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March 21, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-21

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Page 4-Friday, March 21, 1980-The Michigan Daily

N tfi trian Fread IL
Ninety ,Years of Editorial Freedom

Vote for grassroots organizing

Vol. XC, No. 134

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Travel s on the- 'Path

I F COLLEGE is a road to knowledge,
then thousands of students have
been turning off onto dead-ends. After
four years at a large University, they
have a diploma, and perhaps know
something about political science, or
economics, or psychology. But they
haven't learned how to learn-the most
important skill a college education of-
fers.
These students have usually
travelled to the Crisler Arena
graduation ceremonies along the
"Path of Least Resistance," a local
avenue that many, including Univer-
sity President Harold Shapiro, believe
should be closed off.
It looks as if the LSA Administrative
Board may take a first step toward
condemning this path; it is at least
trying to put up a "detour" sign.
The Board is considering a plan to
require LSA freshpersons to meet with
an assigned academic counselor
before electing courses at CRISP. If
approved, this plan would compel
students new to the University to think
about their educational objectives and
to begin to map out their trips through
college.

istance'
This is not to say that all freshper-
sons should, or even can, know in what
area they will earn a degree. But
meeting with a counselor could ensure
that many frivolous, "gut" courses are
bypassed in favor of more serious,
demanding classes.
The counseling plan makes good
common sense. Faced with thousands
of courses from which to choose, it is
no wonder that so many students fail to
design for themselves fulfilling
educations. It's just too easy to make
mistakes.
In fact,what is needed even beyond
requiring freshpersons to see coun-
selors is such a requirement for all
LSA students. Currently, counselors
are available for those students who
have enough concern about their
educations to go see them. This leaves
a rather large contingent of "lost
souls," who race through the Univer-
sity on the Path of Least Resistance
without ever seeing a counselor.
Counseling appointments should be
more than mere optional rest stops on
the educational road. They should be
mandatory weigh stations, where
students can assay their educational
plans.

On March 25 and 26, seven
students will be elected to a board
that will help design and steer
dozens of PIRGIM programs that
employ tens of thousands of
dollars and hundreds of in-
dividuals. Besides their
educational and political impor-
tance, these programs could
revitalize the public's par-
ticipation in public policy
making. Professional
organizations, along with volun-
teers and those working for
academic credit, will take part in
the new coalition that could play
an increasingly important role in
all kinds of social matters.
Increasing numbers of people
are waking up to the fact that the
government institutions we have
created to manage our resour-
ces, and the country, do not act
solely in the public interest. The
decision-making process that had
evolved in our federal, state, and
local governing bodies gives
economic interests the most clout
and influence. As more people
join the public interest effort, in-
dividually or through public in-
terest organizations, their clout
has begun to compete with these
private economic interests for
control of our law-making bodies.
People who had never con-
sidered "political altruism" are
now vigorously participating in
such programs.
Today, politics includes much
more than election campaigns,
demonstrations, and legislative
votes. Our government has
worked its way back into vir-
tually all aspects of our lives.
Government and private in-

stitutions feed, clothe, and
shelter, but also educate, employ,
and protect us.
Political decisions affect the
cost and availability of food and
clothing. The enforcement of fair
housing laws dictates where
people are able to live and what
the cost of their homes will be.
Decisions at federal and state
levels about student financial aid
determine the extent of many in-
dividuals' educations. Even the
textbooks used in our public
school systems are frequently
chosen by boards with political
aspirations. Equal Opportunity
and Affirmative Action laws (and
the efficiency of their enfor-
cement) determine the job
futures of millions of individuals.
The efficiency and consistency
with which we enforce the laws

are dependent on the funding and
political priority they are given.
This is where "politics" reveals
itself as the backbone of virtually
all aspects of our lives.
As this wider, more com-
prehensive understanding of
"politics" becomes obvious to
more people, it is no wonder that
the numbers of people involved
with public interest politics and
"grass roots" organizing have
grown accordingly. Grass roots
organizations (from consumer
groups to environmental groups)
offer the only channel for in-
dividuals to work -together
toward increasing their role in
the decision-making process that
runs our lives.
PIRGIM has taken a leading
role in this effort. The programs
PIRGIM offers attempt to rein-
state public input into the large

