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September 24, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-24

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A4r £fidPtzn Daily
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Presidential commissions are for presidents
rb ier mmmmm

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.



Abortion counseling at the 'U'

FEW ISSUES facing the people of the
state of Michigan or the members of
the University community are life and
death issues. Abortion counseling is one
such issue.
It is thus comforting, and at the same
time exciting, to realize that there are
official representatives of the University
using their expertise a n d resources to
deal with the issue.
For the past two years, if not longer, a
quiet group of University and community
professional persons have been operating
an underground abortion counseling-re-
ferral service. Professors' wives, psychol-
ogy teaching fellows, Health Service per-
sonnel, local doctors, and clergymen, have
worked hand in hand to make their ex-
pertise and knowledge available to preg-
nant young women. It is impossible to say
just how many improper abortions have
been avoided or how many women have
been saved from suicide or the shame and
guilt of an unwanted, illegitimate preg-
With the aid of the Michigan Clergy
for Problem Counseling, the Ann Arbor
underground has begun to surface. Bob
Hauert, Program Director of the Univer-
sity's Office of Religious Affairs (ORA),
has begun to make the counseling service
more visible, and. consequently, more
available to women who need to use it.
It is often the case that young women,
finding themselves accidently tpregnant,
become paralyzed by first, a fear of con-

fiding their problem and, second, an in-
decision caused by an ignorance of all
available alternatives.
In making the ORA abortion counsel-
ing process available and publicized, Bob
Hauert and his team will help to solve
both of these problems.
YET THEY FACE a problem themselves.
Abortion counseling i§ a delicate pro-
position in Michigan, which bans all
abortions save those necessary to save the
life of a mother. It is generally accepted
that those in the ORA are operating on
the fringe, if not outside of, the laws of
the state.
In order that the clergymen and doc-
tors. of our society can perform their jobs
and discuss with pregnant women the im-
plications of their situation, and'alterna-
tive solutions to it, the laws of the state
of Michigan should be changed. Abortion
should be matter of decision for the wo-
man alone, performed, if desired, by a
competent professional physician under
sanitary conditions. }
Popular demonstration of support for
such a measure may provide the needed
margin for passage of such legislation ire
the next legislative session. Work for it.
It can be your way of telling Bob Hauert,
and the many like him, how much we ap-
preciate their dedication.
Editorial Page Editor

ANOTHER BLUE RIBBON group, the President's Com-
mission on Campus Unrest, is sinking slowly into'the
sunset. Following the many precedents established over
the past few years, it has faded from the news and the
public mind as the time and distance between the ini-
tiating event, Kent State, et al, have increased.
However, the Commission did.surface yesterday, al-
though briefly, in a story telling of President Nixon's
request for 1,000 more FBI agents to help investigate
campus bombings. The Associated Press did it like this:
"NBC News reported last night that Nixon did not
consult his Commission on Campus Unrest before an-
nouncing his proposal."
What kind of news is that? By now it should be com-
mon knowledge that presidential commissions are only
intended to solve the President's problems and no one
else's. The tactic works wonderfully well, and for lesser
executive types as well as Presidents.
A typical commission will begin with what is euphe-
mistically termed "a national tragedy." The three which
come most readily to mind are the riots of summer 1967
(t h e Kerner report), Robert Kennedy's -assassination j
(the Eisenhower report) and the Cambodia-Kent State-}
Jackson State sequence (the President's Commission on
Campus Unrest).
The next step is The Grand Announcement. As the
nation reels in the psychic shock of the event, accusa-
tions are flying, literally, left and right, many of them
landing on-the President himself. Within a few days, The
Word comes down that a dozen or so famous people are
going to form a committee at the President's request to
determine the cause of the tragedy and recommend so-
THERE ARE TWO advantages which accrue imme-
diately to the President. First, since to most people the
event is inexplicable, there is the reassurance that Some-
thing is being done and they need not worry any further,
if, indeed, they had been. That reassurance of the per-
plexed is important in that it provides the President with
a base for dealing with his less-easily mollified critics. If

