Elsa Tsutaoka

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Elsa Tsutaoka

Elsa Tsutaoka is a San Francisco based medical doctor.



Elsa Tsutaoka, contributed to Unity, May 4 1987, the newspaper of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.


In 1988 Elsa Tsutaoka, was a contributor to League of Revolutionary Struggles' Unity.

Origins of Peoples Platform

Letter to the Stanford Daily, Volume 189, Issue 39, 10 April 1986;

As members of the Third World/Progressive Alliance, we would like to protest the handling of this year's election by Jim McGrath, the elections hearing commissioner. We spent weeks developing the Peoples Platform, a document intended to build an atmosphere of respect for all peoples here at Stanford, in our community and throughout the world. Because we want the 1986-87 ASSU to be responsive to our needs, we have been especially careful not to disqualify the candidates for ASSU Senate who are running to uphold the principles of the Peoples Platform. Since the end of last quarter, we have continuously met with the members of the ASSU Elections Committee to stay within the bylaws of the elections handbook for our campaign to promote The Peoples Platform, and those candidates who have stated their support for the platform.
Jim McGrath has made it especially difficult for these candidates to campaign by overturning his publicity decisions after they accommodated them. McGrath has been making arbitrary interpretations of the bylaws specifically against these candidates. McGrath has treated the candidates who endorse our platform as a slate regardless of the fact that they have constantly insisted that they are running as individuals. For example, he has forced these candidates to check that none of their fliers "appear" (to him) similar in design. He has also ridiculously stated that the candidates cannot share certain words (which he has defined as "buzz" words), phrases, logos or even the same color flier, despite the fact that they all do agree with principles of the platform. Would McGrath ask that congressional candidates not run under the principles of the U.S. Constitution? We do feel that the just bylaws to any election are necessary and ensure a fair campaign. However, we do object to the fact that McGrath is forcing the candidates to waste time emphasizing differences rather than allowing them to express their own chosen principles for their own campaigns.

Lisa Neeley - Stanford American Indian Organization, Ed Gilliland - Stanford Central American Action Network, Jinny Shinsato - Asian American Student Association, Michael J. Schmitz- Stanford Out of South Africa, Derek Miyahara - Asian American Student Association, Amanda Kemp - Black Student Union, Gina Hernandez - MEChA, Elsa Tsutaoka- Third World Women's Caucus.

"Education: Taking Action for Our Future"

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis will not appear at a student-sponsored education conference this Saturday, but his stepson, John Dukakis, will join presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson at the event, conference organizers said May 9 1988. Jackson is scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. Saturday in White Plaza, while John Dukakis will speak at Memorial Auditorium that morning at a separate session of the conference. The 28-year-old Dukakis, son of Kitty Dukakis and her first husband, John Chaffetz, is a coordinator of Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign.

The one-day conference, "Education: Taking Action for Our Future," is being sponsored by minority student and student government groups from around the state. Tickets for the event are $2 each and will be on sale in White Plaza Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 1 p.m. Participants in the conference will present the speakers with an "educational bill of rights to influence the direction of education over the next four years," said senior Vivian Wu, a member of the Asian American Student Association. Last month, members of MEChA, a Chicano-Latino student group; the African/Black Student Statewide Alliance and the Asian/Pacific Islander Student Union wrote agendas highlighting their educational concerns.

Members of all three student networks are working to draft one agenda that draws from the three already written. Members of MEChA, A/BSSA, and the A/PSU will ratify the educational bill and present it to statewide student government organizations in hopes of getting their endorsements. Elsa Tsutaoka, one of the conference organizers, said that the concept behind the event is that "education is a right for all, not a privilege. It is a human right that any just society provides and is necessary for progress." Students hope to apply this concept to issues in education such as admissions, curriculum and financial aid. The groups also support changes in universities' core curriculum "that reflect all groups that contribute to American culture," according to Tsutaoka. She

added that a university's "curriculum should be relevant to current demographics," and noted that the "lack of ethnic studies is a hole in education." The students would like "admissions opened up so more people have access," Tsutaoka said. She said one way to implement this would be for "the University of California and California State University systems to accept the top third of every class from each high school instead of the top third of students overall." Tsutaoka, a 1987 Stanford graduate and a member of AASA, said that AASA voted to endorse Jackson's candidacy. The educational conference is the second event the three minority networks have done together. Last April, they joined in a march on the state capitol in Sacramento to protest proposed budget cuts in education and to highlight issues in education. Jackson participated in that March. MEChA, A/BSSA, and the A/PSU are the statewide umbrella groups for the Stanford MEChA group, the Black Student Union and the Asian American Student Association, respectively.[1]

