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October 14, 1969 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-10-14

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A

closer

look at the

bookstore's

1r £1r4,ithan Daitlj
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

ledgers

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1969

NIGHT EDITOR: DAVID SPURR

I

Tomorrow' s moratorium:
Nixon leaves us no choice

PRESIDENT NIXON'S statements yes-
terday reaffirming his intentions not
to "be swayed by public demonstrations"
should serve as an incentive to the un-
decided to take an active part in tomor-
row's moratorium.
"There is nothing new we can learn
from the demonstrations," Nixon says.
"The question is whether, in the absence
of any new arguments, we should be
turned aside from a carefully considered
course."
UNDER NO circumstances should this
President, who was himself elected by
a minority, be allowed to flaunt the wish-
es of the governed and ignore the pro-
test against the Vietnam war. The mora-
torium is indeed not born of new evi-
dence; it is rather a display of collective
frustration with the government's un-
willingness to heed old arguments, survey
old evidence and reconsider old policy.
To support the moratorium is to re-
pudiate a President who philosophizes
that "To allow government policy to be
made in the streets would destroy t h e
democratic process."
But many Americans have determined
to take the process into the streets and
campaign actively for peace. Although it

remains unclear how many citizens will
participate in tomorrow's moratorium, it
is apparent that an overwhelming num-
ber of Americans will stage the largest
anti-war protest ever held.
In the usually stuffy suburbs of Bos-
ton, communities passed resolutions sup-
porting the moratorium. In the pastoral
suburbs of Detroit, peace marches will
be held and petitions calling for with-
drawal by July are being circulated. At
campuses across the country, students
will strike their classes and professors
will either join them or devote class time
to a discussion of the war.
THE SIGNIFICANCE of this demonstra-
tion cannot be overestimated. It will
bring together Americans from all spans
of the political spectrum toward a single
end: protesting the continuation of a
senseless slaughter that epitomizes the
worst aspects of "official" American pol-
icy.
And hopefully, many of those who will
be making their first symbolic act of pro-
test tomorrow, will remain in the anti-
war movement and press for a total re-
ordering of American priorities both at
home and abroad.
We urge you to take part.
-THE EDITORIAL DIRECTORS

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is
a graduate student in the history
department. Hie was once employed
at a local bookstore.)
By EDWARD SUROVELL
Daily Guest Writer
DURING the last week. or so
three handouts concerning
costs of operating a bookstore in
a university community have been
distributed on campus. Two of
them, entitled "Where Does Your
Textbook Dollar Go?" and "Where
the New Textbook Dollar- Goes,"
have been passed out in the local
bookstores, and the University has
distributed to its employes a "Re-
port to the University Community
from the Office of the President"
on "The Bookstore Issue."
All three of these documents
claim to give all or most of the
relevant statistics on the econ-
omics of textbook costs and book-
store operation, but in fact the
data are misleading (intentionally
so in the case of the two sheets
handed out by the bookstores) and
require interpretation.
THE BOOKSTORE flyers both
play on the use of the word "text-
book" to distort the figures they
show. "Textbook" has two distinct
meanings, one in the publishing
industry, one for students.
In the book trade a textbook is
any book designed to be sold pri-
mariy to college classes in bulk
quantity: these books are almost
universally discounted by the pub-
lisher to the bookstore at 80 per
cent of list price.
To the student, however, a text-.
book is any book he has to pur-
chase as required reading, includ-
ing paperbacks and hardcover
books other than those discounted
as texts by the publishers.
Rather than the 20 per cent dis-
count allowed on texts, discounts
on these books range from 40 per
cent to 50 per cent and include
virtually every paperback series,
such as Anchor, Vintage, Torch-
book, Dell, Delta, Viking, most of
the university presses, Bantam.
New American Library, Grove
Press, and many more.
Hardcover books given 40 per

