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February 25, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-25

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94c fifir gan Buu
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

right to protest GE recruiting


Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-05521

Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



The politics of recruiting

AS DEBATE has grown in recent weeks
on the question of the relationship
between the University and the U.S. mili-
tary-industrial establishment, the posi-
tion of the University administration has
more and more taken on an aura of un-
In his statements and open letters, Pre-
sident Robben Fleming has declined to
address himself to the substantive issues
that have been raised by Students for a
Democratic Society and the Radical Col-
Rather, he has been content to attack
the tactics SDS has employed and to ig-
nore demands for a moratorium on class-
es and recruiting and a University-wide
debate on the question by denying that
an issue exists.
BE SURE, the tactics that SDS has
used to stop military and corporate
recruiters from interviewing University
students are open to serious scrutiny
both because of the civil libertarian issues
involved and the simple question of their
political efficacy.
But the view espoused so righteously
by Fleming, that the University has kept
its hands clean on the recruiter issue,
must be challenged.
The president argues that recruiting
should be allowed to continue because the
service; is desired by some students.
However, the University does not offer
all the services that even significant num-
bers of students would like to have - in
part because some of them would be 11-
legal and in part because of budgetary
For example, the administration h a s
declined, in the past at least, to set up a
day care center, to build low-cost single
student housing, or to institute massive
supportive services for minority students.
Meanwhile, money has been going toward
such activities as club sports and place-
ment offices.
This is not to say that past decisions
have necessarily been wrong, but simply
that the decisions were made, that they
were based on value judgments and that
they need to be reconsidered when the
propriety or morality of what has been
done is called to task.
FURTHERMORE, President Fleming's
argument that it would be more ap-
propriate for SDS to stop its disruptions
than for the University to suspend re-
cruiting simply begs the question.

Since the administration has the power
to continue or suspend at will recruiting,
Fleming can appear as the stalwart of
peaceful rationality while refusing to act.
SDS, because it is devoid of institutional
power, necessarily looks bad when it acts
to stop recruiting.
In fact, neither Fleming nor SDS is
"right" in any objective sense. Both have
made moral and political decisions about
the value of recruiting and their stands
should be evaluated on that basis.
Like almost all large institutions in the
United States, the University is heavily
involved in supporting the country's mil-
itary and political activities. While the
administration argues that the Univer-
sity is open to all points of view, the fin-
ancial dominance of the U.S. corporations
and federal government allows their goals
to become predominant over opposing
and military recruiters is only a
small part of University support for the
maintenance of the economic and poli-
tical status quo in the United States.
Other examples includes the millions
of dollars of defense department research
done by University researchers, the exist-
ence on campus of the Reserve Officer
Training Corps, and the numerous con-
tracts given to researchers in all disci-
plines by large corporations.
IDEALLY, THE University could act as
the source sorely needed of criticism
and research aimed at improving a coun-
try corrupted by militarism, racism and
But instead of following this course,
the University has allowed itself to be-
come corrupted by the very institution
that most needs to be criticized.
THE SITUATION must be reversed. The
University must throw off the finan-
cial chains which bind it to the U.S. mili-
tary-industrial establishment.
Hopefully, this change can be effected
peacefully. As a first step, Senate As-
sembly, which is meeting in special ses-
sion tomorrow, should support demands
for suspension of classes and recruiting
so that a University-wide debate on the
issue can be held.

LAST WEEK representatives of General Electric came
to the University to recruit. The actions of the pro-
testers who acted to block the recruiters, along with the
actions of President Flemming and the Ann Arbor po-
lice, has raised a host of questions. The main questions
center around the nature of the policies and priorities
of GE and other corporations, around the meaning of
individual rights, and around the ideology and function
of tolerance.
GE is similar to many other large corporations based
in the United States. It is heavily involved in both the
production of war materials, and the growth of American
financial interests abroad. GE is heavily dependent on
war contracts; it is the second largest war contractor,
having over $1.6 million of contracts. GE, because of its
size and power, is representative of the large corpora-
tions whose foreign interests have repeatedly influenced
the making of foreign policy. Twenty-five per cent of
GE's employees are found in foreign countries where the
labor is cheap and where the markets and resources are
available for exploitation. This overseas activity provides
GE with a vested interest in American foreign policy
which is aimed at protecting corporate property and
markets abroad, and whch requires increasingly costly
military expenditures
The activity of a recruiter who comes to campus
must be seen in the context of the economic and political
system which exploitative corporations breed. Ultimately,
corporate recruiting serves a similar function for cor-
porations as ROTC does for the military.
One of the issues with which one must deal is that
of the "right" of the corporation to function, i.e., re-
cruit, on campus. Yet this issue is too narrowly perceived
unless a more fundamental issue is raised. The issue
concerns the process by which a corporation, or any
other social institution, derives the right to function in
SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS are legitimate in the event
that they systematically satisfy the human and material
needs of the people who are affected by that institution.
If a modern corporation establishes as its priorities profit
maximization and expansion for the sake of market con-

