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March 20, 1979 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-20

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.dge 4-Tuesday, March 20, 1 979-The Michigan Daily
4.
4-
.-

Brian
Blanchard

4.
.
a
.4
.
4Q

There seem to have been at
least three objectives on the min-
ds of the large group of students,
joined by some professors and
area activists, who last week
refused to allow the Regents to
take care of scheduled business
in public.
The first was to use the politics
of confrontation, hoping to shake
up the governing body of the
University. "People are tired of
the system not responding," one
protesting student said. "We
thought a little more pressure,
and action, could make
something happen." Feeling
disenfranchised in a broad range
of campus issues, the group
decided to revive the sixties-style
non-violent, disruptive mass
protest.
TEN YEARS AGO this fall,
students succeeded in
establishing the University
Cellar as a student-run-rather

tive student voice is persuasive
when the right tone is used.
The second goal was to shame
the Regents into reconsidering a
decision made a year ago not to
divest holdings in companies
doing business in South Africa.
"We have come as professors and
students in this institution to give
you some guidance," promised
Jemadari Kamara, the graduate
student who dominated the public
comments session of the meeting.
Kamara's speech turned out to be
short on guidance, but long on
vituperative rhetoric. Backed up
by a chorus of hissing every time
a Regent or Interim President
Smith tried to speak, Kamara
told Regent Thomas Roach, "You
are directly responsible" for the
deaths of two black miners in
South Africa. ''That is not my
opinion," he added dramatically,
"that is fact."
Kamara's argument that the

MANVop: 9: 4$5e 6omar' -rE 5T4Y M/"
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109_
Eigh ty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

statement when they invested
the money to begin with, and that
by leaving their money in those
companies they continue to sup-
port a political system. Apartheid
is an abominable practice that
may very well be weakened by
the withdrawal of American in-
dustry.
The third motive for the overt
hostility, was, of coure, the
request that the Regents put the
divestiture question in the agen-
da for next month's meeting. Af-
ter all, the protestors said, the
Regents had promised to review
their stand this month and,
moreover, they can simply vote
to affirm their position if they get
the issue out into the open again
and force the Regents to justify
their stand-pat policy.
That seems reasonable. A
commitment was made last Mar-
ch to review the investment
situation in a year's time and
students have 'overwhelmingly
voted their support for
divestiture since that time. Even
if they would consider it a pro
forma vote, the Regents owe
their constituents another vote.
THE GOALS of the protest
were neither out of line nor
without precedent on campus. Its
execution, however, was lamen-
table.
The protestors didn't come to
speak with the Regents during
the public comments session
about their disappointment with
the lack of responsiveness on the
part of the Regents. They came to
lecture' and chant while the
Regents tried to carry on Univer-
sity management.
With one exception, they didn't
come to tell the Regents why they
think divestment is the proper
route; they came to affront the
Regents in personal terms. The
exception was a 22-page report
prepared by Anne Fullerton
alleging that the anti-
discriminatory Sullivan prin-
ciples approved by the Regents
are inadequate. Typically,
though, her speech was followed
by chanting which led to a recess
of the meeting and the end of
dialogue.
THEY DIDN'T concentrate on
trying to convince the Regents
that the issue deserves time on
the agenda next month. They
came to berate the Regents for

past actions. "We have learned,"
asserted Kamara, "that verbal
commitments cannot be honored
by the Regents."
I've been told that the disrup-\
tion was the last resort, that the
protestors felt there was no
alternative to forcing the Regents
to pay attention to the divestment
issue last week. But there is little
evidence that there has been the
same sort of effort to gain broad-
based support on campus, the
same sort of attempts to win over
the administration (Regent Dunn
said he has received no
correspondence about divestiture
over the last year), that went into
the campaigns to open the Union
to students and to block food con-
solidation in the Hill area dorms.
'It's somewhat unfair to compare
local issues of this type to a
problem so geographically
removed as apartheid in South
Africa since many on campus
will never get interested on
anything outside Ann Arbor. But
that's all the more reason for
those who are to work closely
with the administration in a con-
structive way.
Like the demonstrators who
heckled Vice President Mondale
at graduation last spring, the
protestors last week got the at-
tention they 'wanted but did
nothing to further understanding.
Power was grasped and held for a
few hours, but in an emotional at-
tempt to frame the actions of the
Regents as sinister and con-
sciously oppressive the
protestors lost a change to gain
the broader support they need to
advance their cause.
It is naive to believe as Th
Post editors seem to that the
university "should not twist itself
out o~f shape for any outside
cause." Theanti-warand Civil
Rights movements drew
significant support from univer-
sities. The protestors would like
the University to respond to the
South African question in the
same way. But they will continue
to strike out until they sharpen
their arguments and talk about
possible courses of action in.con-
crete terms.
0
University Editor Brian
Blanchard's column appears
every other Tuesday.

