How some universities are working to establish racial harmony
REACH out for minority students. Coordinate faculties and staffs to ensure retention of minorities after they arrive on campus. This is the spirit of current efforts to restore racial harmony to the University of Michigan after a 1986-87 year of turmoil, vice-provost Charles D. Moody says. Black students and other minorities will not only enroll at Michigan, but they will also remain on campus and graduate, says Dr. Moody, the campus official assigned to plan and carry out a program for improved race relations on campus.
His plans are being broadcast to black communities through a special edition of the University Record, the university's faculty and staff publication.
Other colleges, including some not involved in overt campus unrest, are testing other solutions. One radical innovation is guaranteeing full payment of all student fees and tuition costs for minority undergraduate students accepted for enrollment, including those whose families are financially able to pay. Among those advocating this approach are Harvard University, Brandeis University, and Guilford College, in Greensboro, N.C.
As commencement season winds down, campuses are returning to normal after two years of black student unrest erupted in the form of building takeovers, marches, and demonstrations at elite schools such as Smith College in Northampton, Mass., Wesleyan College in Middletown, Conn., and Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and at state universities such as Pennsylvania State, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Basic demands of black students at most campuses include:
Establishment of cultural centers for minority students.
Divestment of stock in companies that do business in South Africa.
A student voice at meetings of boards of trustees/directors.
Appointment of an administrator for minority affairs.
Recruitment of more black faculty members.
More scholarships and grants for black students.
Hiring of more blacks as administrators and counselors.
Campus responses to protests include:
Penn State: President Bryce Jordan and two of his top administrators met with 10 black student leaders. The university has agreed to name a vice-president for minority affairs and to work actively toward the goals of 8 percent black enrollment and an 8 percent black faculty.
The university failed to reach a court-mandated 5 percent black enrollment last fall, and admissions director Scott F. Healy is concerned that campus upheaval may adversely affect enrollment in September. He says minority applications were up 7 percent before demonstrations began in early April. Among Penn State's 67,000 students, 2,424, or 3 percent, are black. Its faculty of 4,100 includes 57 blacks, or 1.6 percent.
Williams College: After rallying behind a banner, ``By any means necessary we shall not be moved,'' demonstrators occupied deans' offices for three days. The school agreed to review its affirmative-action policies, to seek minority faculty in the sciences, to set up a scholarship program for inner-city youth by 1993, and to open a minority cultural center next fall.
Smith College: Concerned Students of All Colors is praising Richard Williams, affirmative-action officer at Glassboro State College in New Jersey, for turning down an offer to take a similar position at Smith in Northampton, Mass. Students opposed the naming of any affirmative-action officer without student input.
Smith agreed to hire three new minority faculty members, authorized $30,000 as incentives for faculty members to include minorities in their courses, and set aside $10,000 for the activities of Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR). Smith has 371 minorities among 2,929 students and 24 minorities among 304 faculty members.
Suffolk University: A 20-member biracial committee of students and faculty has been formed to improve what critics call ``a pattern of discrimination'' at Suffolk University in Boston. Suffolk has 10 blacks among 210 full-time faculty members and less than 10 percent blacks among 4,200 students.
Denison University: Black students (80 out of a student body of 2,100) called off a two-day class boycott on this Granville, Ohio, campus after university president Andrew De Rocco ordered two white students off campus for the rest of the school year. They were found guilty of racial harassment of a black student who is head resident of their dormitory.
University of Vermont: It took overnight negotiations to end a four-day occupation of the president's office by black students. The school says it will increase minority faculty by 4 to 11 members a year for the next four years and double the number of minority students during the next four years.
US Census figures say 28.6 percent of college-age blacks attended colleges and universities in 1986, compared with 33.4 percent in 1976. The low was 26.1 percent in 1985, a figure that rose in '86 and '87 and is expected to rise again in the fall.