"It can serve as a rallying point because right now there's no other alternative in education," said Steve Phillips, former chair of the Black Student Union at Stanford and one of the students who helped draft the document. Authored by student leaders statewide, the bill lists 11 general demands that call for a restructuring of the U.S. educational system. The demands range from the practical — increasing federal spending for education and hiring more and better teachers — to the controversial — strengthening bilingual education and expanding ethnic studies in all schools. The idea for the bill came last fall from a meeting of the statewide MEChA network. a Chicano/Latino student association, and soon spread to two other statewide networks. Three California student alliances, representing the University of California system, the California State University system and an association of community colleges from around the state, subsequently joined the movement and participated in the conference.[2]

The Stanford Daily

As of may 1989;

Kathy Lachenauer Editor in Chief, Barrett Heywood Business Manager, Susan McKean and Lorl Silver Managing Editors, Mark Rogowsky Executive Editor, Chris Munoz Advertising Manager, Tim Marklein and Eric Young News Editors, Eric Jones and Frank Quaratiello News Production Editors, Elizabeth Howton and Bobby Landon Editorial Page Editors, Amy Rosenfeld and John Wagner Features Editors, David Earnest and Robert Pardlngton Sports Editors, Michael Topolovac Managing Photography Editor, Ken Beer, Kal Keasey, Damlan Marhefka and April Pearson Photography Editors, Andrew Berkowitz Entertainment Editor, Gene Anaya Assistant Entertainment Editor, Joe Rellly and Nancy Wallace World & Nation Editors, Jock Friedly Science Editor, Leslie Telcholz Books Editor, Mark Tompkins Graphics Editor Ann Marsh, Steve Phillips and Elsa Tsutaoka Multicultural Editors.[3]

LRS controversy

When posters appeared at Stanford University in 1990 exposing Gordon Chang as a League of Revolutionary Struggle member, several people leapt to his defense.

“Teachers should be judged by their academics, not through their supposed political life,” according to the statement. The statement was signed by a number of officers in the Asian American Student Association, including chair Edward Morimoto and former chair Joseph Park.

An individual fitting Terrell’s general description was spotted hanging the posters by several people, including Nan Bentley, a History Department administrator. Chaparral editor David Hyatt also saw a man fitting Terrell’s description distributing the posters.

The accusations play upon “a lot of racist stereotypes ... of Asians being sneaky, subversive and manipulative,” according to Elsa Tsutaoka, office manager of the Asian American Activities Center.

The accusations against Chang are “really unfortunate because we’re right in the middle of trying to convince him to come here,” said Jean Kim, director of graduate residences.

“I think this is really low,” said economics graduate student Masao Suzuki, who has been active in the Asian American Student Association’s attempt to get a tenured professor position.[4]

LRS membership accusation

According to an article in the May 23 1990 Stanford Daily, six prominent campus activists were members of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.


The group was defended, in a letter to the paper two days later by a group of eight other campus activist;

