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September 09, 1971 - Image 47

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-9

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Section Five-Community Life Ann Arbor, Michigan-Thursday, September 9, 1971

Eight Pages



The uneasy
Within the city of Ann Arbor exist two separate com-
munities, distinct, contrasting, and not always friendly.
The University community with its administration and the
town with its government form two distinct units within the
city whose goals and interests are often at odds.
A semi-urban campus, the University is emeshed with the
city of Ann Arbor, which is otherwise a typical, medium-sized
Despite this geographical integration, hovewer, the two
communities have very little in common.
Jack Garris, head of Concerned Citizens of Ann Arbor and
unsuccessful Republican candidate for mayor, voices opinions
held by many of the nonuniversity people of the city.
He tells them "Revolutionary elements have turned our
youth to drugs, to violence and indiscriminate sex."
"The city," he continues, "has been capitulated to these
elements" who advocate the destruction of our American way
of life."
Conversely, many students fear Garris's opinions repre-
sent the "gut of nonuniversity Ann Arbor." And along with the
Ann Arbor Tribal Council, a coalition of local youth groups,
they feel that Garris and his supporters are "out to destroy
our (youth's) emerging culture."
Despite the mutual distrust and emnity existing between
these groups, the two communities depend upon one another
in a number of ways.
As a major educational and cultural center, the Univer-
sity provides opportunities and facilities which enrich the lives
of the people and enhance the quality of the city's schools.
Also the University, as do all major employers, has pro-
found economic influence on the community in which it oper-
However, the University, large and powerful as it is, is far
from self-sufficient and what supportive systems it does have
are inadequate to service its nearly 40,000 students.
Despite an extensive system of dormatories, co-ops, and
other facilities, the University alone is unable to house all of its
Many students are therefore forced to look to Ann Ar-
bor's commercial housing market for a place to live.
The city's rents, which are unusually high due to the
limited space and large market have made many students bitter
with local landlords.
"Tennants of Ann Arbor," Lynn Hallen, former secretary
of the Ann Arbor Tenants Union says, "must realize they are
being exploited."
Student pressure against this "exploitation" has come
mainly in two forms, withholding rent, and pressure on the
University to construct more student low cost housing.
Products such as groveries, clothing, books and luxuries
also, for the most part, and provided by nearly local mer-
These merchants enjoy a large, somewhat immobile, and
relatively affluent market.
The result of these near-monopoly conditions is prices,
which according to a recent survey, run as much as one-third
higher than the off-campus average.
A growing dissatisfaction with the situation has resulted
in a trend toward the establishment of student-run enter-
prises as an alternative to buying in the town.
In 1969, after years of pressure, students were successful in
setting up a student-run, student-controlled bookstore.
At present the facility, called the Union Cellar, provides
books and a variety of other items at discount prices.
In addition the possibility of expansion to include a stu-
dent grocery store has been discussed.
Even the city's banking institutions have come under the
general assault with many students now depositing their sav-
ings in a student credit union.
See YOUTH, Page 2


Governance of the'real world'...

Community life: The Ann Arbor melting pot


The student/business dependence .. .


With a large, prestigious university as
its central focus, the city of Ann Arbor has
always carried a reputation as a liberal
However, the rise of political radicalism
on campus in the 1960's caused tensions
between the new left students and their
moderate neighbors in the community.
Although the political radicalism was for
the most part centered around campus is-
sues, such a student power, it provided the
catalyst which tended to separate the
more conservative Ann Arbor citizens from
their moderate and liberal neighbors.
Thus, a distinctly anti-student senti-
ment emerged on the local political scene.
An opportunity for the conservative
forces to show their strength came in the
city mayoral race last April, which pitted
liberal Demicratic incumbent Robert Har-
ris against conservative local attorney Jack
Although Harris won a resounding vic-
tory, it was the first time in recent years
that the Republicans had run an arch-





ting and bitter campaign, winning four out
of five council seats to change the Demo-
cratic margin to a slim six-five (counting
Harris' tie-breaking vote).
During that campaign, the Republican
ads which mirrored the bitterness of the
contest. One such ad read "the Revolu-
tionists have spread the word" to come to
Ann Arbor. "Isn't that a riot? Vote Re-
publican before it gets worse."
This line of advertising was particularly
effective, coming as it did directly after
the Black Action Movement's general class
strike two weeks earlier.
The apparent conservative trend from
1969 until the 1971 elections was a major
source of worry for many of the campus
liberals and radicals, who feared the con-
servative hard line on law and order.
The surprise nomination of Garris over
the more moderate Republican Louis Bel-
cher last February only served to inten-
sify these fears,
Harris, in a hardhitting campaign,
played upon these fears by giving con-
stant indications of secret "polls" which

ris (over 60 per cent of the total vote), and
the salvage of three democratic seats
which had been viewed by many as in jeo-
Despite Harris' landslide, both radical
students and conservative townspeople
have experienced a growing lack of con-
fidence in his administration over the past
few years.
Conservatives were disturbed by Har-
ris' efforts to "shackle" the police, by the
city's recent liberalization of marijuana
laws, and by their feeling that Harris was
moving too fast in areas such as public
Many students, on the other hand, felt
Harris was not at all effective in control-
ling police behavior, had not worked hard
enough for tenant's rights, and had been
slow to promote public and low-cost hous-
While this year's mayoral contest drew
the most attention because of the complete
antithesis of its two candidates, city coun-
cil races were equally important to the
political climate of the city.

Robert Harris


su am nsma.y-- asaa

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