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September 07, 1989 - Image 27

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

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989 - Page 3


UCAR battles
by the United Coalition
Against Racism

to rid

University of racism


This past year has been one of
protest on Michigan college cam-
puses. Students of color outraged by
racist attacks, few faculty members
of color, low student of color en-
rollment, and small budgets for pro-
gramming, took to the streets and
sat-in at university administration
buildings across the state.
However, neither the protests nor
the problems are confined to the past
year. Student demands for changes in
the racial and class inequalities
which pervade this university date
back to 1970 when Black students in
BAM I raised the demand for in-
creased Black enrollment. Although
the movement has ebbed and flowed
since then, it has never completely
The harsh realities of physical at-
tacks on Black students, as well as
the equally violent institutional
forms of racism which students of
O color face daily, reignited the anti-

racist movement at Michigan in the
Winter of 1987.
After several racist assaults on
Black students, which were comple-
mented by the University's no-action
response of "business as usual" stu-
dents of color and progressive white
students joined together to form the
United Coalition Against Racism
(UCAR). This group eventually
formulated a list of twelve anti-racist
demands which it viewed as the min-
imal institutional changes that
would make this university more
hospitable to people of color.
UCAR focuses on fighting insti-
tutional racism at the University,
and its policies and practices, formal
and informal, which serve to exclude
the majority of people of color from
participation in institutions of
higher education. UCAR also recog-
nizes that attitudinal racism stems
from and is reinforced by these larger
institutional factors.

Thus the main thrust of UCAR's
on-going anti-racist campaigns have
been aimed at the University admin-
istration, challenging its role in
maintaining systems of inequality.
Over the past two and a half years
UCAR has confronted the University
through sit-ins, teach-ins, and by
initiating a proposal for a mandatory
University-wide course on racism.
In addition, UCAR has been instru-
mental in facilitating peer education
about racism, sexism, homophobia
and class exploitation by creating an
alternative center for education, the
Ella Baker-Nelson Mandela Center
for Anti-Racist Education.
Many things have changed at the
University since 1987. But far too
many other things have remained the
same. The University administra-
tion's propaganda vehicle would
have us believe that they are "com-
mitted to fundamental institutional
change" and actively striving to

achieve "diversity through excel-
lence"; and that the racial tensions
that rocked the campus in '87 and
'88 are resolved. Yet many of their
answers to the "challenges of the
twenty-first century" continue to fall
short of the lofty promises.
Black student enrollment has
never come chose to the 10 percent
and 12 percent numbers demanded by
students in 1970 and 1987 respec-
tively and the numbers for other stu-
dents of color are equally horrendous.
The curriculum is still very eurocen-
tric and non-inclusive of people of
color and women. Students of color
are virtually unprotected by a ha-
rassment policy which is too vague
and administered by a body itself
guilty of past institutionally racist
transgressions. And perhaps most
blatant of all, the majority of people
of color, particularly those who are
economically disadvantaged, con-
tinue to be denied access to public

universities such as the University.
It remains obvious that the work
of UCAR and other progressive or-
ganizations on this campus is far
from over. The reinvigoration of the
student anti-racist movement in the
state - as evidenced by the militant
sit-ins at Wayne State and Michigan
State - is a positive sign that stu-
dents understand that our struggle
Over this summer, UCAR along
with the Black Student Union and
the Association of Black Social
Work Students, initiated the forma-
tion of a state-wide alliance of pro-
gressive student activists. The result-
ing Michigan Alliance of African
African Students (MAAS) includes
students from Michigan, Wayne
State University, Michigan State
University and Eastern Michigan
University and is aggressively out-
reaching to other campuses.

Uniting under the slogas
"Education is a Right and Not >Y
Privilege", MAAS hopes to coordi
nate campaigns across the state to,
fight for educational access for stu-
dents of color and poor students.-
This type of access campaign has far
reaching implications not only for
students already here at the Uni-
versity, but especially for those
people who remain in the communi-
ties from which we have come.
UCAR believes that we should have
accountability to those communities
and remain involved even if we are
physically removed from them.
We encourage all students to be-
come involved in the anti-racist stu-
dent struggle at the University -
continuing the legacy of activism
which has gone before us. UCAR
meets every other Thursday in the
Michigan Union at 6 p.m. All are
welcome. .

The Baker-Mandela Center
Teaching students that thinking is the
first and most crucial action for success
by Tracye Matthews
BMC Coordinator

In the Winter of 1987, the
University campus exploded when
Black students, supported by other
progressive students, organized to
fight against the blatant racist at-
tacks and institutional racism at this
University. It is now the summer of
1989 and both the spirit and the
ideas of those students have become
a lasting part of the University
through the ' Ella Baker-Nelson
Mandela Center for Anti-Racist
Education (BMC).
The BMC is a student-run alter-
native resource and education facility
'We think that you
will find the center to
be an invaluable re-
source as well as a
necessary compon-
ent to a well round-
ed education here at
the University'
initiated by the United Coalition
Against Racism. It is the Center's
goal to encourage the study of the is-
sues of race, class and gender as they
impact upon people's lives and to
begin to challenge existing para-
digms and theories which are often
eurocentric, racist, sexist and homo-
An underlying philosophy of the
BMC is to think in order to act.

als which focus on race, class and
gender and current issues confronting
our communities. These materials
include a variety of mediums. For
example, videotapes such as Angela
Davis' 1988 campus visit and
"Racism 101"; cassette tapes of
Malcolm X and Manning Marable;
and magazines and newsclippings
from the 1960's are just a few of the
resources at the BMC available for
student and community use.
In addition, there are several on-
going projects coordinated through
the center which encourage student
and community cooperation and in-
put. For example, the BMC has ini-
tiated a Black Women's oral history
project to chronicle the lives of
women in the surrounding Ann
Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit com-
munities. Too often the important
contributions of everyday people are
excluded from the history books.
This project brings together Black
students with the Black community
to exchange life experiences and
learn from each other. Additional
BMC projects include a video detail-
ing the anti-racist movement at
Michigan and a research project on
access to higher education for people
of color and the poor.
There are a variety of ways to
get involved with the BMC and
make use of its offerings. The BMC
would like to encourage all students
who are curious about the student
movement at Michigan and nation-
ally; interested in learning more
about race, class and gender issues;

Miami uprisings, AIDS in the Black
and Latino communities, the Palest-
inian Intifada, and the Howard
University sit-in. These informal
discussions provide an opportunity
to share insight on issues which af-
fect our lives and to meet with other
people who have similar interests
and concerns.
Many of the resources of the
Baker-Mandela Center, particularly
the person power, are ones that may
not be found in other areas of a
University which tends to be big,
cold and impersonal. We think that
'It is the hope of the
BMC to put theoreti-
cal work to practical
use in service of
Third World and
poor communities'
you will find the center to be an in-
valuable resource as well as a neces-
sary component to a well rounded
education here at the University.
The Baker-Mandela Center is lo-
cated in Room 3 East Engineering,
the phone number is 936-1809.

UCAR member Kim Smith is seen here taking a guest on a tour of the Baker-Mandela Center during its grand
opening last fall. The center is a student-run alternative resource and education facility. The goal of the center :
is to encourage the study of the issues of race, class,and gender as they impact upon people's lives. The hope -
is students will be able to then challenge the existing paradigms and theories of our society.



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