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April 06, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-04-06

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e tr gan t
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

stained glass paper
SGC, the First Amendment and The Daily
by rorct k raftowiitz


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.



Military research mandate

THE ISSUE of University war research
has surfaced again. Only a month af-
ter Senate Assembly essentially reaffirm-
ed its present policy - following a week-
long fast by students and faculty mem-
bers - students have overwhelmingly
voted in favor of two Student Govern-
ment Council referenda which call on the
University to end all military and classi-
fied research.
The SGC constitution binds Council
to act in accord with the views of stu-
dents as expressed in any referendum
which appears on the SGC ballot. Thus,
despite the election of four conservatives
- who would keep such research on
campus - Council should act to imple-
ment the mandate of the students on this
COUNCIL SHOULD lobby with faculty
members, perhaps renewing the fast,
to convince Assembly to reconsider the
research issue at their regular A p r i l
meeting. For in view of the overwhelming
student vote, and its own close decision
last month, Assembly can no longer make
any pretense to reflect campus opinion
if it simply ignores the wishes of everyone
save a handful of its own members.
Indeed, the results of last week's elec-
tions bear out the depths of student op-
position to war research. The turnout re-
flects a wide and impressive sampling of
the student body: not only did a compara-
tively large, number of students v o t e
(a quarter of the student body compared
to the usual one-eighth) but four con-
servatives were elected, conservative pre-
sidential candidate Bill Thee made a
strong showing; and a fair number of
Rackham students voted for their new
Hence, in view of the unusual electorate
which approved the referenda, they must
be granted extraordinary credibility as
indicators of student opinion.
BUT BEYOND war research is the ques-
tion of the validity of SGC referenda.

Traditionally, the administration h a s
ignored Council's referenda, claiming they
represent only the views of a minority of
students. While this is undoubtedly true,
it applies to general elections as well, in
which only the interested persons take
the trouble to vote. To expect a majority
of citizens to vote in an election is un4
realistic. Elections for the University Re-
gents, for example, do not necessarily re-
flect the views of a majority of the
people of Michigan, yet the administra-
tion acknowledges these results.
Moreover, the referenda give students
the opportunity to express their v i e w s
through legitimate channels; and there-
fore it is only hypocritical for the admin-
istration to charge that any extralegal
efforts to press an issue are "illegitimate"
when it is the administration's very re-
fusal to respect these referenda which
makes more militant action necessary.
Looking back to the bookstore issue,
for example, the administration ignored
students' overwhelming vote for a stu-
dent-controlled bookstore and w o u1 d
honor a similar referendum months later
only when the Regents had first agreed
to the concept of a student-dominated
board controlling the store. Likewise, the
administration would not be bound by the
results of a referenda last spring in which
students voted to assess themselves $5
as part of the Martin Luther King Fund
to help finance the Black Action Move-
ment demands.
It is thus imprudent to expect the ad-
ministration to in any way support the
referenda; the only hope is to persuade
faculty members to reconsider the is-
And if the SGC plaints are not heeded
by Assembly, then no one should ques-
tion the validity of the confrontation
which could ensue. Legal channels a r e
only efficient when they are respected by
all participants. In this case, the stu-
dents have acted in good faith to the
limit of their own resources.

T HE DAILY, like all newspapers, has al-
ways cherished its freedom from being
controlled by the institutions it reports cn
and evaluates in its columns each day.
This principle was adopted by the Regents
in 1968, when they delegated to the Senior
Editors the authority to determine this
newspaper's editorial content.
Three years later, however, The Daily is
experiencing the first attempt at curtailing
its independence, an attempt being pursued
not by the administration or the Regents,
but oddly enough, by Student Government
On February 24. SGC amended its elec-
tion code by adding a rule which sought to
govern the conduct of The Daily during
campus-wide elections.
THE THRUST of the rule is innocent
enough. It stipulates that The Daily and any
other publication making endorsements of
candidates in the election must allow enough
time between the printing of the endorse-
ments and the election so that those candi-
dates not endorsed can respond. In addi-
tion, it states that The Daily must allow
fair and equal space in its columns for any
responses that are submitted.
On hearing of the rule, the Senior Editors
were unified in recognizing that the sug-
gestions were quite sound and certainly
well-intended. For if The Daily's Editorial
Page is to truly provide a forum for the
voicing of various viewpoints on issues at
the University, it could be greatly enhanced
if it allowed adequate time and space for
responses to its endorsements.
And hopefully, this space would be used
not only by candidates not endorsed, but by
any candidatewho felt his position and
qualifications had not been properly re-
flected in The Daily.
THUS, it is not the content of the SGC re-
gulation that is disturbing. Of greater con-
cern is the precedent it sets for allowing
SGC to makes rules governing the content
of The Daily. While the Senior Editors will
continue to adopt ideas which would improve
their service to the community, it is quite
another matter for The Daily, or any other

