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McCormick meets with minority students to discuss key issues

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The University of Washington Student Newspaper Tuesday, November 28, 1995

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McCormick meets with minority students to discuss key issues Tobias Kammer Daily Staff

UW President Richard L. McCormick met with approximately 100 minority students yesterday to discuss issues such as affirmative action, a new Ethnic Cultural Center and the long-awaited Cultural and Ethnic Diversity requirement.The meeting drew representatives from a wide array of student groups, including the Black Student Union (BSU), the Mexican Student Union, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Student Union (APSU) to the Ethnic Cultural Theater.This meeting was a chance for students to raise their concerns regarding minority issues directly to the president.Sophomore Ancel Johnson, computer engineering major and BSU president, raised concerns about improving the Ethnic Cultural Center. According to Johnson, the center originally was constructed as a 10-year building in 1971 and has not been expanded since.Johnson looked at the meeting as an opportunity to remind the University of its apparently forgotten promise. Johnson commented, "I wasn't necessarily looking for a response as much as I was his awareness of what was happening ... for him to know the history of the [Ethnic Cultural Center]."McCormick expressed concern over the discrepancy and requested to meet with Johnson at a later date, to discuss the details of the problem.Regarding affirmative action, one of the students asked, "What can you do can you as the president do to put pressure on individual administrations within the different colleges to develop programs which specifically recruit and retain minorities?"McCormick responded, "I can do just what you said ... I can put pressure on deans and department chairs to develop programs like that."However not all questions were addressed so directly. When asked about the Cultural and Ethnic Diversity requirement, McCormick claimed he cannot take responsibility for the curriculum. He said faculty would not appreciate the president of the University intervening on such an issue.Eunice Gong, senior psychology major and APSU chair, was not satisfied with this response.Gong commented, "I wanted him to say more about it, because he basically said that he couldn't do anything about it, and his influence could have helped us ... I expected more from it."Marcela Gomez, senior pre-med, reminded the audience that the Cultural and Ethnic Diversity requirement will be discussed at a Faculty Senate meeting this week. It will be on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in room 26 of Gerberding Hall. She encouraged all to come and warned that seats fill quickly.Though not all questions were fully addressed, McCormick considered the meeting a success. "I learned a lot. I got a lot of good questions, some of which I didn't know the answers to, and I look forward to opportunities ... to sit down with students around the table, without me being at a microphone like a press conference."

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