Chetly Zarko’s FOIA flap has resulted in an editorial in the Detroit News, a newspaper with a long history conservative editorial activism. Meanwhile, the administration has gone to great lengths to dispel the half-truths peddled by Zarko.
My initial response to Chetly Zarko’s analysis is this: while I don’t doubt the difficulty of obtaining records he alleges about his FOIA requests, I attribute that to an institutional fetish for secrecy rather than nefarious intents. The summary he alleges was repressed was based on two years’ of data in a four-year study, and having read it myself I don’t find it a clear contradiction between the report and any position the University has taken. To the contrary, I think Zarko has read into the observation by U-M researchers that students of color experienced a hostile environment by concluding they must feel stigimatized by affirmative action. I conclude the opposite – they probubly are simply observing the climate of a student body of mostly wealthy whites from virtually all white towns on a campus which still wears the legacy of years of racially-intolerant practices. We must remember the relatively minor concessions won during the BAM I and II strikes are relatively recent in University history. Also, it’s no wonder some students today feel as insecure as ever – as white republicans in the Michigan Student Assembly kick the Native American Student Association out of their Michigan Union office (last spring) and the already tiny OAMI and MESA face deeper budget cuts.
In other news, the Forth Annual Irish-Mexican Fiesta in Detroit’s Mexicantown to be held June 8th is featuring a “tiniest Chihuahua and cutest Irish setter” contest.