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November 20, 1968 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-20

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94C £ir4!3au Daily
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

Hopeful signs for the

President elect

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-05521

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



Language requirement:
An.educational liability
& 10113 11 V

NO ISSUE RAISED at this University
in recent years has directly affected
more students than the validity of
language requirements.
Around one third of the student
body is enrolled in the literary col-
lege, and each of these 12,000 odd stu-
dents must demonstrate fourth semes-
ter proficiency in a foreign language.
For a sizeable portion of literary col-
lege students, this requirement means
taking four semesters of language.
Moreover, language courses cause
students a disproportionate amount of
misery. Studies conducted by reputable
psychologists indicate that by late
adolescence learning languages has
become extremely difficult for most
Students here who waste semester
after semester in various language
courses or who are forced to transfer
into education school just to avoid the
requirement are a sad vindication of
the findings of these studies.
True, the literary college will excuse
from the requirement those students
proven inherently unable to learn lan-
guages. But the state of academic
counseling is such that many students
in trouble over foreign languages are
not aware of this escape route.
Because the foreign language re-
quirement can have such severe impli-
cations for career and academic plans,
emotional health, and grade point
averages, it has always been the object
of intense student dissatisfaction. But
only recently, however, has this quiet
malaise received organized expression.
IN THE PAST WEEKS petitions de-
manding an end to the language
requirement have been signed by be-
tween 3,000 and 4,000 students. Over
3,000 of these students have signed the
petitions circulated by the Radical
Caucus demanding an end to all lan-
guage and distribution requirements.
With understandable overlapping the
Student Government Council collected
1500 signatures on petitions demand-
ing an end only to the language re-k
Besides the petitions, this semester
the language requirement has also
been the subject of unprecedented de-
bate among both the students and the
The defenders of the current re-
quirement among both faculty and
students have raised many of the clas-
sical academic defenses of learning
foreign languages. They contend the,
requirement is necessary because stu-
dents must receive a . well rounded
education; because students, if there
is ever to be real communication be-
tween nations, must learn the lan-
guages and the cultures of foreign
countries; because students learn aca-
demic discipline through the study of
A more utilitarian argument is made
by those who defend the language re-
quirement primarily because a know-
ledge of a foreign language is a prime
requisite for much advanced work in
many academic departments.
arguments except that they share
a common fallacious assumption. They
assume that students taking language
courses actually learn languages. Un-
fortunately for a large percentage of
the students here, there is little evi-
dence to substantiate this glib assump-
Indeed, the failure rate in foreign
languages is higher than in any other

area of literary college study. Many
students who fulfill the requirement
will candidly admit they do not even
have a reading proficiency in their
chosen language. And surveys of grad-
uates indicate that few of those who
even excel in foreign languages ap-
preciably retain their knowledge un-
more value as an intellectual dis-
cipline were languages taught as an
academic discipline, as allegedly were

there is currently a great deal of
wasted effort on the part of both
teacher andt student.
There are few indications that these
major problems can be significantly
alleviated by tinkering with language
teaching Within the present structure
of languages as a requirement for
* Representatives of the major meth-
ods of teaching language are with-
in University language departments,
without significantly different results.
And evidence from other colleges and
universities where languages are
taught according to still other philoso-
phies belies any optimism that might
be attached to language instuctution
perhaps only way to upgrade the
quality of teaching and thus learning
languages here would be , to abolish
the language requirement.
Such an action would result in a
decrease in the number of students
enrolling in language courses. The de-
partments could then afford to be
more selective in choosing instructors
and be more able to tailor instruction
to' individual needs. Currently much of
the teaching is done by teaching fel-
lows, some of whom are excellent, but
many of whom unfortunately are not.
By putting language courses on a
competitive basis with most other
courses, the literary college depart-
ments and instructors would be forced
to upgrade the interest-value and
quality of the classes to induce stu-
dents to enroll in them.
u do not do what their proponents
claim, and since there is little chance
of improving the courses so that they
do, it seems reasonable that students
should decide for themselves whether
to enroll in foreign language courses.
An important side benefit to abol-
ishing the language requirement could
be a much needed increase in the qul-
ity of academic counseling. Since there
is substantial faculty sentiment that
language courses are essential for most
students, counselors will be forced to
become more involved in order to
persuade students to enroll in a lan-
guage. And more professors will volun-
teer to serve as counselors in or'der to
provide the additional counseling time
that such persuasion would require.
distribution requirements is not
nearly as compelling, primarily be-
cause these requirements have greater
academic relevance and provide the
student with far more built-in options.
However, there are certain major
deficiencies built into the current
structure of the distribution require-
ments. A non-scientist learns little of
permanent value when competing with
a future chemist who must, absorb cer-
tain facts and procedur es as a pre-
requisite for advanced work. The same
dilemmas face a geologist rubbing el-
bows with poetry enthusiasts in an
English class.
Despite some reform of the distri-
bution requirements over the years,
little has been done to restructure the
program to provide the non-scientist
with an appreciation of scientific dis-
ciplines or to provide a student with
a technical bent with an appreciation
of the value of the humanities.
While the need for distribution re-

