, retired director of the UC Office of State Governmental Relations, worked in Sacramento for nearly forty years representing the university to the administrations of six governors and generations of state legislatures.

Steve Arditti came to the Office of State Governmental Relations in 1969 from UCLA, where he had graduated in political science, earned his law degree, and worked under Chancellors Frank Murphy and Charles Young. He explains how his immigrant family background and his experiences at UCLA gave him "a passion" for the university and its values. It was a passion he brought with him to Sacramento during the difficult years of the Reagan governorship, when he was called upon to help quell the substantial hostility of lawmakers to ongoing student political protests. His oral history provides valuable insights to the complicated relations of state and university during subsequent challenging years of political change and budgetary fluctuations in Sacramento. At turns anecdotal and analytical, Arditti gives a lively picture of how business was conducted in the state capital over the years and how personal relations and leadership styles place their stamp on the course of events.

With his unique perspective on university programs, policies, leadership, and political strategies under six university presidents, Arditti relates how the university negotiated with the state on a whole range of crucial issues, including affirmative action, animal rights, executive compensation, labor relations, and the recurring battles to secure a sufficient university budget.

The Arditti interview joins a series of over seventy oral histories which shed light on the university's statewide administration for more than a century, from the presidency of Benjamin Ide Wheeler, 1899 to 1919, to current times.


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