A "pattern across the land" of ending Third World Studies Programs and decreasing black admissions will lead to "lily-white campuses," a black former staff member of a small Vermont college told an audience of about 110 during a noon rally in the Yard yesterday.
Otis McRae, former non-resident trimester coordinator for Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., spoke on the steps of Memorial Church at the rally, which marked the end to an 11-day journey McRae and three companions made to Harvard to dramatize charges of racism at Goddard.
Although leaflets advertising the rally said McRae, Charles Johnson, Mary Kacen and Steve Guerra had walked 200 miles "for racial justice", Kacen told The Boston Globe that the walk was discontinued in southern New Hampshire, near Concord. From there the group visited college campuses throughout New England by car before coming to Cambridge, Kacen told the Globe.
McRae, his companions and 15 followers marched "the last mile" yesterday morning from MIT along Mass Ave to Harvard in a light rain. McRae, Johnson and speakers from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and/the Harvard-Radcliffe SDS spoke on what they termed "apathy" and "racial insensitivity" on the part of academic institutions.
Shouting into the microphone, McRae told the crowd he was disappointed by the turn-out. "I'm remembering the traditions of Harvard I heard about all my life," McRae said, attacking "the concrete and steel" of Harvard and calling for more awareness by colleges of "institutional racism."
McRae discussed the demise of Third World Programs all over the country and said, "Now that the heat is off...it's open season on black people." He said that cutbacks in financial aid for blacks would mean "we're going to have lily-white campuses again."
McRae focused on his own situation and denounced what he called racism at Goddard. "They can get into the issue of freedom when it's Jerry Rubin, or long hair or meditation or touchy-feely philosophy," McRae said, but they were insensitive to the issue of racial freedom.
Goddard moved to reincorporate its Third World Studies program into its resident program, Goddard President Gerald S. Witherspoon said Thursday, due to "problems of internal disagreement and not outside pressure."
Two Third World Faculty members, Charles Johnson and Jeanne Phillips, had their contracts terminated after the reincorporation. Starting on August 6, 1973, McRae, three Third World Faculty members, and student supporters occupied Witherspoon's office for a week in protest of the action.
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