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December 06, 1968 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-12-06

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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

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News Phone: 764-0552


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



Begging the question
on ROTC credit

THE ROTC ISSUE is not dead. .Next
Monday the curriculum committee of
the literary college is supposed to decide
once and for all how much academic
credit the three ROTC programs should
each have.:
The committee meeting last week
where proponents and critics of ROTC
discussed the issue (thid writer included)
should have supplied conclusive evidence
that ROTC does not deserve credit.
The question before the committee is
simple: how much credit is the material
in the ROTC programs worth in the lit-
erary college.
With that in mind, the admission by
ROTC students that the program's pur-
pose is to train for a trade and socialize
students into the .military should make
the committee view with the utmost
skepticism the demand that ROTC be
given credit.
IT IS NOT for the critics to show why
ROTC shouldn't have credit, but for
the proponents to show why it should.
They have failed to do so.
But the questioning of most of the
committee members at the meeting in-
dicated clearly that they are seeking
some compromise between the current 12
hours and no credit at all. Their reasons
are not academic but political.
With no effective University control
over the program, to grant any credit
demands a tri-annual re-evaluation.
Three years is the turn-over rate of the
staffs. The committee's only real alter-
native is no credit, but it still shies away
from that. They are seeking other com-
promises, interesting structural ones, all
of which fail to meet the point straight
A few possible new approaches are
related to the literary college rule allow-
ing students to take up to 12 credit hours
in courses taught by other schools and
colleges in the University. These courses,
regular offerings within other schools
that are administered and taught by their
faculties, are allowed for credit without
any further supervision by the curricu-
lum committee of the literary college.
The rationale here is clear: Other schools
and colleges, which are competent in
their fields, can be trusted to handle
their own courses.
sideration is to give credit for ROTC
courses as courses taken outside of the
college, allowing anywhere from six to
twelve, hours credit for the entire pro-
gram. The disadvantage here is that the
college thus limits the range of other
outside offerings. for students taking
ROTC to. six hours at the most, half of

what other students in the college are
While it does not seem good for stu-
dents to be able to take only 96 hours
within the college to earn a degree (12
hours in ROTC and 12 in other units out
of 120 required), it is also unfavorable
to limit any studentto only 6 hours-at
most two courses-in non-literary college
courses. ROTC students would be in that
Further, the college will still be al-
lowing six hours of academic credit for
ROTC. By enclosing this aspect within
a more complex proposal, the real nature
of the move is obscured-that ROTC is
still receiving academic credit.
THE PROPOSAL avoids the issue that is
really before the committee: what is
the value of the ROTC program for a lit-
erary college student?
There are strong signs the committee
will equivocate on this issue. A motion
that ROTC credit be limited to 2 or 4 or
6 credit hours is likely. However such a
motion would not be predicated on the
assumption that ROTC really is worth
something within the college's realm, but,
rather on the belief that, out of defer-
ence, some recognition should be given
to the military and the government. The
courses are just not good enough to war-
rant it otherwise.
The effect of abolishing credit is clear
and desirable. ROTC would eventually
revise its programs as extra-curricular
activities. The academic courses could be
taken in the college. The indoctrination,
the occupational training, the socializa-
tion would be on the students' own time
and at his own interest.
As long as other units of the Univer-
sity recognize ROTC for academic credit,
ROTC can maintain its offices and class-
rooms in North Hall and continue to use
Waterman Gym for "leadership labora-
tories" and other University property,
such as Ferry Field, for its fall parade.
implementation of the elimination of
credit. It would be unjust to withdraw
credit from students who had bound
themselves by contracts on the under-
standing they would receive that credit.
All current juniors and seniors should get
their full 12 or 15 hours, depending on the
service. Other students, current freshmen
and sophomores; would get three and six
credit hours respectively, thus giving
* them their proportionate amount of
credit through April. In September, 1969,
the final credit plan would take effect.
This system would be fair, just and
in the best interests of the literary col-

