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February 08, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-02-08

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

The you you didn't know
Confessions of

4TUDENTS at large universities some-
times complain that their identities
are reduced to plastic cards and identi-
fication numbers. For those students and
most other people, the problem is worse.
Identities can be stolen.
For several weeks I assumed ano-
ther .student's identity at the University
of Michigan. To many people, I became
that student. During those weeks I
checked out library books, borrowed
sports equipment and acquired identifi-
cation under Mark's name.
My assumed identity began when I ap-
plied for a replacement meal ticket in
Mark's dorm.
First I told the girl at the dorm's desk
that I was Mark and asked if anyone had
returned my "lost" meal ticket. She
checked and saw that no one had turn-
ed in the ticket and asked me if I
wanted to buy a duplicate.
I TOLD HER I needed one and gave
her a five dollar bill and Mark's room
number. Five minutes later I had a meal
ticket with Mark's name and my pic-
ture on it.
With the meal ticket I could eat thir-
teen meals a week in the dorm, with-
out paying. Books and records from the
dorm's library, keys to music rooms, the
dark room and computer room as well
as gaming equipment may be exchanged
for a meal ticket.
If I decided to keep any of the equip-
ment, Mark would be held responsible
until he could show that the meal ticket
really wasn't his. Then Mark would be
off the hook and the dorm would have
to absorb the loss, passing the cost on to
Meal tickets can also be exchanged for
duplicate room keys. Two weeks after
getting the meal ticket, I went back to
the desk and said that I had locked my-
self out of "my" room. I exchanged
the meal ticket for a key to Mark's
I COULD HAVE stolen anything I
wanted from Mark's room. The stereo,
money, credit cards, checks, typewriters
or the refrigerator, anything I wanted.
After visiting Mark's room I had to re-
turn the key to the desk and retrieve
the meal card.
Meal cards can also be used to get

student identification cards. To get a
replacement ID card, students must give
their name, student number, phone num-
ber, address, date and place of birth,
five dollars and occassionally, a second
piece of ID.
Names, addresses and phone numbers
are in student directories, student num-
bers in desk directories in dorms. Birth
dates and places are more difficult, but
not impossible to get.
Obtaining another person's ID card
doesn't always require elaborate schem-
es. Between August 5 and November 6
of 1974, 940 students reported that them'
ID cards had been lost or stolen. The
registrar's office reports that between
1600 and 2000 cards have been replaced
every year for the last. three years.
THE YELLOW plastic cards are used
at registration, to record information
at transactions, for identification and
are held in security for borrowed items.
The IDs aren't meant to be used in all
of these ways, but they are anyway. I
obtained a replacement ID card with
Mark's name on it for five dollars and
used it in many of these ways.
The ID card let me check out books
from the graduate library, the under-
graduate library and the undergraduate
library's reserve reading desk. The ID
card will also work at other libraries
around the campus, including the Flint
and Dearborn campuses.
A person who wants to can conceiv-
ably check out thousands of dollars worth
of books - permanently. Attempts to
retrieve the books would lead to an
innocent and uninvolved student.
Libraries aren't the only places that
require ID cards before they will let
people borrow things. The intramural
building and the computing center are
"I told her I needed a
nteal ticket and gave her a
five dollar bill and Mark's
room number. Five min-
utes later I had the ticket
with Mark's name and my
picture on it."

two more places where IDs are
in security for borrowed equipmen
AT TIMES, student ID cards are
for identification. With a student
card, anyone can use intramural f
ties and get parking stickers or ti
to sports events and performance
student rates.
On occasion, people have used
stolen or falsified IDs to collect pa
and financial aid checks. However,'
ris D. Olson, associate registrar
"We haven't had too many problem
side the University."
Olson said more problems occur
side the university, referring to
rip-offs at banks and businesses that
cept the IDs as identification.
My intention was not to defraud
University, students or local merche
I was trying to find out what flawst
in current university identification
I HAD THE means and the oppor
ities to steal, but I did not. All I la(
was a motive.
"We have a terrible incidence oft
on this campus," said Fred Davids,
rector of the University's safety del
ment. "We lose over a quarter of a
lion dollars every year that we know
Apparently someone does have a
tive to steal. Whether some of 1
people are taking advantage of flaw
the identification system is any
Precautions can be taken alone e,
step of the way to make sure that
cards and meal tickets won't be used
honestly. In many cases, if Univej
personnel would ask for a driver's
ense or similar piece of pnoto ide
cation, the fraud could be prevente
In cases of student ID applica
without proof of identity, Fred Da
suggests that applicants be require
answer one or two "key" questions.
questions now asked are date and p
of birth.
MORE RELIABLE questions wou.
the mother's nationality or maiden n
These facts can't be found it i m
sources, usually don't change and
remembered by students.
Even if he problem of fraudulentl
taining IDs is solved, IDs will stil
lost and stolen. Under the present