quirements is defensible in light of
the ,lack df a fully adequate counsel-
ing program, this fact should not
serve as a sanction for either the cur-
rent structure of distribution require-
ments or the lack of student represen-
tation on the committee that formu-
lates them.
Thus the drive to abolish distribu-
tion requirements along with language
requirements is important and institu-
tionally therapeutic. For only through

FOR THOSE with congenitally
short memories, Arthur Sch-
lesinger Jr. is a great convenience.
In last Sunday's New Y o r k
Times Magazine, for example,
Schlesinger was oblinging enough
to present an anthology of all the
arguments that liberal spokesmen
mustered against President-elect
Richard Nixon during the recent
At the time, one of the most
convincing of these appeals was a
reiteration of past Nixon state-
ments on nuclear weapons cou-
pled wih the dire prediction that
if elected, Nixon would build a
"thick" anti-ballistic missile sys-
Schleinger points out that one
of the few concrete positions Nix-
on "took in the campaign was his
repudiation of the McNamara
doctrine of 'nuclear parity.'"
From this, the former W h i t e
House advisor infers that Nixon
"plans a big increase in our nuc-
lear weaponry.",
"Nixon plainly contemplates a
major A.B.M. system to be ex-
plicitly directed against Russia,"
Schlesinger contends. And Schles
inger's never absent partisanship
causes him to accuse Nixon of
"never having shown much con-
cern about nuclear war-not for
one minute would he wish such
a war, but rather . . . he seems
unable to conceive imaginatively
how horrible a nuclear holocaust
would be."
working from valid evidence, his
sombre portrait of Nixon as
President is far from complete.
For one thing, Nixon's views on
nuclear weapons, gleaned from
his deliberately ambigious cam-
paign statements, remain no
clearer than his views on other
subjects. The only difference was
that Nixon was silent on m o s t
issues, but throughout the cam-
paign he chose to be contradictory
when discussing nuclear weapons,
For most of the campaign, Nix-
on tried to destroy his prevalent
image as a militant cold warrior
and apostle of John Foster Dulles
by continually stressing that our
relations with the Soviet Union
had undergone a qualitative
change since ,the 1950's. Now, he
maintained, we ar' in an era of
"reconciliation rather than con-
For reasons still unclear, Nixon,
taking a leaf from John Ken-
nedy's 1960 campaign, charged in
a radio address on Oct. 24 that
the Democrats had created "a
gravely serious security gap" by
their doctrine of nuclear "parity."
If elected, Nixon pledged to "re-
store" the "clearcut military su-
periority" of the Eisenhower
Yet Schlesinger is somewhat
unusual in holding a clear view
of the Nixon Administration. The
tendency of writers for such dis-
parite publications as the New
York Times, Manchester Guardian
and New York Post have taken
a relatively cautious approach of
merely calling Nixon as President
an "enigma" and a "puzzle."
When forced to make predic-
tions about the shape of the new
Administration they tend to limit
themselves to asserting that Nixon
will bring to the White House "the
efficiency" that so marked his
IN THIS SEA of uncertainty
dotted with a few somber pre-
dictions, it was rereshing to talk
to Prof. John David Singer of the
political science department and
the Mental Health Research Cen-
ter, who takes a relatively opti-
mistic view of the potential of the
Nixon Administration in regard
to nuclear weapons.
Singer, one of the country's ex-
perts on arms control and nuclear

