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October 22, 1970 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-22

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Kent

State: A

wilderness of uncertainty and division

By MARK DILLEN
KENT, Ohio
F OR THOSE who have not been to this
town since the tragedy of May 4, a
visit to Kent State University is an odyssey
through a wilderness of perceptions and
opinions about what has happened here.
Kent State has become a symbol, signify-
ing not only the divisions in this small mid-
western community but those within the
country as a whole.
As a metaphor for v so much of what is
happening to all of us, the problem of
Kent State bears close examination.
The first thing one notices about Kent
State upon entering the campus is its
newness and size. Located next to the
small town of Kent and surrounded by
long stretches of farmland, the school has
expanded rapidly with the last few years.
Now, the newness of the university build-
ings contrasts with the rest of Portage
County, which has failed to keep pace.
THIRTY YEARS AGO, the town of
Kent was five times larger than the Uni-
versity. Now, Kent State's 22,000 inhabi-
tants outnumber the townspeople. Slowly,
the town has become economically depend-
ent on the university and its students while
the political views of the townspeople and
the students have become more divergent.
Students don't condemn administrators
and townspeople for being repressive; they
scorn them for being stupid and unin-

formed. Townspeople are afraid of "out-
side agitators" and "Communist elements,"
and say that if only the press would go
away, everything would be all right.
As a result of this, all visitors to the
campus are now required to sign in at dif-
ferent checkpoints before entering.
The most significant thing about the,
mood on this campus is the presence of
an uncertain atmosphere of fear. People
are not even sure if it's genuine. Paranoia
is the term most often used by students
to describe this state of mind. Last week-
end when a tape by Bernadine Dohrn men-
tioned Kent State as a target for bomb-
ings, most students went home for the
weekend. Professors were urged to remove
valuables from their offices.
THE POLITICAL DIVISIONS here are
not limited to a generation gap between
university students and townspeople. Di-
vergent philosophies are found among the
students as well.
The most visible radical group on cam-
pus, the Yippies, along with the K e n t
Liberation Front, is thoroughly despised
by the 15 per cent of the student body
which is "greek."
But the great mass of students consider
themselves liberals, but aren't sure what
they want. Disillusioned and saddened by
the tragic deaths of four fellow students
last May, they are nevertheless bound to-

gether with a sense of common identity
which has grown out of that tragedy.
That identity is probably the most ten-
ous, hard-to-pin-down factor affecting the
students here. The killings, and the inci-
dents made Kent State a symbol for the
nation, and profoundly affected each stu-
dent's perspective. For many, last May
was the first alienation they have felt
from the society they live in.
Many of the campus radicals now view
their "radical" activities of past semesters
as politically "naive". Now they are trying
to take action, but don't know quite what
to do.
"They expect us to be leaders, but we
haven't even begun to get organized," said
one radical.
THE YIPPIES ARE still at the stage of
doing things by themselves, unconcerned
with building a mass movement. While the
student government is trying to organize a
"Civil Liberty Action Day" for tomor-
row, the Yippies are organizing their own
"festival of life." In addition they have
their own defense fund for the 25 persons
indicted last week by a Portage County
grand jury, and their own set of demands
which they gave to the University last
Friday.
Much of the tension at Kent is due to
the manner in which the staunchly con-

servative local legal authorities have re-
acted to the events of last May.
The recent grand jury indictment nam-
ed 25 persons in the academic commun-
ity as responsible, while absolving the Na-
tional Guard for firing their weapons.
They fired, the jury said, in the "honest
and sincere belief they would suffer ser-
ious bodily injury had they not done so."
Instead, according to the jury, "if the
order to disperse had been heeded, there
would not have been the consequences of
that fateful day." This runs directly count-
er to the findings of the FBI and the
Scranton Commission on Campus Unrest,
both of whom found the actions of the
guardsmen "unnecessary."
And the language of the grand jury
report made obvious the large gulf separ-
ating the townspeople and the students.
Especially objectionable to the grand jury
were the so-called obscenities yelled at the
guardsmen.
"It is hard to accept the fact that the'
language of the gutter has become the
common vernacular of many persons pos-
ing as students in search of higher educa-
tion," the report said.
Some observers at Kent State, in inter-
preting that statement, point out that only
two of the 15 jurors attended college.
ANOTHER THREAT looming over the
campus and increasing the pressures and

