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November 21, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-21

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OPINION

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Page 4

Saturday, November 21, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The first women at the 'U'

Vol. XCII, No. 63

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

,

Victory atDal

The following May 16, 1925 Daily ar-
ticle describes some of the experiences the
first women students had at the Univer-
sity.
/
LADIES DECLARE BAN AGAINST
FIRST CO-ED ON MICHIGAN CAMPUS
When we' look at the large number of
Coeds who are at present attending the
Replay.,,
By
Will McLean Greeley
University it is almost impossible to believe
that not so very long ago women came to
Michigan for the first time.

One might perhaps think that the entrance
of the coed at Michigan would be heralded
with shouts of joy. It would be rather natural
to think that men would welcome bright
clothes and feminine smiles where there had
never been any women. But it most certainly
was not the case. The reception committee
which greeted Miss Stockwell, the first
Michigan woman, was a long double line of
jeering men who formed on either side of the
diagonal down to State street, hoping to stare
Miss Stockwell out of countenance as she ran
the gamut of the long line of men. However,
Miss Stockwell was wholly unconscious that
the reception was in her honor, and walked
serenely down the aisle of crestfallen men
who turned shame-faced away.
Marie Louise Hall Walker writes for the
women's issue of the Inlander in 1896, twenty
years after the first woman came to
Michigan, "In the next few years after 1869
the number of girls increased slowly though
surely, for it took brave hearts to be co-eds in
those days.
The landladies refused to admit them to
boarding houses. Some of them felt that their

reputations in Ann Arbor would be jeopar-
dized so strong was the feeling against women
in the University. Even certain church doors
were closed to the brazen co-ed. One girl paid
for a pew in church, but throughout the year
no member of the congregation spoke to her,
and-the minister gave scathing sermons on
the invasion of halls of learning by women.
Some of the professors were kind to the
women in their classes, still others refused to
recognize their presence in classes at all.
Many of the women who were contemplating
entering were advised by the more almighty
members of the supreme sex that should they
take such a step complete ostracization would
result. Needless to say this horrible threat
was never carried out and in spite of the in-
tense opposition the co-ed prospered and has
become a definite fixture on the Michigan
Campus.
* * * *
NEXT WEEK: In The Aftermath of Pearl
Harbor.
Greeley's column appears every Satur-
day.

T HE NUCLEAR Regulatory
Commission suspended the
license for the Diablo Canyon nuclear
power plant near San Luis Obispo,
Calif., on Thursday.
The suspension naturally came as a-
great victory for the residents
surrounding the plant. The suspension
marks the first time they have found
such decisive vindication from a
governmental authority on their com-
plaints that the plant endangers the
environment.
The suspension is not just a victory
for the immediate neighbdrs of the
plant. For several months, the plant
has been a rallying point for most of the
American anti-nuclear movement.
The plant has been the cause
celebre-the site of some of the largest
anti-nuclear demonstrations ever wit-
nessed in the nation. The NRC action
on Thursday gives the movement an
almost unprecedented victory.
The commission finally suspended
the license on grounds that had been
suggested by anti-nuclear groups in-
cluding the Abalone Alliance for mon-

ths. The Diablo Canyon plant is built
atop an active earthquake zone, and
the Abalone Alliance had asserted that
the engineers of the plant had failed to
provide adequate protection against
radioactive contamination in the event
of an earthquake.
The commission found the Alliance's
arguments persuasive, and granted,
for the time being at least, a suspen-
sion of the license for Pacific Gas and
Electric to load fuel and begin low-
power testing at the facility.
But beyond the significance to
Californians and anti-nuclear groups,
the NRC decision holds import for all
Aiericans. It is, after all, the first
time a license to load fuel has been
suspended and shows a determination
by the commission to protect the public
from the hazards of nuclear power
generation.
It is a strong action, and will-with
luck and continued pressure from
groups like the Abalone Allian-
ce-have strong consequences. It is a
first step to a saner and more prudent
nuclear energy program.

