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September 04, 1986 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

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Page 14 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1986
landela given


Three hours before the University's official commen-
cement ceremony in Michigan Stadium last May, suppor-
ters of Nelson Mandela gathered on the Diag to honor the
jailed South African activist.
After an angry speech by Congressman George
Crockett (D-Michigan), Mandela was awarded an unof-
ficial honorary "Doctor of Human Letters," and anti-
apartheid activists vowed to continue pressing the
University this fall to honor Mandela.
Mandela was refused a University honorary degree last
spring, largely because of a Board of Regents' policy that
prohibits granting the honor to those who cannot attend
the University's commencement ceremony.
Thabi Nyide of Mandela's South African revolutionary,
group, the African National Congress, accepted a plaque
in Mandela's absence on the steps of the graduate library.
Congressman assails policy
In his speech, Crockett said "the University of Michigan
cannot afford to hide behind outdated rules and
regulations when issues of such importance are
He added that it was doubtful that Mandela's "uncon-
scionable imprisonment was seized on as a justification
for a refusal to honor him."
Members of the regents have said the granting of
honorary degrees is considered merely an embellishment

of the commencement ceremony, and asserted that the
University should stay away from taking political stan-
The board, though, ordered a review of the University's
honorary degrees policy, including the controversial by-
law and whether to continue giving honorary degrees at
all. FSACC to continue pressure
Hector Delgado, a member of the anti-apartheid Free
South Africa Coordinating Committee on Campus,
pledged to continue pressuring the University to honor
Mandela, saying, "in September, we'll pick up where we
left off."
After accepting the plaque, Nyide said a University
degree would have represented a statement of world
opinion and would have had a positive effect, because "the
South African government cannot stand alone."
Barbara Ransby, a leader of FSACC, said she "hopes at
least the University feels embarrased and perhaps move
to reflect on the way they handled the matter."
FSACC criticized the University's administration for
acting in "bad faith," by not pointing out the by-law when
Mandela was first nominated in October. Mandela's sup-
porters say they didn't learn of the by-law until a meeting
with University Vice President for Government Relations
Richard Kennedy in April.
University President Harold Shapiro has said he
thought FSACC was aware of the by-law.


Daily Photo by ANDI SCHI -IBER

Sinc newruls forbid alcohol at commencement, these happy grads inbibe outside Michigan Stadium before
the ceremony.
Celebrations at eommnenement4

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Despite threats of tight security and.
possible frisking, champagne bottles
and flying corks were in abundance at
the University's commencement
exercises in Michigan Stadium last
In fact, security was quite lenient.
University administrators had.
promised that campus security of-
ficerA would confiscate any alcoholic
or carbonated beverages. They had
issued an edict forbidding such
beverages after a "commencement
committee," formed last fall, has
tried to prevent the rowdiness that
characterized last year's ceremony.
Last May, Gov. James Blanchard's
speech was interupted with popping
champagne corks.

This year's ceremony was more
controlled, according to Leo Heatley,
director or campus safety. "1985 was
more chaotic. Last year, there was
more alcohol and hassling of guests,"
he said.
Campus security officers patrolled
the festivities and forbadenanyone
with visible alcohol to enter the
stadium. "Most people complied and
happily drank in the parking lot in-
stead," Heatley said.
Resourceful students smuggled in
alcohol anyway. Todd Magazine
managed to conceal a flask full of
vodka in his pants.
Pete Smith, a University security
officer, felt things proceeded in an or-
derly fashion and, only half-seriously,
suggested that 1986 grads were "more

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mature" than their predecessors.
A good time
Maturity aside, this year's
graduates were out to have a good
David McDade, an architecture
student who spent the last fifty-two
hours before graduation working in
his studio, was excited about finally
geting to walk into the stadium
through the east tunnel that he has
seen countless football players ruri
out of during the past four years.
Elsewhere, in true Michigan
scalper tradition, economics major
John Fritchey waved his admittance
tickets in the air and shouted, "Who
needs them? I've got a pair."
Graduate Shelly Remen said, "I
feel like I'm going to a fun football
game but this time in a hefty bag." 4
Jennifer Graham, a theater major,
wore a multi-colored wig of streamers
under her cap.
"I'm going to New York to become
an acteress or starve in the gutter. By
the way, the hair is natural," she said.
Shapiro speaks
University President Harold
Shapiro, who gave the opening
remarks, asked the audience not to
think of the class of 1986 collectively,
but to consider it as a series of in-
dividual efforts and achievements. He
asked the graduates to be sensitive to
the abundance of opportuntiy before
them and "to the future of humanity
itself. "
United Nations Secretary-general
Javier Perez di Cuellar, who received
an honorary degree from University
Regent Sarah Power (D-Ann Arbor),
was the main speaker at the commen-
He said he was inclined to speak of
the "golden promise" of the world
rather than its problems, but that the
problems must be discussed.
He concluded by encouraging the
graduates to "look with fresh, unpred-
judiced eyes for the solutions to the
great problems of our time.
Victoria Bald, a political science
major, felt that Perez de Cuellar's
speech was pessimistic and inap-
propriate for a college graduation.
Although she agreed that peace is in-
deed a fragile and important topic she
felt that his speech 'was too media-


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