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(en) US, Reports on Student of Color Coalition at UMich

From Art McGee <amcgee@igc.org>
Date Tue, 22 Feb 2000 06:45:05 -0500


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      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
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Below are three reports regarding the Student of Color
Coalition (SCC) at the University of Michigan, and their
recent protest actions against university support of 
several "secret" societies on campus, and the recent 
attempts at dismantling hard-won affirmative action gains.

The actions by the Student of Color Coalition should not 
be confused with recent parallel efforts by another group
of students on the same campus to get the administration 
to agree to anti-sweatshop demands.

--

1. Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 05:05:05 EST
   From: Farah Mongeau <LawBrat311@aol.com>
   Subject: U MICHIGAN STUDENT OF COLOR OCCUPATION ENTERS SEVENTH DAY

A CALL FOR HELP!!!!

A Coalition of multi-racial-ethnic students at the
University of Michigan has began the first in a series of
protests against the University's hypocrisy in dealing with
the minority community at UM. This concern is most urgent in
light of the affirmative action lawsuits against the
University of Michigan and UM's failure to address concerns
outlined by previous BLACK ACTION MOVEMENTS (BAM I, II and
III) and other minority student's concerns over the past
thirty years.

THE SITUATION AS IT STANDS:

On Sunday morning, February 6, 2000, eight UM students
representing the Student of Color Coalition (SCC) began
occupation of the Michigan Union Tower (the Michigan Union
is a central campus commons area) that houses the three UM
"secret societies". The occupation is in response of the
"secret society"  Michigamau's failure to adhere to a 1989
contract w/ a UM Native American student (who represented
the Native American community at UM) and a 1973
determination by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission that
Michigamua was discriminating against and otherwise
desecrating Native Americans and their culture. Another
society, the Vulcans, has been photographed wearing
black-face and is similarly questionable.

The administration finally visited the students on the third
day of the Union Tower occupation (UM President Bollinger
included) after announcing the questionable resignation of
Tom Goss, our Athletic Director. We also held a community
forum with the administration on Wednesday, but President
Bollinger and others gave few answers and further outraged
the black and student of color community. We held a rally
and a sleep-in on one of the lower floors of the Union on
Thursday, and we have a preliminary plan to occupy (by means
of a sit/sleep-in) as much of the entire building as we can
by Monday.

We are experiencing a press blackout. We urgently need the
help and attention of all members of the activist/civil
rights community. The following is a list of our demands
that must be satisfied in order to end the occupation.
Following our three demands is the overall platform we are
working towards accomplishing, the work that was started by
our brothers and sisters long ago... Please read it.... I'm
sure it will mirror some of the same demands that people of
color have been reiterating for several lifetimes.. Also
please understand, we are up against one of the most elite,
powerful and well connected organizations in the country...
any help, any prayer, any advice you can send our way, is
greatly appreciated..

Please contact Farah Mongeau for more information at
Lawbrat311@aol.com or farah@law.com.

PS. You may ask want to ask what you can do to help - to
avoid making us reply to general inquiry emails, please just
do all you can to spread the word out about our struggle...
Contact media, politicians, anyone who will listen!!! The
time for action is now.. Simultaneous acts of protest
nationwide will only serve to strengthen the movement.

*************************************************************

Demands:

1. Recognition of the legal and moral responsibility of the
University of Michigan to sever all affiliation with and
subsidy of the Tower Societies, primarily the secret society
of Michigamua, which continues its offensive and culturally
destructive appropriation of Native American culture.

2. That University support of the Tower Societies:
Michigamua, Phoenix/Adara, and the Vulcans, through
exclusive provision of space in the tower of the Michigan
Union be eliminated immediately, and that space be
transformed and made available to all students as a cultural
study lounge.

3. That possessions of all images, objects, and
representations of Native American and pseudo-culture found
within the seventh floor of the Michigan Union be
transferred to the University of Michigan Native American
community for proper repatriation.

