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January 27, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-27

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

4o

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Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
ynard 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 mist be noted in all reprints,
ESDAY, JANUARY 27, 1971 NIGHT EDITOR: LARRY LEMPERT

Battling the 'U' bureaucracy

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ALTHOUGH University officials have often declared
during student demonstrations that they are open
to discussion of issues and demands, the admissions
office has made it clear to at least one "protester" that
it has a non-negotiable requirement for admission-a
Social Security number.
Tory Shwayder, a senior at the sururban Detroit prep
school of Cranbrook, wrote in his application for admis-
sion to the University that he did not have a social secur-
ity number and did not plan to get one.
Because space on the application is limited, he stopped
there, and said he would be glad to explain why if the
University wanted to hear.
He expected to receive a request for more information,
or else notification of admission. But he got neither. In-
stead he received a letter from Donald Swain, assistant
director of admissions, which explained the number is
used by the University students for billing,,apd to make
them eligible for student services such as the library and
Health Service. "It is not a negotiable item," Swain
wrote.
instead of letting Tory explain himself, Swain thought
he anticipated it:
"If you feel that compliance with this request would
in any way lead to debaseing your individuality then I
can only suggest that you seek out an institution that is
small enough to enjoy the luxury of hand-keeping
records. At the expense of an incorrect assumption as to
the motive of your resistance to obtain a Social Security
number, I would also add that if your impression of this
institution is one where interpersonal relationships are
dependent upon numbers then your research is inade-
quate."
HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT the coldness of the multi-
versity that Shwayder fears. Rather, he-and his par-
ents-are concerned with the possible abuse of informa-
tion files which accumulate during a person's life. Most,
if not all, are easily identified through a Social Security
number. That number is necessary on job applications,
tax forms, mortgage applications, credit ratings, every-
thing;
Tory's father has a Social Security number only in
order to get paid. His mother continued to refuse one.
She has performed as a musician for the University,

Y .1
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but was not paid because of her lack of Social Security
number. Payment was finally made through a third
party.
Tory, and his parents, believe that the practice of
using Social Security numbers should be discontinued
by the University and that a substitute identifying num-
her - presumably not accessible to the government -
be used. It would be one step toward avoiding ending
up catalogued in a central governmental file someday
--a prospect that doesn't appear impossible to the
Shwayder's.
SUCH FEARS SEEM absurd to Swain. "Have you ever
heard of a case of that happening?" he asked me. "Do
you know?"
While these fears might seem silly to some like Swain
- there is no concrete proof of an existing all-encom-
passing central file maintained by the federal govern-
ment on all citizens - there are many others who real-
ize that the civil liberties we have today can be very
easily undermined.
One need only examine the increasing problems with
credit rating agencies- and job screening investigators.
These private concerns keep their information files con-
fidential; summaries and evaluations remain unseen and

i.. J3vE~isg2}_r 14CHIGAN

uncontested for years, out of sight of the individual in
(uJ stion. It is easily possible for such files to contain
damaging, libelous and incorrect information which
might make it impossibie for someone to get a credit rat-
ing, or a new job.
And not just private agencies. Recent testimony from
former Army intelligence officers detailed spying and
reporting on law-abiding private citizens and Congress-
men. New incidents of government wiretapping and re-
cord-keeping continue to come to light.
THAT DOES not mean that the University is cdnspir-
ing with the Army. The Social Security number is the
most obvious identifying number attached to people.
It is required by law in most cases.
The Shwayders realize that they are fighting a tough
battle. The issue is more academic than anything else.
Tory eventually applied for a number, sent it to the
Univ ersity, and has now been accepted for school in the
Fall term.
But in lodging his protest, he forced the University to
respond and to show its inflexibility. Or maybe the
harshness of Swain's reply to .Tory was defensiveness to
what he interpreted as charges of inflexibility and im-
personality.
Tory's experience, perhaps, is a good starting point
for a serious and much needed investigation into a tragic
trend towards the loss of freedom and the University's
role in protecting-where possible--the members of its
community.
* * *
POSTSCRIPT:
Recent evidence came to light, which underscored the
importance of the student identification number at the
University.
A friend of mine lost his ID card the other day, and
duly went to the registrar's office to request a replace-
ment. The fee is $5 - about $5 more than my friend
had in cash. He wrote a check for the amount and hand-
ed it to the secretary.
"May I see your ID card," she said.
"I don't have it. I'm trying to replace it. but I don't
have the $5," he said.
"But I can't cash your check without your ID card."
Catch-140-42-5670-0.

