348 register to attend conference on racism

By Sean Noble

More than double the number of expected participants have registered for Thursday’s conference to discuss possible responses to recent displays of racism on American campuses.

The all-day conference at the Holmes Student Center will feature lectures by several noted university and education leaders, said Don Buckner, director of NIU Student Housing and a conference coordinator.

Buckner said, “We had orignally expected about 150 registrations and we have ended up with 348.”

“It’s a very current topic of interest for people involved in higher education,” he said.

The program will begin with the keynote address, “Removing the Barriers to Minority Student Achievement in Higher Education,” by Michael Nettles at 9 a.m. Nettles is a senior researcher at the Educational Testing Service.

Buckner said Henry Johnson, vice president for student affairs at the University of Michigan, will speak about “Responding to Acts of Racism and Discrimination: Strategies for Action” at 1:15 p.m.

Clarence Shelly, assistant vice chancellor at the University of Illinois, will be giving the last major address, “Lessons From the Past: Fighting Old Battles Anew.” Shelly’s address will begin at 3:30 p.m.

A series of smaller discussion groups will be presented in addition to the lectures, Buckner said. The smaller groups will be led by resource and discussion leaders including William Hall from the United States Justice Department and James Forstall from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Jon Dalton, NIU vice president for student affairs, said parts of the program will be videotaped to be included in a national teleconference. “Racism on Campus: Toward an Agenda for Action,” is scheduled for broadcast March 22.

Dalton said the significance of this program is that it might be the first major conference in the country which draws representatives from many universities to discuss college racism.