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May 09, 1986 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1986-05-09

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Page 2- Tb. Michigan Daily - Friday, May 9, 1986
Economics limit black enrollment

Although last fall's minority
student population of 12 percent
was the highest ever enrolled at
the University, crucial social and
economic factors are preventing
similar accomplishments in the
admission of black students.
Minority student leaders and
University administrators say
they have made black enrollment
a top priority. Leaders of the
Black Action Movement (BAM), a
student group that demanded en-
forcement of 1960s civil rights
legislation, said in 1970 they would
help guarantee a black student
population of 10 percent. In March
of 1965, Niara Sudarkasa, a BAM
leader in the early '70s, and
University administrator respon-
sible for minority affairs, made
her often-quoted pledge to double
black enrollment within 3 to 5
have not translated into concrete
accomplishments. Black
enrollment has dropped as low as
4.9 percent on 1983, from a high of
7.2 percent in 1976. Today's figure
has rebounded slightly to 5.2 per-
The black enrollment decline
mirrors a similar trend in college
and universities throughout

Michigan and the nation, accor-
ding to a report issued by the
University's Office of Affirmative
Action and Office of Academic Af-
fairs in March, 1986. It is par-
ticularly disturbing to University
officials because of the large
numbers of blacks living in
Michigan. The University draws
70 percent of its undergraduate
and 60 percent of its graduate
students from in-state.
ADMISSIONS officials attribute
the problem to insufficient aid to
the University's reputation as a
racist campus.
"We lose a lot of students
because we don't offer the attrac-
tive four year financial aid
programs that some of the Ivy
League schools do," said Cliff
Sjegren, director of admissions.
The University offers financial aid
on a one-year renewal basis, he
said, and does not favor blacks
over other students who require
need-based aid.
Admissions counselors agree
that financial aid is crucial for a
majority of black students.
"Financial aid is a pivotal fac-
tor-by far the most blacks
depend heavily on it," said Harold
Robinson, an admissions coun-
selor for minority students.
FINANCIAL AID is made even

more important, he said, by the
demographics of the University's
black students, 70 percent of
whom come from inner city
Detroit high schools like Cass
Tech, and Renaissance. A smaller
number come from the state's
regional schools and 10-15 percent
arrive from out-of-state.
Another key factor affecting the
college choices of black high
school students is the perception
among many that racism exists on
"It's very difficult in the
University community to be dif-
ferent, whether racially or
sexually," said Royster. Sjogren
also recognizes racism as a hin-
dernace to the University's effor-
"Part of the problem we're
having are the accusations of
racism that we have to fight as
we're recruiting in Detroit," he
said. "I'm not saying the students
should say this, but we still
haven't been able to create the
image that Michigan doesn't have
a problem with racism."
ROBINSON agrees that the
University's reputation of racism
sometimes hurts recruiting effor-
ts. "Many have come from all
black environment, and they have
never learned to roll with the pun-

ches that an integrated environ-
ment sometimes deals," he said.
Sjogren adds that the stereotype
that most black students are in-
volved in athletics also hurts them
here. "Actually, there are only
under 75 such students each year,
and there are the ones known as
the tendered athletes," he said.
According to Sjogren, the athletic
department goes out of its way -to
provide needed academic, social,
and sometimes economic services
to its tendered athletes-with a
high rate of success.
UNIVERSITY officials have
taken a two-faceted approach
toward increasing black
enrollment: recruitment and
retention. Sjogren, responsible for
recruitment, says his office makes
a special effort to seek out
qualified black students.
"If a black or any under-
privileged minority student can
fulfill the minimum requirements
of entry, then we will admit
them," he said. "In other words,
the emphasis is to admit a
qualified minority student who
can be a success here."
Although black students do not
have to compete with non-
minorities for admissions, Sjogren
maintains that the University
must not lower its standards to in-

crease minority enrollment. In
1976, when black enrollment
peaked, the attrition rate of black
students was also high, Sjogren
"It was then we realized we
need to raise the standards for
minority students-even if it
means a big drop in enrollment."
THIS YEAR, Sjogren added,
standards for all students are
higher than ever. Because of last
year's 8 percent rise in the number
of applications to the University,
"this year we will be turning away
5000 for whom we could predict
success," he said.
Retention efforts center around
campus minority services, such as
the Opportunity Program, which
provides special academic and
personal counseling for minority
students. The program includes
advice on how to write papers and
how to prepare for tests.
"I see no reason why we can't
double Black enrollment in the
future," Sjogren said.
Royster, however, remains
more guarded in her outlook. "The
real difference as to how much we
want to recruit is pretty must a
financial issue - the University
has to make some choices," she

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Fear of terrorism has caused
some University students, in-
cluding the University Symphony
Orchestra, to cancel plans to
travel in Europe. But while
rumors fly about the dangers of
traveling abroad, the U.S. state
department has not issued travel
advisories for American citizens
in Europe.
An exception is Kiev in the
Soviet Union, which is affected by
radioactivity from the Chernobyl
nuclear power plant accident.
State department spokesman

Joe Reap said that of the six
million Americans who traveled
abroad last year, only a handful
were affected by terrorism. Likely
targets for terrorism are not in-
dividual travelers but large and
obviously American groups, he
CONCERN ABOUT traveling in
a large American group caused
the University Symphony Or-
chestra to cancel its concerts at
the Festival of Music in Evian,
France, scheduled for May 18.
"I met with the students
following (the U.S. raid on Libya)

and many of them expressed their
apprehension," said Paul Boylan,
dean of the University's music
school. He added that since so
many students were concerned
about their safety while touring, it
was impossible to maintain the or-
chestra's integrity.
Boylan cancelled the trip after
extensively researching the
possible danger. He called the
state department, American con-
sulates in France and Switzerland,
and the French embassy in
Washington, all of which suppor-
ted the cancellation.
YET MANY students who want
to travel abroad have not changed
their plans. Byron Brown of
Budget Travel Agency said about

one-fourth of students who have
been planning their trips for a long
time have cancelled. But of those
who have made their plans in the
past two months, two-thirds have
changed their plans, he said.
"A lot of them are waiting to see
what happens," he said.
At the University International
Center students are expressing
their concern about terrorism.
"Virtually every other person
asks about terrorism," said Jane
Dickson, international oppor-
tunities advisor at the center.
SHE SAID that although some
students have cancelled travel
plans for fear of terrorism, most
have been planning too seriously
to reconsider.


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Vol. XCVI-- No. 1-S
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