When Charles Dworkis walks to classes at The American University these days, a uniformed campus security guard walks with him, shadowing him carefully from class to class.
At the end of the day, other guards whisk Dworkis to an off-campus hideaway where the 18-year-old chairman of the student government operations committee will finish his first year at AU with some new thoughts about collegiate politics.
Last Tuesday, Dworkis tried to implement what he thought was a novel way to integrate black students into the campus mainstream.
During a heated student government budget hearing, the Long Island, N.Y., freshman proposed that allocations to the black student union be slashed from last year's $9,000 to $1,500.
"The elimination of Uhuru [the black student newspaper] will strengthen The Eagle [the white student newspaper], and strengthen the black cause and the black point of view," Dworkis argued in support of what proved to be a popular proposal.
When the budget was cut later, members of OASATAU, the black students union, charged towards the student General Assembly and angrily overturned tables and chairs and hurled budget reports to the floor.
"We wanted to kick his ass," said Bernard Walker, 20, an OASATAU sergeant-at-arms from Newark, N.J. "It was the work of a racist."
During an interview yesterday, Dworkis said, "My rationale is that it is more segregational and racist to fund an organization that exists for one racial group."
"He said minorities on campus should not have a newspaper," recalled Arthur Weddington, political director of the OASATAU-Organization of African and African-American Students at The American University. "But it came across like, 'Niggers don't need no paper.' It was all a big joke to them."
"My mistake was to try to effect change too quickly," Dworkis said as Campus Security Chief George Crider hovered nearby. "But I still think that total incorporation is the best idea."
Last week, when the OASATAU budget was before the university's Student Federation and facing its initial cut, OASATAU members disrupted the meeting.Whenthe meeting was hastily adjourned before a vote, angry black students blocked the doors so no one could leave.
Campus security cleared the area after a fist fight errupted betweem a member of the black student union and a member of the Student Federation, also black.
In 1975, the OASATAU held student government officials hostage when the federation threatened to adjourn without voting on their budget request.OASATAU members wielding baseball bats kept the federation members in their seats until a pilot $30,000 program was approved, according to witnesses.
The dispute over funding of special interest groups on college campuses is a decade old and not exclusive to blacks.
Jewish students at The American University, irate over cuts in the Jewish Student Assocition budget, were planning strategis yesterday to get their funds restored.
Of the 6,000 or so students enrolled at AU, about nine percent are black and 40 percent are Jewish.
Each student pays an annual $54 into the student activity fund which is doled out to student organizations in turn by an elected General Assembly.
Black Students complain that they are being short-changed.
"This week in typical of what we get," OASATAU president Mark Harris said, pointing to an announcement for an upcoming concert featuring country rock singers John Prince and Leon Rodbone. "Now really, man. Who?"
Says Weddington, "They keep chopping blacks back, chopping us back until the only thing left is for us to be indignant."
Eileen D. Lisker, the student vice president, disagrees with members of the black student union, contending that blacks use such universal student services as buses and cooperative record and book stores and attend some social functions financed with activity fees.
"Everyone has cultural needs," she said. "What I feel we need is more integration. That's what it will take to meet all of our needs.
Jan Gencer, a member of the General Assembly, complained, "They [blacks] can get 150 people to come to a budget meeting and yell racism and complain about no black representation. But when election time comes, do those 150 get together to vote for their man? That's all it takes to win, if that many. But no. Why? Because hardly any of them will run for anything."
Declining enrollment has reduced the student activity budget by more than $200,000 within the past five years, acording to Mare Duber, the student comptroller. At the same time, there are more student organization competing for funds.
"Everyone's budget has been cut," Duber said. "There's a lot of frustration all around. But they [the OASATAU] are still the only club on campus that has an office [in the student union]."
Before budget hearings began last week, a flier entitled "Statement of Conscience" was widely circulated around the campus. Anonymously written, it charged the Student Federation with "abuse" and "mismanagement" for allocating money to the NAACP, OASATAU, the Jewish Student Association and a foreign student group.
"It seems unfair and grossly inequitable for the Student Council to arbitrarily give some organizations a lot and others very little or nothing at all, when each of these organizations serves a cultural or philanthropic purof peopel," the tract read.
In defense of the OASATAU, Weddington cited a letter to University officials from the American Collegfe Personel Association Convention held in Los Angeles in March this year:
"[We] have found from practical experience that it is very much difficult to meet the diverse programming needs of black students without racial and cultural awareness. The needs in part can be met by allowing black students to program exclusively for themselves or the needs can be med by black administrators programming for black students."