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August 05, 1988 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-08-05

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OPINION
Page 6 Friday, August 5, 1988 The Michigan Daily
Direct action is a necessary means of provoking change:
'aUCAR protest worked
Vol. XCVIII--No. 12S LAST WEEK, THE UNITED COALITION AGAINST imposed strict limitations which effectively made it
Racism (UCAR) interrupted orientation skits to protest impossible for UCAR to participate in a meaningful
Unsigned editorials represent the majority views of the Daily's the inadequate and misleading treatment of racism by the way.
Editorial Board. Cartoons and signed editorials do not Office of Orientation. Faced with the University's feeble Direct action has proven itself the most effective
nedessrilyBrd.ctCeailo pn ined dtrsd t response to their long-standing request that a workshop means of combatting this reluctance towards progress.
necessarily reflect the Daily's opinion, on racism be included in orientation, UCAR chose to use For example, the administration was quite content with
direct action. For using such a "destructive" method to fractional increases in Black students and faculty until
provoke change, UCAR has incurred anger from some of students publicized the problem through the national
State legislator echoes students' demand: the University community. However, allowing the per- media by having sit-ins. The administration has since
petuation of racism inherent in the orientation program announced 12 Black faculty hirings.
U to continue would have been significantly more detri- Similarly, when Galludet University hired a hearing
n lik e t i o mental to the community. president, no one noticed until students boycotted classes
UCAR contends the orientation office was using "Talk to force the appointment of a deaf person to that posi-
I have a problem with the University of Michigan. I have a problem with To Us" (TTU), the troupe which puts on the orientation tion. The students at Galludet were able to achieve a sig-
their racist policies. They're arrogant. They're belligerent. They're elitist! skits, as a superficial attempt to address racism. The nificant change not by going through the normal
-Rep. Morris Hood (D-Deroit) skits dealt supposedly with racism and misunderstandings bureaucratic channels but only by disrupting the status
between students, but no part of the program even ac- quo and refusing to participate in a system which contra-
OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, pronouncements such as these have been knowledged the systematic institutional discrimination dicted their basic beliefs.
issued repeatedly from bullhoms and from banners - often punctuated by which occurs against minorities. From viewing this Clearly, direct action is a vital and effective method for
raised fists, often asa prelude to actions of anger and frustration directed at a summer's orientation program, one would believe racism achieving change. The administration, alarmed by the
seemingly deaf administration. was a minor problem only present in students and com- success of groups like UCAR, is using all its power to
This particular outburst, however, was made not by an angry student on pletely absent from administrators or the University at restrict the use of this method. The code, the repealing of
the diag but by State Rep. Morris Hood, chair of the House higher education large. bylaw 7.02, and the new protest policy are examples of
subcommittee, during a hearing in Lansing last week. Prompted by the In the past, the administration has proven that it will how the administration is attempting to restrict the free-
University's decision to raise tuition by 12 percent this year, Hood's talk, lie, and make promises about its faults as long as it dom of student expression even further.
condemnation served as a prelude to the legislature's own announcement that can avoid actually changing. Only when the opposition The administration's decision to eliminate the TTU
the University would rceive the lowest percentage increase in state aid of uses extreme action to call attention to the irresponsibil- program from orientation proves UCAR's action was ef-
any of Michigan's 15 universities. ity of the University does the administration take action. fective. The administration is only qualified to present a
Touch6, Mr. Hood. Despite ex-President Harold Shapiro's promise to al- living example of racism, not to instruct anyone on pre-
Academic elitism that is sustained by policies which effectively exclude low UCAR a role in orientation, the administration venting it.
