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May 13, 1988 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-05-13

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C O L L E G E L I F E

RICHARD BONANNO-DAILY COLLEGIAN
Friendly sit-in, promise of results: UMass
protesters rally at New Africa House
to denounce racial violence
A nttna

I

DUE U KUUF 5o

to Apathy

Despite what you hear,
student activism has
not vanished from
campus. Social protest
lives, even if it's
sometimes polite

It's a campus commonplace to say that
apathy has defeated activism among
students. Yet the commonplace is
wrong. Social activism is not dead;
just different. True, there are fewer
antiapartheid shanties being built-or
burned-this spring than in recent years.
But that's largely because the divestment
movement was successful at many schools
and activists are moving on. Many of to-
day's involved students are less ideological-
ly motivated than those of the past, says
Tulane sociologist Ed Morse: "They don't
want to protest hunger when they could be
working in a soup kitchen instead."
Students focus on a wide variety of local
and international issues. At the University
of Texas, the crime rate led the six-year-old
Students United for Rape Elimination
(SURE) to provide 250 escort walks each
week last year. In February about 20

schools participated in a fast for peace in
Nicaragua, raising money for humanitar-
ian relief. Even when students do demon-
strate, they often do so in a quiet manner. At
the University of Tennessee in February,
about 25 Palestinian students stood in si-
lent protest of the Israeli government's re-
actions to the uprisings in the occupied
territories. The demonstrators hoped to
show that not all Palestinians were the
angry stone-throwers on the evening news.
Perhaps the most striking recent exam-
ple of effective activism centered on a local
cause that quickly gained national signifi-
cance. In March trustees at Gallaudet Uni-
versity in Washington, D.C.-which has
educated more than two-thirds of all deaf
college graduates in the world (NEWSWEEK
ON CAMPUS, November 1987)-appointed a
president who is not deaf and does not know
sign language. Students shut down the
school and marched to the Capitol, mobiliz-
ing support from Congress and civil-rights
groups. Their demonstrations forced the
president-elect and the chair of the board of
trustees to resign. A deaf Gallaudet dean
was chosen as the new president-and soon
became a symbol of equal opportunity for
the disabled.
Not every effort is so dramatic, but what
follows is a NEWSWVEK ON CAMPUS sam-
pler of student activism around the nation.

J

24 NEWSWEEKMON CAMPUS

MAY 1988

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