weapons, found Nixon's Oct. 24th
"security gap" speech rather hard
to take seriously.
"It fits with the articulated
foreign policy ideas of Nixon and
most of the kinds of Republicans
around him," he admitted, "but on
the other hand it goes against
another sector of their ideology
which I believe is far more oper-
As Singer explained, "N i x o n
and his fellow Republicans have a
bigger commitment to fiscal re-
sponsibility than the final defeat
of Bolshovism." This defeat of the
enemy oratory is primarily a
"handy domestic whipping boy."
As for the accusation that a
massive anti-ballistic missile pro-
gram is automatic with Nixon's
election, Singer demurred, argu-
ing Nixon "will be under less
duress"'than Humphrey would
have been to approve the ABM
"In fact the main incentive for
building the system would be
Nixon's own campaign oratory.
The Republicans have had a lot
more lattitude in these matters
since the 'loss of China' episode
in the early fifties. For the Demo-
crats have always believed that
they are really responsible for the
loss of China," he continued.
siderable hope" that progress
could be made toward disarma-
ment under Nixon. "Few people in
the country would say Nixon is
'soft on Communism,' and con-
sequently he can do things Hum-
phrey perhaps couldn't have."
The Nixon talk of an "era of
reconciliation" should be consid-
ered a significant point regarding
the actions the President elect
will follow. The Eisenhower Pre-
sidency, in which Singer asserted
Nixon was an enthusiastic part-
ner, was, on the balance, "a 'more
conciliatory, moderate stance
toward the Soviet Union than you
would have expected."
To substantiate his contention,
Singer pointed to hands-off pol-
icy Eisenhower immediately took
toward the Hungarian Revolt of
1956. Singer also said you can
make an "inferrentialdleap" to
interpret our actions during the
Suez. crisis as an attempt to "per-
suade the Soviets that we were
trying to move toward an end of
East-West military conflict in the
Third World."
HOWEVER, IF Nelson Rocke-
feller is named Secretay of De-
fense, as many have suggested.
Singer admitted his predictions
could be altered.
"Rockefeller is less wedded to
fiscal conservatism than is Nixon
and thinks himself well-informed
in strategic matters. Nixon may be
inclined to buy his arguments."
Singer explained.
This is perhaps crucial because,
according to Singer, Nixon "is
much less well informed on mili-
tary matters than is Humphrey.
He has not had around him peo-
ple so sophisticated in m o d e r n
weapons technology."
Nixon also faces dangers from
"his own simplistic model of in-
ter'ational politics-too similar to
that of some of the ignorent men
in the Kremlin whose dominant
motto is 'all those bastards un-
derstand is force.'"
SINGEID ALSO sketched some
of the theoretical implications of
Nixon's campaign pledge of nuc-
lear superiority rather than nuc-
lear parity:
"Strategical superiority is unat-
tainable and undesirable. Numeri-
cal superiority we can get, but it's
worth nothing. It's a diplomatic
liability because this nuclear su-
periority will reduce our own in-
centive to bargain as equals and
reduce the willingness of the

Kremlin to bargain from a posi-
tion of 'perceived' inferiority."
Looking ahead to technological
developments Singer said that
4even as a layman" he believes
underwater detection of nuclear
submarines is feasible in the next
five years. However, this would
seriously jeopardize our deterrent.
Even rumors of such developments
would be an increased incentive
for us to go into ABM."
"I don't think that the ABM

is a joke-it's just serious enough
to scare the hell out of me," he
maintained. If no good strategic
case could be made for it, I
wouldn't worry so much. But, be-
cause a moderately credible case
can be made for it on strategic
and technical grounds, these ar-
guments could easily become ef-
IN COMPARING Nixon to Hum-
phrey, Singer explained any type

