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The Peace Corps, in keeping with its New Directions policy, announced yesterday the creation of an Office for Minority Affairs designed to provide maximum opportunities for minority groups and women in its programs.
In a press conference at the Business School, Peace Corps Director Joseph H. Blatchford outlined the major goals of the, new department and announced the appointment of its first director, William L. Tutman.
According to Blatchford, the new office will undertake a major expansion of existing equal employment opportunity. New policies and programs will be initiated to insure minority-owned enterprises greater access to Peace Corps procurement and service contracts.
"I hope that this action will set a new standard of minority involvement for both government agencies and business," Blatchford said.
Tutman, the director of the Office, is a black resident of Upper Marlboro, Md., who has spent four years in the Peace Corps, and is currently deputy director of volunteer placement.
Following the press conference, Blatchford addressed a crowd of 150 at Baker Library as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Public Affairs Forum of the Business School.
In his opening remarks Blatchford admitted that "Yeah, I was the guy that Spiro Agnew hit with a tennis ball."
Blachford then went on to say. "I think that the people who characterized the Peace Corps as an organization made up primarily of lily-white, middle-class people may have had a very valid point. But I think that has changed. We have a tremendous need for blacks and other minorities, particularly in places like Africa and Latin America."
"Basically our New Directions approach has stressed the need for both minority volunteers and skilled volunteers." Blatchford added. "The response from the countries where we are located has indicated that there is a much greater need for individuals skilled in an area like mechanics, farming, or business organization, rather than your basic liberal arts graduate."
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