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Students Take Building To Protest Conditions

April 4, 1989

ATLANTA (AP) _ A group of students took over the Morris Brown College administration building on Tuesday in a protest over conditions in classrooms, dormitories and the cafeteria.

Hundreds of other students demonstrated outside, while city police and campus security guards stood nearby. No arrests were made, and no confrontations were reported.

″This is not an irrational temper tantrum,″ said Antoine Chancellor, a Morris Brown freshman from San Jose, Calif., who was among the leaders of the demonstration. ″We have filled out the papers. We have gone through the process. The process has failed.″

It was unclear how many students were in the building. Protest organizers refused to say how many were involved in the siege, and the curtains were drawn over the windows.

Occasionally, hands could be seen placing signs in the windows. One poster had a drawing of a clenched fist and the words: ″Student Power.″

Students who gathered on a lawn at the campus south of downtown Atlanta heard a taped message outlining a series of grievances against the administration of the predominantly black college.

The students cheered as the unidentified speaker on the tape criticized the college’s security system, cafeteria, health services, dormitory conditions and what students feel is a lack of black studies in the curriculum.

Protesters also said the college was planning to expel about 150 students who were delinquent on tuition payments.

Cynthia M. Bell, a spokeswoman for the college, which is part of the Atlanta University Center, said administrators wanted to talk with the students who took over the building. College President Calvert H. Smith was out of town.

Students also were angry that the school had refused to compensate students for clothing and other possessions lost in a blaze at a men’s dormitory on Sunday. Ms. Bell said officials were looking into the complaints.

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