************************************************************

PETITION:

Submitted February 4, 2000

We the undersigned students, faculty, staff, and other
community members, in response to the regressive policies
and attitudes that have historically divested communities of
color of gains and institutional structures that are vital
to the development, attrition, happiness, and well-being of
communities of color at the University of Michigan, hereby
demand the following:

I.  Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA)

A.  Written documentation of MESA's present-day purpose,
primary objectives, action plans to achieve these stated
objectives, and criteria to measure organizational efficacy.

B.  An investigation into the absence during the last five
years of full-time staff positions within MESA's
administrative structure for the following:

1.  Director

2.  Coordinators within MESA

a.  Asian Pacific American
b.  Native American
c.  African American (Black)
d.  Latino

C.  An investigation into the absence of full-time,
non-interim staff at the William Monroe Trotter House for
the following positions:

1.  Facilities Coordinator
2.  Administrative Assistant
3.  Student Coordinator
4.  Student Managers

D.  A formal investigation into the allocation to and
disbursement of monies by MESA regarding programming,
personal development, and office inventory over the last
five years.

E.  The formation of a committee comprised of students,
faculty, and staff to develop a support mechanism to
facilitate the professional development of MESA personnel
and to assist with the determination of wages commensurate
with educational attainment and experience.

II.  The Minority Peer Advisor/Assistants Program and the
Minority/Multi-Cultural Lounges in the Residence Halls.

A.  A statement reflective of the University's dedication
and commitment to ensuring the permanence of the Minority
Peer Advisor/Assistants Program.

B.  Additional Staff to accommodate the number of students
living in the residence halls.

C.  Additional administrative staff to insure the efficiency
and success of the program.

D.  An increase in the amount and availability of funding
for the Minority Peer Advisor/Assistants program.

III.  Faculty of Color Recruitment, Retention, and Tenure

A.  Documentation reflective of the University's activities
regarding the recruitment of faculty of color.

B.  Additional documentation regarding the number of faculty
of color hired by the University of Michigan over the past
12 years.

C.  A written statement indicating that the University will
take direct actions to substantially increase the number of
faculty of color by commencement of the 2000-2001 academic
year (substantial as defined by a committee comprised of
students of color).

D.  Written Documentation regarding the implementation of
University programs designed to retain faculty of color upon
their arrival, including support mechanisms and programs
designed to orient faculty of color to this campus.

E.  Documentation regarding the efficacy of the above stated
programs.

F.  An immediate and substantial increase in the number of
faculty of color who are tenured at this institution, as
well as the development of a program intended to accelerate
the tenuring process of faculty of color.

IV.  Administrators of Color

A.  An immediate and substantial increase in the number of
persons of color holding administrative positions within the
University's various offices.

V.  Student of Color Recruitment, Matriculation, and
Retention

A.  Documentation regarding University programs designed to
recruit, admit, and retain students of color, as well as
written statements reporting the effectiveness of such
programs.

B.  An immediate increase in the number of students of color
to levels indicated in the University's Mission Statement.

C.  The segmentation of statistics reflecting Asian Pacifica
American retention, recruitment, and matriculation rates by
ethnicity, in order to ensure that underrepresented Asian
Pacific Americans are considered in all University programs,
actions, et cetera.

VI. Adequate Space

A.  Documentation detailing plans to erect structures that
serve each community of color, structures which provide
venues for events such as lectures, concerts, film/media
presentations, et cetera.

B.  Documentation reflecting administrative plans for these
above structures.

C.  Documentation regarding the Baker-Mandela Center's
creation and dissolution.

D.  Documentation pertaining to the establishment of the
William Monroe Trotter House as a center for Black students.

E.  That the University of Michigan bus system be altered to
include a stop at the William Monroe Trotter House.

VII.  Michigamua

A.  Recognition of the legal and moral responsibility of the
University of Michigan to sever all affiliation with and
subsidy of the secret society Michigamua, which continues
its offensive and culturally destructive appropriation of
Native American culture through the use of its name.