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A penchant for poison

N YET ANOTHER example of its
rush to accommodate business at
the expense of the environment, the In-
terior Department this week fulfilled
tl wishes of cattle and sheep ranchers
or. what, -in the business, is called
"predator control." For the
uninitiated, predator control is a fancy
way of saying killing coyotes.
There is little debate that coyotes
cause problems on the range.
However, this week's decision by the
U.S. fish and wildlife service to rein-
state the use of the lethal toxicant 1080,
a chemical banned in the early 1970s
because of its penchant for poisoning
animals other than coyotes, is par-
ticularly galling to environmentalists
and animal welfare advocates.
Another aspect of the new policy is a
return to denning, which is the practice
of killing baby coyotes in their dens,
frequently simply by setting the entire
nest on fire. Never mind that a baby
coyote couldn't possibly kill a cow or a
sheep, it's simply an easy way for the
ranchers to dispose of a perceived
pest.
Denning had been stopped in 1979,
when then-Interior Secretary Cecil
Andrus decided it was inhumane and
an inappropriate way to deal with the
predator problem. Because Andrus'

ruling was not officially set into law,
the FWS had every legal opportunity to
overturn it. Unfortunately, this
decision, like so many others under In-
terior Secretary James Watt, came
down as _a complete surpriseto en-
vironmentalists, who had not been
consulted in the matter.
There are literally volumes of
technical reports that show that not
only is 1080 a particularly brutal and
painful poison, it is also toxic to other
forms of wildlife and is secondarily
toxic, which means that an animal that
eats an animal that dies of 1080
poisoning is also likely to be poisoned.
Nevertheless, the ruling is in keeping
with the Interior Department's tunnel
vision. This action was justified, ac-
cording to the FWS, because of the
"serious economic losses" being suf-
fered by ranchers. If the Interior
Department had solicited comments
from the environmental and animal
welfare communities, it might have
found that there are safer, more effec-
tive, and even less expensive predator,
control programs showing success, in-
cluding the use of sheepdogs. Under
the present administration, however, it
seems unlikely that wildlife will get a
fair deal. If we're lucky, by the time
Watt leaves office, we may have some
wildlife left to save.

BOSTON-Five years ago, khe
Fenway district was an urban in-
ferno. More than a third of the 74
buildings that lined two streets
here were seriously damaged by
or destroyed by fire in just one
three-year period. Fenway had
turned "hot," fire officialsand
some property owners said,
because of random torchings by
local vandals or irresponsible
tenants who smoked in bed.
But residents of this
predominantly low-income
community on Boston's north
side simply were not buying the
idea that they were burning down
their own neighborhood. In 1976,
as Fenwaycontinued to burn,
they established the Symphony
Tenants Organizing Project
(STOP), which launched an un-
precedented grass-roots in-
vestigation into the fire wave.
TODAY FENWAY isn't bur-
ning anymore, and what its
residents learned in putting out
the fires may help to put a major
illegal enterprise-arson-for-
prgfit-out of business all over
the country.
Using the public record, STOP
began by researching the
histories of buildings that had
burned, and turned up a clear
pattern: None was owner-
occupied; all were run-down and
had numerous code violations;
many had changed ownership
frequently in the few years prior
to the fires; and many owners
were in arrears on mortgage
payments and propertytaxes.
To test the pattern, the group
then measured the condition of
existing buildings against those
which had burned, and publicly
predicted which structures would
burn next.
AFTER SEVERAL such
predictions proved accurate, a
massive investigation by the
Massachusetts attorney
general's office, prompted by
STOP'S research, led to the
arrests of 33 people.
Among them were the former
head of the Boston arson squad,
retired police and fire officials,
landlords, insurance adjusters,
and attorneys. Eventually, 31
were convicted, in what state At-
torney General Francis Bellotti
called "a huge conspiracy to burn
Suffolk County for profit."
Since the 1977 indictments,

