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August 29, 1967 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-08-29

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TOE 1 ICRI A* DAILY

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rnM~***~? I.TUESD11

,Y, AUGUST 29, 1967

f

Tow Playing at Cinema Guild:

Fundamentals of

By RON LANDSMAN
The fundamental questions
raised by the arrest of three stu-
dents and a faculty member for
the Cinema Guild showing of an
"obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy"
motion picture are basic to the
role of the university in modern
society.
The students, Ellen Frank, '68;
Mary Barkey, '68, and Elliot
Barden, '68, officers of Cinema
Guild, and Hubert 'Cohen, assist-
ant manager and engineering
English instructor, were arrested
after a movie they had selected,
"Flaming Creatures," was inter-
rupted in.midreel and confiscated
by Lieut. Eugene Staldenmeier,
chief of the Ann Arbor Police
Detective Bureau.
A large segment of the faculty
and most administrators see the
Cinema Guild case as one where
a few students merely "went too
far," and thus must confront the
municipal authorities on their
own. However, other professors
and students see the confiscation
of the film' as intrinsically op-
posed to the responsibilities of an
academic institution.
The Cinema Guild case has
evolved to include five significant'
questions:

A The relationship between the
University and the Ann Arbor
community;
* Academic freedom and the
responsibility of the university to
test comtemporary values;
* The-artistic and social value
of underground films;
# The constitutional question
of search and seizure without due
process of law, and
* Pornography and censorship
with or without judicial action.
The first question-the Univer-
sity and its relation to the com-
munity-was the primary concern
of the Regents and the adminis-
tration. At their monthly meet-
ing shortly after the incident, the
Regents declined to discuss the
matter at their public session.
However, at their closed discus-
sion later they showed no interest
in giving Cinema Guild any legal
aid.
As the case grew in impor-
tance, though, the Regents be-
came more concerned. By the
middle of February they seemed
interested 'in acting against
Cinema Guild. Regent Paul Goe-
bel of Grand Rapids, worried
about the deleterious affect the
incident would have on alumni
contributions to the $55 Million

Fund Raising Campaign, warned,
'This type of stuff is going to
have to stop."
President H a r 1 a n Hatcher,
however, dissuaded the Regents
from any hasty action, suggesting
that they follow a 'wait and see"
policy, depending on whether the
Regents were deemed Aresponsible
or not. Hatcher's statement, while
averting adverse Regental reac-
tion, criticized Cinema Guild for
poor taste and vulgarity.
"The new art wave is interested
in . . . vulgarization and destruc-
tion . . like 'Flaming Creatures,'
which goes beyond decency,"
Hatcher said.
Vice-President for Student Af-
fairs Richard L. Cutler knew be-
forehand of the planned presence
of the Ann Arbor police at the
movie. An architecture professor
had complained, to the police

about the showing of the film.
Cutler met with Cinema Guild
board members the day before the
showing and informed them,
"You know you're responsible for
anything that happens tomorrow
and the University isn't."
After the confiscation and
arrest the administration issued
a statement which attempted to
absolve itself of any responsibil-
ity for the individuals involved.'
It left the students to their own
devices, saying that they must
"accept the responsibilities of
citizenship. If a public law is
allegedly v i o l a t e d, established
procedures should be'used. . . ,
If a citizen is guilty, he takes the
consequences."
The administration's refusal to
act on Cinema Guild's behalf in-
curred the wrath of a number of
professors. Speaking at a Law
Club seminar on "obscenity and

the law" shortly after the Regents
first meeting, Prof. Terrence
Sandalow of the Law School said
the administration's inaction was
"an alarming failure." It showed,
he felt, "an incredible picture of
someone's understanding of the
nature of the University commun-
ity and the administration's re-
sponsibility to those who make
it up."
Sandalow was not alone in his
protest against the administra-
tion's recalcitrance. Prof. Robert
Weeks -f the engineering English
department, Prof. Daniel Fusfeld
of the economics department,
visiting Prof. Henry Aiken of the
philosophy department, and writ-
er-in-residence Leslie Fiedler all
viewed the series of events with
"discomfort" and "strong disap-
proval."
The faculty's reaction, however,
was not limited to polite panel

discussions and regret-filled mis-
sives. The recently created Civil
Liberties Board of the Faculty
Senate immediately began an ex-
haustive investigation into the
nature of the Cinema Guild case.
The Board interviewed Frank
and Cohen a few days after their
arraignment to determine the na-
ture of Cinema Guild. Whether,
according to Prof. Abraham Kap-
lan of the philosophy department,
"it is just a group of students try-
ing to annoy the administration
or a group with serious educa-
tional and cultural goals in mind."
Worthwhile Group
The Board decided that the
Cinema Guild was a worthwhile
group and that the members'
rights had been violated and de-
cided to enter the case as
"amicus curiae," a "friend of the
court." As "amicus curiae" the
Board is recognized as an inter-

ested party and can be involved
in the court proceedings.
Sandalow and Prof. Joseph Sax,
also of the Law School, attorneys
for the Civil Liberties Board,
filed a brief first in support of
the motion of the defense for dis-
missal because of illegal search
and seizure, and later asked for a
favorable decision on the grounds
of academic freedom.
A few faculty members, despite
the actions of the Civil Liberties
Board, have been opposed to not
only possible administration in-
volvement on behalf of Cinema
Guild, but to the actions of
Cinema Guild itself. While most
such reaction has been limited to
letters to The Daily, and panel
discussions on the topic, a few
have forced the issue farther.
Engineering Resolution
A resolution of the engineering
college faculty condemning Cine-
ma Guild was passed largely due
to the efforts of one man, Prof.
John. E. Powers of thechemical
and metallurgy department. With
only a third of the faculty present,
Powers, in an impassioned plea.
asked for passage of his motion
urging "appropriate action to re-
gain some point of equilibrium"