trol, it will become exploitative and oppressive. Corpo-
rations such as GE and Dow Chemical derive their rights
to recruit on the basis of their position of power in our
The "rights" which corporations utilize are protected
by other institutions, such as universities.'The aid which
the University gives to the military, and to morally cor-
rupt corporations by allowing them to function on cam-
pus is even more reprehensible when President Fleming
issues statements such as the one of last Thursday. In
it he states, "The University must always be a world of
ideas, often in conflict. It ceases to be a University, how-
ever, when a group which is willing to use totalitarian
tactics can impose on the rest of us its views."
The implication of the President's statements is that
he would have us believe that somehow a recruiter is
simply exercising his freedom to express an "idea". The
fact is that a recruiter is serving a direct function for
his company.
The "world of ideas" concept of the University is
unrealistic. As a social institution the University per-
forms a series of functions, one of which is sponsoring
corporate recruiting. Conflict over recruiting is conflict
over the tasks which the University will perform. If the
University were simply a "world of ideas", then the out-
come of "conflict" would be socially irrelevant. Of course,
if the University were a world of, ideas, recruitment as
we know it would not take place.
THE POLITICAL QUALITY of recruitment is re-
flected by the fact that President Fleming did call in
Many people assert that it is their 'right" to see, and
to be recruited by, a corporate recruiter. In this issue, it
is necessary to clarify the nature of the "right" which
that student might exercise. In order to justify recruit-
ment to a certain position, one must be able to justify
the function of that job. A corporate job is not a "right"
if in the exercising of that job, one will aid in the
systematic oppression of others. That is a privilege which
no one should need or desire. In a truly human society,
such a privilege would not exist.
THERE ARE THOSE who would deprive the re-

cruiter and the recruitees the privilege of unmolested
recruiting. How do these people claim the right to block
a recruiter? They rely on the same right by which they
can demand an end to the war, and an end to racism.
Inherant in that demand is the denial of someone's
"right" to make war profits, or their "right" to exploit
black labor. Human beings have a right to a human,
non-exploitative society without war. They have the
right and obligation to change their social institutions.
People have the right to affect the conduct and nature
of their society.
IN LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, it is clear that the tol-
erance which President Fleming Oemands we have for
GE and other recruiters is a perversion of the purpose
of tolerance.
Tolerance, as a general ideology, 'is functional for
human goals and needs only when certain necessary
conditions exist. In advocating tolerance we assume that
established society is free, and that social improvement
and change can come about as part of the normal course
of events.
By tolerating recruiting, we extend immunity to poli-
cies, and behavior, which should not be tolerated. Those
policies endanger, if not destroy, the chances of creating
an existance without fear and misery.
The objective of tolerance is freedom of choice,
thought, and expression. To achieve that freedom we
must be intolerant of those policies which systematically
oppress us, and others. Tolerance cannot be indiscrim-
inate where existance is at stake, or where freedom is at
THE FIRST STEPS to building that open and free
society can be taken by individuals who will demand the
right to make moral judgments. Members of the Uni-
versity should, not be fooled into thinking that it is
unreasonable to demand an end to the exploitative poli-
cies of GE or any other social institution. The goal in
ending corporate recruiting is not to deprive others of
legitimate rights. The goal is to end the exploitative
nature of our economic system. That must be achieved
before legitimate, human rights will exist as a natural
outgrowth of an open, free, and just society.


