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Sit-in over Racial Concerns Goes into Fourth Day

May 13, 1989

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ About 200 black students who say Michigan State University isn’t adequately addressing racial problems maintained a sit-in for a fourth day Friday, blocking the main entrance to the administration building.

Although side and back doors to the building were open, university spokesman Terry Denbow said administration officials wouldn’t negotiate with the students until the front door was opened.

Protest leader Jeffery Robinson countered that the students wouldn’t open the doors until negotiations had resumed.

No formal negotiations were held Friday, Denbow said, adding that negotiations were scheduled for Saturday morning. ″I hope this is all over after Saturday’s session,″ he said.

One student who tried to get inside to join the protest was arrested Thursday night on a charge of causing a public disturbance.

During the standoff, the cashier’s and registrar’s offices remained locked, prompting a backlash from some students who said they were being discriminated against because they couldn’t get inside.

″I really do think they are right to protest, but I don’t feel they have the right to occupy the administration building,″ said Kent Hohensee, a 22- year-old senior, who said he spoke for a group called No Equality Through Inequality.

″I believe in what they’re protesting, I just don’t like how they’re going about it,″ said Patrick Ranes, a junior.

″That building doesn’t belong to them. It belongs to everyone on campus. I think they’re alienating a lot of people.″

The protesters are asking for more black faculty, more recruitment of black students, creation of a minority adviser to the provost and the hiring of more minority group members, especially at upper levels.

Their demands also include better treatment from Department of Public Safety officers and the firing of any university employee found guilty of racism.

Michigan State has 42,695 students, and 2,703 of them, or 6.3 percent, are black, spokeswoman Cherryl Jensen said. Overall, 10 percent of the school’s students are from minority groups.

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