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February 25, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-25

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UrE M tr i!Daly~
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

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.



Credibility for BGS degree

ALTHOUGH IT COMES as a shock to
many faculty members, administra-
tors and students, the phenomenal growth
of the Bachelor in General Studies de-
gree program over the past year should
not really be surprising to anyone.
In fact, the only surprising thing about
it is that it took so long to happen.
Last year, when less than,300 students
were enrolled in the degree program re-
garded by many as inferior because it
lacked the language, distribution and
concentration requirements of the Bach-
elor of Arts, no one felt it necessary to
seek reasons why those students chose
the new program over the BA.
Many people just assumed BGS stu-
dents were "academically inferior". Be-
cause the new degree arose from a stu-
dent struggle to abolish the language re-
quirement, those choosing the program
were commonly' viewed as trying to take
the easy way out, avoiding that require-
ment. In cases where BGS students had
already met the language requirement,
they were labelled "shiftless", and con-
sidered to have no definite field of in-
terest or clear future plans. As a result,
the real merit of the program as a viable
alternative to traditional offerings was
BUT NOW, with the popularity of the
program, its general acceptance by
graduate and professional schools around
the country and the documented evidence
indicating the "academic equality" of
BGS students compared to other LSA
students -those who have been skeptical
of the degree in the past must take no-
And what they should find significant
is that so many students in the literary
college have chosen the BGS degree pro-
gram in the past year in place of more
traditional programs.
Moreover, if they are bothered by that
fact, BGS skeptics must be exceedingly
disturbed at the thought of what the fu-
ture holds: If so many students chose the
program when it was regarded suspic-
iously at best, how many will elect it
now that it has achieved "respectabil-
Whether the eventual BGS figure will
be 15 per cent of the total student pop-
ulation, as predicted by a report on the
BGS presented to the LSA faculty earlier
this month-, or even higher, it is clear that
many students in electing the BGS, are
positively protesting their frustration
with traditional academic requirements
as exemplified by the BA.
THE LSA REPORT, coupled with an ex-
tensive survey of BGS students, in-
dicates that many students elect the pro-
gram for reasons other than an inability
to meet LSA requirements. Indeed, the
report shows that many BGS students
have already completed their regular LSA
requirements. The reasons cited range all
the way from the student's desire to ex-

ercise more control over his courses of
studies, to the avoidance of the L S A
counseling procedure.
There is no doubt that the BGS is used
as an ''escape' by a large number of
students who for one reason or another
cannot or choose not to meet regular
LSA distribution, concentration and es-
pecially language requirements.
But rather than regard such students
as "academically inferior" to regular LSA
students, the skeptics must recognize the
right of students to make such decisions
affecting their education.
It is necessary to realize that the BA
is a traditional academic degree - not
by its nature a superior one. Graduate
and professional schools rightly say that
any kind of degree program has the po-
tential to be helpful or detrimental to the
applicant, depending on what the in-
dividual student chooses to make of the
There is no such thing as a "superior"
or "inferior" degree program. Rather,
there are superior and inferior methods
of operation within the various programs.
FOR SUCH reasons members of the Uni-
versity community should not seek
to abolish the BGS or reduce the require-
ments of the BA. For it is not so neces-
sary to reduce BA requirements as it is to
elevate the BGS to its rightful place of
equality. The two degree programs can,
and should, complement one another.
More important,* in the future stu-
dents must be encouraged to pursue the
degree program which best suits their
education objectives.
It should also be noted that the two
degrees are in no way mutually exclus-
ive. It is quite possible, for example, to
elect a language and.; even pursue a
"concentration program" through the
BGS - thought it would not be record-
ed on a transcript. At the same time, it
is possible to elect broad "arrea" concen-
is possible to elect broad "area" concen-
tration programs through the BA. It is
also possible to receive a BA degree with-
out ever taking a language course at
the University - by completing f o u r
years of language in high school or pass-
ing a proficiency exam.
HOPEFULLY IN the future whatever
stigma is left concerning the BGS
program will be cast aside. The program
must begin to be viewed on its own
terms. It must be seen as a program which
involves the student deeply in his choos-
ing of a curriculum; a program of a
generally less restrictive nature than the
BA, and hence a program geared more
to the personalities of many students.
Such an attitude will go a long way
toward putting the true emphasis of edu-
cation back where it belongs - on the
kind of courses that a student takes,
rather than on the kind he does not.