An open letter from Fleming on recruiting

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The state of the world

AFTER A LITTLE more than a year in
office, President Nixon has decided
to inform America about the 'state of the
world.' The United States, we were told
must seek the creation of a "durable
peace,' but in reality the new peace pro-.
gram is nothing more than a belated at-
tempt to hide the U.S.'s world influence
and power behind the mask of a new
world "mission."
Like any official address, Nixon's speech
was overloaded with rhetoric and double-
talk. Dividing the text into geographical
regions, Nixon explained how he would
attempt to influence the destiny of each
corner of the globe.
NIXON'S APPROACH to control was de-
fined in a three part strategy for
peace: partnership, strength, and nego-
tiation. His whole partnership approach
is an extension of his "VietnaMization"
concept, wherein the puppet governments
of various nations will be used more and
more to legitimatize our interference in
their affairs.
The second point in the strategy, which,
makes the amazing statement that peace
requires American strength is very ob-
viously an attempt to justify and ration-
alize military spending. By creating the
paranoic supposition among the silent
majority that world peace cannot exist
unless the U.S. maintains complete mili-
tary superiority, the Nixon administration
succeeds in making any opposition to
the military appear to be not only trea-
sonous, but against the interests of world
"Willingness to negotiate", the third
point is another ploy used in dealing with
Vietnam. By claiming that the NLF and

ONE OF THE most interesting parts
of the text is the section on Europe,
which was just filled with euphemisms
for racism and white supremacy. "T h e
peace of Europe is crucial to the peace,
of the world. This truth . . . is a central
principle of United States foreign pol-
icy. For the forseeable future E u r o p e
must be the cornerstone of the structure
ofs a durable peace." This statement and
references to "the values and heritage we
share" is in reality saying "Well, it's us
against the Third World now, and we bet-
ter all stick together."
Nixon correctly (or incorrectly) feels
strong enough internally to tell the people
of the U.S. the blatant fact that, "Our
objective, in the first instance, is to sup-
port our interests over the long run with
a sound foreign policy," and "We are
not involved in the world because we have
commitments; we have commitments be-
cause we are involved. Our interests must
shape our commitments rather than the
other way around." Heavy rhetoric us-
ually allows people to believe that U.S.
foreign police is one of international
welfare, but Nixon's own words make it
clear enough to convince anyone other-
In reference to the Western Hemis-
phere, Nixon, proclaimed "there is no
more delicate task than finding n e w
modes which permit the flow of needed
investment capital without a challenge
to national pride and prerogative."
In effect, this means we have to find a
way to get Latin American countries to
allow U.S. corporations to move in strong-
er without getting the peoples of those
nations as uptight about it as they've
been of late about Rockefeller and Dulles.
The "challenge" in the Middle East is


