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December 03, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-12-03

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

'U goe,
By AMY BLUMENTHAL
and CALVIN LUKER
IT STUDENT government, or STU-
PID government? We have been in-
volved with the Michigan Student As-
sembly since its sudden birth in Janu-
ary of 1976. Our involvement with MSA
cOmpels us to write this to try to ex-
plain what is, and more importantly,
what is not right with student govern-
ment here at the University. If you ex-
pect a long winded regurgitation of pre-
sent and past MSA activities, culminat-
ing in a request that you support MSA
with a 75 cent donation, don't waste your
time reading on. This article is not writ-
ten for you. It's written for those who
want to understand a few basic facts
about the U of M structure, and MSA's
role in that structure.
We initially became involved in stu-
dent government because we were con-
cerned about issues such as tuition, eth-
nic and sexual discrimination, substand-
ard education, an unresponsive univer-
sity bureaucracy, and many unfulfilled
promises made by the university. We
needed a vehicle to channel our con-
cerns into action. For us, student gov-
ernment was an already established ag-
ency for change. We ran for MSA, were
elected, and became its President and
Vice-President. We had clearly identified
those areas we felt were deficient and
believed that, at last, we could begin
the struggle to change them. Where oth-
ers had tried and failed, we believed we
would be successful. Now, eight months
later, we're forced to look back. What
do we see? A university basically un-
changed, where tuition, discrimination,
constantly disintegrating educational

its

merry way as

MIrlS

quality, cumbersome unresponsive bu-
reaucracy, and unfulfilled promises con-
tinue to be the winners, and the students
continue to be the losers. Where is the
problem? In answering that question, we
found that MSA, indeed student govern-
ment in general, is not an agency for
change. There were several reasons why
we reached that conclusion.
THE UNIVERSITY STRUCTURE is
interesting. There are eight Regents,
nine executive officers, and seventeen
schools and colleges. Each school and
college has a dean, several assistant
deans, and numerous other officials.
Each executive officer has assistants,
departments with heads and assistants,
and again, numerous other officials.
While the Regents might have ultimate
authority, most of the decisions are
made by other university officials func-
tioning in one capacity or another. Then,
outside of and below that vast autonom-
ous structure, there is a student govern-
ment. Realistically, that student govern-
ment exists at the pleasure of the larger
structure. Recognized by that structure,
it is charged with "articulating the will
of the students." It also gets to provide
such services as health insurance, fund-
ing assistance to student organizations,
and voter registration services which
other universities generally provide
through student services outlets rather
than through student government. In the
university structure, then, student gov-
ernment is supposed to attract students
with energy and purpose who unite to
change university policies. Given the
many university authorities, the added
responsibilities the university really
should provide; and the university's

ability to generate conflict through ma-
nipulation of issues, thereby draining
otherwise productive ,talent, it becomes
necessary to perceive student govern-
ment as an instrument of cooption rath-
er than an agency of change. The uni
versity administration here goes un-
threatened, MSA being forced to accept
its half action/half program mandate.
The university administration thrives,
the students starve.
There is more than that. The mem-
bers of Michigan Student Assembly con-
tribute directly to student government
cooption by failing to realize they are
being coopted. While the university rais-
es tuition, they fight about whether MSA
is malapportioned or not. While the uni-
versity discriminates against people,
MSA runs elections where money is
spent, students smear students, and ev-
eryone smears MSA. While the univer-
sity lets class size rise and education-
al standards fall, MSA condemns its of-
ficers for trying to force the univer-
sity to live up to the requirements of
Title IX. While the university continues
to inflate its already inflated executive
ranks, MSA members play petty games
to inflate some egos and deflate other
egos, power tripping all the way. The
university screws the students and MSA
screws itself. Because it cannot grow
out of the childish stage and into adult-
hood, MSA continues to support the ac-
tions of the university, rather than
changing them. The few active, con-
structive MSA members have to de-
vote their time and energies to keep-
ing the programs going, saving them-
selves from the petty bullshit the de-
structive MSA members sling, and

through all that trying to keep their
own spirit up so that if they find an
opening they might be able to chal-
lenge the university. The Daily was
right in its editorial of Tuesday, Novem-
ber 30th. MSA spends so much time try-
ing to keep its own game together,
often failing, that it just doesn't have
the energy to pursue substantive issues.
When MSA tries to clean its own house,
to get rid of some of its dead wood,
or to take a stand on an important
issue, the vote is marked with absten-
tions. There are those who are too weak
to take a stand. MSA is its own worst
enemy, and the urAversity's best friend.
It always will be as long as it can't
go beyond its own hassles.
MSA IS NOT THE FINAL CAUSE of
the university administration's success
and the students' failure. The students
at the U of M insist on committing
suicide day by day by refusing to recog-
nize either the university's wrongs or
MSA's rights. The students ask the right
questions, but they ask them in the
wrong way and of the wrong people.
The hottest issue in last spring's elec-
tion, in which only nine per cent of
the student body bothered to vote, was
not who was going to work the hardest
to get the university to change its act,
but rather should the 75 cent assess-
ment for student government on tuition
statements be voluntary or mandatory.
While the university was raising tuition
another 9 per cent, continuing to price
education out of the middle class range,
1,400 students were saying they didn't
want to have to give' 75 cents to MSA.
While over 7,000 students have said this
semester that MSA wasn't worth 75

