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Archive for Friday, April 20, 1990

KU MINORITIES STILL SEEKING CAMPUS CHANGE

April 20, 1990

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Minority students were scheduled to meet with Kansas University administrators today to discuss ways to resolve a recent racial incident at a KU fraternity and improve the campus environment for minority students.

At a short news conference Thursday at KU, black students said they were not satisfied with the administration's efforts.

Mark McCormick, Wichita senior and organizer of Black Men of Today, said students haven't seen a university resolution of an incident reported March 30, when Ann Dean, a St. Louis sophomore, said she was struck and racially insulted by Matthew Willenborg, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

"We're here today to talk about what our meetings have produced, what they haven't produced and what they should produce," McCormick told a crowd of students Thursday. "The university has talked about some cosmetic changes, but no real action has been taken."

MCCORMICK said meetings with administrators have not produced solid changes for minority students at KU.

A group of about 500 students staged a four-hour sit-in at the door of Chancellor Gene Budig's office April 11, and demanded that the administration take steps to improve the campus environment for minority students.

McCormick said Thursday that little progress had been made toward that goal.

He said the university's plan to put graduate assistants in the office of Robert Shelton, the campus ombudsman, to help Shelton answer complaints related to racism and discrimination should be geared toward the Office of Minority Affairs.

"THE MINORITY affairs office should be doing that job," McCormick said. "Put the graduate assistants in that office. Put the money in that office. And get someone black around Gene Budig. Everyone around Gene Budig is white. How can we have representation when every administrator around him is white? They want to brown the campus when they haven't even browned in their own offices."

The administration must address the lack of minority representation at KU, and it must make a commitment to resolve incidents of racism and discrimination, he said.

"There's been no action on the Ann Dean situation," McCormick said. "This is not an isolated incident. It is a problem that we must address as students, faculty and administration."

Cedric Lockett, the president of Black Student Union, said it was important for minority students to stay unified at KU.

"Don't let the university diversify groups," Lockett said. "Our efforts will be diffused if we don't stay unified."

LOCKETT said BSU wanted the administration to act before finals.

"Racism will not stop until they show some kind of action that shows that racism is not tolerated," Lockett said.

Michael Diggs, a member of Students Concerned About Discrimination, said SCAD wanted an answer from the administration by Thursday.

"We want a resolution on the SAE incident expedited," Diggs said.

David Ambler, vice chancellor for student affairs who has met several times with student representatives from campus minority groups, said he and Judith Ramaley, executive vice chancellor, would meet with students to talk about what the university has agreed to do to improve the campus environment.

Ambler was not at the news conference Thursday and did not want to comment specifically about what was said there.

"All of the major concerns that were presented to us by the Black Men of Today and distributed at the gathering last Wednesday have been responded to in one way or another," Ambler said.

Representatives from Black Men of Today and SCAD were scheduled to meet with administrators today. Ambler and Ramaley also were to meet with Andrea Katzman, facilitator of SCAD, and had scheduled a news conference after the meeting, at 3:30 p.m. in the Watkins Room of the Kansas Union.

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