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August 27, 1969 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-08-27

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Wednesday, August 27, 1969


Page Five

Wednesday, August 27, 1969 THE MiCHIGAN DAILY

At colleges and universities
across the country, black stu-
dents have intensified their de-
mands for more active, mean-
ingful participation in campus
life and decision-making.
Black students at Cornell, the
University of Wisconsin, San
Francisco State and a host of
other schools have staged de-
monstrations, seized buildings
and presented demands to ad-
ministrators for black s t u d i e s
programs, increased minority
enrollment and more black fa-
And at this University, black
students are working toward
similar goals-- but in consider-
ably less vociferous manner.
With the exception of a
peaceful five-hour look-in in
the Administration Bldg. in
April 1968, black students -
led by the over 200-member
Black Student Union - have
pressed their demands and pro-
posals through normal admin-
istrative channels. And they
have had considerable success in
achieving their goals.
At the April 1968 lock-in --





held just five days after the
assassination of the Rev. Martin
Luther King - black students
issued a list of demands includ-
ing the creation of a Martin
Luther King Scholarship pro-
gram, the appointment of a
black man to the admissions de-
partment and the appointment
of blacks to posts in the ath-
letic department.
President Robben Fleming
rushed to the lock-in to confer
with BSU leaders and 1 a t e r
emerged from a meeting w it h
them saying he considered their
demands "very reasonable and
constructive." And since the
lock-in, says BSU Chairman
Ron Harris, the administration
"has always been responsive to
our proposals and has indicated
a willingness to discuss any is-
sues that might come up."
Indeed, most of the demands
issued at the lock-in have been
met. The scholarship program
has been set up, two blacks have
been appointed to the admis-
sions office, and a new black
assistant basketball coach was
hired last year.
Last winter, BSU presented a
proposal to the University for
the establishment of an Afro-

FORMER BSU CHAIRMAN Ron Thompson lashes out at the
Senior Editors of The Daily during a Diag rally last March.

Panhel officers seek reforms

American Studies Program and
a Center for Afro-American
Studies Program and a Center
for Afro-American Studies. By
now, the concentration program
has been approved by the liter-
ary college. And Harris is op-
timistic about the formation of
the Afro-American center
which, he says, is still in the
planning stages.
Not only has BSU succeeded
in getting the Martin L u t,h e r
King Scholarship program es-
tablished, but BSU members will
have an important say in who
receives the money. Harris says
money is still being collected-
some of which is already desig-
nated for engineering and busi-
ess students. Other funds are
funspecified and the scholarship
committee will decide where it
shall be used.
Some black students have
criticized BSU for not taking
strong enough steps to enroll
more than the 770 black stu-
dents presently on campus.
But Harris says a recruiting
program for black junior col-
lege transfer students m o s t
likely will begin in the fall. BSU
will also work with the admin-
istration to begin some type of
high school recruitment, he
The administration has re-
ceived a tentative proposal to
set up a summer program next
year to establish remedial edu-
cation programs for black high
school students from metropoli-
tan areas. The programs would
provide college preparatory
study for students entering
either the University or a n y
other institution of higher edu-
cation in the state.
BSU will finalize plans in the
fall to print a booklet to encour-
age more black students and
professors to come to the Uni-
versity, Harris says.
In the fall, BSU may also hold
a special program to recruit
black students on campus into
the union.,
BSU will meet weekly this
year, Harris says. All meetings
are open to black students only.
In addition to securing a
black studies program and the
eventual Center for Afro-Amer-
ican studies, BSU did last spring
engage in one three-day pro-
In response to Daily endorse-
ments of Student Government
Council candidates last March,
BSU called for suspension of
Daily publication pending an
investigation of its editorial pol-
In the endorsements, The
Daily Senior Editors listed Dar-

ryl Gorman, a black candidate
supported by BSU as unaccept-
able, claiming he did not under-
stand the needs of black stu-
dents on campus.
Harris says the rift with the
Daily essentially stems f r o mn
what BSU feels is pressure
from the Daily to make BSU
a more vocal and militant or-
Several meetings between
BSU leaders and Daily Senior
Editors took place during the
controversy. However Harris
says no solution was reached.

Politicizing the Greeks

"We simply must be able to offer Uni-
versity women more than TG's on Friday
and Pledge Formals," says President of
Panhellenic Association Wendy Kress.
"We have to turn outward next year
rather than inward."
Although Miss Kress is only one of the
eight executive officers of the organiza-
tion which includes all sorority women on
campus, she seems to reflect the growing
acknowledgement that Panhel must and
is willing to change in order to remain
an effective organization in the coming
Panhel is facing an even greater chal-
lenge this fall than in most recent
years. In January, the Regents abolished
the requirement that freshman and
sophomore women must live in Univer-
sity housing. Consequently, many fresh-
man who joined sororities to avoid an-
other year in the dormitories will now
be able to live in apartments their fresh-
man year.
"It's difficult to tell what effect the
University housing policy will have on
potential rushes," Miss Kress says.
"Each year freshman are more aware of
things," she adds. So Panhel will have
to demonstrate that "sororities don't have
to be an end in themselves but can lead
to greater involvement in University life."
Some new plans have already been
formulated for fall programs including a
sorority-fraternity weekend which will
combine both academic events with en-
Miss Kress cautions, however, that on
the whole next year will be a "do your
own thing" year. "We can't be imposing
things on all the sororities," she says.