institutions of our society.
Projects like our Doctors Direc-
tory (soon to be released) and the
grocery store survey (latest
edition just released) have an ef-
fect on price anld quality com-
petition in the Ann Arbor area.
Work with the housing in-
stitutions in this - city by
PIRGIM's Housing Task Force
(HTF) have produced "Truth in -
Renting" laws and the abolition.
of illegal leases.
PIRGIM's environmental:-
program is helping expedite the:
clean-up of toxic dumping in the
state. The Energy Task Force.
will be holding an Alternative-y
Energy Conference to educate
the public on energy use. This
education. will promote activity
that will battle the established
utilities and'help find a per-
manent energy solution.
The Human Rights Task Force
was instrumental in putting on
last week's anti-draft Teach-In. It
is currentlybattlingthe draft and
education people on the surroun-E
ding issues that could prompt
war and have produced the
preparation for it.
The positions PIRGIM is filling
next week are chairperson, office
manager, recruitment coor-
dinator, treasurer, media coor-
dinator and two state board
representatives. *
The deadline to file for
nomination to the PIRGIM of
fices is today. Take the short time
to examine the candidates and
choose responsible, determined
people who will keep PIRGIM a
strong influence in our gover-
nment.
ThePublic Interest Research
Group in Michigan (PIRGIM)
addresses a number of con-
sumer and student concerns in
its weekly column on thsi
page. This article was written
by PIRGIM member John
'Leone.

...are the result of early
educational wrong turns

GRASSROOTS MEETINGS ARE a first step in public interest policy-
making.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Animal cruelty related to child abuse

L EARNING HOW to learn-the
most important skill a college
education offers. But the University's
freshpersons don't arrive in a truly
fresh condition. The basics of a
sfident's comn unicative skills are in-
s lled much earlier, in a far-away,
long-ago land called elementary
school.
A battle has been raging in recent
years about what elementary.
education ought to offer. In the sixties,
with growing activism on the political
front, teachers and education theorists
began to raise questions about what
schoolchilden were being taught. The
idea that kids were being indoctrinated
to accept without question the unwrit-
ten rules of the military-industrial
complex became popular. Some
educators started to regard the "three
r's as enemies.
The results of the turn away from
basics, combined perhaps with other,
more elusive causes, have driven the
level of students' reading and writing
skills ever lower.
, Scholastic Aptitude Tests scores,
poor indicators though they may be,
have been steadily declining.
Recently, a better evaluative
method was applied to the question of
what's been happening to our students.
A test first administered to University
of Minnesota freshpersons in 1928 was

given to contemporary freshpersons at
the same institution. In just about
every category, the students of fifty
years ago bettered their 1970s counter-
parts. Mitigating circumstances that
might have weighted the comparison
in favor of the 1928 students were taken
into consideration, but the result,'
depressingly enough, was the same.
It's a bit of a shock to realize that in a
half-century when our transportation,
technology, and gross national product
have made gigantic leaps forward, our
educational system has been slowly
eroding. After all, it is our schools that
fuel all our other areas of progress.
Programs designed to "broaden
students' awareness" about sundry
matters, or to heighten their sen-
sitivity, have in some school systems
replaced the former emphasis on the
basics of communicative abilities.
Reading with comprehension is a
commodity that members of a highly
developed culture can not afford to be
without. Students who cannot write in-
telligibly upon arrival at college are
not merely barred from careers in
academia or literature; they are hin-
dered in any pursuit that calls for the
kind of well-organized thinking that
writing symbolizes. It is time we again
regarded the fundamentals of
education as a priority for all our
youth.

To the Daily:
May I contribute a few
thoughts to the objections of some
readers that the recent atrocities
committed upon a cat by five
University students elicited more
public comment than reports of
child abuse or other crimes of
violence?
It was no accident that it was
Henry Bergh, an early crusader,
for animal rights and founder of
ASPCA (American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals), who defended an
abused child under animal
protection legislation he had been
instrumental in getting passed by
the New York State legislature.
The SPCC (Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to
Children) was founded as a result
of this incident.
And it was no accident that the
RSPCC (Royal Society for' the
Prevention of Cruelty to
Children) in Great Britain was
founded by members of the RSP-
CA (Royal Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals). As Shakespeare had
Portia say: "The quality of mer-
cy is not strained./It droppeth as

a gentle rain from heaven/Upon
the place beneath ... " Com-
passion and kindness are univer-
sal qualities.
An item in the Toronto Star of
January 31, 1979 datelined San
Diego reads: "A high school
student'whe killed two men and
wounded eight children and a
policeman in a rifle attack on a
school here was described by
friends today as a "person who
would pour gasoline on cats' tails
and set them alight." Cruelty too,
is a universal trait that can easily
be transferred from animals to
people. I sincerely hope that the
young men who committed this
atrocity are receiving
psychiatric help.
One cannot helpbut feel that
the university's attitude toward
this incident has seemed to be one
of laxness. The offer of fraternity
members to help the humane
society as a token of atonement is
commendable, but the do-nothing
stance of the administration
makes a taxpayer wonder how
closely research involving
animals is monitored at this in-
stitution and reluctant to see it

awarded any grants that might
be derived from public money.
Man downgrades his nature by
causing suffering, whether in
fellow humans or fellow animals,
and ennobles it when he practices
kindness and compassion for all
living creatures.
Percival Baxter, a former
governor of Maine, stated it well:
"Kindness is the noblest trait of
human nature, cruelty the

meanest and lowest ... someday
the fight for justice and mercy to
all God's creatures, even the
humblest, will triumph, and the
world will then be a better
place in which to live."
-BingobIk~e,.
Ptesident L
Allegany County
.SPCA,
Swain, NY
March 17

