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September 06, 1979 - Image 32

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-06

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Page 4A-Thursday, September 6, 1979-The Michigan Daily
~Ibr tdltan ~tI
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LXXXIX, No.'1 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan.
'U administration should'
keep out of affairs

Last year shows 'U'

students

may be returning to activism

I

A S IT STANDS now, the Michigan
Student Assembly (MSA), our
supposed "student government," is
little more than a puppet tied to the
administration's purse strings. The
Assembly, elected in an controversy-
laden election that the administra-
tion certified although students
refused to, does not even have control
of its own sizeable budget.
It will not regain control of the funds
until Vice-President for Student
Services Henry Johnson is satisfied
the group's new policies for funding
student organizations meet with his
guidelines. The Regents asked John-
son to review MSA several months
ago.
' MSA has been asked to revise their
policies on recognizing and funding
student groups and activities, and to
devise an acceptable appeals process
for those who dispute funding
decisions. If the group complies with
Johnson's suggestions it may have
control of funds again by September.
But the extent of the powers MSA
may have to relinquish to regain their
money is alarming.
Even more frightening is the
possibility that once Assembly mem-
bers buckle under to administrative
demands, it will be made easier for
the administration to step into the
-Assembly's affairs until we have a
student government in name only.
Just two years ago students voted
that a mandatory fee be assessed for
student government, indicating they
wished their money to be spent by
elected students inthe manner those
representatives saw fit. If students do
not feel their money was being well-
spent, there are a variety of options
open to them, including electing new
representatives or voting down the
$2.92 fee. The responsibility for the
students' money must belong to them,
not to the Regents or the ad-
ministration.
Student leaders have said the
budgetary guidelines advocated by
the administration might restrict the
type and number of groups
recognized and funded by the Assem-
bly, and that the right to recognize
many groups would be endangered.
Administrative interference stifles
certain 'student voices. It should be

the elected student representatives'
prerogative to decide how
organizations should be recognized
by the student government, not the
administration.
Some students have suggested MSA
funding of a group such as the
Washtenaw County Coalition Against
Apartheid-which has led disruptions
at Regents meetings-might become
impossible under administration
guidance.
In a university where students have
so little say in decisions affecting
their own welfare, the administration
will have to acknowledge that a
student government that functions on
its own and is allowed to make its own
mistakes is essential. Administrators
have already overstepped their boun-
ds in certifying last April's election
and in freezing MSA funds this sum-
mer. The time is long overdue for
them to get their hands out of student
government.
MSA members are presently in a
difficult situation. To regain control
of their funds they are being asked to
follow administrative guidelines for
setting funding policies. We under-
stand the urgent need to have control
of the budget, but urge Assembly
members to stand firm and refuse to
permit administrators to influence
policy-making. Student leaders must
start now by showing administrators
they are committed to the ideal of a
strong, autonomous student gover-
nment.
MSA President Jim Alland has
scheduled a retreat for Assembly
representatives for the end of the
summer to talk and make plans for
the coming year. It is hoped they will
use this time to settle differences and
put an end to internal bickering. Only
if our representatives can cooperate
among themselves can MSA emerge
from the controversies of recent mon-
ths with any hope of being an effec-
tive student assembly. One of the first
and most important jobs -of the
Assembly will be to review the April
election and formulate policies to
prevent such gross improprieties
from happening again.
Regaining control of funds is only
the first step in rebuilding the strong
student government the University
desperately needs.

The spring break had just
ended. University students who
had spent Friday and Saturday
nights at parties instead of being
buried in books came to a
frightening conclusion: There
was no more time to fool around
at the local bars. It was that time
again to make the stretch run to
finals-partying took a back seat
to cramming.
Not heeding that advice.
however, was a small but active
group of students with more than
just As and Bs on their minds.
Studying could wait-at least a
little bit longer-until the more
important issues could be settled.
For example, the formidable task
of getting the University out of
South Africa.
WITH MORE than $80 million
invested in banks and cor-
porations doing business in that.
country, the University has a
significant financial stake in that
nation.
Many students believe that in-
vestment is immoral, as it both
symbolically and practically en-
dorses the country's racist
policies. Protesting peacefully
for more than a year, the studen-
ts could wait no longer.
Last March more than 200
protesters-most of them
University students-prevented
the University's Regents from
conducting their normal
business. After a second day of
disruption by the same group, the
Board obtained a court order to
keep the angry protesters away.
But the shock was felt all
around the University. It seemed
as if the students had opened