So you think you're cold?

.,.,mv...>:

Blizzard warnings were issued today
for much of southwestern Michigan as
winds gusting up to 67 miles per hour
swept drifts of snow across much of the
state.
Rural schools were closed in most areas
from the Indiana border to Cheboygan.
State Police reported that 80 per cent
of the freeways in their fifth district
were blocked by drifts and side roads were
impassable from New Buffalo to Allegan.
Virtually all roads around the state were
snow covered and slippery, despite the
efforts of road crews,
The' high winds combined with tem-
peratures in the low twenties to make the
real temperature more than 20 below in
areas.
The weather bureau said the blizzard
conditions were expected to spread east-
ward across the state today before the
snow tapers off.
--The Associated Press
Jan. 26
AS WE AWOKE yesterday, we were
greeted by the sound of a howling
wind and, as soon as our eyes became
functional, the sight of driving snow.
That's history. It's also history that more

than a few people,greeted the sight with
some of the stronger obscenities in their
vocabulary. Yet, there should be no cause
to complain, if one but turns' his mind
northward, where some of us have been
compelled to spend more time than we
like to recall.
In Marquette, on the shores of Lake
Superior in Michigau's Upper Peninsula,
the natives say there are "eight months
of winter and four month of bad sled-
ding." They exaggerate only slightly.
Snow starts as early as October there,
and when winter actually sets in about
mid-December, neither the sun or the
niercury in the thermometer are seen
very much for the next three months.
Days like yesterday are normal. Whole
Weeks of them are strung together, brok-
en only by truly nasty outbursts - such
as 17 inches in 24 hours, followed by more
of the same.
There are those realists, however, w h o
will point out that we are notin Hough-
ton or Marquette, but are in Ann Ar-
bor and it is Ann Arbor's weather which
concerns us. That is precisely the point
of this piece.
Thank God for little favors.
-ROB BIER

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The inhumanity of
W ayne, County's jailyBILDNE
By BILL DiNNER
ONE OF THE most basic assumptions spelled out by our constitution
was that a person, be he rich or poor, must be presumed innocent
until proven guilty.
Although this scared verbiage is repeated uncountably through
the course of any criminal trial, the procedures that precede the trial
pre:ent a much different view for the poor and usualy black defendant
who are caged in our "modern" big city jails,
Investigations following riots at New York jails last fa-ll have un-
covered degrading and inhumane conditions. The "hole" that Wash-
tenaw County Sheriff Douglas Harvey used to placate incorrigable pri-
soners is a local example of this type of intolerable prison,
A group of inmates at the Wayne County Jail have decided to do
more than complain about the conditions under which they live. On
Monday, they filed a suit in Wayne Council Circuit Court to close the
County Jail because of incredible conditions.
How do conditions inside a jail relate to the assumption that the
defendants are innocent?
As presently developed, the legal concept of bail is primarily
designed to insure that defendants will appear for trial.
THOSE WHO cannot afford bail must remain in jail until their
case is tried, often a delay of more than a year. Thus, although they are
legally innocent, defendants unable to post bond are denied rights
guaranteed by the Constitution.
The immediate aim of the Wayne County Jail suit is to improve
the present conditions in the jail, but the suit could have far reaching
consequences.
Though the present system may appear decent on paper, inmates
at the Wayne County Jail not differently. In a press statement issued
through their attorneys, the six plaintiffs in the suit stated that "As
inmates of the Wayne County Jail we live, sixty minutes of every hour,
24 hours a day, in hell.
"We are engaged in peaceful struggle in the language of the law
-the same law that put us in this hell-hole because we couldn't pay
the ransom of a bail bond system that decides our freedom or imprison-
ment only on how much money we have."
WAYNE COUNTY Sheriff William Lucas, named as a defendant
in the suit commented on the conditions that can lead to discipline, psy-
chological and even physical disturbances, in the Detroit Free Press.
"What the hell do they do up there? There sit and did you notice how
young they are? They're young guys, active guys. strong guys .
It's hard and it's dangerous. It's dangerous as hell."
Charging that incarcerating someone in the prison constitutes
"cruel and unusual punishment," the suit says the jail flagrantly vio-
lates the Michigan housing and health codes. Toilets are in disrepai,
fecal matter and urine cover most of the floor, rats, roaches and
insects abound, while rancid odors are common. Ventilation, lighting
and plumbing are also inadequate.
"Without exception," the suit continues, "every cell or sleeping
facility is rotten, dirty, foul, stinking, and dot fit for human habita-
tion."