B.  That University support of Michigamua through exclusive
provision of space in the tower of the Michigan Union be
eliminated immediately, and that the space be transformed
and made available to all students as a cultural study
lounge.

VIII.  Ann Arbor Pow Wow

A.  That the Native American Student Association and the
University of Michigan Pow Wow committee gain free access to
Crisler Arena for the weekend of the annual "Dance for
Mother Earth" Ann Arbor Pow Wow in March.

B.  That the offensive logo of "Chief Illiniwek,"
representing the University of Illinois, be removed from all
University of Michigan facilities, primarily within Crisler
Arena where it is displayed in the perimeter of the
spectator stands.

IX. Ethnic Studies

A.  An increase in the number of tenured faculty within
Ethnic Studies, as well as an increase in the number of
tenure-track faculty within Ethnic Studies.

B.  The appointment of replacement faculty for Ethnic
Studies faculty on leave during any given year.

C.  An immediate increase in the number of courses offered
within each Ethnic Studies program.

D.  A written statement indicating the administration's
support of and commitment to the development, success, and
growth of Ethnic Studies programs.

E.  A written document indicating the number of Ethnic
Studies faculty that have been denied tenure since the
program's inception.

F.  The implementation of an institutionalized structure
dedicated to reviewing the denial of tenure to members of
Ethnic Studies Faculty.

G.  Documentation reflecting that the structure afforded to
Junior Hires is conducive to their ability to achieve tenure
status.

H.  A written statement regarding the stipulations of the
Program Enhancement Initiatives document, a copy of this
document, and documentation reflective of the University's
commitment to upholding each of these stipulations as
pertains to Ethnic Studies.

I.  Documentation providing assurance that administrative
positions within Ethnic Studies will not be left vacant at
the completion of the academic year 1999-2000, nor during
the years to follow this specified scholastic year.

J.  The immediate implementation of Native American Studies,
Asian Pacific American Studies, and Latino Studies as
degree-granting programs within the College of Literature,
Science, and the Arts.

K.  A written statement detailing future plans for the
progression of Ethnic Studies.

X.  Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS)

A.  An immediate halt in the movement of CAAS to Haven Hall,
until an informational meeting regarding this move is held
for CAAS faculty, staff, administration, students, and all
other interested parties.

B.  Documentation which specifies the amount of money
allotted to the CAAS library, as well as a written statement
guaranteeing an increase in the amount of funding this
library receives

C.  An immediate and substantial increase in the number of
tenured CAAS faculty

D.  The immediate implementation of a program designed to
accelerate the tenuring process for all CAAS faculty.

E.  Written assurance that all administrative positions
within CAAS will be filled at all times.

F.  Documentation of plans for the implementation of a CAAS
graduate program

G.  A written statement regarding the stipulations of the
Program Enhancement Initiatives document as specifically
pertain to CAAS, as well as a written statement reflective
of the University's commitment to upholding each of these
stipulations as applies to CAAS.

H.  Documentation reflective of plans for the progression of
CAAS, specifically plans pertaining to the establishment of
CAAS as a department.

XI.  The Office of Financial Aid

A.  An immediate increase in the number of scholarships
designed to assist students of color.

XII.  Curriculum

A.  Documentation regarding the inception and original
purpose of the Race and Ethnicity Requirement.

B.  An increase in the number of classes available to
fulfill this requirement, classes which meet the needs of
undergraduate students at various levels of study.

C.  The inclusion of all Ethnic Studies/CAAS courses to
fulfill this requirement.

D.  A detailed written statement explaining the process by
which these classes are designated as courses that fulfill
the Race and Ethnicity requirement.

XIII.  Language

A.  A written statement defining the words
"multiculturalism,"  "tolerance," and "diversity" as are
used in all University documents, programs, activities,
etceteras.

B.  The immediate halt to the use of the term
"African-American" in all University documents, programs,
initiatives, actions, et cetera when referring to Black
peoples.