cent discount or more by the pub-
lishers include most fiction, poetry,
history, and other general non-
fiction-and series such as the
Modern Library.
MOST STUDENTS, faculty, ad-
ministration, even bookstore own-
ers and Regents of the University
can recognize that books not
"short discounted" (i.e. 20 per
cent) represent a large part of
any student's required purchases.
Thus, the two bookstore flyers
have used the limited definition
of textbook to distort the real
nature of where each "textbook"
dollar \goes, for many books are
not short discounted.
The 20 per- cent discount, how-
ever, is not the only distortion the
bookstores use in these handouts.
For' example, "Where the New
Textbook Dollar Goes" says that
"College students and others have
been spending more than $3 mil-
lion a year for textbooks": I be-
lieve this statement should read
"$3 billion." Almost $3 million a
year is spent in Ann Arbqr alone.
A small typo-maybe-but $3 bill-
ion is an awful lot of money.
A SECOND OPENLY mislead-
ing figure. and one that is far
more important for the student.
is the claimed prices paid for and
charged for used books--"text"
and otherwise.
Regardless of the fact that the
National Association of College
Stores and the American Text-
book Institute claim that "the na-
tional average for the repurchasing
of textbooks by college stores is
50 per cent of the $1.00 that was
paid by the original owner." even
'if "it is assumed that this book
will be used in the current se-
mester and is in good condition
and is the current edition of that
title," there is no question that
such is not the case.
The standard repurchase price
nationally and locally for books
that meet the above requirements
is 40 per cent, no more. Any book-
store employe, will tell you that
Furthermore, few books in any
one semester, even if in new con-

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"I see, Mr. Ulrich, your study shows that discounts wouldn't
be feasible. Well, you should know, I guess ."

dition, "will be used in the cur-
rent semester." Books are used on
a yearly cycle, not every semester.
BUT EVERY other category
stated above also reduces the stu-
dent's chance of getting even 40
per cent back. "Good condition"

Letting the people decide

THE CURRENT effort to abolish the
Electoral College is an insignificant
move in the attempt to democratize the
American political system.
For while the College is a minor ana-
chronism, its abolition w i11 in no way
remedy other basic defects in the elec-
toral process which render our system a
"psuedo-democracy."
While some claim that true democracy
is an unattainable goal within the frame-
work of our present economic order, there
are defects which can be corrected so as
to make the electoral process a far more
meaningful representation of the popular
will on public issues.
THE FIRST AND grossest defect is the
extent to which candidates and par-
ties of differing financial means h a v e
such drastically unequal access to t h e
public's eye and ear. The wealthy candi-
date can buy vast amounts of advertising,
projecting himself constantly into the
voter's home via television and radio. He
can pay highly skilled campaign workers,
organize parades and demonstrations,
and travel extensively.
The candidate of more modest means
must constantly scrape for cash, often al-
lowing himself to become unduly influ-
enced by those able to supply him with
the money he needs.
If he refuses to submit to such tempta-
tions and attempts to get along on the
small contributions of supporters, he will
be at a s e v e r e disadvantage against a
wealthier opponent. He will be unable to
pay for advertising, TV or radio time, or
professional campaign workers. And, he
may have to spend much of his limited
time in fund-raising attempts, while his
wealthier rival meets the people.
The solution to this problem lies in ef-
fective government requirements making
large amounts of free television and ra-
dio time available to all candidates who
qualify for a place on the ballot - in both
primary and general elections at all lev-
els of government. This solution must al-
so involve the appropriation of substan-
tial public subsidies to meet t h e other
smaller campaign expenses. Such regula-
tions could succeed where unenforceable
limitations on campaign donations and
expenditures have failed.
[HE SECOND defect is t h e unrespon-
siveness of party organizations to pub-
lic opinion. Political party organizations
at the local level typically degenerate in-
to a clique of old-timers: conservative in
world view and life style, anti-intellectu-
al, unconcerned with broad political
questions and often unresponsive to pop-
ular will. On the national level, party or-
ganizations usually represent a broad
conglomeration of such groups.
To remedrv this unres'pnsivness it will

