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October 21, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-10-21

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stir £k41&jgan Daiiij
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

notes fromi an undergraduate
Competition for The Daily
by rou andsman -ui

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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



Playing politics with human dignity

THE PLIGHT of the welfare mothers of
Washtenaw County should be careful-
ly examined by people w h o still insist
that needed reforms can be secured by
"rational democratic processes."
It is a striking history.
Last fall, it took several massive dem-
onstrations, and 240 arrests to convince
the County Board of Supervisors to grant
the mothers a supplemental allowance to
purchase school clothing for their child-
This year, the mothers have m a d e a
deliberate effort to employ the socially-
acceptable methods of negotiation a n d
And the Supervisors have casually ig-
nored both.
The mothers, represented by the Wel-
fare Rights Committee (WRC), originally
requested an allowance of $120 per child
for the purchase of school clothing. This
figure was based on a survey of a large
number of ADC families.
In addition, the mothers sought to ne-
gotiate for a 25 per cent increase in fixed
monthly ADC payments, to reflect the in-
crease in the cost of living since 1960, on
which the payments are now based.
HOWEVER, the Supervisors have refus-
ed to even discuss the welfare situa-
tion with the mothers, flatly stating they
cannot afford to meet their requests.
During the only meeting between WRC
and the Supervisors, on Oct. 2, the Super-
visors merely informed the mothers that
the $124,000 county budget surplus would
not be used to meet even part of the re-
More recently, in drawing up the pro-
posed 1970 budget, the Supervisors ignor-
ed the request for the long needed 25 per
cent increase, insisting that the budget
priorities lay elsewhere.
The refusals are only a part of the cen-
tral issue. What is more frightening is the
Supervisors' attitude toward the welfare
mothers - which ranges from self-right-
eousness to contempt.
Perhaps this attitude is best typified by
the Supervisors' refusal earlier t h i s
month to allow the mothers to attend a

high level meeting on welfare operations
in Washtenaw County.
While standing in t h e doorway after
Board Chairman Bent Nielsen (R-A n n
Arbor) refused to admit her, one mother
blurted out in desperation, "But you're
discussing our lives .. ."
INDEED, it is this very fact - that the
welfare dispute does not deal w i t h
money, but with lives - that the Super-
visors fail to see.
More specifically, the school clothing re-
quest is motivated by the mothers' desire
to see their children on equal footing with
the other students. They fear, validly,
that otherwise a feeling of inferiority will
cloud the child's attempt to gain the ed-
ucation which may very well be his only
ticket out of the ghetto.
men and politicians - not social
workers. And consequently, they tend to
base their actions not on wisdom, but on
the amount of political pressure involved.
Being both poor and primarily black,
the mothers are hardly an effective po-
litical force. It becomes obvious, t h e n,
why the Supervisors can dismiss them so
casually, and why no amount of prodding
by the mothers alone can be of any con-
For this reason, professional members
of the community h a v e taken it upon
themselves to bring the mothers' case to
the Supervisors. Today, many will march
in front of the County Bldg. while the
Supervisors hold a public hearing inside
on the proposed 1970 county budget. Oth-
ers will speak at the hearing in support
of the mothers' requests.
IT IS IMPERATIVE that the marchers be
joined by all who have any real con-
cern for the plight of the welfare moth-
ers and their children.
It is high time t h a t the Supervisors
were told: You have been playing politics
with human dignity long enough..

THE DAILY has been criticized lately for
a number of journalistic failings, such
as bias in reporting and editorializing,
albeit on the editorial page, that addresses
itself to only a small minority of the Uni-
versity community.
The Daily is in good company. The Har-
vard Crimson, among other college news-
papers, has been the object of identical
criticisms in a situation that parallels the
Daily's perfectly.
The parallels are many and deep, from
the papers' internal workings to the ex-
ternal situations they fave faced. To wit:
-Both newspapers are editorially in-
dependent, being limited only by the re-
quirement that all editors be students at
their respective schools. The Crimson is
financially independent, while The Daily
does maintain some formal ties with the
-Both papers had to cover periods of
considerable campus tension-the Crimson
had a building take-over because of ROTC
last spring while The Daily had the LSA
Bldg. sit-in over the bookstore this fall.
Curiously enough, the presidents of both
schools reacted in the same way-imme-
diate arest of the offending students by
local police.
-Both newspapers are producing edi-
torial opinions considerably divergent from
the attitudes dominant on campus, atti-
tudes especially repulsive to the faculties
of the two schools.
While the Crimson's editorial board sets
editorial page policy, The Daily's does not,
but leaves the page open to whoever would
like to write, including differing views
of staff members and an open "letters to
the editor" column.
The effect, however, is roughly the same.
Even though Daily editorials are individ-
ually signed, most readers take a piece
on the editorial page to be the view of the
entire Daily, though this is seldom so.
-The news coverage of both papers has
been the object of considerable dissatis-
faction, generally unstated. There seems to
be the feeling on both campuses that the
established student papers give too much
coverage to radical groups and not enough
to conservative or moderate groups or to

