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October 18, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-18

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OPINION

D

Page 4

Sunday, October 18, 1981

The Michigan C

Honors: student motivation is the key

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In his critique of the LSA Honors Program
(Daily, Oct. 7) Gary Schmitz maintains that (1)
Honors students act intellectually superior in
calss, indulge in pedantry, are pompous,
snicker at comments by other students-in a
word, are obnoxious; (2) the Honors Program
encourages these obnoxious attitudes; (3)
Honors work is valuable and worthwhile and
should be open to everyone, not just to Honors
students.
I want to discuss these points in order to
suggest a different view of our Honors
Program.
Although Mr. Schmitz does restrict his
charges of, pedantry and pomposity to the
students in the particular Honors class in which
he was enrolled, he strongly implies that these
attitudes are typical of Honors students
generally. I believe that there must be some
Honors students who are pompous, who laugh
at others, and who like to show off.
I BELIEVE this becausV, in my experience,
most human groups and organizations contain
some obnoxious people, and it would be very
surprising if the Honors Program were an ex-
ception to this (especially in view of the very
large size of our Program). The important
question is not whether Honors contains ob-
noxious people but instead whether Honors
contains a greater percentage of obnoxious
people than other human groups do.
Mr. Schmitz offers no statistical evidence
that it does, and his own experience as a tran-
sfer student who has spent five or six weeks on
our campus is clearly too limited to support
such a conclusion. But since Mr. Schmitz has
offered us some anecdotal evidence, I would like
to offer some anecdotal evidence of my own.
The counselors in the Honors Office talk to a

great many Honors students each semester. In
most cases, counselors do not stay on the job
for the financial rewards; the financial rewar-
ds are miniscule. Our main reward is the
pleasure and satisfaction of associating with
many fine people. If Honors were filled with
obnoxious students, all of us would have long
since moved on to other jobs.
IN SUPPORT of the claim that the Honors
Program encourages obnoxious attitudes, Mr.
Schmitz cites one of our documents which
suggests that Honors students might undertake
extra activities such as writing comments on
student papers and leading student groups.
How does this encourage obnoxious at-
titudes?
Mr. Schmitz is not explicit on this point, but I
interpret him to mean that these activities are
valuable for any student and that to restrict
them to Honors students creates an elite,
thereby promoting feelings of superiority and
elitism in Honors students.
ELSEWHERE IN his article, Mr. Schmitz
talks about "elitist" attitudes. And I think that
Mr. Schmitz's basic objection to the Honors
Program is that it is "elitist." This is a com-
mon charge against honors programs across
the country. Even some Honors students worry
about whether they are being elitist by par-
ticipating in the program. I think that the
charge of elitism needs to be put into perspec-
tive.
First,'let me quote a particularly significant
passage from Mr. Schmitz's article. He says:
"In fact, the median grade point average
at The University of Michigan is ap-
proximately 3.0-exactly the minimum
GPA necessary for entrance into the

By Jack Meiland
Honors Program. The only real difference
between Honors and non-Honors students
seems to lie in their attitudes. "
This is absolutely true. The only real dif-
ference does lie in their attitudes. But in my
opinion, Mr. Schmitz is mistaken about what
those attitudes are.
THE DIFFERENCE between Honors and
non-Honors students is a difference in
motivation. Honors students are those who are
motivated to seek out challenging work.
After all, as Mr. Schmitz himself points out,
it is not difficult to gain entrance to the
Program. All you need is a 3.0 or better GPA,
which many students have. If we had set out to
create an elitist program, would we have set
the minimum GPA so low?
The Honors staff is not in the business of
preventing all but a very few elite students
from being in the Program. Instead, we are in
the business of making special educational op-
portunities widely available, available to those
who want them and who offer us minimal
evidence that they can profit from them.
WE DO HAVE a minimum GPA requirement
in the Honors Program; students who are
making C's in regular college courses find
these courses sufficiently challenging and do
not need Honors work. But those who have
shown, by making reasonably good grades,
that they might profit from more challenging
work find it easy to enter the program if they
wish to do so.
Many students do wish to do Honors work.

