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November 17, 1978 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-17

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Page 4-Friday, November 17, 1978-The Michigan Daily

1

JAE Mihrltgan t aIQ
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

What's

a Union for anyway?

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 62

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

PIRGIM"

.0

Excels.ior!

T ODAY THE UNIVERSITY Board
of Regents will consider a proposal
that may ultimately decide the future
of the Public Interest Research Group
in Michigan (PIRGIM). This vital
organization is seeking a new five-year
agreement with the University and
lower the minimum percentage of
student contributors required by the
Regents for participation in the
University billing system.
Every year, under the current
system, the public interest group must
obtain pledges from at least 33.3 per
cent of University studetns or it can no
longer use the University billing
procedure to collect the revenue it
needs to survive. This year PIRGIM
barely met the requirement; largely
because of the diffuse CRISP system,
only 30 per cent of the students
registering for this fall's term
bothered to contribute two dollars to
this essential public interest
organIzation. Luckily, 37 per cent of
the students registering for last winter
term volunteered to contribute.
PIRGIM will ask the Regents, this
afternoon, to lower the minimum
requirement to 22.5 per cent. In the in-
terests of students, tenants, and con-
sumers across the state the Regents
should approve the proposal.
The University provides most of the
revenue PIRGIM needs in order to
survive. In return, the citizens of the
state are provided with a number of
services that would be sorely missed if
the group did not exist. PIRGIM was
instrumental in conducting research

for the two tenant's protection
proposals that appeared on last April's
city election ballot: the Truth in Ren-
ting proposal, that forces landlords to
point out that some of the provisions of
tenants' leases may not be legal, and
the Fair Rental Information proposal
that mandated the composition of an
informational booklet, written by lan-
dlords, tenants' representatives, and
city officials, on the rights and respon-
sibilities of tenants. PIRGIM has also
conducted several vital surveys for
consumers. One, published last year
told consumers about prospective
banking institutions in the city.
PIRGIM is now completing a similar
survey on local bookstores and plans to
begin one soon on foodstores in Ann
Arbor.
In 1972 when the original minimum
figure for participation in the Univer-
sity billing system was set,
registration at the University was a far k
different process. Students filed
through Waterman Gymnasium in
concentrated groups for 10 days. Now,
with the more convenient CRISP
system, students trickle through bet-
ween late August and October.
Several schools including Law,
Medical, and Social Work do not
register in Old Arch. Meeting the 33.3
per cent minimum is clearly a more
different task than it was in 1972. The
Regents should take this into account,
as well as PIRGIM's outstanding effor-
ts in the public service field, and its
dependence on the University for sup-
port, when they vote today.

By the time my friends and I
discovered the Memorial Union
in Madison, legends of fast drug
traffic and intense SDS debates in
its Rathskeller during an earlier,
more self-consciously rebellious
time, were part of the oral history
of the building. We were as
worldly as we thought it possible
to be as ninth graders and drugs
and attacks on traditional forms
of authority were an heritage we
envied.
But though we showed up
Saturdays as hopeful witnesses to
illegitimate activity, the thrill we
found was mostly in the attempt
to immerse ourselVes in the
student way of life for a few
hours, to pretend we-were as in-
dependent and self-assured as
college students.
The feeling in the Union was
always there for us, right through
high school. It became a truism
that one took a chance with bars
and parties, but a night at the
Union couldn't fail completely.
Students would arrive on the
terrace overlooking Lake Men-
dota or stroll into the Rathskeller
confident they would find a wood
chair and table and someone they
knew to share a pitcher.
It isn't entirely fair for me to
draw comparisons between the
Michigan Union here and the
Memorial Union at Wisconsin,
since I grew up next to the
university in Madison. ThetUnion
by Lake Mendota at home remin-
ds me of freedom during high
school weekends and recent
holidays from Ann Arbor work.
But yesterday afternoon at
their monthly meeting, the
Regents heard student leaders
endorse the new Sturgis Report
on the Union ordered by the
Regents last February. The
report is progressive. Next mon-
th the Regents will have a chance
to christen what, in a sense,
would be a new student center.
Eric Arnson, president of the
Michigan StudenttAssembly,
called the report "the most i-
portant document that will affect
the lives of students in this
decade."
It could be. But I'd rather count
on the memories Robben
Fleming must have of lunches in
the Rathskeller. Before he came
here ten years ago, our Univer-
sity president spent four years
working out of Bascom Hall as
Wisconsin's chancellor.
It's saying quite a bit that
students haveutraditionally
gathered at the Memorial Union
(there are actually unions now,
which reflects the importance of
this institution to Badgers) with
the rest of the fairly well-
developed downtown area lying
to the south and east. Spread out
alongside the lake, the university
in Madison forms something of a
huge, elongated Diag. If they had
a metal 'W' to lay down, it would
sit in the middle of their sloping
Diag, Bascom Hill, at the end of
the main downtown stretch, State
Street. At the other end of State
Street from Bascom Hill and the
majority of the campus buildings
is the capitol square, the seat of
state government.
The Dooley's and Second Chan-
ces are on or close to State Street.
When I return home next March
for spring break, my friends and
I will spend some time in these
bars out of respect for some
senior high traditions.
But after hearing "Disco Infer-
no" come around on the bar tapes
for the third time, chances are
we'll walk down State Street to