paranoia is a bill recently passed by the
Ohio legislature in response to the May
disaster. Entitled H.B. 1219, . it grants
emergency powers in dealing with student
unrest to local government officials.
With this bill in mind, students organ-
izing for tomorrow's rally are having their
leaflets and posters scrutinized by attorn-
eys to determine whether wording of the
call to the rally might be interpreted by
local officials as grounds to invoke the
emergency act.
Many attorneys have donated their ser-
vices to the students at Kent, the 25
persons indicted by the grand jury. Among
these are F. Lee Bailey and radical lawyer
William Kunstler. Most of the indicted
persons, however, are declining Kunstler's
offer to serve as head of their defense
team. (They are simply turned off by him.)
A FINAL THREAT to peace on this
campus was a petition started by a local
resident to ban the sale of beer in the
town's fourth ward. Such a ban would have
affected the student hangouts on Lincoln
St. where "3.2" beer is sold to those over
18. Luckily, the petition was rejected by
a local court. These taverns are the main
gathering points for students. If closed,
students' would have been out on the street
and there would almost surely have been
more problems in a community that al-
ready has its share.

-0

r---wormwood

'p

Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

I'

Fighting the 'U' can lose you your job

rob bier -

so

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.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1970

NIGHT EDITOR: ROBERT KRAFTOWITZ

Ending complicity with GM

iFOR OVER 20 years, the University has
accepted millions of d o 11 a r s from
General Motors for a broad spectrum of
research activities. Presently GM research
is combined into eight accounts whose
combined expenditure rate reaches
$18,561 each month.
Administrators and researchers main-
tain these accounts represent "projects
supported by GM" instead of research
done for the company, since the results
may be released to the public or used in
other ways that do not aid the sponsor.
This distinction is insignificant. The fact
remains that the organizations providing
funds decides what areas will be investi-
gated. Sponsors hold "life and death"
control over research projects by grant-
ing money for a limited amount of time
and retaining the right to decide if fund-
ing will be renewed.
Universities have been called "free
marketplaces of ideas," but that descrip-
tion h a r d 1 y fits an institution where
General Motors and other corporations
with vested interests control millions of
dollars of research. Within the 17 units
of the University, there are scores of
faculty members seeking research grants.
BUT SINCE the research project de-
pends on General Motors for funds,
GM has exercised control over both the
objectives of the project and the way it
is carried out. However, GM has in the
past selected these projects on the basis
of their contribution to its own profits,
efficiency and public image. But it just
these considerations which act to the
detriment of social welfare.
And, as well, GM's criteria for selection
of these projects are based on what will
preserve the status quo, both for itself
and the country as a whole. But by allo-
cating its resources for these programs,
GM cannot afford to spend the money
necessary for developing t r u 1 y funda-
mental changes in current operations.
And as a result, things remain pretty
much the same: pollution control, car
safety and new methods of mass transit
are essentially ignored. The ills of the
present merely remain.
Since the early 1960s, for example,
anatomy Prof. Donald F. Huelke has an-
alyzed data from automobile accidents.
At the Highway Safety Research Institute
(HSRI), Huelke has evaluated the per-
formance of the energy-absorbing steer-
ing column. This work has helped GM by
showing that the new type of steering
column does reduce injuries, according
to Joseph Karshner, administrative as-
sistant at.GM's Technical Center.
In addition, research at HSRI has
sought ways of perpetuating the existing
expressways. For instance HSRI person-
nel developed lane signals for the Lodge
Freeway in Detroit to give motorists ad-

America. For GM has only so much money
to put into research, and through i t s
complicity, the University ends up sub-
sidizjng the corporation's pre-occupation
with the present, which cuts off any last-
ing improvements.
Not only does University research sup-
port GM's exercises in the status quo, it
also supports the corporation's maxima-
zation of profits, again snuffing off
money for more important concerns.
ONE QUESTIONNAIRE usedin all in-
dustrial surveys conducted by the
Center for Research on the Utilization of
Scientific Knowledge asks employees
about their loyalty to and satisfaction
with the organization. Other questions
focus on relations with supervisors and
why people work hard.
Information gathered from the survey
of consumer finances allows GM to
determine attitudes toward competition
froif foreign imports and the public's
willingness to support pollution control
devices through increased prices.
Thus the University supplies the exper-
tise that General Motors needs to increase
its money-making potential, and to cut
off competitors. This hardly seems the
position for a University interested in
"the free marketplace of ideas," only a
university interested in how ideas best
boost the Market.
And by making certain that GM boosts
itself, University researchers are only
adding to the situation in which pro-
jects, priorities and ultimately the future
of transportation are based on their rela-
tion to profit - not, alas, to social wel-
fare.
The only way the University can elim-
inate these and similar projects is to end
all its affiliations with the General Mot-
ors Corporation. This type of work could
be performed at a private research organ-
ization or a division of the corporation,
but should not be undertaken by a uni-
versity.
AND, IN addition, trying to limit re-
search at this university to projects
helpful to the public will be futile since
there is no effective way to control the
work that is done. Business-oriented
people who woulld evaluate proposed pro-
jects would be likely to take a lenient
attitude.
For example, the Highway Safety Re-
search Institute's executive committet
now includes two heads of divisions in the
Institute and anatomy Prof. Huelke. An
advisory council, which will meet for the
first time later this year, includes the
president of the Automobile Manufactur-
ers Association, the president of the
Highway Users Federation for Safety and
Mobility and the chairman of the board
of Allstate Insurance Company.

