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September 06, 1984 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 6, 1984 - Page 5
Counseling for
minority students
is available

Minority students at the University
frequently complain about feeling
isolated, alone and out of place. They
must adjust to a new environment - a
predominantly white environment. And
sometimes that can be difficult.
In order to combat these problems,
the University provides special services
geared toward helping minority studen-
ts adjust to and succeed in an un-
familiar environment.
Minority Student Services is the only
University-sponsored resource which is
staffed completely with minority per-
sonnel. The office sponsors culturally-
oriented programs for Native
American, Hispanic, Asian American
and black students throughout the year.
In addition MSS offers personal coun-
seling, advice about academic and
financial assistance and has career
fairs for minority students. The office

also keeps a listing of Detroit-area non-
University minority organizations.
The Opportunity Program/Com-
prehensive Studies Program, another
University-sponsored office, provides
academic and personal counseling to
all students. However, the program's
emphasis is on helping minority studen-
ts succeed academically at the
University. And according to Gus Pap-
pas, an opportunity Program/CSP ad-
visor, minority students are "highly
represented" in this program although
its services are available to all studen-
In addition to these services, there
are several other campus organizations
specifically for minority students.
Dorm minority peer advisors and the
Michigan Student Assembly office can
provide more information about these

After a decades struggle, blacks at the University still find harassment and feelings of isolation a problem.


gains fall short

Randy McDuffie says being a black
student at the University is like "being
a foreigner in your native land."
"I learned more about racism here in
the last year than I had in my entire
U e," said McDuffie who is the
ichigan Student Assembly's vice
president for minority affairs.
HE IS A member of a small minority
group at the University. And like many
members of this group, McDuffie com-
plains frequently about feeling isolated
and being racially harassed. The LSA
junior says he has experienced "beer
cans being thrown at me from car win-
dows, and being involved in alter-
cations just because I'm black."
Nevertheless, he has remained at the
University. McDuffie says the only
reason he stays here is to avoid
becoming another statistic, another
~percentage in the already alarmingly
high attrition rate for black students.
For more than a decade, the Univer-
sity has been struggling to improve its
reputation with black students. And for
the most part, it's efforts have been un-
sAST YEAR, only 4.9 percent of the
6 -tudents on campus were black. And
although admissions officials an-
ticipate this year's black enrollment
>,rill be slightly higher, the figures are
still dismal. They've been dismal for a
Jong time.
And fourteen years, ago, people tired

to do something about them.
Dissatisfaction with the University
culminated with the Black Action
Movement strike in March of 1970.
Students, faculty members and Univer-
sity employees who protested the
school's low black enrollment virtually
shut down the campus. Buildings were
closed, classes were cancelled and
promises were made.
IN AN EFFORT to settle the strike,
the University administrators pledged
to boost black enrollment to 10 percent
during the next three years. Trotter
House, a cultural center for black
students was also established.
However, today, fourteen years later,
few promises have been kept.
Black enrollment never reached 10
percent. It peaked at 7.6% in 1976 and
has dropped steadily every year since.
AND TROTTER House is no longer a
center solely for black students. Over
the years, it's become a multi-ethnic
center - a center which has been
without a full-time permanent director
for over a year.
Despite the promises, problems -
like harassment and isolation - still
,exist for black students.
"Something about the University of
Michigan separates people," said
Michael Sudarkasa, a senior in the
honors college.
"People think the only reason we're
here is because we're black," said Judy
Creagh, an LSA sophomore.

McDuffie says it's up to the Univer-
sity to dissolve these prejudices and
According to Yvette DeBois, an
orientation leader, the phrase "Niggers
go home," found its way onto an orien-
tation sign-up board.
McDUFFIE SAYS people bring
stereotypes with them from home. Ac-
cording to DeBois, black students
"quickly get good at ignoring
prejudice." White people "just assume
that black people know what it's like to
live on welfare and to use food stamps,
even if you come from a white suburb."
To Creagh, many white students
believe black students are here just to
fill an affirmative action quote.
"UNTIL THE University starts
changing those things, there will be a
lot of tension between blacks and
whites," he added.
Black students say this tension is
manifested by both subtle and blatant
acts - like the incidents McDuffie
describes - of racism.
Racist comments are often scrawled
on bathroom walls and bulletin boards,
students say.
AND RACIAL prejudices show up in
conversations about as frequently as
anti-black messages are found on
bathroom walls.
According to black students, sen-
timents like these force black students
to stick together.
Bethany Spotts, a 1975 business

school graduate, notes that black
students and white students rarely
mixed socially. She said she remem-
bers "white students sitting with white
students, and black students sitting
with black students in the dorm
THIS CAN be difficult for the student
who is trying to be socially accepted.
According to Creagh, the fact that
"different (ethnic) groups didn't mix
here, like in Lansing" - her home town
- made it difficult for her to adjust.
However, both black faculty mem-
bers and students recommend joining
organizations to overcome the isolation
blacks often feel at the University.
DEBOIS SAYS students should meet
as many different people as possible.
"Don't get involved only in minority
government," she said, adding that he
University acts as a mirror for society'
attitudes. And what doesn't go over big
at the University probably won't go
over big anywhere else.
But even though the feelings of
ostracism can sometimes be over-
powering, most blacks who attend the
University say they don't regret their
decision to come here.
"Part of the education process here is
meeting and interacting with different
people," McDuffie said.

Counseling can vent college pressures

Being a student at the University has its ups and
downs. Almost everyone, at one time or another, suf-
fers from anxieties over midterms, dormfood,
roommates, or simply adjusting to the world of
But even when the problems seem insurmountable,
you aren't alone. The University provides counseling
to help students cope with these and other difficulties.
Michigan Union, aids people with long range concerns
such as depression and academic pressures.
Here, psychologists, social workers, and peer
counselors help students come to terms with personal
and interpersonal concerns. Initial appointments are
available on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday
at 10 and 11a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.

76-GUIDE, a telephone counseling service, is af-
filiated with the counseling services office. GUIDE, a
per program staffed by trained student counselors,
helps students deal with short term concerns.
ACCORDING TO Evelyn Gauthier, assistant direc-
tor of counseling services, GUIDE's primary fun-
ction is "to listen and give feedback. People will use
GUIDE when their normal support system isn't
available to them," she added.
According to Gauthier, there are three types of
callers who use the GUIDE phone lines:
" Crisis situation callers, who receive refereal in-
formation or personal counseling;
" Situational problem callers include problems
such as disappointment or pressure build-up;
" Regular callers, who use GUIDE for support of-
GUIDE LINES operate from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Mon-

day through Friday. Weekend phones are in
operation from 5 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday.
Students can contact the service by dialing 76-
GUIDE. Because of budget cutbacks, GUIDE does
not operate during the spring and summer terms.
All GUIDE calls are kept confidential.
In addition to University services, students can
receive personal and social counseling at the Coun-
seling Center, located at 1007 E. Huron. Here, the
staff consists of clinical psychology graduate studen-
ts. The first consultation is free, however, a fee is
charged for testing.
University students can also receive informal
counseling through residence halls and student sup-
port groups. Being at the University can be difficult,
but there is always a place for students to turn when
they need help.


Sunday, Sept. 11, 1984
Noon - 2:00PM
(United Methodist Campus Ministry)
602 E. Huron
Corner of Huron & State
Across from the Frieze Bldg.
All U-M students welcome
For more info - Call 668-6881


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