newspaper, to be restricted by a body on
which that newspaper must independently
report,'comment, and provide constructive
The freedom of a newspaper to remain
independent of existing governmental au-
thority has always been recognized as an
important element of a democratic society.
Without editorial freedom, no newspaper
could effectively fulfill its role to indepen-
dently zeport onthe activities of those in
positions of authority.
Every democratic society has considered
it essential that the public be served by a
press which cannot be restricted by poli-
ticians, or political bodies. Armed with this
freedom, newspapers become the most im-

columns or to set any precedent which might
later lead to such restrictions.
And they, like The Daily, are indeed on
good legal grounds. For nearly 200 years,
the First Amendment of the U.S. Consti-
tution, the supreme law of this land, has
prohibited any legislative body from mak-
ing a rule or law which restricts the free-
dom of a newspaper to independently deter-
mine what shall be stated in its columns
and when it shall be stated.
IT WAS arguments such as these that
convinced the Regents in 1968 to grant edi-
torial freedom to The Daily. It is ironic that
now, after having gained recognition of this
basic right by a governing body which most

Every democratic society has considered it essential that
the public be served by a press which cannot be restricted
by politicians or political bodies. Armed with this freedom,
newspapers become the most important check, and some-
times the only check on the powers that be.
:1w"::::::1:. "net iimima sisasit es aa i t r . ": n::". :: ".":1:n: ::: r:.1".".""v :."11Jisass masa sess sses

paper or any publication to handle election
recommendations. But for all the obvious
reasons, we would be acting irresponsibly
if we did not oppose the establishment of
any precedent that allows The Daily's edi-
torial freedom to be restricted.
It is the hope of the Senior Editors that
SGC will recognize our sincerity in adopt-
ing the thrust of its new rule. But Council
members should also understand the danger
which the rule itself represents, and act
to remove it from the election code.
REGARDLESS OF what action SGC takes
in this matter, we feel compelled to point
out that we consider freedom of the press
so important to the University community
that we are prepared to rely on the appro-
priate sections of the Regents bylaws to
insure that this freedom is not abridged.
Under these sections, the Senior Editors
are empowered to determine the editorial
content of The Daily and to appoint their
successors. The Daily's financial affairs are
under the purview of the Board for Student
Publications, a legal corporation composed
of three students, three facultysmembers,
and three professional journalists.
These complete but divided powers carry
with them a responsibility on the part of the
Senior Editors and the board to exercise
them, hopefully, with wisdom.
In view of the Regents action, we ask
SGC to recognize that their efforts to gain
jurisdiction over The Daily would not only
be undemocratic, but would also be illegiti-
mate in the context of University govern-
Thus, while the Senior Editors, continue
to support the authority of SGC as the ap-
propriate governing body for students at the
University, we cannot, as representatives
of The Daily, recognize the legality of any
proceedings relating to the content of this
WE ONLY seek, to safeguard a right which
was won three years ago and, without
which, we would be considerably ham-
pered in our service to the University


portant check, and sometimes the only
check on the powers-that-be.
And it is only when a newspaper's edi-
torial freedom is curtailed, or there is the
threat of a curtailment, that governing
bodies are able to act without answering to
the public.
Thus, while newspapers can accept the
legitimacy of the governing structure in
which they operate, none will be as irre-
sponsible as to surrender its independence
to such a governing structure.
BY WAY of analogy, the New York Times,
the Detroit Free Press, and the Muskegon
Chronicle all will support the legitimacy of
the City Councils of New York City, De-
troit, and Muskegon, respectively; as well
as the authority of the New York and Mich-
igan Legislatures; and certainly, the powers
of the United States Congress.
But they have fought, and will continue
to fight, any attempt by these bodies to
control the information that appears in their

frequently feels it is treated unfairly by The
Daily, a student government is seeking to
remove this freedom.
It is important to recall that The Daily
has for years been one of the strongest sup-
porters of the proposition that Student
Government Council should stand as the
legitimate body exercising authority in
areas which are the concernsof students
at the'University.

