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February 18, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-02-18

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Page 4-Saturday, February 18, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Eight v-Eight Years of Editorial Freedon
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 116 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

A leacy:.*Grace, wit, stre ngth
By Pete Falkenstein
menau um nu annan an'x

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Every once in a long while,
there occurs a moment in the
history of sport by which a great
figure, through an act of great
courage and determination, et-
ches his legacy permanently into
the annals of sports history.
For those who witnessed it, for
instance, a dieing Lou Gehrig,
proclaiming himself, "the luck-
iest man on the face of the ear-
th," in front of 70,000 adoring
fans, had an impact which could
never be forgotten by even the
most jaded of fans. When Joe
Louis, trying to avenge a
crushing defeat at the hands of
Max Schmeling, came back to
pound the German into the
Yankee Stadium canvas in barely
two minutes, soothing the anxie-
ties of all Americans and sending
a message of tenacity and vitality
to pre-war Germany which would
be borne out in future years, he
assured his place in the hearts of
sports fans everywhere.
JUST SUCH a moment oc-
curred Wednesday night, when
Muhammad Ali fighting the
ravages of age and diminishing
skills, as well as a fighter of
limitless heart, exhibited the
courage and strength of charac-
ter which made him one of the
greatest fighters of all time. And
in the end, he passed on the man-
tle of Heavyweight Champion of
the World to young Leon Spinks
with all the grace and dignity of a
man satisfied and convinced of
the greatness of the legacy which
he leaves.
Wednesday night's fight was
filled with subtle ironies which
almost seemed to set the stage
for this greatest heavyweight up-
set in over forty years. Ali, the
only Olympic light-heavyweight
champ ever to win the heavy-
weight title, doing so as an 8 to-
underdog to Sonny Liston, had his
crown taken by the man who
duplicated his Olympic achieve-
ments by taking the light-heavy-
weight gold medal in Montreal,
sixteen years later, and who
came into last night's fight also
an 8 to 1 underdog.
On that hot Miami night in 1964
when Ali first claimed the title,
he was to be found earlier in the
evening sitting at rightside
exhuberantly cheering on his
brother, Rahmann Ali, in a
preliminary bout, before retiring
to the lockerroom to prepare for
his own bout. And so it must have
been an ominous sight for Ali, to
see Leon Spinks sitting at ring-
side, loudly exhorting his young-
er brother Michael to victory in
his preliminary fight against
Tom Bethea.
Throughout the '60s Ali helped

A'Photo
NEWLY DESIGNATED World Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks comforts outgoing giant Mu-
hammad Ali after beating him in a split decision fight Wednesday night.

A

'r

DISTNELDNEWSPAPER SYNDICATE,197f
'Perhaps we should send our first team back to the Middle East
-Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters!'

Recovering from spills

SEVERAL TIMES each year leaks
and spills from defective or dam-
aged railroad tank-cars, tanker trucks,
and storage vats at plants, spread
harmful chemicals over wide areas of
land in Michigan prompting the evacu-
ation of residents and leaving extensive
damage in their wake.
Just two weeks ago, leaking chemi-
cals from. a derailed tank-car near
Grand Rapids forced 150 residents to
flee their homes for several days. The
exact nature of the dangerous chemical
was not revealed until a few days after
the accident, and it was nearly a week
until the spill was cleaned up. The ex-
tent of damage to soil, vegetation and
animal life in the area is still pnde-
termined.
While it is impossible to either pre-
dict or prevent this type of accident, the
need for immediate action to clean-up
the spills and reparations for damages
caused by them is imperative.
A bill, scheduled for introduction in

the state Senate next week would
provide both guidelines and means for
clearing chemical spills, placing much
of the responsibility on the company
which produces the substance.
The Spill Compensation and Control
Act, sponsored by Sen. Anthony Dere-
zinski (D-Muskegon) would ban
discharges of various types of hazard-
ous. substances, require companies
handling the materials to report all
leaks immediately and to develop con-
tingency plans for the cleanup of con-
taminants. It would also establish a
state compensation fund to provide for
emergency cleanup operations and.
payments for damages.
The bill will certainly not alleviate
all the problems caused by chemical
spills, but it could serve to stop damage
before it reaches a critical, possibly
irreparable, stage. Legislative ap-
proval would provide state residents
and land with at least some protection
from the spoils of chemical con-
tamination.

