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December 13, 1972 - Image 17

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-12-13
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Wednesday, December 13, 1972

Wednesday, December 13 1972


My dear faculty-
and fellow students

"Most of these kids come from
all black high schools... they get
books for their libraries when
the wh ite schools a re f in ished
with them."

(Continued from Page 7)
tically referred to as separate
but equal.
It was to be a place of higher
education for blacks, and to this
day virtually no whites attend
the school.
Like all other institutions of
the separate but equal era, South-
ern lived up to only half of the
label. It was separate, all right,
but certainly not equal. Money
was simply not put into the black
school system, and the education
offered there suffered as a con-
Southern today fits right into
this classic mold. Its students
are largely lower and middle-
class blacks from the nearby
Louisiana and Mississitmi area.
According to Etta Hearne, an
attorney closely connected with
the university, Southern students
are no strangers to to inferior
"Most of these kids come from
all black high schools," Hearne
comments. "The only time the
schools get books for their li-
braries is when the white schools
get finished with them."
The neighborhood around the
school is consistent with this pic-
ture of the poor southerner. The
homes are run-down and in des-
perate need of painting. While
the appearance of the campus it-
self is relatively pleasant, one
can not escape the depression
creeping around its edges.

LSU, the white institution in
ILouisiana, is also located in the
caiptal city of Baton Rouge, but
there the similarity ends. For
LSU is the type of picturesque
southern campus Robert E. Lee
would have been proud to attend.
Its plantation-like setting, and
relatively wealthy student body
contrast sharply with anything
one is likely to see at Southern.
LSU students who don't live in
the many plush fraternities and
sororities that surround the cam-
pus, reside in a garish apartment
complex called Tigerland. The
congregation of two-floor apart-
ment buildings, decorated in the
all too common ugly modern
style of arcihtecture, is built
on streets named after famous
LSU athletes.
Each of the apartments are
laid out around courtyards with
built-in swimming pools while a
number of shiny new cars crowd
the parking lots.
The education at LSU, while
not on a par with northern state
institutions, it is the best to be
had in Louisiana. Through a
series of constitutional guaran-
tees more money is spent per
pupil than in any of the black
schools. Educators at LSU con-
cede that comparing the school
to Southern is like talking about
day and night.
A degree from LSU is also a
virtual necessity for any white
politician in Louisiana, and when

they reach the statehouse, the
politicians don't forget the old
alma mater.
The coup de grace of the sepa-
rate but equal system, however
can be seen in the governing
structure of the two schools.
While Southern is controled by
the elected State Board of Edu-
cation, LSU is run by a Board
of Regents appointed by the
In an attempt to correct these
inequities, the NAACP, along
with a number of liberal white
organizations has been calling
for a merger of the two systems.
"The only way blacks are go-
ing to get the same money for
education as whites, argues

Baton Rouge, Nov. 16
Murphy Bell, "is when they go
to the same schools." Bell is a
black attorney in Baton Rouge
who has argued before the state
legislature on the question of
unequal funding.
"Like childbirth," Bell con-
Opposition to the merger na-
turally exists in parts of the
white community, but perhaps
unexpectedly, in the black com-
munity as well. Young blacks, in
particular, are vehemently op-
posed to any kind of merger.
"When two unequals merge,
one of them gets submerged,"
says Johnson. "In this case that
means blacks."
Merger in a sense then repre-
sents a step backward for South-
ern students. They see Southern,
the largest black university in
America, as an ideal place for
developing a strong black con-
sciousness. Their fight against
Netterville is in large part based
on his failure to work towards
that end.
The dilemma then is an ob-
vious one. As an all black uni-
versity, Southern will never get
the funds it needs to be a truly
effective educational institution.

Separate but equal has never
and probably will never exist.
tinues, "the process will be pain-
ful and difficult, but it is abso-
lutely necessary."
But if it merges with LSU, it
will be forced to sacrifice some
of its "blackness" for educa-
tional opportunity.
The choice is a difficult one
and the black community is di-
vided on the question, largely
along generational lines. To older
blacks, merger means equality.
To their children, it means sur-
With such fundamental question
left unresolved, it seems likely
that Governor Edwards can ex-
pect trouble at Southern no mat-
ter when he decides to reopen
the school.
The new generation of south-
ern blacks is simply not willing
to tolerate the inferior conditions
that exist at all black schools.
Neither are they willing to stand
by and let whites or "black pup-
pets" control their education.
Like Thursday morning, the
conclusion to the story of south-
ern black education may not be
written for some time to come.

IN A FEW DAYS, I, like many
of you who read this, will be
participating in that dubious ad-
venture known as final examina-
tions. Bravo. Some of us, shar-
ing that transient identity of stu-
denthood, will be on the receiv-
ing' end: we'll exist with precious
little sleep, spend hours memor-
izing tomes we'll undoubtedly
soon forget exist (but those tri-
via we figure might give us an
edge when it comes to grading,
stay indoors all day and, in gen-
eral, do just about all that one
would reasonably suppose neces-
sary to completely ruin our
health. Others, who I also hope
are now reading, will play the
more sinister role: the faculty.
Some, having maintained
straight-faced sobriety during the
preceeding months of instruction
(presumably because of the seri-
ous nature of their calling), sud-
denly become terribly engaging,
with a stream of bon mots that
must speak of their satisfaction
at having taught us so much. I
scribble something that seems
vaguely profound at the moment
and spend the rest of the holiday
wondering, as the entire assemb-
lage deserts (if you'll pardon the
expression) the scene of the
Now such impressions may in
fact be illusory (lack of sleep has
been known to play such tricks)
and even if not, it seems a par-
ticularly inopportune time of the
year to bring up the faults of a
system which we realize is more
than a bit dehumanizing here.
After all, once wedeterminehthat
a university is dehumanized,
what can be done? Presumably,
the bureaucracy and regulations
exist from the number of young
people wanting to receive an edu-
cation here who have parents or
some governmental benefactor
willing to pay the cost. There is,
as economics teaches, a trade off
here: some non-educational un-
pleasantness for the education
(and certification) of a "good
I repeat, I don't want to damp-

