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March 03, 1978 - Image 4

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Page 4-Friday, March 3, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Eighty-Eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 127
News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
No sense In Samoff verdict

T HE DENIAL of tenure to Political
Science Assistant Professor Joel
Samoff is, in part, a classic example of
- t e misapplication of a university's re-
search and teaching priorities.
The case has illustrated how profes-
sors, administrators - in fact, an en-
tire department - can lock themselves
ihto one system of values to determine
tenure and refuse to deviate from that
system under any circumstances. It is
larming to think about just how close-
minded professors at a large, supposed-
ly liberal university can be.
Samoff has actually been denied
tenure twice since last November. The
most recent verdict was announced last
week by the Political Science Depart-
ment. Both times, the major reason for
denial was said to be inferior quality of
t , prof's research. Samoff was re-
jeted despite the recommendation of
the department's Executive Commit-
tee, and despite high praise for
Samoff's teaching and classroom talen-
'The rejected professor believes that
-Meven after two reviews - the Depart-
ment has still failed to judge his work at
t-yUniversity fairly. He is probably
r ht. In their denials, the members of
t1ge Political Science Department have
a parently chosen to ignore completely
aiy contributions Samoff may have
nade here which have not directly
rdlated to research.
: But at a University with an under-
g aduate population as large as ours,
The 'dirty fi
HARLOTTE Horowitz was a
medical student. She was one of
t leading scholars in the University
Missouri Medical School class of
1 3. But, according to a friend of hers,
s :had "an unattractive appearance,
Estern accent, and narrow inter-
eots." Just five days short of
g a&uation, Horowitz was expelled.
The reason given by school officials?
Dirty fingernails and a surly bedside
nm*nner.
*rowitz sued the school, claiming
ttt they had given her no hearing and
tis no chance to defend herself again-
st:what seemed rather weak charges.
A: lower court denied her suit, and
Horowitz fought the case up to the
nation's highest court.
:Wednesday, the Supreme Court han-
ded down its ruling. In a 6-3 decision,
tlie court held that Horowitz was not
erstitled to judicial review; moreover,
that the school had committed no im-
ptopriety in denying her a hearing.
The issue, as the court sees it, is that
while it may be "beneficial and ad-
visable" for the student who is in
academic dutch with his or her school
to have access to and discussion with
those administrators who will be
making decisions about the student's
expulsion, it cannot require trial-type
hearings the way it has done in
misconduct cases. -_

such thinking does not make sense. Stu-
dents here benefit most from a profes-
sor's teaching abilities, not research
abilities.
While research must certainly play
a role in the quality of teaching, its im-
portance is always overshadowed by
whether a prof is able to communicate
the value of such research to others.
Samoff has shown beyond a doubt that
his communication skills are superb-
as students and colleagues have freely
testified.
The loss of Joel Samoff, would be
tragic to the Political Science Depart-
ment particularly because - as mem-
bers of the Department are no doubt
aware - Samoff advocates a political
and economic philosophy which is quite
different from his Political Science
colleagues. Samoff has been labelled by
some as a Marxist and his presence in
the Department no doubt helps main-
tain a variety of ideologies.
His departure would mean a
narrowing of the range of views and
perspectives available to students at
this university. ,
Samoff has said that until his per-
formance at the University gets a "fair
evaluation," he will continue efforts to
obtain tenure.
Assistant Professor Joel Samoff
should have been granted tenure by his
Department on the basis of his ex-
cellence in teaching. The Political
Science faculty was too busy looking at
less crucial elements to arrive at a fair
decision.
ngernail' case
The reasoning is simple: schools are
not set up to be arbiters of conduct, and
so such questions cannot in good con-
science be given to school officials to
decide. But issues of academic impor-
tance - indeed, are the very purpose
of the school.
But this case walks the fine line bet-
ween discipline and academia.
Horowitz alleged, in effect, that the
school used a rather weak excuse
academically to expel her because she
was considered in many ways very un-
desirable. The University of Missouri,
despite what the Supreme Court says,
has and had an obligation to allow
Horowitz to explain her position.
Anything less smacks of arbitrary
behavior.
And yet, considering the obvious
weakness of the school's excuse, it is
not surprising that they would deny her
this right. They don't want her, it
would seem, to say something that
would expose their low motives to the
world.
SPORTS STAFF
BOB MILLER.................................. Sports Editor
PAUL CAMPBELL... ...... Executive Sports Editor
ERNIE DUNBAR EExecutive Sports Editor
HENRY ENGELHARDT..........Executive Sports Editor
RICK MADDOCK ...... Executive Sports Editor
CUB SCHWARTZ............. Executive,Sports Editor

