In February 1969, the "3rd World Liberation Front" attempted to close down Berkeley's campus. Reagan responded by declaring the situation an "extreme emergency", and he sent state troopers to assist local law enforcement. In the spring of 1969, a property dispute erupted, where a recently purchased lot by the university sat idle, and hippies and radicals squatted in the area proclaiming the lot to be the "People's Park" (pictured: squatters working to create the "People's Park" in the idle lot). Reagan had taken some criticism in California that he wasn't a decisive governor, and Reagan was itching to show his decisiveness to the entire nation.
Reagan cited many examples of lawbreaking in the past year at Berkeley, and he specifically identified the leaders of the riots as political agitators; Reagan also blamed those that followed the riot's leaders. Reagan also called out the faculty for creating the current polarized atmosphere on campus.
Reagan thought he knew the cause of the riots in Berkeley and Santa Barbara: a small group of revolutionaries that enjoyed creating a crisis. Reagan was quoted as saying, on 7 April 1970, "If it's to be a bloodbath, let it be now" . . . Reagan regretted saying those words, especially since they were publicly reported. But a majority of voters liked Reagan and his pragmatism, but they weren't as enthusiastic in 1970 as in 1966. In 1970, Reagan garnered 53% of the popular vote, while in 1966 it was 58%. Reagan's margin of victory was about half of what it was in 1966, but Reagan accepted the results, saying a "win is a win".