Hunger still big problem

Higgins unfair to Reagan

To the Daily:
Even while the events of the
Peace and Politics Teach-in were
awakening and uniting concerned
students, unmistakable signs
were reminding us of the steady
and inexorable decayof global
stability: President Carter
suggesting that perhaps the.
SALT II agreement will be(
disowned by the administration
and the Defense Department ex-
pressing fears about the in-
vulnerability of new Sovet tanks
in East Europe. Realities like
these suggest to me that not only,
as was said last Friday, should we
not wait "until our asses are in
Kabul" to oppose militarization,
but, that, indeed, our asses are
already in Kabul.
But as if Trident submarines
and Backfire bombers aren't
enough in and of themselves, to
undermine one's daily sense of
security there exists another
equally global omen of future
chaos: the world food situation.
We all know the frustration and
sickness that arises when we
view through the media the vic-
tims of a regional famine. But do
we know that right now, all overa
the Earth, in Africa, Asia, Latin
America and the United States,
one billion people are suffering
very badly because of their

hunger? And that these people
will have to cope with what the
U.N. calls "severe food shor-
tages" of the very near future?
Do we realize that this tragedy is
not a matter of scarcity, but that
it is rather a matter of economic
exploitation, as the land of the
poor yields bountiful harvests of
export luxury crops and grain:
feed for the beef that becomes a
fast-food hamburger? And do we
recognize that the enormous suf-
fering is only two per cent of an-
nual military expenditures?
If you are concerned about
these matters, prepare yourself
.for another teach-in.Entitled
"World Hunger Week," it will
take place April t-4. Schedules of
events will be widely available 4
soon.
It is not for the benefit of the
Committee Concerned with
World Hunger that I connect the
issues of global militarization
and economic exploitation,
Rather it is because we must all
eventually unite in order to slow
the madness of the arms race and
the hunger race, both of which,
under the guidance of our present
leadership, are steadily ac-
celerating,
-Patrick Gallagher,
Committee Concerned
with World Hunger

To the Daily:
So far this year, you've printed
a couple of cartoons by Higgins of
the Daily Northwestern which
have attacked the fact that
Ronald Reagan is 69 years old; in
other words, "too old to be
president." These cartoons are
insulting and promote the
discriminatory tactics employed
against millions of elderly people
in this country. My guess is that
Higgins has never had a conver-
sation with Ronald Reagan - and
therefore is in no position to
determine whether or not
Reagan's age detracts from his
thought process.
Furthermore, I'm sure Higgins
never considered attacking the
late William 0. Douglas for being
too old to serve on the Supreme
Court. Chances are that Higgins
sympathizes with Douglas'
liberal views and hates Reagan's
reactionary views. There is
nothing wrong with this, but as a
political cartoonist, Higgins

should ae directing his efforts
toward the issuesand not toward
Reagan's age, for reasons
already stated.
Higgins and the Daily also risk
alienating many elderly voters
who have yet to decide their
presidential choice: The elderly
people, moreover, are a powerful
constituency.
Personally, I'm a 20-year-old
liberal Democrat - completely
at odds with Reagan's policies.
However, Higgins is hitting below
the belt by making the age factor
a big issue. Many great world
leaders rule and have ruled well
into their 60s and 70s: Mao,
Brezhnev, Ghandi, DeGaulle,
Churchill, Ho Chi Minh, Tito; the
list is endless. Unfortunately,.
America, unlike many other
countries, has a society in which
the old are too frequently put out
to pasture and are under-utilized
for their wisdom and experience.
-Mike Smith
March 18

4

r

Tucker review blasted
trademark of all bands or all
It would be appreciated if the styles of music) doesn't mean
Ioter had some background that they're playing with "mock
reporter intensity" or "labored e
knowledge of the performances thusiasm." Also, how do you e
when writing a concert review, plain the band's fame and ac-
Steve Hook apparently knew very complrishments when all Mr.
little about The Marshall Tucker Hook heard was a "bellow from
Band (Daily, March 16). First, he Eubank's flute" or Doug Gray's
makes the, ridiculous statement "hog-calling vocals?" Evidently
that the members of the band Mr. Hook must have felt quite
can't agree on what type of music foolish when we asked the boys
they're playing. Hell, "country- from Spartanburg, S.C. (not
jazz," "progressive country," or Sfrma r.=Horg, b.c for
"bluesy rock and roll" are all Spartanville, Mr Hook) back for

Hornback's urinal plans

To the Daily:
Prof. Hornback's cost-cutting
nranncaie maily Mrrh 1) a...

mation that his proposals would
effectively curtail. What a

~. i ic ! a..J' :~i._ IN , U R' / \ Y

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