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September 25, 1989 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-25

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OPINION
Monday,;September 25, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

40

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.

South

African struggles

Vol. C, No. 13

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
The University admits less people of color:
The record breaks again

PRESIDENT DUDERSTADT has re-
peatedly urged critics whO say his
promise of a diverse and multi-cultural
University is rhetoric without substance
to "look at the record." Those who
follow his advice may wonder why he
offers such a self-incriminating de-
fense. The University administration
announced last week that minority en-
rollment has dropped this year by 6
percent. That's 6 percent less than last
year's already low figure of 15.4 per-
cent, bringing this year's figure to a
grand total of 9.4 percent.
According to Duderstadt's Michigan
Mandate, the University last year was
not far from its goal of matching the
proportion of minorities in the state -
15.9 percent. But the Mandate's num-
bers are deceptive until one looks at the
breakdown of each minority group.
While Blacks make up 12.9 percent of
Michigan's population, the University
last year only had 6.2 percent Black en-
rollment. This year, only 594 Black in-
state students applied to the University.
Last year the University claimed to
have 2.5 percent Hispanic enrollment,
as compared to the state's Hispanic
population of 1.8 percent. But the
University's statistics for Latino stu-
dents are difficult to decipher; the
University refuses to break down the
category into Chicanos, Puerto Ricans,
Cuban-Americans, and other Latino
groups; instead lumping them all to-
gether under the term "Hispanic."
The real failure
The decrease in minority enrollment
is an embarrassment to the University
administration, especially in light of all
the hype surrounding the Mandate and
its purported commitment to ensuring
lust the opposite. Apparently even hir-
ing a public relations director couldn't
get those numbers up.
But the numbers do not reflect the
Mandate's real failure. Had minority
enrollment increased a little instead,
Duderstadt would no doubt have patted
himself on the back and pointed to it a
proof of the Mandate's success. Yet i
either case the reasons why the
University has never had proportional
minority enrollment remain the same:
the Mandate can't succeed until the cri-
teria for admissions and the structures
set up for retention of people of color
are significantly changed.
Of course, the administration has its
own rationalizations for the decline in
minority enrollment. Depending on the
particular administrator, demography;
lack of qualified applicants; lack of
state funding for financial aid; and the
public education system are blamed for
the University's failure.
Demography - how many minority
students graduated from high school
this year as opposed to last year or next
year - may have a minor effect on the
size of the pool of students who ap-
plied to colleges this year, but the pool
did not shrink by 6 percent, nor does
the demography excuse explain why
the University has been unable to
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achieve 12 percent Black enrollment in
the last 10 years. The number of Black
high school graduates has been rising
steadily.
The "qualified student" excuse
The University's inability to find
enough "qualified applicants" to in-
crease minority enrollment reflects se-
rious problems in its definition of
"qualified." One of the main factors the
University uses to determine admission
is the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
and the American College Test (ACT),
which have been proven to be culturally
biased and to correlate more with
parents' income than with first-year
college grades. The fact that only 594
Black students from Michigan applied
to what is supposedly their state uni-
versity reveals that a substantial amount
of self-screening takes place before
students even fill out an application.
Why should they waste the application
fee ($30) if their SAT scores fall below
the average the university says it ac-
cepts? If the University is serious about
raising minority enrollment it should
stop using tests which automatically
screen out many people of color.
The other criteria the University uses
to judge an applicants' quality is the
grade point average (GPA). Since
schools vary in their grading systems,
the University assigns different weight
to different schools' grades, depending
on how many of their students have
graduated and continued on to college
in the past. Applicants are therefore
pre-judged on the basis of what school
they go to - which, again, often re-
flects their race and income level, not
their academic ability.
The funding excuse
Holding the state responsible because
it does not provide enough funding for
financial aid is also an unacceptable ex-
cuse. The administration complains that
other, better funded state and private
universities can offer a more competi-
tive financial aid package. With tuition
increases staying steadily ahead of the
rate of inflation, the University must be
generating more money. Where does it
go? Apparently not to the students who
need it to make college affordable.
The administration's catch-all excuse
- its the public school system's fault
- carries the most credence. It is true
that minorities in the United States are
discriminated against systematically;
institutional racism is obviously not
unique to the University. But the
University has the second worst en-
rollment discrimination record in the
Big Ten, and it does have the resources
to rectify it. Sending an admissions of-
ficer to College Night to announce the
average test scores and GPAs that the
University accepts just doesn't cut it.
Education is a right, not a privilege.
Before President Duderstadt is so quick
to flaunt the University's record on mi-
nority enrollment, he should implement
the structural changes necessary to
make it worth examining.

by Carla Davis
"We are a rainbow people, a new people of
a new South Africa...and our march to-
wards freedom will not be stopped."
-Bishop Desmond Tutu
As we pass the anniversary of the death
of South African civil rights leader
Stephen Biko, we write in memoriam for
the dead and the living; see with us. Look
back in anger. Smell the white smoke
suspended in the air, from police rifles
pointed everywhere but at the darkening
sky. See the dust cloud rise, the thousands
of brown and white feet marching to a call
and chant, watch the fires burn at a little
child's funeral, remember her fall, her
brown curls covered in blood and grey
dust. Smell the stench of polluted water,
the raw scent of bloodied, sweating pris-
oners in detention camps.
Then cross the oceans in your mind and
imagine what could be done, if anything.
Should they wait - does the freedom train
move too fast? If they must wait, should
we just watch? Do we now give up the
right to shape our world? Can you still see
the South African veldt-lush, wide open
spaces marred by the spectacle of men car-
rying guns? Can you feel anything?
Empathy, anger, fear?Do you want to?
See the tall white columns of your
White House, the greying heads of your
leaders, the clock and calender page turning
over days and years of cyclical pathos..
Remember all the old promises, their fail-
ures, the double takes. Remember old
laws, policies, punishments issued against
those ultimate crimes of state, misused,
misunderstood, and passing out of trend -

