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Where is minority support?

To the Editor:

"Me And You,

We And They,

How Many Dreams Were Put Off Today?"

There was a dream in 1975, at the time of the founding of the Office Of Minority Education (OME), that it would be "... charged with understanding the teaching-learning process of minority undergraduate students at MIT ..." Based on that understanding, OME was to structure academic support programs which would reduce the attrition rate of minority undergraduate students. (The attrition rate has increased from less than 40 percent in 1981 to approximately 67 percent in 1984.)

These so-called support programs, after 10 years, should have developed to the point of being beneficial to the undergraduates. Are funds not being wasted to maintain a BSU-Tutorial Program which has approximately 27 tutors but only averages 11 tutors per week? Why does the 1984 Tutor Of The Year not show up for three tutoring sessions -- within the space of two weeks -- with a student in jeopardy of failing a course? What actions does the OME take to remedy the situation? Why hire tutors that never show up in the TP, or never appear for appointments, that is, if the students are fortunate enough to be able to contact them to arrange appointments.

It is a waste of my time to delve too deeply into the problems plaguing some of the other support services (Buddy Program and Strategies and Secrets for Academic Success.) Over the past four years the utility of these programs has deteriorated to the point that they are no longer worth maintaining. Is it any small wonder that this is the case when the coordinators of these programs no longer use independent thought but are puppets of the administration? And, if not, they became coordinators because it would look wonderful on their resumes and paid very good money at the same time? The Freshman Watch Program at this time does very adequately what its name suggests, it "watches" students fail out of the Institute with very little counseling or support to help the students with academic difficulties.

I hear often of Black Administrators leaving MIT and I begin to feel threatened because it as if the minority students are being deserted. But, I am beginning to think that the best of the administrators are leaving because the worst of the administrators among them are not supportive to us minority students. All the problems of the OME cannot be attributed to the former director, Dr. William MacLaurin. He has been gone for a year, where are the improvements which were supposed to come when the office was free from his influence?

On Friday May 10, there was the Minority Awards Luncheon held for the purpose of recognizing students who would not have received their just recognition at the Awards Convocation. Yet, these students were recognized only by fellow members of their organizations. (This could have been done by the groups at their final meeting of the semester.) The OME offered no recognition to the students who made outstanding contributions to minority life. Could it be that as in so many other instances that it is unaware and unconcerned with the undergraduates' lives? Why do they continue to uphold this farce of an awards ceremony?

I am searching for any clue as to why one would wish to maintain an Office of Minority Education. By this afternoon three-fourths of the minority population will be furious with me. I do not care!! It was hard writing this, but not as hard nor as painful as it was to undergo such total disillusionment over the past 4 years, so that I can honestly say that I am thoroughly disgusted and appalled at the operating of the Office of Minority Education.

The dreams about OME...

"They Age And Rot

They Move Light Years Away

They Are Engulfed And Get Trapped in A Slot

Delay! Delay!"

Althea T. Haylett '85->