their attacks on him continue, he can always counter by
saying, "But we ARE doing something about it." After
that, if they still fail to be silenced, someone can always
label them "troglodytic leftists" or something esoteric
and things tend to quiet down.
Through the weeks and months which follow, more
subtle forces come into play. At first, while the memories
are still fresh in the public mind, reports appear almost
daily in the national media. So-an-so famous expert
testifies before commission; commission member makes
statement; hearings convened at new location.
Gradually, though, the reports lessen until they fade
from the scene entirely, save for incidental- emergencies
such as the one on Wednesday. It is now that the Presi-
dent's greatest psychological ally comes into play - peo-
ple's natural desire to forget anything distasteful. Secure
in the belief that Something is being done, they feel
freed from any obligation to worry about the events or
what they might indicate.
WHEN THE ACTUAL report finally comes out, it may
be six or more months later. There is usually little fan-
fare and the dim memories of the majority of people on
all levels works to the President's advantage, whatever,
the reaction. If the report attacks him, either directly or
indirectly, he can claim the conclusions were incorrectly
drawn, impugn the motives of the commission members
or ignore it. If it supports him (which has yet to really
happen) those who criticize the report will find the
President claiming their conclusions w e r e incorrectly
drawn, impugning their motives, or ignoring them.
The last option in both cases is "ignore," and in the
end, that is what happens to any report. President John-
son was overpowering in his charge to the Kerner Com-
mission, using phrases like "leave no stone unturned in
your search" and "do not let partisan considerations in-
terfere." (Then, when it came out and said there was
white racism, hate, violence and other ills in the body
politic, LBJ angrily shelved it.
Mayor Daley dealt even more severly with the Turner
Commission report on the Democratic Convention in

Chicago. Not only did he villify Turner and the rest of
the commission, but went to the trouble of beatingsthem
to the punch with his own movie on national television.
The end result is that the President, or some other
executive, has rallied his support forces, undercut and
defamed the opposition and given some publishing com-
pany the chance to make a few dollars by bringing the
report out in paperback form, complete with 20 pages of
THE WHOLE PROBLEM is somewhat parallel to a
suspected embezzler asking a group of top law officials
to make an extensive investigation of his records. A vio-
lent incident of national impact is merely the symptom
of very deep and pervasive social ills in the nation. To
have a Presidential commission, which is an extension
of the President himself, expose those ills is a blatant
self-contradiction.-The President, whoever he is, realizes
this from the onset and therefore is dishonest from the
onset when he leads anyone to believe that something
will be done.
That sort of thinking, however, is not unique to our
current leader. Admissions of error by presidents are ex-
tremely rare, and aside from the events which led to
them, are majorhnews stories in themselves., isenhow-
er's apology to Kruschev for the U-2 incident and Ken-
nedy's statements after the Bay of Pigs disaster are the
two notable incidents of recent times, and it is signifi-
cant that those both were international, rather than do-
mestic, issues,
AS THE LEVEL of violence in this country /continues
to rise, with a subsequent proliferation .of Presidential
commissions, their uselessness will finally begin to dawn
on larger and larger numbers of people. Whether that
holds any hope or not is debateable. Those who have al-
ready rejected such studies are immediately branded as
"pusillanimous pussy-footers" and accused of "rejecting
the systems we have in America for peaceful dissent and
That's right, gentlemen.



Working with churches

for reparations

If apathy is what the people want.. .

OOD PEOPLE everywhere will feel an.
immediate revulsion at the U n i t e d
States decision Tuesday to lift its embargo
on armament shipments to the military
junta in Greece.
The U.S., they will say, is perpetuating
another dictatorship out of military
paranoia. (The decision was based on
Greece's importance to NATO amid the
strengthening of Soviet naval power in
the Mediterranean.) Opponents w il1
charge that, nevertheless, the U.S. could
do worse than permit the coming of the
Russians and is doing worse by supporting
a government which cares neither for
liberty nor civil rights, and is denying
the freedoms of the many.
These critics are, however, assuming that
Editorial Sta
Editorial Director Managing Editor
NADINE COHODAS .......... Feature Editor
JIM NEUBACHER .. Editorial Page Editor
ROB BIER.............Associate Managing Editor
LAURIE HARRIS......... ... . . Arts Editor
JUDY KAHN. Personnel Director
DANIEL ZWERDLING........M.....agazine Editor
ROBERT CONROW .......... ........Books Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Dave Chudwin. Erika Hoff. Stevek
Koppman, Robert Kraftowitz, Iynn Weiner
Chaney, Steve Koppman, Pat Mahoney, Rick
COPY EDITORS: Tammy Jacobs, Larry Lempert, Jim
McFersonR Hester Pulling, Carla Rapoport, Debbie
Thai. Harvard valiance
Cleply; Mark Dillen, Sara Fitzgerald, Art Lerner,
Jonathan Miller, Hannah Morrison, M i c h a e l
Schneck, Bob Schreiner, W. E. Schrock, Edward
Business Staff
IAN G. WRIGHT, Business Manager
AdministrativeAdv. Mgr. Sales Manager
VITA GOLDSTEIN Staff Coordinator
M4ARK WALFISH . .. .. .. Personnel
AMY COHEN ......... Finance Manager
DAVID BELL .. ........ .. . Circulation Manager

