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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 February 2006

BOULDER, Colo.—Civil rights activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton was quoted by television stations on Monday, telling students at the University of Colorado-Boulder that an open dialogue is needed to help end racism.

"I did not come to be liked, I came for us to have a dialogue," Sharpton told the crowd.
Sharpton's visit comes as a commission created by university President Hank Brown studies ways to increase diversity.

Brown created the commission partly in response to a string of several incidents that included a 20-year-old university student suffering a broken jaw over the summer in what police said was a racially motivated attack. Two university students face charges over a racist e-mail sent to a Hispanic cross-country runner. Other racially charged incidents on the campus are under investigation.

"It is the responsibility of everybody to stand up against people that are biased and racist and see them for the cowards that they are," Sharpton told the crowd.

A draft report by the 60-member Blue Ribbon Commission calls for stricter policies for those who commit racist acts and for the school's highest leadership to express outrage when those incidents happen.

The commission also suggested additional funding for programs to retain and help minority students graduate, and possibly loosening admission standards that could be a barrier to the relatively low percentage of minorities at the school.

The commission noted that the freshman class of about 5,000 included just 66 Blacks.

A final draft of their recommendations is expected by March 1.

— The Associated Press

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