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July 10, 1975 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-07-10

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'M GLAD I met Valentine
Though we were never pro-
perly introduced - a fact I
doubt Dr. Hubbs has ever great-
ly regretted - I fee that bene-
fited from my brief buttcolorful
encounter with the distinguish-
ed chairman of the Department
of Germanic Languages and Lit-
erature of this University. Only
rare occasions permit the Daity
reporter to try on the Wood-
ward-Bernstein cloak and dag-
ger - pounding on the front
doors of Very Important Persons
in the dark of night to hur1
crushing questions in a gal-
lant journalistic undertaking.
And for unique experiences,
who can top the comic irony of
confronting a prestigious G e r-
man scholar with the incredible
name of ValentineHubbs, peek-
ing out his window, half-clad,
demanding in what can only be
described as a Bronx ace-nt to
know who has had the audacity
to knock on hishdoor at the out-
rageous hour of 9:00 on a Sa-
turday night?
And I think Dr. Hibbs and I
learned a couple of things about
journalism together. But here I
should fill you in.
ON MARCH 31 I got a call
from The Daily. A woman who
had declined to identify h e r-
self but claimed she was close
to the German Department had
called and said that a grievance
was being filed by same Germ-
an teaching assistants over a
hiring matter, snarking n small
controversy. Since I h -d -over-
ed the events up to and includ-

the proj
ing the GEO strike, it was log-
ical that I cover the story. I had'
had my fill of the GEO, but I
felt a certain jealous possessive-
ness about any of their news,
and the story sounded fairly
easy. I got on the phone.
First I called Aleda 'Kraise,
acting president of GE' and a
TA in the German department.
Good source, right? Well, sort
of. She told me that a griev-
ance had been filed by one
George Schober, a German TA
and a good friend of hers. on
behalf of himself and nine oth-
er TAs. Aleda was friendly as
she had been throughout t he
strike but her implication was
clear - "Why don't you j u s t
tall George? I really ohouldn't
talk about it. I mean, he's the
ane involved."
SCHOBER told me the sto y.
It seemed that nineteen TAs I-ad
applied for nine 'summer apt-
pointments, and of the ten not
hired, all had been strikers. Each
of the nine appointees had stay-
ed on the job. Yes, Sc'iober told
me the story, but with the same
non-committal air, with a cer-
tain reluctance to discuss or get
quoted. Gone was the thirst for
publicity which had characteriz-
ed the GEO for months. This I
found peculiar, especially in a
situation that smacked of a
chance to zap the administration
with the brand-newly negotiated
union grievance procedur..
It was time for me to call this
vaguely sinister chairman --
"Hubbs", Schober had called
him - for his view of the situa-
tion. "Hubbs, Valentine. German
Dept. Chmn.," the University


The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, July 10, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552