en anyone's holiday cheer or op-
pose exams outright, but rather
offer some thoughts for the com-
mitted (or soon to be commit-
ted!) student and our erstwhile
faculty. Faculty (it is only fit-
ting) comes first:1
It is four years since I came
under your ageis of educational
supervision. These years, if not
immediately and concretely pro-
ductive, have at least been stim-
ulating. A good portion of you
are undeniably brilliant fellows
(only once have I had a woman
for a professor), and within that
group are many of you who in -
fact care and are able teachers.
I salute you and consider myself
fortunate to have discovered and
attended many of these classes.
Yet I only wonder why we have
not become better acquainted.
You often seem to run away right
after class, just when I have
questions to ask and problems to
explore. Most of you are seldom
in your office, or are there at the
precise moment I'm supposed to
be in one of your colleague's lec-
tures. You don't usually live
nearby, I seldom see you at any
of the coffee hours, and I still
confess to a feeling of some in-
timidation at the prospect of call-
ing the more well-known among
you at home. I am surely sym-
pathetic to your desire to leave
the "job"-God knows I have
often similar sentiments. It's just
that I can't help rebelling at the
thought that I must prove my-
self worthy of talking to a man
whom I and the State of Michi-
gan have hired to aid in my
learning. No, it is not an employ-
er-employe advantage that I seek
(for students it probably can't
exist in fact anyway) but the
freedom of exchange that must
occur when people gather to fur-
ther their knowledge. If I may
intrude into the area of your own
ethics, too often you seem as
totally at the mercy of the "pow-
ers that be" in your own depart-
ment as I am of your power at
graduating time. A couple of
years ago, I would probably have
called this intolerable, but now,
having tolerated it quite well for

some time, I will simply ask for
suggestions on how to remove its
I make these statements in the
spirit and with the knowledge
that a rejoinder against myself
and my fellow students is equal-
ly deserving. Like Robben Flem-
ing, I too am astonished at how
much the campus mood has
changed in the past five years,
though I don't see it solely as a
positive growth from arrogant
activism to cooperation that he
presumably does. Though our
activism of those days may have
been propelled by considerable
shortsightedness, behind it was
a concern almost totally absent
in this year's student. I am not
hashing out politics here, just
awareness. Reform, even where
it's needed, has become passe,
and today's "Joe College" con-
centrates on "giving the prof
what he likes" irrespective of the
educational value in doing so.
The almighty grade point seems
to have found a new host of ad-
vocates as the economic drought
makes dutifully fulfilling B.A.
and M.A. requisites in any field
no guarantee of employment. It
seems this competition has forc-
ed us to acquiesce to certain
"facts of life" in the University
-to adopt a more or less amoral
stance appropros what is requir-
ed for academic success.
And this, is a shame, for a cri-
tical outlook toward our Univer-
sity is being lost. There is noth-
ing intrinsically damaging in tak-
ing tests, receiving grades, or
competition in general-quite the
opposite. But when people are
propelled into greater competi-
tion in an insecure time, the
means continually threaten to
subvert the ends.
This may be a problem only
an Institute for Social Research
can handle, but as I prepare to
rush off to the UGLI for another
round, I must have faith that we,
dear faculty and fellow students,
can do more to humanize our en-
vironment and increase our
learning than our current experi-
ence would indicate.

The Knixc
by E
(with apologies to Gec
A Knix ther was, ar
That fro the tyme the
To tricken out, he lov
Untrouthe, dishonour,
Ful wylie was he in hi
And thereto hadde he
as wel for cristendom
With everie horror in
Fro losses three he
And caused soone a so
Above alle nacions in
He raysed the coste o:
No Cristen man so aw
Though eighte yeres t
In making stryf of
Cyties dyen, men upor
Withouten j obbes, wer
Reprecions of alle miu
And evermore he cr
And though that he w
If wysdom true of tric
Who nevere yet no vile
He mayde it parfit cle
This trickie, swarthie,

Functional and Fashionable
" Brevitt
" Sandler
s Goodrich
* Olof Daughters
. also HIKING BOOTS by
* Raichle
e Bass
e Bass
* Raichle
*Red Wing 5
at 5

/ ,. t,
---., j

The White Aztec
by Linda Parker Silverman
they have dipped his body in blue
and streaked white
paint down his cheeks
preparing him for
he is tied to a pole
and the fire drops its plumes
across his face
covering the warrior with
its feathers and beak
as he falls into the throat
of god
the white face
goes away at last
the eyes go at last
after staring at the earth
where his feet had been
at last the priests
have found someone
sweet to love
who caught deer with yarn
and let them go by dark
for he would not make
needles out of their bones
or cradles out of their skin

Fihare fun, relaxing, a joy to anyone. Enjoy the WORLD'S S
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11!L, 17



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