BOBBY MORGAN is short,
black, 46 years old and out of
work. He believes in doing his job.
In most instances, such an atti-
tude would seem highly commen-
dable to an employer. But in Bob-
by's case, "doing his job" extend-
ed to his position as shop steward
at North Campus Commons. That
meant writing grievances, 227 of
them in a little over two years.
And now it means he is out of a
job.
Bobby says he w a s fired for
"writing too many grievances."
His union president, Charles Mac-
Cracken, says it was because of a
"personal hangup" between Bobby
and a superior. Both are only part
right, because what it really comes
down to is that Bobby will not
back down for anyone.
It is not that he decided con-
sciously to put up a fight against
what hetsees as contract viola-
tions by the University, although
that is what he was doing. The
idea of backing off just does not
enter into his thinking.
In the course of filing m o r e
grievances in a shorter time than
any other member of Local 1583,

that he recalls having his first
real run-in with West. A little ov-
er a week after that first griev-
ance, Bobby came back to work
in the dishroom after his four-day
weekend. The dish machine was
crawling with maggots and West
blamed him, despite the fact that
the Union snack bar had been op-
erating through the weekend and
people were there who could have
dealt with the problem.
In the months which followed,
Bobby began to file m o r e and
more grievances. Most dealt with
supervisors doing bargaining unit
w o r k and with employes being
forced to perform w o r k out of
their classification, consequently
being underpaid for their labor.
All were denied, and some were
not even heard because identical
grievances were already in t h e
machinery.
One time, after filing four
grievances in three days, Bobby
was called into the office of his
immediate supervisor by Robert
Wagner, personnel representative
for the University. Bqbby s a y s
Wagner threatened him if he con-
tinued to file any more grievances.

gone for a couple of hours." He
disagreed with Beller and w a s
suspended as a result, filing a
grievance on the suspension. It
was denied.
The hose, it turned out, w a s
emitting live steam.
THE LATEST CHAPTER in
Bobby's story began 'on Sept. 9
when he spilled some garbage on
the floor to lighten a can so he
could c a r r y it to the disposal
chute. As he was cleaning it up, a
supervisor came through a door,
accidentally hitting Bobby in the
side. He wrote out a report on the
accident, but said at that time he
did not feel he had to see a doc-
tor'.
The next day West, Beller, Sa-
die Spurlock, a supervisor, and
Robert Scott, personnel represen-
tative, were waiting f o r Bobby
when he came to work. They dis-
cussed the garbage incident with
him and then told him to punch
in. A few minutes later, Beller
came by and informed Bobby of a
grievance hearing scheduled for
him.
Since his side was still hurting
him, Bobby asked to be allowed to
see a doctor. Beller refused and
told him he was suspended. Ap-
peals to West and Spurlock failed
and Bobby left for St. Joseph's
hospital where a doctor gave him
a perscription but found no ma-
jor injury.
When Bobby returned to work
Sept. 24, West met him at the
time clock and asked to see him
in an office. Recalling the inci-
dent with Wagner and a similar
one with West, Bobby asked for a
steward to be present. West re-
fused Bobby's request and Bobby
refused to see West in the office
alone. He was suspended imme-
diately and the suspension became
a discharge later that day.
"If I'd gone in there, W e s t
woulda lied about me like he did
before," Bobby said at his griev-
ance hearing'two weeks later. "I
woulda been shot down if I'd gone
into the office and I woulda been
shot down if I hadn't."
RUNNING THROUGHOUT the
time mentioned here were com-
plaints by Bobby of harrassment
for being a steward. His super-