the administrations. The merits of these
complaints aside, they are identical on
both campuses.
-Both papers are also developing splits
along liberal-radical lines. The editorial
and news staffs are both divided between
Kennedy-McCarthy liberals and Radical
Caucus-oriented student radicalism.
Newspapers at Michigan, Harvard and
elsewhere, divided as they are in this way,
represent fairly well the split in student
politics today. For the newspapers it is
a split that extends from the editorial
page to the front page.
The problems of The Daily and the
Crimson, whether the criticisms are valid
or not, raise three substantial points con-
cerning the role of student newspapers on
their campuses:
0 What is the obligation of the campus
paper, like any newspaper, to be "objec-
* What are the demands of the canons
of journalism and the First Amendment
on a campus newspaper?
0 What is the obligation of a campus
newspaper when it is a monopoly, especial-
ly one fostered by the university itself.
Is there a solution that can reconcile the
demands between community obligations
and journalistic integrity?
The average reader might challenge
whether the news pages can be influenced
by the politics of the senior editors of the
newspapers. Such a challenge relies on an
unsophisticated and naive view of what
newspapers are and how they function.
The assessment of what is important in
the news-decisions news editors must
make every day--cannot depend only on
some abstract sense of what is important
without a sensitive feel for politics and
political significance.
What should the criteria be? How many
people take part in an event? How power-
ful or well-known the participants are?
How many people are affected by the
Obviously no such "objective" criteria
exist. An editor must judge how interest-
ing or important any given piece of news
is. Moreover, it is obvious that every two

people will view the news somewhat dif-
Should the editor then seek to handle
the news the way most of the readers
want it? Not necessarily.
Each paper must write to a certain read-
ership. Most college newspapers today write
to and about the student and faculty
left-liberal groups. They are the most
active politically, they tend to affect events
and institution on campus, and so they
get the coverage.
THIS PROBLEM of political bias is in-
dependent of the problems of accuracy and
factualness in writing, and no paper should
ever be excused for factual errors or
deliberate misrepresentation. That is not
the same as the judgements, sometimes
political, that go into determining the way
news is handled.
With newspapers viewed thus the other
problems of campus newspapers are easier
to handle.
The problem of keeping a newspaper
fair, without being sterile, demands a
great deal of the editors. It also gives
them considerable freedom, especially in
terms of the First Amendment and the
obligaitons of newspapers to follow their
own integrity.
Under no circumstances should a cam-
pus newspaper-any newspaper-be re-
sponsible to its readers other than to try
to sell them papers.
For a campus newspaper, it is deadening
to impose any other burden, such as an
"advisor" or even a review board of any
kind. It is censorship, pure and simple, and
censorship is no more justifiable when it
is done on behalf of a majority or a com-
munity than when it is done by a minority
The source of censorship is irrelevant
when an individual is told when he can or
cannot write or publish.
An indirect means of censorship, such
as control over editor appointments, is no
better. It merely selects out people who
would assert their editorial independence.
This is no doubt unsettling for univer-
sities that find their campus newspapers
far askew from the general mood of cam-

