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January 31, 1990 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-31

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Page 4

Wednesday, January 31, 1990





The Michigan Daily

by David Maurrasse
In the last twenty years, students of
color have continuously demanded justice
at the University of Michigan. University
rhetoric such as the Michigan Mandate
suggests that all student of color concerns
have been carefully listened to and met -
so there is no more reason to protest. The
evidence, however, shows that the admin-
istration has made almost no effort to
make the University more accessible to
students of color and more comfortable
once they are here. Thus, once again stu-
dents of color are making demands to
make change.
The United Coalition Against Racism
(UCAR) sees the University situation as
truly urgent. How much longer can we
wait for University promises to become
reality? In 1970, as a result of the Black
Action Movement (BAM I) strike, the
University agreed to making the number
of Black students on campus proportional
to state percentages (10% back then). The
closest theyhave come is just over 7 per-
cent, and that was way back in 1976, fol-
lowing yet another Black Action Move-
ment (BAM II).
We demand that the University make
numbers of student of color enrollment
proportional to the projected national
percentages for 1990. This means having
the 4500 students in LSA composed of 15
percent Black students (675), 9.8 percent
Latino students(441), and 2 percent Native
American students. These numbers are
way above the current composition of the
student body, but this is what is necessary
for equal representation. We use national

figures because the University constantly
wants to boost its wonderful national
reputation; if that's what they want to do,
then they should be consistent with it.
We also want the University to discon-
tinue all caps on Asian-American students
and give priority to underrepresented Asian
and Latino Americans.
One of the most effective tools the Uni-
versity administration uses to keep stu-
dents of color out is the Standardized
1970-1990 g
- E D
R 0
r A
Achievement Test (SAT). The questions
on the test are written by upper middle
class white men and are directed at that
very group. The tests' biases are exacer-
bated by the expensive preparatory courses
which can raise scores - courses which
students of color usually cannot afford to
take. But how accurate a predictor of intel-
ligence can the SAT be if students can be
coached to raise their scores 150 or 200
points in a two month course? Intelligence
cannot be coached. The test is ludicrous,
and the biases are not exclusive to the
SATs - they are consistent throughout
other standardized tests. We demand that

the University drop all uses of standardized
tests in undergraduate admissions.
One consistency at the University is the
financial problems of most students of
color. Often the University lures students
with a somewhat decent financial aid plan
for the first year, which is then either
changed (more work study and loans and
less grants), or mysteriously snatched
away for subsequent years. Students need
to know what they are getting into when
they are accepted. We demand that the
University provide four year financial aid
packets to all students, and that the Finan-
cial Aid Office abide by the same Affirma-
tive Action guidelines used in Admis-
sions. Admissions will sometimes use
some Latino groups, for example, as
"minorities" for their statistics, but once it
comes to financial aid, they claim those
same Latinos cannot qualify as
"minorities" - even though that is their
status in Admissions.
The University likes to focus on how
many students of color they bring in,
however small that number may be, but
the focus is never on how many students
are dropping out. This is a serious prob-
lem: students of color are being forced to
leave in large numbers. We demand that
the University establish an Office of Mi-
nority Retention, created with student of
color input, which would
-perform continuous research on retention
of students of color for all departments and
publish the results
-work as a liaison between student and
administrators in resolving possible prob-
lems which could lead to departure
-offer tutoring, counseling, and specializa-
tion in financial areas,

*have a Financial Appeals Board composed
of students of color with a $2,000,000
' initiate a curriculum review ensuring that
departments have culturally relevant mate-
rial to students of color
-participate in a review of departments and
department chairs to make sure they are
meeting Affirmative Action goals.
Tuition rises 8 to 12 percent every year.
It seems to go toward renovating a bunch
of buildings, not to mention the presi-
dent's lawn. The high tuition makes the
University increasingly inaccessible to
students of color.We demand that the Uni-
versity freeze tuition. And to make them
live up to any promises they might make

would' provide for tuition and all living
expenses for four years of undergraduate
work. This money would come from 6
percent of the $800 million University
publicity campaign. 0
These six demands were presented to the
Administration yesterday. We must con-
tinue to keep the pressure on the Univer-
sity because that is the only way changes
have been made in the past. Any increases
in student of color enrollment in the
1970s and 80s are due to student activism
and the establishment of such offices as
Center for African and African-American
Studies and the Office of Minority Affairs.
The struggle must continue into the 90s.
If you want to hear about some of the his-

