420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Edi torials prnted in The Mchgn Dily exress the indvdul
opnions of the author Ths must be nted in ol reprints.
Tuesday, May 25, 1971 News Phone: 764-0552
NIGHT EDITOR: ROSE SUE BERSTEIN
'U' communications gap
THE ATTEMPTED INTERRUPTION of last Friday's
Regents meeting by a group of University janitors
once again brought into the open the inadequacy of the
channels of communication among various University
The janitors came to the Regents to protest the loss
of their paid lunch periods. They claimed before the
Regents that, following the standard procedures, they had
filed over 100 grievances without receiving a response.
President Fleming denied the janitors permission to
speak during the meeting itself, telling them they could
address the Regents afterwards if they wished. Then,
maintaining he had not been informed of the problem
in advance, and that the janitors knew the proper chan-
nels for pursuing a grievance, Fleming walked out im-
mediately after the meeting and was followed by Regent
The other Regents stayed - briefly - to hear the
janitors' complaints but answered that the Regents
were not the proper body to hear such complaints until
all the standard channels for grievance filing had been
IN THE JANITORS' opinions, the channels the Regents
spoke of have been exhausted. They feel they have
tried to communicate their complaints to the administra-
tion. In the words of one janitor, "We feel like we're
beating our heads against a brick wall."
University Manager of Employe Relations J a m e s
Thiry says his office has a general policy whereby a
group of emnloves affected by a common grievance may
register their problems with a single grievance report.
He implies that, by flooding the administration with in-
dividual grievances, the janitors have broken with the
spirit of this unwritten policy and hampered the effec-
tiveness of the grievance procedure.
So the personnel authorities perceive insolence and
attempts to bog down their office with needless griev-
ance reports. The janitors perceive an unjust change in
working conditions, with their only chance for rectifica-
tion, the grievance procedure, failing to draw attention
to the problem.
Clearly, an easing of this tense situation requires
more attention and work, particularly on the part of the
It may be, as was asserted at the meeting Friday,
that the Regents generally make decisions only after
University administrators have considered the issues and
made recommendations. Nonetheless, in a situation
where University workers were frustrated by the Uni-
versity bureaucracy, it would have helped matters con-
siderably if the Regents had listened more conscien-
tiously to the janitors' complaints.
THE REGENTS and President Fleming should always be
accessible to all University constituents. In this case,
when the janitors feel it is futile to appeal further to
lower echelon administrators, there is no excuse for the
highest University authorities closing their ears.
-ROSE SUE BERSTEIN
aG - I w
Good news or bad news?
By JAMES WECHSLER
THROUGH MOST of my life, someone has been com-
plaining that newspapers give undue attention to
"bad news" and inadequate notice to joyous events.
In recent years TV news coverage has been subjected
to similar attack.
Intermittently some character announces that he
will reverse the formula; thus there now exists a
weekly "newspaper" called Aquarian Times dedicated
exclusively to the publication of what its owner, a 31-
year-old former advertising man, regards as happy
happenings. Since one man's pleasure may be an-
other's pain, this exercise must involve some delicate
selection; there will always be some to whom brilliant
sunshine is a portent of drought.
But the lamentations about the media's obsession
with woe are most frequestly voiced by incumbent
politicians (and high school advisers), and Republican
Chairman Bob Dole is the latest to protest the preva-
lence of morose news.
In a speech recorded in the latest issue of the Re-
publican propaganda sheet known as (not blue) Mon-
day, he calls upon his party colleagues to "spread the
word of the Nixon Administration's achievements be-
cause the mass media cannot be counted upon to do
"As Republicans," he added, "we can be proud that
our party has brought this drive for positive change
to the nation . . But to many members of she mass
media, the motto of the day seems to be 'Bad News
Is the Best News.',,
CHAIRMAN DOLE was specifically irritated by TV
coverage of the Laos "incursion." It happens, of
course, that the nature of that coverage was largely
dictated by censorship restrictions imposed on cor-
respondents; what troubled the Administration was the
refusal of journalists to bow to the curbs, and the in-
terviews they obtained with helicopter pilots who un-
folded the dreary truth about that "success" story.
But what must inevitably be described as Dole's
doleful views of the media is only another chapter in
the crusade begun by Vice President Agnew designed,
as Eric Sevareid suggested some time ago, to resolve
the Administration's own credibility crisis by assail-
ing the credibility of independent journalists.
While the bombardment may have certain intimi-
datory effectiveness, it is unlikely to achieve any po-
litical miracles. In the end what newspaper headlines
or TV news shots show is less decisive than the reali-
ties of American life.
When the unemployment figures are announced,
Dole might prefer that the headlines proclaim how
many Americans are working; but the victims of
joblessness will find little solace in that news judg-
Similarly, the arithmetic on U.S. troop withdrawals
cannot diminish the agony of families whose loved
ones are still being killed and maimed in Vietnam-
or hide the devastation still being wrought by our
And even if every journalist in the land enlisted in
Operation Optimism as it is now being waged by the
Administration on the economic front, the housewife's
basic reading would remain the grocery bill.