J'

4

*:

Into a newquagmire

SINCE THE FALL of Prince Norodum
Sihanouk's government last spring,
the Nixon administration has had a deep
concern about Cambodia.
First, American troops were sent into
the country to destroy Vietcong supply
depots. When public outcry made this apr
proach unprofitable, Nixon adroitly
changed tactics. Instead of American
troops, the military has relied on U. S.
bombers to raid enemy positions a n d
American helicopters have provided di-
rect support for the Cambodian army and
the Vietnamese army fighting on the
ground. Altogether, since last spring,
the U.S. has allocated almost $200-mil-
lion to the Cambodian military effort.
The spectre of
the death penalty
THE ATTENTION focused by most of
the media on the details of the
Charles Manson case has seemed, for the
most part, undeserved. One suspects that
there is a misguided belief on the part
of many that Manson and his "family"
represented the ultimate state of evolu-
tion of the life culture.
Nothing could be more false, and it is
regrettable that the communal way of
life has continually been represented in
the press by the Manson family.
Yet now, with the conviction of Man-
son of first degree murder, and the sub-
sequent decision by California prosecu-
tors to ask for the death penalty, the at-
tenntnof the cnda ismore thannwel-

Now the consequences of this widening
involvement are beginning to leak out.
Plans have been developed to send a "mil-
itary equipment delivery team" to Cam-
bodia to check on how equipment pro-
vided by the United States was being
used. Defense department officials main-
tain Americans will not be authorized to
tell the Cambodians how to use the equip-
ment. However, there is little difference
between overseeing the use of equipment
in the field and giving advice on more ef-
fective ways of deploying it.
Cambodia's armed forces are likely to
need a tremendous amount of aid in us-
ing new 'weapons. Until Sihanouk's fall,
the army was almost nonexistant. Troops
now serving in the field generally have
less than a year's experience and are tot-
ally unfamiliar with sophisticated Amer-
ican arms.
THIS MAKES an expansion of the "mili-
tary equipment delivery team" like-
ly as the American commitment rises.
Shortly after the Lon Nol government
came to power last spring, the United
States military aid program totaled $9
million. Soon it increased by $40 million,
then by $50 million and finally by $100
million. In the American embassy in
Pnompenh, the military-political office
has recently jumped from three to nine
with prospects for seven more. Only 16
men are projected for the new "military
equipment delivery team." If this group
is to effectively supervise the use of all
American equipment in Cambodia, it will
need to be expanded almost immediate-
ly.

. .

