The Andersonian approaches its 70th year in February as the university approaches its 100th next fall. Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the Andersonian will share summaries of some of its most important publications.
In light of this week’s nationwide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Andersonian looks back on an article published on May 16, 1975, titled “AC [Anderson College] Black Concerns Are Explored.” This story has been edited for length.
By Marcia Patrie and Gil Thrush
As a result of a meeting with Black students and ministers, President Robert Reardon has set up a task force to explore possible solutions about concerns which are felt by the Anderson College Black community…
The task force soon will be making its recommendation to President Reardon, who then will be responsible for implementation of the program.
Major issues being dealt with by the task force are recruitment, academic support, counseling and establishment of a process by which Black churches can lend more moral and financial support to training and leadership for Black students…
Black students interviewed stated their concerns were not an attempt to polarize the campus into Black or White racist groups and there was no animosity felt towards white students.
“On March 10, 1975, the Minority Student Council drafted an expanded plan to foster and maintain academic growth among Black students at Anderson College.
“1. The appointment of a full-time Black Counselor who will report directly to the college’s president.
“2. A budget allocation to the Black Counselor to finance Black-oriented activities.
“3. An increase in the number of Black faculty members.
“4. Hiring of a full-time Black recruitment officer.
“5. Appointment of a Black administrator to the Academic Review Board.
“6. Encouragement of the return of Black graduates to fill positions at the college.
“7. Implementation of the Academic Support System.
“Our concern is the providing of a more fitting environment for the academic preparation of the future leaders of our churches. We feel that the implementation of our plan is a step in the right direction. Brethren, we solicit your prayers and support.”
Following is a draft by President Reardon and Dr. Thomas J. Sawyer, Sr.:
GENERAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE RELATIONSHIPS OF ANDERSON COLLEGE TO BLACK AND OTHER MINORITY GROUPS
1. Anderson College, through its basic commitment to the Father of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Brotherhood of Man, to church and community, will endorse and foster the concept of a single, multiracial Christian college community, fully integrated, in which each student, faculty and staff member is regarded with God-given endowments of dignity, respect, and in which each is accorded the right to participation in that Christian community of learning in such a manner that will foster his educational and vocational goals.
2. Cultural pluralism is a fact of life on the college scene. Anderson College sees this as an opportunity to share gifts of various cultures focused upon a united educative effort. Attempts to polarize the campus into Black or White racist groups, each building its own wall and separate life, will be resisted and discouraged as foreign to the commitments of Anderson College.
3. Every state and national program of public support for minority students will be incorporated and made available unless it is inconsistent with the above stated principles.
4. It is expected that the National Association of the Church of God and Black congregations across the nation will give their full support to the principles stated about, will communicate and disseminate information among their members about the educational opportunities at Anderson College and will stand behind the students to give spiritual, moral and financial support while they are in college.
5. Anderson College reaffirms its commitment to serve qualified students across the entire spectrum of the Church. It will shape its recruiting, informational, administrative and instructional programs in such a manner that this principle can be implemented.
6. There will be no double standard either in the classroom or in the enforcement of college regulations regarding minority students. Minority students are expected to observe college regulations fully, make the most of their educational opportunities, assume financial responsibility, participate fully the academic and social life of the institution, and, when necessary, avail themselves of remedial programs assigned to compensate for inadequate preparation. Majority students and faculty are expected to respect cultural differences, appreciate the personhood of and welcome all students and staff into the life of Anderson College.
7. Anderson College acknowledges the richeness of Black culture and does not regard the fostering of that unique culture by minority students as inconsistent with the principles listed above.
8. Anderson College, through its charter, is governed by an elected Board of Trustees and administration empowered by them. Problems that arise within the institution are resolved by the administration and affected parties within the college and community. Grievances and their solutions are therefore primarily and fundamentally to be solved within the community. When solutions cannot be so mitigated, offended parties will bring their grievances to the attention of the Board of Trustees. Only under extreme circumstances should parents of pastors become corporately involved.
9. Anderson College does not view itself as being a reflection of the decadent and fractured society in which it carries on its life and mission. It will resist conforming to this society and will attempt, through its purposes and its functioning, to reflect the scriptural characteristics identifying it with the community of believers under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, governed by the principles of the New Testament.
Robert H. Reardon, President; Thomas J. Sawyer, Sr., Associate Dean of Students.
April 14, 1975