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May 08, 1979 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1979-05-08

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Page 4-Tuesday, May 8, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Michigan Daily
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom

Circus politics at UW

420 Maynard St
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 5-S
Edited andm
at the Univ

#., Ann Arbor, MI. 48109
News Phone: 764-0552
nanaged by students
ersity of Michigan

Dent grads pay
for school error
F DENTAL SCHOOL seniors had blatantly
stolen answers from one another or snuck crib
sheets into their optional nutrition final, it would
be a clear-cut case of cheating. But this case is
clouded by computer malfunctioning that caused
students to receive dubiously high grades which
they did not contest. Grades were based, in this
case, on the percentage of correct questions answer-
ed, instead of the percentage of correct answers.
While it is reprehensible that students defied their
honor code and did not report the mishap to
professors, they are not entirely at fault.
Computer errors pose new difficulties to
educators, and it is unfortunate that students
must once again bear the unpleasantness which
results. The exam clearly had to be retaken in or-
der for grading to be accurate. And while that is
not welcomed by any student, it is unfair to mete
out a blanket punishment of outlining the entire
course textbook.
All 77 students must serve this sentence, regar-
dless of whether they are guilty. They have all
been branded cheaters, a label they may not
easily escape in professional life.
It is relatively simple to condemn cheating as a
an immoral and unfair practice. But if Dental
School administrators and professors had been
placed in the same situation, and were awarded
the opportunity to glide through this final exam
and "conquer" the computer at the same time,
would they have resisted? Impersonality in-
creases daily at this institution, evidenced in
computerized final exam. For once, students were
offered some recourse, and human nature
suggests temptation was overwhelming. Only
unrealistic administrators could expect con-
fessions from students who knew bitter medicine
would follow.
The school's officials, in fact, have attracted
more attention and endangered the school's
reputation by the behavior they have displayed.
They should clearly not condone cheating in any
form, but to revert to grade school type punish-
ments in this situation is sad. Thus, students are
being punished for the University's mistake.
SPRING EDITORIAL STAFF
ELIZABETHSLOWIK
Editor-in-Chief
JUDY RAKOWSKY
Editorial Director
JOSHUA PECK
Arts Director
MAUREEN OMALLEY
LISA UDELSON j
Photographers
STAFF WRITERS: Sara Anspach, Amy Diamond, Julie Engebrecht, John Goyer,
Patricia Hagen, Vicki Henderson, Adrienne Lyons, Beth Persky, John Sink-
eviecs, TimYag e:- - - - ---- - -- -

MADISON, Wisc. - It would
have been hard for anyone on
cappus at the University, of
Wisconsin over the last year to
have missed it.
Though they never made good
on campaign pledges to flood the
football stadium for mock naval
battles and replace all parking
meters with bubble gum
machines, student government
leaders here staged a huge toga
party last fall attended by ten
thousand students wrapped in
bed sheets, succeeded in erecting
a facsimile of the Statue of Liber-
ty on frozen Mendota Lake (later
burned by unknown persons) and
held a large Easter egg hunt on
their diag, Bascom Hill.
THEY ALSO let student par-
ticipation in UW business lape
to the point where no students
were appointed to a committee
which makes policy for the use of
money in a $100 per student
assessed fee for health services,
intramural sports, their union
building, and student gover-
nment itself.
But just to make sure the
message had gotten to all 37,231
eligible voters on the eve of a
campus-wide election last week,
the party in control of student
government, Pail & Shovel,
distributed flyers repeating their
challenge.
'Are you nuts enough? A year
agp you turned over the reins of
student power to a couple of min-
dless clowns.
"NOW WE ARE asking you to
go for it all. We are-asking you to
re-elect Mallon and Varjian, who
started it all, the 2 who made
wackinees, nuttiness, irrespon-
sibility, craziness, and self-
motivation household words. Are
you nuts enough for that?
"We hope so because we are
crazy. If you remember being
four years old and happy, climb
out of your sandbox and get to the
polls ... You did it in the
Spring, you did it in the Fall, are
you nuts enough to do it one more
time?"
Students were, and they did. Or
at least 2,539 of 6,739 students who
voted last Tuesday and Wed-
nesday were nuts enough to sup-
port the winning Wisconsin
Student Association (WSA)
team: president Jim Mallon and
vice-president Leon Vargian-t-
wo fellows who've made
reputations out of their bread and
circus politics and hedonistic
rhetoric.
Dismissing traditional student
government as irrelevant and,
worse than that, no fun, Mallon
and Vargian last Spring
dedicated themselves to a
program of pranks and parties.
Now UW students can, as one
local reporter put it "look for-
ward to another year of clown-
dom."
RULING CLOWNDOM can be
lots of laughs. The morning after
the votes were counted the WSA
offices were crowded with
balloons, empty bottles, and
papers. Posters plastered the
walls, such as the one which
read: "Honesty, Integrity,
Responsibility. Pail & Shovel
doesn't believe in any of them."
Vice-president Vargian, a
-twenty-severe-year--eld -gradute
student with long, dark hairand a