:f comparitive evaluation is dif-
dicult because "at every choice
point, the same pressures would
be at work on either a Humphrey
or Nixon Administration, but the
mix would have been different."
"I guess I could say that my op-
timism about Humphrey was be-
cause of Humphrey and my op-
timism about Nixon is because of
the diminution of incentive under
a Republican government," he

Prof. John David Singer

Dirty words and college press

Last ini a series
In his first article, Mr. Browning
cited the uses of obscenities in var-
ions college papers and the immed-
iate administration responses.
AT WISCONSIN, Daily Cardinal
Managing Editor Steve Reiner
isn't too worried about the fate
of the paper. With assets of
$80,000 he believes the paper could
probably forego the free composi-
tion services it gets from the
journalism school and move off
But he is concerned that the
chance for a real showdown with
the Wisconsin Board of Regents
may have passed by. Like most
public and large private univer-
sities, the regents have "all power
over all matters in the univer-
It is that authority which The
Cardinal editors wish to chal-
lenge. "A lot of us are trying. to
provoke a clash between the re-
gents and the liberal university
administration because the re-
gents are always sticking their

And what about the economy?

paws into student lives." Reiner
cites two recent regental rulings:
professors are no longer permitted
to let non-enrolled students audit
their classes; derisive student
laughter in a class is now reason
for expulsion from that class and
mandatory appearance before the
"We're hoping in this issue to
get (President Fred) Harrington
to take one side or the other-
either the students or the regents.
The pattern across the state is
that the true owners of the uni-
versity are the citizens, and the
university really exists for the
state. We at The Cardinal see the
people we're dealing with-as a
student community-as the people
for whom the university exists. The
Cardinal and the activists 'just
don't fit into the regent's Bucky
Badger ideal of a university."
REINER ADDED that many of
the calls he got from irate and
responsible citizenry were con-
siderably more abusive than a
reference made to the "Up Against
the Wall Mother f--kers" radicals
in one CPS release.
Two weeks; ago The State News
at MSU ran a round-up of some
of the censorship cases in the
Midwest including the offending
words in each case. News General
Manager (an over-zealous adviser)
Louis Berman promptly inter-
vened declaring he would dock the
salaries of the paper's three chief
editors-each of whom now. is
paid $75, $60 and $60 per week.
A student-faculty judiciary com-
mittee quickly issued an injunc-
tion to prohibit the salary slash,
but the order is not binding. An
open hearing with the judiciary
committee is scheduled within the
week at which Berman will pre-
sent his case.
Berman claims the source of the
problem is the failure of the edit-
ors to send letters of authoriza-
tion to the printer along with any
copy containing obscene words.
News Editor Ed Brill maintains he
never made any such agreement.
and is under no constraint to ad-
here to it.
is another major target of Ber-
man's ire whom he calls "the baby
at the bottom of the whole thing."
Trinka, he alleges, is "damned in-
competent" and ought to be fired;
she, on the other hand, is certain
the salary cut is at least in part
a "personal attack on me."
A year ago MSU regents en-
dorsed an academic freedom re-
port whichlimited university con-
trol of The News to financial'