"We have a terrible in-
campus," Fred Davids
said. 'We lose over a quar-
ter of a million dollars
every year that we know
tem, there is no way to tell if a persor.
who presents an ID card is actually the
person named on the card.
Davids advocates a university wide
system of photo IDs. Harris Olson says
that such a system isn't really neces-
sary enough to justify the costs it would
Picture IDs, could assure that the
person who holds the card is the per-
son named on the card. Picture IDs are
already used by university plant person-
nel, the Dentistry School, the School of
Architecture and Design and University
THESE PHOTO IDs also seem to be
much more tamper-proof than the cur-
rent IDs. Even after cutting the card in
half, I found it impossible to remove the
picture or cover it with another. Even
if I had been able to do that, I still
would have had to reseal the card some-
Photo IDs also have their disadvant-
ages. For one thing,bpeople change. A
person can grow a beard, start wear-
ing glasses, let their hair grow and
change their looks completely in just a
few years. Photo IDs would have to be
renewed every few years, like Michi-
gan driver's licenses.
The cost of changnig to a new system
of student identification Fhould also be
considered. Changeover costs are in the
tens of thousands of dollars. To make
new IDs effective, there would also have
to be a program to teach university per-
sonnel how to work with the new system.
Whether an entirely new student ID
system is needed or not, it is clear
that many deficiencies exist in the pre-
sent system.,These pratfalls are correct-
able, but corections won't come easy.
Joe Grmnm is a junior journalism ma-

FTiM Nrxspagr Syadiaate,t97I
Fighting communism sure pays off a lot better than
fighting stagfla tion!'

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

Friday, February 8, 1975

News Phone: 764-0552

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

Crime pays, ask plumbers

THE FUNDAMENTAL economic law
of supply and demand still holds
true, and as such, John Dean, Jeb
Magruder, Ronald Ziegler,and all
their friends who participated in
"that third-rate burglary attempt" in
Washington should have no trouble
feeding their families for many
months to come.
All of which is readily under-
standable. For many Americans,
Watergate is far from a dead letter
yet; they just don't believe that all
the facts came out. at the trial or in
the papers. (Ironic isn't it that Nix-
on's phlebitis made it impossible for
him to testify at the trial, but now
that it's over he's available for the
lecture circuit as a -Republican
The operative wisdom is simple;
perhaps one of the formerly high
and mighty will choose to finally tell
the whole story. And given the bore-
dom and tedium of the lecture cir-
cuit, it's conceivable, if { not likely,
that one night in someplace bleak like
News: Barbara Cornell, Dinah K o 1-
srud, Sara Rimer, Stuart Sherr, Jeff
Sorenson, Kate Spelman
Editorial Page: Peter Blaisdell, A I a n
Gitles, Paul Haskins, Debra H u r-
witz, Stephen Selbst.
Photo Technician: Pauline Lubens

Omaha, Jeb Magruder might tarry
too long at the bar or indulge in
some Ibogaine, approach the po-
dium completely wasted, and inone
terrible blunder, let slip the awful
C IVEN THIS DEEP desire to hear
all the dirt once and for all, many
of these men could conceivably make
more money giving speeches at
$1,000-2,000 per night than they've
ever made at any other profession in
their lives. Ziegler, for example was
a tour guide at Disneyland before he
got on the Nixon Administration
gravy train.
That's absurd and wrong. As a
group these men must be among the
most successful ex-cons ever. But
there's no reason in the world why
they should profit by their associa-
tion with the most pervasive attempt
to undermine the government in the
nation's history.
No argument can justify these men
enriching themselves because they
happened to be in the employ of
Richard Nixon at the right (or
wrong, depending on how you look at
it) time. If there was any true jus-
tice, none of these men should be
allowed to make a single penny from
this. Instead they should be required
to donate all honorariums received
tto a foundation whose purpose is to
protect basic civil liberties.

What's good for GM and other myths

<. -
;i. . .
<<. ,

0' .jn

WHIP INFLATION NOW - Buy A Car, as often
as we hear these exhortations we fail to realize
how they contradict each other. Are we supposed to
tighten our belts and empty our pockets at the same
time? As senseless as the WIN, bullet-biting, belt-
tightening syndrome seems, it no where near matches
the short-sighted selfishness of the Buy-A-Car men-
tality perpetrated by a corporation that is sensitive
neither to its consumer or employee needs.
WIN started out on the valid premise that a de-
crease in money flow accomplished through decreased
spending by private citizens would help stall the in-
flationary spiral. Through an appeal to the public con-
science, President Ford attempted to get the Ameri-
can public to put any extra money into savings rather
than in circulation through purchase of non-essential
products. Now, the American automotive industry is
trying to get as many people as possible to buy cars
that they don't need. Beyond the obvious negative en-
vironmental implications of buying cars, we are being
prodded into supporting a corporate empire that doesn't
deserve our support.
THIS IS NOT to say that the thousands of unem-
ployed in Detroit should be ignored. The automotive
companies have a throttlehold on Michigan, the power
of which is difficult to imagine. Only after speaking
to a business man in Flint did it became apparent how
awesome the economic power of the auto companies
was. Michigan's and America's economy has become
essentially indistinguishable from the economic well-
being of the car industry. As such, it has become im-
possible to challenge Ford and GM without affecting
millions of people. One out of every six Americans
is connected in some way with the automotive indus-
try. Therein lies the power of the auto makers.
HOWEVER, the maxim "What's good for GM is
good for the country" is only partially true. The pub-
lic's economic well-being is so inextricably linked with
the auto makers" that the latter has a ready-made
base of support for most policy initiatives.
We are told that we should Buy-A-Car and thereby
help the unfortunate many that the auto industry holds
in its hands.
If we can assume that the object of the Buy-A-Car
campaign is to restore the former order of production
and practices, can we also assume that this is a valid
goal to strive for? Perhaps an examination of the auto

