Archive for Saturday, April 21, 1990

CODE HINDERS KU ROLE IN INCIDENT

April 21, 1990

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Kansas University is taking steps to improve racial harmony on campus but is powerless under a code of student rights to punish the student allegedly responsible for a reported racial incident last month at a KU fraternity, officials said Friday.

During a two-hour meeting at KU, officials met with students and faculty to respond to demands by student groups regarding discrimination and racism on campus. KU also released a report of recent actions that promote multicultural sensitivity.

David Ambler, vice chancellor for student affairs, said KU's "jurisdiction over individual behavior is restricted to the geographic" area of campus. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, where black student Ann Dean says she was racially insulted by a fraternity member, is off campus.

ANDREA KATZMAN, leader of a broad-based coalition called Students Concerned about Discrimination, demanded that a panel conducting an administrative not disciplinary review of the KU chapter of SAE include students outside the Greek system.

SCAD, which met with university representatives along with members of Black Men of Today, a second student group, also requested mandatory sensitivity training for all students in KU living groups, new faculty, campus police and administrators.

In addition, the group requested that a required course for freshman students be implemented in spring 1991 that concentrates on differences of race, religion, women, cultures, sexual orientation and the physically challenged.

JUDITH RAMALEY, executive vice chancellor, said after the closed meeting that creation of such a course was a complex matter. It would be impossible to implement the class in less than a year and funding for it isn't available, she said.

Ramaley said she was frustrated with the student code, which has limited KU's room to respond to Dean's charges and possibly punish the fraternity member, Matthew Willenborg. The incident is under review by the Douglas County district attorney.

Mark McCormick, student organizer of Black Men of Today, has sharply criticized KU administrators the past three weeks for not taking firmer action in the Dean case. On Friday, his tone was conciliatory.

"Considering what is going on, I'm encouraged," he said. "But I'd really like to stop the fighting (between students and administrators). We're on the verge of really getting some changes at this university that are long overdue."

HE PRAISED Chancellor Gene Budig's decision to establish 35 new scholarships for minority students. The $500 scholarships will be renewable and will be awarded this fall. Six programs now fund 240 high-ability minority students.

The progress report included the following items:

The dean of educational services at KU will study the creation of enrollment goals for black students and other under-represented groups.

A cultural sensitivity training program, beginning this fall semester, will be organized by the KU Organizations and Activities Center.

KU will submit by May 1 a proposal to the Ford Foundation for a $100,000 grant to support programs designed to improve race relations.

At the request of students, the search for a director of the Office of Minority Affairs will be reopened. A new director should be named this fall.

The university will consider the establishment of a multicultural center. A new minority affairs advisory board will study the idea.

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