directory said. 'You've got to beq
kidding," I replied. "Valentine
Nevertheless, it was true- a
gentleman responded to thatI
name at the other end of the
line, and he branded the charges1
of discrimination in his depart-
ment "completely false."
CHAIRMAN Hibbs and I chat-
ted for a few minutes. I asked
him how the selecti-in of TAs
had been made. Let me quote
from my story of April 1.
.. Hbbs said the nine TAs
chosen are the most qualified in
the department, though he add-
ed 'that doesn't mean there
weren't four or five more who
were qualified too.'
"Hubbs explains that a lst
was compiled of the deart-
ment's most qtalifiedyteachers.
During the first days of the
strike, Hubbs then visited the f-
fices of all hoe on the list by
alphabetical order to.see if they
desiredwan appointment. When
a TA was absent due to the
strike or other reasons, Hubbs
proceeded to the next person on
the list without making further
efforts to contact the absent TA.
"I assumed if they weren't
around they didn't want to
teach,' he declared. 'What am I
sipposed to do - chase them
all over campus?"
I DIDN'T think my instinctive
response to that question would
have done much for my relation-
ship with Dr. Hubbs, so I kept
it to myself. We talked for a
moment more, then hung up.
For the duration of our conver-
sation, Chairman xlubbs, while
not friendly, was certainly cord-
ial. Let me state here that I
have no reason to believe that
the gentleman to whom I spoke
that evening and subsequently
quoted in the next day's Daily-
was anyone other than Valentne
Ilubbs, Chairman t-f our Ger-
man Department.
But that conversetion w a s
abruptly thrown into the realm
of the uncertain and the al-
leged on the following Friday,
April 4. I had dismissed the Ger-
man department story from my
mind for awhile, waiting to pick
it up again when the first meet-
ing concerning the grievance
would be held in two weeks.
But on that Friday evening I
got a phone call from a profes-
sor in the German department
who did not give me his name.
He asked me very carefully if
I had talked to Dr. Hubbs, and
if my quotes were authentic.
THAT WAS easy. I said "ves."
He asked me again; I raid
"Yes" again and asked, in ef-
fect, "Who cares?"
Here it became apparent that
several people cared very deep-
ly. At a departmental meeting
that afternoon, Chairman Htuobs,
according to this professor and
another who called me later to
ask the same sort of question,
had declared upon being ques-
tioned that the quotes in th e
story were false,. that he had-
never spoke to a reporter from
the Daily, that he had never
spoken to anyone from 'he
press. He charged (or intlat-
ed; I'm not sure which) that
Professor Ingo Seidler had leak-
ed these quotes to me and that
they were false.
Needless to say, I get on the
phone again the next day.
I got a lot of impressions 'hat
day: of young people fearful for
their future, of older, accomp-
ished men deeply concerned
about the nature of their liveli-
hood, of conscience, of fear, of
pride. These were only impres-
sions: they hid a situation which
I never fully understood.
I SPOKE to teaching assist-

he journalist
ants who had not been appoint- in unequivocal terms what h
ed who asked me to promise not taken place. His manner itr
to utse their names, even when me profoundly: ne spoke w
only telling me how long they such quiet, slow dignity, w i
had been graduate students; one such wrenching precision t
called me back to make abso- I could not help but believe t
Itely sure. he had made some fundamet
I spoke to teaching assistants decision of conscience, a d,
who had been appointed: one. of ion he knew could affect t
these abruptly hung up on me career of his titled colleague
after a string of nervous, almost others of his :olleagues, po
narunoid protestations: "I . . . bly of his own.
,ist don't think I should tse For these were men of a iv
talking to you . . . really I . . . conservative bent, which I
I don't want to get involved in not condemn here. All, e
any way . . . that's really all I'm those decidedly for the stude
going to say . ." expressed a keen desire tha
I spoke to professors whose leave their crisis alone, *ha
comments, ranging in t o n e let the problem stay within
from reluctant support to un- confines of their safe, sti
sheathed animosity, demonstrat- world to be dealt with is pret
ed some sort of taking of sides, that I not take sides in the c
a departmental split with one flirt.
group standing by Hubbs and And that last plea made
the other by the students. think. Would I be taking sid
Professor and former Depart-
ment chairman Clarence Pott I THINK NOT, and for th
was slightly dumbfounded when offer. only simple justificar
I told him of the controversy and I was worried that wha
of Tubbs' apparent lie. would write might affect the
reers of some men. (I r-
"THIS PUTS a very strange don't mean to sound meloc
light on a lot of things," h, said. matic; I- really felt this x,

