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January 22, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-22

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----friday morning

IIhe Lid kgn Daigy
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
J 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.


The life of a radical teaching fellow

by datiel zwerdliing

Congress stagnates
as session opens

AT THE END of the deadlocked 91st
Congress, liberals talked about
changing the seniority system, brining
new faces into the House leadership and
modifying the antiquated rules each
house follows. However, the results of
party caucuses show that the conservat-
ism of the House is unchanged and
Southern domination of the Democratic
Congressional leadership has actually in-
The liberals' biggest victory came in an
alteration in the seniority system in the
House which will make the selection of
committee chairmen subject to approval
by party caucuses. Any Democrat m a y,
when backed by ten others, demand a
vote on election of committee chairmen
nominated by the party's Committee on
Committees. Republicans will vote auto-
matically by secret ballot on accepting
the nominations for ranking members
submitted by their Committee of Com-
Traditionally seniority has been the
only criterior for selecting committee
chairmen and ranking members. While
the new procedure is more democratic,
major changes are unlikely. Only a rela-
tively small group may make nomina-
The Republican Committee on Com-
mittees consists of one member from each
state that has Republican representation
in the House while the Democratic group
contains only the party's members on the
Ways and Means Committee. Representa-
tives will have only a limited voice in se-
lecting. the chairman of committees on
which they sit. As members of the party
caucus they may approve or disapprove of
a nominee chosen by a group of party
elders' who probably have a superficial
knowledge of what has happened in most
committees during the past two years.
A FEW NEW chairmen may emerge, but
the party caucuses have already
shown their desire to maintain the con-
servative philosophy that has controlled
the House for, decades. Liberal Demo-
crats though they could elect Rep. Morris
Udall Majority Leader this year after
Rep. Carl Albert became Speaker. Con-
servatives, however, maneuvered t h e i r
own man, Rep. Hale Boggs, into the top
party leadership post.
This change illustrates how the South
dominates the Democratic Party in Con-
gress. Albert is from Oklahoma w h i I e
Boggs represents a Louisiana district.
Rep. Olin Teague, who comes from Texas,
holds another leadership position.

In the Senate, the South has increased
its power at the expense of the North-
east. Senator Robert C. Byrd of W e s t
Virginia ousted Sen. Edward M. Ken-
nedy of Massachusetts as party whip.
Byrd's record raises questions about the
sincerity of the Democratic Party's in-
terest in helping blacks overcome repres-
sion and discrimination. As late as 1946,
Byrd wrote a letter to the imperial grand
wizard of the Ku Klux Klan urging a re-
rebirth of the Klan "in every state in the
union." He voted against two major civil
rights bills in the last decade and sup-
ported both Carswell and Haynsworth
for the Supreme Court.
The elections of Byrd and Boggs re-
present a return to normalcy to
the Senate and House. Two years
ago, K e n n e d y reduced the south-
ern grip on Congressional leader-
ship by defeating Sen. Russell Long of
Louisiana. Now another southerner has
regained the whip position and liberal's'
efforts to elect a new type of majority
leader in the House have failed. Also the
modest adjustments in the method of
electing House committee chairmen and
ranking members offer almost no hope of
replacing the conservatives who h a v e
dominated the chamber for decades.
Thus Congress will remain as unre-
sponsive as it has been to the needs of
the people and the demands of a grow-
ing number of liberal members trying to
change national priorities. The old sys-
tem has shown it is inflexible, and un-
willing to adjust to the second half of the
twentieth century.
And so at this time it seems the House
will continue on the same course it has
followed since members were first assign-
ed to top committee posts on the basis of
seniority alone 60 years ago. Committee
chairmen will maintain "life and death"
control over legislation. Important bills
will remain in committees for months
and eventually die, simply because the
chairman dislikes them.
The only hopeful trend is that House
members will be prohibited from occupy-
ing the chairmanship of more than one
subcommittee. This new rule is expected
to open up about 30 positions for young
members. However, a stagnant leader-
ship and obstinate committee chairmen
can block subcommittee legislation they
dislike. Liberals who think the limitation
of holding chairmanships of subcommit-
tees will drastically change the bills de-
bated and passed by the House will be
frustrated many times in the next two

