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January 16, 1972 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1972-01-16

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i e £ft1!an Bm
Eighty-one years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

reporter's notebook
'U' PR: Case f or extinction?
Jonathan miller . .

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



Raekiham referenda issues

THIi REFERENDUM resolutions t h a t
appear on the Rackham Student
Government (RSG) election ballot sched-
uled to be mailed to Rackham students
early this week are oblique in nature
and warrant a negative vote on two of the
three issues.
The first referendum resolves that
graduate governments, through G r a d-
uate Federation (GF) - proposed suc-
cessor to the Graduate Assembly (GA) -
be given the authority to make the nom-
inations to Senate Assembly and other
University committees foriierly made by
This referendum ignores the m o r e
fundamental issue of whether or not
Rackham students approve the formation
of GF, a question which itself s h o u l d
appear on the ballot.
An affirmative vote on the referendum
as worded could be hastily interpreted as
an approval of GF's formation. This
could allow GF supporters to incorrectly
analyze the sentiment of Rackham stu-
RACKHAM STUDENTS should oppose
the referendum so RSG will realize the
necessity for Rackham students to vote
on the issue of GF itself - regardless of
whether or not Rackham students feel
that an exclusive graduate student body
should be allowed to make faculty com-
mittee appointments.

The second referendum asks if RSG
should be empowered to work with other
graduate-professional governments in
seeking autonomy from SGC and Central
Student Judiciary (CSJ) in matters or
representation, taxation, and governance
of graduate students.
Rackham students should cast a nega-
tive vote against this resolution also since
it is against their best interests to disen-
gage themselves from the protection of
some judicial review board. Since RSG
has offered no alternative to CSC - ei-
ther in their own constitution or in the
proposed GF constitution -- achieving
autonomy from CSJ would leave Rack-
ham students with no recourse in the
event of a complaint.
The third referendum resolves that fif-
ty cents per term from the University fees
paid by each Rackham student should be
used for the support of RSG.
An affirmative vote on this issue would
reinforce a similar referendum approved
in the SGC campus-wide election last fall.
Such a vote would serve as a well-deserv-
ed vote of confidence for RSG.
RSG's referenda, for the most part, are
worded so as to confuse the voter. It is
indeed regrettable that no additional ex-
planation is included in the mailing and
that there has been no active campaign
to inform the voter about the issues at

"The art of public relations is the prac-
tice of strategic omission."
Tom Rieke, Asst. Director,
University Information Services
AS THE penny pinchers in Lansing grow
increasingly innovative in their efforts
to trim the University's budget, students
simply grow accustomed to the sights and
smells of a decaying educational institu-
Thus no one really bats an eyelash any-
more at the peeling paint son the stair-
wells of Angell Hall; the chronic shortage
of simple equipment such as test tubes in
the chemistry stores; the growing discon-
tent of increasingly underpaid faculty
members; and lectures with 500 students
in them.
But that's just not the way things
seem and that's just not the way they write
it at the University of Michigan Informa-
tion Services office. There on the sixth
floor of the Administration Bldg., where
the tapping of typewriters is muffled by
the plush carpeting, everything is maize
and blue rosy.
For the coverage rattling off the type-
writers of the three editors and five writers
in the $200,000 a year office, distributed to
some 3,000 media contacts on a variety of,
mailing lists, is at best, to borrow the
words of The Wall Street Journal: " ... a
bland diet of pro-administration news and
cultural announcements, seasoned at times
with frothy features on students or image
polishing awards to faculty members."
Take, for example, the following two
leads from recent University press re-
leases. Both were widely disseminated to
media in the state and each ran to three
pages in length. They are somewhat typi-
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Despite pro-
mising developments such as improved
design and attractiveness, there is no
such thing yet as an industrialized hous-
ing industry, University of Michigan
Prof. Karl G. Pearson said Wednesday
Jan. 19) in an address before the Real-
tors Institute of Birmingham .
ANN ARBOR - If language is the
clothing of life, no child should be sent
naked into the world.
This is the essence of the educational
philosophy of Daniel Fader, associate
professor of English at the University of
Michigan College of Literature, Science
and the Arts. He explores the aspects
of his philosophy on teaching and the
public school system in his new book,
"The Naked Children." published by
the Macmillan Company (254 pp.,
$6.95) . .
It is not just that the releases are bor-
ing-or of dubious "news value" in the
traditional sense. It is rather that Infor-
mation Services devotes hours of time and
thousands of dollars of general fund money
to cranking out such puffery while the
University is desperately in need of intel-
ligent and discriminating coverage.
WHERE, one might legitimately ask, are
the stories about the University in
conflict? Is there a press release detailing
the current fight between Allen Smith

