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March 16, 1974 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1974-03-16

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.. i

he Mic 1 t an tly
Eighty-Four Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
20 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104 News Phone: '7


764-0552 1



City Rape Unit essential

terday announced a package of city
rape legislation that if passed could revo-
lutionize the treatment received by local
rape victims.
The anti-rape proposal, which will be
presented to City Council Monday night,
calls for establishment of-a Rape Unit of
six female investigators and a Policy-
Advisory Board to formulate police and
city rape procedures. HRP is also propos-
ing changes in city policy that are de-
signed to reduce rape incidence and
recommendations to the state legislature
to improve current rape laws.
The chief contention of the anti-rape
package is that rape victims deserve bet-
ter than the insulting and intimidating
treatment they receive all too often at
the hands of male police officers. Al-
though rape incidence has soared in the
city in recent years, rape convictions
have dropped dramatically and there is
every indication that only a fraction of
local rape cases are reported, because
victims fear unpleasant and humiliating
experiences if they register the crime.
rape has always been a crime ne-
glected or snickered at by male law en-
forcement' officials. Cities across the
country are now discovering that if rape

is to be suppressed, anti-rape programs
must be run and administered by
Formation of an all-female Rape Unit
with substantial non-white representa-
tion would mean an immediate 'shift in
the tone of rape investigation proce-
dures here. Supported by women who are
sensitive to their feelings and skilled in
handling rape cases, victims could fight
the stigma society attaches to their
In addition, a provision in the HRP
proposal guaranteeing that a rape vic-
tin' would be allowed to have anyone she
wanted with her at all points during
police questioning and medical exami-
nation would be an essential step to-
ward alleviating the second class treat-
ment rape victims routinely receive.
Referral of all rape cases to a Women's
Crisis Center interventionist, another
HRP suggestion, would serve the same
IT IS TIME the city recognize its re-
sponsibility to act decisively on the
growing danger faced by local women.
With women handling women's crises, as
the HRP proposal stipulates, victims
could at last feel that their law enforce-
ment agencies are protecting them from

Human fallibility:


greatest nuclear danger

Migrants caught in
A FENCE TOPPED with barbed wire is the first sight that strikes
you as you drive up to Evans Camp south of Dade City on Florida's
west coast.
Evans Camp is not a prison - the pungent odor of spicy foods, the
blaring Spanish music and the hordes of dark-eyed children scurrying
around inside shows that.
These are living quarters for over two hundred migrant farm
workers, part of the stream of humanity that flows each year from
Florida to the north then back again as the crops come in.
It's not difficult to get a picking job. All you have to do-to go to a
grove and ask for the boss - called a crew leader or crew chief. No ex-
perience necessary.
THE CREW CHIEF was not there when I went to Evans grove, own-
ed by the Evans Packing Company, reportedly the largest citrus grow-
er in the county. So a migrant family camper near the grove obligingly
set me up with the tools of the trade - a ladder, a hook to bring down
otherwise inaccessible fruit and a tub, which is a container holding 10
boxes of oranges.
The 1adder buckled as I climbed it and I had an immediate taste of
the hazards of migrant work, rated the third most dangerous occupa-
tion in the country.
The ladder, which had been selected for me at random, was missing
torungs and was held together by electrical tape.
I lugged it over to J. C. Siller, our crew chief, who had arrived on
the scene by that time. He told me al the ladders in the grove
are supposed to be in good condition.
"Of course, young lady, I guess if you looked hard enough, you
could find some bad ones" he said.
A DADE CITY migrant couple told me about a girl who had fallen
from a ladder that week, breaking her hip. They said the injured girl
was "a schoolchild, just like yourself, working while she was out from
school on a vacation." They showed me the girl's workmen's com-
pensation check the crew chief had given them to keep for her -
Workmen's compensation is one of the few protections farm workers
have. It's required by law.
Other labor laws either exempt farm workers or make special
exceptions of them. The hourly minimum wage for conventional industry
is $1.60 compared with $1.30 for farm workers. A state labor officer
in Tampa said, however, that it is possible for the owner of a small
farm to pay workers well below minimum wage - as little as 50 ents
per hour or less.
While engaged in the group effort of dragging the loaded tubs across
the field, migrant Frank Aquirre suggested that if I were able to get
together a "half dozen or so kids" of my age who were able . to
work very hard, we could make $50 a day.
Aquirre, together with his wife and his three oldest children, aged
13, 15 and 16, have, on occasion, earned that much money. "But you
don't have the strength to go back the next day when you work that
hard" he said. Aquirre's nine-year-old daughter Janet watches the
youngest family member, a red-haired year-old baby, in the grove.
MOST WORKERS say they earn about $12 a day. If I hadn't given
my pickings for the day to a migrant family, I would have earned about
$5.50 for six hours work.
The common pay rate is 40 cents a box, but in the Evans grove it
was 55 cents because of the difficulty of the work.
The US Census for 1970 reported a median income for farm workers
in the Florida county of $2,630 a year. The federal poverty line i
$4,200 for a family of four. The average migrant worker's family
has about six persons.
Dona Ruiz, the wife of one worker employed by the p a c k i n g
company, said "Spanish people" such as her husband earn - more
than most black and white workers because they folow the crops
around the country.
"But you go 1,200 or 1,500 miles to the next crop," she said wear-
ily. "You're not paid for that time. You spend whatever you save in
getting to the next place".
Her son, an eleven year old with dense dark curly hair, picked in
the tree next to mine. I saw numerous toddlers wandering beneath rick-
ety ladders as fruit dropped to the ground from 20 feet and higher.
THE USE of child labor is common in farm work. The American
Friends Service Committee estimates one-third of farm labor force is
made up of children under 16, in violation of the law that requires school
"Given the conditions the farm worker is forced to live under,
the only natural decision is to have as many members of the family
as possible work to feed the family" said Mack Lyons of the Florida
United Farm Workers Union. "You can't have kids in school, not learn.
ing anything. because they're hungry as hell. Besides, the industry en-
courages it as a source of cheap labor. The growers make the pickers
feel like they're doing them a real favor by letting their children work."
"It's a hell of a mess" said Clark Ghiselin, executive secretary of
the Citrus Industry Council. "The industry has tried to enforce the child
labor law. But if a foreman asks a family to remove the children,
they'll just leave for another grove. Where does that leave the grower?"
I mentioned to the industry official that as a newcomer to farm