absent from our memories like last morn-
ing's coffee and yesterday's Times.
Wake up. Feel the stiffness in your
limbs. The slow ache beneath all your
thoughts, understand the death that is born
of apathy. See that as the rights of those
who cannot speak are stripped from their
hands, your hands become weaker, your
tongue less adept when you remain silent.
See that as they slip away, you are slip-
ping too - your sensibilities, your justi-

cracks a human collarbone.
It is their war, it is our war. It is an
African struggle, an Afrikaaner struggle,
an American struggle. It is against every
lie that has been told, for every word of
truth buried in a barrage of witless politi-
cal jargon. It is everyone's guilt, for ev-
eryone's gain.
We have cried for them, but we must
do more. We are the nation of the young
facing the end of a century of inherited fal-
lacies and institutionalized paradoxes. But

I
a

'It is an African struggle, an Afrikaaner struggle, an American
struggle. It is against every lie that has been told, for every word
of truth buried in a barrage of witless political jargon. It is
everyone's guilt, for everyone's gain.'

fications, your quasi-intellectual theoriz-
ing. Merge either fact or become an ac-
complice to a grand deception. If they can-
not defend their word to the weak, how
will we realize their promises to the
strong?
Listen. Quietly. Hear the educated men
and women in your classrooms and bear
witness to our idolatry of the ideal.
Remember the passions of all of what we
have been taught to believe in - univer-
sal equality, liberty, freedom, justice for
all, in life without fear. Then turn your
ears away and across the continent hear the
low, murmuring rattle of a father's white-
knuckled fist on the bars, the cry of a
newborn in a twelve-by-nine shanty, the
popping sound a billy-club makes when it

we do own power. We can initiate change
- here and abroad. Be it as a member of a
protest march, in a letter to Congress, in
widening narrow views in a political de-
bate. It is in the everyday that the greatest
triumphs are won, the most serious losses
are given away.
In understanding we become fully
human. In our vigilance to become one
with the struggle of captive humanity, we
realize our power. In our unity, we tri-
umph.
Listen to the chants on the wind - the
30 million voices lifted in protest, min-
gling with whispers from the past - from
1960s Birmingham to 1989 Beijing. We
join with their voices. Freedom for all.
Freedom now.

South African troops arresting a Black student in the been long and relentless, but upon its continuation
Johannesburg township of Soweto. The struggle has depends the lives of millions, and the rights of all.
Letters to the Editor

,,. AD OitT To 11EMNA61210ON
Of EAS 6SMNtS To It WEST..
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Monkey
facts wrong
To the Daily:
As an animal rights activist
with the Fund for Animals, I
thank you for attempting to
cover the Silver Springs mon-
keys held in front of the
Federal Building on September
11. However, I can't believe
your reporter and I were at the
same demonstration. The in-
formation you printed was ex-
actly opposite the facts-which
were prominently displayed on
posters and booklets distributed
at the demonstration. Our goal
is to have the monkeys released
to an available sanctuary where
they will live under more hu-
mane conditions and at no ex-
pense to taxpayers. Please cor-
rect your reporting error so that
our attempt to educate and in-

like to respond to some of your
erroneous claims.
First of all, the new chem-
istry building is named after
Willard H. Dow, the son of
Herbert H. Dow. The large
banner hanging outside the
building should have caught
the attention of even the
Daily's Editors. Herbert H.
Dow has had his name on the
Chemical Engineering building
on North Campus since 1983.
It also should be obvious
that Dow is not building a nu-
clear plant in Midland. Our
public utility, Consumers
Power Company (CPC), was
having a nuclear plant built by
the Bechtel Corporation. After
difficulties with Bechtel, CPC
switched construction compa-
nies to Fluor Daniels, who is
now converting the power
plant to natural gas. The plant
will be owned by the Midland

place without the thousands of
plastic products used today?
Contrary to the Daily's asser-
tions, Dow no longer uses
ozone-damaging CFCs in the
production of Styrofoam.
The suggestion that Dow
profits through "new technolo-
gies of destruction" is ludi-
crous. Dow was compelled to
make Agent Orange and
Napalm during the Vietnam
War by the Federal govern-
ment. They are an ethical,
moral company not engaged in
weapons research. Dow settled
a class action suit brought by
all Veterans claiming to be in-
jured by Agent Orange several
years ago.
Even the simple fact that
Dow stock split 3-for-2 seemed
to elude the Daily staff, who
thought it was 2-for-1. In the
future, the Daily should spend
n i mrn fnrt it, n en. ,rmn a

Money well
spent
To the Daily:
We heartily support the re-
cent MSA "fact finding" dele-
gation sent to the land of
Israel. We are grateful, nay ju-
bilant, that MSA funds were
spent in support of Israeli
tourism which, as you know,:
has unfortunately been de-
pressed as a result of recent
outbreaks of violence within
Israel's eastern frontier. While
the delegation's small expendi-
tures will not transform Israel's
economy, they do send a clear
message to the Israeli leader-
ship that at least s o m e
Americans stand firmly behind
them.
To commemorate this noble
mission of support for the

AS A RINGIN4G YVOTE w gLIERTY
A t4D 'ECONOlV1G FREDOM
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