companies' past history of social responsibility will
help us in our decision.
IN THE SHOP, there are basically two divisions of
workers, first, the younger, or line workers who are
involved directly with the production of the automo-
bile, and secondly, the older, maintenance and super-
visory personnel. For the people involved-in produc-
tion, there is often a production quota set such that
an employees must produce a given number of parts
per day in order to remain in good standing. What
usually happens however, is that someone will work
quickly 3 hours of the day and drink coffee the rest.
The more senior personnel, who supervise equipment
and personnel, also generally work only a few hours
a day and then read or drink coffee the rest of the
The terrible pity of the whole situation is thatthese
people are wasting away -needlessly. If production
personnel weren't so isolated from the product they
produce, if they could claim, that such and such a pro-
duct was theirs, they could identify with their work
and develop pride for what they do. Work could then
perhaps become more than $6.50/hr.
The state of the supervisory personnel is even more
tragic. "There are people, often highly skilled crafts-
men,are reduced to doing nothing because society
cannot find a way to allow them to work for their
pay. So instead they languish in the shops collecting
seniority and pay, hopefully finding other outlets for
their creativity.
SOME ARE NOT so lucky, however. The frustration
and boredom becomes too much to take, resulting in
an incredible rate of alcoholism. Tension shows itself
in bizzare ways also. For instance, after being sent
home one day by his foreman, a line worker returned
that same day with a shotgun and shot the foreman.
The usual justification for such conditions in the
shops is the quick, cheap, and efficient production of
cars. But as we all know, cars are not so cheap nor
so well made. The best example of this is the small
car fiasco. Until the energy crisis forced the auto
makers to face the economic realities of the small car
market, they were extremely reluctant to make the
move to small cars. The reason, of course, was that
the profit margin was smaller. While materials costs
are lower for the smaller cars, the labor costs are al-
most identical as those for the bigger cars. (It wasn't
surprising that some of the largest cars driven in Eu-
rope are on the order of the Mercedes-Benz, whereas
here it is considered a major move down from the
"big" cars to the new Mercedes-size Granada).
After the auto makers had acceded to the public's
demand for smaller cars, they tried to restore a big
car profit levels by adding extras to the standard car
that were options thereby raising the price.
Recently, the auto companies have found that the
public refuses to pay $4000 for the car that cost only
$2000 a few years ago. The people used the only wea-
,on that they have against the car companies, their
buying power, to affect company policy. The compa-

nies are now asking us to buy the cars we refused to
buy earlier, using the much heralded rebates as a
lure. We have paid dearly for our actions, however, with
layoffs that probably wouldn't have been as severe
had the small car prices been lower in the first place.
ACTUALLY, the people do have another avenue
through which to affect car companies, however in-
direct and ineffective it might seem, that is, legislation.
Nevertheless, it seems here also the economic powers
of the companies often is at least partially victorious.
etaoin shrdlu cmfwyp vbgkqj etaoin cmfwy etaoin ea,
The long delayed appearance of the catalytic convert-
er is a good example. The auto companies got a delay
in the emissions requirements deadline so that they
could develop and retool their lines for a more efficient
emissions control than the catalytic converter. And
what did. we end up with? The 1977 deadlines are now
looming over the car companies and, as could be ex-
pected, they are asking for a five year extension.
It seems that the most powerful weapon in the ar-
senal of the car industry is its huge economic base. Any
serious drop in sales can very easily cause a local if
not nationwide depression, as we can well see. Not
that the car companies are consciously punishing us,
but they have been building upon a narrow range of
American vices for so long that they have strayed
with their marketing far from the basic reason that
people need a car, transportation.
Until recently, it didn't seem that anything could
penetrate the economic-monopolistic shield of the au-
tomotive companies except hard won legislation. The
economic weapon of refusing to buy is only currently
seeing results. Earlier, the car market was so large
that the car industry could force any number of poli-
cies that we didn't like upon the buying public. But
now, they are promising fewer models, fewer changes
from year to year, and a smaller parts inventory that
should lead to greater accessability. Don't think that
the battle is over however. The companies are still bet-
ting that American habits will sustain their efforts to
foist impractical, ecologically unsound cars upon us.
A recent statement by a GM spokesman illustrates this
point well, "Hopefully, in the near future we'll have a
2000 lb. car with an engine big enough to carry an air
conditioner." Is this social responsibility in a year of
energy conservation? Let us have empathy with those
out of work, but let us also seize our new found eco-
nomic power over a corporate empire that has been
insensitive to the needs of the consumer for too long.

, V.77




Mark Sullivan is an Editorial Page staff writer.









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