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January 29, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-01-29

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E1pe 3iriigan Dat
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
20 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 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.

Academic reform: Apathy mars a dream


OLD DREAMS die hard.
The phrase "mass meeting" reminds me
1500 students who packed the Union Ballroom
4000 who flooded Hill Auditorium at the peak
abortive Student Power Movement of late 1966.



The tenants'. rights booklet:
Governmental partiality

REALTOR INFLUENCE on the scuttling
of a tenants' rights booklet prepared
by the city raises a crucial question: just
whom does Ann Arbor city government
represent? Does t h e, government serve
the whole social, political and economic
spectrum of Ann Arbor, catering equally
to the needs of each interest group and
individual? Or does it govern to. please a
handful of rich businessmen, like the Ann
Arbor Board of Realtors?
Unfortunately, City Hall m u s t plead
guilty to the second question. For the big
business interests - the realtors, t h e
bankers and the big store owners - con-
trol the money, the property, a n d the
power. And City Hall obeys them.
When the city first decided to publish
a public information . booklet on the
state's new Tenants' Rights Laws, they
planned to aim the pamphlet deliberately
at tenants who, need to know their rights
against landlords who break housing
laws. These are the $150 a month tenants
in rotting wood houses on North Fourth:
All-America C 1i t y hovels which swarm
with cockroaches, leak through the roof,
and whose electrical outlets shock; gross-
ly substandard houses which individual
realtors and big corporations from the
Other Side of town suck fot maximum
profit until the Building and Safety de-
partment finally; if ever, condemns them
and orders minimal repairs.
These are the tenants who need pro-
tection from the John Stegeman's of Ann
Arbor, ibig realtors who accrue 32 major
housing violations at one time, and then

repent in court and are delivered a $25
And the booklet w a s simply for the
average tenant, whose rents rival those in
u p p e r Manhattan but cannot get the
landlord to fix a broken stairway or leaky
BUT THE ANN ARBOR Board of Real-
tors didn't like the booklet, because "it
was an unfair picture of Ann Arbor" and
because it catered to a "small minority
of tenants who have problems." So the
city stopped publication, and is rewriting
a "more accurate" version which the real-
tors can approve - one which emphasizes
"tenant responsibilities."
Those who say (as one city hall spokes-
man did) that "the city can't be respon-
sible for every minority group" are dead
wrong. The city must be responsible for
every minority group - for every indi-
yidual, every citizen with a gripe.
For the businessmen - the landlords-
have money and friends in City Hall, the
courts and the council. But the small peo-
ple - the tenants - have only the law.
If the city government is not willing to
maximize the power of an individual's le-
gal rights, in the f a c e of entrenched
monied interests, then all the rehetoric
about equal protection under the law and
free enterprise is a lie and a sham.
One wonders: If the dissatisfied group
had been composed of tenants instead of
realtors would the city's response have
been so immediate and "satisfactory?"

The current controversy over language requ
also brings to mind that while the focal point
bygone 1966 Movement was a draft-ranking refe
the real issue was University decision-making.
Then it seemed possible that large scale stuf
fluehce over tJniversity decisions could create an
tion dedicated to education rather than Gov
This year things were going to be even beti
dents were going to challenge the slow and in
academic decision-making process, where things
about as often as the rules of chess.
THE CULMINATION of this new and deeply
crusade was to be the "mass meetings held in
Monday night.
Instead of an outpouring of concerned studer
cated to protesting language and distribution
ments, 250 familiar faces showed up. Few of thi
without organizational or personal ties to eft
Radical Caucus or the Student Government Cou
The culmination of the meeting was proba
vote of 100 to 77 to call a non-disruptive sit-i
office of Dean Hays of the literary college to
with Thursday's faculty meeting.
I voted against the sit-in because I am cc
that the threat of a sit-in is always more pote
its actuality, especially when called by a badly
group of less than 200.
But the outcome of the vote is not really the
for my current state of disgust. My own sadne.
the future of meaningful student activism on this
is much more a function of the nature of Monda:
meeting than its results.
WHILE THE ISSUE of language and disi
requirements is relevant to the bulk of the stu
the literary college, few of those directly affectec
requirement were there Monday night. This R
phasized when the meeting rejected a proposal
voting to students currently enrolled in the colle
As soon as Bob Neff, SGC Vice President an(
man of the mass meeting, got up to read the hi
the controversy, one knew it was going to be
What passed for debate was turgid and almos,
devoid of content. Cries that "We've waited long e
seemed echoes of earlier controversies rather 1
emotional response to the current issue. There
usual series of parliamentary snafus which merel
to the meeting's tedium.
A short debate on the representativeness of th
ing was ended with the comment, "anyone wl
about this issue could, have come tonight." The
was they didn't.
AT ANOTHER junctive the representatives
3500 students who signed petitions calling for th(
language requirements was challenged. The answ
back more students signed the petitions than
most SGC members. One indice of apathy

