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January 17, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-01-17

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ie Sfrhigan DaUsj
Eighty-two years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Ethics and

today's engineer

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.

Another peace scare?'

Vietnam's panhandle right up until
President Nixon's order halting bomb-
ing and shelling went into effect, in what
could be one of the last acts of war
against that country by the United
States," Monday's United Press Interna-
tional dispatches reported. Somehow, it
seemed naive.
And yesterday, informed sources re-
vealed an impending unilateral U. S.-
South Vietnamee cease-fire scheduled
for Friday. Somehow, it doesn't sound
Ron Ziegler stepped before the cameras
at theFlorida White House Monday and
once again peace. was tentatively at
hand, according to both international
scholars and government officials. ("Ten-
tative" is a useful word. It is for know-
ledgable observers what "alleged" is for
INDEED, U.S. involvement in the war
may be almost over. But those of us
who were under 13 in 1963 have a "show
me" approach to the unending war's end.
Let me see it and I'll believe it. For if
you look hard enough the war is still on.
UPI also reported, "The air war con-
tinued unabated in the, South. A near-

record 16 formations of B52s . . ," That's
more like it.
EVEN AS the war's end lingers like a
carrot before our noses, one giant
plane blitzes an area a mile long and a
half mile wide. A bombing run by a B52
on our campus' "military installation,"
ROTC's North Hall, would reduce to rub-
ble the dentistry school, pdocks of resi-
dential homes, a third of the university's
dormitories and three hospitals-acci-
dently.'Of course, it would be incidental
to the military targetting.
Henry Kissinger meanwhile logs thou-
sands of miles a week, Alexander Haig is
back in Saigon seeking an audience with
President Thieu, and the President will
be inaugurated Saturday in his first pub-
lic appearance, if you can call it that,
since before the election. His last press
conference was more than three months
WILL THE demonstrations in Washing-
ton against the Nixon administration
be weakened by the latest "peace scare?"
Maybe. Will these anti-war demonstra-
tions be superfluous? Frankly, I'm not
worried about that.
Editorial Director

T HE DEPARTMENT of Labor re-
cently jolted the computer in-
dustry by ruling that programmers
and analysts are not professionals.
The dictionary definition of a
profession, in the sense that en-
gineering might be a profession, is
"A calling requiring specialized
knowledge and often long and in-
tensive preparation including in-
struction in skills and methods as
well as in the scientific, historical,
or scholarly principles underlying
such skills and methods, maintain-
ing by force of organization or con-
certed opinion high standards of
achievement and conduct, and
committing its members to con-
tinued study and to a kind of work
which has for its prime purpose
the rendering of a public service."
If the Department of Labor were
to categorize engineers, and scien-
tists for that matter, according to
this definition, I suspect a major-
ity would not qualify. And it just
those points which relate most
strongly to ethics.
INDUSTRY, the so-called pro-
fessional societies, and the general
public pay lip service to the no-
tion that engineers are profes-
sionals. This delusion leaves en-
gineers as one of the most power-
less groups of individuals in Amer-
ican society. This has been made
dramatically evident during the re-
cent deflation of aerospace bubbles
and the subsequent recession.

Engineers are beginning to recog-
nize their status as second-class
professionals; there is discussion
of unionizing, lobbying in Washing-
ton, and all sorts of fixes and
patches for the system. What is
really needed is a rebirth of pro-
Engineers became victims of
their conservatism. And now that
there is an oversupply of engineers
and an undersupply of appropriate
projects, there exists a natural fear
of speaking out, of demanding fun-
damental change.
THE R A P I D technological
change since World War II and
concurrent changes in the Amer-
ican capitalist system haveestrong-
ly affected the role of the engineer.
These changes have probably been
recognized by most engineers, but
not in a systematic manner. They
have one thing in common - the
removal of the practicing engineer
from the decision-making process.
The important changes are: 1) the
decline of craftsmanship, (2) the
growth of the organization, and (3)
the increasing role of government.
0 Craftsmanship - the late Paul
Goodman stated it well: "There get
to be fewer jobs that are necessary
or unquestionably useful; that re-
quire energy and draw on some of
one's best capacities; and that can
be done keeping one's honor and
dignity." How many engineers to-
day can point to one thing and say,
"I designed that," or "I was re-
sponsible for that", or the like?

