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Minorities and College

January 17, 1988

Being a minority freshman at UC Berkeley, I took great interest in Smith's story. It was the first time I had seen a major newspaper address the crucial issue of minority students being thrust into predominantely white schools and the subsequent problems of negative treatment by other students and inaction by university officials in changing the status quo. I feel that the author did an excellent job of relaying the individual students' experiences and the universities' policies to the readers from an objective viewpoint.

Realistically, however, the situation cannot be handled objectively. There need to be more projects like Casa Joaquin Murrieta that will help students adjust to their new academic and social environment while also aiding in the retention of their ethnic identity.

In addition, more universities need a graduation requirement similar to Stanford's Western Cultures class, with an emphasis on Third World societies. This is necessary if minorities are to even have a fighting chance against the prevailing ignorances and prejudices many white students have about them. Minority students at UC Berkeley have been pushing the school's administration for an ethnic studies graduation requirement, thus far without success.

Soon Hispanics and Asians will constitute the majority of California's population, not the minority. Blacks and other minorities will be growing in number also. If universities don't start addressing the problems of minority recruitment and retention that are so crucial right now, they're asking for serious trouble in the very near future.

TIFFANY COUNTRYMAN

Walnut

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