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Blacks Protest Opening Of Multicultural Center At UNC-Pembroke

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PEMBROKE, NC — Some black students at the University ofNorth Carolina at Pembroke say college administrators broke apromise to them when they opened the school's multicultural studentcenter.

About 35 students protested at the opening of the center Monday,saying they were told that the center would be exclusively a blackcultural center.

``They betrayed us and made a lot of broken promises,'' saidBrandon Davis, a spokesman for the UNCP African American StudentOrganization. ``The way they went about the thing was not right. Itwas totally unprofessional.''

Chancellor Allen Meadors said he didn't make any assurancesabout the center and didn't know of any made before he started hisjob in July 1999.

``If you believe something is right and you've talked toeverybody you can, then it's OK to speak out,'' Meadors said. ``Ifthey would have come to me six months ago, we could've met andlooked at it. That wasn't how it was brought to me. There isobviously a misunderstanding here, and I don't understand how ithappened.''

Most of the people attending the opening of the center wereprotesters. Some white students joined the demonstration. Studentscarrying signs chanted ``BCC'' and ``Black Culture Center'' as theymarched in the hallway outside the center.

Meadors talked with representatives from the African AmericanStudent Organization and said he would meet with the group todiscuss forming a black culture center if there is enough studentsupport.

``I'll support it all the way,'' he said. ``We have to findspace. We spent two years coming up with space for this one.''

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