Protecting
neighborhoods'
from arson

By Elizabeth Lafferty

there has been only one major
fire in Fenway, and arson fires in
the Boston area have been
reduced by 50 percent.
Elsewhere, however, ar-
son-which kills approximately
1,000 people per year-continues
to flourish. Experts believe that
up to half of the 600,000 arson
fires reported in the United
States in 1979 were set for profit.
"EVERYBODY blames arson
fire on kids out for a kick," said
Ernie Garneau of Urban
Education Systems, a Boston-
based arson research center.
"That's absurd. Are these kids
checking the public record to find
out which areas are earmarked
for redevelopment, or which lan-
dlords are in tax arrears, before
they decide where to set fires?
Arson-for-profit is a big business
and far more common than most
people want to believe.''
STOP's success at ending its
neighborhood's arson wave has
inspired some 30 community
organizations nationwide to form
the National Arson Prevention
and Action Coalition (NAPAC).
Because most municipal fire
departments concentrate their
money and time on fire sup-
pression, neighborhood groups
from New York to San Francisco
are instead working toward
preventing fires by organizing
grass-roots arson early warning
systems, based on the strategies
developed by STOP.
"ARSON-FOR-profit is predic-
table because it has a pattern,"
explained Garneau, whose Urban
Education System sponsors
NAPAC. "The duty of the com-

munity is not to become involved
in criminal investigations. The
idea of a community-based arson
early warning system is to stop
fires, not to put people in jail."
Garneau and representatives
from NAPAN conduct training
seminars in 10 cities a year to
help communities start such
early warning systems, which
identifyarson-prone buildings
and then work to deter the
possibility of fire.
"Take, for example." he said,
"a building worth $200,000 which
is insured for $500,000-a likely
target. for insurance fraud. A
building profile would reveal that
it's rundown, has a high vacancy
rate and turnover of building
managers, and is not owner-
occupied. The owner might be in
tax arrears. The building might
have a lot of small fires in a short
period of time. These are what we
call early warning fires, set to
scare tenants into moving out to
clear the way for the big fire."
THE BUILDING typically
would be sold several times in a
few years, though little money
would change hands, and the
paper value of the property would
be inflated with each transaction
explained Garneau. Thus, after a
major fire the owner collects in-
surance on the inflated value of
the property, and is exempt from
paying taxes on the building.
Although insurance fraud ar-
son is just one of many arson-for-
profit schemes, it generally is
considered the most prevalent
and destructive. Of the estimated
$1.2 billion in property tax loss
caused by arson in 1979, experts

say that insurance fraud fires ac-
counted for 30 to 50 percent of the
total loss.
Another common arson-for'.
profit ploy is the "condominium
conversion fire." The target often
is a masonry structure which will.
withstand a major blaze, in
a neighborhood undergoing gen
trification. In the typical pattern,
a long-term owner of such a
building sells to a developer who
has a history= of buying buildings.,
which experience fires a few . r
months later, and then are con-
verted to condominiums. In the
meantime, often there is a %z
noticeable decline in the
building's maintenance, since the
real priority is not managing
property, but burning, converting
and selling the units as quickly as
possible.
"CONVERTERS hate
publicity," said Garneua. "They
often consider themselves
respectable developers, and rely
on investors who don't want to be
associated with slumlords, so
organized tenants who publicize
the deteriorating condition of
their building can make the con-
verter back off."
"When you've done your
research and have the facts to
validate suspicions," advised
Felice Jergens, an organizer for
the People's Firehouse in
Brooklyn, "the worst thing you
can do is accusesthe owner of
being an arsonist. If, you do,
you've not only lost your
credibility, but you've lost your
fight against arson. Simply call
the owner 'fire-prone.'
"Set up 24-hour security
programs, with tenants and
community groups taking shifts
to watch that no one is in the
building who doesn't belong
there. Do what you can to make
that building visible, and to let
the owner and the public know
that the local arson prevention
organization is watching very
closely, and will continue to do so
until the conditions in the
building are such that it no longer
is fire-prone."

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Lafferty wrote this article
for Pacific News Service.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
LSA-SG elections important for all

To the Daily:
As president of the Michigan
Student Assembly, I feel it is my
responsibility to inform fellow

only input we have into the
decisions affecting our
education. In the late sixties,
students literally fought for
renresentation As a resit. ISA

didates who exhibit not only
energy, enthusiasm, and interest,
but those who understand the
issues and are most experienced
with college government. We

experience in college gover-
nment. They have definite plans
for action on college issues and
they have the knowledge of the
LSA Colleges administrative

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