There are approximately 1800 students in our
program; our program is itself the size of
many small liberal arts colleges. The fact that
our program is very large and is open to a great
many LSA students should dispell the idea that
it is an elitist program in the usual sense of
"elitist."
We have deliberately tried to make it non-
elitist. I must add that some faculty have told
me that they would prefer that our program be
much smaller than it is and that only the very
best students should be allowed into the
program. This would encourage feelings of
superiority and elitism, and for these and other,
reasons I myself would refuse to be associated
with such a program.
BY KEEPING the program large, we make
opportunities available to far more students. I
think thatit would be odd to regard this attitude
as "elitist."
It must be emphasized that Mr. Schmitz is
clearly in favor of Honors work. He believes
that Honors work is extremely valuable and
that the College should certainly continue to of-
fer it. But he believes that Honors work should
be available to everyone regardless of grade
average.
Again he is not explicit about this, but I
believe that what he has in mind here is the
following: By allowing everyone to do Honors
work, we would eliminate the distinction bet-
ween Honors students and non-Honors students
and in this way eliminate any possible source
or justification for feelings of superiority and
elitism. This idea has its attractions, but tle
situation is much more complicated than Mr.
Schmitz perhaps realizes.
FIRST, THERE would still be a distinction
between those who choose to do Honors work

and those who do not. (Mr. Schmitz is in favor
of awarding Honors credit to those who cotr-
plete Honors work satisfactorily, so there
would also be a distinction between those who 9
had been awarded Honors credit and those who
hadnot.)
Surely, if Mr. Schmitz is right about feelings
of superiority, those who choose to do Honors
work will tend to feel superior to those who do
not. Consequently, I believe that little or
nothing would have been gained.
Second, I am confident that the faculty would
not accept this scheme. Faculty members
would feel that it is a grossly inefficient use of
faculty time and energy to provide Honors
work for students who are not even meeting the
challenges provided by regular LSA courses.
MR. SCHMITZ correctly observes that
"there are many, many students on this cam-
pus who could have been in the Honors
Program but chose not to be." Some of these
students wrongly believe that Honors work will
result in a lower GPA and therefore a lessening
of their chances for admission to law, medical,
or business school. Others badly underestimate
the educational value of writing a senior thesis.
Still others falsely believe that the Honors
Program accepts only geniuses.
In any case, I hope that I have said enough to
ease the minds of those who stay out of the
program because they feel that it is elitist.
Whatever defects the program may
have-and I readily admit that the program is
not perfect-elitism is not one of them.
Professor Meiland is the director of the
Honors Program.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCII, No. 34

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board-
SchoolS close in Alpena

SCHOOL DOORS in Alpena won't
open tomorrow morning.
After turning down three millage
proposals this year, the voters in this
northern Michigan county have forced
its 14-school education system to shut
down.
That means 6,800 students will miss
at least two weeks of class-until a
fourth millage can go to the
voters-and face the possibility of not
meeting state requirements for advan-
cing to the next grade or, for some, the
possibility of not graduating.
All this is the result of a narrow
majority of unenlightened residents
who feel the schools are taxing them
beyond a reasonable level.
One leader of the opposition to the
previous millage proposals said he
would have supported a simple
renewal of the former millage rates
but voted no because the schools were
asking for additional money to support
their busing system and ex-
tracurricular activities.
The opposition maintains these
programs could be maintained with
the renewal alone.
In their efforts to effect changes in
the way the Alpena school district
spends money, the millage increase
opponents have allowed the schools to
be shut down.
But in allowing the shutdown, the
voters of Alpena have shown a blatant
disregard for the future of their school
system-and for the future of their
children.
The damage is hitting Alpena