I

"With one exception, they
didn 't come to tell the Regents
why they think divestment is the

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 134

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

proper route;
front the Re,
terms. "

they
gents

came

in personal

to af-

China

policy

still

intact

FTER PRESIDENT Carter engi-
A neered his bold diplomatic
initiative to normalize relations with
the People's Republic of China, staun-
eh conservatives in Congress were
flabbergasted. They vowed to adopt
legislation to insure that U.S. formal
ties with Taiwan were not completely
broken.
But after several crucial weeks of
debate, both houses of Congress have
fortunately passed moderate
legislation that will not seriously
jeopardize the U.S. relations with
Peking. It is a victory for the Carter
administration and a victory for the
American people.
WHen Carter told the nation on
December 15 that the .U.S. would soon
establish normal diplomatic relations
with China and abrogate the mutual
defense treaty with Taiwan, right-wing
politicians both in and out of gover-
nment were horrified. A U.S.-China
reconciliation was inevitable ever sin-
ce Richard Nixon and Mao signed a
joint communique in Shanghai in 1972,
but Carter's announcement caught
them off-guard.
What irked many conservatives even
more was the failure of Carter's
tegotiating team, led by hard-liner
Zbigniew Brzezinski, to get Peking to
formally vow that they wouldn't attack
Taiwan. Arizona Republican Senator
Barry Goldwater and other Taiwan
supporters argued that the Carter ad-
ministration, in its hastiness to get an
agreement, had buckled to China's
demands without getting enough in ex-
change. More importantly, Goldwater
charged, the White House had thrown
Taiwan into China's hands by
abrogating the government's mutual
F4

defense treaty with that country.
When Goldwater and his conser-
vative colleagues rallied in an effort to
pass legislation that would require
Carter to obtain a written pledge from
Peking that China had no intentions of
launching a military attack on Taiwan,
White House aides became worried
this legislation would provoke China to
break the new "alliance." So Carter's
aides lobbied on Capitol Hill to insure
that.Congress would reject legislation
that could cripple the country's new
relationship with China.
The lobbying effort was successful
as Congress voted overwhelmingly
that an attack against Taiwan would
be of "grave concern" to the United
States. While this language still clearly
shows the legislature's interest in a
peaceful settlement between Taiwan
and China, it does not tie the future of
U.S.-China relations to the success of

than administration-
run-operation, largely due to
student involvement in the issue;
they too swarmed to Regents
meetings and publicized their
cause across campus. And
because students were
dissatisfied with the orientation
of the Union, the management of
that building has started to shift
towards student interests over
the last year with the blessings of
the administration. The collec-

Regents have a moral obligation
to divest is a tenable one. Last
week the Washington Post
editorialized that universities
are, in effect, business and
therefore apolitical. The Post
editors agreed with Harvard
President Derek Bok that non-
involvement is the best policy for
the academy.
THIS CONTENTION ignores
the fact that Harvard and
Michigan made a political

Smith defends the Regents

The follo wing is a copy of a . , * . . ..

that arrangement.
The key to the votes
that it allows Carter to

in Congress is
go ahead with

his plans for an unofficial relationship
with Taiwan, and full diplomatic
recognition of Peking. It allows the
President to proceed with one of the
most important diplomatic
achievements of the 1970s.
Congress has averted a major con-
frontation with the President and kept
the momentum rolling for full normal
relations with China. Although the
legislation still considers a Chinese at-
tack on Taiwan to be of "grave con-
cern" and requires the U.S. to main-
tain a "capacity" to defend Taiwan if
necessary, it clearly does not force the
U.S. to base its future relations on the
success or failure of a peaceful set-
tlement.

letter submitted yesterday to
students from Acting Univer-
sity President Allan Smith
defending the actions taken by
the Regents last Thursday and
Friday.
UNIVERSITY
INVESTMENT POLICIES
In view of the events which oc-
curred last week at the Regents'
meeting, I think it is appropriate
to provide the University com-
munity with some background
and some observations.
The events remind us of what a
jarring and discordant note is
struck when intimidation and
dcisruption seek to replace or-
dered discussion and debate as
the mode of operation in the
University. I have always .some
sense of failure when police ac-
tion occurs, and I am sorry that
events brought any arrests.
WITH RESPECT to the matter
which percipitated the con-
troversy, in my judgment, there
is no legitimate basis for
allegations that the Regents have
failed to face up to the issue of
divestment. They received a
report a year ago-a report
produced after traditional
thorough investigation and con-
sideration of numerous viewpoin-
ts-and they debated the issue of
whether a policy of total divest-
ment or some other policy was
best for the University. The
Senate Advisory Committtee on
Financial Affairs report, inciden-
tally, did not recommend a policy
of immediate divestment. The
Regents heard student speakers
advocating a policy of divest-
ment. It is true that such an

