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November 19, 1981 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-19

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, November 19, 1981-Page 7
Defense work
eontinues at lab

KASHMIR SHAIVISM:

Philosophy of
Universal Conscio usness

3000 year old Spiritual Tradition
of Northern India
A Discussion With SWAMI CHETANANANDA
THURSDAY, NOV. 19th--4.00 pm
East Lecture Hall, Rackham
ADMISSION IS FREE

"We do it and we're proud of it."
Such was the response of William
Brown, the former director of the
University's Willow Run Laboratories,
to a Daily reporter's inquiry in 1970 on
the fact that the Pentagon sponsored
two-thirds of all work done at the lab.
WILLOW RUN has changed a lot sin-
ce then. But the military still provides
two-thirds of the money for its research
projects, and an administrator still
responds to that fact with, "We're not
doing anything we're ashamed of."
That was the comment of Bob
iDiGiovanni, the information director of
the Environmental Research Institute
in Michigan-the new name for Willow
Run.
Back in the late '60s and early '70s,
the laboratory came under sharp
criticism for its contributions to the
military. The lab, which specialized in
remote sensing techniques, developed
methods for the Army to seek out Viet
Cong during the war.
BROWN described the problem the
Army faced then as "being able to take
out data from the natural scene- dif--
ferentiating corn from wheat, Viet
Cong from cows."
But as the Pentagon decreased its
support of the facility in the early '70s,
the university found it could no longer
afford it and divested itself in 1973.
The University and the institute still
have "very good ties," DiGiovanni
said, noting that several of the in-
stitute's staff members have joint ap-
pointmeits with the.University.
DiGiovanni estimated that about six
adjunct or associate University
professors conduct research at the in-
stitute. Some University students also

are working there as interns, and some
graduate students work there "looking
for a thesis topic," he said.
t DIGIOVANNI defined the remote
sensing research as "the science of
gathering information about an object
while at an appreciable distance from
that object."
In essence, institute employees
design and build sensors, he said. In
addition to the defense department, the
institute conducts research for other
federal agencies, foreign nations, and
industry.
The devices developed at theJinstitute
can be put into satellites to survey all
types of subjects, depending on the
sponsor's needs, DiGiovanni said.
He cited the example of a country
that might use a sensor to determine
the agriculture potential of a certain
area of land.
THE DEPARTMENT of Defense con-
tinues to provide about two-thirds of the
institute's annual $20 million classified
and unclassified research budget, ac-
cording to DiGiovanni.
DiGiovanni is quick to note, however,
that the Pentagon figures so heavily in
the institute only because its projects.
are so big. "In terms of the number of
projects and people working on them
... the defense department (represen-
ts) only one-fourth of the support,"
DiGiovanni said.
The military uses sensors for
"anything that has to do with recon-
naissance and surveillance,"
DiGiovanni said. But the military
builds and flies its own sensors, he said,
adding that the institute only works on
the very basics of sensing for the Pen-
tagon. -Barry Witt

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LfJPICTURE

Daly Photo by PAUL ENGSTROM
Tree division.
A shadow created by trees gives the impression of multiple sidewalks
leading through the diag.

Critics fight defense research

(Continued from Page 1)
biological warfare, although no such
research is being conducted here, ac-
cording to Engineering Prof. Maurice
Sinnott, chairman of the Materials
OResearch Council Project. Critics
maintain such research may lead to the
use of biological warfare as an offen-
sive, rather than a defensive, strategy.
EVEN SEEMINGLY simple projects
such as Pentagon-sponsored research
on nutrition could be used to strengthen
the nation's troops instead of helping
babies, according to one critic.
Ardel Hough, the director of the
Wisconsin Peace Conversion Project
which recently sponsored a conference
on the issue of "campus militarism,"
said the Pentagon underwrites general
projects" only if they fall under a very
narrow definition of their needs."
Professors who work for the Depar-
tment of Defense often have no choice
but to use Pentagon money for their
projects, as other sources have dried up
or were never available in the first
place.
BUT MSA PRESIDENT Feiger finds
this argument to be the most appalling
of all. "Faculty members are being
prostitutes," he said. "They say 'We
meed money' but the defense depar-
tment says. "We'll give it to you, but
you have to ask these questions.',"
And in their pursuit of money, faculty -
members may try to subvert the
guidelines for research the University
revised in 1976, Feiser said.
First established in 1968; the policy
*stated the University would not enter
into contracts "the specific purpose of
which is to destroy human life." In ad-
dition, sufficient information had to be
available on any research project to
provide for an "informed discussion
concerning the appropriateness of such
research within the University."
At that time, the University set up a
classified research committee-to enfor-
ce the rules.
A 1971 INVESTIGATION, however,
revealed that a number of the
guidelines were being violated as the
Classified Research Committee failed
to screen incoming proposals

adequately.
After a lengthy campus debate on the
issue, the committee and the guidelines
were revised.
The present version of the policy in-
cludes the, provision on human life, but
it also states that research findings
must be published within one year of
the completion of the research - thus
prohibiting most classified work here.
So what do the critics want?' For the
moment, not very much - only a more
careful scrutiny , of the Pentagon
research being conducted on campus.
Perhaps a revision of the University's
research policies is in order, Feiger
suggests, to better adapt them to the
-research of 1980s.
"THE QUESTIONS are a lot different
now then they were in the '60s. It's not
as though we're doing classified
research, but we're doing research with
military applications which are
classified," Feiger said.
"I'm basing a lot of my arguments on
the classified research guidelines and
what they stand for. Maybe they're not
being applied. Maybe they need to be
strengthened," Feiger said. "It should

be a community decision as to whether
(this research) is proper,"' he added.
To many observers, the only place to
effect real change is in the federal
government. Through political action,
federal budgeting can be changed in the
fdture, they say.
But that doesn't mean nothing can be
done here. Bassett hopes to "raise a
cry of alarm" and prey on individuals'
consciences to stop contributing to the
defense department's cause.
STUDENT GROUPS are working to
make the University community aware.
that as more federal dollars are con-
centrated in the Pentagon, access to
money for the pursuit of many subjects
becomes restricted.
Liz Galst, a coordinator of a new
campus organization concerned with
defense research, said there is a'
"myth that the University protec-
ts academic freedom... but it doesn't
because it courts money in specific
academic fields."
The organization, called the Commit-
tee for Research on Intelligence and
Military Endeavors (CRIME), has gr-
own to more than 50 members in the

past few weeks, Galst said. The group
is investigating the extent of military
influence on caimpus.
In addition, the Michigan Student
Assembly has hired a part-time em-
ployee to research the issue.
And the faculty received a report at
Monday's Senate Assembly meeting on
campus defense research. There, the
chairman of the faculty's research
policies committee said he has seen no
"shift" toward-more defense research
at the University, but added the
possibility of more defense .money on
campus exists as other federal agencies
find they must cut back on basic
research.
Tomorrow: Supporters of
defense research air their
views.
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