VENTURA : Candidate, College in Dispute Over Degree

A Ventura City Council candidate and Cal State Long Beach officials are in dispute over whether the candidate earned two degrees there.

Restaurant owner Charles E. (Buster) Davis has said he received bachelor's degrees in physical education and science from Cal State Long Beach, where he played football.

University officials said Davis was enrolled between 1969 and 1974 but did not earn a degree.

"We only have one Charles E. Davis," records clerk Francis Johnson said. "And he did not receive a degree from Cal State Long Beach."

"That's not true," said Davis, 46. He said he has a diploma and accused college officials of striking his records in retaliation for black student protests he was involved in during the early 1970s.

"I am not surprised," Davis said. "They were going to do anything to keep us from being acknowledged. It was all a political thing. . . . I was in revolt and this is their way of getting back at me."

Then a defensive end for the CSLB football team, Davis said he and several other athletes were "blackballed" by the administration for protesting the university's resistance to creating a black athletic association.

"They were biased and racist," Davis said. "They told us, they said: 'You guys are going to pay for this for the rest of your lives.' "

Davis said he did not participate in graduation ceremonies and said his college diploma was sent to his mother's Ventura house by mail. "I've seen it," he said. "It's at Mom's house in the archives."

Davis is one of 12 candidates vying for three council seats in the Nov. 7 election.

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