14 fght
i i 0 ti
cents, only six students were upset
enough about their wasted tuition mon-
ey to go to Lansing and march about
it. They bitch about being robbed of
75 cents. What about the S500-S,900
the students pay each semester to the
university? Are they getting an equal
return on that investment? Unwitting-
lv the students are playing into the
hands of the university. They are in-
stantly ready to say that MSA doesn't
give what it promised. What can 75
cents buy? Yet, when MSA finally tries
to do something about the tuition rip-
off all students encounter every semes-
ter, the students ignore it. How can
MSA or any student government exist
in an environment like that? MSA fights
itself. The students fight MSA, their own
student government. The university ad-
ministration watches, waits, and passes
more tuition and dorm rate increases.
The one valuable service which stu-
dent government should provide, outside
of, recognition of and control over stu-
dent organizations, is appointments to
university committees. Already this term
MSA has spent hundreds of dollars in
ads trying to find students to "serve
on these committees. These committees
are the ONLY avenues students have
to try to change some of the injustices
at the U of M. Yet MSA has to run
ads for days and days, just to get
enough students to apply. We still have
committee openings which are unfilled,
simnly because the students are either
too lazy or too apathetic to give three
hours a month. How can MSA advocate
for students if they won't come forward
and advocate for themselves?
WHO, THEN, IS THE BIGGEST con-

s itsel
tributor to the sorry plight of students
and student government? Is it the ad-
ministration, who coonts student govern-
rne-t? Is it ISA. the student govern-
mit whih the admiistration coopts,
and who can't see that it is coopted?
Is t the stdet wh, hitches about the
st ient q-ernmeit that is coopted by
h admiistration, vet ref"ses to do a
damn thing to ston it? We can't an-
swer that for von. We can say that
+ll students are 1Isers. We can say that
the university administration will con-
tinue to win as long as the student gov-
ernment fights itself, and the students
stand by fanning the flames. And ev-
eryone will be responsible.
What about us? We've given hours
and hours of time trying to bring change
throngh an agency of no change. We're
leaving now. We just had to tell you
that as long as things continue as they
have, you're all suckers, right along with
us. But we have one thing going for us
that you don't have. We see what's go-
ing on . .. finally. We've done our best
to stop it. We're lucky. We still have
our committment to change. We still
have some of our energy. We have
numerous skills and ideas which we've
picked up and held onto as we've wad-
e] through all the shit. We have ideas
about solutions, combined with a real-
istic view of what can be done. And,
although our optimism about promoting
change at this University has dwindled
corsiderably, the skills we've acquired
will always help us in our efforts to
change what we feel needs changing.
Calvin Lnker and Amy Blumenthal are
MSA officers.

ec '0t tan af
Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, M1 48109

LETTE RS

Friday, December 3, 1976

News Phone: 764-0552

semantics

contest

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Amin's "divine" justification

GODFmEY CAMBRIDGE suffered a
heart attack and died Monday
while portraying Idi Amin in a movie
about the Israeli raid into Uganda's
Entebbe airport last July. President
Amin was yesterday quoted by Radio
Uganda as saying Cambridge's death
was "punishment by God." Whether
or not this -is so we are unsurprised
by Amin's assertion of intimate
knowledge about divine justice, for
if there is anybody most deserving of
divine punishment, then Amin must
certainly rank in the top ten.
This one man's sins against hu-
manity rank along with those of
Adolph Hitler. And perhaps it is no
coincidence that Adolph Hitler is
greatly admired by Amin. Indeed,
Amin's praise of Hitler have at times
become so lofty that the Soviets re-
cently advised him to shut up.
With the Ugandan army to support
him, Amin governs Uganda like the
barbarians governed Rome. The
Ugandan people are repeatedly sub-
jected to his frequent temper tan-

trums and his ruthless army. Ugan-
dans are taken away by night and
are- never heard from again.
When college students in Uganda
taunted his son, Amin ordered the
army to attack their university.
News of the attack leaked out and
the Western news media told us of
the rapes, maimings and utter cruel-
ty that occurred during this attack.
So next time Amin boasts about di-
vine justice remember that his brain
-is reportedly rotting from tertiary
syphilis. And shee a tear for God-
frey Cambridge, a fine actor who
was taken from us in his prime.
Divine justice?
TODAY'S STAFF:
News: Sue Ades, Eileen Daley, Patti
Montemurri, Jim Tobin, Bill Turque
Editorial Page: Mike Beckman, Step-
hen Kursman, Jon Pansius, Tom Ste-
vens
Arts Page: Lois Josimovich
Photo Technician: Andy Freeberg