ERIC CHESTER, the graduate
student in economics, enjoys a
well-earned reputation as one of
the University's all-time most fa-
mous and/or notorious students.
He has never been far from con-
troversy since he started under-
graduate school here eight years
ago. When Sen. John McClellan
investigated subversive g r o u p s
three years ago, wasn't that Eric
Chester's name and picture glar-
ing from A= newspaper photos, as
one of America's "key radicals"?
Chester's name was synonomous
with SDS during its early. fiery
years; and it was Chester w h o
held the bulhorn in Ann Arbor's
first great building takeover, the
1968 County Bldg. welfare sit-in,
in which 200 persons were arrest-
Chester is causing a stir again,
but not at his initiative:
The economics department just,
fired him from his teaching fel-
lowship. Chester charges he is a
victim of political discrimination;
the department says it's poor aca-
demic performance. The case is
far from closed, and top depart-
ment faculty are plenty nervous
about possible ramifications.
ON THE SURFACE, the c a s e
appears routine: Chester was told
in September by Harold Shapiro,
director of the economics depart-
ment graduate program, that he
would receive a four month teach-
ing fellowship on condition that
he make up one of four incom-
pletes in his predoctoral courses,
and get at least a B in his two fall
courses. Chester finished one in-
complete, but got a new incom-
plete for the fall, and received a
B- for the other course. The de-
partment refused to renew h i s
To Chester, the case isn't so
clear cut. An investigation by an
economics professor found at least
three other teaching fellows in
the department have records sim-
ilar to Chester's. They're still
teaching. No one doubts that
Chester is a popular teacher: his
students as w e 11 as department
faculty commend him highly. No

o n e doubts he's exceptionally
bright: "Chester is smart," says
one top faculty member who asked
to r e m a i n unidentified. "He
doesn't agree with what the de-
partment thinks a man has to
learn to be a professional econo-
mist. He won't study anything he
doesn't want to learn.
Chester's firing becomes con-
siderably m o r e complicated: he
discovered only recently that in
June the department formally
awarded him a fellowship for
eight months. He never received
the notification letter because he
was out of the country. Chester
charges now that when Shapiro
defined conditions in September
for only a four month fellowship,
he was "unilaterally changing
what has to be seen as the equiva-
lent of a contract."
WHY IS EVERYONE picking on
Eric Chester? "It's not any par-
ticular issue, but an accumula-
tion of things," Chester thinks.
"For one thing, the department's
suddenly trying to tighten stand-
ards, to regiment graduates into
academic conformity. Second, they
don't like radicals who make trou-
ble for the department." Chester
helped organize the Union of Rad-
ical Political Economists, which
has clamored for a political econ-
omy course which would explore
political uses and abuses of eco-
nomics. As the graduates' elected
representative at departmental
faculty meetingstChester says he
has "aggressively defended other
grads who have gotten into trou-
ble. I argued that teaching fel-
lows should be treated as junior
faculty and not as subterranean
Concludes Chester: "The con-
servative faculty are tired of hav-
ing lefties pose a threat to their
domination of the department.
It's not just me they're getting,"
he predicts. "It's the beginning of
what's going to be a long process."
Chester's firing probably results
less from a deliberate political plot
than it does from a rotten teach-
ing fellow system which has no

but vague notions of academic per-
formance. They're simply "what I
thought was necessary for Chester
to maintain his teaching fellow-
ship." says Shapiro.
Shapiro sees the $3,000 fellow-
ship as partly a "reward for good
progress" - like a good boy cer-
tificate in high school. Actually,
it's no prize: teaching fellows
handle six class hours per week,
in addition to their course load,
while the average professor spends
the same amount of time in class
and earns four times as much.
honor foisted often on the worst
students who can't get fellowship
money somewhere else." says one
economics professor. "It's subser-
vient wages. To say it's a privilege
is ridiculous."
Chester - or any one else for
that matter - can't appeal his
firing totthe economics depart-
ment. It doesn't have any proce-
dure for review. Chester did man-
age to get a special meeting of the
faculty, but only because he has
such strong support among the
graduates, who voted unanimously
to reinstate him. But the faculty
won't relent: it refused to rein-
state Chester pending an appeal,
as he requested, and instead has
told him if he doesn't like his fir-
ing, he should complain to the
Rackham executive board. T h e
executive board is a 12-faculty
Chester doesn't know what he'll
do with his case. If a n y thing
comes out of it, it should be more
than his reinstatement: it should
be a revamping of the entire sys-
tem of teaching fellows and their
selection process. In this case the
problem isn't one of Chester's pol-
itics: t h e problem is a system
which functions on vague and du-
bious notions of merit.
"Politics has absolutely nothing
to do with it," Shapiro claims. "I
have no idea what Chester does
around campus. In fact," Shapiro
says, "among students who are in-
terested in politics I've always
considered Chester kind of conser-

Eric Chester

guidelines but proceeds according
to arbitrary decisions. The issue
isn't particularly whether Chester
has a relatively poor record in
terms of incompletes and grades,
which are questionable reflections
of ability a n d intellectual per-
formance - he does. The issue is:
there are no guidelines for deter-
mining who should be a fellow and
w h o shouldn't; who's record
should come up for review and
who's should not. It's an arbitrary
determination- made by one per-
son - in economics,- Harold Sha-
SHAPIRO IS an amiable fellow
who is not likely to hatch a plot.
But he excercises a very consid-
erable amount of power with no
checks: who gets a $3,000 fellow-
ship and who does not; who keeps
it, and who is fired.

