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August 27, 1968 - Image 53

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1968-08-27

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Tuesday, August 27, 1968



Page Seven

Student-voters muzzled

This year has been one of subdued confron-
tation between students and city officials over
the issue of student voter registration.
SGC-sponsored registration drives and court
suits by students acting on their own are the
recent focal points in a long-existing contro-
versy over whether University students are suf-
ficiently permanent and interested residents of
Ann Arbor for a voice in city elections.
The question of a student voice is becoming
increasingly crucial. Parking and driving regu-
lations set by the city of Ann Arbor most direct-
ly affect the student as do zoning decisions.
A voice in the Ann Arbor city government
conscience, however, is a more subtle although
equally important motivation for student voter
However, despite the importance to students
of Ann Arbor city government decisions on
everything from police riot control to inclusion
of a peace referendum on the city ballot, most
students remain mute.
Most requirements for registration are clear-
cut: you must be at least 21 years old by the
date of the next election (over 9,000 students
meet this test). You must have lived in Mich-
igan for six months, and in Ann Arbor for at
least 30 days before election day. And you must
establish residency.
This last requirement is the orie which causes
students trouble. The Michigan statute on
residency reads in part:
"No elector shall be deemed to have gained
or lost a residence while a student at any in-
stitution of learning." This language has been
described even by city officials as vague--the
law does not mean it is impossible to establish
residency while a student. It merely means a

student is not necessarily a resident of the city
in which he attends college.
Ann Arbor city clerks, with the backing of
many local voters, have not been overly gen-
erous in interpreting the registration law. They
argue students are merely guests of the city.
Despite SGC voter registration . campaigns,
many students over 21 are turned away. The
city clerk himself or better yet the city attorney
often prove more amenable to questionable
student registrations than staff clerks.
Injustices in the law are obvious.
For instance, it is interesting to note, that, a
non-student could move into Ann Arbor 60
days before an' election and still be allowed to
vote, if he came before the 30-day pre-election
moratorium on registration.
A student over 21 who comes to the Univer-
sity to do graduate work may stay in the city
for over four years without being allowed to
Fuel was added to the students' case in 1964
when the U.S. Bureau of the Census decided to
begin counting students as residents of the
cities in which they attend college.
There is a possibility for clarification of stu-
dents' now vague registration status. Currently
in the County Court is a case involving, eight
University students who were refused registra-
tion by the City Clerk in March.
Judge James Breaky, Jr. has made it clear in
hearing that his court "does not have the
authority to change existing law" in the case.
He said it would be up to the State Supreme
Court to decide on the constitutionality of the
present residency requirement. The ACLU
sponsored case may then lead to an appeal in
that higher court-and the possibility of in-
creased student enfranchisement.

D ral
A draft resister isn't really safe
ahywhere in this country. Unlike
the draft dodger who disappears
into the underground or escapes
into welcome anonymity in Can-
ada, the resister faces a lengthy
jail term and permanent social
Tocounter the fear of the con-
sequences of restisting, students"
banded together in Resistance, a
community of individuals who
have turned in, or are seriously
considering turning in, their draft
cards and plan to refuse induc-
Resistance, 'under varying or-
garizational names has appeared
at about 75 college campuses, in-
cluding the University, in the past
two years.
Ann Arbor Resistance, an out-
growth of the now defunct Stu-
dent Peace Union, was formed last
December by about 10 or 15 stu-
dents qnd now has seven full time
and 22 part time workers.
Although it has not increased
greatly in size, Resistance has
expanded its activities and devel-
oped a community, spirit, which.
resisters say, encourages and re-
assures them.
"There has always been indi-
vidual non-cooperation,", explains
Denny Church, "but only through
collective action will we bust the
Although resisters say their im-
mediate goal is the elimination of
the draft, they aim for a complete


