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February 15, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-02-15

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

z:
140.

hit Wcahjz Daityj
Eighty-two years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Capital punishment:

Stone age cruelty?

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, FEBRUARY 15, 1973
Classified research continues

CLASSIFIED RESEARCH has always
been an issue characterized more by
emotion than rationale. Although the
University supposed the issue would be
resolved to the satisfaction of all parties
concerned by breaking official ties with
Willow Run Laboratories they were
wrong.
There are several major issues in ques-
tion.
First, the problem of University pro-
fessors maintaining major responsibilities
at Environmental Research Institute of
Mich. - ERIM - formerly Willow Run)
taints the administration claim that the
separation is "total." The academic com-
munity, through its years of protest, de-
bate and voting, barginned for more than
a mere formality. The spirit of the Wil-
low Run settlement rested not in the
legal ownership of the research facility,
but in the undesirable influence secret
weapons research would have on an aca-
demic community.
Conversely, the University Administra-
tion should not engage in the equally un-
desirable business of dictating what pro-
fessors may or may not do with their
"free or consultation time." Such prac-
tices would lead to an era of witch hunt-
ing and a disappearance of the educa-
tional freedom that must be inherent in
any learning environment.
Simple adherence to the existing rules
applying to all private institutions would
fulfill both of the above conditions. Spe-
cifically, this would mean ending such
contemptable associations as the Keith
Raney research project involving four
University academic departments, along
with faculty and students. Also Prof. Em-
mett Leith also an ERIM employe, whose
dual responsibilities are a point of con-
flict should be made to decide where his
passions lay. According to the statements
of executive officers prior to the Willow
Run separation, tenured faculty were to
be prohibited from carrying major re-
sponsibilities at ERIM.
Second, in an unprecedented act of
philanthropy the University administra-
tion has "decided it would be appro-
priate" to literally give away well over
one-half million dollars of technical
equipment. According to Vice-President
for Finance Wilbur Pierpont, the Univer-
sity obtained funds for the equipment
CHRISTOPHER PARKS and EUGENE ROBINSON
Co-Editors in Chief
ROBERT BARKIN..................Feature Editor
DIANE LEVICK..............Associate Arts Editor
DAVID MARGOLICK ...........Chief Photographer
MARTINPORTER...............hMagazine Editor
KATHY RICKE................. Editorial Director
ERIC SCHOCH .....................Editorial Director
GLOR~IA SMITH .................... ..Arts Editor
CHARLES STEIN .....................City Editor
TED STEIN....................Executive Editor
MARTIN STERN ....................Editorial Director
ROLFE TESSEM .......... . ...........Picture Editor
Photog raphy Staff
DAVID MARGOLICK ...........Chief Photographer
ROLFE TESSEM.....................Picture Editor
DENNY GAINER ................Staff Photographer
THOMAS GOTTLIEB...........Staff Photographer
KAREN KASMAUSKI...........Staff Photographer
Today's staff:
News: Robert Barkin, Penny B l a n k,
Marilyn Riley, Sue Somm er

from the government for the specific
purpose of Defense Department research.
The administration's explanation is that
the equipment should remain for the use
it was purchased.
However, the University has more than
repaid for the equipment. We developed
the hidious electronic gadgets that per-
mitted Phantom jets to smell-out the
"enemy;" we developed the radar, the
infrared heat sensors, the surveillence
technology that the Armed Forces used
to obliterate Vietnam over eight years
of moral deprevation.
The University has done the Govern-
ment's dirty work, and now that it's
finally over they seem to believe that
we still have a debt to pay.
The University owes the Defense De-
partment nothing!
AT TIMES when budgets are cut back
each year, faculty salaries requests
are slashed by the state legislature,
department programs are curtailed for
lack of funds, and tuition and housing
costs soar upwards, theUniversity has
negligently increased the burden through
their equipment "give-a-way."
Activism -on campus has apparently
ended. Yet, issues relating to the pocket
book can hopefully succeed in generat-
ing concern where problems of social
idealism fail. Pressure must be applied
for some reversal of the give-away.
Third ,an absolute policy banning part-
time teaching appointments of privately
employed persons conducting research
which would be prohibited under Univer-
sity policy must be established.
A University teaching position is not
simply a source of part time employment.
It involves becoming part of what can
be loosely defined as an academic com-
munity. Fortunately, a university is not
an omnibus corporation ,a legal third
person. Rather, its identity is derived
from the students and faculty.
THE UNIVERSITY has established a
policy of not accenting research, the
result of which may destroy or incaoaci-
tate human life. More simply, the policy
prohibits weapons development. This in-
dicates a moral judgement that such re-
search is undesirable in a University en-
vironment. Is it any less undesirable to
invite into the. University a person ac-
tivelv engaged in research the school has
officially prohibited? Or have the ideals
of higher education slipped so low that
we are ready to install time clocks in
denartment offices.
Finally, of the many dark mysteries
that surround the issue of classified re-
search, no one snecific issue can compare
with the auestionable ethics the Adminis-
tration has demonstrated by their general
secrecy. Although the University has
virtually eliminated secret research, we
may soon find that we have a classified
administration. In an institution funded
with state money, and operated to edu-
reate the residents of the state, the execu-
tive directors seem to possess the old no-
tion that the majority of their work is
priveledged information. The words "no
comment" from executive officers are
offered at times when the students and
faculty seek and deserve frank and open
comment. This seems symtomatic at all
levels of administration, from the presi-
dency down to the University.
On the national level, secrecy is objec-
tionable. On the University level, it is
contemptable.
-RALPH VARTABEDIAN

