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March 16, 1969 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-16

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Poge Twelve

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, Morch 16, 1 96)

Page Twelve THE MICHIGAN DAILY Sunday, March 16, 1969

Exploiting

exploitation

at

'The

South

End'

Junior Year

(Continued from Page 4)
WATSON regularly prints
episodes of police brutality and
has rigorously feuded with the
"racist policies" of Detroit
News Publisher Peter B. Clark
and Chrysler Corp. President
Lynn Townsend.
In return the Detroit News
has. enjoyed a page three re-
parteenofyfault-finding with
The South End; and Watson
has been suspended from his
parttime job as a News truck
driver.
"You can't really bring about
a revolution with a newspaper,"
he says. "But you can provide
links between the students and
the rest of the black commu-
nity."
WSU is a commuter campus
where only 11 per cent of the
33,000 students live within two
miles of the classroom build-
ings.
Watson may be fighting a
losing battle.
Even though his paper is
distributed free, the press run
last month was cut back from
16,000 to 12,000 because stu-
dents weren't picking it up.
"Many whites are racists and
refuse to read the paper. They
call it the nigger-sheet," ex-
plains Watson. "Still I think
there are more openminded
students now than before this
year."
IF THE SOUTH END isn't
faring well with student pop-
ularity, it has been robust in
stirring the attention of the
administration.
Prof. Bunge, who remained
as a South End columnist after
getting axed last spring for
swearing in class and awarding
automatic A's to draft-eligible
males, brought the cauldron to
a boil with a Jan. 20 article.
Bunge argued that Jewish
students who could afford to
attend suburban community
colleges should get out of WSU
so that more inner-city kids
could get in. WSU has about
3,000 Jewish students and 3,000
black students at present, and
one-third of the faculty is
Jewish.
This naturally i n s p i r e d
charges of "anti-Semitism"
particularly since The South
End had castigated Jewish
businessmen for marking up
prices when inner-city resi-
dents don't have transportation
to shopping plazas.
KEAST called The South
End "dangerously reminiscent
of Nazi Germany" after Wat-
son printed a full-page anti-
Israel editorial.
"I can't spend my time going
around proving I'm not anti-
Semitic," complains Watson.
"These cats from <the Jewish
community are running this

vicious thing against me and
are deliberately trying to polar-
ize the situation.
"If they' want to play that
game, I can go into court and
show how they've violated the
civil rights of blacks a thou-
sand times over."
Watson's usual assured stoic-
ism yields to barely-muted
frenzy and he refuses to discuss
the anti-Jewish editorials. But
his lines of rhetorical logic do
not waver. He knows his an-
swers.
IN FACT HE was able to
convince the Wayne State
Board of Governors not to in-
tercede on behalf of a drive to
fire him.
The Wayne State Fund, a
largely-Jewish alumni group
which raises $300,000 annually,
demanded Watson's job and an
investigation of The South End
in a Jan. 29 resolution.
Keast responded to the pres-
sure by resorting to an old
ploy-dismissal on the grounds
Watson wasn't a fulltime stu-
dent. But Duncan Sells, a for-
me university housing official,
now the WSU dean of students
who had quarreled bitterly with
Johnston, put the stamp of ap-
proval on Watson's eligibility
and Keast backed off.
Then on Feb. 4, Keast sent
an open letter to The South
End, criticizing its contents and
calling for a new editor. The
Board of Governors jumped on
the ba ndwagon, endorsed
Keast's letter and set up a
committee to study the con-
troversy.
But the Board stopped short
of direct action even amid cries
of "buck-passing" from miffed
alumni.
"I think we'll makeitthrough
June okay now," Watson pre-
dicts, noting the inherent in-
transigence of study commit-
tees.

WATSON'S cool, however.
belies a provokable temper
which flared publicly when Joe
Weaver of Channel 2 tried to
interview him on Feb. 10.
Watson ordered Weaver and
his film crew out of The South
End offices, claiming the TV
news team was disrupting his
office and violating his right
to privacy.
Weaver initially refused and
then says he turned to leave
and was grabbed from behind
by Watson who allegedly pulled
him to the floor and slugged
him in the mouth. Watson says
that it was he who tried to
leave and Weaver started the
fight.
Weaver later brought assault
and ba tery charges against
Watson but couldn't make
them stick in Recorder's Court
on March 6.

