The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 4, 1989 - Page 3
schools don't support racism class
BY JENNIFER UNTER
Classes like the required racism course
- voted down yesterday by LSA faculty
members - are not likely to be created
within the University's other schools and
colleges, officials said yesterday.
Administrators in the School of Music
said they do not support a required class on
racism because students are overburdened by
the 60 credit hours they must now com-
plete, said Associate Dean David Crawford.
"Many people are uncomfortable with
this large of a core," Crawford said.
"Making a required course on racism would
go against this sentiment."
Music students will be able to discuss
racism at a proposed weekly forum, which
will also include issues such as perfor-
mance anxiety, music careers, and acoustics
in music, Crawford said.
Medical school administrators also said
there is no room in the curriculum for a re-
quired class on racism, said Margaret
Woodbury, associate dean of the School of
She said the school has held different
workshops and symposiums about racism
with student groups for several years.
Thomas Shope, the Medical School's
associate dean for academic programs, said
the school is redesigning its curriculum in
the next few years to include more
humanities, though there will be no spe-
cific class on racism.
"Our aim is to... raise people's con-
sciousness," Shope said. "We want more of
a seminar format that centers around social
problems. We have clear intentions to ad-
dress issues of racism, sexism, ageism, and
Though the School of Natural Re-
sources does not have a required class, it
does offer an experimental class on racism
for undergraduate and graduate students, said
Dean James Crowfoot.
Crowfoot said he hopes to continue the
class, but is waiting for student and faculty
response before offering the class the fol-
Interim Engineering Dean Daniel
Atkins, said the school has not yet taken a
position on the required class.
Many have speculated that the majority
of engineering students oppose the required
class because of the school's support for
Michigan Student Assembly President-elect
and engineering junior Aaron Williams,
who opposes such a class.
But Pam Siegel, a junior in the engi-
neering school, said, "(Engineering stu-
dents) didn't vote (for Williams) because
they are against the class. They voted be-
cause he can do things for the engineering
Siegel said a required class would cause a
problem in the School of Engineering be-
cause there are already so many require-
ments for engineers.
Atkins said, "Students of the engineer-
ing school have as much diversity as any
others. The large turnout at the workshops
for MLK Day reveals evidence of social
consciousness. There is also a very active
minority engineering program at the
New MSA officers
back class rejection
' hY VERA SONGWE
Some parents of University stu-
dents have expressed concern over
the cost and morality of the proposal
for a required racism class that failed
an LSA faculty vote yesterday.
Called randomly in a telephone
survey, most parents said they be-
lieved it was wrong to impose a
class on students. Though many
5ondoned such a class, they said it
M should be incorporated into estab-
lished classes and not be required.
One parent, Frankie Hemeryck of
Glenwood Warren, said by the time
students get to the University, they
lhave made up their minds on issues
of racism and a class would not
make a difference.
Southfield resident Nell Safran
said, "It is too late to try to educate
anyone on such issues. If a class like
this is to be put into the school cur-
ticulum, it should be implemented
in grade school and not at the Uni-
Though Safran said she supports
such a class, she added that it should
not be required. "Forcing people to
have to sit and take a class is
enforcing more prejudice," she said,
noting that students' rights were be-
"If you are paying your tuition,
you should have the right to to take
whatever classes you want," she
Some parents said they thought
that issues of racism and sexism
had been pushed too much by stu-
dent groups on campus.
Hemeryck, like most of the other
parents, said her children were given
enough education at home.
She said she believed that many
of the problems stem from the me-
dia, especially television shows
which perpetuate negative racial
sterotypes. "If any change is pro-
posed, it should come from the me-
dia," she said. "The University of
Michigan should not take it upon
itself to implement change in the
Philosophy Prof. Peter Railton, whose proposal for an LSA racism
graduation requirement failed a faculty vote yesterday, said he was
"struck by the closeness of the vote and heartened by the debate."
BY TARA GRUZEN
Incoming Michigan Student As-
sembly President and Vice President
Aaron Williams and Rose Karadsheh
pledged their support yesterday for
the LSA faculty's rejection of the
required racism class proposal.
While running for MSA office
with the Conservative Coalition,
engineering junior Williams and
LSA sophomore Karadsheh's oppo-
sition to the class was a key issue
on their platform. Of the four parties
with presidential candidates, the
coalitiln was the only one to oppose
the elms proposal.
"How can you grade on what is in
a person's soul or mind?" Williams
said during MSA elections last
month. "There is no evidence that
such a class would help the issue."
After the faculty's decision to re-
ject the class yesterday, Williams
and Karadsheh reaffirmed their oppo-
sition to the proposal. Williams
said; however, "If the University can
come up with something they all
agree on, then come talk to me."
Karadsheh added that the class had
potential for creating further hostil-
ity between races and would be at-
tempting to teach moral issues.
"The reason we are taking this
stance is because we represent the
majority of students on campus,"
But members of MSA's Minority
Affairs Commission supported the
proposed class. Many of its mem-
bers responded in anger and frustra-
tion at the rejection.
Though MAC members have not
had a chance to meet and discuss the
rejection as a group, commission
chair Delro Harris, an LSA sopho-
more, said those who support the
class may take a vocal stand against
the rejection, regardless of MSA's
MAC member John Feng, a sec-
ond-year graduate student in engi-
neering, said the commission may
write a letter of protest to the LSA
He said that because MAC's last
meeting of the school year is next
week, its only alternative at this
point is to write a letter.
"The class shouldn't be directed
toward grading morality but under-
standing other cultures," said MAC
Vice Chair Kevin Ramon, an LSA
junior. "Racism is ignorance; eras-
ing ignorance is erasing racism."
