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January 20, 1972 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1972-01-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

iiw SfIi4pui Dadit
Eighty-one-years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

videre est credere
The politicization of government statistics

by pat rahoney............

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



".R =- "

Curbing war research

FOR SEVERAL years many students
and faculty members at the Uni-
versity have been trying to end on
campus research which leads to the
development of military weapons. Then
last fall, after at least six months of
debate, a policy which would end most
University classified research was
passed by Senate Assembly, the faculty
representative body.
The policy passed, it must be admit-
ted, largely because of its provisions
narrowing the opportunities for secret
research within the University. While
we, of course, agree that all research
results should be openly publishable
here, nonetheless the threat to aca-
demic freedom classified research rep-
resents was not our primary reason for
wanting it to stop. The most compell-
ing reason for the passage of some
measure banning it is that most classi-
fled research is war research. And it
is to war research that we are categor-
ically opposed.
Unfortunately the approval ofthe
Assembly 'policy may not be so much of
a victory for opponents of war research
as it first appeared. For even if the
proposal is adopted by the Regents,
which so far is uncertain, the immi-
nent transformation of the Univer-
sity's Willow Run Laboratories into
either a private corporation or a state-
run institution outside the sphere of
the University,will probably mute the
effects of the proposal.
Laboratories are sold or donated by
the University, the Assembly policy
will limit or curtail only the 10 to 15
per cent of the classified war research
that is in progress now at University
laboratories other than Willow Run.
Not only will the almost $5 million of
classified research currently being done
at Willow Run be allowed to continue,
but Willow Run would be able to at-
tract even more war research than is
now possible because it would not be
subject to any University restrictions-
even the extremely minimal ones now
in effect.
Supporting the Assembly policy is in
any case not an unmixed blessing. It
is not a perfect policy, and it would not
end all classified or military research
here. It would at best reduce the
amount of classified research and it
might conceivably prevent many of the
research results most devastating to
Yet even if war research were to be
stopped here, one must have no illu-
sions about what this step would do
to the military. Surely, even if the re-
search is not done here, the Pentagon
will find another university or another
set of laboratories to do the research:
It is even possible that some University
professors whose fields are so closely
tied to the military that they can work
for almost no one else would probably
leave the University to continue their
research elsewhere.
But the effects of the Assembly pro-
posal cannot be considered in a
vacuum. Rather, they must be assessed
in the context that many other major
universities in the nation have already
banned classified research from their
campuses. If more and more universi-
ties continue to refuse such federal
contracts, therefore, the federal gov-
ernment may soon be forced to change
either its research goals or its classi-
fication procedures in order to have
access to the experts residing in the

of dollars worth of classified re-

search now performed in University fa-
cilities, the Assembly research proposal
could have at least some effect on
national defense policies.
Conversely, of course, if the facilities
in which the research is being conduct-
ed are removed from the jurisdiction
of the University, then the policy will
have very little effect. It will still guar-
antee the academic process in those
facilities to which it is applied, but it
will do little to stop most of the war
research in the Ann Arbor area.
The most obvious solution to the
problem is thus for the University to
both keep the Willow Run Laboratories
and to pass the Assembly proposal as
well. This, we must admit, is extremely
unlikely. For regardless of how much
the Assembly's position rekindled the
administration's desire to shed Willow
Run, the reason cited by the adminis-
tration for its efforts is that the labs
are increasingly unable to support
The facts of the matter supporttheir
conclusion. In ine with reduced de-
fense spending, the research volume at
Willow Run has been cut in half during
the last five years. If the decline con-
tinues much longer, it is probable that
the laboratories might become a "less
than break-even" operation.
AND SHOULD the labs thus lose an
additional half of their present
funding by virtue of the Assembly ban
on classified research, they would ob-
viously be extremely hard pressed.
Non-classified research has always
been difficult to attract to the labs;
and it is extremely unlikely that
enough of it could be solicited to re-
place the classified projects.
It is quite possible, therefore, that
the University cannot be convinced to
keep the labs by anything short of
failure to find someone willing to take
control. Consequently, the Assembly
proposal seems inevitably destined to
have less effect than its developers an-
But regardless of this, the important
thing is not to weaken the Assembly
proposal to accommodate the research
now going on at Willow Run - the
labs will leave soon anyway - and
such a move would only clear the way
for further classified military research
at the other University laboratories as
Nor should the Assembly proposal be
weakened by linking it to proprietary
research, as some members of the Uni-
versity community have suggested. The
only thing that is similar about pro-
prietary and classified military re-
search is that there is a restriction on
the publication of both. In each case,
of course, this limitation should not
exist, since it is inconsistent with the
nature of a University.
But again, although there is no rea-
son to bar open proprietary research
from the University, there is a substan-
tial argument to be made in favor of
stopping the University from develop-
ing military weapons.
Willow Run will probably go. This is
unfortunate in that it allows the ad-
ministration to get almost 90 per cent
of classified military research "off
campus" without either doing anything
about the research itself or facing the
moral question of University complicity
with the war.
NONETHELESS, we urge quick regent-
al approval of the Assembly pro-
posal on classified research in order
that the University stop accepting war
research proposals for its remaining