Nor do Hamilton and Berger see any
danger in the near monopolization of Uni-
versity news which Information Services
has acquired among local radio stations.
Many of the local stations, especially
WAAM and WNRS-WNRZ, rely almost to-
tally for their coverage of the University-
clearly the single most dominant influence
on the city in which they are located--
upon Information S= rvices', ready for tap-
ing telephone "news briefs."
IT IS hard to assess whether Informa-
tion Services is worth the money. To those
who believe in the old maxim of PR, that
"all publicity is good publicity," the volu-
minous number of handouts manufactured
on the sixth floor cannot be bad. To news-
men who call them on routine inquiries,
Information Services can often be of aid
in referring them to someone who can
help. But to those within the University
community. Information Services falls far
short of the performance which should be
expected from it.
And though its offices are ritzy and
spacious Information Services is only a
small fish in a larger sea of University
public relations men. It accounts for only
10 per cent of the annual two million dol-
lar budget of Vice Presid-nt Michael Ra-
dock's University Relations office - the
umbrella for countless publications, maga-
zines and even television programs, 'and
the sponsor of the two University FM ra-
dio stations, WUOM-Ann Arbor and
WVGR-Grand Rapids.
But Information Services remains, in the
words of Jack Hamilton,,"the heart of the
University Relations operation."
Could it be an artificial heart?

0 1

HERE'S SOME OF THE stuff that comes down from the sixth floor of the Adminis-
tration Bldg.
and the Program for Educational and So- tion Services is tantamount to a University

cial Change? Or one announcing the ap-
pointment of two homosexuals as program
advisors in the Office of Student Services?
Or anything about student government on
campus? Has Information Services devoted
ongoing, detailed and accurate coverage
to the sexism battle between the Depart-
ment of Health Education and Welfare,
and the University? Or to the soaring inci-
dence of sexual assaults in University dor-
The answer, to all of the above, is all too
often no. Thus the "other side" to Uni-
versity life, the side not found in the
multi-million dolllar research laboratories
on North Campus and the offices of the
Superprbfs, remains effectively obscured
from public view by the University.
PRIVATELY, many of the writers who
work for Information Services will can-
didly admit that they spend their* days
churning out propaganda. They'll shrug
their shoulders and ask, "What do you
expect a PR man to do?
Publicly, however, Information Services
maintains a veneer of "objectivity" and
officials deny they are simply a "good
news" operation.
"We probably should do a bit more with
students than we do," says Information
Services Director Joel Berger. "We do tend
to be fairly faculty oriented. But we try
not to be a one-sided administrative
mouthpiece. If you talk to the media out-
side in terms of our credibility you'll find
we're pretty well regarded. This is one
of the best news bureaus of any college
in the country - which sounds like inter-
nal PR but it's accurate," Berger declares.
That credibility is, however, dubious.
The biggest consumer of University press
handouts is the Ann Arbor News, A scene
in another newspaper office in the state
might be more typical. "Have you seen
the U-M news releases," asks a reporter.
"They're in the trash can," replies a col-
The voluminous use to which the Ann
Arbor News puts the product of Informa-

subsidy of that newspaper. Hardly a day
passes when the News does not use the
complete budget of stories prspared by
Information Services, often with spelling
mistakes intact.
DIRECTOR of University Relations Jack
Hamilton, who supervises the Information
Services office from his desk on the first
floor of the Administration Bldg.; sees no
problem in this indirect support by the
University of Booth Newspapers, Inc.'
"The way we see it, we're getting valu-
able information out to the community,"
he says