POWs in
Fourth in a five-part series Weiss exp
WASHINGTON - An elaborate - if remove t.
little quoted - propaganda war was wag- sions of a
ed during 1970 between the United States war. "Sin
and North Vietnam over the names and Vietnames
status of missing and captured Americans. issue is n
At issue was the military's demand that the war. T
the Hanoi government tell which pilots for Christ
were captured. The Pentagon was carrying negotiatec
more than 800 names on its books as either During
captured or missing in North Vietnam. holm inR
Officials had evidence, based on inter- ficial han
rogations from ex-prisoners and o t h e r Committe
sources, that only about 370 men were prisoners
in fact being detained. That meant about names we
430 women were widows; but just who New York
was which was not known at the begin- ignored the
ning of the year. In late
Most Americans considered Hanoi's peace de
failure to supply the lists of prisoners an with the
intolerable breach of international 1 a w. previous li
The North Vietnamese responded, in its complete.;
propaganda broadcasts, by reaffirming its men to th
conviction that the 1949 Geneva Conven- lished it o
tion did not apply to the "war criminal" The Pen
pilots. as "inca
North Vietnam, nonetheless, obviously spokesmar
responding to the growing U.S. pressure, "does not
began supplying the names in a change of forty men
policy. The fact that no U.S. bombs fell tured.' Ou
over the North during 1969 may have made on1
also been a factor.miously rec
The Pentagon, however, spent much of pragn
the year disputing and rejecting the graphsrsre
Hanoi information; a decision that in- cats ider
creasingly upset and distressed the wives have been
and families of missing men. es." Penta
Often, many families were specifically available b
advised by Hanoi that their man was dead, had been
only to be urged by the Pentagon to keep the North
on holding out hope. The net result was a on the N
growing bitterness by many women tow- Those w
ard the military. known to
HERE IS the story of what happened:
In December, 1969, Mrs. Cora Weiss, a A FEW
prominent New York antiwar leader, was who was
permitted to interview three American Committee
pilots during a visit to Hanoi and bring said inA
back to the United States an unprecedent- possible t
ed list of 132 prisoners plus 138 letters.
Mrs. Weiss eventually announced that perhaps a
she and other antiwar leaders had agreed, later turn
at Hanoi's reqeust, to set up a New York people cou
office - known as the Committee of Lia- sisted tha

SUBSEQUENT interview, Mrs.
lained that her purpose was to
;he prisoner issue from discus-
final settlement to the Vietnam
ce May, 1969," she added, "the
se have repeatedly said that the
ot the prisoners - the issue is
These men could have been home
tmas if we were interested in a
d settlement."
an antiwar meeting in Stock-
March, a North Vietnamese of-
nded a representative from the
e of Liaison a list of 335 known
of war in North Vietnam. The
re released by the Committee in
on April 7, but most newspapers
he information.
June, a three-man American
legation returned from Hanoi
incorrect information that the
Ist of 335 American prisoners was
Mrs. Weiss gave the list of 335
he New York Times, which pub-
n June 26, 1970.
ntagon angrily denounced the list
mplete and unacceptable." A
n said that the unofficial list
include the names of at least
whom we carry as being 'cap-
ur official designation has been
the basis of information prev-
eived, including men shown in
da newsreel films, and photo-
eleased by Hanoi, radio broad-
ntification by the nine man who
released, and from other sourc-
gon officials made photographs
to newspapers of .two pilots who
captured and photographed by
Vietnamese but who were not
orth Vietnamese list.
were, in fact, the only two pilots
not be on the Hanoi list.
DAYS LATER, David Dellinger,
serving as co-chairman of the
e of Liaison with Mrs. Weiss,
Milwaukee that "it is entirely
hat there are a few more -
handful (of pilots) - who will
out to be prisoners. Two or three
uld be overlooked." But he in-
t the list of 335 had been con-



"A former high-ranking official explained that one con-
stant American goal was to charge Hanoi with irresponsibil-
ity for as many prisoners as possible. 'I would err on the side
of the number of prisoners they have in North Vietnam'-...
Another official acknowledged that 'in general you can say
many of the pilots are not there, but we're not g o in g to
change anyone's status now. Ha v i n g waited this tlo it g, we
would rather wait until all the men are released'."
""4"::::Y::""r'.4Y 4"F":LY :Y:'.:^:.Y," ".R:: r,::Y ": "":,1"""rrr.Y, ,:LY.Y.y:^:

number of prisoners they have in North
Vietnam," the official, who is a lawyer, ex-
plained. He said that technique amounted
to "thinking ahead" about future prisoner
negotiations at the end of the war.
By this time a few State Department
officials were getting a little concerned
about the growing inability of the wives
and families of the men missing in action
over North Vietnam - not those known.
to be captured - to remain hopeful, as
their men did not appear on any of Hanoi's
"unofficial" lists.
Talking about it a few months later,
one official acknowledged that "in general
you can say many of the pilots are not
there, but we're not going to change any-
one's status now. Having waited this long,
we would rather wait until all the men
are released."
AT THAT POINT, the State Depart-
ment was issuing special mailing permits
for packages to Hanoi every two months to
more than 750 women - although more
than half of them would be mailed in vain.
"I defend our policy," an official said, "The
Pentagon always makes sure the g as 1
know as much as they know."
"The wives know," he added cryptically,
"they know in their heart. And, anyway,
as long as there's an element of uncer-
tainty, who's hurt by .keeping them on
the payroll?"
In November, Mrs. Weiss announced
that the Committee of Liaison had re-
ceived the names of four more men who
were prisoners in North Vietnam, raising
that total of confirmed prisoners to 339.
The list was now described as final and
Mrs. Weiss was unable to explain why
the four names had been left off the list
made available seven months earlier in
Stockholm. But she argued that it must
have been due to a bureaucratic mix-up in
Hanoi and not an attempt - as many of-
ficials in the Pentagon maintained - to
deliberately increase the doubts and suf-
fering of wives and families. The propa-
ganda value of such a maneuver seemed
marginal at best, since two of the four
men left off the earlier list were known
to the Pentagon to be prisoners.
In December Hanoi again attempted to
end the debate in America over "official"
prisoner lists. It compiled a new list, em-
bracing the 339 previously known prison-
ers, 20 prisoners who had died in prison

.'along with information on the dates of
their deaths), and the 9 prisoners who
had been released, for a total listing of
The list was released to Sen. J. W. Ful-
bright, D-Ark., chairman of the Foreign
Relations Committee, and Sen. Edward
M. Kennedy, D-Mass. On Dec. 23, Ken-
nedy released the list at a news confer-
ence without explanation, and after-
noon newspapers around the nation fea-
tured headlines reporting the mistaken in-
formation that Hanoi was now listing 368
pilots as captured.
LOST in the confusion was a statement
issued later in the 'Oay by Fulbright, ad-
vising that the North Vietnamese govern-
ment "now declares this list to be final
and definitive,"
Secretary of State Rogers denounced
the new list as a "contemptible maneu-
ver" calculated to divert attention f r oim
what he said was Hanoi's failure to com-
ply with international law and the ele-
ments of human decency. He added that
the North Vietnamese were "attempting
to divert attention from their barbarism"
by producing the new information,
At the Paris peace talks that day, how-
ever, Ambassador David 1ruce, who had
replaced Lodge, changed tactics in mid-
stream and suddenly began berating the
Viet Cong for its treatment of American
prisoners held in South Vietnam, which he
claimed by "disgraceful." He pointed out
that the prisoners in the South, had not
been identified.
There was no mention Qf the new list
provided by Hanoi and Bruce handled that
problem by ignoring it. His opening state-
ment simply did not contain the stand-
ard American demand for such a list.
BY THE END of the year, many govern-
ment officials privately acknowledged that
Hanoi's list was probably accurate, al-
though there was no attempt to legally
change the status of missing men.
For some o the young wives of miss-
ing men, the Pentagon's actions in refusing
to accept the Hanoi list - delivered as it
was through antiwar groups - only in-
creased the bitterness. The women had
long been angry at North Vietnam for its
violation of international law in not re-
leasing the names, but by 1971 the Penta-
gon, too, had become a ta::get of anger.
@ Reporters News Service



ison - to serve as a relay point for mail
and other communication between the
captured pilots and their families. There
was to be no official communication be-
tween the Hanoi and Washington govern-
ments; neither country had ever formally
declared war on the other.
Officials in Washington quickly deni-
grated Mrs. Weiss' information, saying
that the letters brought in by the women
indicated that only four men previously
classified as "missing in action" were
alive in North Vietnam.
Mrs. Weiss also returned with the names
of five dead prisoners, but did not make
them public - instead turning them over
to the State Department for relay to
the families. The informal word that the
men were dead did not satisfy the pri-
soner of war section of the Pentagon,
and wives of the five men were told that
the Navy was planning to continue to
list their husbands as missing in action,
since they had no official reason for
changing their status.

firmed three times by the Americans while
in Hanoi.
The Pentagon's public assurances that
its information showed at least 40 more
men being held by the North Vietnamese
contrasted sharply with the much more
skeptical view given privately to me later
by many personnel who were connected
with the POW process.
One source said more than 20 of a total
of 376 listed by the Pentagon as cap-
tured as of June 26, 1970, were men about
whom the military had only third-person
hearsay evidence.
"They were men who have been heard
about, but not seen," the source said, add-
ing that many of the surnames were one-
or two-syllable ones that would be easy
to conjure up.
A former high-ranking official explained
in a separate interview that one constant
American goal was to charge Hanoi with
irresponsibility for as many prisoners as
possible. "I would err on the side of the



The role of black chauvinism


the Movement

- .

