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September 10, 1987 - Image 30

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

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Page 6-The Michigan Daily, Thursday, September 10, 1987



played a key role in

'60s demonstrations

The Vietnam War, the civil
rights movement, and classified re -
search - these are just a few of the
issues University students vigor -
ously protested during the late '60s
and early '70s, a time when the
University was considered a hotbed
for social and political activism.
In fact, much of the activism
present at the University today has
roots that date back as far as 25
Last April, the leaders of the
Black Action Movement (BAM) III
and the United Coalition Against
Racism (UCAR) spearheaded a well
supported stand against racism that
attempted to bring about improved
conditions for minority students and
prompted new commitments from
the University to increase minority
BUT BAM's history began in
March 1970 when Black as well as
white students and faculty members
staged a 10-day boycott of classes
in an effort to make the University
aware of low Black enrollment.
By last fall, the University still
had not met the enrollment goal,
and this, along with a series of
racial incidents directed at Blacks,
provoked the resurgence of BAM as
well as the inception of UCAR.
Aside from fighting racial
injustice, past student groups also
fought social and political injustice.
Probably the nation's most
prominent student protest group
during the '60s was Students for a

Democratic Society (SDS), an
organization founded by University
students. The group formed prior to
the Vietnam war in an effort to
fight the hypocrisy members saw in
American society.
SDS, which at its inception
consisted of a few middle to upper
class white males, expressed its
dissatisfaction with American val -
ues through the Port Huron State -
ment which condemned the racial
and social inequality, bureaucracy,
militarism, and imperialism of the
United States.
THE statement is considered
one of the most important docu -
ments of the '60s since it reflected
the discontent festering on
campuses across the country.
SDS wasn't all talk. Members
such as University alumnus Tom
Hayden, now a California legi -
slator, went to live in Black com -
munities to experience the con -
ditions there and relate them to
others. In addition, SDS sponsored
a nation-wide project based in Ann
Arbor to provide legal counseling
and financial resources for impov -
erished Americans to encourage
them to seek political and economic
SDS sought to form other
chapters at college campuses around
the country, but nation-wide expan -
sion didn't take off until unrest over
U.S. involvement in Vietnam
boosted national interest in the
In 1965, SDS organized the first

of many anti-war rallies in
Washington D.C. The demon -
stration attracted 25,000 partic -
ipants, a turnout which astonished
both group members and observers.
SDS also formed support groups
for draft resisters.
IN 1964 there were about 12
chapters of SDS , only half of
which were active, but by Decem -
ber of 1966, SDS boasted 265
chapters nation-wide.
University faculty members also
took a role in the anti-war
movement. In March 1965, 250
faculty members, including
University President Harold Shapiro
- an economic professor at the
time - sponsored a teach-in to
educate the public about U.S.
involvement in Vietnam and to
pressure the government to end it.
3,000 students crowded the Angell
Hall auditoriums for the all-night
forum, which featured expert
speakers from around the nation.
The success of the teach-in
prompted faculty members from
other universities to hold similar
sessions that year. Teach-ins were
later adopted by various campus
groups to discuss issues such as
abortion ecology.
During the Vietnam war,
students discovered that the
University was contributing to the
war effort through weapons research
on campus. Ever since then
students have voiced their dis -
pleasure with University military
research. One of the most contro -
versial military research issues was
See CURRENT, Page 7

Daily Photo by JOHN MUNSON
Meese visits campus
Students protest U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese's visit to the University last January to meet with
former President and alumnus Gerald Ford. Students threw snowballs and eggs at Meese and Ford as they
were leaving the Law Quad.

The State Street
Area Merchants

LW chtef
We specialize in serving traditional American breakfasts.
We also serve the following:

Flemin saw
Editor's note: Although former
University President Robben
Fleming - who led the University
through the turbulent late '60s and
early '70s - now deals mainly
with the pressures of a retired Law
School professor, he can still recall
the tensions and hardships of his
presidential tenure at, then, one of
the nation's more radical schools.
Daily: You came to the
University in 1967?
Fleming: I came in the fall of
1967. As a matter of fact when I
was introduced, there was a press
conference at which there was one
activist who was quite disruptive,
Fleming and then, of course, (the protesting)
.. .many criticized his style. kept on thereafter.
D: So, that set the tone for what

you were in for as president?
F: Yes.
D: Can you describe the methods
with which you handled the
protesting on campus?
F: Well, I had been moon-
lighting all the years that I was a
professor as a labor mediator-
arbitrator in industrial disputes. And
often in those disputes there would
be vigorous confrontations between
labor and management. I have
learned from that that you were
always better to let people say what
they want to say even though, at
the time, it appears to be quite
disruptive. If you try to stop, it
things only get worse.
So my philosophy, in brief,
about (campus activism) was that
you tried to let people of all stripes

say anything they wanted to, you
held yourself open to discuss things
with people of all stripes any time
they wanted to, that you avoided
using the police, certainly avoided
using the national guard, and that
you tried to avoid using any tear
gas or things of that kind because if
you didn't, the end result was that
you alienated more people than you
D: Many people feel that your
method of handling demonstrations
was one of the reasons they didn't
get out of hand. Would you agree
with that?
F: Well, obviously I thought
that was the way to do it, or I
wouldn't have done it that way.
Whether or not it was successful is
See FLEMING, Page 8

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(Continued from Page 3)
Black Student Union budget granted.
by the administration. But like
UCAR, BAM leaders said "the
resolutions did not mark the end of
their work."
The Lesbian and Gay Rights on
Campus group (LaGROC), also

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jazz, tap,
and ballroom.

formed last winter, presented a list
of 12 proposals to President
Shapiro in March.
"We couldn't tolerate being
treated as if we're not important and
we don't deserve rights," said Blane
McLane, a LaGROC spokesperson
and University employee. He added
their proposals coincided with the
BAM and UCAR demands because
"we were being beaten up at the
same time they were."
YET McLANE said that he
doubted LaGROC will "behave as
aggressively as B AM" to get the
administration to approve their
demands - including the establish -
ment of a gay studies department,
and a regental bylaw against sexual
Next fall LaGROC plans to
work within the system, seek
attention through rallies and
marches, and avoid an escalation to
violence in trying to gain
acceptance of their demands. Yet
McLane thinks this may be
unrealistic. "Maybe we'll just
forget it and walk away," he said.
The Council of Hispanics for
Higher Education (CHHE), an
umbrella group for all University

Hispanic organizations, presented
President Shapiro last April with an
eight-objective plan aimed at
improving Hispanic life at the
CHHE President and LSA junior
Cynthia Hernandez said that BAM
and UCAR's success "gave us an
inspiration to do the same thing.
The winter term protests echoed the
sentiments of all racial and ethnic
CHHE members met over the
summer and are in the midst of
negotiating with the administration
for such goals as an increase in
Hispanic enrollment and a budget
for a Hispanic Heritage Week and
other educational activities.
Hernandez said that in the fall
CHHE will continue what she calls:
"a less radical, different approach,"
in dealing with the administration.
She added that increasing the
group's non-Hispanic membership
is going to be an important concern
while continuing to be a support
group for Hispanic students.
The University of Michigan
Asian Student Coalition (UMASC)
is the only one of these five
minority groups that has not
presented a list of demands or a-
strategy to the administration.
Group leader and LSA senior Ray

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