A T THE beginning of every
month,. newspapers across the
country regularly print unemploy-
ment figures released by the Bu-
reau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
without questioning their accuracy.
Traditionally this confidence
has been justified. Controlled by
career technicians, BLS, part of
the Department - of Labor, has
been one of the most non-political
and impartial federal agencies.
In the past ten months, how-
ever, a series of changes have re-
duced the bureau's credibility Last
Nov. 1, a reorganization of the
bureai7, in which the responsibili-
ties of career officials were shift-
ed, was completed. And in March,
the Bureau discontinued press
conferences where monthly un-
employment reports had been re-
leased to reporters.
Although the Bureau's reliabil-
ity has not been destroyed, the
events that led to these changes
show a subtle attempt to politi-
cize the bureau. In the reorgani-
zation last fall, Peter Henle, who
had been chief economist in
charge of analysis took a year's
leave of absence. The job ofyHar-
old Goldstein, formerly assistant
commissioner of labor statistics
for manpower and employment,
was divided into two parts. Gold-
stein was named assistant con-
missioner for manpower structure
and trends, a long-range analysis
position unlikely to be controver-

hardly surprising after he and
Secretary of Labor James Hodg-
son had disagreed on the signifi-
cance of February unemployment
figures. At a press briefing, Gold-
stein announced that although
unemployment had dropped .2 per
cent, some unfavorable develop-
ments -- a contraction in the
number of jobs and a decline in
the average work week - made
the February picture "sort of
mixed." At almost the same time,
Hodgson called the February re-
port "favorable," "hopeful," and
"indeed heartening."
Two weeks later the government
discontinued its monthly briefings
to "remove career technicians
from answering,-embarrassing pol-
icy questions" and provide "ac-
curate written analyses of the
monthly data," a Bureau spokes-
woman explained. Reporters are
now given only a written state-
ment summarizing the unemploy-
ment picture.
to protest these changes have
shown an inability to restrict the
executive branch. At the begin-
ning of October, Sen. Gale McGee,
(D-Wyoming., chairman of the
Committee on Post Office and
Civil Service, which has jurisdic-
tion over agencies collecting sta-
tistics, promised to investigate the
BLS reorganization and "exoner-
ate the administration . .. or..
propose legislation to insure that
partisan considerations will not be
a factor in any data-gathering

machinery . . . "McGee's commit-
tee and the BLS are still exchang-
ing letters on the reorganization.
The Joint Economic Committee,
chaired by Sen. William Proxmire
(D-Wisc.), has discussed the re-
organization during hearings on
the bureau's monthly unemploy-
ment reports. Proxmire has intro-
duced into the Congressional Rec-
ord letters from economics pro-
fessors protesting the restructur-
ing of BLS, but made no proposals
for changing the administration's
The program of politicization of
government statistics, however.
goes beyond BLS. On July 15, the
Office of Managerent and Bud-
get issued a directive asking the
four departments with major sta-
tistical, services - Agriculture,
Commerce, HEW and Labor - to
review them and plan for the es-
tablishment of a Department of
Economic Affairs contained in the
President's reorganization pro-
EVEN IF Congress fails to pass
the reorganization plan, however.
the Nixon administration has
shown a new interest in govern-
ment statistics that could affect
millions of Americans.
As Sen. McGee has pointed out,
"If the public and its representa-
tives are expected to rely upon
these invaluable statistics, we
must beassured of their integ-
rity - even if it might mean es-
tablishing such data-gathering
agencies outside the purview of
political interference."