"It's been generally accepted
that one needs a B plus average,"
Shapiro says, "but it's not written
anywhere." Actually, all the de-
partment stipulates - and Sha-
piro doesn't even know if this is
in writing - is that the teaching
fellow makes "academic progress."
What it comes down to, says Sha-
piro, is "how I would interpret
sufficient academic progress."
"We haven't clarified as well as
we should w h a t academic per-
formance is. We've tried to treat
each graduate as an individual,"
says Shapiro. "Maybe we need to
formulate more closely what's ex-
pected of them."
The conditions Shapiro defined
for Chester's four' month fellow-
ship - when the department had
already awarded him an eight-
month' fellowship - aren't form-
ulated on the basis of any rules,

Filling, the gap: A war song for Vietnam

EVERY GREAT war has had its
great songs, points out the ev-
er-punctual lyricist, Justin Thyme.
With all due respect to Country
Joe, Justin feels that Vietnam has
been slighted in this respect, and
he has written a ballad that could
very well become the war song of
the seventies.
Justin's ballad is written specif-
ically to be performed by The Four
Presidents, a group well known
for getting us into the field (of
music, that is) in the first place.
The Silent Majority fills in with
soft oohs and aahs in the back-
The show starts as a thin, bald
headed man with a big smile steps.
forward, a golf club in one hand
and a set of memoirs in the other.
A n d he begins to sing Justin's
(To the tune of "When Im '64, by
the Beatles - Justin writes lyrics, not
Down in the paddies of South
The reds are moving in;
You gotta lotta knowledge when
it comes to rice
But what you need is some army
We'll send advisors to help you
Advisors, nothing more;
Put on the kettle, at Geneva
we'll settle
When it's '54.

IKE STEPS back and the chor-
us hums (silently, of course). Then
a young figure breaks out with a
slight Massachusetts edge on his
We will haw and hem.
And if you say the word -
Money, arms and men.
A tall man in a ten-gallon hat
steps in front of him and contin-
ues in a heavy Texan drawl, com-
plete with barbecue sauce.
Don't you get tired fighting
In the jungle land?
Kindly take your forces from
the DMZ,
Leave the south to Democracy.
We'll stop the bombing if you
We won't bomb no more;
It's not too late Ho, negotiate
Peace in '64.
The tall Texan has the largest
part in the song. He continues.
Every winter we can call a truce
for a week or two
Just to bring good cheer,
If it suits you well.
You can rest before we bomb
Who says war is hell?
AT THIS POINT, the Silent Ma-
jority bursts into an instrumental,
which consists of playing the same
sour note over a n d over again.

While they a r e playing, Melvin
Laird steps forward for an inter-
lude, and speaks in a conversa-
tional tone.
We won't shoot at you only if
you don't shoot at us when we
shoot at you. That means if you
let us shoot at you, we won't
have to shoot at you. But we'll
h a v e to shoot at you if you
shoot at us for shooting at you.
Which is to say our offensive
infraction is defective satisfae-
tion in protective reaction.
Finally, the leader of the band
steps forward and, thrusting both
hands toward the sky, one hand
forming a peace symbol, the other
a victory sign, he bellows:
Fighting for peace is becoming
a drag
Let's meet in Par'i
Only one condition - when the
talks are done
All the world must say that I
Troops are departing every day
Could you ask for more?
No more grieving, we'll be leav-
When it's '74.
Justin remarks, as the b a n d
takes its bow, that he was going
to write a last verse, ending in
"When it's '84, with compliments
of George Orwell." But, as he ex-
plains with some relief, the music
doesn't call for more verses.


