Students demonstrate ar colloquiumThis week's Institute Colloquium on Apartheid did not pass without student protest. Approximately ten people gathered at the Student Center steps at 5 pm and marched into McCormick Hall during an afternoon reception for keynote speaker Dr. Nthato Motlana.
The demonstrators entered McCormick with a large banner, chanting anti-apartheid slogans. They denounced apartheid in South Africa, as well as the MIT Corporation's position on the issue. They also questioned MIT's motives for holding the colloquium.
"They were scheduled and authorized to have a reading [at the Student Center] for 5:15," said Sgt. James F. Baker Jr. of the Campus Police. "We asked them in a nice way to desist [from demonstrating in McCormick] ... [we] asked them to leave the area and continue with their protest outside of the building." The group complied, and no arrests were made.
"As we went in there, the MIT Campus Police was called in there by the administration to throw us out," said Arnold Contreras '83, one of the protestors.
Some demonstrators believed that the colloquium did, to a limited extent, serve a purpose for the anti-apartheid movement. "It is good that these discussions are taking place," said Shiva Ayyadurai '85, one of the protestors. But the reasons behind MIT's sponsoring of the Colloquium are suspect, he claimed.
"Why would ... MIT organize this?" asked Ayyadurai. "They don't say anything about divestment. Not one thing." The motivation of MIT is not to "help the movement or support the revolution," he continued.
"I think this whole thing is just a thing organized to take away from the mass movement," Ayyadurai said, calling it an attempt to "talk the movement to death.
"They don't want to see demonstrations. They would rather see nice, scholarly discussions in Kresge. What scares them is when you have 500 students outside Paul Gray's [house]."
"The provost, the ODSA [Office of the Dean for Student Affairs] and the president claim to be sudden champions in the struggle against apartheid," Ayyadurai said.
"Do they really think that we will suddenly believe that they are interested in fighting against apartheid?" Contreras asked.
Position of no position
Creating a commission with a few activists on it
talk is cheap
His way to solve the problem is to say that now we should build a black middle class there (Johnson) -- develop a black bourgeois ... he doesn't see it as a class issue; he sees it as nation against nation.
If you ask Willard Johnson or Gretchen Ritter if they support the revolution of the black workers to overthrow apartheid, they will say no.
"We went into the so-called anti-apartheid reception sponsored by MIT in McCormick," said Ernesto Contreras. The Campus Police report cited the students for "disturbing an authorized assembly," he added.Two participants in the demonstration were known to be not members of the MIT community, Baker said. "They were told to remove themselves from the property." The two went out onto the street to distribute materials.