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ARCHIVES: Text of Black students demands

A screenshot of the original text of the article, “Text of Black students’ demands.” Black Students United presented a list of demands to President Toll in 1969. STATESMAN FILE

Originally published on February 11, 1969

The following is the complete text of the demands presented by Black Students United to President Toll:

On October 24-25, 1968, Stony Brook University did hold a MORATORIUM, at which time constructive proposals were submitted by BSU and other concerned student organizations, for the implementation of certain curriculum and necessary changes in the University structure. To this date, the Governing Powers that-be in the University have not acted on these all-too-few meaningful proposals. After months of patience and good faith, we the BLACK STUDENTS UNITED at Stony Brook do make the following demands:

A. BLACK INSTITUTE

We, the Black Students United at Stony Brook, demand a signed agreement by the Administration to provide the necessary resources to establish a Black Institute.

The aims, definitions, courses, policies, organization and development shall be decided by a Committee set up by B.S.U. composed of chosen faculty and outside advisors. That upon receipt of our proposals and signed agreement by the University upon such proposals, machinery shall immediately be set in motion so that the Black Institute will be established as a functioning unit by September 1969. 

AIMS

  1. That at this point of History, we feel that the Black experience should become part of the mainstream American Educational system for Black and White to promote better understanding between both peoples.
  2. To provide Black students with background and educational standing necessary for them to assume the role of leadership in their community thus eliminating the Social, Economic, and Political problems in Black America
  3. That this be a Degree-granting Institute in the areas of Black Studies. 
  4. That this Institute enjoy a maximum amount of autonomy in the University system. (i.e. Governing body having power in the hiring of faculty, control of finances, etc., subject to normal good governance of such matters.)

B. SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES PROGRAM

Black Students United is aware that the “Special Opportunities Program” (S.O.P.) serves no purpose as it is set up presently and therefore demand that to make it meaningful, the “Program” satisfy the following needs:

  1. Tuition
  2. Room & Board
  3. Insurance – student health & medical
  4. Fees
    • Preliminary
    • College 
    • Books and materials

In addition to this, B.S.U. also demands the final approval in the hiring of the Director(s), and all persons responsible in the governing of this program. B.S.U. will also have representatives on the Board of the S.O.P. in all matters pertaining to admissions, governance, etc.

C. ADMISSIONS

The membership of Black Students United is. intensely aware of the unjustifiably small percentage of Afro-Americans and Puerto Ricans included in the student, faculty, and administrative bodies of State University at Stony Brook. Any people, any institution which professes to be just recognizes this deficiency, unintentional or otherwise, to be intolerable, and its continuation to be reprehensible. 

The Black Students United addresses itself to the immediate rectification of the under enrollment of Afro-American and Puerto-Rican students on the following basis:

  1. The society of which State University at Stony Brook is part has systematically denied to Black peoples the education which has been their right and due.
  2. Black students qualified and motivated to attend Stony Brook University do exist in greater numbers than present enrollment figures presume to indicate.
  3. The correction of this deficiency is required, and guarantees beneficial results for Stony Brook University, the Black community, and the society as a whole. The Black Students United hold that the principles of justice and equality warrant and demand that by September 1969, Afro-Americans and Puerto Ricans constitute no less than 25% of the total admissions at State University at Stony Brook.

D. ORIENTATION

We, the Black Students United, further demand that the University supply Black Students United with the necessary resources to run an orientation program for admitted Black Students. 

This commitment would include:

  1. The making of an orientation program relevant to Black students.
  2. The orientation feels from Blacks students should be placed in a separate account for B.S.U. These funds would be used to enhance future orientation programs for Black students
  3. The students involved in preparing the program, and doing material research and orientating the students, should be paid for these works by the same sources as people in the regular orientation program.
  4. An advisory committee should be selected by B.S.U. and would be set up to advise and direct the students involved in the most meaningful way.

E. UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS

We, the Black Students United demand the abolition of the University requirements; so that the undergraduate student may find more freedom to choose courses that meet his interests and needs. 

We feel the abolition of University requirements would entail the abolition of the present system of prerequisites, and a decrease in the -number of required courses and the accumulation of a gross amount of credits presently needed for graduation.

We expect to receive notice of the approval or rejection of the TOTAL of our demands by the President of the University, and other members of the Administration by February 17, 1969.This reply will be presented in the gymnasium where reservations have been made to serve this purpose. The date of this public presentation will be Feb. 17, 1969, at 8 p.m. before the members of B.S.U. and other Concerned Students.

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