The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 5,1989-Page 10
Ford protests English dept.
BY WENDY WORTHEN
On April 25th several students
joined Rackham Graduate student
Charita Ford in a rally to protest her
recent dismissal from the Depart-
ment of English Language and
Literature's Ph.D. program. Students
who lent their support to Ford's call
to fight institutionalized racism in
the English Department also gave
accounts of their own experiences as
students of color.
"My protest deals with the in-
equitability of the system. I cannot
go through the formal process of
appeals under those circumstances,"
The Graduate Committee's deci-
sion to dismiss Ford was based in
part on her failure to pass two of the
required four Ph.D. qualifying ex-
ams. The committee then reviewed
her academic record, and Prof. Lin-
coln Faller, the Graduate Chair of
the English Department, spoke with
several of Ford's instructors.
Ford continued her protest later in
the week by sitting on the sidewalk
outside of University President
James Duderstadt's home for 36 passed "a New Traditions require-
hours last Friday. ment, which makes it mandatory for
Ford wanted Duderstadt to support undergraduate English majors to take
the statement he made in the March at least one course in the literature of
31 University-wide letter, "Each minorities and/or women."
person who becomes a part of this Faller said the English Depart-
University belongs here in the truest went has "exactly followed the pro-
sns ey cedures specified in the English De-
Shirley Clarkson, assistant to prmn rdaeHnbo. h
ethe president, said Wednesday that partment Graduate Handbook." The
"The PresidentdesnWteinsvedHandbook states that the chair must
"The President does not get involved confer with her past instructors on
in departmental decisions." her academic performance and
Ford said the decision to dismiss promise. Then, "with all these
her may have been influenced in part materials in hand," the committee
by her political activism, as well as reviews the case.
by her academic focus on the writ-
ings of neglected Afro-American Weisbuch said he would not
writers. comment on the situation due to the
She said her work has "challenged confidentiality fo student records. He
the exclusionary tactics used by the would, however, comment on the
mainstream literary tradition." more general developments in the
"The subjectivity of the standard English Department.
canon of English literature really "Probably the main issue in the
does not allow for the kind of under- English Department over the last
standing or broadness of perspective two years has been to make the de-
necessary at a University," asserted partment a happy, productive, wel-
cominm ace for minority students
Ford. g pbF L'I'".
Prof. Robert Weisbuch, chair of and faculty."
the Department of English, however, Ford is planning to take legal ac-
said that the English Department has tion against the University.
Charita Ford protests her dismissal from the University's English
doctoral program in front of President James Duderstadt's house.
of The University o Michigan
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*ICLE--2-day Advocacy Institute begs, "Trying The Business
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