Collegiate Times
September 25, 1990

Tech Racism Cited

by Karl Dalrymple

The Virginia Tech chapter of the NAACP held a rally Friday evening to protest apartheid and racism both on campus and abroad.

Gordon Rowe, former president of Tech's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, and current president Mark Walker cited local incidents of racism and subsequently proposed a five-point plan to counterattack and deal with future racial incidents.

The plan, executed by the NAACP, consists of a hotline dealing with racist issues, committees to investigate and respond to racist incidents, anti-racism publications, open forums to protest racism and a security group to protect any black organization or individual who desires protection.

Mark Walker, president of the NAACP
Mark Walker, President of the NAACP, speaks at the anti-racism rally held friday.
Staff photo by TIFFANY HARDIAN

Rowe blamed the Student Government Association, Tech administrators and biased media for fostering a racist attitude and discrimination against blacks at Tech.

Rowe said Tech's failure to divest from seven corporations investing in South Africa and the recent SGA budget rally - which he claims had racist overtones - made the racism rally necessary in order to call attention to these events.

SGA representative Brian McConnell defended the budget rally.

Members of all minority groups must be elected to office, he said, to give minority-children hope for a brighter future. Recent budget cuts endanger that hope, making a rally necessary.

"It is a sad day at Virginia Tech when these rallies have to be held," Walker said.

"In a multiple cultural society we need to work in unison to resolve these racial burdens."

Walker said Tech officials told the NAACP in January of 1989 that the university was divesting its South African holdings. Walker said this has not happened and accused Tech officials of holding onto the securities for the greatest profit.

Ray Smoot, vice president of business affairs and treasurer, said the university was in full compliance with the January 1989 policies and more recent policies adopted this August.

Smoot said the governor's policy specifically established no deadline for the divestment policies.

"The policy was designed to permit the exercising of prudence in trading the investment portfolios," Smoot said.

After Walker's and Rowe's prepared comments the floor was opened for spectator comments. Issues such as the roles of black and other minority roles in society and how to improve them were considered.

Charles Morton, a junior in political science, said there are many conflicts involving blacks against blacks. Until blacks can set aside these grievances, he said, they will not be able to unite and rise above white oppression.

"We must work first among our own people," Rowe said, "and stop them from perpetuating racism before moving abroad."

Rowe emphasized the necessity of educating white students as to the severity of racial problems and said he hoped this rally was taking a step in that direction.

As part of this education plan, the Black Organizations Council will hold a seminar entitled, "Racism 101," at 6 p.m. Thursday in McBryde 100. The seminar will feature a film about racism problems at Tech. Group workshops will follow.

People wishing to report racist incidents should call the racism hotline at 231-8128.

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URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/archives/blackhistory/timeline/racism.htm