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September 08, 1988 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-08

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The Michigan Daily -.Thursday, September 8, 1988--Page 11


The University will declare Martin Luther King's
birthday this academic year a "Diversity Day" and hold
alternative education programs instead of classes.
But student groups who have pushed for a Univer-
sity-wide King holiday have criticized points of the
plan, saying it should provide for input from student
minority groups and be more clear in its educational
"Diversity Day would not be giving students the
day off," Fleming said. "In a very real sense, it's an
educational day, with activities that contribute to a
better understanding of ethnic races."
He did not comment on the holiday's specific
"The key is that the day will involve broad-based
participation," said newly-appointed University Presi-
dent James Duderstadt.
The holiday will be held January 16, the first Mon-
day after King's birthday and the date of the national
King holiday. Faculty will not receive the day off. An
additional day of classes will be held at the end of the
winter term.
Student groups have reacted negatively to Fleming's

Leclare Jan. 16 'Diversity Day'

proposal. The Black Student Union and Minority Or-
ganization of Rackham both stated in letters to Univer-
sity officials that, for the day to be effective, student
minority groups need to be involved, and goals and
objectives need to be more clearly defined.
The MOR objected to the day's title. "By the Uni-
versity of Michigan not recognizing the proposed
"Diversity Day" as "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day," it
will be actually detracting from the dream of a cultur-
ally diverse America which Dr. King inspired," their
letter said.
The letters also said the day should be an official
holiday where faculty and staff receive the day off to
"We know that, provided the will exists, a way can
be engineered to establish a holiday which meets the
moral imperative of recognizing Dr. King's birthday
while satisfying the educational and financial con-
straints over which opponents of such a holiday
argue," the MOR letter said.
In a proposal to the University's Board of Regents
in May, former University President Robben Fleming
said the day would be a "celebration of the diversity
present on the University of Michigan campus." The

Regents voted 5-0-2 in May for Fleming to investigate
support for the day, and approved the proposal in Jury.
Fleming's proposal followed years of pressure frbm
student groups for University officials to observe the
civil rights leader's birthday and to be more responsive
to the needs of minorities on campus.
Last January, about 1,000 students participated i4 a
United Coalition Against Racism-sponsored boycott of
classes on King's birthday after Fleming refused to 4sk
the regents to cancel classes.
UCAR held alternative educational programs in the
Michigan Union.
Michigan Student Assembly president Mike Phillps
said the University administration did not contact M$A
about the Diversity Day plan until July. "They havep't
contacted us... this is the administration's plan",
Phillips said.
But the University's acknowledgement of King's
birthday "was a long time coming, and it's about tim ,"
he said.
-Daily staffer Veronica Woolridge contributed to
this report.

This year the regents will cancel class on MLK Day.

Last year they didn't, and some students



'U' toughens language requirement

Majoring in...

"Parlez-vous Frangais?" "Habla
Espaiol?" "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?"
From now on, students will have to
if they plan to graduate from this
This fall, for the first time, all
incoming LSA first-year students
will have to prove their proficiency
in a foreign language - regardless
of how many years they've studied a
language in high school.
TO FULFILL the foreign lan-
guage requirement students must
have "certified proficiency on a Uni-
versity of Michigan reading and/or
listening test," according to the
1988-1989 LSA Bulletin.
In past years, having four years of
the same language in high school
would satisfy the foreign language
requirement in LSA.
The new requirement grew out of
suggestions from faculty and coun-
selors who felt four years of a lan-
guage in high school did not always
meet the University's fourth term-
proficiency level, said Charles Judge,
director of LSA academic counsel-

"There is a wide variance in high
school programs," said Mari Anne
Grashoff, department secretary in
Romance Languages, "The idea is to
be fair to everyone."
ROBERT KYES, director of
the Germanic Languages Depart-
ment, said the University eventually
hopes to have students take a profi-
ciency test at the end of the fourth
Since last winter, it has also be-
come more difficult to advance in a
language. It is now necessary to earn
at least a C- in each language course
to advance to the next level. Previ-
ously, a D would suffice.
"The student who squeaks by
with a D doesn't have a chance,"
Kyes said.
The language departments are
now preparing to accommodate the
policy change by hiring more staff
and opening more sections. How-
ever, department heads and LSA of-
ficials would not specify the amount
the policy will cost the University.
With an "increase in enrollment

in all levels," the Romance Langu-
ages Department plans to offer as
many sections as necessary, Grashoff
of the Checkpoint class counseling
department, said he plans to open "at
least three or four new sections" in
French and Spanish 103 and 231. At
press time, however, summer orien-
tation had not finished, and Wallin
could not predict the final amount of
new class openings.
New students seem to be accept-
ing foreign language as just another
requirement. Though statistics on
orientation test results were not
available, Kyes said most students
were not passing out of their lan-
guage, but instead being placed into
intermediate levels.
Joy Das Gupta, an LSA academic
peer counselor, said the administra-
tion, to avoid surprises, tried to
make sure that all high schools were
aware of the change in requirements.
And the foreign language requir-
ement "doesn't seem like its making
as big a difference as I thought it

would," Gupta said.
caught others by surprise. "I thought
I could take four years (in high
school) and be done. It's awful," said
first-year student Tim Vanas. Rather
than "go through the hassle of the
test," Vanas has opted to start
Chinese in the fall.
However, some students try to
work the requirement to their advan-
tage - electing the beginning sec-
tion of the language they studied in
high school to earn an easy A.
Counselors try to discourage this
practice, saying it only defeats the
purpose of the requirement - profi-
ciency in a foreign language.
The requirement can be avoided
entirely by pursuing a Bachelor of
General Studies degree, which mere-
ly requires 60 upper-level credits.
The only students completely ex-
empt from the foreign language re-
quirement are foreign students who
were taught in a language other than

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