students from the poor and middle-classes is nothing other than racism. An
out-of-state student must now pay up to $1200 more per term to purchase Officers are not sensitive to sexual assault:
higher education at this institution Even the administration's clever eu-
phemistic vocabulary, with its frequent references to "excellence" and
"diversity agendas," cannot obscure the bald implications of this fact for
minority students. Rep. Hood is right to claim that the University has failed
in its mission as a public institution to provide education at a reasonable The two officers did not addition-
priee.s i a t JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT on some questions. They took a few ally search the area for the perpetra-
Hood has threatened to impose fiancial sanctions against the University Wednesday, July 27, a woman was names. And after the victim's friend tor. They never asked the woman if
if it continues to raise tuition to prohibitive levels. The University - verbally and physically battered had herself collared the perpetrator, she wanted help retrieving her
Hood warned last week - is "on notice." This is a principled position while standing outside the Nectarine then returned to the police officers sweater. They did not ask how she
which confronts the administration on the only two levels that it seems ca- Ballroom because her white male to alert them of his presence around was getting home afterward. They
pable of understanding: money and image. attacker thought she was a lesbian. the corner, the two city investiga- did not offer to take the woman to
There are those who will undoubtedly say that Hood's bare-knuckles ap- g ddntofrt aetewmnt
proach is not "constructive." These will probably be the same people who Ann Arbor Police called to the tors walked, according to witness the police station for an additional
crlamedthat UCARsttempts toest lprasses in hr sof M L were scene showed characteristic insensi- reports, in the man's direction. statement. They did not provide any
claimed that UCAR's attempts to stop classes t honor of MLK Day were thi n h oa anan h a
not "constructive." And there were undoubtedly those two decades ago who tivity, and through their incompe- The woman maintains she was telephone numbers where she might
argued that Martin Luther King himself engaged in unconstructive behavior tence, allowed the suspected as- never asked if she needed or wanted receive counseling assistance after
in his attempts to force a deaf-mute culture to deal with racial injustice. sailant to get away. medical attention from either the the sexual assault. On the contrary,
In the Orwellian world of administrators and regents, "constructive" ac- The assailant ripped the woman's hospital or the ambulance crew, they "were actually laughing Lo-
tions are those which accomplish nothing. Hood's threat to the University sweater off her body, smashed her which stayed on the scene for about gether at some private joke," ac-
is in fact very potent. Fleming, somehow expressing shock and surprise at in the face several times until she five minutes. In one of the most cording to a witness.
Hood's denouncements, was actually prompted to defend the University by bled, and violently slurred her probing statements of the evening, The two police officers sent to
lauding its accomplishments in terms of minority recruitment. sexuality, menacingly screaming one of the officers did inquire if the the scene that Tuesday night failed
But tuition increases of 15 percent flies in the face of any cosmetic con- out to her, "dyke... bitch... les- woman was "okay." The victim re- to apprehend the assailant. They
cessions the University has made in the last two years to quiet campus up- bian..." ported that she was. Considering performed their investigation inade-
risings. Fleming points to the 15 new Black faculty members added to the Tower Plaza security officers her undoubtedly jarred emotional quately, and by their shockingly
staff this year and to the University's investment to minority programs - called the police only after the vic- state, the police were negligent in inappropriate behavior at the crime
up $4 million. But such statistics have little meaning for minority students tim had again been attacked in front not suggesting medical treatment scene, they became two of the three
trying to figure out where they are going to come up with the extra $1200 of the Plaza apartment complex. for her visibly bleeding head sources which contributed to the
required to pay this institution in order to take advantage of these reforms. When the police arrived, they asked wound, victim's trauma.
Governor Blanchard has appealed to state universities to soften their tu- Every police officer in the Ann
ition hikes. Most, including Michigan State University, prudently obliged. There will be a protest against community groups. Arbor police department must be
The University of Michigan has chosen not to. Morris Hood said the Uni- the Ann Arbor police officers' An organizational meeting for the made to learn how to properly treat
versity's fees have become "outrageous" and has threatened to cut its appro- insensitive and inadequate handling protest will be held today at 8 p.m. victims of sexual harassment and
priations. Fleming has responded that these statements are "difficult to of the sexual assault this Tuesday at at the Student Counselling Office abuse. More basically, police must
understand." 6:30 p.m. The protestors will meet in room 3100 of the Michigan first learn to recognize instances of
Racist. Arrogant. Belligerent. Elitist. Student activists understand these in front of the Nectarine Ballroom Union. All those interested in sexual abuse, and in that awareness
words. Rep. Hood understands these words. The only thing difficult to un- and march through town to the Ann helping prepare for the protest are work to protect and assure not only
derstand is how long the University administrators can ignore their implica- Arbor Police station. It will be invited. the safety, but also the emotional
tions. sponsored by a host of student and health of those who have been as-
saulted.

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