work I had quickly discovered the lack of toilet facilities and drinking
"Well . . . it's pretty obvious that toilet facilities are needed for
workers picking ground crops like lettuce. But it's quite amusing when
you get to citrus" Ghiselin said, his laughter coming soft and confi-
dential, "Field workers don't have to worry about .-toilets. They just
pick out a tree and there's no sanitary problem."


Esch scrambles to keep seat

nouncementWednesday that Presi-
dent Nixon must obey the House Judic-
iary Committee's subpoena because re-
fusal would constitute grounds for im-
peachment can only draw contempt,
with its obvious overtones of political
Esch has been flagrantly noncommit-
tal on the issue of the President's culpa-
bility at a time when his lack of a clear
stand can only be construed as a tacit
defense of the official White House line,
despite massive evidence from the con-
stituents in this district that they no
longer wish him to remain silent on the
Esch was the target of an intense let-,
ter writing campaign directed by the
local campaign to impeach the President,
yet he did not speak out. Suddenly he
steps forth and. seizes upon the smaller
issue of the subpoena to cast his lot with
THE NATURALLY suspicious among us
must automatically wonder when
Esch choose to take a stand, espe-
cially in light of his remarkable record
of dodging key votes on the war. It
seems obvious pure faith in the pro-
cesses of the Constitution do not move
him, and he has no ideological axe to
grind with the Administration. Why then
the statement?

The answer is obvious and reveals ex-
actly what does motivate Marvin Esch,
the professional politician. Marvin Esch
wants to be re-elected in the fall. He has
no doubt impressed the results of the
election in Grand Rapids upon his brain.
But even that expression of dissatisfac-
tin with the Nixon Administration failed
to produce a statement.
It took a substantial threat to Marvin
Esch's Congressional seat to break his
silence. When a seriously threatening
candidate was announced in Marvin
Esch's district there was a miraculous
WHEN JOHN REUTHER announced his
candidacy for Esch's seat Wednesday
in Ypsilanti, Esch perceived a threat and
responded on the basic level of a cor-
nered political animal. He simply took1
steps to protect his political existence.
The move was so lacking in subtlety, it is
amusing. Who is he trying to fool?
News: Barb Cornell, Mike Duweck, Bill
Heenan, Sue Stevenson, Rebecca Warn-
Editorial Page: Brian Colgan, Claude Font-
heim, Eric Schoch
Arts Page: Ken Fink
Photo Technician: Karen Kasmauski

