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March 04, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-04

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Page 4

Wednesday, March 4, 1987

The Michigan Daily

Se 541Mcbdgan UaQlV
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCVII, tJo. 104

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.


campus radio station WJJX has
brought much publicity and
attention to the problem of racism
on campus. Television, University
administrators, and state legislators
have been quick to condemn what
was a most blatant and repugnant
act of racism.
University President Harold
Shapiro issued a special statement
saying that he was, "appalled to
discover that in the midst of all the
exciting thirngs that have been
going on at the University, several
incidents of overt racism have also
occurred." That's fine; moral
condemnations from the top are
necessary and expected, (although
they were conspicuously absent
immediately after the Couzens
But what is perhaps more
appalling is the low enrollment of
black students on campus (5.3
percent this year), a full 17 years
after the administration promised to
attain ten percent enrollment.
What is appalling is that the
administration has moved at a
snail's pace in naming a
replacement for Associate Vice-
President in charge of minority
affairs, Niara Sudarkasa, who
announced her leaving in October.
Only recently has a search
committee been formed.
The inadequacy of financial,
academic, and social support
services for minority students is
appalling. The University did admit
a record number of black
freshpersons this year, but this
does no good if ineffective
retention efforts force most of these
students to leave the University.
Forty percent of the 1979 black
"freshperson class had left the
1University without degrees as of
1985, compared to the 22.4 percent
'mark for majority students. And
where is the report on
undergraduate retention that the
wAdministration promised by 1985?
Certainly the Administration
cannot directly control some racial
and economic obstacles. For
example, rigid federal guidelines
determine the allocation of aid.
Still, students can not help but
wonder if funds within the
University could not be
systematically reallocated to attack
this problem, especially in light of
all the "exciting things that have
been going on at the University."
Granted, the University has a
number of programs and offices
like the Comprehensive Studies
Opportunity Program and the
Office of Minority Student Services
which have been working

igently to assist minority
dents. But the poor retention
e and incidents of overt racism
icate that these programs need to
expanded and improved.
k major step in the right
ection is the administration's
ent announcement of the one-
lion dollar minority initiative,
igned to remedy racial and
tural problems at the University.
t only a few programs within the
:iative, namely the staff training
>gram on identifying and
tering open cultural and racial
tudes, have gone beyond the
-a stage.
The administration has
llenged students to submit ideas
I suggestions for the initiative,
I while student input is vital (and
ming), ultimately it is the
ministration which must approve
Simplement such policies.
Significantly, the administration
depending upon the Senate
visory Committee on University
fairs (SACUA) to submit ideas
m the faculty, but none of the
SACUA members are black.
The decisions made by the
ninistration of the University
atly affect the student life of the
npus, so we have to ask where
'the University agenda do
tural, racial, and gender
ersity lie? We often hear that
se values are foremost in the
nds of the administration, but
ardless of good intentions and
tivations, actions speak louder
n words.
Perhaps the Office of the
sident simply does not

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Sevransk regrts WJJ racist program


understand the complexities of the
problem and perhaps the disc
jockey at WJJX did not understand
the ramifications of his actions, but
ignorance has always been a poor
excuse for racism.
It is much too early to tell how
effective this new initiative will be,
but it is easy to see what the
problems and possible solutions
are right now - they have existed
here and in the entire society for
many years. Many social
scientists, including many of the
University's own people, have
studied the problems minority
college students experience.
It's time for action now - a
concrete, systematic commitment,
rather than a short-term, placating
response. For more than 200 years
this country spent considerable
time, money, and energy to repress
its minority citizens; we must put
an equal amount of financial and
human resources to correct the
mistakes of our not too distant

To the Daily:
I sincerely apologize for the
racial jokes I allowed to be
made on the Tenacious Slack
radio show of February 4,
broadcast over WJJX. I
recognize now that it was my
poor judgment and poor taste
alone that were to blame for
this offensive incident. I
deeply regret not hanging up
on the phone-in callers when
they began their racial slurs. I
should not have become a party
to their racism by encouraging
Again, however, I claim
Expel Slack
To The Daily:
As a recent University of
Michigan graduate, I must
commend WJJX for firing Ted
Sevransky, the ex-student
employee responsible for racist
jokes being aired on February
4. However, more direct action
should be taken against Mr.
Sevransky himself, not against
WJJX. WJJX, which has
enjoyed a respectable reputation
up until now, should not have
to suffer because of the actions
of one racist employee.
Instead of indefinitely closing
WJJX, Ted should be expelled
from the University of
Michigan. This way,
University officials would be
making a stronger statement
that overt racism on the
University campus will not be
tolerated. Expulsion from a
fine university is a much more
serious consequence than being
fired from a student job. If Ted
Sevransky is expelled, maybe
other racist students will think
twice before distributing racist
fliers, airing racist jokes, or
performing any other type of
racist acts on University
-Adrienne Collins
February 20
Confront racism
To The Daily:
I think in view of the tragic
racial incidents that have been
occurring on the campus of the
University of Michigan,
something should be done to
let the perpetrators know this
is absolutely unacceptable.
Their anti-black activities are
too serious to he ignored hv