pus. And when that newspaper is the sole
newspaper, and is somehow related to the
university, there are second thoughts to
be had.
A NEWSPAPER THAT is the major dis-
seminator of news on a campus has a
heavy obligation to keep its entire de-
pendent reading public in mind. But it is
an obligation that a university does not
have a right to impose on a newspaper.
It is here that the Harvard case becomes
instructive. The Crimson was the object of
criticism similar to that directed against
The Daily, and the result was a second
overground campus newspaper, the weekly
Harvard Independent.
The Independent, according to editor
Morris Abrams Jr., son of the president of
Brandeis University, was funded by faculty
and alumni dissatisifed with the Crimson's
coverage, but with no strings attached.
It will seek to be a second voice on cam-
pus, more liberal-less radical-than the
Crimson, more willing to present faculty
and administration views on issues facing
the college.
Curiously, an early staff fight on the In-
dependent over whether the paper should
take editorial positions resulted in two
quick resignations and a policy identical
to the Crimson's.
The Independent is not different from
the Crimson philosophically in that re-
gard; it will simply have a different edi-
torial position.
The fact that the Independent took that
route implies support for the practice of
having editorially independent newspapers.
THIS ARRANGEMENT in no way re-
lieves either paper of its responsibility as
a newspaper-to be fair and complete, to
be honest and factual. But it does relieve
it of the onus of caring, in a sense, for the
entire community.
This solution is the best one for this
campus. The Daily should not be tampered
with. Rather, earlier efforts to establish a
second newspaper here should be renewed.
It would be best both for The Daily and
for the University.

Beyond M-Daylt
IN THE TIME between now and Nov. 3, when he will deliver his
hastily-advertised address on Vietnam, President Nixon faces an-
other crucial interlude of decision-or indecision. He must choose
whether to try to ride out the storm of anti-war protest or concede
that time has run out on our investment in the present Saigon regime,
It must now be apparent to the President and his more perceptive
advisers that they and he seriously misjudged the temper of much of
the country when they gambled that a series of gestures-troop with-
drawals, draft cuts, reports of battlefield de-escalation-could defuse
today's moratorium.
Each step, compounded by the blunder of Mr. Nixon's assertion
that he would be "unaffected" by the protest, seemed to intensify
rather than diminish support for the demonstration. There was a wide-
spread sense that he was more concerned about muting dissent than
altering fundamental policy; perhaps most important, there was a feel-
ing that we had all been here too often before-and that Mr. Nixon
was yielding to the delusions that ensnared Lyndon Johnson.
EACH TIME that South Vietnam's President Thieu spoke out
in intransigent opposition to a coalition government in Saigon-as
he did once again yesterday-he damaged Mr. Nixon's credibility. For
while many Americans may have long been apathetic about the internal
politics of South Vietnam, they have lived with this war long enough
to recognize the cast of characters, the familiarity of the lines, the
repetitiveness of the script.

Another opinion

DEMONSTRATIONS and violence which
flared on two university campuses last
week though far divergent in nature,
have in common one dominant and inex-
cusable element - the use of force
against university authority.
At the University of Michigan, protest-
ing students invaded and for a time held
a university building. At Harvard, Viet
Cong supporters, who w e r e apparently
outsiders, stormed the Center for Inter-
national Affairs, beat and kicked teach-
ers and a librarian, then escaped before
police arrived.
The Michigan confrontation was much
the more serious of the two, because it
involved students of t h e university. It
has, moreover, a baleful significance in
that it was the first major student revolt
against administrators on a college cam-
pus in this young school year.
THE MICHIGAN demonstration h a d
other disappointing characteristics.
Though there were apparently only some
100 students who took over the building,
they were given support by 3,000 to 4,000
students who stood outside the building
and jeered police. And then there is the
final irony: Among the students taken

into police custody were the president and
vice president of the student government.
If they are truly representative of that
government -- and they must be deemed
so - the student government at Michi-
gan is one that advocates revolutionary
force and violence to gain its objectives,
the v e r y antithesis of the principle of
democratic rule of reason which is at the
foundation of the government of this na-
tion and this nation's institutions.
ON THE CREDIT side in this affair is
the fact that the president of the uni-
versity did, if perhaps belatedly, call in
police to end the occupancy of the build-
ing. The police arrested 100 demonstra-
tors and carted them off to jail. That is
well and good, but now comes the more
important decision, that involving pun-
ishment for violation of the law. To draw
the line unmistakably between the use of
force and the use of lawful procedure in
settling disputed issues between students
and administrators, the arrested students
must be prosecuted in court as well a
disciplined to the utmost by the univer-

Letters to the Editor

Unwilling soldier
To the Editor:
can see this letter comes from Ft.
Ord, California. I thought you
should hear the story from the
inside. Monday began the "official
concern." Indoctrination lectures
and "Americanism" film w e r e
squeezed in between bayonet drills
and machine-gun practice. Tues-
day brought more of the same.
It is now 0100 hrs. Thursday
1 a.m,) and my company has just
returned from the fort boundary
(perimeter?) wet and cold. I re-
turned my M-14 rifle, "protective"
gas mask, combat field pack, bay-
onet and 40 rounds of ammunition
to the supply room. I spent four
hours protecting . . . protecting
what from I don't know.
What I do know is that I'm sick