Editorially, we have fought
with SGC in this regard, and
have won many concessions.

side by side
together, we

But the mere fact that The Daily editorial-
ly supports the authority of SGC with re-
spect to individual students, student groups,
and student organization should not prevent
it from arguing against such authority be-
ing placed upon its own operation.
WE BELIEVE, and will continue to be-
lieve, that the thrust of the SGC rule is
sound, and a judicious way for this news-


From an altar of reason speaketh the Klan

Supporting Campaign GM

IN A LITTLE over two weeks, the Regents
will again face the issue of how to
vote the University's 29,105 shares of
General Motors stock.
Traditionally the University has sup-
ported the management of companies in
which it owns stock on routine questions
such as the election of directors and audi-
tors recommended by the firm. This pol-
icy should not now be used to preclude
University -support for three proposals
submitted by Campaign GM, a national
organization trying to reform the auto
Campaign GM's proposals attempt to
make the corporation more socially re-
sponsible by reforming its structure. Pro-
posal one requires GM to list on its proxy
all candidates for the Board of Directors
nominated by shareholder petitions. Only
candidates nominated by management
are listed now.
PROPOSAL TWO would give some of
GM's constituencies a badly needed
voice in the corporation. Although em-
ployes, dealers and consumers are great-
ly affected by the decisions of the Board
of Directors, they usually have no re-
presentation at its meeting. Under the
Campaign GM plan, however, employes,
dealers and first-hand owners of GM
vehicles would be permitted to nominate
and elect their own representatives to the
board. Although the constituencies' can-
didates would have to be approved by the
shareholders, the plan would still g i v e
these currently disenfranchised groups at
least a limited voice in company delib-
Proposal three requires GM to publish
in its annual report each year "reason-
ably detailed descriptions" of new tech-
niques in controlling pollution, an ex-
planation of attempts to recall defective
vehicles, specific data on employment and
attempts to design new transportation
If the stockholders should pass t h I s
proposal, therefore, the public w o u 1 d
gain access to much vital information
about the company's operations. Up to

cent of the nation's air pollution. As a
manufacturer of almost half the cars on
the road, GM is responsible for about 20
per cent of the country's air pollution.
And the company's real approach to
fighting this pollution is exposed by its
resistance to the passage of stringent
legal standards in the near future. When
Congress considered the Administration-
supported Clean Air Act of 1970 1 a s t
year, GM strongly opposed it.
Similarly, the company's public rela-
tions efforts have misrepresented its real
stance toward hiring minority groups.
Although GM's advertisements may
show a picture of a black dealer, they fail
to mention what a small percentage of
the company's employes really are non-
whites. Only 12 of GM's 13,000 dealers
are black. Among the top 56 executives,
Director Leon Sullivan, who was appoint-
ed after pressure from Campaign GM last
year, is the only black.
THESE AND other questions about t h e
corporation's policies, which are rais-
ed by Campaign GM, have been ignored
too long. Now the University has a chance
to make up for its years of its automatic
support of management by voting its
proxies in favor of all three Campaign
GM proposals. These are not attempts to
destroy the company or reduce its com-
petitive position. In fact, Proposal three
allows the Board to withhold information
that would put GM at a "competitive dis-
advantage", providing an explanation is
Unfortunately, the Regents have decid-
ed to discuss the Campaign GM propos-
als during the closed session of t h e i r
April meeting. But this move, which will
insure that the decision will be made
solely by the University's conservative in-
vestment officers, is a regrettable one in
two ways.
First of all, it practically insures that
the Regents will once again vote their
shares in favor of the management. Se-
cond, it can only indicate that the Re-
gents are unresponsive to inputs from
the rest of the community as far as the

'THE GRAND Dragon Liveth!"
proclaimed a poster on the
door of the Lutheran Students
Chapel on Hill and Forest. And
hundreds flocked to see him. The
Grand Dragon of the Michigan
Klavern of the Ku Klux Klan
spoke to a group at the chapel last
night. The hundreds left angry,
disappointed and confused.
Robert E. Miles, ex-Grand Drag-
on of the Michigan Klan turned
out to be a moderate Klansman.
And many of the students in at-
tendance at his speech were dis-
appointed. Most had come to listen
to a man preaching hatred a n d
hangings, screaming of the vir-
tues of the "blue-eyed devils" who
rode across the-country on fiery
stallions wearing their white sheet
and hoods. Instead they heard a
man who spoke not of lynchings,
but of cultural revolution and lib-
eral hypocrisy. And he wore a
grey suit, white shirt and tie rath-
er than a tailored sheet. The aud-
ience was astounded. Who had
ever heard of a moderate Klans-
MILES, who resigned his p o s t
of Grand Dragon last year, is now
Imperial Klud of the Klan. "It's
the office of chaplain, to be more
specific." he said. "I feel that in
this post I am of more value. I
prefer to do educational work and
Miles, a grey-haired man with
a neatly-trimmed mustache, began
by giving a brief history of the
Klan as it dated back to the moun-
tains of Scotland, where the cross
was first burned as a symbol of
the secret society. Milesexplained
that his references for the Klan's
history were various newspapers
and periodicals found by Klans-
men doing research on their own
past. "We have beenattempting
for a. long time to tell the truth
to all people who read the g a r-
bage printed about us in history
books and portrayed in the mov-
Continuing with his presenta-
tion, Miles spoke of Klan rituals-