revamping of the social organiza-
tion of the United States. But be-
fore they try to change society,
resisters have to re-orient them-
selves to a more socially conscious,
less alienated life.
"The -primary motive force in
society is fear of disaster, includ-
ing exams,parental disapproval
on the middle class road.
"In analyzing society he con-
tinues, "we see .fear is the enemy
in changing society. Until we beat
this sense of fear, we can't do
anything. The individual is liber-
ated from social coercion as soon
as he learns to beat fear."
SoResistance combatsrisolation
and fear with a sense of com-
munity, and strikes at uncertainty
about resisting by conducting se-
lective service and jail workshops.
and are indicted. In most states,
Resisters learn that as soon as
they turn in their cards, they are
liable , to be classifiled I-A, al-
though the painfully slow selec-
tive service bureaucracy some-
times delays reclassification for
half a year.
When called for a pre-induction
physical, resisters refuse to come
another six months separate in-
dictment from arraignment and
eventual conviction and prison.
Individuals in Resistance don't
try to get the "sugar coated pois-
on" of a conscientious objector or
physical deferment, even if they
qualify, which few of them do.
Their goal is to abolish the draft
by non-cooperation. And although

they have information on Canada,
they frown on it as "politically
and socially unwise." The dodger
who leaves for, Canada "under-
mines the morale" of resisters,
says Church and "leaves -this
country to those who are unaware
or don't care,"
But Church speculates that
3,000 students have fled to
Only about 100 resisters have
actually served or are serving jail
sentences. But they are trying to
re-educate resisters about prison,.
explaining its not like the movies.
selective service and jail work-
Such educational programs are
vital to Resistance since they
stimulate discontented students to
become resisters. Denny says most
resisters start out a students who
hate the Vietnam war, but who
feel powerless to stop it.
Coerced by parents, schools and
the draft, students begin to feel
tat war is a symptom of a sick

g oes I
society and not ,the result of some-
one's bungling. Lookhg for some-
thing better, an ideal model of
society, the student is attracted.
to Resitance, Church says, Resist-
ance helps each individual de=.
velop a philosophy which can sus-
tain him through jail and provide
him with a life's work of changing
This'sounds simplistic, but the,
resisters are serious; their pro-
grams function.
Beginning this spring, Resist-
ance decided to go local, and
moved to organize student oppo-
sition to the draft and educa-
tional programs rather than con-
duct more headline-getting selec-
tive service card turn-ins.
There had never really been
much contact between the Re-
sistance chapters at geographic-
ally separated campuses anyway
and Resistance leaders decided
that the war against the draft
had to be won on campus and not
on television.

Since the end of April, the Re-
sistance has been trying to organ-
ize local, independent chapters in
East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Oak-
land, Kalamazoo and has begun
revitalizing the Detroit group.
Resisters- count on this local ac-
tion to be more rewarding in the
long run than the national draft
card turn-ins held last Oct. 16,
Dec. 4 and April 3.
Although the national organi-
zation is becoming, what Resist-
ance leaders call "radically de-
centralized," there will be coop-
eration on another national Day
C' Resistance Nov. 14.
There is also cooperation in the
distribution of a Resistance news-
paper published by the strong
Boston chapter.
Despite the increased autonomy
of each group, links between
groups in the same area, such as
chapters in Detroit, Ann Arbor
and Chicago, are apt to be
strengthened by the grass roots


S GC -' rejection of NSA
symp toma tic of, 'elitism'


ecil cto .nin n Art

It would be accurate (al-
though hardly descriptive) to'
pigeonhole Bruce Kahn as the
kind of Student Government
Council president under whom
SGC withdraws from the Na-
tional Student Association.
Last October 5, Council did
just that - disaffiliated the
University student , body from
NSA after two votes spanning
three weeks of something less
than acrimonious debate. But
given the diverse nature of the
passions NSA has traditionally
inspired, knowing only this
would reveal little about the
political ideology, direction, or
even personalities of the Kahn
Although NSA officials pub-
licly deny it, the organization's
membership has always been
fluid. The disclosure last Feb-
ruary of financial entanglement
with the CIA accounts for some
of this (the day after the story
broke, Brandeis University
withdrew; Michigan State Uni-
versity rejoined the same day
after a two-year estrangement),
but by no means all. For NSA
has had a stormy history since
its inception in 1947.
From the beginning it has
served as whipping boy for con-
servative students; recently, it
has come under fire from the
radicals as well. 'The member,
ship figures reflect this, with,
schools withdrawing and re-
joining as student bodies and
student governments change.
Last year was relatively typi-
cal: as of August 31, there were
326 members; today, despite al-
most 15 withdrawals in the past
year, new memberships and old
members rejoining have since
brought the total up to around
The manifold conceivable
motivations for severing ties
with the organization are illus-
trated by a cursory glance at
the universities who have made
the move in the past twelve
i Houston University pulled
out on the mandate of a stu-
dent referendum which was
solidly organized by the local
chapter of the conservative
Young Americans for Freedom
(NSA has been a favorite tar-
get of YAF wrath and is fre-
quently criticized in the con-
servative journal of opinion,
the National Review.)
* Drake University in In-


