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September 10, 1987 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-10

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The Michigan Daily, Thursday, September 10, 1987- Page 3
What to expect


Prominent minority groups

descibe fall

protest plans

Editor's note: Although there are
many more than five active
minority groups on campus, this
story deals only with the largest
and/or the most vocal. By excluding
other groups, the Daily hopes it is
not insulting any particular organ -
Minority students seemed to
have had the majority last year only
when it came to being outspoken
campus activists, translating frus-
trationand anger into solid demands
for administrative change. Last
winter acts of racism and discrim -
ination on campus culminated in
the formation of new student
groups fighting for minority rights
within the University community.
When gays, Hispanics, Asians,
and other minority groups joined
Blacks in challenging the Univer -
sity last year, their demands were
often similar- to erase stereotypes
and increase minority recruitment
and retention.
But so were their provocations:

racist attitudes and publications,
harassment, and empty adminis -
trative promises. For the first time
since the '70s it was impossible for
non-minority students to ignore
these sentiments. As one student
put it, "You cannot help but be
shocked by the (discriminatory)

"limited victory."
In fact, these groups still wait
for most of their demands to be
accepted and set into action. But
they do not wait passively. Many
activists spent the summer plan -
ning for the fall term, when the
fight for minority rights will

'Since the agreement for the (orientation) anti-racism
workshop was pushed into the margins, there is a
definite question on whether the administration will
follow up on other demands.'
- Barbara Ransby, University graduate student

Doiy rnoto
University graduate student Barbara Ransby speaks at the rededication
ceremony of the Free South Africa Coordinating Committee's anti-
Apartheid shanty on the Diag.
Ilansby speaks
out on campus

incidents. You cannot help but
notice the protests."
B UT while lists of demands
were presented to University
President Harold Shapiro and the
Board of Regents by at least four
minority groups, the conclusion of
winter term brought what Black
activist Barbara Ransby called a

Here is a summary of the accom -
plishments and plans of five
minority groups:
The United' Coalition Against
Racism (UCAR) was formed early
last February in response to racist
incidents including fliers circulated
in. several residence halls. In

addition to protesting racism
through rallies, teach-ins, and a sit-
in at the Fleming administration
building, UCAR demonstrators pre -
sented the administration with 12
demands in March.
AND while the administration
agreed to establish a vice provost of
minority affairs position and in -
crease Black enrollment, other de -
mands - including an orientation
workshop on racism and tuition
waivers for disadvantaged minority
students - remain unmet.
Pursuing those initial 12
demands, UCAR leader Ransby
said, will be the group's immediate
fall term goal.
"Since the agreement for the
(orientation) anti-racism workshop
was pushed into the margins, there
is a definite question on whether the
administration will follow up on
other demands," she said.
r Yet she added that UCAR's
activism shouldn't mislead new
students. "Those who have only
seen us in the media images might
* have the wrong idea . . .having
rallies is not all we do," Ransby
said. UCAR will try to set an "anti-
racist agenda" for the campus by
being "proactive" as well as
U C A R also plans to devote
time to educating students about
racism and minority culture in order
to demonstrate "that not everything
we do has to be confrontational,"
she said.
The Black Action Movement
(BAM) III, also instrumental in
instigating last winter's adminis -
trative resolutions to increase min -
ority enrollment, staged its own
pickets, rallies, strikes, and boy -
cotts in trying to implement their
11 demands - including a $35,000
See UNMET, Page 6

To recognize University graduate
student Barbara Ransby as the
prominent leader of what she calls
"the new student activist move -
ment" is to contradict her philo -
sophy of grassroots, multi-level
leadership: "I haven't aspired to be a
leader, and I don't like the word
'hero'," she said.
But it is hard to deny that in
applying her sense of practicality
and optimism to the fight against
racism, Ransby has acquired a
widely accepted reputation as a
woman who epitomizes today's
spirit of student activism.
Ransby's experience as an acti -
vist forms a lengthy resume. Since
she arrived on campus as a
Columbia University graduate in
1984, Ransby's name has appeared
at the center of nearly every study
group, workshop, and campaign to
'ombat racism. Her experience on
the steering committee of Colum-
bia's Coalition for a Free South
'Africa led her in 1985 to found the
University's Free South Africa
Coordinating Committee (FSACC)
with University graduate student
,Hector Delgado.
SHE HAS written numerous
articles, including a racism column
in the Ann Arbor news monthly
Agenda, and was the only student
speaker at last April's Washington
D.C. National Mobilization Again -
st U.S. Foreign Policy in South
Africa and Central America - an
event attended by over 250,000
But the majority of University
students came to know Ransby last
year through her work as a leader of
the United Coalition Against
Racism (UCAR), a group formed to
protest campus racism.
For Ransby, UCAR represents
not only an activist group of
"tremendous potential," but an
influential one as well. At least
four of the minority groups that
.formed last winter credit UCAR's
protests as their inspiration.
"Freedom is one of those
contagious notions - once people
start complaining it spills over
until other groups start to see a
need for doing the same things, "
Ransby said. "Some people degrade
this bandwagon effect, but I like to
think it legitimizes UCAR."
RANSBY sees her anti-racism
efforts as representative of a nat -
ional trend in student activism - a
new student movement with racism
as its focal point - evident in the
"pretty militant" responses to racist
attacks on campuses across the
"Racism is something that all
progressive activists are dealing
with right now as racism is
connected to most progressive
issues - Central America, South
America - both of these are racist
foreign policies that students and
others are involved in opposing,"
she said.
T T" A) Dc nnpnka 10oA D ne,,