their mouths after a virtual
seven-year hibernation following
the Vietnam War. Few times sin-
ce that period had the school been
so rocked with tension, with
student power suddenly seeming
real again.
YET SUCH comparisons are
dangerous. The sixties are over
and they won't return. The new
causes, such as divestiture, can't
ignite the same activist flames as
Vietnam, but they may be able to
produce some sparks.
Though many perceived the
March uproar as a sudden shift in
student behavior, it was actuallly
the culmination of a year-long
trend that evidenced symptoms
on several occasions.
There really is no place to point
to that can be called the begin-
ning of the "student revival."
Perhaps it began a year earlier
when .many of the same students
had argued at a Regents meeting
to get the University "out of
South Africa." It was at that
March, 1978 meeting that the
school's governing body voted
unanimously to retain its invest-
ments, providing those com-
panies doing business in South
Africa institute measures to
discourage discrimination.
Or maybe it started with the
small but spirited demonstration
in support of Political Science
Assistant Prof. Joel Samoff, who
had been denied tenure by his
department's faculty. Many

By Michael Arkush

students said Samoff was denied
tenure because of his unconven-
tial research and political views,
both . intolerable to many of the
more conservative political
scientists.
Whatever the case, students
were angry: Many of them took
his class and respected him. They
couldn't understand why an in-
structor with suchda great rap-
port with the students could not
be wanted back by the depar-
tment's faculty.
THE SAMOFF Student Support
Committee was established, and
some students even boycotted the
entire department because of its
decision. The African affairs ex-
pert appealed his case to the LSA
executive committee. While
Samoff lost his appeal, he will
remain with the University,
working with the Residential
College.
Another source of student
unrest last year was a growing
dislike many had for the student
Union. The Michigan Union has
always been more of a hotel than
a center for students. But this
year students decided to change
that. A committee was formed
which eventually forced the
Regens to agree on some impor-
tant changes.
OTHER MINI-CAUSES sur-
faced throughout the school year.
The Nestle boycott, getting
longer hours for buses to North
Campus, preventing the proposed

meal consolidation plan from
taking effect.
But whatever the origin of the
movement, it does appear as if
students have begun to make
their voices heard.
Yet, at the same time, student
activists must make .sure that
others than just the Regents hear
them. They must appeal to other
members of the University com-
munity, such as the faculty and
the student body as a whole.
So what is to be expected from
the umpcoming semester? Will
the momentum of the last year
continue, or will things revert
back to the lethargic mid-
seventies?
ONE THING IS for sure: Many
key members of the new student
power bloc have left Ann Arbor
for greater heights. Replacemen-
ts will be recruited, but it will be
at least several months before
the momentum is restored.
It is certain divestiture will
remain the peak issue, as well as
tenure, but what will the others
be? Maybe tuition, or housing, or.
nuclear power.
Yet it is safe to say that last
year was the year the students
began their comeback. It is
surely not a flashback to the six-
ties, but it's much more than the
seventies offered.
Now that the first hurdle has
been cleared, it will be in
teresting to see if the other ob-
stacles can be overcome. The ann
swer to that question will go a
long way toward telling how suc
cessful student struggles will be.
Michael Arkush is editorial director
of the Daily during the academic year.