Black
The broadcast on Feb. 12, 13 and
14 of NBC's six-hour "King," a
TV biography of the civil rights
leader Martin Luther King, Jr.,
came almost exactly a year after
ABC's triumphant presentation
of "Roots," based on the best-
selling book by Alex Haley.
The year between "Roots" and
"King" was supposed to be a
year of great progress for black
actors, actresses and writers of
intelligent black-oriented stories.
A glance at the facts, however,
shows that the black TV
renaissance still hasn't hap-
pened.
PERHAPS THE most glaring
example of the TV public's disin-
clination to accept serious black
topics was the ratings failure of
NBC's "King," a project the net-
work spent almost $4 million to
produce. The mini-series'
premiere episode Sunday,
February 12, was rated last on
that night and last for the entire
TV week ending on the 12th. The
final two installments on
February 13 and 14 were also
rated in last place for their
respective nights.
Aside from considerations of
competing shows on other net-
works, the TV community
generally acknowledged that
"King" 's failure was unexpec-
ted. Its rejection bythe viewing
public has been attributed to
reasons ranging from racism to
public revulsion for the national
divisions of the 1960s. Whatever
the cause, it is clear from em-
pirical observation at something
- the production community, the
networks and/or the public - is
stopping reasonable, realistic
black projects from succeeding
on TV.
The "Roots" phenomena was
unique. The soap-opera bastar-
dization of Haley's gripping book
remover color from all charac-
ters, black and white, and coated
the whole story in the distorting
gilt of a typical Hollywood TV
tale. The series was a costume
drama, buffered by 200 years of
intervening history, and so didn't

By Bill Mandel

TV beyond 'Roots'

strike viewers as a black-white
story of today.
WHEN "ROOTS' set new
ratings records in January, 1977,
and became a national obsession
for one week, Hollywood seers
predicted a flood of new work for
black entertainmentwcraf-
tspeople. A, rear later, the only
beneficiaries of the "Roots" suc-
cess are LeVarGBurton. Leslie
Uggams, Louis Gossett, Jr. and
Ben Vereen. Sadly, many of these
talented people now spend their
professional lives constantly re-
living the "Rots" saga. Ben
Vereen's recent ABCentertain-
ment special was subtitled, "His
Roots," and LeVar Burton repor-
ts he's more or less become the
young Kunte Kinte.
"Black" TV programs that are
successful are, almost without
exception, horribly distorted
stereotypes produced and written
by white men and women.
CBS' "Good Times," the home
of Jimmy "J.J." Walker (Mr.
Dy-No-Mite), sufferedathe loss of
its female lead last fall when
Esther Rolle quit the show,

charging the producers (Norman
Lear's Tandem Productions)
were insulting black Americans
by playing up a character who is
18-years-old, doesn't work or go
to school and seems to survive on
street hustling. Black leaders had
earliercomplained aboutr"Good
Times" when the father charac-
ter (John Amos) was written out
of the show, thus leaving a
mother-headed household. Are
all blacks living in fractured
families, the leaders asked? Must
al black women be depicted as
maids?
THE MOST successful "black"
show'now on TV isw ABC's
"What's Happening!," which is
basically a white version of what
life is like in a funky, funny ghet-
to. In this series the main
character is a hippo-like teenager
named Rerun, a living Dennis the
Menace gone to fat. The adult
characters in "What's Hap-
pening!" strive to impose order
and civilization on the bumptious
youngsters, but the jungle drums
of ghetto rock music and the call
of the streets always triumph. In