already. Students have started moving
to other districts to complete their
'education. In the future, Alpena can
expect difficulty drawing good
teachers for its schools; the instability
demonstrated by the recent events
would make a teacher who has any
choice think twice about settling in
Alpena.
The shutdown is effectively
sabotaging any hope the community
has for drawing additional industry to
the area; -companies are likely to be
hesitant to locate in a community
which has demonstrated such a limited
commitment to its school system.
Beyond the immediate damage, the
voters of Alpena are scarring their
young. Alpena is not only depriving its
children of education, but it is telling
its young that the community does
not really care, that education is no
more important than a battle over the
school budget.
The perils now facing Alpena may
well shake its electorate into favoring
at least the millage renewal when it
comes up as a separate issue Oct. 30.
But even then, the voters are likely to
turn down an increase that might allow
their schools some of the vitality of ex-
tracurricular activities.
The "shake-em-up" attitude toward
reforming vital government services is
a very short-sighted one. Destroying
a public institution's ability to perform
its duties by refusing it adequate
monies has far more harmful effects
than the threat posed by all except
perhaps the most gross
mismanagement of those funds.

OSLQ, NORWAY-Nils Petter
Gleditsch is a 39-year-old
professional peace researcher, a
quiet and intensely studious man
who spent most of his adult life
working as a research fellow at
the highly respected Inter-
national Peace Research In-
stitute here.
In May, following a sensational
three-week trial, he was convic-
ted of espionage.
OWEN WILKES is a 41-year-
old New Zealander transplanted
to Stockholm where he, too,
works as a research fellow at the
even more prestigious Stockholm
International Peace Research
Institute. He was convicted along
with Gleditsch in Oslo, and then
in August was arrested by
security police in Stockholm and
again charged with espionage,
arising from activities in Sweden.
Soren Moller Christensen is a
young office worker and part-
time journalist who edits an anti-
militarist magazine in
Copenhagen called Forsvar
(Defense). He is credited by a
Danish lieutenant colonel in
military intelligence with having
"endangered more peoples' lives
than any single Dane since World
War II." Last February he, too,
was indicted on charges of
espionage.
To an outsider, it might appear
that peace-loving Scandinavia is
a nest of anti-Western spies-and
all of them are professional or
semi-professional peace workers.
BUT, IN FACT, the three cases
suggest that military and gover-
nment authorities in all three
Scandinavian countries are not so
much worried about top secrets
being passed to the Russians as
they are about non-secrets being
revealed to their own people.
And in each case, the non-
secrets concern vital and sen-
sitive Scandinavian military in-
telligence relations with NATO
and the United States.
As serious as the implications
are for Scandinavians, the cases
also have their slightly comic
side. Far from the normal cloak-
and-dagger school, these spies
went public with their findings
andeven described how they
arrived at them : "The basic
methodological tool," wrote one
defendant in a long and highly
technical report, "is the public
telephone directory . . . Almost
all military installations are now
conveniently listed under 'F' for
'Forsvaret' (Defense)."
THE PUBLIC uproar that has
surrounded each spy case,
however, is a sharp reminder of
how sensitive Scandinavians are
to almost any military dealings
with the Western alliance, and
especially the United States.
For what the "spies" claimed
in each case was that behind the
formal shield of Nordic anti-
nuclear weapons policies, each

and the U

nuclear
connection

Nordic 'spies'

es"

