An Activist, on the Other SidePosted by admin on 7/12/12 • Categorized as Summer 2012
By Lynn Vollbrecht’06
Michael Young’69 is well aware of the somewhat ironic nature of his career.
As he handles the concerns and protests of students at the University of California-Santa Barbara, where he is vice-chancellor of student affairs, he can empathize in a very literal way. More than 40 years ago, he was on the other side of student protests as president of the Afro-American Union at Beloit College.
In the spring of 1969, Young and dozens of other students took over the Admissions Office and issued a 12-point list—the “Black Demands”—that asked college administration and President Miller Upton to increase the enrollment of black students, hire more black faculty members, and add more course offerings in African and Afro-American history and culture. Within days, the administration acquiesced; a few months later, Young was class speaker at the 1969 Commencement ceremony.
“I remember being very impressed by Mike’s ability to be a leader of student sit-ins while retaining the support of Beloit’s administration, led by President Miller Upton,” recalls Bob Hodge, professor emeritus of history. “This was a difficult balancing act that had the potential to alienate his fellow students, faculty, and administration.”
But it didn’t.
“Mike was such an exceptional leader that he was able to walk the fine line between his academics, his sports interests, and his personal civil rights beliefs and actions, and succeed in all three,” Hodge says.
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