the Union.
Since it will be March, and the
terrace might yet be snow-
covered, we'll be interested in the
Rathskeller, a high-ceilinged'
room entered through tall, cur-

Brian Blanchard
-~7
- "
t -y
-~I
- ----

by-law, ready to be approved, is
conveniently included), a general
reshaping of the building is
outlined.
The ground floor would become
a service area with a "pleasant;'
open 'Main Street' feeling" by'
replacing the Union Station with
meeting rooms, study space, ora'
new business and bringing the
newsstand and ticket sales down
stairs among other things.
On the first floor space would
be found for a new moderate-
priced student oriented food ser-
vice and "informal space" -a f
imaginative term - for lounging;
It's unlikely students will mind
paying the projected extra $6.50 a
term for Union support if they an-
ticipate more services for. th'
money. Students proved their
thinking on such issues again
yesterday in solid opposition to
the money-saving meal con-
solidation plan.
But regression is inevitable.
It's not clear that the Michigan
Union will ever replace Bursley
parties as the place to go for
Friday night activity, or that it
.willsurpass the UGLI as a rent
devous point for the sexes.
University students aren't used
to thinking of the four-story
structure at the foot of South
University as anything more than
a sales outlet for tickets or a stop-
off spot for candy bars and hair
cuts.
The other obstacle to progress
may be OSS itself. The conver-
sion of the Student Activities
Building into an OSS office
building was a hard lesson for
student leaders. The Sturgis
recommendation, places a,great
deal of faith in the orientation of
Student Services.
If the Regents refuse to allow
the Union to be run like the Daily,
UAC, or the U. Cellar - that is,
by students - then we can only
hope the likely Union takeover by
OSS will involve an active student
majority advisory committee;
Committees being what. they,
are, and students being the way
they are, it is not the ideal
situation: management will tum-
ble in large part into the hands of
University administrators. Like
the Regents themselves, an ou-
side committee or board can only
make tpe big, costly decisions,
leaving the al-important daily
operatient4 tq professional
management.
I don't have the vaguest notion
how the Memorial Union is run.
Since it houses a large theater
and maintains an enormous
water front operation, a large
number of people around there
must work full-time.
But I don't think I want to know
who there figures out how many
gallons of beer to buy every day
or what board decides which pin-
ball machines to buy.
The point is that one feels the
purpose of the buildingas soon as
one steps in. All activity is geared
to give the members of the
Wisconsin community a building
in which it can relax, talk, and
watch the sailboats in the sumi-
mer and the calm layers of snow
in winter.
The Regents in Ann Arbor have
a chance now to re-define the
business-like atmosphere of the
Michigan Union in favor of what
one student leaders sees as a
"Winter Diag."

If no one else, some ninth
grader from Pioneer would
surely take advantage of it.
*
Brian Blanchard is a Daily
Night Editor.

L fig
I

Saving energy

UNIVERSITY ENERGY manager
George Sanfacon summed up the
main challenge of his job as the 'U's
point man on energy conservation.
That is, residence halls currently have
no program "where students and staff
consistently contribute to energy
conservation."
Perhaps University students have
been lured into believing that the
energy crisis isn't -as bad as all that.
But whether or not Presdent Carter or
the natural gas deregulators in
Congress will admit it, there is an
energy crisis that will only be solved
through strict conservation measures
rand some sacrifices in the way
Americans have grown accustomed to
living.
Some of those sacrifices must come
right here at the University, and from
students, staff and administration
-alike. By establishing the energy

manager's position and conducting
their own study into the energy
-problem, the Housing division has at
least shown their committment to
conservation. Unfortunately, the
residence hall students and staff have
not been as responsible.
All the measures ultimately hope to
hold down University costs and save
the students money. One proposed plan
is the food consolidation proposal
which we have so far said should be
considered only after the University
checks over its budget for other places
to save money that will not harm
student dorm life.
But students themselves have so far
shown no willingness to help cut costs
themselves, in the area of energy
conservation. Let's hope this winter
that students won't succumb to -the
temptations to overheat dorm rooms
and keep room lights on when not ,in
use.

