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(en) US, UPDATE: University of Michigan Protest/Occupation by Students of Color Coalition (SCC), University of Michigan

From Farah Teresa Mongeau <ftm@umich.edu>
Date Mon, 13 Mar 2000 05:49:54 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

While other students have already flown off to tropical,
foreign, or resort-like destinations, members of the
Students of Color Coalition (SCC) and their supporters are
diligently strategizing and further disseminating
information to the general public. The SCC has forfeited
their spring break as a matter of principle. Twenty-two days
into the occupation, the University of Michigan (UM)
administration has proven incompetent, negligent and
otherwise unwilling to answer to the concerns and issues
pertaining to students of color on campus. President
Bollinger set up a meeting time that he and other
administration officials failed to keep with the student of
color community at large. They have forced the SCC to remain
in the Michigamua "wigwam" and Union tower for over three
weeks under psychologically damaging conditions.
Furthermore, they have turned an issue of institutionalized
racism and its manifestations into one of policy regarding
"exclusive office space," of student groups like Michigamua,
while perverting the first amendment for their own purposes.

In addition, the UM administration has neglected concerns
about Michigamua and other pertinent student of color issues
for over thirty years as a collective institution, and they
have continued to blatantly disregard them, for the past
three weeks, on an individual, administrative basis. The
administration has also continued to make false statements
or have provided misinformation to the public on several
occasions. After publicly commenting that the UM felt that
an occupation was not the way to resolve matters, President
Bollinger met with another group of occupiers, this time, a
group of primarily white students known collectively as SOLE
(Students for Labor and Economic Equality) less than ONE
HOUR into their occupation,which began over a week into the
SCC's sit-in of the "wigwam". SOLE and Bollinger had
negotiated and completed a deal regarding enforcement of the
anti-sweatshop initiatives within two and a half days.
However, the SCC's concerns have remained largely ignored
and unanswered.

The past week has sparked a furor among supporters. The
inaction by the UM administration and their disregard for
students of color issues, health and well-being is being
criticized by most informed on the matter. Groups of faculty
and staff are signing onto statements of support and letters
denouncing Michigamua and the administration's lack of
diligence in handling the concerns of the SCC and students
of color in general. At a basketball game this past week
between UM and Purdue, supporters crowded the court just
before the start of the second half holding a large sign
with our unofficial web site address:


Earlier that same evening, members of the SCC and
approximately seventy supporters crowded the lawn of
President Lee C. Bollinger and had a barbecue. They hung
balloons and signs while using a mega-phone to invite the
President out for dinner. He did eventually venture out and
spoke with the SCC for about twenty minutes. However, he
still neglects to address the issues of concern. Two hours
before the barbecue, members of the SCC and about twenty
five supporters crowded into a lecture about to be given by
President Bollinger on the First Amendment. Joe Reilly,
spokesperson for the SCC took the microphone and read a
statement to the event's attendees. A twenty-odd minute
exchange between the SCC and Bollinger occurred, however, it
was as unproductive as the previous discussion.

Students, student organizations, civil rights organizations
and other interested individuals and groups from across the
country have sent letters of support, encouragement, and
donations to help further the cause of the SCC and students
of color. Please help spread the word! The University of
Michigan serves as a microcosm of larger societal ills that
must be exposed and addressed. The SCC is up against a very
powerful network of elite UM graduates, as well as a
negligent and unresponsive administration. Furthermore, SCC
members have sacrificed much in the name of equality,
justice and the hope for positive change for the children of

Tours of the Michigamua "wigwam" will continue daily. More
information may be obtained by inquiring on the 4th floor of
the Michigan Union, 515 S. State Street, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, or by emailing:

Letters must be written, and phone calls made. Please
contact the administration at the following email addresses:

President Lee C. Bollinger (Use both of the following email


Other administration officials to CC:

Nancy Cantor     necantor@umich.edu
Lester Monts     lmonts@umich.edu
John Matlock     matlock@umich.edu

Also feel free to email all State and US senators and
representatives regarding this matter.

Please CC all letters of support, etc to these addresses:

The general information number at the University of Michigan
is 734-764-1817. They can connect you directly to any of the
above members of the UM administration.
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