Extending wiretap privileges

RECORDS OF FEDERAL surveillance ac-
tivity for last year show Michigan,
with 22,526 monitored conversations, to
be leading the nation in wiretaps.
And if a state wiretapping bill passed
by the Souse last month passes the state
Senate also, Michigan is likely to add a
new dimension to that dubious distinc-
Presently, wiretapping warrants can
only be obtained by state and local agen-
cies in federal court, when a violation of
federal law is involved.
But the bill presently before the State
legislature would permit representatives
of the attorney general's office or coun-
ty prosecutors to apply in circuit court for
a wiretapping warrant when "probable.
cause exists to believe" that a person "is
committing, has committed or, is about
to commit" a crime, and when normal
investigative procedures either have been
tried, or are deemed "too dangerous to
The crimes listed in the bill include
such things as murder, kidnaping, gambl-
ing, robbery, bribery or extortion, "ille-
gal sale of narcotic drugs, marijuana or
other dangerous drugs," perjury, riot,
placing of explosives with intent to com-
mit personal or property damage, or con-
spiracy to commit any of the foregoing."
Evidence obtained from a wiretap
granted according to the bill would be
admissable in court.
THERE ARE several disturbing aspects
to this move to extend electronic sur-
veillance to the county and state level,
not the least of which is the invasion of
privacy caused by wiretapping of any
sort, on any'level.
Philosophic debates about privacy
rights and wiretaps continue, and al-
though legal electronic surveillance has
long been a reality, that does not render
objections to it any less valid.

More pertinent, however, are the many
controversies concerning certain aspects
of federal wiretapping laws.
The state bill, mercifully, spares us one
of the more debated aspects of the fed-
eral law - the provision for emergency
tapping without a warrant - but for
the most part, the state bill is modeled
on the federal.
THE DEGREE of privacy abuse in the
bill is frightening. Much wiretap con-
troversy has involved charges that wire-
taps were being used to monitor known
radical activists, and the state bill great-
ly enlar/ges potential .to do just that.
It would not be hard, for example, to
prove that "probable cause exists to be-
lieve that . . . a person is committing, has
committed or is about to commit" a crime.
For many judges, a record of radical ac-
tivity may be enough.
Equally vague is the requirement that
normal investigative procedures may be
circumvented if they "reasonably appear
to be unlikely to succeed if diligently tried
or reasonably appear to be too dangerous
to employ."
Add to that the inclusion of the "con-
spiracy" clause on the list of applicable
crimes, and the potential for surveillance
on political grounds is complete.
Wiretapping is already used on a fed-
eral level in highly questionable ways -
the attempt to extend it so that any cir-
cuit court judge could give any county
prosecutor permission to eavesdrop opens
Michigan to a greater wave of possible
police state tactics.
THE BILIL is presently in the Senate
judiciary committee. It must die there,
or in the Senate, to prevent still further
violations of the citizen's already violat-
ed constitutional right to privacy.


"HERE ARE NEWS briefs from the University of Michigan," says the recorded voice
of Information Services Asst. Director Thomas Rieke. To hear Tom and his fresh daily
pronouncements on life at the 'Big U' - as seen from the sixth floor of the adminis-
tration Bldg. - just call 763-1300. It's rarely busy, there are five 'phone lines hooked
up to the recorder in his filing cabinet, and radio stations find it saves them plenty
of work. They can tape it right off the telephone.


Letters to The Daily

Classified research
To The Daily:
MANY MEMBERS of the Uni-
versity community are under the
illusion that ,only those classified
research projects which are scrut-
inized and approved by the faculty
and'students of the Classified Re-
search Committee will be carried
on at the University of Michigan.
This is incorrect.
The CRC does indeed scrutinize
and vote on each, proposal. Some
have not been approved although
most are. The illusion is in the
belief that proposals which fail to
pass the committee's screening are
consigned to the graveyard. On
the contrary, they are sent for-
ward to the sponsor anyway.
Vice-President Geoffrey -Norm-
an was quoted in The Daily as
saying that he ."makes an inde-
pendent judgment" on a research
proposal "usually before the com-
mittee even considers it." This is