zTHEY CALL IT "petty tyranny,"
and psychologically it can be
as devastating as any torture to
come out of the middle ages.
The Washtenaw County jail is
really not such a bad place, com-
pared to what I have heard about
big city jails or small-town south-
ern ones. They give you everything
you really need: clothes, sickly
dark green coveralls that go well
with the institutional green walls
and grey metal bunks, mattress
and bedding, toilet and shower,
and three "meals" a day.
They also give you playing cards,
checkers and chess, and an as-
sortment of paperback love stories,
old mystery novels and science
t fiction from the "library" which
you can never visit.
But they give you nothing to
counter the loneliness. Everything
the turnkeys (guards) say, the
" so-called "rules" they make up on
the spot, are designed to reinforce
your feeling of isolation, to keep
you wondering what new trick
they'll think up to make your
w time more unbearable.
There were nine of us in there
official -paranoia
T HE WORSE the country gets the better its documents become. Four
years ago, the McCone Commission report on Watts was a collage
of prefabricated pieties; but by last year the style of our inquests had
so far advanced that the Newark riot report wa an attempt genuinely
to engage life in a city whose major political party is its police depart-
Now, in the Violence Commission's report on Chicago, we have
a document masterfully descriptive of the national nervous breakdown.
Its force is not so much in its summary of the savagery of some of
the Chicago police. which most persons with eyes to see and ears to
hear had already accepted, but its summary, in the words of hundreds
of contradictory witnesses, of the madness of that special theater of
the streets our politics had become. You finish it sure of things that
before you could not have believed.
Just before the Democratic convention began, Tom Hayden, the
revolutionary, warned:
"Consider the dilemmas facing those administering the regressive
apparatus . . . they cannot distinguish 'straight' radicals from news-
papermen or observers from delegates to the convention. They cannot
distinguish rumors about demonstrations from the real thing . . . The
threat of disorder, like all fantasies in the Establishment mind, can
create total paranoia."
IT IS A MEASURE of our nervous breakdown that the rhetoric
of the revolutionary seems to have been a precise description of the
official state of mind. Obviously a country so much of whose history
has been made by assassination has reasons for paranoia. But we have
come to the place where Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin need only
utter a joking fantasy to have authority act upon it as a genuine threat.
The government of the U.S. seems to have been even more sug-
gestible than official Chicago itself. For example, Chicago was notified
"by federal narcotics agents that the city water supply might be
poisoned or contaminated with LSD. The Water Dept. officials were
aware that no real threat existed because of the massive amount of
poison that would be required." It is curious that so basic a fact of
chemistry would not have occurred to persons charged by our govern-
ment with drug control.
ON THE DAY the convention began a police department whose
good sense was tottering far enough without pushes by outside intima-
tions of alarm was solemnly informed by the FBI that the demon-
strators planned such "harassment tactics as turning on fire hydrants
(and) calling out police and fire departments on false alarms." None
of these things happened, of course.
A witness friendly to the demonstrators remembers hearing "re-
peated messages" from their leaders "to the effect. If you want to do
violence that's your thing but get away from this group.' "
ON THAT WEDNESDAY night the policemen were beating a
man as he was on the ground searching for his glasses. "When he tried
to get up, a Green Beret of about 25 or 30, in uniform, came out of the
crowd and started beating the man. The original cop was about to
intervene when another cop yelled, 'Leave him alone. He just got back
from Vietnam.'
"It was later discovered that the man was not a Green Beret but,
in fact, a deserter from the Army." Even that crown of the policeman's
fantasy-the soldier aroused and taking vengence-is a fake, all of it
a delusion, none of it real except the beating of heads.
(Copyright, 1968, The New York Post)

)od life j
for the welfare sit-in, six serving
seven days for not taking the work
option, three serving 22 for not
signing the probation agreement.
They put us all together in Cell
Block 205, a huge vault that sleeps
twenty people and already had
ten when we came in.
WE CAME IN on Friday. Satur-
day night, the Great Shower Flood
occurred, and it shaped the course
of events for the next week.
Sometime shortly after nine
o'clock when the lights went out,