Student groups have also be-
gun lining up on either side in
the confrontation between Wat-
son and Keast. The Association
of Black Students is backing
Watson; and the New Wayne
Committee, the campus version
of Donald Lobsinger's Break-
through, supports Keast.
WATSON is not worried
about student militancy on the
right. "You have to remember
that those who are in this
movement against me are a
special kind of student. They
have little support among the
student body."
(Paradoxically he found him-
self in agreement with Break-
through's breakup of a Jewish
vigil in Kennedy Square hon-
oring the memory of hanged
Iraqi Jews.)
What does concern Watson
both philosophically and per-
sonally is the institutionaliza-
tion of values and goals alien
to blacks, including some with
minor implications for The
South End.
Incoming WSU freshmen
taking the required English
proficiency test are asked to
evaluate excerpts from The
South End. "If they downgrade
it, they pass,' laments Watson.
"But if they say it's hip, they
fail."
In a larger context he sees
WSU prostituting itself to cor-
porate interests by turning out
career - motivated graduates.
CONCEDING that a univer-
sity may be effective as a
breeding ground for revolu-
tion, Watson quickly disparages
its utility as a battleground.

"You can close down a cam-
pus for a long time without it
effecting the outside commu-
nity," he says, drawing bold
lines in the air with his pencil.
"But if you close down Chrys-
ler, that's something else.
"I think SDS is finally mov-
ing in the right direction.
Blacks have been haranguing
whiteradicals for a long time
about moving their demonstra-
tions off the campuses and in-
to the factories."
Watson views the revolution
as an established inevitability
and lashes out impatiently at
those who question his assump-
tions too closely.
FRANK GILL, for one, found
communicating with Watson
intolerable and quit last fall
after 21 years as the paper's,
faculty adviser. "I'm tired of
being an adviser in a romper
room of adolescents," Gill ex-
plained.
Gill's $14,000 job went to
Stan Putnam, 39, a former De-
troit Free Press reporter. A
nervous soft-speaking in a n
who has refused to talk to The
Detroit News, Putnam sits in
Johnston's former office (with
pictures of Guevera still on the
wall) and modestly defends
Watson.
"This is valid journalism be-
cause John sincerely believes
in what he's doing," he argues.
"Most professional journalists
just sell out to the highest bid-
der."
WATSON IS indifferent to

Putnam. "He's there if we need
him to handle the red tape.
The rest of the time he can be
in a bar for all I care.
Watson's staff of 30-40 edit-
ors, reporters and writers is less
disproportionately black than
you anticipate 'about half).
Indeed Watson's likely succes-
sor is John Grant. a white
sophomore who has journalistic
rather than revolutionary as-
pirations.
The editor, who earns $2300
a year, is chosen by a 26-mem-
ber student-faculty co'mmittee
whose 1969 version is more
moderate than 1968's. Indica-
tions are that it will slight a
Watson recommendation and
consequently chase many of
Watson's black militant co-
workers from the scene.
STILL PUTNAM is confident
that the committee won't go
outside the staff fo' an editor
and that the present staff will
stay basically intact. "I hope
so anyway," he says.- '
Watson wants to return to
the immediate black proletariat
movement in Detroit possibly
to resurrect The Inner City
Voice-a black monthly which
died when he left it to join
The South End.
Watson's departure in June
will signal the end to a very
significant two-year chapter in
Wayne State University news-
papering. And unless there is a
dramatic change in authors it
will be the first chapter in a
highly controversial book.
Next Week: The Argus

in
New York
Three undergraduate colleges offer students
from all parts of the country an opportunity
to broaden their educational experience
by spending their
Junior Year in New York
New York University is an integral part of
the exciting metropolitan community of
New York City-the business, cultural;
artistic, and financial center of the nation.
The city's extraordinary resources greatly
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This program is open to students
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Courses may be taken in the
School of Commerce
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Washington Square College of Arts
and Science
Write for brochure to Director, Junior Year
in New York

#i

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COLLEGE REPUBLICAN CLUB
ENDORSES:
SGC President and Vice-President
Roger Keats and Kay Stansbury
SGC Members-at-Large
Bob Hirshon
Carol Hollenshead
Tim Theodore
VOETUESDAY or WEDNESDAY'.

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