By Jon Stewart

secrets after publishing a 1979
report which revealed the precise
location, military function and
legal implications of 11 electronic
intelligence bases in Norway.
THE BASES, most of which are
near the Soviet border where the
majority of Soviet submarines
are based at Murmansk, are "a
part of the U.S. worldwide
eavesdropping network"- essen-
tial to NATO and U.S. nuclear
planning, said Gleditsch in an in-
terview. They are, he claimed,
"de facto U.S. bases operatded
by Norwegian personnel." Thus,
they "'undermined," if not
violated, Norway's policy of not
permitting nuclear weapons or
foreign bases or troops on Nor-
wegian territory in peacetime.
"To have nuclear weapons in,
Norway would in fact be of less
use to the U.S. than having these
installations," said Professor
Hakan Wiberg, a defense expertr
at the University of Lund in
Sweden, who testified on their
behalf.
In the May 1981 trial, which
followed a two-year investigation
by state prosecutors, Norway's
foreign minister, Knut
Fryenlund, testified that indeed
the bases had been paid for by the
United States and had been built
on the "initiative of the United
States."
GEN. SVERRE Hamre, Nor-
way's defense chief, charged that
the revelations contained in the
report constituted an "unaccep-
table threat" to Norway's
security. A defense expert who
assisted in the investigation
claimed that the "fieldwork"
done by the two authors
represented several years of
"agent work."
In fact, said Gleditsch, the field
work "was done during one three-
week vacation. We went out and

direction, layout and other
physical characteristics of the
listening posts, one can deter-
mine what kind of signals they
can detect, and from where.
By such methods, Gleditsch
and Wilkes deduced that the
stations were involved in
gathering data on Soviet sub-
marines, nuclear tests and
missile launches, and were
relaying such vital data to and
from the U.S. intelligence elec-
tronic network.
"OBVIOUSLY, the main objec-
tive of the trial has been to keep
the fact that we operate an exten-
sive intelligence system on
behalf of the United States from
the Norwegian people-not from
the Russians," said Gleditsch.
"Norway is a very democratic
country, but we are not a very
open one."
At the conclusion of the trial,
which heard the testimony of
three top government ministers,
Gleditsch and Wilkes were con-
victed as charged. They were
sentenced to six months
probation and about $3,200 each.
in fines and court costs. Both the
defendants and the prosecutor,
who is seeking a stiffer sentence,
have appealed to the Supreme
Court.
Wilkes has since moved from
Oslo to Stockholm, where he was
offered a long-term fellowship at
SIRPI. In June, he and his wife
took a cycling holiday on the
Swedish islands of Oland and

Gotland in the Baltic Sea. "We'd
be riding down a country road.
and look up and see these anten-
naes sticking above the trees, so
naturally I'd pull out my camera
and photograph them and take
some notes about their charac-
teristics," said Wilkes, a trained
electronics specialist.
WILKES NEVER published a
word about the bases, but six
weeks later, after returning from
a weekend holiday in Finland, he
was arrested by officers from
SAPO, the state security police.4
Somehow they knew he had
photographed the antennaes. He
was charged with espionage,
again, and interrogated for five
days before his release.
Though the Swedish charges
against Wilkes were dropped in
September, he believes the fact
that he was arrested at all
suggests that "Sweden is a lot
closer to NATO than anyone
realizes.
Swedish cooperation and
sharing of intelligence with the
United States or NATO could. e
viewed as a technical violation-t"
Swedish neutrality.
"THE SITUATION is reallya
catch-22," said Wilkes. "We ale~
supposed to know the bases are
secret and can't be photographed
or written about, even though
they go to great lengths to make
it appear that they are not
secret."
All three cases are reminiscent
of a similar and celebrated trial
involving British peace activist
Duncan Campbell a few years
ago. Some observers also cite the
1980 U.S. case against the
Progressive magazine, which
published information from
public sources about the nuclear
bomb.
In all of these cases, the gover-
nments have resorted to the
charge that putting two or more
non-secrets together can add up
to a secret, and that somehow
researchers are supposed to
know when they have discovered
a secret, and then keep it a
secret.
As Gleditsch ruefully obser-
ved: "If you take this reasoning
literally, it means no one can in-
dependently do any research at
all on defense."
Stewart wrote this article for
Pacific News Service.

.
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fl4E WHITE HOUSE
WA1sNCN,-rO?4 tC. C.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

, -

Keeping bi
To the Daily:
I was deeply distressed to see
the Honors education course,
"Muses~ in the Mind." maligned

g books big

I /.00*0

-.000%-N-Ww
%14*10* -

used to call it-may be okay for
the University, but there is
something to be'said for big books
staying big.

I
1M

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