The controversy, which started in
spring 1967, accelerated in September
1968 when 16 sororities failed to sign a
resolution pledging that they did not use
binding or required recommendations.
Binding alumnae recommendations are
those that require sororities to have a
"yes" recommendation on a girl before
pledging her. If the recommendation is
a "no" the girl cannot be pledged.
R e q u ir e d recommendations stipu-
late that the sorority must receive a "yes"
recommendation on a particular girl. If
a "no" isireceived, however, the sorority
need not refuse to pledge the girl if a
positive recommendation can later be
The two black sororities left Panhel
after they became convinced Panhel itself
would not take any action to halt the
use of the recommendations,
Furthermore, Miss Kress says the
sororities did not believe Panhel was
relevant to their needs or interests.
After the membership committee of
SGC studied the sororities in question,
they found, as the sororities themselves
had found, that the recommendations are
potentially discriminatory mechanisms.
Each sorority was told to get a waiver
frorn its national to halt the use of the
recommendations for January rush. Ap-
parently only Pi Beta Phi and Kappa
Delta were unable to do so and sub-
sequently did not rush.
"I don't think Delta Sigma Theta and
Alpha Kappa Alpha should be forced
to come back to Panhel," Miss Kress says.
"I think we can profit from them and
they from us," she adds.
"We'll be happy to have them back
whenever they wish to return."

Interfraternity Council (IFC),
representing 3600 University un-
dergraduates in 46 houses, is
trying to encourage its members
to become active participants in
political and social issues and
change its image as a purely
social organization.
Last year, for example, IFC
supported the rent strike, op-
posed use of student fees for
intramural funding, opposed the
language requirement and ac-
tively supported candidates in
the SGC elections.
Claiming SGC failed to "ac-
curately reflect student opinion
on the University campus or to
appropriately represent the ma-
jority of the student body in the
process of deliberation and leg-
islation," IFC also resigned its
ex-officio seat on SGC last fall.
The move came with SGC set
to hear a motion to abolish the
voting power of the four ex-
officio seats on Council, which
included IFC. SGC approved the
Individual fraternities also
participated in the free school,
and held t-groups and cancer
"The image of the fraternities
being a party system is wrong,"
says rush chairman Charles
Kao, '71. "We try to integrate
campus political life with social
and athletic activities," he ex-
Furthermore, Kao notes, fra-
ternity members have on t h e
average better grade point av-
erages than independents.
This fall, the whole rush pro-
cedure coordinated by IFC will
be changed, says Kao.
One of the biggest changes is
t h e abolition of dress regula-
tions during rush.
"A rushee can wear nothing

"Things are in a state of flux,"
he explains "We'll have to wait
until fall."
"We feel the Daily has no
right to dictate to us," Harris
says. "We don't like the paper
telling us how to do the things
we're doing."
BSU has, in fact, taken t h e
peaceful route to campus re-
cognition. And it seems to be
working well for them. The or-
ganization has been able to se-
cure almost at will its demands
from administrators eager to
grant what BSU is asking.

Daily editorials have suggest-
ed that BSU is not asking
enough of the University, but
apparently the organization --
thought to be composed largely
of blacks from middle- and
higher-income brackets - is
satisfied with its present goals.
And as long as BSU continues
to work within administrative
channels and to attract the ears
of administrators willing to
listen to moderate proposals,
there is unlikely to be any pro-
test or disruptive activity ini-
tiated by the organization.

or a coat and tails - whatever
is comfortable," Kao says.
The structure of rush has also
been revised. This year, it will
last a week instead of the tra-
ditional two weeks.
Starting Sept. 21, rushees will
begin to visit the houses. The
formal visits will be followed by
other contacts with the frater-
nities through "smokers." If a
fraternity then decides in all-
night sessions known as "hash"
that it wants a rushee, he is of-
fered a bid.
After the first week, o p e n
rush will commence for these
students with qualms about for-
mal rush.
IFC w ill sponsor a "Greek
week" of social activities imme-
diately preceeding rush.
The system of freshman coun-
seling h a s also changed, says
Kao. Fraternity members this
summer were assigned freshmen
to contact with information on
the fraternities at the Univer-
sity, and all freshmen were sent
the names of three fraternity
members in case they desired
information. Over 1,000 frater-
nity members volunteered to be
Usually 800-1,000 freshmen
sign up f o r rush registration,

and between four and five hun-
dred pledge. The number of
rushees has declined over the
last few years, but the pledge
class has remained fairly stable.
The University has one of the
oldest fraternity systems in the
country, dating back to 1845.
IFC includes t h e Fraternity
Representatives (FRA) and the
Fraternity Presidents Assembly
(FPA). FRA is concerned with
external affairs. FPA deals with
internal affairs. IFC also has
an executive committee, junior
officers, and district officers.

Wendy Kress

GIFT-PAK (A $2.00 Value)
ULRICH'S-The Student's Bookstore

"People have different interests. It's not
up to us to determine other peoples
A liberalized housing policy is not the
only obstacle Panhel must overcome. Last
year the organization was embroiled in a
four-month discrimination controversy
which culminated in the walkout from
Panhel by, the two black sororities on
campus, Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha
Kappa Alpha, and the anti-climactic
Student Government Council ruling
which said sororities using binding or re-
quired recommendations as a prerequisite
to pledging could not rush in January,


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