. . . sick of being a part of the
military, sick of knowing that my
future is full of senseless death
and pain and sick from the knowil-
edge that I might have been or-
dered to attack people who feel as
I do and have the courage to do
something about their feelings, I
haven't that courage. I can't sign
this as the brass" would take
retribution on me. Freedom pn
speech exists in America but not
in the U.S. military.
SITTING IN the UGLI breeds a
sense of detachment, at least until
the reclassification letter comes.
Sitting in an armored personnel
carrier with a rifle barrel pressed
cold against you cheek destroys
that detachment. We're involved
in a most immediate senese. Our
minds and souls were in step with
your even though we marched in
military formations.

I wrote you so my voic
be heard on the Diag. I h
return there . . . some day
An unwilling sol
Oct. 15
To the Editor:
Oct. 15 Anti-Vietnam War
torium a smashing succes
the point of view of the n
of people actively partic
from The University of M
and the Ann Arbor Commin
general, some logistical p
arose which we hope to a
future events. We did not
that the Symposium on C;
and Biological Warfare
draw the interest of thet
of people that it did. Unfor
ly, large numbers of peop
not able to enter the Natu
ence Auditorium so as tol
pate in this Symposium.
organizer of this Sympo
apoli 'ize to those people w]
forced to back up into the c
of the Natural Science B
and thus not able to en
I am certain, however, t
message came across very
to those who were able to
tha the military-industria
lex of this nation is. carry
research, development, and
ble deployment, of meth
warfare which defy our il
tion in terms of the horror
it could inflict upon the pet
this globe.
tional mission of bringi
facts about chemical and1
cal warfare to our audi
hope that we will have su

e could
lope I'll

dier Military spokesmen continued to herald the enemy's imminent
collapse; politicos insisted that Mr. Nixon would succeed where Mr.
Johnson had failed if restive Americans remained quiet; patrioteers
(Jj17 blustered that anti-war critics were Hanoi helpers. Some sophisticated
journalists began to lament what they decried as a plot to "destroy"
the President, ignoring the obvious point that it is prolongation of the
der the war-not anti-war protest-that imperils the Nixon Administration.
ss from Now, despite all the diversionary flak, one need hardly wait for
lumbers all the returns to come in to know that something vast and unpre-
ipating cedented is occurring in Ame'rica today and in the ensuing days before
:ichigan Nov. 3, Mr. Nixon's great test will take place.
unity in
roblems THE PRESSURES on him to maintain a defiant posture will be
void in strong. He will be told that the Moratorium may produce a counter-
foresee surge of "partriotic" fever; that the peace movement cannot sustain
would its present momentum and breadth, and will fragment when radical
number groups reassert their influence on Nov. 15. He will get optimistic re-
tunate- assurance from his military, as well as more Bunker bunkum from
le were the Saigon establishment. Most ominous of all, there will be those who
ral Sci- encourage him to resort to a (Joe) McCarthyite counteroffensive, hinted
partici- by Hugh Scott's demand that war opponents "tell us which side they
As the are on" and even more outrageously expressed in Vice President Agnew's
sium. I crude attempt-approved by Mr. Nixon-to pin Hanoi's label on the
ho were protest.
ter' thQ CAN NIXON resist these new temptations to revert to his ancient
style? Will he choose to misread the meaning of today's events, and
hat the especially the overwhelming evidence that so many hitherto "silent
clearly Americans"-of whom he spoke so often in his campaign-are finally
attend, declaring that they are fed up with a senseless war that has poisoned
.l com- and paralyzed our nation for a period now as long as the duration of
ing out our presence in World War II.
I possi-
o1(s of One of the most conspicuous if underplayed aspects of the Mora-
nagina- torium is the degree to which support for it has not only permeated
which America's Middletowns but emerged in such Southern citadels as the
opls of University of Georgia.
educa- IT HAS BEEN said here and elsewhere before that the President
i the could turn today's protest to his-and the nation's-advantage if- he
biologi- were prepared to make, a decisive break with the myths of the past.
ence. I Its size and scope could be presented to Thieu as clear whrning that
eceeded i-d (nv 'nr ,,uninhn. 'j iAithat- h nmus,- makew fa A li. a

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