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August 14, 1996 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-08-14

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N EW S Wednesday, August 14, 1996 - The Michigan Daily - 9
Tension, accusations plagued summer program

* Student leaders say
director was insensi-
tive to diversity
By Laurie Mayk
Daily Editor in Chief
Somewhere between the academic
advice and Michigan traditions of
Orientation '96, smiles crumbled and
pleasantries faded.
When Orientation '96 ended last
week, student leaders employed by the
Office of New Student Programs this
summer began to voice their concerns
dissatisfaction about a program
designed to package a first impression
of the University. The students, coordi-
nators and administrators involved with
the program are now taking a second
look at relations within the office and
the factors that led to their decline.
The concerns within the program
stem mainly from tense relations
tice of
w Student The leas
director Penni under a tio
Reed and the
student orien- amount of
Cation leaders.
Reports of
conflict with- Orientation '
in the office
have included
allegations of ignorance and insensitivity
trinority issues, poor organization and
insufficient training.
Reed called her first year as ONSP
director "tough," but denied any allega-
tions that her actions were offensive.
Reed said in her three years as a con-
sultant on the University Medical
}School diversity program and through-
out her career she has never encoun-
red allegations of racial insensitivity.
Sone leaders, however, claim Reed
i the faction offended, alienated and
in tears.
"She managed to offend practically
everyone - including me," said
Khalilah Burt, a student orientation
Relations between Reed and the lead-
ers turned sour early on during training,
said Michael Burke, a student orienta-
tion leader. Burke said she gestured to
minority students as she explained the
ersity portion of the orientation pro-
"She made a couple of racist state-
ments, I feel," said Atiba Bell, a student
orientation leader "She literally pointed
her finger out at me and said 'you as a

black man."'
Bell said he was offend
comments, but chose to w,
the program ended to bring
Reed or University admini
Reed said her commen
diversity session and the
training were not offensi'
formed. "I was extremely
them and honest in that me
said. "It may not have ber
wanted to hear but it wasc
was honest and it was fa
said she could not commer
relations with student lead
personnel issues.
Reed's comments left
number of the leaders in te
ried about the quality oft
Burke said.
"The leaders were Lrnd
dous amount of stress ... h
was just in tears," Burke sa
Reed's comments thr

rders were
stress ...'
- Michael Burke
96 student leader

parison to last year s training sessions,
ed by Reed's Burke said.
ait until after "In the past the stuff had been final-
concerns to ized months and months in advance ...
strators. last year facilitators received three
its about the weeks training," Burke said.
facilitators' Four days before the first group of
ve or mtisin- orientees arrived, Reed refused the
direct with leaders' request to participate in a
:eting," Reed Global Community session before the
en what they program began. The leaders didn't
correct and it know what the students experienced in
ctual." Reed the workshop and therefore couldn't
nt directly on field questions or concerns properly,
ers beause of Burke said.
"She told us they hadn't gone
a significant through training, they weren't ready to
ars and wor- do that," Burt said. "That left me feeling
the program, very shaky in term of what the students
were going to see."
er a tremen- Reed said the diversity facilitators
alf the group continued to evaluate and fine-tune
aid. their program and training as the sum-
oughout the mer progressed.
s u m m e r "We knew we didn't have enough
i n d i c at e d training," Reed said. "We didn't do it
she did not exactly as we would have done it but
like the what we have done was far better than
d i v e r s i t y what we had dreamed," she said.
part of the The diversity session is just one of
orientation the programs offered within orientation,
pro g ram, and input from student leaders aren't
said Shari part of the planning or responsibility of
Strauss, a the individual programs, Reed said.
student ori- "Why do the leaders feel they have
e n t a t i o n these rights over the diversity program?"
Reed said. "Where is the leaders' owner-
ore empahsis ship of that program? It isn't."
emphasis on The diversity facilitators contacted
sis on multi- would not comment on the program or
Strauss said. allegations.
to deal with Vice Provost for Academic and
how to deal Multicultural Affairs Lester Monts said
ersity means that although the orientation program
said. After a has encountered some "glitches" this
ihe close of summer, "this is a year of transition."
said she was ONSP was reorganized this year to
d's intentions include Orientation. Welcome to
and relations Michigan and Mentorship programs.
"You can only prepare for this kind of
was an issue thing so far," Reed said, referring to the
out the sum- reorganization of the office, as well as
ation of last the programs within the organization.
and an advi- Monts said the program took a new
last year, the philosophical approach this year, in
o be less con- concentrating on academics and look-
who was a ing toward a yearlong facilitated discus-
ientation 95. Sion of diversity. The Global
nity session, Community session is "meaningful"
ors, was cut and "message-driven," he said.
inutes. Reed "It is one of the best diversity sessions
s" in diversi- that I have seen anywhere,' Monts said.
st throughout Monts said he has met with Reed and
niversity. The permanent ONSP staff this summer, and
rimal in corn- plans to conduct a comprehensive evalu-