TI a
sfv'vm: L 7
i }

To The Daily:
DAVE WESLEY, president of
BSU, has made it clear to the rad-
ical community that his use of the
term "faggot" was not a slip of
the tongue. After appropriate pub-
lic criticism by Jonathan M ilter
he has chosen to react with blat-
ant chauvinist anger. I had hoped
he would have had the decency
and humanity, but above all the
courage to apologize publicly for
the public use of such language.
We aretalong way past the point
where the use of the term "nig-
ger" by a white would be regard-
ed as anything but stone racism.
Besides re-iterating the term
faggot, there are three other points
in his letter which cannot pass.
1. The chauvinist use of t h e
term "balls" as a rough synonym
for courage. My experience in and
out of the movement suggests that
if courage is a sex-linked trai at
all then you better start using the
word "ovaries"; because women.
black women most of all, seem to
have courage, i.e. the ability to
persist in the face of constant ad-
2. Does the phrase "as Allah in-

ley has real courage he will pub-
licly retract that threat.
the white liberals have faded from
the scene, revolutionary blacks
cannot expect public silence from
white radicals and revolutionai jes,
when they act in a counter-revo-
lutionary fashion: "To hear in-
correct views without rebutting
them, even to hear counter-revo-
lutionary remarks . . . This is a
type of Liberalism."
Finally, there is a proper target
for anger: Fleming and the Re-
gents. If, as Wesley says, the Re-
gent's proposal is a "smokescreen"
for "murder and genocide of all
oppressed people," then I call on
Wesley and the BSU to lead a mil-
i t a n t uncompromising struggle
against that policy. Jonathan Mil-
ler is your comrade. Let's get it
together and fight the real enemy
not each other.
-Peter H. Denton
Feb. 24
To The Daily:
ial "Insulting Homosexuals" (Dai-

Inauthentic. Hypocritical. Rac-
ist. It is black homosexuals and
women who are authentically and
effectively struggling against sex-
ism in the Black Liberation Move-
ment. For Miller and The Daily
to attempt to pit the force of white
public" opinion in the academic
community against Wesley's sex-
ism is patent racist foolishness
and viciously reactionary. Until
white America in whole and in
part is totally committed to de-
stroy white racist U.S. imperialist
oppression and exploitation :,f the
peoples of the entire world, we
will not be in a position to in-
struct any black people in t h e
terms of liberation.
If Miller and the Daily were au-
thentic in their opposition to rac-
ism and sexism, they might have
started long ago and much closer
to home, for a start with them-
selves, the University and Ann Ar-
bor ...
IT WOULD BE impossible to re-
count the opportunities for s rug-
gle "overlooked" by Miller and
The Daily in the last year alone.
Technically poor, badly informed
and reactionary coverage :f the
Black Economic Development Lea-

that is the framework and basis
of their attack on Wesley and the
-George dePue
ARM, bisexual
Feb. 24
To The Daily:
geois nuclear family perpetuates
the false categories of hom.xsex--
ality and hetrosexuality by creat-
ing sex roles . . . All oppressions
originate within the nuclear fam-
ily structure. Homosexuality is a
threat to the family structure and
therefore to capitalism. The moth-
er is an instrument of reproduc-
tion and teaches t h e necessary
values of a capitalist society, i c.
racism, sexism etc. from infancy
on. The father physically enforc-
es (upon the mother and childi en,'
the behaviour necessary in a cap-
italist system . . ." Quoted from
the Third World Gay Revolution
platform, Detroit Gay Liberator
Feb. 1971.
Dave Wesley's letter F e b. 24
Daily) raises serious questions a
to how different revaiutoth-ry
groups are going to face e~ach oth-

if it does, if gay people are to be
marched into concentration camps
and tortured, if any group is to
be exploited then we wonder how
we can relate to the 'new' revolu-
This means that as many of us
homosexuals are white, we must
deal with our racism in :evolu-
tionary style; we must be open to
criticism from all other revolu-
tionary groups who are moving
toward liberation. So must peopie
of color who have either maal or
heterosexual privilege question
those forms of abuse which have
been imbued in all of us by the
present society.
-Revolutionary Lesbians
Food services
To The Daily:
WE WOULD like to know why
all the dormitories do not have
the same board arrangements.
Residents of the Lawyers Club pay
70 cents more board per day than
other dormitories do, but it does
not seem that this would cover the
extra dining privileges they are al-
lowed. For instance, we understand
they have steak once a week. They

EWE Ii M5~ (~ ~

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