the ballot. The institution of the runoff
for all elections, with the two top candi-
dates in the first election facing e a c h
other a week later, will prevent the vic-
tory of candidates who win by a minority
vote, only because two or more candidates
of similar views split the opposition.
THE THIRD CRUCIAL problem is the
abscence of meaningful information
available to the voter. The voter general-
ly has little or no idea of what specific
power public officials have, what the pub-
lic records of the various candidates are,
and what positions they hold on vital is-
sues. He usually makes decisions based on
party loyalty, except when some over-
riding issue causes him to oppose or sup-
port whatever man happens to be in of-
fice. The only sources of information he
has readily available are the advertising
of the respective candidates, and the
news reports, which invariably present
him with a collection of meaningless
charges and counter-charges that he of-
ten has no intelligent way of interpreting.
This defect would probably be the most
difficult to correct, and yet, it is the most
crucial. For if voters had some relatively
easy way of understanding the merits of
candidates, the other issues might be of
lesser significance. A sophisticated elec-
torate would probably not be taken in Eby
vast amounts of advertising, and would
probably .not support the candidates of
corrupt and incompetent machines.
WE COULD SUGGEST the establish-
ment of an independent public com-
mission, composed of noted journalists
and scholars of. varying political views,
who could write and distribute informa-
tion booklets to all voters regarding -1)
the specific powers of the official they
are electing, 2) a clearly stated summary
(including various interpretations) of the
candidates actual records in previous
public positions, 3) statements submitted
to the panel by the candidates delineat-
ing their stands on major questions.
This information could be distributed
as a section of newspapers the week be-
fore elections, or be m a i l e d to voters'
homes. In addition, part of the TV and
radio time made available might be ear-
marked for regular debates, which would
be held as a regular campaign procedure,
rather than just at the convenience of
candidates. An impartial observer might
participate in the debates to explain and
adjudicate when the candidates differ ov-
er facts on a question of record. These are
only tentative suggestions, and o n c e a
dialogue on this subject emerges, there
would doubtless be many better ones. But
an effort must be made to stimulate posi-
tive suggestions on this matter.
WHILE THE Electoral College is a relic

to a bookstore means "almost
new." Many books are used for
only one year and will never be
used again, especially here in Ann
Arbor where few of the traditional
"western civilization" type courses
which remain static year after
year are taught. And most im-
portant, "current edition" makes
one out of every four or five of
the large texts obsolete every year,
because almost all of these texts
are designed by their publishers to
be revised on a four or five year
cycle. So, once every five years
you get nothing.
Lastly, a glance today or any
day will tell you that even the
poorest used text rarely sells for
less than 75 per cent of list price
--the best ones for more.
Lest the very lots profit claim. d
by the bookstores of three cents
on the dollar (and remember that
this is the short-discount dollhr
only) prove misleading, keep in
mind that 3 per cent is on esch
sale only, and does not represent
annual profit on invested capital.
The same money a bookseller in-
vests on your January book is re-
invested on your books in March.
May, July, September, and Christ-
mas: three cents on the dollar can
and goes mean 10 to 15 per cent
profit per year.
CONCERNING the figutes plc-
sented with President Fleming's
letter, there are a few points that
need to be brought out.
First, this study makes it clear
that college bookstores are profit-
able operations; of all the stores
surveyed, only two reported less
than 100 per cent self-sufficiency,
and those only slightly under 100
per cent: all reported a profit.
Second, in no case was there a
textbook volume of less than 300
per cant of average inventory,
which indicates a healthy profit
potential for any text store.
There are some other points,
however, that relate directly to

the question of a student-operated
bookstore here at Ann A r b o r.
Two of the five Big Ten stores give
student discounts, none of the
Michigan stores do: of the ten
stores surveyed, only one returned
even a portion of its profit to stu-
dent-related activities (s c h o1 ar-
ships).
In all the non-Michigan stores
giving discounts or rebates, faculty
and staff received a higher return
than did students this, of course,
is true now here in Ann Arbor,
where faculty and staff receive
discounts at most of the book-
stores, while the students receive
none)
But what is clearest is that in
all cases the student receives les
than any other user of university
operated bookstores. In this light
I think it is perfectly clear a hy
it is so important that students
have full managing authority over
any University sponsoied i ook-
store. Otherwise, they stand. ittle
chance of gaining anything.
I WOULD ALSO like to suggest
that any one-time fee for the
funding of a store also be assessed
against the faculty and adminis-
tration, who will benefit no 1ess
than the student body. In this
connection, the point that Presi-
dent Fleming raises about the
Student Vehicle Fund merits one
last comment: The Regents he-
lieve, according to President Flem-
ing, that "few students now in
school ever paid anything into the
fund, and that funds of this kind
once deposited into a University
account do not "belong" to special
groups, and they feel the need
for use of these funds in ther
wa vs
The same argument can be used
to ask why students now-or ever
for thathmatter-should be asked
to pay the initial costs of a book-
store that in ten years "few stu-
dents now in school" will ever
have paid for.