the shower overflowed and started
oozing out over the floor, soaking
up towels and clothes as the water
moved across the cell and out onto
the catwalk. It provided a wel-
come relief to the monotony of
the period after lights went out.
People began making jokes: "Put
a sail on your shoe and maybe
it'll float back."
I was asleep when the corporal
came in about 11:30, but from
reports of what occured I can re-
construct the following scene: a
trustee comes in with a pail and
two mops and the corporal screams
for two volunteers to "swab the
floor." Two people volunteer; the
trustee goes out and gets four
more mops.
The corporal takes down the
names of everyone who didn't vol-
unteer - there are nineteen guys
and six mops - and says they will
all be put on restriction. A friend
wakes up, starts to volunteer, and
gets sick. For his "laxity," he gets
put on restriction.
THE GUARDS are not sadistic:
some, in fact, are quite pleasant.
But they glory in being petty ty-
rants, in constantly reminding you
that visits, phone calls, even mat-
tresses are a privilege, not a right,
and that if you "step out of line"
you'll forfeit them. They keep you
in suspense by telling you noth-
ing; by being evasive. You never
know what they'll consider "step-
ping out of line."
They say you can't be on your,
bunk between 6 a.m. when the
lights go on and 9 at night when
the lights go out. They say if they
catch you they'll send you down-
stairs to the drunk tank for a
week with no mattress. But all
they ever give you is a warning.
Then, Wednesday, they come to
release Slim and catch him sleep-
ing on his bunk. "Bring y o u r
sheets and blanket." "Am I getting
out?" "Hell, no. You're going down
on steel."
From that point on we were
never able to convince ourselves
that they didn't really send peo-
ple down on steel.
Several months in that place
could, I'm sure, destroy you phy-
chologically. The whole situation
is 'structured to break you down.
You can't hope for anything, or
you'll feel worse when you don't
get it. You begin to fall into the
same pattern as the guards, be-
come complacent, cynical, indif-
ferent, convinced that the guards'
behavior is unpredictable, t h a t
you can't respond to it rationally.
Human decency becomes some-
thing abstract; something to try
to hold onto for use when you
finally get out.
THE ONLY THING that pro-
vides relief from the feeling of
j U:


isolation is commonality with the
other prisoners. You make jokes
together about the food. You play
games trying to think up the most
vile. curses for the turnkeys. You
devise bizarre methods of escap-
ing. You try to become the cell
block' champion at "breadball,'
our version of basketball played
by throwing a ball of bread wrap-
ped up in a sock into the sink.
You sit around waiting for some-
one to send in cigarettes and can- -
It isn't fun, but it a learn-
ing experience. In the awareness
of your isolation, of your inability
to deal with the petty tyranny of
the guards, you begin to see how
easy it is to fall into a pattern of
self-pity and remorse.
You become aware of how much
we have come to depend on ma-
terial comforts in our everyday
lives. You come in contact with
people from the community, peo-
ple who don't share our middle
class revulsion of prison as
"seamy," and you learn just how
isolated students really are from
the people they claim they are
trying to help.
Self-interest poitics
in dcayngU.S. cities
ON THE ABC EVENING NEWS the other night, a little feature por-
trayed a day in the life of the average New York resident in
all of its anxiety. The average New Yorker actually an ABC studio
employe, begins his day by turning the light switch and wondering if the
lights will come on, Consolidated Edison strike and all.
Then he sends his children off to school, wondering all the while
if the bus drivers are working to take them there, if the teachers aren't
striking, if the students aren't striking and if the drivers will still be
working at four o'clock so the kiddies won't be forever stranded at
P.S. 101.
The piece was a bit flip and somewhat overstated but it revealed
an essential fact-American cities are slowly strangulating as a result
of their own complexity.
THE CRISIS OF THE CITIES, as it has been named, is the crucial
crisis in U.S. society, even though it tends to become obscured under
the more sensational crises of the war, the arms race and the gold flow.
Even when commentators find time to talk about the slow death
of the cities, they usually focus on fragments of the problem-racism,
poor schools, detefiorating housing, badly trained and brutal police
But they tend to miss the problem which is at the root of all the
troubles of the city, and that fact is very simple.
Large American cities in 1968 have ceased to be complex social
organizations and have become instead loose aggregates of powerful
groups with strong vested and mutually exclusive interests.
In any large city, the teachers comprise one of the most powerful
interest groups. And their interest is no longer in providing education
but in salaries and job securities and making sure the schools are run
their way. Without teachers, the schools cannot function at all, al-
though there is some question whether no schools wouldn't be better
than what currently passes for education in most cities.
LAWS BARRING STRIKES by teachers notwithstanding, the
teachers can virtually always get their way by striking or threatening
to strike. Thus Albert Shanker and the United Federation of Teachers
managed to shut down the New York Public Schools for most of a
semester and in the process destroyed the one glimmer of hope for the
decaying schools, decentralization.
Even now Shanker can get what he wants by merely threatening to
call another strike. The schools don't belong to the people, they belong
to ,the UFT and the New York Board of Education and Shanker and
the school board have told the people that in no uncertain terms.
The teachers are not the only group of erstwhile public servants
who have the public over the barrel. The police constitute an even more
powerful and even less public sprited interest group than the teachers.
The mention of a police strike sends paroxysms of fear through the
Last week, a one-day "blue flu" epidemic among Newark police
resulted in a curfew and a ban on liquor and firearm sales in the New
Jersey city. The slowdown was ended by a court order, but it is doubt-
ful that the uneasy truce will last long.
Police in a Long Island community have discovered a whipsaw
tactic even more effective than the slowdown-the speedup. To support
their wage demands, the cops began to enforce the very letter of the
law on the Long Island Parkway. Motorists were ticketed for driving one
mile an hour over the speed limit, for changing lanes without signally

