The University Record, October 16, 1995

Students rally in support of affirmative action

By Jane R. Elgass

 More than 100 students gathered in Regents' Plaza at noon last Thursday to rally for affirmative action, as part of similar activities taking place nationwide.

Mounted by a coalition of student groups, the rally included a skit as well as presentations by several speakers.

Speaker Sherise Steele of the Black Student Union called for a mobilization of students, faculty and staff as well as community members in the area to underscore the need for "affirmative action as social policy until racism and sexism are eradicated."

She also issued three demands:

 That the Regents make and fulfill a commitment to hiring a new president who strongly supports affirmative action and true diversity.

 That the state Legislature and Gov. John Engler abandon all attempts to roll back affirmative action.

 That state legislators affirm human rights and social and economic justice.

Steele said that anyone who thinks affirmative action is not necessary should "stop lying."

"Affirmative action is necessary for our society," as a means of "equaling out our rights."

With respect to jobs, Steele said, "affirmative action is not reverse discrimination, it's justice. With respect to opportunities for higher education, it's not a quota system, it's fairness."

"It's our responsibility to demand that our elected officials stand up to this."

The rally closed with a brief skit and, chanting "The people united will never be defeated," the students headed for the School of Business Administration, where Gov. John Engler was scheduled to address participants in the "Growth Capital Symposium," developed by Prof. David J. Brophy.