t h
hi e
at t
it I
is I
t I

Letters to
To The Daily:
THE JUNE 29 Mass Bicenten-
nial Festival culminating the
21st Communist Party Conven-
tion in Chicago was a high suc-
:ess. Over 3,000 olack, white,
brown and yellow people from
all over the country attended,
10 from Ann Arbor. About half
were people of color, and most
were young. Leading Csnmun-
ists Aneela Davis, Gus Hall and
Henry Winston spoke, alog with
non-Communist mass ieaders
such as Bill Klammen, National
Student Association, and A.
Sammy Rayner, a former Chi-
cago alderman.
News of the Festival oenerall:'
Ldrew wide interest rnd support
in Ann Arbor. However, a let-
ter signed by the .i'n Arbor
Peonies Bicentennial Coommis-
sion did anpear in tie JTune 25
Daily which questioned the right
of the Communist Parts jIn use
the name, "People's B,,enten-
ial Festival".Impli.it in the
letter was the idea that the
Comminist Party snouild not be
included in the fight to preserve
aur revolutionary heri -age.
This fight must be open to all,
incl'tding the Communist Party.
It will take the, strengtti of a
united mass movement t gte
the bicentennial year events a
democratic character and to
defend those limited demccratic
rights that still exist from fur-

the Daily
ther erosion by the Fords, the
Rockefellers, Wallaces, a n d
those liberals who go along with
proposals for new repressive le-
COMMUNISTS have always
fought to preserve and extend
:emocracy in the U.S. Henry
Winston, Gus Hall and Angela
Davis as well as hundreds of
ather Communist leaders, have
spent long periods in jail as poli-
tical prisoners after being fram-
ad on false conspiracy charg-
es. Communists played a lead-
ing role in the fight against the
McCarthy terror of the 1950's, a
tight which helped to pseserve
the right of people today to ex-
->ress revolutionary ideas and
to organize.
Attempts to generate anti-
Communist sentiments and ac-
tion within the people's move-
ments only harm the 'aovemants
themselves as well as the Com-
minists. When people become
livided and fearful, they are
unable to deal with the struggle
at hand.
A united front is essential.
That means unity s comamon
struggle for our real neads: for
jobs, for peace, against racism,
rhose who see socialism as a
soution and those who do not,
:an still unite in common strug-
gle for these immediate needs.
-Mary Nash
Member of the Ameri-
can Communist Party

The month-long GEO strike had a deep effect on the attitudes
and behavior of both professors and TA's, including those in
the German Department.

"I must say I'm a little bit
shocked. I really shouldn't say
anything. I hate to throw this
thing into some crazy FBI-CIA
There was my encounter with
Hubbs himself at his home that
evening. (Where else but on
Easy Street?) I went with ano-
ther Daily reporter for a wit-
ness, but didn't get much of a
chance to talk w'th the chair-
man. We gingerly knocked on
his door, half angry and halt-
afraid. When he peered out, not
opening his door, I said, "Dr.
Hubbs, I'm Jim Tobin from the
Michigan Daily."
"So what?" (I deserved that.)
"I'd like to ask you why you
told your department that we
didn't talk the other night when
you know that we did."
"That's not what I told them,"
he replied. "I told them you-
didn't have the whole thing in
the story. Look, I don't wan to
talk about anything now. I'm
FAIR ENOUGHI. Shaking, we
But the gentleman by whom
I was moved most was the pro-
fessor who gave me what I real-
ly needed for the story - an ac-
tual account of the meeting.
This professor, with what seem-
ed to be great reluctance, with
great care, told me step by .step

This was not a queston of slapl-
ed journalism, or of one-sided-
ness, or of the telling of half-
truths. It simply concerned the
telling of certain comments
made, the noting of a contro-
versy. Even as simply this, it
could conceivably set in mc'i'o
events that could effect people's
But the journalist is not the
actor in a situation such as this:
he is merely the observer and
teller and the telling is good.
It does not help or hurt in and
of itself; if people judge t h e
object of the teller good or bad
as a result of the elucidation, so
be it. The journalist is respon-
sible only for sincerity a r d
thoroughness. While that respon-
sibility is tremendous by itself,
it is not a moral responsibility
which so many insist on assign-
ing the journalist. Here I cen
myself to objections and excep-
tions from all sides. Consider my
humble theory within the con-
fines of my narrow, personal
DR. HUBBS called me the
next day to apologize and ask
that I come to his office to talk
the situation over. Overtaken by
work, I did not. Perhaps now I
Jim Tobin is a member of
the News staff, summering
in scenic Birmingham.

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