cross-burnings, hoods and robes-
and what the Klan is attempting
to accomplish with its programs
today. He spoke of liberal hypo-
crisy when dealing with integra-
tion, of their "preaching-without-
practicing." And he told of the
Klan's attitudes towards drugs,
Black Nationalism, gun traffick-
ing, and Federal harrassment.
"THERE IS a school of thought
in the Klan that says that all
drugs, all of them, should be made
available to doctors on a pre-
scription basis." he explained.
"But anyone caught pushing to
promote membership in a cult
or for personal gain should be
The idea smacked a bit of soc-
ialism, and some of the more poli-
tically-oriented members of the
audience cheered. Others jeered.
But Miles remained calm and pa-
On Black Nationalism. Miles
told of his conferences with Milton
Henry and other members of the
Republic of New Africa. And he
said that Klan was willing to
make a deal with the RNA. "They
take the five southern states." he
said. "Good. We'll take the seven
mountain states. We'll leave the
liberals, the integrationists a n d
everyone else to have all the rest.
Then we'll sit u in the mountains
and go back to the old way of
lving. It may sound anarchistic,
if you'll pardon the expression, but
this is the only way this country
will survive. If the individual
riohts are Oiven free reign and
options are presented."
More leanings to the left. One of
the students said that this tie
between the rig'ht and the left
"freaked him out." And others in
the audience were beginning to
feel the same way. What was this
guy anyway?
tinued and told them. This "move,
the the mountains" deal with the
RNA would allow a man to choose
his mode of living. He would have
three options. He could e i t h e r


-Daily-Tom Gottlieb

move to the southern states and
live with the RNA. Or he could
climb up the mountains and settle
comfortably with the Klan. Or
he could stay and fight an im-
possible battle for integration in
the rest of the country. W h y
"the impossible battle for inte-
gration?" Because that's what it
is, explained Miles.
Miles complained that the Klan
was constantly painted as myster-
ious creatures involved in a vast
program of gun traffic. He said
that this is one of the Federal
government's "big hang-ups"
about the Klan.
"They assume that we're out
buying all the artillery and all the
heavy stuff around," he said.
"Why buy it? We can go down to
the National Guard Armory and
take it when we need it." He ex-
plained that the Klan knew that
someone was always maintaining
the guns, not letting them rust.
They knew that someone "was
cleaning them and keeping them
The audience was delighted, and
roared with laughter.
Miles' voice went suddenly ser-
ious. "It's funny and we're making
a little joke," he said. "But no per-
son in this room should be laugh-
ing. Because it's the Klan today,
it's the Black Panthers today. But
who's going to say that it's not
the Lutheran Students League or
some other group tomorrow? Be-
mi P fhP . Pnln~.1 ilis ,he1i.v' Il"

is centered for the most part in
Livingston County - along with
the John Birch Society - and
that it has been plagued with a
continual pattern of harrassment
and surveillance by the F e d e r a 1
"We have been told that we, in
the State of Michigan, have 1600
work hours expended on us by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
every year," he explained with a
smile. "Well, if that's the c a s e ,
they're short on work and over-
populated in the Bureau."
AGAIN, a point that ties t he
Klan to the similarly-harrassed
,Miles finished his speech and
opened the session to questions.
One member of the audience, forc-
ed to listen outside of an open
window because of the crowd, asked
Miles what he knew about the
recent Willow Run tar-and-fea-
thering incident.
The student explained that a
Willow Run high school principal
was recently tarred-and-feather-
ed by several men wearing b l a c k
hoods that resembled part of the
Klan's uniform.
"I don't know anything about
that, to be honest with you," he
said. "I'd have to see the police
He admitted that the, Klan dis-
agreed with many high school
principals in the area. "But I don't

allowed membership in the Klan?
"Are there any blacks in the
Klan? I don't know," Miles said,
calmly and easily. "We have people
in the organization who are very
dark-skinned.We have people in
July and August who look like they
just moved from the Black Pan-
thers." He laughed momentarily.
This time the audience did not
laugh with him.
thought about Jews and conditions
in Israel. His answer surprised
many people.
"They are our best example of
what separation and segregation
can produce in the way of inter-
nal strength, of morality and of
drive for existence," he said.
But he didn't say that a Jew
would be allowed membership in
the Klan. He didn't come right
out and say anything that the
audience wanted him to say. He
just smoothlyusailed around the
intimidating questions and gave
ambivalent answers that had to
be let by. And no one in attend-
ance could resist the temptation to
feel this nice-guy moderate right-
ist-leftist Grand Dragon was real-
ly the hood-wearing, red-necked
stereotyped Klansman in disguise.
And soon the session with the
Imperial Klud, ex-Grand Dragon
Robert E. Miles, came to an end.
Many of the members of the
crowd left scratching their heads



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