contributions. This (new move -
ment) is going to be different from
the '60s, but getting students react -
ivated and re-educated are some
hopeful signs," she said.
RANSBY was initially inspir -
ed to fight racism by personal
experience. She grew up in a Black,
working class Detroit neighborhood
and said the "disparity between the
way my parents lived and a lot of
middle class people lived didn't
seem to be very fair."
But her individual efforts to
"change society" by doing social
work for five years after high
school proved frustrating, event -
ually convincing Ransby to return
to school to study history, "the
study of change, to learn how to
change things."
At the University she has
continued studying history while
also teaching classes, caring for her
three-year-old son, Jason, conduc -
ting research for the Center for
Afro-American Studies, and, of
course, leading activist groups.
IN TWO years she hopes to
complete a dissertation on the
women of the civil rights move -
ment, women - particularly Ella
Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer -
who Ransby calls "tremendous
examples, spiritual mentors who
were fearless and on the right side."
Baker's philosophy of grassroots
leadership has been read aloud at
UCAR meetings, and Ransby said,
"UCAR empowers people to give
leadership on all levels, as should
happen in all organizations."
Reluctant to offer personal
advice to other student activists,
Ransby said, "I'm afraid of
personalizing our cause and efforts."
Ransby does approach her anti-
racist work in a manner both
practical and aggressive.
Though admitting that large
scale rallies are the prominent form
of campus protest, she advocates
that students work for their own
beliefs as a lifelong form of
"EVEN when students hear
racist remarks in class.. .they have
to speak up when they know those
things are wrong. If that challenges
a professor, well, that's what it
means," she said.
She also said that not only
should students treat political
involvement as educational and
productive, but "they have to accept
struggle as a lifelong choice as
opposed to a semester fling."
But even with all the success
that UCAR has had, Ransby is still
occasionally frustrated. She cited
the administration's failure to hold
anti-racist workshops during sum -
mer orientation as an example.
"What, were they just trying to
shut us up?" she asked.

'Innovative' code protests planned

A statewide referendum that
would establish a student regent at
each of Michigan's public univer -
sities and a surprise, "innovative
plan to get more people visually
and physically involved" in pro -
testing a code of non-academic
conduct are among the fall tactics
planned to prevent the University
from implementing a code, ac -
cording to Mike Phillips, chair of
the Michigan Student Assembly's
(MS A) Student Rights Committee.
Phillips, an LSA senior, said
that a resurgence of student protest
against a code in the fall is crucial
to prevent the University's Board of
Regents from overuling a regental
bylaw allowing students to veto
code proposals and implementing a
code - which would set up a
University court system to punish
with academic sanctions offenders
of a code - without student
Last year a student poll showed
that 88 percent of students oppose a
code, fearing that it would allow
protests and free speech to be
punishable by suspension or
expulsion. But although Phillips
calls it "the only issue that
University students are really united
on," fewer students attended code
demonstrations last year than were
hoped for. An anti-code rally at the

end of winter term produced a
disappointing turnout.
In the past student opposition
has prevented a code. University
President Harold Shapiro in 1984
created the University Council -
composed of students, faculty , and
staff- to write a code only after
vigorous student protest defeated
numerous other code drafts.
Phillips hopes to collect enough
signatures in the fall to place a
referendum for student regents -
changing Article Eight of the
Michigan Constitution - on the
November 1988 ballot.

"A student on the Board of
Regents would allow multilateral
decision making...and prevent the
implementation of a code," Phillips
Phillips would not elaborate on
his "innovative" fall plans for fall
protests, saying "if you were
protesting this thing for three years
you'd get tired of doing the same
old things, too."
MSA President Ken Weine said
that the usual "no-code" rallies,
forums, and educational residence
hall workshops will also continue
in the fall.

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