Editorial Director

diana withdrew because, it
complained, the resolutions
passed at last year's National
Student Congress in College
Park, Maryland, were "in vio-
lation of the basic moral po-
sitions of Christianity." Al-
though Drake apparently didn't
specify, Margot Averill, NSA's
liaison director, thinks one of
the resolutions Drake found
objectionable was one recogniz-
ing "the necessity for black,
people to gain their liberties by
any means necessary."
! Columbia student govern-
ment leaders last October ob-
jected that NSA wasn't radical
enough for them, and that they,
didn't need help from NSA;
anyway; Barnard, Columbia's
sister school, seceded because it,
"didn't get anything out of"
the College Park Congress.
* The University of Illinois
withdrew because of. personal
i n t e r n a l squabbles in the
school's student government.
According to sources, the presi-
dent of Illinois' student govern-
ment was very close to the.
NSA's national lea der s h i p..
When trouble arose between her
and some other student legisla-
tors, the school voted to with-:
draw as a slap at her. Two
weeks later, a reorganized stu-
dent - government voted to re-
The disenchantment over
NSA's CIA connections played
a large role in the drive for
withdrawal at the University,
but it wasn't the only cause. Al-'
most nine months elapsed be-
tween the first stories of the
complicated financial nexus
linking the CIA to the organi-
I zation and SGC's decision to
withdraw. Actually, dissatisfac-
tion with what University stu-
dent leaders call NSA's "elit-
ism" and "undemocratic struc-
ture" had been building up for
a long time.
Ed Robinson, SGC president
the year before Kahn, was well
known for the anathema in
which he held NSA. But the
real defusing didn't occur until
last summer's College Park
Congress. At College Park,
NSA's "top-heavy, elitist un-
democratic" structure prompted
a Students for a Democratic
Society "counterconvention"
and eventually a walkout
staged by radical delegates. It
also provided the straw which
broke the patience of the Uni-
versity's delegation.
"I was totally unprepared to

democratic as this convention,"
said Kahn. "It's really absurd
for us to send, and pay for, 12
people to come here just to act
as 'legitimizers' for whatever
some staff members may de-
cide to do. If we as delegates
don't have the power to even
draw up our own agenda, then
the whole congress becomes a
waste of time,"
SGC executive vice-president
Ruth Baumann, who ran (and
lost) as the dissidents' candi-
date for national president at
College Park, echoed Kahn's
sentiments. "In a democratic
system the power must flow on
a horizontal basis... .The way
things are now, NSA is existing
on a vertical structure from the
top down."
Even with the unhappiness
with NSA among SGC members
of which these statements were
typical, Council nevertheless al-
most rejected disaffiliation. A
faction led by Miss Baumann
favored "reforming NSA from
within;" in early September,
they voted down the first with-
drawal resolution 6-5. Although
pressure to abandon NSA con-
tinued, SGC might still be a
member were it not for the
national representative who
came to Ann Arbor to "talk
Michigan out of withdrawing."
"He was such a zoo," one
Council member remembered,
"He swung all the votes against
NSA." At its October 5 meet-
ing, the vote was 7-3 in favor
of disaffiliation.
Now there are mutterings
about rejoining, but so far they
are only mutterings. ,SGC will
send two "observers" to this
year's national congress in
Manhattan, Kansas. As some
students begin to see the econ-
omic benefits of NSA member-
ship (cheaper travel fares in
Europe, etc.) there will be more
pressure to rejoin. Whether
SGC will is unclear, though at
this point it doesn't seem like-
ly. If it does, many will be un-
happy, but no one - least of
all NSA's national office in
Washington - will be much
Cover Photo
Two coeds (top) argue that
curfew for women must go at
an SGC sponsored teach-in at
Bursley Hall last January.
The lower picture shows sev-
eral hundred students sitting-
in at the Literature, Science,
aand Arts Building last fall 'to
protest the University's ar
patc-pation in ; classified war re-
MON. thru SAT.
8:30,to 5:30 P.M.



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