XIV.  The Department of Public Safety (DPS)

A.  Documentation of DPS policies that are pertinent to
peoples of color at this institution.

B.  The provision of records of racial profiling within the
Department of Public Safety, with regards to traffic
violations, citations of misconduct, et cetera.

We, the undersigned, demand the presence of all
administrators whose roles are relevant to this document,
including President Bollinger, at a meeting to be held the
Wednesday following the receipt of this document.

Additionally, we the undersigned demand the release of all
pertinent documentation solicited within the contents of
this petition, as well asstatements of intent detailing
University any proposed initiatives introduced relating to
this petition, within 30 days of the receipt of this
document.

--

2. Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 13:00:02 -0500
   From: Farah Teresa Mongeau <ftm@umich.edu>
   Subject: Students of Color Coalition (SCC)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 17, 2000

Twenty-four hours a day, for the past twelve days, the
Students of Color Coalition (SCC) has occupied the tower of
the University of Michigan Union in protest of the Tower
Societies. For almost one hundred years Michigamua, one of
three Tower Societies, has desecrated American Indian
culture and has violated the civil rights of students,
staff, and community members. Despite a 1989 contract, in
which Michigamua's president pledged to no longer make
reference to Native Indian culture or pseudo-culture,
Michigamua continues to do so, thereby violating Native
Indian's civil rights.

Native Indian community members will be rallying in support
of the Students of Color Coalition (SCC) on Saturday,
February 19, 2000 at 4PM. Members of the SCC will also be
welcoming Reverend Al Sharpton to Ann Arbor at 7PM in the
Anderson Room of the Michigan Union, 515 S. State Street,
Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rev. Sharpton is expected to call on a
team of investigative journalists to the area to help expose
the injustice at the University of Michigan and the hostile
environment posed to Native Indians and students of color.

The Students of Color Coalition (SCC) formed as a response
to what members now recognize as the institutionalization of
racism at the University of Michigan (UM) which has had
negative implications for students, faculty and staff of
color.  The coalition began with a staged protest at the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Symposium keynote address by
Henry Louis Gates. Several students of color marched on
stage after the introduction of Gates, and took the
microphone, calling on the administration to live up to its
claim to have a longstanding commitment to diversity and
multiculturalism.

The recent occupation began when it became evident that
Michigamua had clearly been in violation of the 1989
contract. A petition outlining the general concerns of the
SCC contains a clause on Michigamua. The occupation will
cease when, at minimum, the demands regarding Michigamua are
met, and the petition is addressed and acknowledged.

The SCC petition addresses several issues of concern.
Primarily, these are Michigamua, faculty recruitment and
hiring practices, minority support programs, minority
student recruitment and retention efforts, and the various
deficiencies in the ethnic studies departments.

Recent meetings with University of Michigan President Lee
Bollinger and other administration officials have produced
few results. At a meeting last night between seven delegates
of the Students of Color Coalition and nine administration
officials, including President Bollinger himself, the
University attempted to defend its policies affecting
students, faculty, and staff of color despite evidence that
they are severely flawed at best. At a meeting earlier in
the week The only tangible thing that the meeting produced
was another meeting, however, based on the administration's
lack of substantive discussion, it is unclear what progress
can be made. Meanwhile, students are still occupying the
Union tower, a situation that is affecting their health,
emotional well-being, and educational experience.

At a Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) meeting last night, a
resolution was passed to call on the administration to "stop
stonewalling," a resolution the prior week indicated that
the MSA was in support of the SCC's occupation. Another
announcement was made at the MSA meeting indicating that a
Minority Affairs Commission (MAC) member would be
undertaking a "contractual enforcement action" against
Michigamua because MAC was party to the 1989 contract with
Michigamua and a Native Indian student representative. This
legal action is not in connection with the SCC action, and
the announcement was made without our knowledge or consent.
The Law School Senate also passed a resolution condemning
Michigamua, while still recognizing their first ammendment
right to free speech.