in light traffic and for anything else that could possibly be construed
as a violation. They won their wage demands quickly.
If the problem were confined to wage demands, it would be much
simpler. After all public employes too are entitled to a living wage and
all too often, the only way they can get it is by using drastic tactics
against a recalcitrant city administration.
BUT THE NEW YORK teachers extended their public-be-damned
attitude into the broad area of educational policy making. And the
Detroit police have pushed it deep into the realm of discipline,
In the past couple of years, there have been a number of incidents
where police attacked citizens. Discipline against any of the cops in-
volved has been very, very slow in coming, primarily because the;cops
didn't want any of their brothers disciplined.
When a police trial board attempts to get testimony from cops in
brutality hearings, the cops just shut up. They have been known to do
this in grand jury investigations and no one can remember when a
policeman was last charged with contempt.
Yesterday, the Detroit Police Officers Association went one step
further in the defense of cops--any cops no matter how wrong-at the
expense of the public. The DPOA filed a suit in U.S. District'Court
seeking to enjoin the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from pressing
for disciplinary action against officers who allegedly beat a Negro gas
station owner during the 1967 riot.
IT WOULD BE WRONG to think that public employes are the
only interest groups whose activities are inimical to the public welfare.
Home owners, businessmen, industrialists and politicians do their share.
But the public employes have been the most flagrant..-
Probably the main reason these groups get away with so much is
that the public doesn't do anything to stop it. New York teachers strike,
so the people, or most of them, support an action to reopen the schbols
even though the settlement means they relinquished all control over
the school to Shanker's union. Few people get very excited about police
on the take, let alone police brutality, so the cops get away with it,
Homeowners in Youngstown, Ohio are unwilling to increase their






On the defense

ONE'S VISIONS of the next four years
grow progressively more bleak as
factual appointments and knowledgeable
conjecture join to indicate the shape of
the next Administration.
But amid all the appointments and
conjectures, it is a sad commentary that
the most alarming suggested Cabinet
member is the man who, if appointed,
would serve as Nixon's token Democrat
in his government' of national unity.
Informed sources seem fairly con-
vinced that Sen. Henry Jackson of Wash-
ington will be Nixon's Secretary of De-
fense. The credentials that Jackson would
bring to this sensitive post are primarily
a well-deserved reputation as the greatest
Congressional militarist north of Mendel
The Washington Senator (parenthet-
ically it should be noted that Boeing
Aircraft is headquartered in Seattle)
shares the anti-Communist fervor of con-
servative Republicans without any of
their ideological constraints against mas-
sive government spending.
Since apparently Jackson will be

gracing our foreign policy councils for
the next four years, it is distressing to
discover that he adamantly argued dur-
ing a private conversation last year that
U Thant was a card-carrying Communist.
But maybe we should all look at the
bright side. After all, Jackson hasn't been
suggested for Ambassador to the UN.
--W. S.
on the appointment of Prof. Paul Mc-
Cracken to the chairmanship of Richard,
Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers, he{
said, "We shall miss his services on the
campus, but wish him well on this new
assignment. And of course we look for-
ward to having him back."
Should we interpret this last phrase as
Fleming's endorsement of a Democrat,
any Democrat, in '72?



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