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September 07, 1978 - Image 65

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-07

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 7, 1978-Page
SI t
Minority groups establish services
MSS- helping minorities through the 'U'--

The trials and tribulations of one's first encounter
with the University-feelings of alienation, in-
significance and academic pressure-affect all
students to some extent, but they seem to weigh
even more heavily on minority students.
Minority Student Services (MSS), located on the
third floor of the Union, is a new organization
designed to help minorities survive the University.
"IF THEY DON'T know where to ask, they can
come to us," says MSS Counselor Ann Lyons.
MSS offers individualized counseling for
academic, financial and personal problems in ad-

dition to providing information on cultural activities
and educational resources available to minority
One unique feature of MSS is that its full-time
staff counselors are members of minority groups
themselves and can often identify with specific
problems minority students face. The counselors
represent blacks, Native Americans, Asian
Americans and Latin Americans. Each counselor
also has his or her own area of specialization such
as financial or academic problems.
STUDENTS CAN choose to see a counselor who is
a member of their own minority group or one who is
trained in the specific area in which they have a


Blacks say services inadequate

In February 1970, a group of black
students demanded the University in-
crease its black student enrollment to
10 percent by the '73-'74 school year,
supply more financial aid for blacks
and establish a black student center.
Spurred on by Black Action Movement
(BAM) members and other concerned
parties, the students and ad-
ministration negotiated and emerged
with a University declaration
promising to meet the students'

University is impersonal and in-
timidating. "It's hard for white studen-
ts to adjust and I think it's doubly hard
for black students," complains one
University minority student. "There is
a general trend to cut out a lot of
necessary minority programming."
There are, however, some centers
where black students can meet and
voice their frustrations and concerns.
Named for the prominent civil rights
leader, William Monroe Trotter House
was established in the early 1970s and

facilities are the Black Student Union
and the local chapter of the NAACP.
But many minority students are
dissatisfied with the amount of Univer-.
sity facilities and claim the University
is not fulfilling its responsibility to fully
educate its minority students.
According to Minority Student Ser-
vices counselor Richard Garland, "The
eagerness to assist black students or
minority students just isn't there. The
problem that I see for black students is
a reversal of the trends in the ad-
mission and the acceptance of blacks in
higher education."
Garland also says black students
have been filing grievances about
grades. "The professors are not being
clear about what their objectives are
and what the student must do to get a
grade," he adds.
MANY MINORITY students say they
are receiving lower grades than white
students for doing work of the same
caliber. And some students are very

'The eagerness to assist
black students or minor-
ity students just isn't
-Richard Garland,
Minority Student

Now, more than .eight years later,
blacks are still facing the same
problems they were facing back in 1970.
Black enrollment never reached the
hoped-for 10 percent and last year it
reversed its upward trend, dropping to
6.9 percent.
MANY BLACK students, like all in-
coming students at one point, feel the

was originally intended to be a multi-
ethnic center.
Because the, house has been staffed
by blacks and because blacks are the
predominant minority group on cam-
pus, it is used primarily by blacks as a
black student cultural center, says
Trotter House director Beulah Sanders.
ALSO INCLUDED in Trotter House'

Women's groups wage
battle against sexism

Gays try educating
straight communty
By DAN OBERDORFER University housing complexes and witt
Believing discrimination against almost half the Resident Advisors o
gays results from misunderstandings those dorms.
spurred by widespread myths, the "We have 'made our biggest inroad
University's Human Sexuality Ad- in housing," says Couch. "I think w
vocates are working to educate the created a situation with a lot more un
straight community about derstanding because of those clas
homosexuality, raps.
The lesbian advocate's office and the "Changes are being made," she saic
gay male advocate's office-both easily After conducting a class rap wit
accessable on the third floor of the members of the University gynocolog
Union-also provide peer counseling, clinic, "they are now rewriting some c
referrals, and organize social events their forms so as not to assume that a
for gay students. women are heterosexual."
"THE REASON our offices exist," Coming-out discussion groups ar
says Lesbian Advocate Cathy Couch, is another service offered through the ga
because "gay people are labeled advocates office. "No one is coerced C
criminally diseased, and sinful by a subtly urged to become or turn gay,
large majority of U.S. citizens." says Couch of these sessions. "We ar
Couch says she spends a large portion concerned that people feel positiv
of her time working with straight about their sexual orientation and lear
groups to "get them in touch with their to use it to form positive, caring, sul
feelings about homosexuality." She portive relationships with others.
said she and some 200 members of the "A lot of people have this attitud
gay community have conducted that gay people are these strang
numerous 'class raps' during which creatures who only come out at night 1
straights are asked to explore their at- go to the bar," says Couch. "Obviousl
titudes toward homosexuality by con- that's just not true."
fronting gays with questions.
"Class raps help educate straights by
bringing gay people who have a positive
and open attitude about their gayness
1 into the classroom," says Couch.
LAST FALL, Couch held class raps
with the Building Directors of all 12



Despite a lack of recognition in the
past, today women at the University
have several organizations to actively
bring womn's issues to the surface, fur-
ther women's education and confront
discrimination head on.
One group on campus, the Commision
for Women is a volunteer organization
supported by the Affirmative Action
Programs Office and monitors
women's concerns. According to Co-
Chairwoman Bernadette Malinowski,
the Commission is "trying to raise
awareness of such issues as sexism."
TIllS. YEAR the commission spon-
sored its second annual women's career
fair-an event in which many students
were involved. The Commission also
breaks into task forces that are
available for student membership.
These task forces look into problems
, confronting Univesity women as they
Working directly with the Com-
mission is the Women's Concerns Of-
fice, which is one part of the Affir-
mative Action Programs Office. "We
keep all female members of the com-
. munity, be they students, faculty,
professors, administrators and clerical
workers, in touch with each other,"
says Ann Schlitt, Program Associate
for Women's Concerns.
*The office works on employment
;issues, monitors policies and
";procedures and keeps tabs on the
University's possible acts of
:grams about topics such as sex role
'awareness, society limitations and
'changing attitudes is the job of the

Women's Program Coordinator,
Maureen O'Rourke. Her office plans
workshops and seminars to help further
female students' understanding of the
The University of Michigan Center
for the Continuing Education of Women
(CEW) tries to respond to women's
changing needs and aspirations and has
opened its doors to men as well. CEW
also provides resources and helps
assess women's job opportunities.
According to Associate Director
Myra Fabian, CEW "is mainly for
women coming back to school. It's
primarily a counseling center working
with the University to get programs
and sponsor evening classes for people
who work or take care of children
during the day. We orientate new
University students, too."

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