For more information or previous press releases please
contact:

Farah Mongeau
farah@law.com
Students of Color Coalition,
Media/Government Liaison
University of Michigan, Law School
313-618-0634

--

3. Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 03:26:16 -0500
   From: Farah Teresa Mongeau <ftm@umich.edu>
   Subject: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN NEGLECTS SOME, FAVORS OTHERS

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN NEGLECTS SOME STUDENTS, FAVORS OTHERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 19, 2000

Members of the Students of Color Coalition (SCC) applaud the
decision by the University of Michigan's (UM) President Lee
C. Bollinger to enforce anti-sweatshop initiatives. We also
appreciate the public statements of support from SOLE
(Students for Labor and Economic Equality). However, while
members of the SCC believe that the anti-sweatshop campaign
is an important issue, worthy of President Bollinger's
attention, leaders were distressed to find out that the
agreement reached between SOLE and President Bollinger would
be further testimony of disrespect by the UM and its
President.

SOLE, a group of primarily white, student activists, were
able to secure a meeting with Bollinger within one hour of
their occupation of LSA Dean Shirly Neumann's office. Their
occupation began over one week into the SCC occupation. The
SCC, however, was forced to wait. Just what did they wait
for?

1. three days for a visit from Bollinger where claimed he
wasn't in a position to talk yet, he just wanted to see the
room that was in controversy,

2. four days for a meeting at which he said little more than
"next Wednesday" we will meet to discuss your concerns (a
statement witnessed by over 200 students and videotaped- yet
the meeting failed to materialize the following week), and

3. ten days to finally grant the SCC an opportunity to sit
down with President Bollinger and the administration to
begin discussions. Now two weeks and counting, and we are
still no closer to a resolution.

At a meeting on Tuesday, between the SCC and eight other
administration officials, Bollinger stated that he would be
unwilling to further discussions on the issue of
Michigamua's space until the SCC vacated the premises. His
administrative representatives indicated that he was
unwilling to give into demands that were accompanied by an
occupation as a means of achieving their objectives. Yet
Bollinger met with SOLE within an hour of their occupation
of a Dean's office and an agreement was reached within three
days.

In a prepared commentary read to the Board of Regents on
Thursday evening, Bollinger made several misleading and
false statements. One of which, claimed that "[w]e do not
believe that occupation is the way to resolve issues within
the University". Bollinger's "we" refers to the SCC,
students and administration officials mentioned in the
preceding sentence.

The SCC feels that occupation was the necessary step.
Clearly, the SCC has been left little administrative
recourse. Internal procedural measures have been examined,
utilized and exhausted for the past thirty years and
"student of color" issues have yet to be addressed. The
administration clearly believes that occupation, as a means
of strategy, is effective, at least for some students.

The events that transpired between SOLE and Bollinger are
testimony to what we recognize as the larger issue: the
neglect of students of color, their support programs,
initiatives and opportunities. During the past two weeks,
while over a dozen students have withered away in the Union
tower, and thousands of others have rallied up their
support, the administration has misrepresented, stalled,
made false statements, perpetuated an emotionally,
physically, and spiritually harmful environment, and
neglected the responsibility to insure that all students are
being provided the same opportunities to flourish and reach
their fullest potential.

The SCC has videotaped the entire occupation, including
several meetings with administration officials. These tapes
show Bollinger and the administration's inconsistencies and
false statements, when taken in light of the press releases
and statements issued by the administration for the past two
weeks. We invite all interested media, civil rights
organizations, government officials, public servants,
academia, and other persons not mentioned to view the
materials and form your own opinion. People everywhere
should be offended that "students of color" academic
experience and concerns are not only being neglected, but
trivialized, and intentionally covered up by the
administration.

For more information or previous statements or press
releases please contact:

Farah Mongeau
Press/Government Liaison
Students of Color Coalition
farah@law.com

For more information on SCC please visit:
http://www.go.to/uofm

For more information on SOLE please visit:

http://www.umich.edu/~sole
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