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Tufts Students Occupy New Construction Site


Middlesex Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Spring late yesterday granted a request by Tufts University to restrain further obstructive demonstrations at the construction site of a new dormitory.

More than 200 students, most of them members of the Afro-American Society, blocked workers attempting to enter the site yesterday morning. The students were protesting the allegedly discrimina-tory hiring practices of the Volpe Construction Company, a firm owned by the family of U. S. Transportation Secretary John A. Volpe.

In the face of the student demonstration, university administrators and company officials agreed to suspend work for the day.

On Monday, President Burton C. Hallowell filed suit against the Volpe Company to determine whether the firm's hiring practices have been violating contract clauses and government regulations.

"Thanks to the initiative of the Afro-American Society, we've become convinced that the Volpe Company has not been living up to its obligations in hiring minority-group workers," director of Public Relations William H. Wells said yesterday.

The Tufts administration has supported Afro's demands for 20 per cent employment of minority-group members in recent negotiations with the construction firm. At present, only four of the 108-man work force are black, and only two are Puerto Ricans.

The Afro-American Society seized the building-which has been under construction since last August-with the demand that the administration halt construction and stop payment to the company while the suit is being litigated in the courts.

"The injunction alone will not be an adequate deterrent from another day of obstruction." AAS co-chairman Charles Yancey said yesterday.

"The Tufts administration has admitted that the Volpe Company's hiring practices are illegal and immoral, yet they have decided to favor the interests of the company through an injunction against its own students." Yancey added.

The Tufts administration has stated that work must proceed on the dormitory, so that the courts can determine if the company has violated contract or law.

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