-Daily-Texxy McCarthy

PESC and
Robert Ross is a Research Associate at ones, an
the Institute for Social .Research and a counsellin
lecturer in sociology at the University's student w
Flint campus. He wrote this article with part of
the advice of some, but not all, PESC career l
mbeers.ssuch pro
By ROBERT ROSS some mu
5INCE WORLD WAR II, American higher colleagu
education has been transformed from The se
an elite to a mass phenomenon. Yet the concrete
methods, ideologies, and professional out- going ab
look of its most powerful teachers and tional ob
administrators remain confused, for in in the p
large part they still reflect that aristocratic which au
past upon which the traditional liberal arts sue, the;
curricula are based. One thing reduces the theirs' to
responsibility for this failure by the lead- any rate.
ership of institutions such as the Univer- seen, ar
sity - no one really knows how to pro- adininistr
vide effective education in and for a mass First,F
democracy. Recruitment of middle class allow stu
and lower middle class students, not just the wayi
the elite, changes the meaning of educa- they may
tion, yet education has only begun to or, they

'U': Misunderstood goals?

nd the willingness to engage in
ng and other activities so that a
who wishes to spend a considerable
the undergraduate or graduate
earning about and dealing with
oblems can have some resources,
utual aid, and the fellowship of
es in his or her work.
econd goal of PESC involves the
implementation of new ways of
out these rather orthodox educa-
jectives. As has happened so often
ast decade it is the means with
uthorities are choosing to take is-
reby diverting our energies and
oo from the objectives at hand. At
, the PESC procedures, as will be
e really rather innocuous from an
rative point of view.
PESC faculty members agree to
udents rather wide dominion over
in which they join a given class:
y join as individuals, as groups,
may define the general topic of
se in such a way as to create in-

chane .

the cours

dents commonly sit in on courses. It is
unfortunate that the mst recent admin-
istration statement appears to protect this
privilege for the already privileged, and
objects to its extension to others.
IT MAY BE that administration objec-
tions are based on the implications in PESC
literature that "credit" will be given for
such nonformalized attendance. The PESC
commitment to nonregistered participants,
however, recognizes that at this time PESC
has not institutionalized its "accreditation"
with the registrar and other University
agencies. PESC's commitment to commun-
ity participants is to give them certificates
of satisfactory performance upon com-
pletion of the work of the course in which
they participated, and to some considerable
amount of work around the area and the
state to have these certificates honcred
for purposes of advanced placement and/!
or credit towards high school or college
completion. Ultimately, after the curret
stance of the administration has been modi-
fied, it is the PESC members' hope that
even this University will agree to accredit-
ing the work done with its own staff.
Finally, as part of the first term's activi-
ties, PESC has created a course on com-
munity control, led by Charles Thomas and
Hank Bryant, prominent activists in Ann
Arbor's black community. Thomas a n d
Bryant are well-informned about the region,
its institutions, and the problems of poor
black and white people in it. For Univer-
sitystudents desiring to taketthis course for
degree credit, a member of the faculty has
agreed to be a resource person for the
course and supervisor of their work. It
seems hard to grasp why one needs to take
exception to these procedures; there is an
ill-considered abruptness in the admin-
istration's first reaction which seems to
desire confrontation. The funds made avail-
able for this course, by the way, are not
provided by the University. Thomas and
Bryant have agreed to work on this as
community resource people for a stipend
to be provided by PESC members and
with the above as background we return
again to the attitude towards the Program
evinced in recent comments by a member
of the Administration. A letter sent to the
Dean of LS&A claims that the "personnel"
involved do not have the right to imple-
ment the program described above. We
hope this initial reaction will be reconsid-
ered, but in any case their implication is
dangerous for all of us, and ironically,
against the University's own interest.
University people the last decade has pro-
duced terrible tensions in the manner of
their relation to American society, to the
state of Michigan, and to this community.
The drain of war and poverty on public fi-
nances, combined with some rightist resent-
ment of University activism, and a general
alienation from the goals and- processes of
higher education have produced an un-
willingness to support the University at
levels to which it had become accustomed.
No one knows this better than high mem-
bers of the University of Michigan's admin-
The University's faculty to student ra-
tio is the most favorable in the state; the
cost of educating a student here is the
highest; and these facts are related to
the resisance otf he Legislation in meeting

