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May 14, 1974 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-14

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Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Tuesday, May 14, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552
Leash on life for
Justice Department


ONE OF THE MOST blatant violations of civil liberties
during the Nixon administration-and the Johnson
administration as well--has been the indiscriminate use
of illegal wiretaps.
For that reason the decision yesterday by tle Supreme
Court that the Justice Department violated the law in
the placement of many wiretaps while John Mitchell was
attorney general was a welcome change of pace for a
Supreme Court which has steadily placed law enforce-
ment fiat above individual liberties in the last several
The use of wiretaps, whether legally or illegally, is
always a threat to individual privacy especially because
its inherent secrecy increases the possibility for abuse.
In this case, it was clear that the power to tap was
abused. The Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 states
that requests for taps must be approved by the attorney
general or a specially designated assistant attorney gen-
eral, while Mitchell had allowed his executive assistant to
give blanket approval to taps while Mitchell was not in
THE LAST SEVERAL administrations in Washington
have all nurtured a growing belief that, in the pro-
cess of combatting crime, it is not necessary for the
government itself to stay within the law. The Watergate
revelations have documented this belief most clearly in
the Nixon administration, which has had a drive to use
illegal wiretaps that can only be described as manic.
As was demonstrated by the placing of telephone wire-
taps on journalists in an attempt to discover the source
of news leaks, the government does not have to obtain
the signature of a judge to place a telephone tap if it so
Thus we find ourselves in a situation in which only the
check of the courts can provide restraint when officials
with the capability to use electronic eavesdropping will
do so without regard for the niceties of the law. And
when wire taps are placed in secret and kept secret, there
would seem to be no restraint at all.
Spring Staff
Editoriai Director
Arts Editor
G ORAONATCHESON .............................Night Editor
JEFF DAY ........................................ Night Editor
CHERYL PLATE ... . . . .. Night Editor
JUDY RUSKIN ....... ..... ........ ..... Night Editor
JEFF SORENSEN. ........ ... Night Edito
BARBARA CORNELL . ..... Ass't. Night Editor
JANET HARSHMAN Ass't. Night Editor
ANDREA LILY ............ ......... ..Asst. Night Edito
STEPHEN HERSH.. ...... Asst. Night Editor
DAvID WITiNG........ Ass't. Night Editor
Sports Editor
Business Manager
CLA RKE COGSDILL ............Contributing Sports Editor
GEORGE HASTINGS ...... Executive Sports Editor
JOHN KAHLER.. . . . . . ..... Associate Sports Editor
ROGER ROSSITER ..........Managing Sports Editor
JOAN ADES ...Cu Manager
-we CoiMMrrrgEE TO LWUMiAPECaM W PRoEmar


'Refreshing to have an (expletive deleted) leader who has the
(inaudible) to be Candid, ain't it?'
SGC function examined

LAST FALL, a number of incidents raised ques-
tions in many students, faculty, and admin-
istrator's minds about the effectiveness and
quality of student government at the University
of Michigan.
The accountability and methods of the current
president, Lee Gill, were under attack. Voter
turnout hit a new low with only 3 percent of the
student body voting in the November election. A
new system of representation, called to 10-10-10
plan, put over 40 representatives into office at
the same time, but many soon decided that this
did no better job of representing the different
student groups and interests on campus than
did the old method. Others questioned SGC's
seeming inability to handle its money respon-
sibly, and the fact that SGC seemed to go into
debt each year.
Henry Johnson, vice president for student serv-
ices, went to the Regents with a proposal for a
committee to study student government at Michi-
gan which would eventually.suggest plans for the
reorganization of SGC. The Regents agreed, and
a 22-member body, called the Commission on
Student Government, was formed.
ONE OF THE biggest concerns has been the
decreasing percentage of voters in recent elec-
tions. At first it was assumed that SGC's inef-
fectiveness and low credibility were to blame
for the low student interest, but now it seems as
if the answer is more complex.
According to Vice President Henry Johnson, one
reason for the low voter turnout is that "the ma-
jority of students have a greater allegiance with
their department or professional school than with
some central monolithic body."
Johnson also feels that SGC is not representa-
tive -enough, "not in terms of representing the
different colleges and schools, or in terms of rep-
resenting large constituent blocks." Another fac-
tor is that SGC has not addressed itself to the is-
sues that students are really interested in, he
of the Commission, feels that because of the 18-
year-old vote more students are interested in
local issues and politics, and consequently par-
ticipation in student government has lost some
of its appeal.
Kolar said that one of the most important find-
ings of the Commission, based on a survey of
more than 70 colleges and universities, is that
"low voter turnout is not necessarily indicative of
how important or effective the student govern-
ment is.
"But voter turnout is indicative," she con-
tinued, "of how important students judge the is-
sues they are to vote on in a student election.
Students vote when their vote affects some
change of issue they have control over, such as
the assessment of student fees.'
man of the Commission, agreed with Kathy and
pointed out that the schools surveyed had reported
that usually less than 20 per cent of their stu-
dent body vot'd in each election.

Doug Reith, Commission member, suggested
that the Commission should look at what the Uni-
versity is not doing for students that student
government should do. Then they can decide, he
said, on what structure of government would
work best on Michigan's campus.
Reith also believes that the representatives
elected in all-campus elections under the current
system really are not responsible or accountable
to the students who elected them. He thought that
if students were to elect representatives from
their school or college, the representatives would
come under greater scrutiny, and be more re-
sponsive to their electing body.
cent years have called for a change in SGC
priorities and activities, according to Harris, but
SGC has not made this change. "Several years
ago SGC was very successful in getting the Uni-
versity to be less concerned with loco parentis
(when the University assumes the responsibility
of being parents away from home through such
things as dormitory curfews) and to be more con-
cerned with educational issues," he said.
"This has caused a change in the function of
student government, Harris continued. He now
feels that SGC should become more involved
in political and fundamental issues such as the
nature of University research, and availability of
low cost housing.
The effectiveness of SGC will increase when it
begins to deal with more substantive issues of in-
terest to the students, says Johnson, such as re-
creation facilities, and how students should be
involved in the student governments in their
various schools.
ACCORDING TO JOHNSON, another function
of SGC should be to "maximize student input into
the overall University structure." One issue he
would like to see SGC tackle again is the possi-
bility of student representation on the Regents'
through an ex-officio student member.
Harris also believes that SGC should concen-
trate on "increasing the number of students on
decision making bodies (such as curriculum
committees) and that SGC should have exclusive
control over the selection of those students."
Carl Sandberg, the current SGC president, said
that "SGC has done well in providing services,
such as low cost student insurance, and recog-
nition of student organizations," but agrees that
"SGC has not handled its finances we'll or done
adequate future planning."
"SGC's relationship with school and college
governments should also be tighter than it has
been," he added. Sandberg considers the cam-
pus too fractionalized, and would like to see
SGC have regular meetings or consultations with
the different college governments. "We should
also explore the possibility of joint financing for
some activities."
IN GENERAL, Sandberg believes that SGC
should concentrate in the future on "a stronger
structure than we now have, tighter controls,
better programming, and better control of fi-

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