polarize American society by
publicly extolling seemingly radi-
cal religious convictions and then
by his famous 1967 refusal to ac-
cept induction into the United
States Army. But that night, in
Leon Spinks, Ali fought a man of
deep, but very traditional religi-
ous beliefs, who has never
publicly taken a political stand of
any type, and whose boxing skills
were honed while he was a Lance
Corporal in the United States
Marine Corps.
WHETHER ALI is a supersti-
tious man is hard to say. And
whether it was these aforemen-
tioned factors, or simply Ali's
recognition of the passage of time
and abilities which led him to ap-
proach this fight in a manner so
untypical of him is difficult also
to assess. There was a definition
of purpose in his training which
one had previously never seen in
Ali while he prepared for coun-
tless recent fights against heavy
underdogs in his own version of.
Joe Louis' "Bum of the Month
Club.'' There were no prefight in-
terviews, no knockout predic-
tions, no hystrionics at the pre-
fight weigh-in, and almost per-
ceptible air of melancholia in
Ali's dressing reoom only

moments before fight time. And
even more amazing was Ali's
request of the ring announcer to
introduce him as a native of
Louisville, Kentucky, an inclu-
sion which had been missing in
Ali's introductions since the night
he first captured the crown.
Perhaps that was Ali's special
way of thanking the people who
had gotten him started in one of
the most spectacular and con-
troversial careers in sports
history. 1
But ultimately, the only salient
factor involved is what occurs
between the first and final bell,
and Wednesday night, in
struggling fifteen, grueling roun-
ds against a tiger of a fighter who
never seemed to tire, Ali proved
himself again, hopefully for the
final time. And the differences
which set Ali apart from so many
others before him are implicit in
the images which are so easily
conjured up from the past:
A DESPERATE and confused
Sonny Liston watching his title
being stolen from him as he sits"
on his stool between rounds;
unable to summon the inner
strength to fight from behind.
The cocky and seemingly in-
vincible George Foreman finding

out that Ali will not go down and
finally putting himself to sleep in
the eighth round. A battered and
hurt Ali summoning himself up
from the canvas in the 15th
round, trying to wrest his title
back from Joe Frazier, and
finally, a beaten Ali, knowing he
needs a knockout to retain his
title, utilizing every ounce of
strength and energy he can
muster to try and stop Leon
Spinks in an incredible fifteenth
round which saw both fighters
totally used up.
And so the title passes to a man
who has earned it, and, if spirit
and determination count for as
much as one would think, to a
man who seems worthy of it. But
along with the crown passes the
challenge of the. Ali legacy; the,
grace, the wit, the intelligence,
the strength which Ali so
uniquely displayed and which can
best be summed up by the quote
which for so long was the watch-
word by which Ali's style both in
and out of the ring were exemp-
lified. "Float like a butterfly,
sting like a bee, rumble, young
man, rumble."
The King is dead. Long live the
King.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY

NAA CP: 'U' reneges on-

19

To The Daily:
The U-M NAACP, formal and
informal observers at the Univer-
sity of Michigan for some years
now has sorrowfully seen the
state of Black Americans at the
U-M erode into little more than
the state of Blacks at the J-M in
the pre-BAM (Black Action
Movement) years in the late six-
ties. We put the blame on the Uni-
versity, which has lied, broken
promises, or avoided the
promises so long that they be-
came ineffectual. This state of
Blacks at U-M is not by accident;
it is deliberate. We assert this
and make the following charges:
* The most prominent wrong
done by U-M is the abolishment
and destruction of Black Advo-
cacy at the U. -No longer can
Black students address their
grievances to an ombudsman-
like, non-university (and sym-
pathetic) "official." We are now
subjected to the university
bureaucracy by ourselves or
must deal with the new "bureau-
crats" in Minority Student Ser-
vices; and "Minority" Student
Services is an affront in itself. We
have been humiliated because we
have been stripped of our one
powerful advocate against
racism and have been consigned
the identity of "minorities." We
are not "minorities;" we are
Black and demand to be
recognized as such.
* The designation of the Wil-
liam Monroe Trotter House as a
"minority" cultural house is
another transgression. Besides
the reasons mentioned above for
this insult, very few other "mi-
norities" fought with us to earn
that house. And the use of the
him rn nther than cuituril ac-

