Criticism about minority clubs prompts debate

By Nancy Broten

NIU students who believe minority organizations on campus lead to racism and discrimination prompted the Student Association Minority Relations Committee to organize a forum.

Minority Relations Adviser Larry Robertson said many students are questioning the purpose of minority organizations. Several letters appeared in the Northern Star “accusing the (NIU) administration of being on the wrong track by supporting minority relations organizations,” Robertson said.

e said students with this point of view believe minority organizations are racist and discriminatory because they cause members to socialize only among themselves.

“What they don’t realize is that organizations are trying to integrate and are lending a hand. It’s a compromise. We’re willing to go out and join with you but you must also be willing,” Robertson said.

The forum, to be held Dec. 1, features a panel of three students who support minority relations organizations and three students who believe these organizations contribute to racist and discriminatory attitudes among students.

The pro-organization side of the panel already has been chosen, but the committee still is looking for students who hold opposing points of view to participate, Robertson said.

“We don’t want it to turn out to be a hostile debate with yelling and screaming. We want to change their minds but most of all want them to have a better understanding of minority organizations,” Robertson said.

About 60 percent of all minority students at NIU belong to one of the 41 organizations dealing with minority relations at NIU, Robertson said.