"What's Happening!," the bad
guys always win.
The newest "black" show to hit
the air is CBS' "Baby I'm Back".
and if its writers ever heard
about the black renaissance post-
"Roots" it doesn't show up in the
series..
"Baby I'm Back" is about a
charming, hustling wastrel
(played by Demond Wilson of the
late NBC hit "Sanford & Son,"
another racist stereotype) who
returns to his wife and two
children seven years after deser-
ting them to play the horses. His
wife has become engaged to
another man in the interimdand
has has the Wilson character
declared legally dead.
OBVIOUSLY, THE writers and
producers think desertion of a
family is an excellent fulcrum on
which to balance a "black" show.
The firm resolve of the wife to
retain her independence from the
roughish hustler is eroding
weekly on the series, which is
climbing in the ratings after its
introduction early this year.
On all "black" shows one of the
most important humor sources-
to judge from the hy-
steria of the record-
ed laugh .tracks - is the
dialect joke. Just let one charac-
ter utter "de ribber" or exclaim
"Oh, yeah!" in minstrel-show
exaggeration and the canned
laughter erupts in torrents.
It was only a year from the
triumph of "Root~" to the
discriminating failure of "King."
The year intervening was sup-
posed to see a maturing of TV's
attitude toward black topics and
artists. Instead, the TV audience
has been given "Roots" retreads
and two new racist situation
comedies. Those waiting for the
revolution are still waiting.
Bill Mandel is the broadcast
coluninist for the San Fran-
cisco Examiner, an d writes for
the Pacific News Serrice.

e

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
The case of Sami Esmail

To The Daily:
Sami Esmail, an Arab-
American student from Michigan
State University, travelled to
Israel on 21 December 1977
(Michigan Daily, 21 February
1978). Upon his arrival in Israel,
he was arrested by the Israeli
government for being a member
of an illegal organization, the
Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine (PFLP), and for
having contact with enemy agen-
ts. Since his arrest, he has been
receiving counsel from Ms.
Felicia Langer, a noted Israeli
lawyer. He has also been visited
by American Embassy officials.
Emotional, arguments have
sky-rocketed at the MSU campus,
where students and professors
have attested to the good nature
and performance of Mr. Esmail
as a student and teaching fellow.
This in no way dismisses the
possibility that he has been in-
volved with the PFLP. His in-
volvement may also include
terrorist training in Libya during
the summer of 1976 (Israeli Con-
sulate, Background Report, 28
January 1978).
It is difficult to understand
whose rights are being infringed
upon in this case., The Israeli
judicial system is very similar to
the American system. Anyone
detained must be indicted within
three months and a trial must oc-
cur within two months after in-
dictment. The arrested person is
innocent until proven guilty, a
foundation of any just system.
Confessions are not necessary,
nor sufficient grounds for convic-
tion, and must be supported by
substantial corroborative
evidence. Under Israeli
jurisprudence, Mr. Esmail has
the right to choose his legal coun-
sel and has exercised this right
by choosing Ms. Felicia Langer,
one of the leading anti-Zionist
lawyers in Israel. The upcoming
trial will be presided over by
three Israeli judges, in an open
courtroom, with no gag order and
with representatives of the
United States present.
The allegation that Mr. Esmail
was tortured has been made by
his brother Basim, hardly an im-
partial source. Nonetheless, the
allegation has been investigated
by the United States State De-
partment. The State Department
reports that "although treated in
a rough manner, Mr. Esmail was

v

Although the case of Mr.
Esmail has become an emotional
battleground, we believe that the
Israeli judicial system is capable
of administering a just trial. We
must constantly be reminded of
the rights of a country to protect
its citizenry from any possible
acts of terrorism. In light of the
past record of the PFLP (the
May 1972 Lod Airport incident
where twenty-four persons were
murdered and eighty wounded;
the attack on the OPEC
ministers' meeting and hostage-
taking in 1975; and the hijacking
of an Air France airbus to Enteb-
be in June 1976), we feel that as
long as there is no conclusive
proof that Mr. Esmail is being
tortured and there is proof that
progress is being made toward
his trial, that Israel is exercising
her right to defend her people
from any possibility of terrorism.
It is our intention to keep abreast
of developments in the Esmail