r~~iim i

ved doorwars. If it's a weekend
evening, a blue-grass or jazz
group might be playing there -
the same sort of band which now
entertains at the U. Club.
After a few beers, we might
waste a few quarters on the pin-
ball machines in a room just off
the Rathskeller or wander down-
stairs to get hustled at pool.
No one will probably have
thought to check ahead of time.;
so we'll miss the films upstairs
and it will be just late enough to
pretend we wanted to look at the
art in the showrooms before they
close on the next level up.4
Back in the Rathskeller, night
will wear on as we watch students
come and go between study
sessions for six-week exams. The
band - or if not a band then the
juke-box=- won't quite cover the
talk while I try to find out how
friends have been since Christ-
mas.
Over the course of my visit
home, I'll be back to the Union,'
not to use the lounges or watch
the TVs they have there, but to
eat lunch at the cafeteria or meet

friends for an ice cream cone.
Complete with graphics and
statistics, the report prepared for
the University Regents over most
of this year by four ad-
ministrators offers recommen-
dations for a few first steps
toward a more lively activities-
service center here, a place
where you might want to spend"
time.
The advice is surprisingly
specific. It would have been easy
enough for the authors of the
report to list the problems faced
by the Union, suggest that the Of-
fice of Student Services (OSS)
take administrative control from
the ten-member board, and leave
the responsibility for change to
Vice President Henry Johnson
and his assistant, Thomas
Easthope.
But after summarizing the dif-
ficulties - deficit budgets,
physical deterioration, low oc-
cupancy in the hotel service, and
an atmosphere which doesn't ap-
peal to students - and recom-
mending the administrative shift
(a change for which a possible

::: ... "':..........................................................................
Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
sensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials,
.as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-
; mit them.

Letters to the Daily

hie Mtrhtottn

443a i1L

The 'real' SOC
To the Daily:
Before students vote in the
LSA-SG election this Monday and
Tuesday; everyone should be
aware that some persons have
stolen our name - Student
Organizing Committee (SOC) -
for malicious purposes.
This unethical group of
students is using our name and
recognition tomislead voters into
electing them to LSA student
government.
The SOC grew out of the
Undergraduate Support
Committee for the Graduate

The Bullshit party, on this
campus, is defined by its
moniker. They promote the idea
of circus student government by
misleading students, slanderous
attacks on their opponents, and
their own circus-like antics. They
represent everything SOC fought
against.
Now, this is what is happening:
The People's Action Coalition
(PAC) now holds the majority of
seats in the LSA-SG. The Bullshit
party has only a couple seats and
takes every opportunity to attack
PAC. The outlandish Bullshit
Party could never seriously

did, however, say that he had
heard the name SOC mentioned
in conversations with other
Bullshit Party members.
One of Spirnak's mates, Rick
Shahin, now expresses
misgivings about using our
name. When it was suggested to
Shahin that the choice of name
may have been a deliberate
attempt to confuse students, he
said: "I was afraid of that."
There are condidates running'
for LSA-SG that represent
everything SOC fought for
between 1975 and 1977. We urge

students to inform themselve
about the candidates and vote.
large turn-out of responsibh
voters will turn the tide agains
the destructive elements in oui
midst and make our governmen
responsible to us.
-Debra Goodman-SGC presiden
1975-76; David Mitchell
Yellin-SGC vice president 1975
76; Calvin Luker-MSA presideni
1976-77. Members at large: Jefi
Lark 75-76; Lisa Mitchell-Yeir1
75-76; Michael Harwood 7546;
Michael, Taylor 76-77; Weirgh
Goodman 76-77. :

EDITORIAL STAFF
Editors-in-chief

Arts Editors
OWEN GLEIBERMAN

MIKE TAYL OR

DAVID GOODMAN

GREGG KRUPA

Managing Editors
M.EILEEN DALEY
KEN PARSIGIAN
DlAN O(PFl(Ri'T.'R

BUSINESS STAFF -
NANCY GRAU... .....Business Manager
DENISE GILARDONE .........Sales Manager

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