Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Saunders out, 2 weeks out, Sandals out?

So the big news in the Daily today is apparently Tony Saunders was ousted from the Black Student Union for being a member of Michigamua. This was not news to me, but now he's appealing his ousting saying that it violates the BSU constitution.

For those who don't know Michigamua is a "senior honor society" which has a long sorted history of misrepresenting and disrespecting Native folks. Black in 2000 their office space was occupied by a coalition of students of color. Eventually they agreed to not use Native artifacts anymore, etc. Just six years ago, it was common to hear folks of color displeased with Gamua and their practices. Fast forward six years and half the students of color here feel as if the Gamua offenses occurred in another lifetime. We definitely practice selective amnesia at U of M.

Now back to Tony, many folks know and love Tony. Let me make it clear, I really don't know him from Adam, but I have known he's been in Gamua since he got tapped last year, so I'm sure we disagree on somethings. Tony is president of the NPHC here and on MSA and was an officer in BSU.

*On a side note, how did you not think he was in Gamua? Black man comes out relative obscurity (participates largely in his frat) then wins a campus wide election with from my point of view little discernible platform... that was red flag number one for me*

In the Daily article it mentions how he refused to go public with his membership when the Daily published a list last year (both him and the Editor in Chief Donn Fresard made this decision, I wonder who else is hiding in woods?) but he said he did it to avoid what he's going through right now? Okay, let me try to rehash this argument. 1) He joins an organization that has historically and likely con temporarily disrespects students of color. 2) He is serving on a executive board that is meant to be a political arm to the Black community. 3) Instead of resolving this conflict up front, he chose to hide it. Makes sense right?

Since the controversy has come to light, Tony apparently has been receiving threatening phone calls. I don't think that's cool.

*Another side note, did you notice the Daily article says it was someone from BSU... has that been confirmed or is that speculation?*

But I definitely think his choice to join a organization that is known to go back on its word and disrespect our community of color was one he has to stand on. His classmate Nicole Stallings came out when the group when public, she suffered her hits, but she's MSA president and living life pretty well from what I hear.

*Dammit another side note, I wonder is Nicole standing in Solidarity with him?*

While I believe in including folks in our pan-African agenda, I do think lines have to be drawn. I think the decision to not have Tony in a leadership role is a wise one. That's my two cents.

We are approximately 2 weeks away from the vote on Proposal 2. Vote no on 2. I am not a 501c3, so I can say this loudly and repeatedly!!!! Tell a friend.

It's getting cold outside in Michigan. Marc Hill has a hilarious post on sandals and white folks over here. Check out the comment that mentions the theory of ten.


Anonymous said...

I didn't realize this was happening on campus. I read his last quote in the Daily article (oops, I'm supposed to still be boycotting the Daily, huh? ;)..and it's so clear that Saunders has NO comprehension of the situation and the pain that Michigamua has caused communities of color.

On a related reflection, I look back at my own experiences as a student activist and all the anger and rage that is still happening on campus today. I stand in support of BSU's decision to take Saunders off the e-board. I also hope that folks collectively looks for ways to heal ourselves, especially folks in our own communiites. I know this is hard to do in the fast life of student activsts...just some thoughts...

Anonymous said...

good ole' Gamua, back in the spotlight.

This may be a bit outdated but I posted a comment on when it Sam Woll admitted being a part of gamua.
I am glad that the name is being dropped... or is in the process of being dropped or whatever...

Anyway, ive gotten some comments that my feelings are shared by many in the native and other minority communities on the issue of gamua and alot of it applies here. I'll copy some of the meat for you:

===Perhaps one of the current members can correct me if I am wrong but I seem to recall it {Michigamua's mandate} saying something like ” to uphold the excellence of the University of Michigan through service and fellowship.” Maybe I am way off, but I know it didnt say anything about smoking out a ceremonial pipe like it was a bong (a picture labeled 1996) or doing god knows what with what looked to me like an authentic cradle board.

I said these words to a representative from Michagamua and was told that the tape was played at an alumni meeting {Michigamua "Old Wolves"}, if you do not deny the power of diversity and you believe that Natives make a valuable contribution to this campus, then continuing to exist as you are is a direct contradiction to your mandate. They are dissuading natives from wanting to come to the U. It is hard enough comming to planet Ann Arbor from the rez without an organization making us feel weirder than we already do. I KNOW there are good people among the ranks of Michagamua, but please do not be fooled into believing that you have the power to make any kind of change. Even if you get your generation and the 10 generations after you to favor a name change, you will still be vastly outnumbered {I was proven wrong here apparently, though, I would argue that it was likely OUTSIDE pressures that changed thier minds more than the concerns of the newer classes} by the “buffalo calves”, “flip em backs” and “squaw teasers”. (I am sorry, i know that was a cheap shot, but I gotta hand it to them that one is blatently miserably racist and funny). I do want them to change thier name, and maybe someday they will and maybe someday they really can seperate themselves from thier past. {maybe actually doing something to help undo the damage they have done by supporting the Native community in some genuine way would be a good start. dont expect anybody to come begging} Until they do, do not delude yourselves into believing you have a voice in the organization in your pursuit of furthering your own ends by tapping thier extensive and powerful alumni network (it would be a powerful temptation even to me, ill admit) The best way that you can force this organization to truly seperate from its past is to continue being the best and brightest and DENY them your membership. Maybe if they have to start settling for fourth and fifth best, {are you sure they are not already doing this Tony? how many people refused thier tap before they came to you?} the “old wolves” will realize that this is not the legacy they want to leave.
Anyway, please try to remember who it was that donated the land that your beloved university was built on.
I am pulling for you, we are all in this together.==

I have said this to you before Dumi and all members of the minority community active on my behalf. THANKS!
I would speak out about this nonsense alone if I had to, knowing that I am not gives me a confidence I've rarely known.

Finally, everybody visit and sign up to volunteer for the national conference in Detroit next week. ;)

-Andy Chosa

Garlin II said...

All I can say about this terrible situation is that if you have to hide your membership in a group, one needs to question why you are a member in the first place.

Anonymous said...

What does Michiguama do that's bad? No one has ever answered that question for me? And who has the proof that they still do it?