an honest admission but because
of the ambiguity in the word "in-
dependent," its significance may
be missed. It does not mean that
he examines each proposal and
makes an independent decision on
its merits. Instead, he follows a
simple decision rule - forward
all proposals whether they are ap-
proved by the Classified Research
Committee or not. This rule does
indeed make his decisions com-
pletely independent of CRC deli-
What evidence is there for the
above conclusion? Since I have
been on thesCRC, it has acted on
30 proposals. It has approved 26
of these and four failed to receive
the seven votes (out of 12) neces-
sary for approval. All of the ap-
proved proposals were sent for-
ward to the sponsor. Of the four
that failed to be approved, one
was withdrawn by the investigat-
or; the other three were sent for-

ward in spite of the lack of CRC
It. is logically possible, of course,
for Vice-President Norman to re-
fuse to forward projects that are
approved by the CRC. The Com-
mittee takes, in my opinion, an
extremely permissive stance tow-
ard what kind of research vio-
lates the guidelines. Recently, for
example, it approved a project
aimed at identifying different
types of helicopters from t h e i r
acoustic signals.
THE SITUATION is dramati-
cally different when the Com-
mittee fails to approve a proposal.
A particularly interesting c a s e
concerned a project entitled "Op-
timized Air-to-Surface Infrared
Sensors." The proposal took a
great deal of Committee time. It
initially received only three votes
for approval.
Subsequently, it consumed three
additional meetings. For one of
these meetings, committee mem-
bers were called at their homes on
Sunday evening for a special meet-
ing at 8 a.m. on Monday morning.
Four Willow Run officials, includ-
ing the director, William Brown,
and Associate Directors Porcello
and Legault were on hand. Com-
mittee members were subjected to
considerable pressure to recon-
sider their earlier action.
All of these machinations still
failed to produce seven votes for
approval in this case. Neverthe-
less, the proposal was forwarded
to the sponsor by Vice-President
Norman who told The Daily that
the proposal failed "for reasons
that related only to absenteeism."
It is difficult for me to avoid
the conclusion that the CRC is
involved in a charade. Its function
is to give the appearance of gen-
uine screening. As long as it con-
tinues along the amiable path of
approving virtually everything, it
provides convenient window dress-

it's thePresident
calling in the plays-
"When the phone rang at that hour, I thought it might be some nut
calling." - Don Shula, coach of the Miami Dolphins.
THE HOUR was 1:30 in the morning and the "nut" was Richard
Milhous Nixon.
Now Nixon, as every schoolboy and drug addict knows, is the
President of the whole United States, the mightiest military nation
on earth, if we can believe Joe Alsop, a nation of several hundred
million human beings, the richest nation, one of the more fortunate
nations. He is also the President of Brownsville and the President of
Newark. Out in the wind-ripped wastes of the Indian reservations, he
is the President; he is President among the lettuce pickers in the
Salinas Valley, President of Watts, President of the 6 million unem-
ployed and the 14 million on welfare. He is President of the bankrupt
cities, and corrupted air, the poisoned rivers and streams. He is the
only President we've got.
AND SO one question arises: What the hell was Richard Nixon
doing walking around at 1:30 in the morning, figuring out football
This is the same guy who came down to the Washington Monument
at 4 o'clock one morning during one of the moratoriums and tried to
talk about football with young people who were there to stop killing.
That was the morning that he and Ma'nolo, the Faithful Cuban Valet,
drove around Washington looking for a place to have eggs, while
those kids sat on the grass wondering what sort of character was
actually running things. If you or I called Don Shula at 1:30 in the
morning, we would be considered certifiable; this guy, however, is
the President of the United States.
Now there are several ways to think about all this frenetic noc-
turnal activity and write it off. We could tell ourselves that it really
isn't happening, that it is actually,Ron Ziegler on the phone, and the
guy who went to the Washington Monument was actually Vaughn
Meader, working on a comeback. Or we could pretend that Phillip Roth
sneaked into the New York Times during the night, wrote another
chapter from "Our Gang," and that his astonishing mastery of the
Nixon style convinced the editors that the story was genuine and
they went ahead and printed it.
,BUT THIS isn't the case. This is really Nixon. the genuine article.
"The President alerted me that the Cowboys are a real good foot-
ball team," Shula said. "But he told me, 'I still think you can hit War-
field on that down-and-in-pattern against them.' "




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