People started leaving Monday night's meeting only
about an hour after the whole farce began. Eric Chester
of the Radical Caucus argued at one point, "We've al-
ready lost half of the people who were here, so it's
absurd for us to sit around arguing details."
The meeting adjourned in such haste, that no one
set a time for the next meeting which either should have
been called for after Thursday's or Monday's faculty
In a way this failure is for the best, because what
emerges in the future will have little organic unity with
Monday night's farce.
ONE OF THE most disturbing aspects of the meeting
was the almost unilateral focus on language and dis-
tribution requirements. Few seemed to see the whole
issue in terms of increased student power in academic
One of the key reasons why an important student
role in all curriculum decisions is necessary was indi-
cated at the Monday afternoon meeting of the literary
college curriculum committee.
Prof. Clarence Pott, head of the German department,
opposed abolition of the language requirement on the
grounds that the "University would be saying, in effect,
that languages are not important."
It is strange that the language departments are one
of the few units of the college which must use coercion
to illustrate the importance of their discipline.
Pott's remarks and those of Prof. Theodore Bittrey,
chairman of the classics department, before the same
committee illustrate the degree to which organizational,
maintenance is an integralapart of the whole language
IT IS NOT SURPRISING that the language depart-

ments are trying to maintain their perogatives against
external pressure. What is depressing is the amount of
support they can find from the rest of the faculty.
Precisely for this reason, a major student role is
needed in all curriculum matters.
Ideally students will not operate as hostile adversaries
to the faculty, but instead will work in tandem with
more progressive professors in challenging the current
bureaucratic inertia of academic thinking.
Prof. Carl Cohen of the philosophy department warned
at the curriculum committee meeting that "students
may eventually run the curriculum committee."
What Cohen seems to fear is that an increased student
role in curriculum matters will reduce the academic
rigor of the University. And while Cohen could point
to such recent curriculum innovations as a two hour
self-graded course in Student Leadership (College Honors
199) to buttress his argument, I still feel that his fears
are ill-founded.
Only an increased student role in curriculum matters
will permit a total re-evaluation of education from the
point of view of the student as well as the professor. For
the primary problem is not what is being taught, but
how it is being taught.
As a result of the built-in conservatism of the fac-
ulty, I have little faith that they will abolish the lan-
guage requirement by their meeting .next Monday.
In a way I'm glad because abolition of the language
requirement at this point would only be a gift from the
faculty to the students, rather than an issue which would
meaningfully change academic decision-making.
BUT ANY CHANGES depend on a greatly increased
student response.
Several neighbors of mine who care deeply about stu-
dent participation in academic matters, told me after-
wards that they almost went to the mpass meeting.
Optimistically there are hundreds more like them,
who almost went Monday night. Otherwise the whole
fight over language requirements will merely indicate the
degree of student apathy on this campus and illustrate
the impotence of the Radical Caucus to organize anyone
beyond their own limited membership.
Based primarily on Monday night, I have little faith
in the ability of the students to take advantage of any
structural reforms in academic decision-making in their
current state of apathy.
In a way it's a vicious cycle, curriculum changes are
necessary to shake students out of their educational
doldrums. But until these changes are made, students
will be too apathetic to make the necessary curriculum
PERHAPS MY castigation of student apathy is pre-
mature. It's even possible that Thursday's non-disruptive.
,sit-in will inspire a vast student response, despite the
traditional rule of thumb that half as many sit-in as
vote for it.
President Fleming, Dean Hays, and others in key
University positions have absorbed the lessons of Colum-
bia, and have vowed not to repeat the mistakes of the
Hatcher years.
But one still suspects that when meeting as a body
the faculty are a more intransigent lot. It's kind of
strange to pin all your hopes on faculty conservatism,
but at this point that seems the only way of inspiring
a widespread student response.
In short, it looks like the old dreams are finally dead.


Nixon' s military.
Sufficient unto the day

PERHAPS THE MOST important aspect
of President Nixon's. first press con-
ference Monday was his statement on
national defense. Nixon emphasized to
the press that terms like "parity, and su-
periority" are no longer in.
"Sufficiency" is now the goal of our
defense policy.
In making this statement, Nixon has
repudiated his Secretary of Defense, Mel-
vin Laird, invented an umbrella-like cri-
teria for defense policy, and maintained
his former position on the arms r a c e
while seemingly taking a less hawkish
It would be naive to imagine that Nix-
on has given up the concept of military'
superiority, and all it implies. "Sufficien-
cy," according to Nixon, means our milir
tary strength must be as strong as nec-
essary to protect us from any threat -
to allow us tostake any action we desire,
THE OPEN-ENDED qualities of this term
are obvious. It implies all that "super-
iority" implied. It is the same credo es-
poused by Nixon all throughout the cam-
"We must always negotiate from a po-
sition of strength," he told a crowd in
Detroit last fall. Certainly. Equality and
parity are not enough.
Nixon's statements on arms control, on
the possible missile talks and the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty further confirm
the lack of real interest of the Nixon ad-