bureaucracy, the U-M has effec-
tively presented a buffer for our
grievances. In classic neo-coloni-
alist fashion our complaints are
diverted to some "Black" official
who appropriately cuts off our
gripes even before they are
voiced. He tells us that he is here
to help 'us' and understands. We
get no help from them. And when
we have turned to other officials,
including the President, we get
even less and are re-referred
back to our original sources. And
when we have sought the assist-
ance of all the said officials, we
get many "I don't knows." and
are referred to people who echo
that response.
" The U-M has no concern for
the plight of Black students at U-
M, and is making little effort to
halt the decreasing Black popula-
tion or the increasing attrition
rate of Black students. We have
been told that no study exists as
to the nature of "why" Blacks are
failing out (though statistics
exist). This shows the U-M's lack
of concern for this issue. (We are
happy, however, that the U-M has
finally started on a study as we
had suggested back in the Spring
of 1977. But sincere committmen-
ts are needed.) Things are get-
ting worse, yet U-M continues to
cut back on funding on the Oppor-
tunity Program and CULS, sup-
portive service organizations.
" The most serious issue, as
pointed out above, is the close to
10 per cent drop in population of
Black people (nearly 250 people).
To make matters worse, we
asked for and were promised a
10% Black population at the U-M
by '75 and yet have only had a
maximum of 7% Black
nnnlihtion (76-77) and now that

er.
The U-M, Black officials includ-
ed, has claimed that these things
are allowed because of little
student (specifically Black stu-
dent) support for its actions to
alter these wrongs. Well, let.it be
known that we are concerned and
will support the U-M in any effort
to bring some decency back to"
this university. But we won't wait
long, and we'll let you know how
we feel if something isn't done
soon.
Any discussion of these charges
will be welcomed at our general
meeting at the Trotter House
Monday nights.
- U-M NAACP,
H. Russ Smith, President
student's death
To The Daily:
Your article of February 16, en-
titled "Inteflex student falls to
death," is frankly, offensive. The
sensationalized account of our
colleague's tragic death denied
him the dignity that a human
being deserves. You demon-
strated an absolute lack of com-
passion and a complete insensi-
tivity for one of your peers. We
believe that the family and the
entire University community de-
serves a formal apology.
- Members of the
Inteflex Community
Marjorie Eskay
John Perentesis
Robert Gambum
Jeff Mono
Eliot M. Horowitz

promises
To The Daily:
In response to the Daily's arti-
cle on the death of Ronley
Peisner, I find it difficult to justi-
fy the apparent lack of a sense of
fair play. I am ttying to construe
the Daily's purpose for report-
ing that Peisner, "had a history
of psychiatric treatment." This
statement not only serves no
social purpose, but it is also an in-
excusably inane comment. I
think this is a blatant use of First
Amendment Rights, under the
guise of freedom, which infringes
upon Peisner's rights to privacy.
His psychiatric history should not
be a matter of public record.
In contemporary America, it is
not an unusual practice to seek
professional guidance. It
probably represents good
judgment. I realize the Daily did
not actually state that-Peisner's
"psychiatric history" is unusual,
but the implication is conspicu-
ously present. Having experien-
ced the societal stigma attached
to the family of a suicide, I can
empathize with the added burden
placed on Peisner's family by the
Daily's reporting. I can only ex-
tend my deepest regrets and
sympathies to his family. As for
the Daily, your lack of introspec-
tion regarding this delicate issue
shows you to be guilty of "cosmic
impiety."
-- Mark laskins

Contact your reps
Sen. Donald Riegle (Dem.), 1205 Dirksen Bldg., Washington,

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