John H. Bunzel

Senior Research Fellow

John H. Bunzel passed away on July 19, 2018.

Bunzel, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, specialized in current political and educational problems and frequently wrote and lectured on issues of public policy. He was a former commissioner of the US Civil Rights Commission.

He was an expert in the field of civil rights, race relations, higher education, US politics, and elections. His most recent research centered on race and race relations in US society, with a focus on affirmative action, multiculturalism, and diversity in higher education, as well as US politics and elections.

From 1970 to 1978, when he joined the Hoover Institution, he was president of San Jose State University.

Bunzel's most recent book was Race Relations on Campus: Stanford Students Speak (1992). He also published Anti-Politics in America (1968); Political Passages: Journeys of Change through Two Decades, 1968–1988; and The American Small Businessman (1962).

In 1990, he received the eighth annual Hubert Humphrey Award from the American Political Science Association for his years of service as "an outstanding public policy practitioner." He holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Santa Clara; in 1968 he was a California delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 1974 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors awarded him its Certificate of Honor for "unswerving devotion to the highest ideals of brotherhood and service to mankind and dedicated efforts looking to the elimination of racial and religious bigotry and discrimination."

He also wrote numerous articles on trade unions, discrimination and affirmative action, and the relationship between quality and equality in education. He has taught at San Francisco State College (1953–56, 1965–70), Michigan State University (1956–57), and Stanford University (1956–63). The American Voter, his 1964 weekly television program on KPIX (CBS affiliate) in San Francisco, won a national award.

He received an AB in political science from Princeton University, an MA in sociology from Columbia University, and a PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. From 1943 to 1946, he served in the US Army.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

To read the family-written obituary that was published in local newspapers, click here.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Affirmative action has its place -- but we have to determine where

by John H. Bunzelvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ward Connerly, who has successfully led the campaigns in California (Proposition 209), Washington state and in Michigan to ban race and gender from consideration in public hiring, contracting and school admissions, is thinking about launching similar ballot initiatives in nine other states...

Analysis and Commentary

You're teachers, not Teamsters

by John H. Bunzelvia Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A CSU faculty strike would be another step away from a shared sense of purpose...

Analysis and Commentary

Lessons of Lieberman loss Democrats: Pay attention to the center

by John H. Bunzelvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's all too tempting for Democrats to misread the defeat of Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic Senate primary on Tuesday as a signal that the further the party ventures from the middle of the political spectrum the better…

Where Are All the Protesters?

by John H. Bunzelvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2006

The war in Iraq may be getting more unpopular by the day, but antiwar protesters are mostly missing in action. Why? By John Bunzel.

Analysis and Commentary

Politics is the last laugh

by John H. Bunzelvia San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, June 18, 2006

One of my favorite philosophers is Yogi Berra…

Diversity: The Impossible Dream?

by John H. Bunzelvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, July 30, 2005

Creating diversity on America’s college campuses is a noble goal. Achieving diversity is another matter. By John H. Bunzel.

Analysis and Commentary

Will We Ever Know the Whys of Evil Behavior?

by John H. Bunzelvia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Too often left out of the debate over whether the abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by American military personnel was the unauthorized work of a few rogue guards ("bad apples") or the result of decisions made at a higher level of command are two profound questions about individual character, ethical judgment, and the principles of right and wrong behavior that go beyond the horrors of the present crisis.

Edward Teller: A Personal Remembrance

by John H. Bunzelvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 2004

Hoover fellow John H. Bunzel reflects on his late friend.

Analysis and Commentary

One More Time: Californians Face the Race Issue

by John H. Bunzelvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, September 1, 2003

Striving toward a color-blind California is a noble goal; unfortunately, the RPI initiative will do nothing to make that goal a reality.

Analysis and Commentary

The Crisis Role of the University

by John H. Bunzelvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, September 16, 2002

Condemning what it called a "blame America first" reaction on college campuses, the list singled out certain professors as the "weak link" in America's response to the attacks of September 11.