responsibility for my actions
and regret that they have
exacerbated the serious problem
of racism that exists on
campus and in society. The
comments that were made on
the show offended many people
- they should have offended
I recognize the hypocrisy in
my urging others to be more
sensitive to racism, yet all I
can do now is encourage
campus leaders to fight racism

with all the means at their
disposal. I hope that students
and administrators are able to
educate community members
to prevent such instances from
WJJX itself does not deserve
the blame for my mistakes.
The station never expected that
I would do a show like the one
that was broadcast. Had they
known, they would have fired
me sooner. WJJX should not
take the responsibility for the

Non-campus issues should concern MSAA

mistakes that I, as an
individual, committed.
I understand that some
people in the University
community have called for me-
to be severely punished. TO
them I can only say that I aim
very, very sorry. I have learned
much about myself and about
racial attitudes from this
incident. I know that I will be
more sensitive to racism in afl
its forms in the future.
-Ted Sevransk*
March 2

To The Daily:
What should be the role of
MSA in evaluating issues that
do not directly affect the
University community? This
question has recently become
an issue of great concern on
our campus. Unfortunately, it
has been plagued by a great
deal of misinformation.
The initial premise, that
there are certain issues that are
of no concern to students and
therefore should not be
discussed by the Michigan
Student Assembly, is one that
I have difficulty accepting. I
cannot delineate between what
falls into the realm of student
issues, and what is superfluous
and hence taboo.
Should MSA draw the line
between University issues and
local issues? Should we pretend
that rape and robbery are issues
that do not fall within our
jurisdiction? Should MSA not
advocate improved
streetlighting in Ann Arbor
because there are local
representatives of the City
Council that will represent the
student body as Ann Arbor
residents? Further, should the
assembly ignore the housing
crunch and the inflated prices in
off campus housing in Ann
Arbor? Should we appeal only
to the University to improve
conditions? In am inclined to
believe that these are just the
issues with which a student
assembly should be involved.
Perhaps we should draw the
line between local affairs and
state affairs. The assemble
should not represent University
students in Lansing. MSA
should not applaud Governor
Blanchard when he delegates
increasing funds to the
University. Nor should we
campaign for students rights,

student government to
evaluate, as they do not reflect
what members of the assembly
were elected to consider? These
very issues are of immediate
concern to every student at
Michigan. Articulating and
defending the rights of our
student body is the
responsibility of its student
government. It is well within
the duties of MSA to express
distaste for an administration
that continuously attempts to
worsen the plight of our
constituents by proposing
reductions in already
unacceptably low levels of
financial aid to students.
Finally, should MS A
remove from issues of
international concern? Should
MSA stray away from
Nicaragua because there is no
clear consensus of student
opinion on this issue?
(Students were not affected by
the administration's decision
about Vietnam in the 1960's.)
It is the business of a body
elected to represent students to
advocate policies consistent

with the best interests of the
students. A government that
feels compelled to further the
cause of democracy throughout
the world must be reminded
that it is not acceptable to # o
so at the cost of our education
The Michigan Student
Assembly is the appropriate
forum for these issues to be
discussed. MSA is the one
opportunity that students of
our University community
have to speak in a strong, firm
and united voice. If the
question is one of clear
consensus among the student
body, then students should be
made aware of the political
inclinations of their ,
prospective representatives
during elections.
Jurisdiction should not be
the question. The assembly
speaks for the student body. If
we do not take a stand to
protect our own rights, no one
else will defend us.
-Gary Perlman
LSA Representative
February 15


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. ,

Winter editorial wastes ink

I___ --




To the Daily:
I am a sophomore and have
been reading the Daily for the
past two years. While I often
disagree with the editorials
published, I have never been
ashamed of them. On February
11, 1987 I was appalled. The
editorial entitled "Winter a
Capitalist Plot" was one of the
most ridiculous attempts at
journalism I have come across.
To suggest that Winter is an
"institution" is absurd. If this
piece was an attempt at satire, I
can't help but feel ashamed to
be associated with the same
University from which your

teachers told me that if I did
not have anything relevant to
add to a conversation, I should;
remain quiet. Perhaps you
should heed this advice. If your'
Editorial Board cannot find
anything worth printing, then4
perhaps you could sell the
space to an advertiser. In this
particular issue, I noticed that
six of the nine pages were:
devoted almost exclusively fore
that purpose. I realize that:
criticizing the Reagan ad,
ministration's policies every-
day can be exhausting, however
I'm sure you could find
something more worthwhile to.



~I~l'~ .

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