To The Daily:
IN RESPONSE TO Lionel A.
Biron's recent attempt at a let-
ter to the editor I have only
one thing to say - "Get fucked
Lionel." I'll agree that it it
Mr. Biron's -right to cut down
the English language but why
use only one example? It is
this kind of one-sided thinking
that brings out the true level
of Mr. Biron's intelligence -
none.
According to you Mr. Biron,
to be fucked is to lose. Where
did this "fact" come from?
Throughout your whole "lette "
you cut down the people w.0o
use the word "fuck" in different
ways than the intercourse defi-
nition, but you yourself then
come up with this "profound"
statement comparing fucking
with losing. Good try.
I still don't understand why
you used only one example Mr.
Biron. Since you seem to have
a lot of concern for the word
"gay" why not expound on its
misuse also? Come on Lionel,
give us a first-hand explanation
of that word. Are homosexuals
gay? You obviously prove that
as not being true. Obviously you
are not a student here and were
one of those older people in
Section 31 who sought to shoot
down the spirit of us "lowly"
freshpersons who don't know
any better.
Well Mr. Biron, speaking for
this group of people I say -
EAT SHIT!! (This time take it
literally.),
A Spirited Michigan Fan
November 29

To The Daily:
THE WILLIAM MONROE
Trotter House proudly announc-
es the First Annual Miss Black
University of Michigan Page-
ant. The pageant will be held
January 23, 1977, at 8:00 p.m.
in the Ann Arbor Inn Ball
Room.
To become a contestant in
the pageant you must: be a
registered female student of
the Ann Arbor campus, under-
grad or grad level; have a CPA
of at least 2.0 or better; and
s'ibmit an application to the
Trotter House by December 10,
1976.
Approximately 20 contestants
will be selected to compete for
the title. Two days of contest-
related activities are planned.
Saturday, January 22, 1977,
contestants will attend a lunch-
eon in their honor. That after-
noon, they will meet the judges
and be interviewed by them. A
dinner will follow.
Sunday, January 23, 1977, a
cocktail party will precede the
pageant. During the pageant
each contestant will display her
talents and five finalists will
be selected. Each of them will
be asked to answer an impromp-
tu question.
THE WINNER will be judged
on the basis of her personality,
black awareness (talent), poise
and intellect.
$600 and other prizes will be
awarded to first, second and'
third place winners.
The winner of this pageant
will represent the U of M in a
state-wide college contest to be
held in February 1977.

Black female students are
urged to apply! Here is a good
opportunity to display your tal-
ents, win prizes and represent
your school as Miss Black Uni-
versity of Michigan.
Applications are available at
the Trotter House, 1443 Washte-
new, (763-4692). Deadline is De-
cember 10, 1976.
Georgia Holman
Trotter House
December 2
To The Daily:
I AM A JAPANESE student.
I ask a favor of you. As a
matter of fact, I'm anxious to
know a young student's full
name and address.
I just know his first name.
His name is Dan. When I met
him on the Greyhound bus last
August, he told me he was
eighteen years old and was sup-
posed to study medicine. He has
an elder sister (married) and
a younger brother.
I have already written to the
University. The Office of the
Dean told me they don't keep
records of all students in pre-
medical curriculum. But he ad-
vised me to write to The Michi-
gan Daily.
Miss Akiko Baba
2-22-19 Minaminagasaki
Toshimaku
Tokyo, Japan
Letters should be typed
and limited to 400 words.
The Daily reserves the
right to editrletters for
length and grammar.