Richard Suh says, in the May 23 Daily, that League of Revolutionary Struggle members "are leading progressive politics on campus . . . because they are the best and the hardest workers." He and others "who asked not to be identified" then "charge" that Elsa Tsutaoka, Stacey Leyton, David Brown, Gina Hernandez, Steven Phillips and Ingrid Nava are members of this League (presumably because they are some of the best and hardest workers on campus). All six deny being members of such a group, which the author then uses to imply that they must in fact be members, since the organization is supposedly secretive. The absurdity of such reasoning is apparent, but what concerns us is that irresponsible charges that have serious and detrimental implications for individuals' lives are being published on the basis of rumor and innuendo. Those "accused" by this article deserve our respect and support because of their being the "best and hardest workers."
The "infiltration" of Stanford by these six hard workers has given us the leaders of Stanford's anti-Apartheid and pro-CIV movements, the coordinator of the 1987 You Can Make A Difference Conference, three student body presidents, a Phi Beta Kappa in history, fighters for the expansion of the Asian American Activities Center and El Centro Chicano, key volunteers and speakers on the 1987 and 1990 YCMAD Conferences, an RA, members of the varsity track and swim teams, a dancer in Ballet Folklorico and much much more. The Daily has come right out and said that Stanford students are too stupid to think for themselves. The League of Revolutionary Struggle has been running things all along, using students for its own ends. But we, those who should know, assert that Stanford students are not dupes and that progressive student politics on campus are decidedly democratic. When a particular plan of action is proposed by any student, others weigh their options and then agree on a path of action.
It is ironic that the six community members you name have themselves been some of the staunchest advocates of democratic processes. Just out of curiosity, what is wrong with being a Marxist-Leninist? Last time we checked, it was still legal in this country to hold any political beliefs or belong to any organization without alerting the media. Stanford should ask itself why radicals feel the need to avoid explicit mention of their politics. It is easy to get tagged as a radical at this university and have one's ideas and actions written off. To avoid censure you keep your head down and keep your criticism in the mainstream. The odd thing is that many of us are in agreement with Marxists and even that blacks, Latinos, women, homosexuals and many others are oppressed or at least suffer the effects of past oppression? We may disagree with the League's ultimate goals or projects, but is it impossible to work with them where we do agree? (If indeed we could really find them.) The need to avoid this kind of red-baiting will lead student groups to ask radical members to leave in order to avoid trouble. This process can only lead to the stifling of discussion and the weakening of student groups by throwing out "the best and hardest workers." How long before we start hearing that familiar old question before we can participate in student politics: Are you now or have you ever been ...

Canvassing with comrades


Steve Phillips 1990 near San Francisco, CA. ·

TOO GOOD TO HOLD UNTIL THURSDAY!!! #throwbackmonday #1990precinctwalking #mabeltengforcommunitycollegeboard #califstudentsforjessejacksontshirt! #thosewerethedays — with Elsa Tsutaoka, Derek Miyahara and Valerie Mih.

Asian American Activities Center

In 1991 Elsa Tsutaoka, was office manager for the Asian American Activities Center, at Stanford.[5]

Radical friends


Steven Phillips has youthful connections to Stacey Leyton and Elsa Tsutaoka.

"Justice and Hope"

Steven Phillips wrote Justice and Hope: Past Reflections and Future Visions of the Stanford Black Student Union 1967-1989, in 1990.

Writing Justice and Hope has been a humbling and daunting exercise. Many, many people helped, and this is indeed a collective work. I am grateful to the many Black faculty and staff members who provided valuable advice, support and direction: James L. Gibbs, St. Clair Drake, Kennell Jackson, Clay Carson, Keith Archuleta, Michael Jackson, Michael Britt, Dandre Desandies, Hank Organ, and Rachel Bagby.
I also made extensive use of the Stanford Libraries. At the various stages of production, a whole host of peeple contributed. I hope I don't leave anybody out, but here goes. My thanks go out to the following people: Lisa Fitts, Audrey Jawando, Bacardi Jackson, and Drew Dixon helped give shape to Justice and Hope when it was still a vague and unformed idea. Toni Long demonstrated for me the true power of PageMaker. David Porter clarified important facts and provided historical information. Frederick Sparks helped with fundraising and monitoring the budget. Lyzettc Settle added critical comments and an extremely thorough and detailed revision of the text. Danzy Senna, Joy St. John, Stacey Leyton, Raoul Mowatt, Valerie Mih, Hillary Skillings, Judy Wu, Quynh Tran, and Cheryl Taylor meticulously proofread the final drafts. Elsa Tsutaoka gave advice on design, layout and cutting photos. MEChA loaned us its layout equipment The staff in the ASSU Business Office always cheerfully facilitated financial transactions and questions.[6]


  1. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 193, Issue 56, 10 May 1988 ]
  2. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 193, Issue 60, 16 May 1988]
  3. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 195, Issue 53, 5 May 1989]
  4. [Michael Friedly, Poster attacks alleged political ties of Chang First Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 60, 18 May 1990]
  5. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 199, Issue 54, 9 May 1991]
  6. [1]