a libertarian government is what the
citizens want. Before excoriating a gov-
ernment for denying liberties, it. would
be good to consider whether the citizens
even care.
People generally give little concern for
the policies of their government: it's the
damn politicians again, they laugh off,
and the government's okay if it doesn't
interfere with their job,,with their lives.-
JT IS not so wrong that the people are
denied every right in the book or
that the government is run by dictators
when the people don't really care about
their rights, nor the absence of demo-
The junta should, of course, give the
people the opportunity to vote in a free
election and make the "free" choice for
apathy. Then one could certainly say that
if the people "favor" indifference, so be
But it is doubtful even then whether
the people would eject the junta (they
might feel temporarily satisfied with con-
ditions) or whether many would even
vote. One suspects that material concerns
would - rightly or wrongly - supercede
all else and,- that apathy is the rule in
politics, no matter what the government.
Perhaps what the critics should be-
moan, if they really care for the people,
are the things for which people actually
care: material matters like wealth, better
housing and education for, the children.
That doesn't mean excluding the hope
that the Greeks will someday care about
establishing a more democratic govern-
ment. It merely means realizing that this
goal involves a supreme value judgment,
favoring freedom, a value with which
others may agree or simply shrug off po-

Daily Guest Writer
LAST NOVEMBER, following the
examples set in New York,
blacks presented reparation de-
mands in the form of a "Black
Manifesto" read in the pulpits of
various area churches. The list
was long and the demands, often
vague, were centered not on im-
provement of the poor in Wash-
tenaw County (that was one issue
in the pverall picture) but on a
much broader political base -
national as well as local. It dealt
with black status, and within that
framework fell the demand for
increased help and self-determin-
ation for the poor of .Washtenaw
AprilCsaw the formation of the
Washtenaw County Black Econo-
mic Development League (BEDL),
disillusioned with Washtenaw,
County welfare agencies, and de-
termined to aggressively deal with
the situation. The County Wel-
fare Rights Organization (WRO)
soon joined the effort.
These groups joined, claiming
to be the "sole" legitimate repre-
sentatives of the poor in Wash-
tenaw County, and the only agen-
cies through which funds should
go. The claim bases its strength
on the make-up of both groups'
board; both are dominated by
welfare mothers. It is the only
board in the County to have such
a "self-help" arrangement, placing
welfare mothers in the controlling
Soon to follow was the Aug.
19 occupation and sit-in at the
First Presbyterian Church which
was escalated to a worship serv-
ice disruption the next Sunday,
Aug. 23. These tactics were ex-
panded to include a number of
other churches.
Seeking additional funds and
support (manpower), BEDL and
WRO representatives came to the
Sept. 16 Student Government
Council meeting. They requested
$100 for an "educational campaign
for the purpose of increasing the
awareness {of the student body on
the issues raised by the BEDL
and WRO and to gain support for
those groups." With tht appeal
for student support in mind, a
need is created for informative
decisions on our part.

cerned with the benefit of the
poor community, and seeks to lob-
by the County and state for the
reform of outdated local welfare
However, BEDL and WRO have
refused to join the coalition. The
reason is the larger churches have
refused to recognize the two
groups as representatives of the
county poor. Accordingly, BEDL
and WRO feel that the churches
will, acting on that belief, not dis-
tribute their monies exclusively to
BEDL and WRO, but include other
local agenices as well. BEDL and
WRO contend that these other
groups have been ineffective and
will continue to be ineffective, in
the future.
such agencies, such as the social
services department of the Council
of Churches, have had success.
This organization alone feeds 54
families and operates the only
active free furniture fund in the.
The groups' claim to be the legi-
timate representatives of the poor
is equally uncertain. Both groups
asked all their "constituents" not
to' take clothes from the County
of Churches - operated "House
by the Side of the Road," which
distributes second-hand clothing
free. Seven hundred people picked
up clothes in three weeks!
In addition, BEDL has refused
to join the coalition because it
fears that the churches will place
restrictions on the money given.
However, the church administra-
tors told me that WRO and BEDL
could, if they demonstrated their
effectiveness, be the second-hand
receivers of some of the monies
through the Inter-Faith Coalition.
Again, appropriations would pro-
bably go to other community
groups as well, which BEDL and
WRO are certainly understress-
IT SHOULD BE noted that the
problem has not been alleviated
by the donations of five smaller
churches to BEDL and WRO. Four
of the five were not the objects of
the sit-ins or disruptions and all
five of the churches are small and
could give little. BEDL wanted