"(This year there is) m
on academics and more
computers and less empha
eulturalism and diversity,"
"She doesn't know how
issues. She doesn't know
with diversity - to her div
black and white," Strauss
meeting with Reed at t
Orientation '96, Strauss
more optimistic about Ree
to improve the program
within the office.
The diversity program
within the office through
mer. On the recommend
year's student evaluations
sory committee that met
program was redesigned t
frontational, said Burke,
diversity facilitator for Or
The new Global Commu
led by diversity. facilitat
from 90 minutes to 40 m
said it was "just a first clan
ty education that would la
the students' time at the UT
training, however, was min

ation and assessment of the program for
next year. Monts said this process will
include gathering the input of student
and parent leaders, permanent staff,
Reed and others within the office.
In letters and meetings with Monts
some student leaders have asked for a
full evaluation of the program and hinted
at the possibility of removing Reed as
director if there is no positive consensus.
"I feel (Reed), as the director of New
Student Programs, to promote a
University of diversity and multicultural-
ism - is the wrong person," Bell said.
"I don't believe Penni Reed is a mali-
cious person, but there's a lot of igno-
rance there, Gatterman said.
Gatterman said Reed's defensiveness
made her difficult to approach about
concerns. "We didn't feel we could talk
to her," he said.
Burke said Reed was not receptive
to his requests to discuss concerns
during the program, but met with
him last week at the end of the pro-
gram. Burke said the meeting estab-
lished more open lines of communi-
cation but "as far as the summer is
concerned, it's too late."
When Burke contacted Monts about
the program, Monts suggested he
address the concerns after Orientation
'96 concluded to focus on new student
orientation rather than internal concerns
during the summer.
"(That) the new director of this office
is not only making students upset but
also making her employees upset is
what I'm really concerned about. In her
position she can't afford that. We need

Orientation '95 leader Tanisha Giles points out the West Engineering Arch to a
group of orientees.

to have someone who does not make
people upset," Burke said.
Part of the planning for next year's
program will include the selection of a
replacement for Orientation Director
Barry McDougal, who left the office
several weeks ago to assume another
University position.
McDougal said although the changes
implemented this year created tension
within the office, the program is contin-
ually changing and will be reassessed
for next year.
"There's been a process of change a
and evaluation," McDougal said.
"Sometimes things work and some-
times they don't."
Monts said the entire program will be
evaluated in meetings and focus groups.
Although new student evaluation forms
will be part of the evaluation process,
several of the leaders said internal
office problems won't be found on the
forms because students weren't directly
affected by those issues. ,
During student programs the smiles
and pleasantries were still in tact, and
the internal concerns didn't affect their
experiences, leaders said. Reed also
said students weren't affected by the
personnel issues.
"The new students don't see it - but
it creates a very tense working environ-
ment," Bell said.
Reed said students who attended ori-
entation this summer received a quality
program. Reevaluation will strengthen
the program for next year, she said.
"A lot of things we did this year we're
going to try to build on," Reed said.

Continued from Page 1
the center's administrative staff will also take
over office space in the new building within the
next few weeks - Damm and Director Barry
Anita Bohn, director of Project SERVE, said,
"We're going to move over there, but we have
no idea when. They have like a tremendous

amount of renovation to do before we could
even move in."
Bohn said she was excited about the oppor-
tunity for other groups to get office space in
the facility. "We have been advocating for stu-
dent service organizations to have office space
there," Bohn said. Bohn added that she recom-
mended Circle K, Alpha Phi Omega and the
Black Volunteer Network be officed in the
Damm said that those groups may be allocated

space at CLCS after renovations are complete.
"We do expect to have space for a variety of
The new center will take on several new pro-
jects, including creating a program called
Community Strategies Against Poverty, which will
look at poverty at local levels and welfare reform,
Damm said.
About 10-20 faculty members will be involved
in the new programs, which are still in the early
stages of development.

Damm said the Center is looking to expland not-
for-credit community service projects such as
Alternative Spring Break while building up for-
credit learning programs, including Project
Carolyn Tyson, director of the Pound House
said, "I think we're going to move out on August
23 if all goes well."
The Pound House was licensed to care for 34
children; the new Towsley Center is licensed to
hold 47.,

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