"amicus curiae," SGC offered bail
money for the defendants and
were active in a fund raising drive
for the defense. The length of the
legal proceedings is indefinite.
The first stage in the legal pro-
cess is a pre-trial examination to
determine whether all elements
of a crime under the criminal
statutes had actually been com-
mitted. It is being held in Ann
Arbor Municipal Court before
Judge Sanford J. Elden. When
prosecutor William Delhey at-
tempted to submit the film
"Flaming Creatures" asa state
exhibit, -the defense attorneys,
William Goodman and D e a n
Robb, obJected on the grounds
that the film had been seized
illegally and so could not be in-
troduced as evidence. In the fol-
lowing two months the prosecu-
tion replied and the Civil Liberties
Board entered the case as "amicus
curiae." Sandalow and Sax, Civil
Liberties Board attorneys, sub-
mitted a detailed brief explaining
the Supreme Court precedents in-
volved in illegal searches and
seizures.
Civil Liberties
The Civil Liberties Board brief
stated: "A consistent line' of re-

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between "those outside the aca- cent decisions by' the United
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to restrict it and from those in- with abundant clarity that pro-
side who interpret such freedom cedures employed to suppress ob-

FOLLOWING THE CONFISCATION of the film, "Flaming Creatures," by Ann Arbor police, Cinema Guild sympathizers stage an all-
night protest at the City Hall.

as license to go beyond the
bounds of common decency."
Prof. Robert Beyer of the .zoo-
logy department, answering a let-
ter of Powers attacking Cinema
Guild, wrote to The Daily, "I
would suggest that some thought
be given to the role of the Univer-
sity in, and the contribution that
the University can make to, so-,
ciety. Society is well able to pre-
serve the old customs when theya
have utility and value. Unfortun-
ately, society also seems anxious
to preserve old customs which
have lost their value. It has been
the historic responsibility of the
University to question the values
of society."
In the same vein, Prof. Danielj
Fusfeld of the economics depart-
ment in a panel discussion on the
University and Cinema Guild re-
ferred to "the University's right t
to investigate things now sacred.1
The University must givesmaxi-
mum play to the area of shaping
ideas of the future."l
Long Procedure
For all the noise and commo-
tion of resolutions, long and ex-z
pensive legal procedures remain,
Two separate cases are presentlyE
being pursued in both federal andi
municipal courts. Besides the rolec
kof' the Civil. Liberties Board as i

scene materials must contain
adequate safeguards to assure
non-obscene material the consti-
tutional protection to which it is
entitled. For whether or not the
film 'Flaming Creatures' is found
to be protected . . . the mode of
seizure utilized here,. unless held
to be illegal, can freely be used
another time to remove from cir-
culation any item, however clear
its constitutionally protected sta-
tus might be.
"The Supreme Court has re-
peatedly emphasized that any
seizure prior to an adversary
hearing before a judge on the ob-
scenity question is unconstitu-
tional . . . a community is not ef-
fectively prevented from enforc-
ing laws, against the exhibition
of obscene films.
"It simply takes the power to
czardom over the literary life if
the community out of the hand
of the policeman, and returns the
job of determining the scope of
First Amendment rights where it
beloigs-to a judicial officer."
Despite the brief, Elden still
ruled' that the evidence was per-
missible. In doing so, he explain-
ed, "The question involves the
power of the state to prevent
crimes which take place in the
presence of a police officer."

i

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UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES CENTER Proudly Announces
A NEW EXTRAVAGANZA IN WEEKENDS

SATURDAY NIGHT
LOUIS ARMSTRONG
IN CONCERT

SEPT EMBER
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 - 9:00 - 12:00 P.M.
MIXER
. with the Long Island Sound
AT FERRY FIELD
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 --9:00 A.M.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON
U 4THE KING AND HIS COURT

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ROAD RALLY
An authentic rally for both cars and
Ford Motor Company. PRIZES WILL

motorcycles, sponsored by
BE AWARDED.

8:30 P. M. - IN HILL AUDITORIUM
LOUIS ARMSTRONG SHOW
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 - 2:00 P.M.
KING & HIS COURT
The FOUR softball players will be challenging one of Ann Arbor's
best softball teams to one of the greatest softball games ever!
5:00 P.M. - AT WINES FIELD
PICNIC
For a perfect Sunday evening join us at an old-fashioned
picnic. Food will be sold by the Ann Arbor Jaycees. Y 7}F.

I

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