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Ann Arbor, Michigan
PROP 2 AFEMT
Thursnday December 7 2006
LSA junior Sheldon Johnson, vice speaker of the Black Student Union, speaks during a panel discussion put on by the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies on
minority enrollment in the post-affirmative action era.
Panel brainstorms ways
to thwart diversity drop
struggles of city's
By KIMBERLY CHOU
Daily Staff Reporter
Asian Americans make up one of
the most well-represented minority
groups at the University. But their
path to Ann Arbor isn't always easy
- especially if it starts in Detroit.
Maichou Lor and Dia Shia Yang,
both high school seniors of Hmong
heritage, and history Prof. Scott
Kurashige underscored this point
at a forum hosted by the United
Asian American Organizations
last night in South Quad Residence
Students at Detroit's Osborn
High School, Lor and Yang spoke
about the difficulties of being
Hmong in Detroit. They said their
traditional familial obligations
and immigrant parents who speak
little English often make their high
school careers different from the
typical American experience.
The Hmong are one of the larg-
est ethnic minority groups in
Southeast Asia. Many Hmong fled
from Laos to the United States
during the Vietnam War and the
Laotian conflict. In the United
States, Hmong are among the least
affluent Asian immigrant groups.
Detroit is home to one of the larg-
est concentrations of Hmong in
the United States.
Lor and Yang described what it
is like to attend a high school often
criticized for its lack of resources
and tension among students. Drop-
outs, too, are common. When Lor
started at Osborn in 2003, there
were about 700 students in her
class. Now there are 200.
Lor and Yang both participate
in the Detroit Asian Youth Proj-
ect, a student-founded group
based in Detroit. The group's mis-
sion is to help Asian American
teenagers in Detroit learn about
Asian cultures, develop leader-
ship skills and promote social and
political self-awareness. The DAY
Projectmostly works with Hmong
youth. Hmong make up the major-
ity of Detroit's Asian community,
said Emily Lawsin, a lecturer in
Asian/Pacific Islander American
"(It) really helps us in learn-
By JESSICA VOSGERCHIAN
At a forum last night, panelists suggest-
ed students undertake a grassroots effort
to bring minority students to the Univer-
sity after the passage of Proposal 2, which
banned affirmative action in Michigan.
The event, hosted by the Center for
Afroamerican and African Studies, fea-
tured a panel of six faculty members from
CAAS and other departments. The faculty
members led a discussion on the future of
campus diversity and solicited ideas and
viewpoints from the audience.
Although audience members were
offered the chance to speak immediately
after the introduction of the panelists,
they were hesitant to begin the dialogue.
Instead, CAAS Prof. Angela Dillard initi-
ated the discussion with her suggestions
for minority recruitment and outreach.
Dillard first spoke about the role of
black churches, which she called "an obvi-
ous set of allies." She stressed the ability of
churches to advise their members on the
importance of higher education.
She also suggested the University create
new learning communities as a mechanism
to attract and retain minority students.
Other ideas discussed were geographi-
cal preference in enrollment and a system
like Texas's 10-percent plan, where any
student who graduates high school with
a certain class rank is admitted. Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman has said
she opposes defined such a system. Panel-
ists said they were uncertain what effects
those systems would have on minority
As the forum went on, members of the
audience began to open up. Members of
the Black Student Union stepped up to the
microphone to explain their positions and
pose questions to the panelists.
BSU historian Courtney Monroe said
she was concerned that blackstudies could
See CAAS, page 7A
High school student MaiChou Lor speaks
about her involvement in the Detroit Asian
Youth Project duringan event in South
Quad Residence Hall last night.
ing about society," said Lor, who
said she works two jobs outside
of school to support her family.
"It inspires us to be college stu-
She said she plans to attend col-
lege. Her parents want her to go to
school in Detroit.
Yang, though, said her parents
will let her go to school anywhere
in Michigan. Butshe plans to return
to the city she grew up in.
"Wherever I go - (Detroit) is my
hometown," she said. "I'm definite-
ly coming back to Detroit."
That's exactly the attitude the
DAY Project advocates.
On its xanga.com homepage, the
group lists "Detroit revitalization"
and "Chinatown revitalization"
Yang said the DAY Project activ-
ity that inspired her most was a
scavenger hunt in a neighborhood
between 8 Mile and 6 Mile roads.
The participants combed the streets
to determine the ratio ofvacantlots
and abandoned houses (more than
60) to police cars (two).
"Thatkindofmade me feel I have
to come back," Yang said.
After the two teens spoke, orga-
nizers played a short video adver-
tising the DAY Project, filmed by
participants in the project.
Later, Kurashige lectured on
white flight in Detroit and Warren
and discriminationin metro Detroit
against Asian-Americans Detroi-
ters. Much of the racist sentiment
against Asians in the area is rooted
in people feeling that immigrants
pose a threat to white Americans'
jobs, he said.
The decline of the auto manufac-
turing industry, he said, has made
that dynamic particularly pro-
nounced in Detroit.
Prof.Kevin Gaines, the director of CAAS, discusses how to
maintain minority enrollment despite the passage of Proposal 2
at a forum last night in Angell Hall.
PR team reshuffled
at crucial juncture
Deep Frieze: Pipes burst, flood building
leaves to form media
By GABE NELSON
As the University examines its
image in the wake of the passage
of a statewide ban of affirmative
action, its top public relations
posts are being shaken up.
Citing a desire to start her own
business, University Vice Presi-
dent for Communications Lisa
Rudgers announced her resigna-
tion last week.
On Feb. 1, Rudgers will step
down to create a communications
Julie Peterson - the current
associate vice president for media
relations and the University's main
spokesperson in the media - has
been chosen to serve in Rudgers's
place as interim vice president.
Later this month, a committee
will begin a nationwide search to
Kelly Cunningham will take
over as the University's chief
Peterson, a 12-year veteran of
the University's media relations
office, has been a key figure in
developing how the University
expresses its policies on affirma-
She has been largely respon-
sible for planning the University's
public relations strategies based
on the outcome of major events,
like the U.S. Supreme Court's
2003 ruling on the University's
use of race in admissions and last
month's passage of Proposal 2.
With Proposal 2's passage, the
University runs the risk of declin-
ing minority applications because
See MEDIA RELATIONS, page 7A
doomed to demolition
sometime this winter
By DAVE MEKELBURG
A fire sprinkler pipe burst on the
second floor of the Frieze Building
last night, flooding the first two
floors and the basement.
Water cascaded down the stairs
on the west side of the build-
ing, under the glass doors and
out onto the sidewalk. It leaked
through the first floor ceiling,
coming down in sheets that look
like a steady rain.
The Central Campus building
is in a state of limbo, slated to be
demolished to make room for the
new North Quad Residence Hall
The University left the building's
water on as a precautionary mea-
sure in case of a fire, Department of
Public Safety spokeswoman Diane
As of 9 p.m. yesterday, the flood-
ing had subsided. However, there
Water flows down the stairs on the west side of the abandoned Frieze Building last night. A pipe burst, flooding the structure.
werestillldrge puddlesonthe floors been left off, allowing the build- University's website advise stu-
near the State Street and Washing- ing's pipes to freeze and break. dents to leave the heat on during
ton Street entrances. Brown said she was not sure the winter to keep pipes from freez-
An employee of the University whether the heat was on or off in ing and exploding.
Plant Department's plumbing the building. The electricity in the building
shop speculated that the heat had off-campus housing tips on the had not been turned off.
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