The Son of Superman

*1

I

t

Letters to The Daily

i

Edgars
To the Daily:
THE Curt Gowdy they all look
alike to me Edgar goes to The
Michigan Daily for calling the San
Diego Rockets the San Diego
Padres.
-Don Anderson, L' '73
Jan. 24
AFSCME strike
To the Daily:
UNIVERSITY WORKERS have
been "organized" in an unorgani-
ized AFSCME union for two years.
In these two years, the wages of
AFSCME, workers have barely
kept up with the cost of living.
Recent months witnessed mara-
thon negotiations between the
University and AFSCME's bar-
,gaining committee, culminating
in last week's abortive strike.
The fact surrounding these ne-
gotiations and' strike activities
suggest that greater union rank
and file militancy could have
achieved large gains but that the
union leadership discouraged such
militancy.
AFSCME has decided to submit
to binding fact-finding by a state-
appointed mediator. This fact-
finingniroce mav tke a month,

to public employees who usually
receive 1 ss pay for doing the same
work than those in private emn-
ployment.
In fact, public authorities can
always find more money for wages
and benefits if they have to Two
weeks ago Chicago's teachers
staged a city-wide strike. The Chi-
cago School Board had already
been running a deficit for thatl
year and the board insisted the
no money at all was available for
wage increases. After the strike,
the teachers' demands were met
and the Board went off to city
and state governments to lobby for
increased appropriations.
Why then did the union agree
to binding fact-finding? It should
be recognized that the union facet:
the threat of state intervention in
the form of a court injunction pro-
hibiting strike activity. An in-
junction could have jailed union
leaders and banned picketting. But
the union leadership, far from
pointing out that workers can
fight injunctions and can win
gains through striking, made clear
its reluctance to engage in a mili-
tant strike.
AT NO TIME during the months
of negotiations did the union lead-
ership inform the membership of
what was happening at the bar-

to go back to work until a new
contract was ratified.
Faced withrsuch militancy, the
leadership did call a strike the
next day but ended it a short two
days later. 'The leadership's failure
to plan for a real strike was re-
flected in the very poor organiza-
tion of the picketting, with some
workers standing in the cold for
hours without relief.
WHEN THE union leadership
ended the strike by agreeing to
binding fact-finding it violated
the mandate of the membership
not to go back to worke until a new
contract was ratified. The union
meeting that was called the next
day to accept or reject the fact-
finding was handled so undemo-
cratically that it was difficult for
those workers who wanted to con-
tinue striking to be heard. Union
President Charles McCracken held
the microphone throughout the
meeting and would not allow any-
one who opposed fact-finding to
use it.
The result was that workers' at-
tempts to shout questions and pie-
sent arguments for continuing the
strike were lost in the noise and
confusion of a large meeting room,
with only the Union President be-
ing heard. The unionavote to ac-
cept fact-finding was approxi-

44

SPECIFIC DEFECTS are spelled out in detail:
"The filthy, sardine-packed cells, the grossly inadequate medical
care, the total lack of exercise facilities, the contaminated food, the
arbitrary, punitive and unlawful summary discipline, and the unlawful
restrictions on visitation, communication, association and privacy."
Also, the suit accuses jail personnel, "including high ranking offi-
cers," of being "overt racists or sadists, or both."
"The damage caused to prisoners by the jail conditions outlives
their stay therein. Long term psychological damage results from
degredation and demoralization secondary to the intense lack of
adequate recreational facilities, the long hours of idleness, the de-
ficient health programs, the almost total denial of contact with the
outside, and the continuing harassment by jail personnel," the
suit continues, "The atmosphere thus created deprives plaintiffs
and their class of all dignity while creating a great possibility of
damage to their mental and emotional well-being.
"Substantial numbers of persons," the suit states, "who would
never plead guilty if they were freedon bond or imprisoned under
tolerable, constitutional conditions do, in fact, plead guilty solely
because of the extraordinary and coercive pressure to get out of
the Wayne County Jail."
As a terrifying testimony to the horrible conditions, 17 inmates
of the jail committed suicide last year - all who were supposedly
'i . ,.no n t n l l /Ar d

I

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