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September 08, 1988 - Image 19

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

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The Michigan Daily --Thursday, September 8, 1988 - Page 19


Protest gives
students a
louder voice

The Michigan Daily, November,
" "The Free South Africa Coordi-
nating Committee collected more
than 2,500 signatures, solicited let-
ters of recommendation from around
the world, and lobbied University
officials in support of conferring the
(honorary) degree on jailed South
African leader Nelson Mandela."
The Daily, April16, 1987:
"About 180 people filled Re-
gents' Plaza yesterday to express
their views on the University's 'end-
use' clause at the 'Vigil for a
Weapons Research-Free University,'
a scene reminiscent of anti-military
research demonstrations that took
place 20 years ago on campus."
The Daily, November 25, 1987:
"About 30 students protested the
Central Intelligence Agency, forcing
their way past University security
The Daily, April 18, 1988:
"About 20 noisy protesters de-
manding the repeal of the Univer-
sity's policy on discriminatory acts
disrupted the University's Board of
Regents' meeting to the public for
the second time in two days."
Being one student in a pool of
more than 30,000, students may feel
They have no voice. But through
Protest, they have found that they
can have a voice - often a voice
'loud enough to influence admini-
9trative and governmental policies.
During the winter term 1987,
several student groups mobilized to
form the United Coalition Against
Racism in response to an increase in
racist acts in campus, including
copies of a racist flier declaring
"open season" on Blacks slipped
under doors of minority students in
Couzens dormitory, and the airing of
racist jokes by a WJJX disc jockey.

They also protested an overall lack
of sensitivity toward minorities on
In addition to UCAR's founding,
The Black Action Movement, in-
strumental in pressuring the admin-
istration to recruit and retain min-
orities on campus in the 1970s,
The Daily, February 18,1987:
"About 90 students in the re-
cently-formed United Coalition
Against Racism held their second
organizational meeting last night to
discuss plans to fight incidents of
racism on and off campus."
The Daily, March 17, 1987:
"A newly-formed Black Action
Movement III delivered an ultima-
tum to Shapiro, saying that if its 11
demands are not met by March 23,
the group will shut down the Uni-
The groups held sit-ins in the
Fleming Administration building,
organized rallies on the Diag, and
conducted anti-racist teach-ins in the
Michigan Union. They also marched
through the streets of Ann Arbor -
as many of their parents marched
two decades ago in the struggle for
human rights and equality.
After the chanting ended, the ar-
guments and negotiations with Uni-
versity administrators commenced.
Six days after the Black Action
Movement launched a 24-hour boy-
cott of the Michigan Union to
protest the increase in racist acts on
campus, former University President
Harold Shapiro announced six reso-
lutions to increase Black student and
faculty enrollment, including the
creation of a University Office of
Minority Affairs.
The Daily, May 27, 1988:
"Martin Luther King's birthday
next January may be a 'Diversity
Day' with the University holding al-

The two anti-apartheid shanties on the Diag, built in 1985 and 1986 by the Free South Africa Coordinating Committee,
have fallen victim to numerous attacks by vandals. The shanties represent the shacks in which many poverty-stricken
Black South African families are forced to live.

ternative education programs instead
of classes if officials follow through
on a proposal by Interim University
President Robben Fleming."
"(The holiday proposal) would
not have happened if it was not for
protest," said Dyan Jenkins, an LSA
junior and Black Student Union
These events have led people
such as Political Science Prof. Sam
Eldersveld, who researches political
trends on campus, to conclude that
students are becoming more politi-
cally active.
"I would not declare widely that
the University is a tremendously po-
litically active campus, but studies
have shown within the last three
years that students can be aroused to
protest," Eldersveld said.

A common protest chant:
"Hey hey, ho ho, (racism, sexism,
militarism, the code)
Has got to go!"
Silent protest
The one-roomed shanties, dressed
in Free South Africa Coordinating
Committee posters, were built on the
Diag in fall 1985 and spring 1986 to
protest racism and denounce
apartheid. Shanties sit on the Diag
and watch a commotion - chants,
rallies, and cries of indignation. The
commotion is a protest.
Sometimes the protesters come
out in droves, sometimes in smaller
numbers. Often the protesters are
armed with bullhorns, poster boards,
clenched fists, linked hands and a
din of slogans. They use the horns,
the boards, the hands, and the

slogans as tools to consecrate their
The shanties- have been
repeatedly torn down, and on May
14, 1988, both were doused with
gasoline and one was set on fire.
Every time the shanty is torn down,
students in F-SACC and other
groups restore the planks that
represent for them oppression,
particularly for Blacks in South
In addition to the racism shanty, a
free Palestine shanty, and Soviet
Jewry house have been built on the"
Diag. Periodically, a Native Ameri-
can tent appears. This variety of
symbols reflects the number of mi-
nority groups struggling to be heard
on campus.
The Daily, April18, 1988:

"Several students criticized Uni-
versity efforts to fight discrimination
on campus, while administrators de-
fended the programs as among the
strongest in the country at a Michi-
gan Civil Rights Commission in-
quiry into prejudice on college cam-
puses Friday."
Vice Provost for Minority Affairs
Charles Moody works closely with
students to address their questions
and concerns. "I have a lot of
respect for students who are willing
to organize and be a part of protest
and also go to the next level and be a
part of the solutions," Moody said.
Jenkins describes students on
campus who protest: "They are very
determined people but they are stu-
dents first and that's
See Struggling, Page 22

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