Today's things tend to be guilt by
large teams of specialists.
This specialization has another
side effect. Today's rapid change
in technology can make over-spec-
ialization a personal tragedy. When
an engineer becomes middle-aged,
and his specialty dies, and he has
not make a strong effort to diver-
sify, and a kid fresh out of col-
lege draws half his salary, he may
find himself undergoing a fairly
severe "mid-career transition."
" Organization - the concentra-
tion of a growing industrial power
in fewer organizations leads to an
inevitable increase in size of the
What seems to occur is an in-
crease in the number of layers of
management between the engineer-
ing level and the decision-making
level. The human foible of wanting
to please one's boss can cause re-
markable transformations of en-
gineering opinions as they wend
their way to the decision level.
* Government - the increasing
role of government in my branch
of engineering is particularly evi-
dent. There exists a new breed of
engineers who never design or
build anything. They write pronos-
als and progress reports. They
may be a necessary part of life,
but they present a sort of tempta-
tion to the engineer, operating
without any enforcable ethics code
and with a multitude of rationaliza-
tions available for any exaggera-
tion or tampering with veracity.
THE LARGE scale practice of
engineering in an ethical man-
ner requires changes in the work
environment, as welltas the con-
sciousness-raising of the engineer-
ing community.
reduce insofar as possible the size
of teams engaging in various pro-
jects. This would discourage over-
ly narrow specialization, encourage
constant self-education and learn-
ing, nd promote pride in the work.
Shrink organizational hierarchy-
Bring decision-making closer to
the engineering. If we do not frag-
ment organization it is not clear
how to accomplish this. Generally
what could be done is to make or-
ganizations more horizontal, I e s s
vertical. In addition, establish with-
in organizations groups of engi-
neers to interact directly with high
management in the ethics einua-
tions, on company plans, and con-
ditions of employment.
Shrink and reorient government
largesse - The American tax pay-
er may have more effect here than
anything I can suggest. Let us edu-
cate the taxpayer to demand cuts
in real fat, not just cuts. This
means education in technical mat-
ters, on the layman's level, an area
engineers have largely neglected.
Reduce defense spending, of
course. But there are new fields
ripe for boondoggles, as well as
needed development -ecology, p!A-
lution control, and the war on can-
cer to name a few.
FINDING A way to convert the

engineer from an excess to a de-
sired, but not scarce, commodity is
probably a necessary condition to
achieving the environment that I
seek. The rational control of ad-
mission to practice is one way to
achieve this conversion.
Today's youngsters are taking
note of the 100,000 unemployed
technologists and we may suffer a

strong co'unter oscillation in four
to six years - in quality, if not in
A. D. Robbi, an engineer em-
ployed by RCA Victor, is a staff
member of "Suark", the publica-
tion of the Committee for Social
Responsibility in Engineering.

A reporter meets,
the interesting people
IT'S AN interesting world we live in, and the people we meet in it are
interesting too.
Take, for instance, one of our newly elected officials, Regent
Dean Faker. Mr. Faker has been around for a long time and I think
you should meet him.
Here is the substance of a recent interview I had with him:
Q. What do you think is the University's main role in society?
A. We should train people to be useful members of society. Whether
teaching or working they have to have some vocation.
Q. Well, do you believe the BGS program fulfills this goal?
A. What is the BGS?
Q. We'll move on to another subject. Do you think students should
have a significant voice in University policy?
A. Well, I'll tell you. I'm not close enough to the exact way it
operates to answer that. But the students should have some voice but
not the voice.
Q. How about on tenure committees?
A. I'm not knowledgeable of the individual situation to make that
kind of decision.
Q. I SEE. Well, what is your opinion of pass-no record and pass-
fail grading plans?
A. I know the answer to this one. No. Pass-no record would be
devastating to the University. However, there is a place for pass-fail
in certain situations.
Q. Could you elaborate?
A. If you go to pass-fail there is still a judgment made. But it
becomes a subjective judgment.
Q. But isn't it the same way with grading'essay exams?
A. Yes, but at least with grades you know where you rank.
Q. I see.
A. Let me elaborate. Scholarship is a matter of discipline. The
state University has a responsibility to train people to fill a slot in the
job market. Everyone is not an A student, but everyone, has a chance
to go through according to their abilities. There is a very real danger
that the University can injure itself if it pursues this trash of non-re-
quirement in the pass-fail sense.
Q. UH, HUH. Well, is that opinion based on your experience at the
A. Well, no. You see I never attended this University.
Q. Oh. There has been some criticism of your candidacy, Mr.
Faker. Some people say that your job was just a political plum given to
you by the Republican party for years of service, that you took the
position because of the prestige and not for any great love of the
University and that you are just another political hack on the Board
of Regents.
A. Those are very serious charges and I'd like to answer them
one at a time.
Q. Go right ahead.
A. True.
A. True.
A. Not exactly. I don't consider myself a political hack. I'm at the
prime of my career and I hope that this position will launch me toward
bigger and better things. The election may have only been a small step
for the University, but it's a giant one for me.
WELL, the world of Mr. Faker is interesting, isn't it?
Robert Barkin is a night editor for The Daily.