Newly-elected MSA Rep. Melissa
Burke of the Conservative Coalition,
said not enough people would take
the class with a positive attitude.
"I'd like to see racism eliminated
at the University, but I don't think
that the class on racism can work,"
said Burke, an LSA sophomore.
MAC representatives said they
will speak with members of MSA
who are against the class to discuss
their differing opinions and come to
some sort of consensus.
Continued from Page 1
"The purpose of my motion was
to keep the broadest type of discus-
gion concerning race, ethnicity, and
eacism within the curricula going
qn," said Scott.
"I would hope very much that the
Curriculum committee will draw in
as many faculty with the expertise,
ib conjunction with others, to de-
velop, introduce, and expand on
courses involving race, ethnicity and
But faculty quickly dismissed an
amendment to the "Scott" motion
which would have included a greater
representation of minorities and
women on the LSA curriculum
The amendment, proposed by Bi-
ology Prof. Tom Will, would have
allowed faculty from the Center for
Afro-American and African Studies,
the Women's Studies Program, and
the Latino Studies Department to be
directly involved on the committee
to further discuss proposed curricu-
lum. The amendment would have
also allowed members of the United
Coalition Against Racism, who ini-
tially proposed such a requirement in
1987, to sit on the committee.
x "I'm really ashamed that the LSA
faculty does not consider people of
color and women as being absolutely
central to any furnishing of curricula
involving issues of racism," Will
The "Will" amendment was re-
jected overwhelmingly by an LSA
faculty in a voice-vote.
"We are very disappointed to see
that the faculty at this institution are
not prepared to support the idea of
education their students about
racism," said Barbara Ransby, a
UCAR steering committee member
and Rackham graduate student.
"It's even more frightening and
disturbing that they also want to ex-
clude students of color for a
committee that would explore deal-
ing with the question of racism and
the lack of diversity in our curric-
ula," she said.
Faculty who voted against the
amendment said they believed a pro-
posal for anti-racist requirement
should be developed by the commit-
tee with only input from other de-
partments and organizations.
"I think the reason (the amend-
ment) was defeated was simply to
give what appeared as a more regular
or normal apparatus," said Classical
Studies Prof. Bruce Frier. "(Any
proposal) needs to come out of a
regular college organ."
Frier said he was not strongly
opposed to the curriculum commit-
tee being expanded, but said the
group may find difficulty in working
as a larger group. He added that he
was confused as to what the amend-
The defeated proposal would have
required students to take four credit
hours of classes concerning "race,
ethnicity, and racism."
Continued from Page 1
Women's Studies Program, voiced
her support for the proposal.
"There is a group of young vi-
brant faculty that wants to move on
this issue," said Gurin, pointing out
that discussion of education on race,
ethnicity, and racism has affected the
way professors think about their
But during the meeting, faculty
members continued to question the
requirement's aim and effectiveness.
English Prof. Leo McNamara said
he did not support the proposal be-
cause of its aim. He said he would
see nothing wrong with the proposal
if it had an intellectual aim, but
"clearly the proposal aims at a moral
effect... you may as well deal with
the passions of man (such as guilt,
anger, and fear) in the courses."
Other faculty at the meeting ar-
gued that implementation of the
proposed requirement would only
lead to the passage of other required
courses on political issues.
"It should not be required," said
Anthropology Prof. Sergei Kahn
Kan who feared this. He added that
stressing a mandatory course is not
the best way to deal with such sig-
Supporters of the proposal
maintained that the aim of the pro-
posal is not ideological. "The pur-
pose of the course is not to make
people think a certain way, but to
help them understand the causes that
lead toward racism and the effects of
racism," said visiting English lec-
turer Catherine Wright, a supporter
of the proposed requirement.
Although disappointed that the
proposal failed, Railton said he is
hopeful for the future. "We have to
keep in mind that this is a particular
proposal and the fact that such a
large number of faculty supported it.
I don't feel this question (about anti-
racist education) has by any means
been dismissed by the faculty."
The idea for the graduation re-
quirement originated with with the
student protests of winter term 1987,
when a University-wide mandatory
course on racism was one of the
original 12 demands presented to the
administration on March 5 by the
United Coalition Against Racism.
NEED ADVICE IN
Free Guide to
on Professors and Classes
UGLI, & DORMS
UM News in
ALL YOU CAN EAT ALL YOU CAN EAT
Journalist Helen Zia spoke on the verdict of the Vincent Chin trial
Sunday. The Daily misspelled her name yesterday.
CORNER OF STATE AND HILL
What's happening in Ann Arbor today
Saturday and Sunday
April 8th and 9th
Pnd leton Room
"Britain Prepares for 1992"-
lene College, Cambridge, 100
Hutchins Hall, 5 pm. Reception
"The Changing Direction of the
Luxury Car Market" - Speakers:
Middlebrook, Mugg, Illingworth,
Roberts, Jordan, Hale Aud., 4:15-
U Council - Rm. C, Michigan
League, 4-6 pm.
Peer Writing Tutors - 611
Church St. Computing Center, 7-
11 pm. ECB trained.
Northwalk - Sun-Thur, 9 pm-1
am. Call 763-WALK or stop by
Safewalk - Sun-Thur, 8 pm-1:30
am; Fri-Sat, 8-11:30 pm. Call 936-
1000 or ston by 102 UGLi.
CL ASSIF IE D A DS1 Call 764-0557
The University of Michigan
ElSCHOOL OF MUSIC
Wednesday Campus Orchestra-
Anill S Ann Arhnr Dance Wnrks Snrinq Pacnn-
" Advanced Dungeons and Dragons
* Call of Cthulhu - Car Wars
" Illuminati " Live Roleplaying
* MegaTraveller . Plus many more
e Diplomacy -
Star Flee) Battles