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February 11, 1979 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-11
This is a tabloid page

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Page 8-Sunday, February 11, 1979-The Michigan Daily

(continuedfrom Page 5)
University recruiters visit schools in
Texas has also been added. Admissions
administrators also travel to out-of-
state high schools that have large
minority populations. The admissions
office is also beginning to enlist the help
of minority alumni to further expand
the pool of minority applicants.
In keeping with the University's
academic reputation, a dignified ap-
proach has been maintained in
recruiting. "We've avoided the gim-
mickry, the Goodyear blimp, and the
radio ads and these kinds of things,',
explains Sjogren. "From the national
data we see this kind of approach is not
terribly effective, at least for a school
like Michigan."
The Detroit Adjunt Admissions Office
has been one of the more successful
recruiting programs. Established in
1970 to develop a rapport between the
Detroit schools and the University, the
adjunct office focuses on reaching the
inner city student. "That has been one
of the plusses," comments Christine
Davis, head of the counseling depar-
tment at Detroit Western High School.
"They go out of their way and are most
helpful." A large majority of incoming
minority freshmen come from the area
served by the Detroit Adjunct Office.
A LL SEVENTEEN schools and
colleges on the Ann Arbor campus
operate some type of minority recruit-
ment program. Perhaps the most
unique, the College of Engineering co-
sponsors pre-college engineering
programs for students in both junior
and senior high schools. These
programs help minority students in-
terested in engineering acquire some of
the skills they'll need later on if they at-
tend a competitive school such as this
Recruitment efforts are bolstered
every year, and administrators are op-
timistic. But when asked to explain why
minority enrollment continues to
diminish, they offer a few guesses, then
shake their heads and say "I don't
"In this game," says Sjogren, "you
have to run twice as fast just to keep
caught up, because you've got intense
recruiting by other schools, and you've
got black colleges around the country
that need black students. As we do all
these things, we think that they are
successful, and yet we don't see the
numbers shooting up sky high, and we
think it might have been a real tragedy
had we not done those things.''
No one can pinpoint the exact causes
for the University's dwindling black
enrollment, but a multitude of factors
come into play. In recent years more
opportunities in technical fields and
two-year colleges have opened up for
minorities. Many minority students
prefer to attend schools near their
(Continued from Page 2)
have been thinking about being a mer-
cenary soldier), but I can't make any of
the choices he has made.
But at least I have the choices. When
I worry about it too much, I start
thinking of Howard the Duck (of Mar-
vel Comics fame), who only came to
this world as a result of some foolish
slip-up between differing time zones.
Now, his webbed feet and down offset
F by a suit coat, tie and hat, he gets
chased all over the world and especially
his home-town of Cleveland, Ohio by
villains who perpetually mistake him
for someone else-"trapped in a world
he never made," as the comic puts it.
And what could be worse than that?



homes, not only for financial reasons,
but also because they prefer the social
environment in their home setting to
that of an immense, primarily white
Soaring costs of living and higher
education prevent many families from
considering college for their children.
Minority students tend to come from
low income homes-the hardest hit by
inflation. Even with financial aid
packages, the cost of a four-year in-
stitution turns many minorities away.
In some instances, there is less finan-
cial aid available now than there was in
the earlier part of the decade. Grants
and loans just don't increase as fast as
the cost of living. And due to increased
austerity in State and Federal budgets,
the aid available may-fluctuate during
the student's four years here.
Many people have pointed the finger
at the University, accusing it of subtle
racism which discourages minorities,
especially blacks, from attending.
Others, like Dr. Sjogren, say that
minorities and other people perceive
the University to be a highly
sophisticated white institution and are
reluctant to penetrate it. "Racism is
there-it exists," says Sjogren, "but I
think that the students that come in
from the small towns and the inner city
find an economic differential here that
is more severe than racism in terms of
coping with procedures, practices, and
policies. I spent a lot of time up in the
northern (Michigan) schools, and I
talked to kids there, and I talked to
black kids in here from Detroit, and
their stories sound the same."
The reputation of this University as
sophisticated and predominantly white
may be a formidable deterrent to black
applicants, but Michign State Univer-
sity 's plunging minority population
does not support such reasoning. MSU's
minority enrollment has been plum-
meting even more rapidly than this
university's over the last six years.
This year MSU's total minority
enrollment fell to 6.82 per cent. Blacks
comprise a mere 5.15 per cent of the
total student population-the lowest
percentage since 1970.
THE PRELIMINARY draft of the
University's annual report to the
Regents, which will be submitted later
this month, indicates that total
minority (blacks, Hispanics, Asian and
Native Americans) enrollment on the
Ann Arbor campus decreased to 9.3 per
cent this year. The 6.3 per cent black
enrollment is the lowest level since 1972
when the minority enrollment report
was first compiled.
This University seems to be making
a more concerted effort to attract
members of minorities than MSU.
MSU's Developmental Program Direc-
tor James Tate asserts that the drop is
part of an inexorable national trend. He
said MSU has not really accelerated
their recruiting efforts during the past
eight years. "If they're (minority
students) not there, there not there."
blacks _
(Continued from Page 6)
reform. Now, blacks are not viewed as
a minority needing help but as more
competition for jobs, and for spots in
med and law sohool. The era of causes
is over, and with the increasing salien-
ce of bread-and-butter issues among a
more serious student body, the mood is
For blacks here, the 'key to survival
may very well be separatism-not
segregation, but a separation of iden-
tity, of culture and of history. But if the
turnout at events of black history mon-
th is -any indication, survival at this
point seems seriously in doubt.