By JACKIE VAUGHN III
PERHAPS THE most eloquent
and rational statement regard-
ing the value and desirability of
capital punishment was made by
Thomas Jefferson: "I shall ask
for the abolition of the punishment
of death until I have the infal-
libility of human judgement de-
monstrated to me."
If there exists a more inhumane,
barbaric and senseless act than
taking a human life, it has not
been shown to me. If mankind has
ever devised a more heinous a n d
wasteful system than taking one
life for another, it has not been
shown to me. To quote a recent
statement by the American Civil
Liberties Union: "To retain the
theory that the death penalty is not
cruel is to ignore the persistence
of individual and collective c o n-
science which says that d e a t h
imposed by the force of the state
is the ultimate cruelty upon the
person whose life is taken."
Exactly what is it we hope to
accomplish when we punish a hu-
man being by taking that per-
son's life? Is it rehabilitation? If
so, then we had better realize that
the person we ostensibly wish to
rehabilitate is no longer around
to undergo treatment. Is it deter-
rence? If so, then we had better
realize that there exists no sta-
tistics which prove the death pen-
alty to be a significant and con-
clusive preventative measure to
any crime. Is it to remove the
person from society? If so, then
we had better realize that jails
serve the same purpose. Is it ven-
geance? If so, then we had better
realize that we are not God.
Some people arepresently calling
for the reinstatement of the
death penalty (which has been out-
lawed in this state since 1847 -
126 years.)t Aconstitutional amend-
ment to this effect was introduced
in the state Senate Tuesday.
The sponsors ask that the death
penalty be made mandatory (and
so avoid the recent Supreme Court
"arbitrary" ruling) for persons
committing such crimes as kidnap-
ping, assassination of public offic-
ials, and killing of police and fire-
fighters. Why people convicted of
these specific crimes? Why police
killers, for example? Are police-
men a special class of people? Are
police dropping like flies in the
streets (eight policemen were kil-

justification for killing :nay be ob-
tained from various sources: t h e
Bible, the courts, the church, his
own conscience or sense of moral
propriety. What we are t)ereforc
talking about is not merely the
death penalty and the rightness or
wrongness of it, but rather the
larger issue of killing human be-
ings for whatever reasons under
any circumstances, for if we sanc-
tion and condone one form of kill-
ing we must sanction and condone
all forms. Jew, Vietnamese, M-16,
gas chamber, policemen, "ordin-
ary" citizens- no man is great-
er or lesser, more right or less
right, more justified or less jus-
tified than any other man.
THERE ARE therefore two basic
questions we are dealing with in
the debate on capital punishment.
One is inherently intellectual, the
other moral in nature. Since 1847,
when Michigan abolished in disgust
all capital punishment (except that
for treason, which was eliminated
in 1963), this state has been a lead-
er in the fight against man's in-
humanity to man. To retrogress
and reinstitute the death penalty
for any crime would be to erradi-
cate all progress we have made in
human relations and moral en-
lightenment in the past 126 years,
ignore the teachings of scholars,
criminologists, penologists, attorn-
eys, and theologians, and act in'
our own worst interests.
The case for the reinstatement
of capital punishment basically
rests on three unsteady and un-
wise precepts: deterrence, retri-
bution and removal of dangerous