By Brian Blanchard
nasal carnival barker's voice,
strolled in and introduced him-
self.
"From Michigan, you say.
Suppose you want to learn how to
do this?" he said gesturing
around the room. "Well, it just
takes money, yes money. Here,
have some money. Every vote
was worth the price."
He hands over some play
money from the campaign before
moving off. At the top it reads:
"laundry-fresh, Good for all
bribes public and private."
George Gottchalk, the
senator, talked about the mud-
slinging Mallon and Vargian had
practiced during the campaign.
The two had gone out to the
Library Mall, a gathering place,
and slung real mud at
photographs of opponents' and
anyone else who happened to be
around.
Asked if all WSA senators
felt the same way Pail & Shovel
does about the uselessness of
issue-orientedstudent gover-
nment, he said no, unfortunately
not all of them did.
"You get some serious people
in there," he said, "but what can
you do?"
At that point, one of the serious
people came in, Ed Abrahams,
another senator. Well, not really
a senator anymore, he explained,
he's really the vice-president sin-
ce last Thursday the senate had
voted 13-0 to impeach Vargian
and Abrahams took his place.
WHY HAD HE RUN against
the popular Pail & Shovel on one
of the many alternative tickets?
He listed three reasons but they
all came down to two: Mallon and
Vargian.
The ponytailed president,
Maoon, dumping seeds into a
hampster cage a few feet away,
defended the use of police to keep
the WSA offices from being
looted during off hours. The 22-
year-old Communications/Arts
senior said that as the president
he ought to be able to keep the of-
fices closed when he wanted to.
Mallon and Abrahams spoke
easily, almost as friends. That
evening they would be yelling at
each other over the sound of
Vargian's gavel. In a room full of
arguing senators, Abrahams
tried to run the weekly meeting
as vice-president whole Vargian
pounded away to show his un-
willingness to surrender his seat.
He'd been impeached without a
quorum, he yelled occassionally.
The meeting's agenda had been
tossed out the window after a
round of champagne had been
drunk and the roll taken. There
followed more than an hour of
complete confusion while Mallon
assured visitors that "They're
always this way, takes about an
.hour and a half to get under-
way." Anarchy.
Friends in Madison tell me it's-
better than the illusion of power
that usually goes along with
student government. The $80,000
annual budget for WSA is spread
around more, they said, if used as
it was, to sponsor Laurel and
Hardy films on the Mall and a

dial-a-joke service than if it were
used to fund student
organizations and services.
"It's all a big joke anyway,"
said one. "Why not have fun as
it?"
But not everyone agrees. Bar-
bara Levin, the most popular
presidential contender next to the
Vail & Shovelers with 29 per cent
of the vote, concedes some of
their gags have yielded construc-
tive results. Renaming the UW
the University of New Jersey so
students could pretend they were
getting an Eastern education
may have served the purpose of
drawing more attention to WSA,
and injecting some
needed humor into the
organization, Levin said.
But, she said, "A year's plenty."
This year, she pointed out, liberal
Mayor Paul Soglin was defeated
by a more conservative can-
didate. And with WSA taking less
interest in housing, zoning, and
rape protection issues, a vaccum
has formed. Moreover, she said,
student groups are folding for
want of support fromWSA, and
that is creating a politically
lifeless campus.
THE CAMPUS newspaper, the
Daily Cardinal, earlier this year
ran a series of articles detailing
alleged improprieties by Mallon
and Vargian and feeling runs
strong at the Cardinal that Pail &
Shovel politics are crooked.
"They're a bunch of fascist
power-mongers," said the
editorial director without
smiling.
The Cardinal ran a black ban-
nec on the issue which announced
Pail, . & Shovel victory: "More
clowns, more mud for WSA."
Roger Howard, Associate Dean
of Students, said his office has
tried to respect the trustees' in-
structions that students would
have the right to run their own
student government.
"THERE'S SOME frustration
on the part of some students with
WSA," said Howard. "And
there's a temptation to step in
and sort this thing out. Believe
me there have been some times
when the temptation was quite
great."
The result of Pail & Shovel
leadership has been a complete
breakdown in cooperation bet-
ween student government and
UW administrators on all but the
most necessary budgetary mat-
ters, according to Howard. He
said that his office oversees the
dispersal of WSA funds and that
twice during the year the ad-
ministration has tried to put a
freeze on'WSA's spending after it
went into deficits.
They've planned a lot for the
coming year. Jerry Brown and
Linda Ronstadt are to be wed in
September on the Library Mall,
September 28-30 are Cocaine
Days (a costly hash bash), and
October brings a symposium on
How to Cheat on Exams.
Students here have apparently
decided that the way one votes on
campus won't affect one's life, so
it's best to simply "go for it," that
is, go for laughs.
Brian Blanchard is the
Daily's University editor.

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