selection of editors." Last year,
she said, The News made a $100,-
000 profit, with which Berman in-
tends to air condition the paper's
building. "He'll do it over. my
dead body," she declared.
subtle control reach most nearly
classic proportion'at the Univer-
sity of Kentucky-a traditionally
Southern university with strong
and recent aspirations toward be-
coming a major Midwest research-
type institution. No direct curbs
have been exacted against The
Kernel yet, but a core of liberal
faculty and many of the editors
fear that quiet, pervasive intru-
sions may be attempted before the
year is out.
Attacks (or "re-evaluations")
emanate from three sources: a
bevy of conservative (YAF) and
fraternity related student groups
w h o argue The Kernel doesn't
represent true "student voice" at
UK; an alumni evaluation com-
mittee headed by one of Ken-
tucky's famous professional bas-
ketball wonders who is concerned
about the sore of image the paper
displays to the public; and muted
rumblings from the interim ad-
ministration (a new president
should be named by Jan. 1) about
setting clear "editorial policy
Boiled down to their simplest
form, attacks on The Kernel seem
to stem from the balance of cov-
erage it gives to major national
political movements (I. e., the stu-
dent and black left) as opposed to
campus sbcial and cultural events.
Neither the editors n. o r their
faculty supporters look for a blat-
ant overhaul of the paper's staff
and policy. Rather, as Editor Lee
Becker points out, the important
time is likely to come at the ap-
pointment of a new staff where
administrative goals would osten-
sibly make s t u d e n t participa-
tion a "more democratic" affair.
Translated, that means the staff
would have less direct power to
appoint its successors.
To add spice to The Kernel's
criticisms, trustee and former Ken-
tucky Gov. A. B. "Happy" Chand-
ler has frequently stated in pub-
lic he had a mandate to "clean up
that mess at The Kernel."
IF ANY THEME or trend -
aside from the frequent left
warnings that authoritarian re-
pression is imminent - is to be
traced through all these cases, it
is probably t h a t administrators
have learned the tactical value of
constant frustration. For even if,
as in the case of The Kernel or
The Michigan Daily, a dangerous
confrontation never arises, t h e

FOLLOWING THE Univei'sity's
Conference on the Economic
Outlook held last week many jour-
nalists covering the event tried to
contrast the forecast made= by
Prof. Daniel Suits of the econom-
ics department with the predic-
tions made by Prof. George Ka-
tona, program director of the
economic behavior program of the
Institute for Social Research.
Suits in his nationally famous
annual forecast predicted a slow
down in the economic growth of
the country based on his highly
complex forecasting model which
employs over a hundred different
economic variables. His prediction
included a drop in the demand for
durable goods such as automobiles
and said the residual effects of the
10 'per cent surcharge begun last
June was largely responsible for
this decline in consumer demand.
On the other hand, Katona's
work is limited to the consumer
sector of the economy.
drop in consumer demand and
predicted a steady, albeit slow in-
crease in the total goods and serv-
ices which households will desire
next year. He further stated that
there would be small increases in

do seem to make opposite predic-
tions. However the reason for
these differing predictions, can be
found in the different concerns of
Suits and Katona.,
SUITS IS MAKING an overall
picture of what the economy will
be like next year. He is more in-
terested in such factors as the
ability of individual consumers to
buy durable goods in view of the
effects of past economic condi-
tions, i.e. wage hikes two and
three years ago. In this sense he is
saying the surcharge will dampen
demand because of the resulting
decrease in the ability of consum-
ers to buy expensive durable items.
Katona is more concerned with
the desire to consume than with
the ability of households to con-
sume. His argument is based more
on what the surveyed consumers
say they will buy rather than what
their income permits them to
buy. Certainly there is some cor-
relation between the two - an in-
dividual takes into account his an-
ticipated income when he decides
what he will buy the next year.
Yet other factors (including the
expectation of rising prices and
the war in Vietnam) influence
these expectations to a greater de-
gree, in Katona's prediction.
Concernine ~the surta. Katona

spend and in view of what Ka-
tona says they will want to spend.
Because of the need to pre-
sent some sort of workable fore-
cast, both professors have in part
answered this problem.
Suits admits he did not include
the psychological factors which
Katona's data brought out. How-
ever, he does not feel that con-
sumer optimism will overcome
the strong obstacle to continuing
our present growth rate.
Conversely Katona allows for
the influence of an individuals' in-
come on the amount of goods and
services he will demand in the
future. His prediction for contin-
ued growth was based on the pro-
duct of income and his Index of
Consumer Sentiment (his ivariable
indicating a person's desire to
consume). Since he believes in-
creasing wages will take up the
loss in a person's disposable in-
come due to the tax surcharge,:
he concludes the economy will
continue to grow.
IN VIEW OF these state-
ments we see there is a real
difference in their predictions for
next year, yet certainly not of the
magnitude that the press has re-
ported it to be. Business will like-
ly accept the forecast which ser-
ves best in their arguiments with

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