ny university rresiuent Alla n mi

argument did not prevail. It is not
true that there was no student in-
put. The Regents at that time
chose a policy which has received
the support of the governing
board of numerous fine univer-
sities. It is a policy which is
defensible in terms of rationality
and in terms of being recommen-
ded by knowledgeable persons. It
is a policy which, in the judgment
of some knowledgable persons,
will better achieve the results
sought than will a policy of total
divestment.
There is, of course, always the
question of how frequently the
Regents should review major
policies once 'they have been
thoroughly debated and put into
effect. Surely, it is neither useful
nor -desirable to review each
month unless there are likely to
be significant changes in circum-
stances each month. It does not
appear that this policy falls in
this category.
But the real issue at the
meeting was not even whether
the time had' come for another
look at the policy. The Regents,
after the public hearing, took ac-
tion to accomplish that review.
And the action they took was en-
tirely consistent with the way of
life which I believe decisions of
this kind must be faced at The
University of Michigan. They
asked the Senate Advisory Com-
mittee on Financial Affairs,
which previously studied the
ssue, to take pains to assure
studeht participation, to review
the matter, and make a report as
it finds appropriate. That action,
however, did not satisfy the

protestors. Alternately, some in-
sisted upon "Action now," by
which they presumably meant
"take a vote right now favoring
divesment." Some asked that the
matter be placed upon the Regen-
ts' April agenda as an "action
item"-by which they meant
"Vote upon the policy of divest-
ment in April whether or not the
requested report is available."
Neither of these actions would be
appropriate.
DURING THE course of
recess, I spoke with the, students
and indicated that I would per-
sonally urge the committee to
complete its report as quickly as
is consistent with thorough in-
vestigation from all interested
and pertinent sources. I publicly
indicated that the matter would
be on the agenda at the Regents'
meeting which follows the receipt
of the report. If the report is
received at the time the agenda is
mailed to the Regents (about
eight days before the meeting), it
will be on the agenda. I hope we
do not want Regents' action
without there being time to
review the documents. This was
not satisfactory, and the disrup-
tion continued, though some
members of the group did seem
to believe it was an adequate.
response.
In any event, I believe this
University community wants its
Board of Regents to pursue the
course which it has followed: it
does not make policy decisions in
a vacuum or without consulting
various groups at this University.
It seeks a report from the best in-
formed faculty-student group or

administrative group, or both, for
the particular policy in question.
The events demonstrated
another serious flaw in the Open
Meetings Act, with the general
purpose of which we are all in ac-
cord. On its face, the Open
Meetings Act seem to give to the
public body only. two choices
when disruptors refuse to permit
business to proceed: . (1) quit and;
adjourn, and fail to accomplish
the matters for which they
meeting was called; or, clear the
room, under the provisions of the
act which permit exclusion of
those who are guilty of a breach.
of the peace at the meeting. It is'
obvious that to clear a room of 150
persons who have determined to,
stay would probably require,
massive police intervention.
There may be times when cour
ses of action would be proper, but*
under the circumstances of this
case, the Regents and I were not
willing to accept either of those
alternatives. I do not believe the
law should be such as would,
require either abdication of
responsibility for managing the,
affairs of the University or the,
use of forceful eviction of studen-°
ts. It was upon that basis that
with counsel's advice, we sought.
the restraining order and the or-;
der of the court which would
permit closing and securing the
meeting to accomplish the'
Regent's business. This was
done, and the Hobson's choice.
presented on the face of the bill,
was averted.
I fully expect the review of the
investment policies to proceed in
a proper fashion, and I hope the
community will recognize that,
fact.

Letters

Campus reaction to

To the Daily:
After the recent beginning of
the border war between China
and Viet Nam, I was anxious to
see the reaction of various infor-
med (and I use the term loosely)
groups on campus. It didn't take
long.
The "Young Socialist Alliance"

leaders have fits or pragmatism
every now and then.
But the best reaction yet ap-
pears to come from the newly-
formed "Ad Hoc Committee for
Peace in Vietnam." The words
"Ad Hoc" appear to be quite ap-
propriate, applying not only to'
the formation of the committee

seems to be following this policy,
the "Ad Hoc Committee" wants
him to reverse his actions. How
would they have him implement
such a plan? Should he threaten
to send troops into China if they
dorn't withdraw?
Secondly, the Chinese are in

"
Vietnami
And finally, if the "Ad Hoc
Committee" is so concerned
about the U.S. implementing the
Paris Peace Accords so that
Vietnam can receive war
reparations, I would suggest they
write the, military leaders in
Vietnam and urge them to spend
their money at home instead of

.Adink i

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