Perspective
by W. L. SCHELLER ..,
A S THE WINTER SNOWS settle on Ann Arbor, finals loom
ahead and we all face the joy of CRISP once more, we real-
ize that 1976 doesn't have very much time left. This year has seen
change and turmoil, praise and happiness. The United States cele-
brated its 200 years anniversary, Austria its thousandth, t w o
great leaders of the world's most populous nation have passed away
and a man who was unknown a year ago is our President-elect.
In the next three columns, the last three of 1976, I hope to look
back on some different aspects of the year.
One of the purposes of college is supposedly the transform-
ing of a person into an intelligent being who is able to express his
or herself in a civilized manner. This should be why we contend
with courses in literature, humanities, rhetoric, etc. Unfortunate-
ly, recent happenings in and around campus have left doubts about
the state of the English language at the University.
THE LANGUAGE problem here extends beyond the aspiring
writers who grace our restrooms. Poor ability of a few to ex-
press themselves has given way to downright poor taste, or total
lack thereof, in many areas that should be striving to be the
linguistic examples. One of the most recent culprits in this linguis-
tic genocide has been the Michigan Daily. A highly regarded c*4
lege newspaper, the Daily felt is appropriate to display a picture
of some people holding up a sign that said, "F . the Bucks". This
coupled with the rather candid remarks of some people inter-
viewed after the big win, showed truly atrocious taste. Surely with
the' profusion of posters, signs and slogans, The Daily could
have come up with a better theme for the Ohio State game.
The other major area that has been linguistically lacking,
make that shocking, is the political arena., Earl Butz' joke was
bad enough, but I find it difficult to support the Bull . . . well you
know, party in the MSA elections. Harry Truman was considered
coarse by many and Richard Nixon's expletive deleteds became
one of' the shocks of Watergae. Hopefully our aspiring campus
politicians will come up with things more meaningful that trite
vulgarities.
AROUND CAMPUS THE graffiti and intrapersonal communi-
cation is as bad or worse than what gets printed. In South
Quad, two feuding houses have filled one of the elevators with
some obscenities in indellible ink. Others have taken off from
there and added more enlightening comments. Seeing two people
meet on the street saying, "Hey mother ." is more than just
disturbing. Isn't that something once used to pick a fight? Do we
really have such low regard for each other that we must refer
to each other in such a manner?
The only way we can bring up the standards of our language
as a whole, is to raise our personal choice of words. Poor language
doesn't show our maturity, it only shows our ignorance of better
means of expression. Public vulgarity is detrimental to our socie-
ty, in that it lowers our standards. Only by striving for better
can we improve ourselves. 1977 will be here before we know it.
Let us show our' maturity and education in the year ahead by
improving our personal standards of speech.

Editoria
consensus o

: positions represent a
f The Daily Editorial staff.

i

-- I

"To KNOWi IF T
COUP-k' \lu, ?. ?culbz
F\Nt) A SPO NCGr
OAEZ TA FGR

r
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t
1
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The grocery sales death-ray

7n

i^

By ANTHONY O. MILLER
Pacific News Service
The computerized "laser-eye" grocery store check-out system
-heralded as tomorrow's labor-saving technology today - may
be in deep trouble with its own biggest booster: the nation's groc-
ery industry.
The Universal Product Code (UPC), that grid of parallel lines
and numbers substituting for price tags on grocery products
across the .U.S., is driving shopers' back to stores with prices
on every item, according to an industry-commissioned study by
Michigan State University.
The industry is alarmed. Its subcommittee on the UPC has
already recommended augmenting the codes with "individual
item-marking as is used in conventional supermarkets."
UPCs were adopted by the grocery industry in 1973 to save
labor and computerize check-out registers. The markings don't
indicate price but simply what -the product is: brand name, size
and- content.
When passed over a "scanner" that "reads" the code, the
computerized register - programmed by individual stores to re-
flect their prices - adds price informa ion to produce a ,finished
receipt.
SCANNER-STORES USUALLY mdrk the price of products on
the shelf but not on individual cans. This saves store labor but,
as consumer groups have argued, can make finding the price
a chore for customers.
Today's recession-squeezed shoppers read newspaper food

in (UPC) scatmer-equipped stores.
* At the check stand, "shoppers in conventional stores (knew)
the correct prices 71 per cent of the time, compared with 56 per
cent for shoppers in scanner-stores.
" "Forty-three per cent of scanner-store shoppers switched to
another store, compared with 26 per rent for the conventional
store.
INDUSTRY REACTION TO the anti-UPC recommendation has
ranged from angry opposition to hope that it will indicate the in-
dustry's ability to act as i's own watchdog.
The director of a UPC-involved Canadian chain bristled at the
conclusion's audacity. And. as reported in a recent issue of Super-
market News (SN), Wayne H. Fisher, Lucky Stores' chairman,
"vehemently disagreed with the subcommittee recommendation."
But other industry spokesmen thought the report would defuse
criticism from consumer groups. "It is our sincere hope," said
Joseph Danzansky, president of Giant Food Stores and a member
of the subcommittee. "that this statesmanlike approach by the
industry will finally convince consumers, labor and legislators of
our sincerity and that the drive for needless legislation will end.
Reaction to the report from organized labor, which has op-
posed UPCs as a threat to jobs. was enthsiastic. "The study re-
s"Vs are absolutely fantastic for the consumer." Retail Clerks
union president Walter Davis told SN. "The poll shows what con-
surrers have been saving all along. We're still going full speed
ahead wi h (item-pricing) legislation."
In Ca'ifornia and other states such legislation has been under
it, n" .. ..~.<- A . AerP in the California Assemblv. SB

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