Police overreact
in Argus case

THE ARREST OF four young people
this week for sale of marijuana and
LSD by Ann Arbor police represents a
dangerous course of action which should
be viewed with concern by all members
of the community.
The police raid indicates that despite
widespread concern with the increasing
use of heroin - a recent citizens commit-
tee report indicated that there were up
co 500 heroin addicts in Ann Arbor -
the police are still clinging to the con-
cept that the way to stop the spread of
heroin is by arresting people for either
possessing or selling drugs such as mari-
juana and LSD. Police Chief W a 1 t e r
Krasny was quoted this week as believing
that the use of marijuana leads directly
to the use of hard drugs. However, there
is no medical evidence to back this asser-
The only discernable link between hero-
in and maijuana, or LSD, is the fact that
the illegality of the drug sometimes re-
quires potential purchasers to associate
with criminal elements in order to buy.
This is attributable solely to the illegal-
ity of marijuana. Many heroin addicts
sell marijuana to finance their habits. If
they can also persuade their customers
to buy heroin, which has a much higher
profit margin than marijuana or LSD,
they will do so.

true the fact remains that the police
efforts were sadly misdirected.
RUT EVEN IF the police are innocent
of political prejudice against the
ideals for which the Argus stands the
conduct of the police during the raid is
in itself a moot point.
Moreover, residents of the house who
were arrested or detained for a while by
police, say they were forced to strip nak-
ed in the police station, were photograph-
ed and had personal possessions confis-
cated without receipts being issued.
Detective Sgt. Calvin Hicks, who led
the operation on the Argus, would not say
whether it was true that those detained
were stripped, but he did admit that no
receipts were given because it was "not
our policy to issue receipts for items con-
fiscated as evidence." That seems to be
a policy that could well be modified.
MORE DISTURBING than the incon-
venience of a strip-search and con-
fiscation is the fact that none of those
detained and subsequently released were
informed of their constitutional rights.
While legally it may well be that the
police do not have to inform suspects of
their rights if no charges are brought
against them immediately, it would seem
that little hardship would befall the de-
partment if they were to be just civil
enough to remind frightened v o u n g


Considering student interests

To the Daily:
I READ the editorial "Support-
ing AFSCME: Proving the neces-
sity of union labor" (Jan. 20) with
interest. A premise which Miss
Berstein necessarily bases her ar-
ticle on is that the University ad-
ministrators believe the school can
function normally without the
AFSCME, and thus the workers
must prove that this is not true by
closing the U.
I have a higher opinion of the
administration's collective intelli-
gence. Certainly they realize that
the workers are needed: otherwise
they wouldn't have been hired in-
From what this paper has been
reporting, it appears that the
members of the AFSCME are get-
ting a raw deal. Does that mean
they should immediately be given
whatever raises they demand? I
fear I cannot express self-right-
eous indignation at the Univer-
sity's cruelty in forcing the work-

AS FOR THE students owing a
debt of support to the AFSCME
because of the union's support of
the BAM demands: what about
those students who believe that all
applicants should be judged on
ability rather than ancestry? Cer-
tainly such a policy would have a
discriminatory effect on those of

inferior ability, but with the U's
finite resources, we can't have
Miss Berstein states; "In the
end, it is only the administration's
interest which is served when stu-
dents p r o v i d e scab work."
Wouldn't such scabbing also pro-
vide those students with a little

money they might need?
such scabbing help pros
convenience for those o
live in dorms? And wt
those students who cam
receive an education? WI
itate to suggest it, aren'
the students' interests id
those of the administrat
The final plea Miss
makes fits in well with
parent editorial policy
Daily. Such reasoning w
to ensure her a positioni
of the nation's "great" ne
like the St. Louis Post-D
the New York Times.
--Douglas S. C
Jan. 20

vide some
f us who
hat about
e here to
hile I hes-
t some of
lentical to
the ap-
of the

So we see that the University
pays and in some cases overpays
the above-mentioned employes be-
cause it feels that it must. Yet it
feels that it can pay janitors,
maids, etc. a sub-livable wage.
Why? Because it can get away
with it. If all this was taking place
at GM or somewhere it wouldn't
be surprising, but somehow one
expects a bit more from a univer-
sity, doesn't one?

'ill go far It may be suggested that I
with some have omitted a most important
pwspapers, consideration, ° namely differences
ispatch or in skill or training and consequent
differences in value to the Uni-
Cross '74versity. True, this is relevantto
the discussion, but consider the
following. The University is pay-
Money ing administrators big money to
administrate and professors to
seek truth, justice, knowlelge, etc.
on vs. the Yet of what use are all these ad-
nteresting ministrators who cannot so ad-
University ministrate as to give all their em-
he money ployes a decent wage, but believe

To the Daily:
University. Here is the i.
phenomenon of the 1
claiming that it hasn't t


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