IN FACT a reverse case can be made against the
Dole thesis: By the year 1971 we have become so numb
to horror that we are inclined to accept as routine
some of the worst evidence of the failure of man's
hope. Consider how long many Americans endured
the total atrocity of Vietnam in the mood character-
ized by Lt. Calley's reference to My Lai: "No big
Not long ago UN Secretary General U Thant, speak-
ing to Chicago's Council for Foreign Relations was
"The courtesy, the kindness and the understanding
with which I am received do not hide from me the
severe and often silent questions which are on the
minds and in the hearts of the listeners: Why is there
still so much horrid killing going on in this world?
Why is there war in Indochina and why does it last
so long? Why is there no peaceful and just settlement
in the Middle East? Why does the world spend $200
billion a year on armaments? Why are there still
colonized peoples? Why are there divided countries?
Why are not all countries participating in the United
Nations? Why is there so much poverty, hunger and
illiteracy persisting on the same planet side by side
with wealth, abundance and waste? Why is there
racism and apartheid? Why are there so many viola-
tions of human rights? Why are our common heri-
tages, the oceans, the atmosphere, our rivers and the
beauty of our world, suddenly in danger? .. .
"In each hemisphere, on each continent, in each
country, these questions are given different weight
and urgency. A man dying of hunger or of a bullet in
Asia is asking 'why' more dramatically than his fellow
man who may feel strangled by overurbanization in
Europe or in North American. But each one requests
an answer to his interrogations and turns to the insti-
tutions and to the leaders of this world who proclaim
that they are working for peace, justice and progress.
And each year many millions of people die without
having received a satisfactory answer .. ."
IN THE REAL WORLD Thant was describing, who
can seriously allege that we are too preoccupied with
"bad news"? We are too often content to accept soft
evasions, and shallow accommodations, more tolerant
of the inadequacies of our political leaders than of our
baseball managers, and deaf to the ticking of a thou-
a New York Post
Letters to The Daily
To The Daily:
IN YOUR article about
tors and the Regents (Da
22), you identified me a
ward. This was a mistal
not a steward, nor am I
nate steward. I am simpl:
member, who as a janito
a union member, is extre
set because of the univer
bitrary, unfair, and illeg
ment of the janitors and c
Error so much work to be done. "They"
brought it on themselves. Right?
I think we're in troublel If the
the jani- tystem couldn't handle that kind
aily, May of a forewarned situation . . . will
as a ste- it be able to cope with other dis-
ke-I am asters on a major scale? Eleven
an alter- thousand arrested and chaos!
y a union Martha? How many would be
r and as involved in the first hour if a bomb
mely up- dropped . . . if a widespread epi-
sity's ar- demic broke out ... . or if one of
;al treat- nature's tricks really hit hard? I'd
ir griev- always thought those victims would
be provided for. Maybe if they're
deemed innocent they will be, but
I hope they go to the bathroom be-
forehand, just in case.
To The Daily:
SOMETIMES I GET a little pre-
occupied with my conservative set
on things. But right is right and
there is something especially
threatening in the Washington epi-
sode. I had to react; this it is as a
message to "someone".
Yes, Martha . . . one can argue
that those creepy people you and
I can't understand got what they
deserved in Washington when the
judicial system broke down for the
What else can they expect when
the numbers were so staggering.
How could they possibly be given
proper procedure, housing, feed-
ing (and . . . sanitary facilities).
This was an emergency. Right?
Short cuts had to be taken. Right?
The lack of medical -treatment for
bleeding wounds . . . the inability
to provide even make-do food sup-
plies (but. nevertheless food) . .
no indications of what happens
next . . . the unanswerable ques-
tion of where does one find a
"john" . . . all these are to be ex-
pected where the althorities have
To The Daily:
EACH SUMMER,' many thou-
sand Chicano families come to
Michigan for agricultural employ-
ment. Because these citizens travel
north with their children and fami-
lies intact, they can bring only
bare necessities with them. This
summer the problem for migrant
workers are especially acute.
With recession, jobs are less plen-
tiful, wages are more meager than
ever, and many families are al-
ready in dire financial straits.
United Migrants for Opportunity,
Inc., funded by OEO, operates cen-
ters in Blissfield and Adrian. A
small staff of dedicated Spanish-
speaking Chicano workers and
volunteers provides emergency
and planning services including
health, welfare, housing, legal and
job counseling. A new Latin
American Service ic' Adrian spon-
sored by a grant from Michigan
Council of Churches and Archdio-
cese of Detroit will attempt . to
serve the over 20,000 permanent
,Spanish speaking residents and
migrants of Washtenaw, Lenawee
and Monroe Counties with self help
programs. This week for exam-
ple, .a family of fifteen utilized
services of both agencies when
stranded with several young chil-
dren without housing or food when
an expected agricultural job was
not offered. This situation will be
repeated many times this summer
Local churches are very helpful
through the United Migrant Minis-
try. As private citizens we can
also help these fine families among
us who ask for nothing more than
work and dignity. They bring with
them, in spite ofpoverty, a rich
culture and hope for a better fu-
ture for their children.
Clean used or new clothing in all
sizes for men, women and chil-
dren (including babies) is needed.
Blankets, sheets, towels and safe
small toys are also needed. For
those without employment, non
perishable canned goods will be
greatly appreciated. We 'will store
donations brought to our homes
throughout the summer and see
that your gifts are delivered to the
centers where they will be given
to those families in need.
IF YOU CAN help us in any way
please feel free to phone for fur-
ther information or bring what-
ever donations you can at any time.
Mexican-American families con-
tinue to work hard in Michigan
year after year and we hope that
you can help us serve them while
they are with us.