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stwe..o .,....iys+. s-fl..,cs. s7a.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an open letter, written by University
President Robben Fleming.)
Dear Prof. Mendel:
I HAVE READ your open letter, published in The Daily on Sunday,
Feb. 22, and I now send this open reply.
You have spoken eloquently of the problem (of 'radical tactics).
And I note with pleasure that though you find civil disobedience
justifiable on occasion you do pot accept either personal assault or
property destruction as being a part of the kind of civil disobedience
of which you write.
You conclude your letter by asking that I endorse certain recom-
mendations "calling for a University-wide forum to discuss all aspects
of non-campus recruiting and of the University's relations with the
military and with war-affiliated corporations." The recommendations
to which you refer are, I take it, the ones handed to me last Friday
on behalf of those faculty members and teaching fellows who describe
themselves as "The Radical College." The two relevant points appear
to be: first, immediate suspension of recruiting, and second, a mora-
torium of classes to formulate, through Uiversity-wide debate, a policy
on corporate and military involvement in the University.
I SHALL SPEAK to the recruitment issue first, because it con-
stitutes the most immediate problem. Then I have a suggestion which
applies to both issues.
Protests against certain employers have now been a part of
campus life for several years. Innumerable suggestions for a solution
which would please the contending interests have been made. Our
current policy, for instance, was agreed upon as late as the end of
April, 1968. It evolved after many faculty, student, and Regent discus-
sions, and calls for representatives of recruiting agencies to participate
in public forums on campus when so requested. This was thought to
be a way of allowing a thorough discussion of a given employer's
policies without at the same time making it impossible for the employ-
er to recruit on campus.
The policy seems to have worked relatively well until recently, al-
though interest in such forums died out soon after the original
policy was worked out.
ANOTHER POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE, most recently mentioned
in Stuart Gannes' editorial in The Daily, Feb. 24, is to have the
employer actually do his recruiting in a hotel off-campus. We tried
that in a controversial case at the University of Wisconsin a few years
ago while I was still there. Unfortunately, it failed because the hotel
cancelled the employer's reservation after disrupters threatened action
at the hotel. This put the whole problem back in the lap of the Uni-
Several problems are posed by a suspension of recruiting. One is
that many national companies schedule their recruiters long in ad-
vance and a suspension might result in actual cancellation for that
recruitment year. Since our placement offices are reporting a greatly
expanded student demand for interviews this year, probably because
the job market is less active than it .was a year ago, this would
t penalize students who do want to interview.
n Moreover, the number of students who disrupted interviewing at
e Engineering is tiny as compared 'with the hundreds of Engineering
d students who are now saying through their student government, their
r student publications, and via petitions, that they have a free right
e to interview. Finally, there are a very large number of people who feel
t strongly that a decision on whether or not to interview is a matter
r- of individual choice.
1- All things considered, there is doubtful wisdom in suspending
o- recruiting. The burden would fall entirely on the large number of
students who want to interview and who are in compliance with the
1968 policy which was directed towards this same problem. Would
it not be reasonable to expect the disrupters, who are fewer in number
and who are not in compliance with the 1968 agreement, to cease their
y activities while another solution is sought?
I COME NOW to the suggestion that there be a moratorium on
classes. This is, of course, done on occasion, but only under quite
t- unusual circumstances. It would not be difficult to obtain from school
y and college faculties, and from school and college governments which
exist in most of the colleges, an expression on this question. In the
y absence of any such expression one wonders whether there is justifi-
et cation for a moratorium on classes for the 32,000 students who are
here in Ann Arbor.
te FINALLY, LET ME MAKE this affirmative suggestion. Last Fri-
day the Regents passed Section 7.01 of the new bylaws. It is a product
of long hours of work'rby members of SACUA and SGC. It is concurred
in by the administration and the Regents. It provides a six man
committee - two faculty members, two students, two administrators
- the function of which is to provide open and clearly visible channels
e of communication, stimulate frank exploration of controversial items,
and promote discussions when disagreements arise within the students,
faculty and administration. There is clearly such a disagreement at
e this point in time between the Engineering faculty and students and


Letters to the Editor

Radical faculty
To the Editor:
faculty," which recently stated in
The Daily itslintention of "strik-
ing" against classes if SDS is ban-
ned from campus, still retains its
faculty of reason, it might con-
sider the following; why would it
"strike" against classes to defend
SDS' right to articulate its inter-
ets, but not "strike" SDS which
has physically prevented others
from articulating their interests?
-Zvi Gitelman
Feb. 19
To the Editor:
political situation both on our
campus and throughout the coun-
try. We firmly believe in the right
to dissent and the right of free-
dom of speech, but we cannot ac-
cept any form of violence. For in-
stance, campus recruiters visiting
the University can and should be
demonstrated against by those
who disgaree with the policies of
the institutions which they repre-
sent; however,there is no reason
that their lives or the lives of
in.Pru iPu I'P1a. hn~1 1(i Lufl a v,~r~

real possibility of Richard Nixon's
apathetic and alienated "silent
majority" from turning the polit-
ical climate of this countrysharp-
ly, and tragically, to the right.
--George Bristol
Business Manager of the
Michigan Daily
-Nancy Asin
Circulating Manager
-Greg Drutchas
Sales Manager
-Steve Elman
Admin. Advertising Mngr.
-Bruce Haydon
Finance Manager
-Darina Krogulski
/ Assoc. Finance Manager
-Susan Lerner
Sales Manager
-Barbara Schulz
Personnel Manager
To The Editor:
Daily which was entitled "Murder
in my heart for the Judge" would
better have been stated "Murder
in my heart for the capitalist sys-
tem" which was responsible both
for the 1968 protests and for the

tribution and the socially usefu
services have it in their power t
organize in the way they functioi
from day to day for the purpos
of restoring the ownership an
control of the tools and othe
means of social production to th
people, to establish a governmen
based on the relationships inhei
ent in industrialization and abo
ish representation based on ge
-Ralph Muncy '23
Feb. 17
To the Editor:
urday night's University hocke
game, I question why thenRegent
have not been indicted under thi
anti-riot conspiracy law. The
seem to have met the criteria s
down by the Justice Dept. i.e
organizing the crossing of stat
lines for events at which the oc
currence of violence was likely.
-Kelvin Shea
Feb. 20
To the Editor:
I WAS SORRY to learn of th


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