ministration in working toward a safe
and sane world.
By tying arms control discussions to
progress on political issues, Nixon has put
the Soviet Union in the unpleasant posi-
tion of having to seemingly conceed to
the U.S. on matters like Vietnam and the
Middle East in order to obtain the "priv-
elege" of talking with the U.S. about cur-
tailing the military race.
Whethei or not such concessions would
actually be required of the Soviets is ir-
relevant. They would lose f a c e in the
Communist world were they to start talks
with the U.S. under Nixon's announced
Rather than having an affect on shap-
ing Soviet foreign policy then, Nixon's
position will most likely prevent any sub-
stantive progress on arms control until
that position is changed.
iency" yesterday had one other inter-
esting implication. It was the second an-
nouncement he has been forced to make
since the election in correction of state-
ments made by his cabinet members.
Laird, the Wisconsin superhawk said
only last week that "Parity isn't enough,
we must have superiority."
Nixon's statement yesterday was an ob-
vious attempt to smooth the rough image
projected by Laird's policy statement
without changing the U.S. stance at all.

Sage advice

for the police-

To the Editor:
IT HAS BEEN SAID that t h e
questions of history repeat
themselves. Between C.221-C.300
there was a little k n oaw n,Lbut
worldly Chinese Sage Liu Ling,
who was charged by other Sages
with indiscretion, the reason being
that it was his wont to pursue the
realms of philosophic introspec-
tion and inquiry while wandering
about his 'room clad only in his
birthday suit.
To this criticism the Sage re-
plied: "I take the whole universe
as my house and my own room
as my clothing. Why, then, do you
enter here into my trousers?"
Perhaps, certain members of
the police force could profit by
the advice of the S a g e of the
Bamboo Grove, and confine them-
selves to their own trousers.
Jan. 28
Premature release
To the Editor:
LORNA CHEROT'S article con-
cerning educational reform in
the School of Natural Resources is
marred by several distortions and
Much as some of us might wish

for an inter-depattmental group
of militant "guerrilla conserva-
tionists," there exists at present
only an unnamed committee, com-
posed of graduate students, all in
the Wildlife Division of the De-
partment of Wildlife and Fisher-
ies, seeking reform within that de-
partment. The actions of "guer-
rilla" conservation - activists (a
rare breed) may be commendable,
but they should not be confounded
with those of our committee. .,
The ascription to me of a call
for a "plan of retaliation if (our)
demands are not met" is mis-
taken. I indicated to Miss Cherot
my belief that students' efforts
to effect legitimate reform can
and should proceed even if the
faculty is indifferent or hostile,
but such contingency planning
c a n hardly be termed "retalia-
story was most ill-timed. Y ou r
reporter was informed last week
that the final proposals of the
committee were yet to be drawn
up, but that such formulation was
imminent. Had the Daily waited
but a few days, it could have run
an article describing the concrete
recommendations of0 a student
group and the faculty response to
those recommendations. Instead

it chose to print a questionably
newsworthy story presenting a
tentative (and subsequently much-
revised) list of "demands" and
offering the speculative and prob-
ably unrepresentative musings of
a couple of graduate students. The
probability of'the faculty's re-
action to our. proposals being col-
ored by the Daily story, which
anticipated by several hours the
actual distribution of the recom-
mendations, must also be consid-
ered lamentable.
I am confident that the demand
by Daily readers for news of cur-
riculum reform in the Department
of Wildlife and Fisheries is not
so great as to dictate the prema-
ture publication of rather inac-
curate stories treating half-com-
pleted events. Nor are the causes
of educational reform and student
power, to which the Daily pre-
sumably subscribes, advanced by
such irresponsible journalism.
-Jeff Rothenberg, Grad
Jan. 22
To the Editor:
A MORE STIFF, reticent and
passive audience I had never
encountered. Art is, at the very
least, a communication which im-
plied the participation of an ob-
served and an observer. When one
contemplates El Greco, chuckles
at the humor of Shaw, agonizes
with Medea or swoons to the
melodies of Liszt, he is actively
participating in the art in the
form of that art.
Aretha Franklin is a true artist
and a genius who requires/ the
participation of those with whom
she is trying to communicate.
Rubinstein can be content with a
shout of "Bravo" after two hours;
of concerted artistryeand Olivier
can wait until the end of scene
one for the audience's applause.
Aretha comes from and sings
about an active culture, marked
by repeated, intense and constant
action and response.
WHEN communication breaks
down, the art itself ceases to be,
the artist gets worn, tattered by
the unhearing, unfeeling partici-
pants; he withers with the ef-
fort of expression and finally
crawls away to question his art

