8A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 20, 1998
By Jennifer Yachnin
Daily Staff Reporter
Students and faculty gathered in
Kellogg Auditorium yesterday to listen
to panel members and speakers discuss
the past, present and future of affirma-
tive action at the University.
School of Dentistry Dean William
Kotowicz began the lecture by talking
about the school's history of racial
"What was it like in the School of
Dentistry before affirmative action? It
was white and male," Kotowicz said.
Kotowicz addressed changes in the
t dent and faculty populations due to
firmative action, as well as the
'spool's current standing.
-, think that we now share in our suc-
'isses and failures in achieving multi-
culturalism," Kotowicz said. "While it
rhas improved, there is still a lot of work
Kotowicz also discussed his fears
related to two lawsuits that target the
University's admissions policies.
The lawsuit "will have an affect on
the University of Michigan" Kotowicz
said. "We need your help to negate that
Marilyn Woolfolk, assistant dean for
student services at the School of
Dentistry, spoke about the future of
"In the new millennium, we must go
beyond clinical competence and make
sure our students have cultural compe-
tence as well," Woolfolk'said.
Woolfolk also spoke about creating a
school that is supportive of all students,
regardless of race.
"Hand-in-hand with the process of
choosing students who represent a
breadth of experience and background,
we should be concerned with creating
an environment that supports all stu-
dents," Woolfolk said.
A panel comprised of members of
the School of Dentistry reacted var-
ious to the topics presented by the
Dental third-year student Brad
Griffin said retaining students after
recruiting them is an always a very
important function of affirmative
"I feel the University of Michigan
has done a great job as far as the pro-
grams, groups and societies for Dental
students," Griffin said.
Many panel members spoke on the
importance in retaining affirmative
action in the School of Dentistry.
"I think without affirmative
action at this institution we open the
floodgates for prejudices and bias-
es," said Synthinia Pryor, manager
of human resources at the School of
"I think it is unfortunate that affirma-
tive action had to be instituted in the
first place," Pryor said.
LSA sophomore Brendan Davis
said he did not feel the panel
changed his views on affirmative
"I'm not a supporter of affirmative
action and this did little to change my
view," Davis said. "They speak of
diversity being a very important part of
the University, but they don't say how it
By Heather Wiggin
Daily Staff Reporter
In the spirit of the Rev. Dr. Martin,
Luther King Jr.'s activism for equality, a
panel of University health experts met
last night to discuss the current state of
health care for minorities.
A panel discussion held af the
Alumni center, "Why We Can't Wait:
Improving the Health of People of
Color," was facilitated by Patricia
Coleman-Bums, an associate professor
in the School of Nursing, and featured
three University doctors.
Minorities have made great progress
in receiving quality health care in the
past few decades, Coleman-Burns said.
"It's good to see the benefits of our
But the progress has not come easily
or without the activism of minorities in
the medical arena. Coleman-Burns
shared a personal testimony of her
mother, who suffered an untimely death
at age 54 because of a lack of medical
care. She said she now feels a need to
tell people about "the importance of
delivering health care to all people.'
Health care challenges are reflected
in the higher incidence of many dis-
eases among minorities today, said
Cleopatra Caldwell, an assistant profes-
sor in the School of Public Health .
Caldwell quoted King. - "few live to
see our fondest hopes fulfilled.'
"Racial differences in health care
outcomes are still extremely large,"
Caldwell said a lack of education
among minorities leads to substandard
health care options and a lack of
"African-Americans often use the
emergency room as their primar
source of medical care?' Caldwell said
Caldwell went on to say that healti
care must be improved and broadenei
on a national scale.
Specific minority groups have indi
vidual medical needs that must be mor
narrowly investigated and addressec
Marilyn Roubidoux, an assist
radiology professor, researches .
health care problems of America
There is a lack of local health care fe
Native Americans, and some must leav
their job and family to move to a cir
where health care is affordable fo
them, Roubidoux said.
The quality of oral health varib
greatly among minorities, said assistar
Dentistry Prof. George Taylor. "T
minority community has an alarmi
high prevalence of bacterial infectio
of the teeth?'
Oral infections and tooth decay ha;
been linked to health problems sugh
stroke and heart disease, Taylor sat
He said these correlations must be Stus
ied further so that medical car
providers can prevent a string of fiter
The medical community sho
be attentive to the needs of min
ties, said Executive Vice Preside
for Medical Affairs Gilbert Omem
"The total of minority populations:
increasing rapidly in this country;
"One thing I want to see is mor
involvement and recognition for thost
actively involved in the community,
Omenn said."I'm sure such recognitior
would stimulate more involvement."