TrHhe

truth about the colorblind military

By LORNA CHEROT
f HERE IS A myth pervading
this society that the military
is colorblind, but to the black GI
the military is just as racist as the
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. Dis-
putes, both verbal and physical,
have broken out between the races
and have just recently received
press attention in Louisiana,
South Carolina, and most recent-
ly, Selfridge Air Force base near
Detroit.
Attention has been focused on
Selfridge because of court martial
proceedings intiated this week in
the case of the United States
versus Airman First Class Evelyn
James. Airman James, who is
black,has been charged with dis-
orderly conduct for allegedly as-
saulting a white WAF, N a n c y
Moran.
Yet, while the fracas between
WAFs James and Moran is only
one in a series of clashes between
blacks and whites at Selfridge,
it is one of the first in which a
black person refused to be inti-
midated by the military hier-
archy.
SELFRIDGE IS NO- different
from the rest of society. The fric-
tion between the races wa al-

offer them $1000 for three nights
work, but they won't hire a n y
brothers who are willing to play
for less," says one serviceman.
When asked why black g r o u p s
weren't hired, one committee
member allegedly replied t h a t
there were enough Negroes at Sel-
fridge and if they brought a n y
more up they would soon be edg-
ing the whites out.
Air force officials, who w e r e
unresponsive to black complaints
in the past, started getting up-
tight last February when the air-
men and officers formed B l a c k
Servicemen Organizations, a n d
when their friends -- some of
whom are Black Panthers - visit-
ed wearing African garments.
There were also sporadic occur-
rences of harassment of blacks
by white commanders over Afro
hair styles. But clashes over hair
have since subsided. Says Afro-
coiffed Sgt. Diana Green, "No
one says anything, but we know
they don't like it."
During the spring. complaints
from blacks against white over-
seers increased in both number
and volume. For those who per-
sisted, the military solution was
simple - either transfer t h e
trouble-makers or discharge them.

noise. She obliged by turning
down the volume. But in the
meantime, the white WAF went to
get the master sergeant, who is
also white.
Upon returning to the barracks,
the master sergeant barged into
the room, hitting Green in t h e
mouth with the door. Green, who
later swore out a complaint
against the master sergeant for
violation of an Air Force regula-
tion which states that no one may
enter an officer's room w i t h o u t
the consent of that officer, was
treated at the base hospital for
a split lip. The master sergeant
was transferred before any action
could be taken on Green's com-
plaint.
Two days later, Sgt. Green found
her car sprayed with shaving
cream and the words "choir nig-
gers" scrawled on the car. Base
police were called in to investi-
gate further tampering with the
car, and another complaint was
made by Sgt. Green.
ON AUGUST 26, Airmen James
and Griffin were driving around
the base and noticed two white
WAFs - one was Nancy Moran
-- whom they suspected of dam-
aging Sgt. Green's car, parked in

the drunk WAF charged at her
again, swinging at James b u t
missing. James then sought to de-
fend herself by retaliating Mor-
an's assault with a reciprocal
blow.
Then two black servicemen drove
into the parking lot and separated
the two women. It is reported that
the servicemen had difficulty
containing Moran, as she repeat-
edly made attempts to charge af-
ter James.
Later that evening Moran re-
turned with 15 white WAFs who
gathered outside James' barracks
chanting that they were going "to
get James." One of the more in-
censed white WAFs tried to set
fire to the barracks that housed
James. But the bonfire and rally
were interrupted by base police.
BOTH JAMES AND MORAN
were reported to their squad com-
mander. Major Richard J. Mackle-
ravey, who reduced the charge
from assault to a misdemeanor of
disorderly conduct, made an ef-
fort to settle the matter quick-
ly by asking both parties to cop
a plea of guilty by omission. Mor-
an agreed, but James would not

On September 17, Airman
James was notified that court
martial proceedings were b e i n g
brought against her by the mili-
tary. September 18, Airman Grif-
fin, a prime eyewitness to the
melee, was transferred to Elman-
dourk, Alaska,
If James is found guilty of the
charges against her she is libel
to punishment under Article 15,
the same as Moran, but the mili-
tary has the added alternative
of sentencing her to 30 days in
jail. The Air Force may then also
place a motion for a general court
martial against James, who if
found guilty would be eligible for
a dishonorable discharge.
SELFRIDGE AIR FORCE of-
ficials will probably emerge from
the briar of racial bias slightly
scratched. Since the base is be-
ing transformed into a navalsbase,
the authorities will be spared the
task of implementing substantial
reform.
The populace of St. Clair Shores,
who cheered the National Guard
as they mobilized to do combat

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