concerning the safety of a
nuclear power plant, one spec:er
of doom hangs over the indusr\-
that is inescapable: The problenm
of human error, a factor inherent
in all people from the most intelli-
gent to the most stupid. No one is
perfect, and thus it follows char any
creaionof humans will zlso be
Technological man certainly has
a long record of creating products
that either wear apart or stop
working. The thousands of auto
graveyards scattered across t h e
Country and leaky ball point pens
help attest to this fact. While one
might argue that much more care
would go into the design and con-
struction of a nuclear plant than
a car or ball point pen, past exper-
ience has shown that even t l: e
greatest amount of time, money,
and labor put into a technological
project does not assure smooth,
flawless operations.
This can be seen in the case of
the Skylab spaceflights. From 'he
outset, the $2.6 billion dollar pro-
gram was plagued with problems.
Just 63 seconds after takeoff, the
space station's meteroid shield op-
ened prematurely, damaging the
solar panels as it was rippi, off
the spacecraft.
LATER, ITS steering rockets
operated so poorly that NASA con-
sidered sendingup rescuers to re-
trieve its three-man crew. Finally,
one of its three stabilizing gyro-
scopes broke down and another
worked sporadically, threatening to
turn the spaceship topsy-turvy in
its orbit around the earth.
The imperfection of technlogy
extends beyond the analogy of the
Skylab program to the realities of
accidents in nuclear power plants.
Just thirty miles out of Detroit,
the Enrico Fermi plant at Lagoona
Beach suffered a serious accident

that resulted from the poor instal-
lation of an eightainch piece of
metal at the bottom of the reac-
On Oct. 5, 1966, this tiny pie.'e of
metal broke loose from the re-
actor and blocked the flow of cool-
ing sodium to the reactor core,
causing several fuel subassemblies
to overheat, warp and melt before
the reactor was shut down.
The serious danger then p.,esent
was that enough uranium mig t
have melted and accumulated to
form a critical mass which would
have brought on an explosion. Al-
though the force of the explosion
would be much less than that of an
atomic bomb its force might have
been great enough to destroy ,he
containment vessel around the re-
actor thus releasing radioacrige
gasses and particles into the aiy.
And all this was due to a tiny, yet
greatly significant manufactu ing
error. Luckily, it did not explode.
resulted in disastrous accidents. In
little more than a minute's time, a
series of mechanical and human
mistakes destroyed the reactor
core of the Chalk River, Ontar o
atomic plant on Dec. 12, 1952. The
chain of events started when a
workman in the basement of the
building accidentally opened three
or four valves he should not have.
The reactor had just been started,
and his action caused some of the
shutoff rods to lift out of the re-
actor. These rods control the rate
of the nuclear chain reaction by
being inserted or withdrawn from
the reactor.
Alerted by warning lights, t h e
supervisor went downstairs a n d
closed the valves. Thinking t he y
had dropped back into the reactor,
although they had not, he phoned
his assistant upstairs to press two
buttons to return the system to
normal. But he' had sent orders to
press the wrong buttons, and by the
time he realized his mistake, four

more shutoff rods were being with-
drawn from the reactor.-
When the control room staff real-
ized that seven or eight shutoff
rods were out of the rea-tor (de-
stroying the margin of safety that
should have existed), they pressed
another button that should h a v e
dropped the rods back down. How-
ever,. only one of the rods did so,
and the man finally shut down the
reactor by dumping out its heavy
water, which was necessary for the
nuclear chain reaction to occur. A
series of explosions in the reactor
then destroyed it.
HUMAN ERROR was partially
responsible for the death of three
men in Idaho Falls, Idaho, when
the reactor they were working on
blew its top. In July, 1964, while
carrying out a task for which he
had had no training, a wrker for
the United Nuclear Corporation was
spattered with radioactive liquid
and killed.
That accidents. errors, and mis-
judgments are a part of human
activity is an inescapable f a c t .
While it might be argued ,that in-
dustrial accidents kill and .maim
daily, their effects are confined
to the scenes of the accidents On
the other hand, a nuclear mishap
caused by the turning of a wrong
valve or a misjudgment by the
reactor operator could kill, sicken,
and injure tens of thousands of
people and contaminate teis of
thousands of square miles of land.
There is clearly a difference in the
magnitude of danger.
With the federal government
pushing for the building of more
nuclear power plants to meet the
energy shortage, the possibility of
a seriousatomic accident occuring
will surely increase. In the mean-
time increased mining, proyessmg,
transporting and use of radioactive
materials, together with erro,-s and
accidents, will release radioactive
poison into the environment which
we all share.