case. We believe in the due
process of law in Israel and that
the case will come to a fair and
just conclusion. -Geri Unger
Daniel Grosse
Howard Edelstein
helping out
To The Daily:
More and more people are
becoming aware, of the many
problems that confront older
citizens in this country. Poverty,
ill health, loneliness, and im-
mobility are just a few of the dif-
ficulties of old age.
Neighborhood Senior Services
is a non-profict organization
located near North Campus
which aids seniors in remaining
in their own homes and in their
communites. We provide tran-
sportation, help seniors in getting
income supplements, do needed
home chores and refer seniors to

necessary.
We are comprised primarily of
volunteers, both young and old.
Our operating concept is simply,
neighbors helping neighbors., If
you think you can perhaps devote
a little time either visiting a
senior or doing some small chore
such as grocery shopping or
shoveling a sidewalk please con-
tact us. In the spring we will be
having a chore day where volun-
teers will do repairs and
cleaning. If you or your group is
interested, again, please give us,
a call. Students have and are
presently involved in our ac-
tivities, and they have not only
netted results for the older
adults, but the students have
learned much from the seniors.
The phone number of Neigh-
borhood Senior Services is 662-
4862 and our address is 1679
Broadway.
-Mary Baker, Director

the appropriate

agency if

--- Legal Aid Corner

By Howard Epstein
and Bob Bernstein
QUESTION:
I am moving out of the dorm and into non-
University housing. What should I be aware of
before signing a lease?
ANSWER:
The Ann Arbor housing situation creates many
problems for students seeking off-campus
housing. One of the main problems is the scarcity
of houses and apartments for rent in the city. The 6
per cent vacancy rate reflects this supply problem
(anything under 5 per cent is deemed unhealthy by
federal housing officials). Because of this low
supply, rents are high and in many cases the
quality of housing is substandard. Consequently,
you should be conscious of several things before
signing a lease.
Once you think you have found a home you want
to rent, you should clarify the following by
speaking with the landlord and carefully reading
the lease.
1) Who is paying for utilities? The rent might at
first seem quite reasonable-until you receive
your first utility bill. Also, find out whether the
dwelling is heated by electricity, oil, or gas. (Elec-
tricity is the most expensive and gas is the
cheapest). If your lease states that you only have
to pay for the electric utilities beware: this could
include electric heating which can often be ex-
tremely expensive. To give you some idea of the
cost of utilities, it is a good idea to consult with the
previous tenants regarding their past monthly
utility bills.
2) Security Deposits-The maximum amount of
the security deposit can only one one and a half

security deposit when you sign the lease.
3) Find out to what extent your landlord is fur-
nishing your home, and make sure there is
adequate storage space for unwanted furniture.
4) Be wary of lease clauses which refer to apar-
tment rules and regulations not in the lease. After
signing the lease, your landlord may hit you with a
long list of apartment regultions which are unac-
ceptable to you. Be sure to read any set of rules or
regulations referred to in your lease in advance of
signing it.
5) Many leases contain illegal and unenfor-
ceable clauses. If a clause seems as though it un-
fairly llimits your rights, then there is a strong
likelihood that it is illegal. Many of these clauses
are included solely to intimidate you from exer-
cising your rights. But even after signing the
lease, you cannot be bound by these clauses. Be
sure to consult Campus Legal Aid or the Tenant's
Union before you take any action.
6) If you have unearthed illegalities, it may be
unwise to take issue with your landlord. Many
landlords don't want to rent to "trouble makers."
It will usually be wisest to wait until you have
signed the lease and have moved in before objec-
ting. You as a tenant have more power once you
are in possession of the property and possess your
full rights as a tenant. "Future tenants" have few
rights by comparison.
7) You must be sure the person with whom you
are dealing is the landlord or an agent who is
responsible for the property. This may seem ob-
vious and unnecessary, but there have been in-
stances locally in which people have lost up to
hundreds of dollars by signing a lease and placing
a security deposit with an imposter who claimed
to be an agent of the landlord.
8) Remember, if you encounter any trouble, you

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