THE DISAPPROVAL can be seen in a,
number of different ways - none of which
appear particularly prudent. The matter is
one of rules, and regulations, it may be
argued. But how closely would anyone
choose to follow such an interpretation of
the, rules as appears in Vice President
Smith's memo. This is especially sensi-
tive in that it has direct bearing on the
teacher's prerogatives within the classroom.
Most PESC members see community par-
ticipation in their courses as providing a
positive, added resource to the classroom.
We are all familiar with the isolation and
fear of irrelevance which haunts both teach
er and student in the social sciences. Sure-
ly, there can be no objection to attempts
to overcome those things by bringing new
resources to the traditional teaching and
learning situation. Interference with such
an attempt, moreover, treads upon the most
vaunted of the academic freedoms: free-
dom to teach as one deems proper, freedom
in the classroom. There are those of us
who say this argument has merit if the
" new participants have been selected. Yet
that is precisely the mode which PESC
people are trying to overcome. They
want to learn to teach anyone; and to'be
comfortable learning from and with any-
Finally, it may be objected that such an
elaborate program as PESC by its nature
should have been formally approved by
some combination of the LS&A faculty or
the administration. But this implies just the
kind of thinking which so becalms today's
large institutions. The PESC participants
know that they are on new ground; they
know they are learning from this first
run-through; they are aware of the com-
plexities that open-admission and demo-
cratic education entail. So they went
ahead, depending upon what is the com-
mon understanding of faculty prerogatives.
They did not ask for exceptional commit-
ments from university organs, although
many literary college officials were in-
formed of the project. Yet for their initia-
tive they are attacked not praised.
The point of all this should be clear by
now. For some obscure reason it appears
that a confrontation is being forced by
elements of the administration which, re-
gardless of their own rational self-interest,
intrepret attempts to reach out for com-
muniy support as subverting the establish-
ed procedure of the system; they inter-
pret an attempt to do constructive work at
no extra cost as the taking of unwarranted
prerogatives; they interpret an attempt to
address the most pressing issue in educa-
tion and social policy - democratization -
as threatening to the University. A n d
they most ominously threaten enforcement
of rather empty rules despite the confusion
this may create about their commitment
to freedom in the classroom. They h a v e
thrown caution to the winds; they attack
a rather innocuous program without prior
consultation with its members, and in the
most narrow of terms.
PESC people hope this attitude will be
modified by cooler heads, but they are
committed to continue in any case. They
are acting on legitimate professional and
educational grounds.
WHEN WE TAKE a larger view of this
issue some will feel that regularized ad-
mission and fee-payment, after all, is only
fair. There isn't space for everyone; those

-Daily-Tom Gottlieb

In the coming years of more intense com-
mitment to students of working class and
poor backgrounds, how much more we will
have to change is only now beginning to
be understood. The least one can expect
in this situation is that the educational
elite will demonstrate flexibility and sym-
pathy when initiatives are taken which
point the way ahead. A recent statement
on the Program for Educational and So-
cial Change (PESC) - by an Administra-
tion spokesman demonstrates neither flex-
ibility nor sympathy, and just as import-
ant, the statement demonstrates lack of
understanding about the causes of the prob-
lems the University faces in gaining the
confidence and sympathy of the tax-pay-
ers of Michigan.
To understand these assertions requires
a certain amount of background about the
PESC. Formed last spring, and organized
more intensively this fall, PESC is a group
of faculty members, students, and diverse

dependent study within them. They may
combine a number of coursed and alterna-
tives and create a special project of study
for multi-course credit. Given the develop-
ment of the Residential College, the Course
Mart, the Pilot Program, and the availabil-
ity of independent majors to undergrad-
uates, as far as matriculated students are
concerned this is an innovation only in its
focus on social change, but it is hardly
anything new in a formal sense. The second
part of PESC procedures is really the one
which appears to have provoked Vice Pres-
ident Smith's recent statement. This is the
announcement that anyone can take a
PESC course, without fee, and regardless
of status in the University.
BECAUSE IT APPEARS controversial
we should examine closely what this last
innovation really means. Mechanically, it
means that anyone may attend a course ad-

Open admissions?
IN DEFIANCE of a long standing tradi-
tion that only males be appointed to
the U. S. Naval Academy, Rep. John Mc-
Donald (R-Mich.), has nominated Val-
erie Schoen, '75, to Annapolis.
But meanwhile, women's tax dollars
are being used to support a military train-
inao rnnl-~ fnr~i 4 Anfl rnnQirPf

Editorial Stafff
Executive Editor Managing Editor
STEVE KOPPMAN ........... Editorla, Page Editor
RICK PERLOFF .... Associate Editorial Page Editor
PAT MAHONEY ... Assistant Editorial Page Editor
LARRY TLEMPERI~T ...A,-.,,i,,tP M aana ~i

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