Defending 1st amendment

ANOTHER MARCH in Washington. S
The march and rally is a protest agains
President Nixon's prolongation of the
war, and more generally against his lac
of public candor in matters ranging from
Do you do glue?
With all the hoopla over Washtenaw
County Sheriff Fred Postill's decision to
reduce activity in the marijuana abuse
prevention area, it is our duty to brin
a recent police action to your attention
Last Sunday, state and Ypsilanti police
arrested two Ypsilanti youths for glu
Better keep your Elmer's hidden, a
least until the heat is off.
Today's staff:
News. Beth Egnoter, Tommy Jacobs,
Charles Stein, David Unnewehr, Re
becca Warner
Editorial Page: Arthur Lerner, Kathleer
Ricke, Ted Stein
Arts Page: Gloria Jane Smith
Photo technician: Randy Edmonds
Photography Staff
DAVID MARGOLICK ............Chief Photographe
ROLFE TESSEM........... ....... .. Picture Editor
DENNY GAINER.................Staff Photographe
THOMAS GOTTLIE3.............Staff Photographe
KAREN KASMAUSKI.............Staff Photographe

o the ITT scandal to the Russian wheat
deal to the Watergate bugging case.
t But there is a far more important is-
e sue - the right to free speech guaranteed
k by the First Amendment.
n At a time when the press and broad-
cast industry are being subjected to the
most violent attacks by any federal ad-
ministration in history, the First Amend-
ment is indeed under seige.
0 At this week's City Council meeting
e Bruce Benner (R-Fourth Ward) called
g the Washington demonstration "com-
. pletely uncalled for," adding that "such
e protests only give comfort to the enemy."
ACCORDING TO this reasoning, a n y
criticism of the government could be
attacked as "giving comfort" to some
"enemy" or another. When citizens ac-
cept this type of reasoning, the First
Amendment freedoms disappear.
The primary danger to freedom of
speech is not from harsh, repressive legis-
lation. The danger is more subtle, and
comes from people who do not care
enough, or are afraid to speak out against
n the mistakes of government or the in-
equities of society.
WHEN A FREEDOM is not exercised vig-
orously, it begins to atrophy, and
that is the primary danger to the First
The Counter-Inaugural protest in
Washington is an opportunity to exercise
the first amendment. If it is not exercised
r now, it may not be around much longer.
;r Editorial Director


.* I


"INDUSTRY AND THE general public pay lip service to the
notion that engineers are professionals. This delusion leaves engi-
neers as one of the most powerless groups of individuals in Ameri-
can society."


mar and

the LSA-SG

To The Daily:
When one speaks of moral ob-
ligations and responsibilities of
elected representatives, officers,
organizations, and the general pub-
lic or student body, one must de-
termine these moral obligations
and responsibilities from the end
and benefits of this end that one
In my recent decision to make
available office space to the Ann
Arbor Counter-inaugural Commit-
tee (a decision for which there has
been a precedent and is within my
powers as president of LSA Stu-'
dent Government in extended per-
iods of council recess and in cases
with urgent priorities), the moral
question I faced was perpetuated
by recent developments in the
Vietnam War and involved the
need for peaceful opposition to be
seen and felt towards this issue.
The LSA-SG voted unanimously
to support the peaceful protests
against the bombing, and the War,
in Washington D.C. on Jan. 20th-
a vote which included support of
representatives from all parties
(though admittedly after the de-
parture of Mr. Harris and Ms.
Daneman, and without the insights
of Mr. Howard Victor).
Thus the moral obligation and
responsibility seems to me to ne-
cessitate providing office space
to the Counter - Inaugural Commit-
tee in an emergency caused by the
neglect of Student Government
Council in handling their, not the
LSA-SG's, properly delegated re-
sponsibilities of recognizing and
providing office space to student
This failure of duty occurred
mainly because of SGC's inability
to have a meeting scheduled un-
til January 18th - two days be-
fore the inauguration, the absence
of it's president, Bill Jacobs, un-
til next week, and the resignation
of treasurer - handyman Dave
Ftmtanttat thk - n + srnni7_

space and the need that the public
and student body should be heard
and felt.
If this action is political it is only
for the politics of humanity and
peace: and if one feels these are
only liberal or radical politics we
should all be saddened.
When the concern for this war
and the bombings become so great
that a professor introduces it as
a matter to be discussed by the
Governing Faculty of LSA and pro-
claims he will continue to wear a
black armband until the war is
over, it should become the obliga-
tion of the LSA Student Govern-
ment, and all other organizations,
to both support this cause and pro-
vide the assistance it can to make
it the foremost concern.
This is the moral and ethical
actions I believe I have taken and
those I hope the LSA Student Gov-
ernment will continue to support.
Jay Rising
Jan. 16
Necessary action
To The Daily:
WE ARE writing to support the
anti-war activity which will take
place in Washington on January
20th. Although we are a local poli-
tical party, we feel it important to
participate in a national response
to our government's latest disre-
gard for human life. Day after
day, the Vietnamese people have
been subjected to genocidal bmb-
ings. We must support their strug-
gle by apearing in Washington this
Saturday. For information, call:
763-4797. Let the voice of the Ann
Arbor community join the chorus of
the American people: End the
-The Washtenaw County
Human Rights Party
Jan. 15
-Ir !32- _ a