The national trend theory is not sub-
stantiated by minority enrollment
figures at other large public and
private institutions. Ohio State Univer-
sity's minority enrollment has tripled
and the number of black students has
steadily increased since 1970. Last year
seven per cent of OSU's students were
minorities-six per cent of them black.
Ohio's total black population is 9.6 per
cent, compared to Michigan's 11.9 per
-cent. OSU's recruitment methods differ
little from those employed here:.
Financial aid is provided along with
special services to aid adjustment. The
Freshmanm Foundation Program
through which recruitment is or-
chestrated at OSU has already attrac-
ted 500 minority freshmen from within
the state.
Northwestern University sports a 14
per cent minority enrollment-11 per
cent of them are blacks. Although Nor-
thwestern is private and attracts
students from all over the country, 35
per cent of the black students come
from nearby Chicago. Special summer
programs for minorities and financial
aid packages whose minimum
allocations compare with this Univer-
sity's maximum provisions help to at-
tract minority students.
The minority enrollment at Cornell
University, which is also private, is
presently at 11.7 per cent, although
black enrollment there has dropped to a
4.5 per cent low. During the last few
years Cornell's minority enrollment
has been inching steadily upward.
No matter what kind of recruitment
-program is pursued, high attrition of
minority students demands a strong
retention program. The draft of the
University's 1978 minority enrollment
report indicates that in the 1979 class,
disenrollment ratios of blacks,
Hispanics and Native Americans are
significantly higher than those for
Asian Americans and white Americans.
Retaining minority students is the
focus of the Opportunity program, a
network of services designed to aid
students from educationally disad-
vantaged backgrounds. The education
records of students admitted under the
Opportunity Program indicate that
they have the potential to do well at the
University, although their grades and
SAT scores may be lower than standard
admission requirements. "We ap-
proach this much differently than most
institutions," comments Sjogren. "We
look at every application individually.
If we find a student who may have some
things going for him or her but the test
scores are a little low, we're generally
going to take a chance on that person.
We have what we feel is a pretty good
record of retention here, at least
through the first year."
offers its students a variety of ser-
vices including financial aid, coun-
seling, workshops, and a summer
bridge progr-am. Special classes to im-
prove English and math skills and
study groups are offered through the
Coalition of the Use of Learning Skills
Before 1977 most minority students

were in the Opportunity Program. Now,
after a redefinition of the program last
year, only educationally disadvantaged
students are admitted through it. Of the
estimated 1200 students participating in
the program, an estimated 90 per cent
are minority students. Recent studies
conducted through the program are
aimed at discovering when and why
students drop out of the University-
before graduating.
The experience of dropping out can
be difficult for anyone, but it can be
even more harmful to a minority
student. Opportunity Program
Assistant Director Gloria Perez
vehemently stresses the importance of
the program's retention goal: "It's just
too damaging to human beings to take
them from one setting and plop them {in
another and then send them home in a
year." However, most of them leave
before they are "sent" because of
academic failure. It is not even clear
that trouble with academics is the
overriding cause of dropping out. In
fact, Sjogren said 95 per cent of the
freshman class is usually eligible for
The few Opportunity Program
students interviewed said they were
pleased with it and said they found the
counselors and tutorial services very
helpful. One student noted that "As a
transfer student, I wondered where
there was help for black students and I
was directed to the Opportunity
Program. The staff really made me feel
welcome. It's a welcome place in a
university that can seem cold at
Such counseling services were part of
the commitment made by the Univer-
sity in response to BAM demands. At
the end of the BAM strike in 1970, the
movement's protests prodded the
University into taking a substantial
step toward increasing black
enrollment, when President Fleming
agreed to provide the necessary funds,
supportive services, and minority
recruitment staff to ensure ten per cent
black enrollment by 1973. Despite the
fulfillment of those commitments, the
goal for which they were fighting was
never achieved.
In- 1975, a group of minority
protestors calling themselves BAM II
staged a sit-in at the Administration
Building, demanding cultural centers
for minority students and rein-
statement of a black nursing student
expelled for academic reasons. Their
protest was disorganized and achieved
little, even though Fleming promised to
use his influence to find ways that
departments can alleviate problems of
minority students.
If minority enrollment continues to
decline, the campus of 1980 may be far
from what the original BAM strikers
envisioned. The variety of activities
planned for Black History Month this
February, however, illustrates the im-
pact that BAM did have in making the
University aware of black culture.
Awareness prompted the mobilization
of minority recruitment and retention
efforts, but reflection of those efforts in
minority figures remains to be seen.


sunddr' -ditzine

in the '70s

Owen Gleiberman

Judy Rakowsky

Stephen King
tackles the

Cashing in
on 'Animal

Cover photo by Andy Freeberg

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, February 11, 1979

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