'The University likes to focus on how many students
of color they bring in, however small that number
may be, but the focus is never on how many stu-
dents are dropping out. This is a serious problem:
students of color are being forced to leave in large

about increasing student of color enroll-
ment and leading us into the year 2000,
we demand that the freeze must remain un-
til there is proportional representation of
all groups.
Many of the students of color admitted
to Michigan have gone to college prepara-
tory high schools and come from the mid-
dle class. There needs to be more consider-
ation for the economically disadvantaged
students of color, who happen to make up
the majority of people of color in this
country. We demand that the University
set up an annual scholarship fund for 100
(70 in state and 30 out of state) economi-
cally disadvantaged students of color which

tory of 70s and 80s activism and how you
can get involved in the future, come to the
UCAR Teach-In, "Students of Color in
Struggle: Linking With Our Communi-
ties," on Saturday from 1 to 5 in Alice
Lloyd. Someone will speak about BAM I,
and there will be guest activists from other
campuses to talk about the 80s. You carl
also hear more about the demands and
other UCAR projects and the recently
formed Michigan Alliance of African
American Students in the discussion of the 0
90s. We must move forward; the struggle
is long from over.
David Maurrasse is a member of the
United Coalition Against Racism.

te j at. atig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. C, No.83 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.
Barry and the mredia

A letter from Pursell?

The Daily received the following letter on
the letterhead of the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives. Congressperson Purcell's press
secretary told the Daily that "there are
bogus letters circulating in the community,',
and denied that the letter came from his of-
fice. Judge for yourself.
Dear Constituent:
I have recently received a number of let-
ters expressing concern about the November
16 killings of six Jesuit priests, along with

U.S. government. However, the mass media
in this country has successfully kept this fact
from reaching most of the public.
Occasionally, as when Archbishop Oscar
Romero was assassinated in 1980, the kill-
ing of prominent individuals or U.S. citizens
has resulted in unfavorable publicity. But
generally the killings are either unreported
or quickly disappear from the news. For
example, in 1981 the Salvadoran military
massacred more than 700 peasants in the
province of Morazan. More than 100 others

zens be aware that nobody who speaks out
against the repression is immune from thd
consequences. As a result of extra-judicial
executions like these, virtually the entire
political opposition has either fled the counp
try, gone underground, or joined the gueril*'
Now that eight soldiers, including a colo;
nel, have been indicted for the killings, thl
media coverage may actually work to our
advantage. President Cristiani and U.S*
diplomats have said that "the in-

T HE COSTS OF not having an inde-
pendent news media are strikingly il-
lustrated in the January 18th set-up and
"sting" of Washington D.C. mayor
Marion Barry. The dangers of
unchecked Federal police power, used
in this case for blatantly political pur-
poses to remove an elected official, are
sanctioned and even abetted by a com-
pliant press.
Does anyone really believe that the
government would go to such extrava-
gant lengths to set up an ordinary citi-
zen? They flew in Rasheeda Moore, a
fashion model with whom Barry is al-
leged to have had a prior relationship,
from California to invite him to a hotel
room to "party." After a few drinks, he
asked about drugs and she came up
with some crack. The mayor took a
few smokes and was busted; Ms.
Moore will presumably be treated le-
niently regarding her pending drunk
driving charge (and whatever else the
authorities have on her) in California.
Here's where the media's approach
to the events becomes crucial. The
overall framework of the reporting
could have emphasized the sleazy and
blatantly political nature of the set-up.
More important than Barry's drug or
alcohol habits are questions such as
why Attorney General Richard Thorn-
burgh authorized the use of the FBI for
an arrest of such dubious legality. Even
more outrageous are the prosecutor's
hints that a deal could be arranged if
Barry agreed to resign. (So much for
democracy- no reason to let the voters
decide whether Barry is fit for a fourth
Instead, the media chose to focus on
the charges themselves, Marion
Barry's personal life, and the effect of
the arrest on his political career. While
some of these issues are not entirely
irrelevant, one would think that the
anti-democratic effects of allowing the
government to pursue and entrap a
public official, who also happens to be
a popular Black political leader, would
sound some alarms in the minds of lib-
eral journalists who supposedly have
some commitment to a democratic
nrder After 11 the vnters can decide