Volunteer army
To the Editor;
S SOMEWHAT of an anarchist
A can readily sympathize with
your desire to limit government
coercion of individuals by insti-
tuting a "volunteer" army. But be-
ing somewhat of a Marxist, I must
point out that the impersonality
of the market mechanism only ap-
pears to alleviate coercion.
In fact the coercion still exists;
the men must be there (so says
the government). 'The- intelligent,
the sensitive, and the ypper class-
es will not be coerced, and they
will- be removed f r o m society's
horrors. But the poor, the less in-
telligent and the less sensitive will
be caught up in Madison Avenue
psychological warfare impressing
on their minds the virtue, the ex-
citement, the manliness of "ser-
vice." And we will pay them. Is
that not coercion.
Shall we allow this society to
further abstract through speciali-
zation its perversity. A profession-
al army, like a professional police
force,amay be more efficient, but
is that what we want? I would
rather see the draft system ex-
tended to th e supply of police,
Ethan see the police system extend-
ed to the army.
Jan. 28
For pacifism
To the Editor:
IN THE RECENT past, and then,
again a few weekends ago in
Washington, D.C., I have been
called by persons supposedly with-
in our own "movement," such
epithets as "revisionist," "fascist,"
"coward," and "woman." Thei
reason for this, I gather, is that
I still happen to remain a pacifist,
and moreover, sadly' enough, one
of the few left in the more vocal
It seems that today, analagous
to Arthur Miller's works in the
theatre, non-violence is termed
However, despite his traditional
use of language and the standard
non-audience \participation, his
themes of responsibility still re-
main fundamental to human na-
ture. Just so, non-violence, despite

situation erupted. We marshalls
formed a chain to protect our
people from the clubs, and the
result was that we were called
"patsies" and "pig-lovers." In
fact, on that chain, while I was
pushed by a pig's club in the back,
I was kicked and shoved numerous'
times by those of our own people
on front, trying to break the chain.
PERHAPS it is best to think
about the beginning of today's
orientations. In a discussion in
D.C., some of us kicked around
several possibilities. One point
that was raised stays in my mind.
Persons have become so wrapped
up in words (I guess that I, too
prefer "pig" to "police officer?")
that we have lost touch with any
articulation of the problems con-
fronting us.
I suppose that we sounded like
old men ("revisionists") looking
back on this and thinking how to-
day, the only articulation comes
during "meetings" with the law
agents in the form of "F-ek pigs."
We need not be animalistic. A
relatively silent presence, showing
a counter-life style would have
been more effective. Perhaps, this
use of words gives one an attitude
leading to violent desires.
BUT MORE significant than
discussing the manifestations, or
even the causes, of the violent
trends, is the outlook for the fu-
ture. I am not here urging a sb-
missive stance. Personally (for
what it's worth), I happen to favor
non-provocative confrontations,
such as the suggestion above. for
that reception; a better example
would be our remaining in Chi-
cago's Lincoln Park after 11 P.M.
last August to demonstrate the
repression used against us in the
military seige that existed. As the
ter gas began to fly, the cameras
began to 'roll, most of us left
peacefully, and the purpose was
THE TIME HAS passed when
the quiet masses can create the
temper of a demonstration. There
are today, too often, too many
versons bent on causing violence
in any way that they can. I would
submit then, that although still
the vast majority favor non-vio-
lence, that we can no longer just

'Dionysus in 69': A parting statement

To the Editor:
BRIEFLY THEN. We didn't come here looking for a confrontation.
With that peculiar recklessness that afflicts politicians, the police-
acting on advice and probably -under pressure - moved in, saw, and
If they had left us alone we would have performed, met some stu-
dents, read what the critics said, collected our check, and been on our
way back to New York,
That's what happened in Colorado, Minneapolis, and Detroit. In
each city there was .a stir, and a basically good stir. And in Colorado
Springs and Minneapolis we performed with ,our naked scenes naked.
But only in Ann Arbor were we arrested. Arrested, stopped, forced to
confront those who confronted us.
And confront them we will. The cast of comnmunity characters is
interesting enough. Reasonable Chief Krasny. But watch him, he can
get slippery. A county prosecutor who is very receptive to the pres-

ethical law-enforcement and law-making system is being challenged.
The work of the artist is once again important to the health of the
community. It is good that a play of Euripides and its performance is
in question.
For no one knew better than Euripides the complicated relation-
ships between community, art, personal commitment, and tyrants who
used "democratic processes" to oppress those who might choose to
I DO NOT know the outcome of what we are now undertaking. I
can pledge our determination to see it through. Not only in the courts,
but in our art, in our heads and hearts, on the campuses, and in the
What are we up against? Beyond and before the system are the
people of the system. This dialogue took place Monday night in the
Union Ballroom.

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