le ttersle.tters letters letters le tterslett

To The Daily:
ONE OF THE most sordid and
important aspects of the Water-
gate scandals has beeii how Presi-
dent Nixon financed his campaign
by putting pressure. on big busi-
ness to illegally contribute large
sums of cash. In Michigan the Re-
publicans seem to be also resorting
to the Watergate school of cam-
paign finance.
Republican Governor William
Milliken to build up his 350,000 dol-
lar warchest for his 1974 reelect-
ion campaign attempted to use
high level*state government offic-
ials to sell stocks of 125 dollar
tickets to his birthday dinners to
many of the state's big business
fat cats.
Something is dsfinitely w'ong
when the state insurance commis-
sioner, who has the job of regulat-
ing the insurance companies in :he
state, is out peddling 15,000 dollars
worth of tickets to the big ihsur-
ance company executives.
This reminds one of former Sec-

by high level state officials when
he got caught by tne Detroit news-
papers. Protesting ignorance of
the practice, Milliken promised a
full review. This protest of ignor-
ance by Milligen sounds very fa-
miliar to Nixon's protest of ignor-
ance to what everybody in the
White House was doing with re-
gard to the Watergate activities
and the subsequent cover-un.
While Milliken was trying to cov-
er-up his own mini-Watergate cam-
paign finance activities, Democrat
Sander Levin, an uaannounced can-
didate for Governor, revealed to
the public his income tax returns
for the past ten years. More of
Levin's brand of npenness a a d
honesty is what is needed in Lan-
sing. When it was not very popu-
lar, in the late 60s and in his
1970 campaign against Milliken,
Levin was pushing for campaign
finance reform.
SANDER LEVIN offers an al-
ternative to the Watergate style
leadership of Milliken. In 1974 we
should not only clean up the Water-

aired a short tape which involved
a dialogue between a woman about
to have an abortion, a receptionist-
nurse, and a doctor. The conver-
sation between the woman and the
nurse consisted of the nurse dismis-
sing the woman's concerns in a
condescending and flippant tone
while asking her irrelevant a n d
seemingly painful questions such
as: "What is the father's name?"
and "What would the child be nam-
The punch line of the sequence
occurs when the woman has b e e n
ushered in for the operation; t h e
doctor instructs her to lie down
on the table and says as )f to
reassure her, "it's safe and it's
legal" and in the same breath
commands, "Nurse, bring me the
Fortunately the recent reforms in
abortion legislation have shade it
possible for women to end unwant-
ed pregnancies if they so choose
with less physical danger and emo-
tional anguish than ever before.
Yet I don't believe that the me-
mories of the recent past w h e n

treatment of a very painful real-
ity by this supposedly humorous
tape points to a very disturbing
lack of understanding of women's
Women know only toa well that
in the event of an unwanted preg-
nancy the burden of reponsibility
is likely to be attribute) to them-
selves and often they will be blam-
ed for being "careless" and there-
fore deserving of the :0o isequenc-
I find this type of reasoning ab-
surd and extremely in:u:'iiis to
. Although many women h a v e
come to expect male irresponsibil-
ity with regard to pregnancy a n d
abortion, they certainly 'can't be
expected +o sit quietly by while
this unfortunate situation is made
fun of in such instances as the
tape mentioned. The leg'Alization of
abortion cannot alleviate the da-
mage being perpetuate:i by the ir-
responsible attitudes so prevalent
in our society. Only when the mem-
bers of both sexes take responsibil-
ity for their actions can the sex-
iml nnracinnof unmanhn .AnA

summer days at the gravel pit?)
will agree that skinny dipping is
the only way to swim. However,
the only segment of the University
community which is entitled to the
privilege of swimming nude is a
group of male faculty members
who have exclusive use of the In-
tramural swimming pool, daily
from 11:45 to 1:00 p.m.
This long-standing bastion of fa-
culty male chauvinism has had the
privilege for years, but member-
ship in the Faculty Swim group is
of course restricted to males only.
Female faculty members and stu-
dents are denied the privilege the
faculty has had.
We call on other Michigan streak-
ers to right this wrong. Not only
should anyone who wants to swim
in the nude (streak-swim) be al-
lowed to do so during the 11:45-
1:00 swim period, but it should
also be allowed and practiced
during the other hours the pool
is open (3:00-10:00 p.m.).
Why should only a select group
of faculty men be allowed this
privilege, nay right? We call on

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