people from society. In each area,
the effectiveness of capital pun-
ishment has never been proven. In
addition, the evils of capital pun-
ishment far outweigh any "prac-
tical benefits." Capital punishment
as a means of deterrence is an
outmoded concept; to restate the
question of Clarence Darrow:
"What was the mental state of
mind when the homicide was com-
mitted?", or in other words, sta-
tistics have unquestionably prov-
en that most murders are com-
mitted irrationally. No deterrence
could ever hope to cope with most
murders. Also, most murders are
committed by persons who know
their victim or live in close prox-
imity to him. For example, in De-
troit in 1971, 31 per cent of all
murders were committed within
the family!
As for the killing of police and
public officials, these homicides
usually are committed by alleged
criminals on the run, in the first
instance, and by persons of severe-
ly deficient or deranged mentali-
ties, in the second. As for retribu-
tion, it simply cannot be argued
that we have the right to take the
life of another human being for any
reason; we are not God. Removal
from society is another baseless ar-
gument: Better that we place mur-
derers in institutions (not prisons)
and study them closely so as to
possibly prevent future murders.
IN SUM, we simply cannot al-
low ourselves to be dragged back
into the Stone Age by those whose
sense of moral justice is obscured
by their lust for vengeance.
Jackie Vaughn III is the 18th
District State Representative. ... .

.1

4

I

"Is a policeman's life more precious than that
of any other human being?"

led in Detroit last year, as oppos-
ed to 690 "ordinary" citizens)? Is
a policeman's life more precious
than that of any other human be-
ing? Some apparently would naive-
ly answer yes.
WHAT WE MUST do in any dis-
cussion of the death penalty is to
first ask ourselves this: have we
the right to take the life of a hu-
man being, ANY human being.
Many would answer, "No, butb.."
There invariably is interjected
that "but," always meaning im-
plicitly that "we" do not have the
power of life and death over ano-
ther human being, but neither does
the person who takes another's
life. My answer to that is that we
accomplish absolutely nothing
when we self-righteously end the

life of another who has taken a
human life.
For countless centuries, man has
been taking the life of his fellow
man, thinking all the while that hie
is justified: he has fought "h o I y
wars" in the name of his god to
erradicate the "pagans" or "hea-
thens". He has rectified a dishonor
done to his name or the reputation
of his fair damsel. He has wreak-
ed violence on an army whose poli-
tical persuasion (or ratherthat of
its leaders) is different from his
own. He has established guidelines
stating when it is permissible to
take a human life. He has given
himselftortother men the power
and authority to judge who shall
live and who shall die.
Throughout all this, he has act-
ed on the assumption that moral

Battling them old cosmic
boring blahs. with SGC
By PAUL TRAVIS
YES, IT IS sort of dull these days. President Robben Fleming is out
of town, the war may be over. So what is a poor campus politico
to do? Work in the up-coming city elections? Naw, it's too relevant
and sounds like work. By George, I've got it. Let's dump on the
Student Government Council some more.
Yes folks, SGC (Super Games Club) is the eternal target for
bored (and boring) campus politicos. When you have nothing better to do,
attack SGC and you are sure to feel better. Better than chicken soup.
As I said, things are boring these days. And so we are seeing
a strong drive to change SGC. Two major plans are in the works
which could strengthen or possibly destroy council.
First is a petition drive to get the question of voluntary funding
for SGC on the ballot.' This would make your contribution to SGC
a matter of choice, like the funding for PIRGIM. If you thought that
council was wasting your money on stupid projects like the Michigan
Student News, a poor excuse for a newspaper, or;giving money to help
the North Vietnamese, or setting up a costly new election process, you
could cut them off the next term. Without a cent. Like an illegitimate
child.

i

Letters to The Dail-

4.

Critic criticized
To The Daily:
Il DOES SEEM that Ms. Jan
Benedetti (Daily, Feb. 11) is out
to overwhelm us all with her mon-
umental incompetence as a critic
of the Theatre.
Her review of the New York
City Center Acting Company's re-
cent touring production of Maxim
Gorky's Lower Depths is a case
for Dante. Gorky's lowest depth
can't match it and I do believe
that she has scored the all time
[ow, even for The Michigan Daily.'
There are no absolute rules for
reviewing a theatrical perform-
ance, but there are a few basic re-

sponsibilities which every reviewer
takes upon themselves when they
presume to place their utterances
before the public. The first respon-
sibility is that the reviewer shall
take with him to the theatre suf-
ficient knowledge of the medium
they are reviewing to make intel-
ligent distinctions between t h e
various elements which, all com-
bined, produced the finished whole.
This knowledge allows them to pre-
scind any or all of these elements.
depending upon how much detail
the reviewer is willing to engage
himself, and allows latitude to the
critical faculties, depth being a
function of individual perception
and/or sensitivity.