card him for something more rele-
vant like the Vietnam war, and I
am certainly not suffering from a'
"moral and ethical battle fatigue"
which would make me ."wish to
forget all social problems" (a
statement which makes no sense
to me). To him a liberal is some-
one who adopts a cause whenever
it happens to be popular. I would
love to hear his definition of con-
Hawkins' assertion that critics
condemn films like Shaft because
they cannot identify with a black
hero (and therefore feel deprived
of the film's inherent entertain-
ment value-envy he calls it) is
ignorance of the problem. To jus-
tify the racism and violence in
most of these films on the basis
that "don't blacks deserve a little
James Bond escapism too?" is to
further miss the point.
To me, the James Bond films are
equally as damaging because they
give audiences a totally warped
view of masculinity, exploit wom-
en in the worst way and condition
people to the thrills of murder and
sadism. The difference, though, is
that James Bond could never have
gotten away with killing a black
policeman as a means of racist
revenge nor would it have been
permissible for him to extoll the
virtues of cocaine in a $300 Super-
Fly outfit while ghetto children
hungry for the same kind of
glamor looked on.
Those like Mr. Hawkins who
think that us 'white liberals' want
to upset these themes of "blackman
on top" (one which was long over-
due, I agree) are too busy finding
the excuse of entertainment value
in these films which make the
black superhuman and the whites
super-dumb racists. Is this what
we want to bring up a new gen-
eration of film-goers on? No won-
der we prefer human films like
Sounder and The Learning Tree.

would that have been sufficient to
stir his social consciousness?
-Kyle Counts, '73
Jan. 16
S. Quad controversy
To The Daily:
This is a letter in response to one
written by John Feldkamp, Direc-
tor of Housing, which referred to
condition at South Quad and
Mosher-Jordan Resident Halls. In
an attempt to invalidate a Daily
article on South Quad it seems that
Feldkamp found it necessary to
turn to, and misrepresent, certain
conditions at Mosher-Jordan Hall.
After reading his letter we find it
hard to understand how Feldkamp
has achieved the position he now
holds at this university.
In his letter Feldkamp com-
pared the rate of returning resi-
dents this past fall in both Mosher-
Jordan and South Quad. He noted
the return rate of South Quad to
be 25.8 per cent, 222 males and
110 females out of 1200 residents,
while he went on to point out that
at Mosher-Jordan, out of 486 resi-
dents, 144 males and 135 females
His conclusion with these figures
was: "In terms of numbers more
returning students are in South
Quad than in Mosher-Jordan." Two
points I would like to make here
are that first, I can find no reason
why he should make such a com-
parison and secondly, in terms of
percentages, the return rate for
Mosher-Jordan was 57 per cent, a
fact that should have been noted
since South Quad has over twice
as many residents as Mosher-Jor-
Other comments directed at
Mosher-Jordan included such re-
marks as a "white ghetto" and
"unwillingness of residents to sup-
port escore policies and other se-
curity measures." As far as se-
curity measures, Mosher - Jordan
has one of the lowest crime rates

remarks are going to help our sit-
uation. The situation at Mosher-
Jordan is very different from that
at South Quad, and Feldkamp's at-
tempt to use it to discredit the
Daily article about South Quad is
ill-conceived and almost childish.
By taking this problem out con-
text he puts himself in a danger-
ous position as Director of Hous-
ing. It is a blatant disservice to
the residents and staff of South
Quad and Mosher-Jordan who are
all striving to achieve a more de-
sirable dorm living experience.
-Marc Bliefleld
Mosher-Jordan House
- Terri Wolber
Jan. 10
Fight pollution
To The Daily:
I AM organizing a group to help
fight the pollution of the waters
of the Great Lakes area. Such
groups exist in Florida, California
and other places. The purpose is
to collect and classify data on pol-
lutors, and to bring public and
legal pressure to bear against
them through publicity and court
action. The waters involved are
the Great Lakes, smaller inland
lakes and the "feeders" connect-
ing them.
' In the beginning, until ideas and
methods are worked out, I would
like the group to be as skilled and
professional as possible. If you
answer it will be assumed that you
have an intense interest in the
marine area, and are aware of
the dangers of pollution.
I would like to have peonle con-
tact me who have a certificate in
boathandling from the U. S. Power
Squadron, the U.S. Coast Guard or
its auxiliary; or a scuba diver's
certificate from a licensed instruc-
tor: or an airplane pilot's license;
or training in a scientific, techno-


-fat kulf'i -


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