Media Contact

Dana Chicklas, dchicklas@aclumich.org

May 4, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) sent a letter to Central Michigan University President Robert O. Davies, urging him to reinstate the university's Men's Track and Field Program, due to its profound racial implications on students and their families. Today's letter follows action from the Committee to Reinstate Men's Track and Field at Central Michigan University and other organizations and individuals demanding the same.

Read the full letter below. The following is an excerpt: 

"...The impact of track and field on the Black community has also been more personal because it has offered many a way out of oppressive poverty. Such poverty causes far too many brilliant Black children to regard higher education as an elusive dream, as they languish in under-resourced schools and become demoralized by the thought of their economic circumstances limiting their life options. In desperation they flirt with street crime, which all but guarantees incarceration because of the heavy police surveillance of people of color and the absence of the type of legal defense that routinely rescues more affluent white youth from criminal justice system entanglement - a fatal hazard of youthful indiscretion of the kind that afflicts children of all races. Yet, despite the obstacles they face, not all Black youth become casualties. In fact, a widely held belief that there are more Black men in prison than in college is factually incorrect. Many Black students find their way into universities with the assistance of various forms of financial aid, including academic and athletic scholarships that allow them to flourish as student athletes in what has become one of the American public university’s most significant contributions to social mobility. These sources of support are literal lifelines that account in significant ways for the continuing socio-economic elevation of many African American families from generation to generation."