after the evidence is evaluated. But
who is to protect the public from the
abuses of the FBI, when the media
turns a blind eye to their illegalities?
The FBI maintains files on an esti-
mated 20 million U.S. citizens, includ-
ing Senators, Congressional represen-
tatives and elected officials, as well as
virtually all outspoken opponents of
U.S. foreign policy. These files con-
tain details of their private as well as
political lives. The government can use
this information whenever it wishes to
discredit unwanted political opponents.
According to Ward Churchill, an expert
on FBI repression of domestic political
movements, the FBI's ability to use
these files for the purposes of black-
mail may explain why the bureau has
been so immune from reform, in spite
of its general ineffectiveness as a
crime-fighting unit.
The real motives for the set-up of
Barry follow a tradition of widespread
federal harassment and repression of
Black leaders in general, from the Mal-
colm X to the Black Panthers to Martin
Luther King, Jr. To this day the FBI
refuses to release hundreds of pages of
its files on King. While Barry does not
pose the same kind of threat to the rul-
ing elite as these others, he does advo-
cate statehood for Washington D.C.
This is a potentially volatile political is-
sue because the population of the na-
tion's capital, which is three-fourths
Black and suffers an infant mortality
rate comparable to Haiti, is effectively
disenfranchised at the national level.
Barry's willingness to support a cause
that could bring great embarrassment to
the federal government- not his sub-
stance abuse- is probably the major
factor in his demise.
Barry's arrest also serves the gov-
ernments' aims in promoting a scape-
goating attitude toward the massive
drug problem of D.C., and directing
attention from its social and structural
causes. The media exacerbates this ten-
dency with sanctimonious and racist
platitudes about how he "let his people
down," and so forth. With this kind of
press, we can only expect more abuses
of anthnrity ati n irprxj^f..-. t.-,

their housekeeper and her daughter, by the were killed in 1984, in two separate mas- dictment proves that El V
Salvadoran military. While I can understand sacres in the provinces of Chalete- Salvador is making prog
these concerns, it is important that these kill- nango and Cabanas. And EF ress in an effort to end the
ings be viewed in the larger context of U.S. just last fall, ten , e military's immunity fronm
strategic interests in this troubled region. union (""' prosecution and suborT
El Salvador has long been ruled by a3" ° dinate it to civilian rule"
small, wealthy elite that has con- 9 (New York Times, 1/
trolled most of the g " 20/90). It is true that
nation's land n a many diplomats as
and resources. - oPs well as officials close
Whenever the c o oughtto the investigation
poor majority S n have asserted that
has organized for 0PRP' " ,E*"the order for the
their own basic Y1P" w' 2f6gkillings musthave
needs, such as food, "" s & O' °uai2' come from much
access to education, higher up in the
and health care, they oVem 16 h military. Non-
have been met with aMO e5 mi etheless, the
violence and repres- eessing* aaug stetSb* arrest and in-
sion. For example, in j est egeeVan tse edictment of
1932 the government cons p°S**011- I t .eaTost the lower
massacred 30,000 people 'ay0en gton cese o rxm, enh * s ranking officei
in order to suppress a and soldiers may well be
peasantmovementfor land gs S Ican°' 5es ash enough to satisfy Congress and tl
reform. - of ea
The severe inequality of a and hu- The killing of Archbishop Romero i
wealth and income, along 'e man rights activists 1980 provoked a storm of outrage and ir -
with brutal government re- were killed in the capital city ternational condemnation of our policy.
pression against reform move- of San Salvador. None of these killings, However, we chose to stay the course, and ht
ments, has continued to the nor the tens of thousands of others that have was not long before the criticism faded awa.
present, with U.S. support. In recent years taken place in the last decade, have brought In fact, our aid to the Salvadoran govert-
we have tried to gloss over the brutality by about any serious discussion in Congress of ment has increased tremendously since theq.
establishing civilian governments through restricting aid to the Salvadoran government. Iam confident that with the help of themedie
"democratic" elections. This has allowed us Many people have expressed shock and and my Congressional colleague on both
to attribute the killings and repression of outrage that the military could gun down six sides of the aisle, this incident involving the
political movements to "right-wing death prominent priests who were critical of the six priests will also pass from the public's
squads." Many of you have correctly pointed government, in front of witnesses and after attention.
out in your letters that these killings have ac- publicly threatening them just two days Carl Pursell is the Representative of
tually been carried out by Salvadoran secu- earlier. However, if our policy is to be suc- Michigan's second Congressional district,
rity forces, who are armed and trained by the cessful, it is important that Salvadoran citi- which includes Ann Arbor.


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