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June 02, 1982 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1982-06-02

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The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, June 2, 1982-Page 3
GROUPS CHARGE RACISMWr

By CHARLES THOMSON
The presence of a small, wide-eyed black doll in a
fraternity photograph in the Michigan State Univer-
sity student newspaper has touched off a storm of
controversy-and claims that racism is becoming
more widespread at the state's largest university.
Yesterday, the controversy broadened when the
Lansing NAACP joined other groups calling for the
expulsion of the fraternity and for the ouster of both
the university's adviser for Greek affairs and the
newspaper's general manager.
THE FUROR stems from a photograph which ap-
peared in a "Greek Week" advertising supplement to
The State News, the MSU student newspaper. The
photograph, which was a paid advertisement for
Theta Chi fraternity, showed members posing with a
small black statue. The statue, which depicted a
black male with wide eyes, was identified in the cap-
tion as "Willie."
Blacks and civil rights advocates attacked the

photograph as racist, and said its publication showed
insensitivity toward racial minorities.
But spokespersons for The State News and the MSU
administration have said the photograph was
published only through an oversight, and that no
racial slur was intended. The fraternity has issued an
apology, anrd Theta Chi chapter president John
Poyhonen said his membersc"had no idea at all" that
the photograph would be found offensive.
BUT A NUMBER of groups, including the Lansing
chapter of the National Association for the Advan-
cement of Colored People, are unconvinced and have
asked the university to take action.
"We're going for the explusion of the fraternity if
we can," said Rudy Wilson, president of the Lansing
NAACP. "We're going all the way. If we make con-
cessions, it's going to happen again."
"The statue depicts blacks in a very negative
way," said Bob Williams, president of the Greater
Lansing Black Greek Alumni Council. "It speaks to

racism we dealt with 30 or 40 years ago. Now it's
rearing its ugly head again."
WILLIAMS SAID the explanations of the university
and the newspaper were "just shifting the burden of
blame to someone else." The council wants the
university to take steps to ensure such an incident
will not come up in the future, he said. "I'm expecting
some action from the university," said Williams.
"The statue in the photo represented a minstrel or
sambo stereotype which is very offensive," said
Herman Marable, an MSU student who is head of the
Michigan youth and college branch of the NAACP.
"People are upset that the fraternity would have the
audacity to publish that and send it all over campus."
"We had no idea at all (what would happen)," said
Poyhonen yesterday. "It was a mistake on our part.
It was not to be a racial comment at all. What we're
trying to do now is educate ourselves to understand
what happened."
HE SAID members of his fratnity had met with
See MSU, Page 11

backers
blast
insurance
industry
WASHINGTON (AP) - With 30 days
left in the drive for ratification,
proponents of the Equal Rights Amen-
dment singled out the insurance in-
dustry yesterday as a "silent lobby"
that has blocked ERA's approval.
If ERA dies on June 30, women's
groups will go directly after businesses
that benefit from sex discrimination,
Eleanor Smeal, president of the
National Organization for Women, told
a news conference. She said the in-
surance industry opposes ERA because
it profits from discriminatory rate
structures.
"IF WE HAVE to take them on case
by case, court by court, state by state,
we'll do that," she said. But ERA's
adoption would make such fights un-
necessary, she added.
In response, T. Lawrence Jones,
president of the American Insurance
Association, said he knows of no in-
surance .industry lobbying against
ERA. He also said automobile rate
systems "generally tend to favor the
female driver, resulting in lower rates
for women."
While it is true that teen-age girls are
charged lower premiums than teen-age
boys for auto insurance, Smeal said,
women, who are safer drivers, are not
charged less than men. She argues that
rates should be based on factors other
than "accident of birth."
BASING insurance rates on
sex"works against women in most
cases, against men in some cases, but
for the benefit of the industry in all
cases," she said.
The Equal Rights Amendment, which
would prohibit sexual discrimination,
has been approved by 35 state
legislatures, most recently in 1977. To
become part of the Constitution, three
more states must approve ERA by the
June 30 deadline fixed by Congress.

Falklands frivoality
* *
Inventor Bill Fawcett displays his "War in the Falklands" game, which went on sale last week. The game, played on a
strategic map of the South Atlantic, was created over a couple of glasses of wine, according to Fawcett.
U of Ill. official gets prison term

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - Former Univer-
sity of Illinois vice president Robert
Parker was sentenced yesterday to five
years in prison for stealing $600,000
from the school and spending muich of
it on female companionship.
Circuit Court Judge Harold Jensen
accepted the recommendation of
Champaign County State's Attorney
Tom Difanis, who recommended the
five-year term and a $10,000 fine.
Difanis said Parker should go to jail
because his crime was "absolutely
outrageous" and because he violated a
public trust.-
Moments before sentencing, Parker
wiped tears from his eyes and told Jen-
sen he was sorry for his actions, but still
did not understand them.

DEF+ENSE lawyer Art Lerner had
asked Jensen not to send Parker to
prison, but to assign him to public ser-
vice work and perhaps try to arrange
for restitution.
Parker, 60, admitted embezzling the
money and spending much of it at a
Chicago-area nightclub and on women
he met there.
However, during his two trials, the
defense contended that Parker as in-
sane, and therefore not responsible for
his actions.
THE FIRST trial, in Mount VErnon,
ended in February with the jury unable
to reach a verdict. Parker was tried
again in Rockford in April, and was
convicted on 157 counts of felony theft.
Parker, a 29-year veteran of the
university, was accused of taking the

money during a 2-year period ending in
May 1981. He resigned in June 1981.
Parker wrote checks totaling more
than $90,000 to the Club Taray in
Franklin Park. Manager Ronald Mar-
tin testified that he accepted 13 univer-
sity checks from Parker during one
year. Martin said customers like
Parker would buy bubble bath at $60 a
bottle, which side-stepped laws forbid-
ding employees from selling their time
to customers. A bottle of bubble bath
entitled Parker to between 10 and 15
minutes of companionship with women
employees, who doubled as strippers,
Martin said.
Parker also gave much of the UI
money to Chicago-area women, in-
cluding $208,000 to one woman with
whom he reportedly engaged in sex.

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