Y k

I "k-'

I

a

s 8, 8
s
Y
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The Daily's purpose

A STUDENT newspaper can be
an eductional tool for its staff
members. At the' same time,
however, it serves as a source of in-
formation for the university com-
munity. The Daily tries to serve both
purposes.
The news section of the paper dif-
fers from the editorial page in that we
attempt to avoid subjective writing.
Because the Daily is a newspaper, we
try to subscribe to all the ethics of
such an institution, including fairness
in reporting. This means reporting
events from a neutral perspective,
setting aside viewpoints we may have
as students and members of the cam-
pus community.
After we've reported as much of the
information as possible, we offer our
opinions. But we do it in the proper
place: the editorial page.
The left side of each Daily editorial

page is reserved for opinions
representing a consensus of the Daily
staff. Each week, members of the
paper's editorial board meet to
discuss the topics and decide on a
stance for each one. Any staff mem-
ber can attend and speak at these
meetings.
The right side of the editorial page
includes opinions written by Daily
staffers, contributors from the Ann
Arbor community, and national press
service correspondents.
The Daily also prints letters to the
editor. We do not censor or edit letters
because of the views espoused in
them..
Although the Daily is the student
newspaper for the University, it is
financially independent of the school.
Advertising and circulation revenues
pay the paper's expenses.

Executions legitimize killing

There are sixty seconds left in a college
basketball game, and the home team is ahead
by seven points. The home team brings the
ball downcourt, and then begins idling the
remaining time away by passing the ball
swiftly back and forth among its mem-
bers. The visiting team's forward fouls one
of his opponents in order to stop the clock,
and of course, to jeopardize the home
team's possession of the ball by forcing one
1 of its players to take foul shots. This strate-
gic move is one commonly seen in college
ball. What is pertinent about the deliberate
foul is that, while it is illegal and results in a
penalty being imposed on its perpetrator,
it is a completely acceptable tactic. It is a
part of the game.
A WOMAN PRONE to flares of temper
hears that her husband is conducting an
extramarital affair. She weighs her alter-
natives, and ultimately decides that (a)
there is no way she can reconcile her dif-
ferences with her husband, and (b) she
doesn't want any other woman to have him
if she herself cannot. She is fully conscious
that the act she is contemplating is illegal,
and may result in severe penalty, but she
is simultaneously conscious of another,
less discouraging fact-that the U.S. has
among its repertoire of retributive actions
the imposition of the death penalty. While
the taking of a life is regarded as the most
contemptible act a citizen can commit,

By Joshua Peck
some hard-to-grasp, but nevertheless im-
portant way, it grants the termination of
life a measure of acceptability as a human
and humane response to certain acts.
Therein lies my basic objection to
capital punishment. While its proponents
claim that its imposition proves the
greatest respect for life, that is not the
case at all. The state, by imposing -the
death penalty, is saying to murderers:
"What you have done is so abhorrent that
we are going to commit the very same act,
with you the victim this time." Yet how
abhorrent can the state really believe an
act to be when it stoops to that act-itself? Is
not a stronger statement made by barring
privately motivated and publicly funded
executions alike? Violence only breeds
more violence, not tranquility.
THE JACKSONVILLE, Florida Police
Department has been selling T-shirts that
sport the legend, "One Down and 133 To
Go," a reference to the May execution of
John Spenkelink and the number of convic-
ts remaining on the state's death row.
When the Supreme Court invalidated all
capital punishment laws in 1972, it ap-

Below are comments on some of the
main questions surrounding capital
punishment:
DETERENCE: Of many dozens of
studies of the issue, only one has ever
shown that the death penalty has greater
deterrent effect than imprisonment. That
study, done by economist Isaac Ehrlich,
has been discredited by Ehrlich's
colleagues for its dozens of statistical and
methodological errors.
COST: "The actual costs of execution
(and related costs incurred by convicts on
death row) ... add up to a cost substan-
tially greater than the cost to retain (the
prisoners)l in prison the rest of their
lives."-Richard McGee, administrator of
the California correctional system, 1964.
This remains true in1979.
BARBARITY: "For there to be
equivalence (between a'crime and capital
punishment), the death penalty would
have to punish a criminal who had warned
his victim of the date at which he would in-
flict a horrible death on him and who, from
that moment, onward, had confined him
at his mercy for months. Such a monster is
not encountered in private life."-Albert
Camus.
Michigan was the first state to abolish.
the death penalty. At the moment, it
does not appear that this state is likely to
undo its noble deed, but there are forty-

Spheial Eitn Staffilg
Special Edition Staff

MITCH CANTOR M
Editors-in-chief
Ffn1 T A RCfM. A

ARK PARRENT
kLAN FANGER'

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