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September 07, 1989 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07

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The Michigan Daily Thursday, September 7, 1989 Page 15

by Wendy Wo
Daily Staff Writer
Higher educatio
it was intended to
boundaries separat
erations, may actui
he trenches sepal
nomic classes, rac
nic groups.
By channelling
hierarchy of inst
helping to determi
social class, and b:
rated social wor
educational experi
perpetuate the wall
acist attitudes exi
pus American soci
the university env
instead be tearing d
A report issued
president's Comm
Education stated,
opportunity for hig
depend so largely o
economic status,
denying to millions
e chance in life t
entitled; we are al
nation of a vast am
leadership and pot
petence, which it
More than forty
quote still rings tru
Federal aid pro
merit scholarships
action programs ha
ct that circumst
race and economi
predict, with fev
child's academic fut
Statistics relea
publication of the
Research Program
sored by the Pew {
reveal that at most
universities such
te rcent of students
es earning over $
while only 13 perc
of families that
$30,000. However,
stated that at two
and community col
of students come
whose yearly inc

ollege 1ff
rthen less than $30,000. In fact, the
'typical' student at most city-based
community colleges is a Black sin-
dn, in as much as gle mother in her mid-twenties liv-
dissolve the class ing on public assistance who re-
ing previous gen- quires remedial reading, writing, or
ally be deepening math, and is likely to drop out be-
rating socio-eco- fore receiving a bachelor's degree. In
es, and other eth- the past decade, while total college
enrollment increased by 1.5 million,
students into a enrollment of Black males in four-
itutions, thereby year institutions decreased by
ne their eventual 34,000.
y providing sepa- Further statistics revealed that out
lds, the higher of the 28.6 percent of Black high
once is helping to school students who did go on to
s of ignorance and college in 1986, only 25 percent of
sting in off-cam- those students - as well as only 25
ety - walls that percent of Hispanic college students
ironment should - can expect to receive a bachelor's
own. degree after six years in a public
d in 1947 by the four-year institution. At large
ission on Higher schools such as the University of
"By allowing the Massachusetts and the University of
gher education to California at Berkely, three out of
n the individual's four Black students drop out, and at
we are not only the University of Michigan, the
s of young people chances that a Black student will
o which they are graduate with a degree are only 30
[so depriving the percent. With college graduates
ount of potential earning 49 percent higher salaries
ntial social com- than high school graduates in the
tsorely needs." modemn job market, these statistics
years later, this are frightening indicators of the deep
e , socio-economic inequalities in
.aAmerican society which, rather than
and affirmative working to rectify, the higher educa-
tion system is paradoxically deepen-
e not erased the even further.
ances of birth - .f
ic status - still Even though many affirmative
w exceptions, a action programs have been initiated
ture. . by colleges and universities to pro-
sed in a recent vide minority and/or economically
Higher Education disadvantaged students with greater
(HERP), spon- access to institutions of higher
Charitable Trusts, learning- such as the state of
t highly selective Michigan's King/Chavez/Parks
as Michigan, 17 College Day/Summer Institute Pro-
come from fami- grams and Wade H. McCree Incen-
150,000 annually, tive Scholars Program- these pro-
ent are members grams have been blamed by some
earned below critics as being a cause of the racial
the HERP report tension that exists on college cam-
-year institutions puses today. Many white families
lieges, 40 percent who ace also feeling the economic
e from families squeeze of rising tuition costs do not
ome amounts to see minority incentive scholarship





programs and talent search grants as
needed compensation for years of le-
gal discrimination: rather, many
white students claim they are unfair
opportunities meant to make up for
sins of the distant past, while their
own folks "pay through the nose" to
keep them in school.
What is even more disturbing
about students from these minority
enrollment and retention statistics,
however, is that it is not only eco-
nomically disadvantaged minority
students from the the 'underclass'
who aren't making it in college.
Many of those minority students
who drop out of or otherwise leave
their first-choice schools are well-
prepared middle class students them-
What makes it increasingly diffi-
cult for minority students to survive
at large, predominantly white uni-
versities such as Michigan, U Mass
and UC at Berkeley is that what they
encounter there is usually not the
utopian intellectual learning envi-
ronment that many would perhaps
like to dream exists on American
campuses. Instead, they have found
themselves in an atmosphere of
misunderstanding, with frequent
hostility between the races and sub-
cultures of American society com-
prising the university student body
This undercurrent of insensitivity
to the attitudes, perspectives, man-
nerisms, and beliefs inherent to dif-
ferent ethnic and religious factions
surfaces often on college campuses
in the form of harassment, graffiti,
hate literature and fliers, property
damage, and physical assault. At the
University of Michigan alone, 99
cases of discrimination and discrimi-
natory harassment were reported to
the Affirmative Action Office, the
Office of the Ombudsman, and other
University units in 1988, according
to a report released last April by In-
tdrim Director of Affirmative Action
Mary Ann Swain. 62 of these cases
had to do with verbal or written ha-
rassment such as racial slurs, fliers,
and graffiti, 25 had to do with
physical harassment, vandalism, and
staff-management conflicts, and 12

Concerned students joined UCAR members at an awareness rally following the discovery of racist flyers.

involved threats of injury, assault,
death, or retaliation and/or employ-
ment status.
For example, one of the many
fliers slipped under the doors of
various Black students last year con-
tained the verse
"Nigger, nigger go away,
for the white man is here to stay.
Everywhere you look, every-
where you'll see,
The menacing branches of a
And from that tree, what do we
The beautiful sight of my friends
and me,
Laughing at your dangling feet.
...Take your asses back to
Before it's too late."
Also last year, former LSA dean Pe-
ter Steiner made the comment, "Our
challenge is not to change this uni-
versity into another kind of institu-

tion where minorities would natu-
rally flock in much greater numbers.
I need not remind you that there are
such institutions - including
Wayne State and Howard Univer-
After this speech by Steiner,
more fliers surfaced, this time with
the response, "Dean Steiner was
right...Niggers, get off campus!"
Some notes and fliers have been dis-
tributed by white supremacist orga-
nizations such as White Aryan Re-
sistance (WAR), but others have
been signed simply, "a proud white
In other racial incidents at the
University, the student-run AM radio
station, WJJX, broadcast racially of-
fensive jokes in 1987, and last year a
swastika was painted on the campus
building where the United Coalition
Against Racism (UCAR) usually
meets, and in which the Center for
Afro-American Studies (CAAS) is

located. UCAR's Baker-Mandela
Center has received many threatening
phone calls.
However, Blacks are not the only
targets of violence on campus, and
nor is such offensive, discriminatory
behavior limited to the University of
Michigan campus alone. According
to the Maryland-based National
Institute Against Prejudice and Vio-
lence, over the past two academic
years almost 200 college campuses
have reported incidents of racial and
other forms of intolerance, many of
them repeat incidents.
CALL 764-0557

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