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Students Protest Status of Black Studies Center

April 13, 1989

DETROIT (AP) _ About 60 students protesting racism and the status Wayne State University gives its Center for Black Studies occupied an administration building overnight.

The students remained scattered today throughout hallways and reception areas of the Student Admininstration Building and vowed to stay indefinitely. University administrators decided to close the building, which houses office for such things as student services and registration, because of the protest.

The protest was organized Wednesday by students unhappy with the response of university President David Adamany to a list of 17 proposals given to him Monday.

The proposals included more space for the black studies center, its designation as a separate department and heavier recruitment of black students. Wayne State has 30,000 students, 28 percent of them black, officials said.

The students also said they want Wayne State to require faculty members to teach a course on an African-related topic and to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the date of Malcolm X’s assassination as holidays.

Adamany, whose office is not in the building occupied, said the proposals require study and deliberation because they cover ″many budgetary, legal and academic issues.″ He said he would meet with the students after reviewing them.

University spokesman Robert Wartner said a window was broken during the protest, but nobody was injured. He said three students left voluntarily after some students apparently tried to dismantle a gate in front of a doorway. A fourth, unidentified student was taken away by police because of an outsanding traffic warrant.

The students, many carrying sleeping bags and books, moved into the building at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Patricia Coleman-Burns, a professor at the Center for Black Studies, told the students that black faculty members support their protest.

″It is so good to see you all here in terms of the commitment you’ve made to your academic growth and to the community,″ Coleman-Burns said.

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