Skits teach kids
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By Reilly Brennan
Daily Staff Reporter
While some say the spirit of MLK
Day was best felt listening to Dr. Cornel
West or participating in a coffeehouse
argument about the current status of
racism in the United States, 12 children
from area elementary and high schools
would beg to differ.
On Saturday, the youths took part in an
activity led by two members of Detroit
StoryLiving, a group of adults who use
music, stories and lots of audience par-
ticipation to actively teach people from
nine years old to corporate executives,
about different events in history.
"It's learning by doing," said facilitator
Randi Douglas. "'Stand up and do, not
sit and be told' is the approach we take."
This time, the youth were transformed
into students from Fisk University in
1960, participating in the lunch counter
sit-in that became a crucial event.
"We didn't know what to expect,"
said Huron High School sophomore
Nicole Chisolm. "But in the end it
seemed like we were there."
Although the crew of children were
initially reluctant about participating,
the enthusiasm of Douglas and the her
guitar-playing partner Josh White, Jr.
eventually brought them into a comfort-
Using role-playing techniques,
Douglas and White acted as Fisk
University president and student, respec-
tively. The children became incoming
first-year students and were lead through
traditions of the southern school.
The students thought that everything
was just super, until they learned that
they could not eat at the same lunch
counter as their white counterparts.
A Simon-says-like exercise ensued,
with the children locking-arms sitting
at a false lunch counter.
The group was eventually hauled
away to prison, where the participants
had to call home to their parents and
explain their situation.
The students were asked their opin-
ions of what had happened. Douglas
said the experience became more and
more personal throughout, and by the
end the students provided quite interest-
"I think it's particularly important for
the white students to walk in other peo-
ple's shoes," Doulgas said. "It's kind of
like weaving everyones story into the
Two University students also sat in
on the day's activity and admitted they
learned a lot from the session.
"I don't think it was only the kids that
learned," RC sophomore LeAnn
Benkart said. "I will definitely go to
more MLK events because of it."
fanelists speak on
race, public opinion
By Stephanie Hepburn
Daily Staff Reporter
Students and professors gathered in
Lurch Hall yesterday to hear a panel of
experts speak on race and opinion.
Harvard sociology Prof. Lawrence
Bobo spoke about his theory of laissez-
faire racism and his research regarding
blacks' and whites' perceptions of wel-
fare, health insurance and racial stereo-
Bobo said racism has not dimin-
ished as much as many people
believe. Economic status and political
orientation did not alter the sense of
polarization felt by many black
Americans. Bobo said his study
shows that welfare policies are overt-
ly racially targeted.
"The real question is what is con-
strued as racism," Bobo said. "The
new craft of race-neutral policies
that would never be tainted with race
or ethnicity are linked to how people
think about race. The real issue is
how rhetoric visions deal with race
without being completely defined by
Tracey Meares, a law professor at the
University of Chicago, said citizens
must ask themselves how much atti-
tudes have changed since the era of
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"A way to cause crime reduction is
through community empowerment,"
Meares said. "We need to substantiate
the black church and the police and the
Bobo said there is underlying
racism in many policies that may seem
"The media has done an extent of
damage?' Bobo said. "They have done
the worst job of handling welfare
issues, as if it were concretely an
African American issue. There are
many other people that are on welfare.
They must have gone just to the blah
part of southcentral L.A. to comeS
with this stereotype."
The panelists said liberals should no
step away from making policies to su
port racial equality.
David Harris, a demographer ass
professor at the University o
Chicago, rhetorically asked how sta.
tistics translate into human behavior
Harris said housing and racial deseg.
regation are critical in helping to _.
ate a level playing field for peoplW
"It is harder for blacks to get financ-
ing for their housing and health insur-
ance," Harris said. "In theory, we dsiilk
legislate all that through more desegie
gation in neighborhoods. Would thai
mean that blacks would have to moveir
order to achieve racial integration, o
should we expect whites to run if black
come to their neighborhood?"
Harris found that there has b
decline in whites expressing that~t
would move if blacks moved into thei
"Its still high. They won't run as faas
but they will run as far," Harris said
"One's social class has clearly beer
determined by racial issues."
Demographic mobility can't overtl
show that it is motivated by racism
Harris said. People often say they move
in the name of better schooling for
Bobo said afirmative action is thi
only proactive method of getting c tm
panies to change hiring and promo oi
policies. Eliminating affirmative actio
could cause a backslide, he said.
"When affirmative action wa:
instilled, people had to do somethint
proactive," Bobo said. "There is ni
stand still when it comes to thi
topic. You're either in drives
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