Racial strife seeps on to campus

November 3, 1995

With the United States awash with talk of racial divides, the fallout from events like the OJ Simpson trial and the million man march on Washington are making themselves felt in the nation's campuses.

A report in The New York Times details a series of incidents of racial tension at colleges and universities, already in the thick of the national debate over affirmative action programmes to boost minority student numbers.

Racist fliers circulated at the University of Southern California after the Simpson verdict called on whites to "take up arms and defend yourselves". And a black student leader inflamed emotions at Columbia University by echoing the anti-Semitism of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

However, higher education institutions are still on course for more integration not less.A University of Michigan survey in 1994 found that despite some examples of self-segregation minority students have led a trend towards colour-blindness in studying and socialising.

But African American students in particular have complained of feeling isolated and even resented at universities. In the same survey, more them half of them reported hearing faculty members make racist comments, and said they felt excluded from campus activities because of their race.

And in recent weeks, as America has been examining, once more, its troubled history of racism, students have been drawn into the debate. At USC, OJ Simpson's university, president Steve Sample was concerned enough to take a full page ad in the campus newspaper headlined "Speak out Against Bigotry and Hatred".

While at Columbia, many students were stunned to read a column in the Columbia Daily Spectator by the head of the Black Student Union that referred to Jews as "leeches sucking the blood from the black community, then pretending to be our friends".

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments