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October 18, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-10-18

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se £fretican DaUgi
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

High school: Cradle of

academic apathy

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-05521

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ess the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted inall reprints.-




Write-in decision:
Making the bad worse

WE ARE APPALLED at Wednesday's
decision by State, Attorney General
Frank Kelley that write-in votes for
President will not be counted in Mich-
igan this fall.
This decision can only be seen as the
culmination of a long process which
has all but totally insulated this na-
tion's leaders from the strong outrage
felt by a sizeable portion of the elec-
torate at our immoral war in Vietnam
and our shameless neglect at home.
Many of us despaired of our political
system when we discovered during the
last four years of the Johnson Admin-
istration that the citizen has few re-
sources for influencing policy between
Pre'sidential elections.
MANY, HOWEVER, saw hope for
changing the disastrous course of
America's foreign and domestic policy
in the 1968 Presidential election. But
here too channels have been callously
manipulated to mute the voices pf the
concerned electorate.
First, the Republican Party meeting
in the tasteless isolation of Miami
Beach rejiected Nelson Rockefeller, who
if ideologically wedded to the present
system, at least recognized some of our
nation's problems.
Then the Democratic Party, with a
brutal sneer on its overaged lips re-
buffed the twin challenges of Senators
McCarthy and McGovern and com-
pounded' its ignominy by rejecting a
very cautiously worded peace plank on
Meanwhile, with the connivance of
high Democratic leaders and the after-
the-fact approval of Hubert Humphrey,
the Chicago police brutally attacked
non-violent anti-war demonstrators
and demonstrated the frightening im-
plications of the simplistic cry for law
and order.
THEFIRST six weeks of the campaign
have confirmed our worst fears.
Hubert Humphrey has clearly ndi-
cated that he is a fool, rather than a
knave, and is totally unable to perceive
that events have rendered his 1948
liberalism irrelevant. Rather than re-
fute the frightening myths that have
taken control of the voters, he has al-
tered between catering to the nation's
fears and burying reality beneath a
steady stream of meaningless words.
Richard Nixon, in a well-executed
improvement on Tom Dewey's 1948
campaign strategy, has refused to
acknowledge that there are any issues
in this year's campaign. Skilled ana-
lysts tell us, however, that if elected
Nixon will offer a depressing mixture
of Lyndon Johnson's foreign policy and
a new "get tough" program r v en-
forcement at home.
We are frightened by the unprece-
dented support that thir party candi-
date George Wallace has generated for
his mindless crusade for reaction. But
we are even more frightened that Wal-
lace now seems only slightly more ex-
treme than Humphrey or Nixon.
CONSEQUENT''LY, it is apparent that,
less than three weeks from election
day, many of us cannot in good con-
science even choose among the three
major Presidential candidates.
For the issues that have generated
our deep concern and moral outrage
over the past four years have been to-
tally neglected in this, a conflict be-
tween the most irrelevant presidential
candidates in our recent history.
While some of us may still find sol-
ace in the New Politics Party candidacy
of Eldridge Cleaver, we still recognize

the disenfranchisement of the m a n y
voters who can neither support Cleaver
nor bend toward any of the three major
There remains nq place on the bal-
lot for many who wish to register their
So we stand among those disen-
franchised by Attorney General Kel-
ley's decision.

DESPITE KELLEY'S denial yesterday
that political considerations moti-.
vated his decision, we find it difficult
to forget that state elections laws are
a welter of contradictions, seemingly
purposely designed to give the Attorney
General the broadest latitude in inter-
preting them to his party's political ad-
vantage. .
It is difficult for us to neglect the
fact that the clear beneficiary from
any decision invalidating the McCarthy
write-in drive, would be the hapless
Hubert Humphrey.
So while we agree with Kelley that
the state election laws are in dire need
of revision, we cannot accept his bland
assurances that he was obligated to
rule all write-ins invalid.
Furthermore, we can see no justifi-
able reason why Kelley delayed his
decision until the middle of October
when the chances are seriously reduced
of appealing the decision in court be-
f re election day.
WE THEREFORE back the effort of
the organizers of the McCarthy
write-in drive to obtain an immediate
court test of Kelley's unwarranted de-
We can see no valid legal argu-
ments to uphold Kelley's decision.
In light of the apparent political
motivations behind the timing of Kel-
ley's decision, we find impelling the ar-
gument ,that the write-in ballots be
counted and a decision on their validity
be deferred until after the election.
Furthermore, the recent Supreme
Court decision upholding George Wal-
lace's claims to a place on the O h i o
ballot and ordering that write-in votes
for the Socialist Labor Party be tabu-
lated appears to have direct implica-
tions for the situation 'in Michigan.
For in this decision, the Court en-
nunciated a policy that the widest pos-
sible electoral choice of the voter
should take precedence over all but the
most compelling practical considera-
WE CERTAINLY FIND no compelling
reasons why the state should not
count all write-in votes in every elec-
tion. And in light of the massive disen-.
chantment with the candidates on the
ballot, it is especially crucial that
write-in votes be counted in the Presi-
dential election this fall.
If the counting of write-in votes
slows the tabulation of all votes in
Michigan, so be it. A new President will
not be inaugerated until two months
after election day andl the state elec-
tors do not have to cast their Presiden-
tial ballots for more than a month.
While the television networks may
think otherwise, there is no reason
other than entertainment why the vot-
ers have to know 23 minutes after the
polls close who carried Michigan. And
we even question the entertainment
value of computer election coverage.
WE THEREFORE believe the issue is
of sufficient importance for the
courts to act immediately so as to ren-
der a decision well before election day.
And we can find no justification for the
courts upholding this capricious denial
of the voting rights of a seriously con-
cerned minority.
As a consequence of this long chain
of sorry events which has culminated
in Kelley's decision, we can understand
and sympathize with those who find
non-violent protest the only relevant
election day activity.
Associate Editorial Director

Managing Editor
Feature Editor
Associate Editorial Director
Contributing Editor

SENSING THAT events like the continuing furor at Ann Arbor High
are likely to be the wave of the future, the ACLU has issued a
highly relevant pamphlet entitled "Academic Freedom in the Second-
ary Schools."
The timeliness of this pamphlet stems particularly from growing
indications that secondary schools may outstrip the large universities
as the scenes for major protests.
While the inflammatory issue of in loco parentis is dying or dead
on most, college campuses, the typical high school is still a maze of
hall passes, morning pledges of allegiance, Draconian penalties for
tardiness and after school detentions.
A growingly sophisticated crop of high school students is rebelling
against these meticulously detailed and insultingly petty rules and
are asserting their rights as individuals.
THE ACLU report has some serious limitations. But it represents
a'dramatic breakthrough. To understand its implications it is neces-
sary to briefly examine what today's high schools are really like.
While Ann Arbor High School springs immediately to mind as a
,model, it is very atypical because it is so close to the campus of a major
Instead, let's take a glimpse at Brien McMahon High School in
Norwalk, Connecticut, a moderately-polyglot high school in a fairly
affluent community. With its student body about evenly divided be-
tween college-bound and non-college bound, it is a fine example of
the slightly better than average suburban high school.
Dubbed "Freedomland" when it opened in 1960, Brien McMahon
was generally considered a radical experiment because it allowed good,
well-behaved students such liberties as going to the library without
a pass during study periods.
HOWEVER, WHEN Dr. Luther A. Howard became principal in
the fall of 1962, the reins of discipline began to slowly tighten. Teachers
began patrolling the cafeterias and restrooms, seating assignments
were created for assemblies, and the areas to which privileged students
could retreat during study periods were sharply curtailed.
In many ways Howard, a small and far from attractive man in
his early forties, is typical of today's secondary school principal. He
began his career as a teacher of business administration for the voca-
tionally-oriented high school students. Howard eventually rose' to be-
come assistant principal of Greenwich High School and then moved
fifteen miles east along the Connecticut Turnpike to take his first
principal's post at Brien McMahon.
In addition to a staunch belief in discipline, Howard is also noto-
riously dedicated to high school sports. In perhaps an apocraphyl
story a returning graduate for some inexplicable reason wandered in
to see Howard one day and asked him how school was going this year.
"Just great," the educator enthused, "our football team was 5 and
2 and the basketball squad is now 11 and 4."
Today, liberality at Brien McMahon is as extinct as "Freedom-
land." Last spring, in fact, Howard set a national record, which is still
unequaled, when he suspended about 70 students for having unbe-
comingly long hair.
ON UNAMBIGUOUS ISSUES like this, the ACLU report is most
adamant in upholding students' rights. "As long as a student's appear-
ance does not in fact disrupt the educational process, or constitute a
threathtolsafety," the report says bluntly, "it should be no concern of
the school."
The report also staunchly defends the rights of the individual
classroom teacher against coercion both by the school administration
and other teachers. But when the report says "there should at no time
be any reprisals such as dismissal, the withholding of salary increases
or the assigment of undersirable programs," it illustrates the unfor-
tunate problem of a legalistic approach to reforming the secondary
For nothing short of a massive personnel overhaul will prevent
petty tyrants such as Howard from depleting a school of its independent-
minded teachers without violating due process. And the anti-intellectual
atmosphere which currently prevails in the secondary schools is dis-
couraging enough for many of them.
REFLECTING the ACLU's cnstitutional concerns the report also
strictly demands due process in student discipline. The report contains
such almost revolutionary contentions as "discipline procedure should
include a formal hearing and a right of appeal."
Yet the massive breakthrough implicit in structuring a system of
appeals is somewhat thwarted because the ACLU only weakly recom-
mend that "regulations concerning appropriate student behavior in
the school at large should preferably be formulated by a student-
faculty committee."
It would be difficult to insure student rights even if a student
faculty committee were mandatory, since high school administrators
have never had difficulty finding acquiescent student leaders. But with
the rule-making procedures totally in the hands of the administration,
it is exceedingly difficult to see how any major changes can be made
in this area.
Still, a carefully regulated discipline procedure and written rules
would be a marked improvement over the easily manipulated ambig-
uities that exist at Brien McMahon.
There several years ago an honors student was threatened with the
retraction of college recommendations as a consequence of a seriesof
ambiguous infractions at best--including blowing soap bubbles in the
corridors, lack of enthusiasm in gym class, resigning a treasurer of the
theatre club in protest over the advisor unilaterally choosing the year's
play, and failing to rise for the Hallelujah chorus during a Christmas

THIS INCIDENT indicates the degree to which the importance of
high school recommendations subtlely works to strengthen the already
potent hand of the administrators and teachers.
In light of this it is dismaying for the ACLU to blandly affirm that
"to answer questions on a student's character, reliability, conduct, and
academic performance is part of the school's responsibility."
As long as the high school continues to perform this non-educa-
tional service, the resulting non-academic pressures will continue to
reinforce mediocrity of most high schools which favor the acquiescent,
the unoriginal, and the hard-working.
And it is difficult to believe that irreparable damage would be
done to either the selection processes of colleges or employers if the
high school stopped furnishing materialsT other than grades and test
But underlying the ACLU report's hedging on these issues, is a
recognition that "therelative immaturity of the students" creates a
need for order, in secondary schools.
ADMITTEDLY, ORDER is often a problem in the high schools.
There is a certain youthful exuberance that can make teaching even
the most intelligent classes chaotic and is not always conducive to
learning. And there are entire high schools and vocational programs
at others which are currently holding captive a large number of stu-
dents who have no interest in education or are totally alienated from
the school system for a variety of reasons.
But in that good old American way, high school administrators
and teachers clearly overreact to the potential for chaos. The same
kind of mentality creates in many teachers' minds the pleasant delusion
that docile students are receiving adequate educations.
The fetish with order is often a reflection of the sorry truth that
many teachers-as the New York teachers strike clearly indicates-
are far more interested in protecting their petty fiefdoms and perro-
gatives than in educating their students.
High school administrators have an unfortunate tendency of
being men who cannot compete in demanding roles and therefore com-
pensate for their own insecurity by playing petty tyrant. Furthermore
there is often a strong anti-intellectual caste to these administrators,
who somehow tend to be former gym, typing or business administration

well-meaning teachers tend to infuse the standard interpretations with
In such an atmosphere, it is far from surprising that good students
often tend to lack a reverence for the education process. Instead, they
regard it as kind of a game with the teacher where the goal is to get the
best grade for the least expenditure of effort.
And poor students-all tog often a self-fulfilling description-are
frequently the victims of the teacher's fears of keeping order. Con-
sequently, many sit quietly in the classroom under threats of detention
until they are 16 or 18; when they either drop out or graduate, barely
able to read, write, and do simple sums.
IN VIEW of the acute educational dangers on an excess emphasis
on order in the classroom, it is somewhat disappointing that the ACLU,
in their legalistic attempt "to strike a balance between the principle of
order and that of liberty," have placed too great-an emphasis on order
and too great a faith in the tolerance of teachers.
Maturity is not magically bestowed along with a high school
diploma. Only if high schools willingly accept many of the "youthful
excesses" that the ACLU and the high schools are so concerned with,
will it be possible for the American secondary schools to become in-
truments of creative learning.
We in the University community are today clearly the victims of
the sttltifying atmosphere of the secondary schools in this country.
DURING THE EXTENSIVE discussions this fall of academic
reform, many have emphasized the disinterest and the apathy of many
students here regarding their own educations. And one will have to
admit that there is some truth in these observations.
But one suspects that if education in the secondary schools were to
place*far more emphasis on creative student participation, rather than
rote recitation, then college students would be far more capable and
willing to participate actively in shaping and obtaining their own edu-
Admittedly, the reforms outlined by the ACLU would represent a
marked improvement from the authoritarian and anti-intellectual. at-
mosphere that mars the educational desires of many students at all
ability levels.
But it is a sad commentary on the situation today in the secondary
schools that even the adoption of these provisions-a highly unlikely
event-would not give the high schools sufficient flexibility to meet the
demands of their students and the needs of the universities.
Score one for law and order.

Letters: Freshman lament


To the Editor:
HAVING come to the University
because of her fine reputation
- one of top ten in the nation
academically - it worries me
greatly to hear about the great
exodus of the most prominent pro-
fessors we have on our faculty to,
other places. Wouldn't it be pos-
sible to see the University being
rated as one of the second-rate
schools like Michigan State by
the time I get my bachelor's de-
gree after four years from now?
My impression, so far, is that
the most people on this campus -
students and the administrators
alike, are much more interested
in having the best football team
rather than the best professors
on our campus. Instead of build-
ing t h a t huge football stadium
and the Events Building, why
couldn't they have used the mon-
ey to establish several endowed,
chairs to lure truly great scholars
to our university? Instead of
spending money to lure good foot-
ball players, why can't they use
the money to recruit the b e s t
students who might become Rho-
des scholars?
As it is, I do not find any prom-
inent philosopher, poet, Nobel
laureate or mathematician on this
campus. If I am wrong, could you,
editor, tell me of just one prom-
inently known professor to me?
Before coming over here, last
August, I thought the University
the best in the Midwest, better
than schools like Cornell, Brown,
U of Pennsylvania and even better
than the University of Chicago.
That was why I rejected the offers
from these schools to come over
to the University only to find her
in pretty bad shape. I am, now,
seriously considering the transfer
- to other school after my freshman
year here.
COULD YOU, editors, investi-
gate the current situation of the
University thoroughly? How bad
is the situation and what the pros-
Pect is? President Fleming seems
to think the situation not too bad.
Is he really interested in building
the University as one of the best
universities in the nation? I mean
academically, but not in football
or basketball. My feeling is that
he doesn't have that desire.
The following are my sugges-

* Change the status of the
University from the state support-
ed University to the Federal Gov-
ernment supported University.
* Reduce the number of the stu-
dent body by a little more than
half of the current number.
It is truly amazing that they
have not yet discussed this prob-
lem in the student council. Be-.
cause this is the kind. of problem
most directly related to the inter-
est of every student. It is very
unfortunate that the members of
the University Student Govern-
ment Council are only interested
in their heroism.
-Marx K. T Eilenberg, '72
Oct. 14
To the Editor:
- WOULD LIKE to congratulate
Anderson House of East Quad
for their fine work last week. The
men of Anderson noticed, as many
others probably did, that v e r y
few seem to sing our Alma Mater
at ourfootball games. They then
decided that it was time for some-
thing to be done about it. To rem-
edy the apathetic situation, they
had eleven thousand copies of the
Alma Mater made and distributed
them in the Diag and at the Stad-
It was amusing to see the reac-
tion on some of the people's faces
when they realized that the leaf-

lets were not political or a pro-
test. One professor said that it was
the best thing he had received on
the Diag in ten years' That seem-
ed to be the type of reaction they
got from the majority of the peo-
ple who took a copy.
This must be one of the f i r s t
times that a Quad House has done
a public service for the University.
Anderson House has done-' more
than just distribute leaf lets. They
have also given an "EXTRA"
spark to school spirit in their area.
They have done this by the hug'e,
quaint signs hanging in front of
their House on football Saturdays
and the spirited U-M music blast-
ing from their windows. A delega-
tion from Andierson House also
protected the Diag the Friday be-
fore the MSU game until, the wee-
hours of the morning.
I THINK that the men of An-
derson have revived something
that we should cherish and hold
forever, pride in our University.
They have shown that you doh not
have to be a frat man to be active
on campus. They have proven that
"quaddies" ,have. just as muc ded-
ication andhloyaty as anyone else
and, in some cases, even more.
For this reason, I congratulate
these men, these school-spirited
activists. They are indeed a credit
to the University and a credit to
Anderson House, the ACTION
-Mel l iller, "71
Oct. 14


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