Bobby says he was fired for "writing too many
grievances." But he refuses to give up . .. "A
man can run a red light 50 times a day and I'll
give him a ticket each time. He can lie to the
judge and the judge can turn him loose each
time. I don't have any control over that but I'll
keep writing . . ." The result was that Bobby
became a source of constant irritation to the
University.
:"}}:i"'":":::::.:fi}}}: r r :t "r.{::rq.::.};:firss

Association of Federal, State,
County and Municipal Employes
(AFSCME), Bobby has won only
a small per cent of them. During
that time, he has been suspended
three times, been given discipli-
nary layoffs twice and discharged
twice.
WHEN ASKED if he has ever
considered giving up, he fails to
understand. "If they're going to
continue to do the same things
(violating the contract), I'm go-
ing to continue to write grievanc-
es," Bobby says. "That was my job.
I was a steward."
The fact that so few grievances
were won does not matter to him
either. "A man can run a red light
50 times a day and I'll give him
a ticket each time. He can lie to
the judge and the judge can turn
him loose each time. I don't have
any control over that, but I'll keep
writing."
The result was that Bobby be-
came a source of constant irrita-
tion to the University, and partic-
ularly to Robert West, manager
of University food service.
Bobby wrote his first grievance
on Aug. 21, 1968 while working at
the Union where West was Man-
ager of the food service. West is
a small, intense man with closely-
cropped sandy hair. To most em-
ployes, he appears to be constant-
ly worrying about something. That
"something" is usually business at
the Union which has been erratic
in past years and h a s dropped
steadily since a year ago.
Employes at the Union have ac-
cused West of withholding their
tips, allowing supervisors to per-
form work which should go to em-
ployes in the bargaining unit and
r1nlarcni nhll-mtime mnloves with

In typical fashion, Bobby left the
office and filed a grievance against
Wagner. It was denied.
IN SEPTEMBER 1969 Bobby
was accused of attempting to lead
a wildcatsstrike at the Michigan
Union. He was suspended, then
discharged, but the union won the
appeal. James Thiry, manager of
employe and union relations, says
Bobby won because "we were tol-
erant of the situation." MacCrack-
en says it was because the Uni-
versity "didn't have a leg to stand
on.
Partly as a result of that inci-
dent, Bobby was transferred to
the North Campus Commons. Mac-
Cracken has suggested a transfer
to University Hospital to get him
away from West. At that time,
West was not running the Com-
mons, but a few months later he
assumed his present title and be-
came manager of it, as well as the
Union.
"They transferred me there to
get me away from West," Bobby
says, "but he was always there."
As before, Bobby worked in the
dish room, and, as before, contin-
ued writing grievances, sometimes
as many as five a day.
In May 1970 Bobby began hav-
ing trouble with the hose which
is used to flush garbage from the
dishes. It was too hot and Bobby
tried to get it fixed. He brought
the problem to his supervisors, the
p e r s o n n e 1 representative and
Thirty, but got no action.
SO, on May 25, he wrote a let-
ter to Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer Wilbur Pierpont
concerning the situation. The next
morning, before reporting to work
n usual at 1 1 he gave it to James

visors had also complained of his
loud voice and "saying anything
that came into his mind." He was
suspended once for speaking loud-
ly over the phone to a supervis-
or and then hanging up. He was
repeatedly given warnings About
his "insubordination," and the
formal reason for his discharge
was largely based on those.
Bobby is still waiting for the
University's reply to his grievance.
He has not tried to find a job.
"The Lord has taken care of me
for all these years," he says, "and
he'll take care of me now. He knew
what He was doing when I was
fired. We might make mistakes
but He doesn't."
That is the other side of Bobby
Morgan. At one point in the hear-
ing, Thiry was using the union
contract to back up a point he was

-Daily-TomStanton
making, against Bobby and Bobby
exploded.
"Don't point at that (the con-
tract). It won't last. This is the
only book that will stand," Bob-
by yelled, slamming his hand on a
battered Bible from his briefcase.
"If you go by this youx can't' go
wrong because it's all in here. This
is the only book that will stand."
Probably the best summation of
the whole case was made by Mac-
Cracken at the hearing. "I realize
Bobby is a sore spot with the Uni-
versity, particularly Mr. West.
There's a personal hangup be-
tween the two. When there is a
situation like that, the one with
the authority usually comes out
ahead. But there are some people
in this bargaining unit who are
not going to back down."
One of them is Bobby Morgan.

I

f,

.. M-A A M 11-1

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