Fifth Ward candidates
Editor's note: The following persons are candidates for City
Council in the Fifth Ward.
FIFTH WARD:
Democrat

Mona Walz
uncontested
(Richard Stoneman, though listed on the
qualified as a candidate since he no longer
quirements.)
HRP
John Minock
uncontested
Republican
John McCormick
uncontested

ballot, has been dis-
meets residential re-

In terms of a dramatic presenta-
tion it assumes that the reviewer
shall: 1 - distinguish between the
text and the production, 2 - dis-
tinguish between acting and direct-
ing, 3 - display some knowledge
of the various technical elements
which go into a stage performance,
I - understand the limitations of
the particular performance in
question, 5 be sensitive to, or at
least aware of the problem of
style and 6 - be sufficiently at-
tuned to audience reaction and/or
participation to gauge the effec-
tiveness of the particular produc-
tion in question as vehicle of dra-
matic communication.
One hardly knows where to be-
'gin with Ms.eBenedetti's review,
as she apparently labors her pen
in total ignorance of any of the
above considerations.
She opens her review quite con-
lescendingly by referring to Ann
Arbor as 'this theatrical wasteland
of quantity without much quality."
Her not-so-clever metaphor quite
ignores the fact that Ann Arbor
has hosted some of the true lum-
inaries of the stage. Her remark
is not only insulting, but it is un-
true.
That much of what one sees on
the Ann Arbor stage is mediocre,
even badl, can be granted, b u t
given the currentbstate of theatre
in this country, it is simply d i s-
honest to refer to Ann Arbor as a
"theatrical wasteland." It is by
comparison to other places of even
incomparable stature, a veritable
oasis, but perhaps Ms. Benedetti
has not been anywhere else.
She further indulges the p e r-
formers by refusing to compare
them 'to Sir Laurence Olivier's
Hamlet. This is true magnanimity,
but why she chose to even suggest
the comparison of a contempar-
ary live stage rendering of a piece
of nineteenth-century Russian na-
turalism to a twenty year old Eng-
lish film of an Elizabethian drama
is something I will leave to the
reader to figure out.
This awesome critic has passed
judgment on an entire production
without so much as one word of
explanation, description or exam-
ination. How could she do this?
Life just isn't safe any more.
In the final paragraph Ms. Bene-
detti gets around to the production
itself, but it is less than a f o o t
note. After crediting "many beauti-
ful moments in this production,"
she summarizes, "Director Tum-
arin, using designer Douglas W.
Schmidt's cage-like set of old brisk
and rags, arranges the actors like

BUT THE CLEVER people over
President Bill Jacobs introduced
a motion at the last meeting to
place on the ballot the question of
voluntary funding for all the school
and college governments. Tit for
tat, so to speak. If SGC has to
fight for its money, it is only fair
that all the other governments
struggle also.
But enough of these petty mat-
ters. The big brouhaha in campus
politics (if anything can be big
in campus politics) is the all-new,
improved, supercharged, without
phosphates and cyclamates, struc-
ture for SGC.
This insane plan proposed by
entails an even more complicated
R. Nagey of the Engineering Coun-
cil election and an absurdly large
council. Would you believe that the
new plan calls for a council con-
sisting of 39 people but only 30
votes?

Bill Jacobs

at SGC were not caught napping:

Editorial Page: Linda Rosenthal,
Stern
Arts Page: Herb Bowie
Photo Technician: John Upton

Martin

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The present council with only 13 members has enough trouble get-
ting anything done. Imagine 39 members. Definitely insane. The ar-
gument for this plan is that it will enlarge SGC constituencies. But
really, would you people in the School of Public Health feel any bet-
ter if you had a seat on this new council with only one-quarter of ,a
vote? That's right, this new plan gets down to one-quarter of a vote.
HERE IN brief is the plan as I can decipher it:
You, the student, would become part, of'three different groups
and vote in three different elections. Each group has 10 votes on a
30 vote council.
One group is determined by where you live - University owned and
operated housing (four votes), Fraternities and Sororities (one vote),
and independent housing (five votes).
Another group is judged by your status in school - Undergraduates
(six votes), Rackham Graduate student (two votes), Professional (non-
Rackham) Graduate Student (two votes).
The last group is determined by your school - LSA (four votes),
Engineering and Education School (one vote each), Medicine, Law, Bus-
iness Administration (one-half vote each), The remaining 10 schools
(one-fourth vote each).
Isn't that a pretty picture? You will be represented by three
groups of people, each with different voting strengths. So if you are
a Social Work graduate student living in an apartment you get to
have someone represent you as a tenant (one vote), as a non-
Rackham graduate student (one vote), and as a Social Work student
(one-quarter vote). Sounds simple doesn't it? But just imagine the
hassle of having a roll call vote. It could take up to half-an-hour. What
a drag.
ONE WOULD think that people would try to simplify council and the
election system. But these paper shufflers never give up. As an expert
paper shuffler once said, "Build up the paper work so only you know
what is really going on. It's the best job security a person can have."
It wasn't enough to set up an absurd sticker voting system
for the last election. But imagine trying to screen people voting in
three different elections. Who is to prove that I live in a house? Maybe

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