$50,000 from most churches, these
5 averaged $1,200 - a far cry from
the sum asked for.
Thus, the thrust of the drive
has concentrated on the more in-
fluential ten churches, referred to
before. These, including the First
Presbyterian, the First U n i t e d
Methodist, have greater resources
In my talks with these church
administrators, all ten voiced
serious reservations about their
congregation's consent' to BEDL
and WRO's confrontation tactics,
and all money appropriations-must
be voted on by the congregations.
All ,the administrators Indicated
that money appropriated directly
to the groups' (and not through
the Coalition) was a pglitical im-
possibility - church members
would refuse it, the tactics and
legitimacy of WRO and BEDL be-
ing in definite question.
IF THE poor people in t h e
County are really the issue, and
not a mere stepping stone to a
larger one, it seems as though one
would try to do his utmost to
maximize their position (monetar-
ily) with new self-help programs.
Yet the only real existant channel
- the Coalition - is being ig-
nored by BEDL and WRO.
The'Coalition has been pledged
$25,000 by the First U n i t e d
Methodist Church already - two
times the monies BEDL and WRO
have received to date from f i v e
churches. Some money is possi-
ble through the Coalition; none
through the confrontation tactics.
Further pressure, along t h e i r
present policy lines, is merely go-
ing to jeopardize WRO and
BEDL's bargaining position f o r
sums of money, for it will serve
only to polarize.
A polarization of people is not
what the poor need, they need the
viable alternatives provided by
monies in self-help programs at-
tainable through the Coalition.
The people of Washtenaw County
have been abused by, and, have
been the objects of, politics t o o
long. Consider the objectives and
then the politics, not the politics
and then the objectives.
(The author is a member of
Student Government Council).


IT MUST first be recognized
that Washtenaw County churches
have sorely overlooked the magni-
tude of these problems and the
efforts of BEDL and WRO must
be applauded. These groups have
been invaluable in dramatizing the
But it seems that these tactics
- the sit-ins, the building occu-
pations - have outlived their use-
fulness. It now appears unlikely
that the major churches will ap-
propriate money directly to BEDL
and WRO, and that the two
groups have refused to accept a
plausible solution to the problem.

The answer lies, I think, with
the Inter-Faith Coalition, includ-
ing about 17 area churches (both
large and small) with all and any
other l(al groups asked to parti-
cipate. The Coalition aims "to
insure ways and means whereby
the poor and disadvantaged will
participate in the :study, decision
making, distribution of funds, and
legislative activity of the coali-


It also hopes td
for distribution to

obtain money
agencies con-

Letters to the Editor

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To the Editor:
OPPRESSION endures until the
oppressed claim the liberation that
is rightfully theirs. Consequently
the Radical Caucus of the Gay
Liberation Front applauds and
supports the efforts of BEDL to
obtain funds for the poor of
Washtenaw County and strongly
backs Peter Denton in his struggle
for a trial by a jury of his peers
for hisrparticipation in the BAM
strike. Radical Caucus of Gay Lib
marched with BEDL from First
Presbyterian to First Unitarian
Church and expects to attend
Peter Denton's trial at the North
Campus Commons Thursday at

% Language institute
To the Editor:
AT THE MOMENT there are
over one hundred foreign univer-
sity students and professional men
enrolled in the eight and sixteen
week courses of the English Lan-
guage Institute. Perhaps because
of this international composition
of the group of participants. the
ELI has remained above the criti-
cal process and has avoided the
periodic review which is necessary
for any university institution. Cer-
tain criticisms made to me make
it clear that such a review of the
ELI is now called for.
1) There is a lack of seriousness
in the classes. One professional

compound the student's already
great problem of learning the
English language.
3) The language laboratory is
"next to useless." Due to crowded
conditions, ancient tapes, mal-
functionings machinery, and im-
possible noise interference from
other users, the language labora-
tory is the disgrace of the Ann
Arbor campus.
BEING AWARE of the past
reputation of the ELI at Michi-
gan, it is'clear to meAhat this in-
stitute is now only "resting on its
laurels" of the past. I hope it is
not true that my foreign friends
"learn only that we will not learn
--William Katra

1 cT_ j



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