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January 29, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-29

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6

OPINION

Page 4

I -

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Thursday, January 29, 1981
Feiffer
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The Michigan Daily

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Vol. XCI, No. 102

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M! 48109"

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

State must invest in quality

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ELP MAY BE on the way for the
University budget if the state
legislature cooperates with Gov. Wil-
liam Milliken's efforts to increase the
state's appropriations to the Univer-
sity. Just as the University's financial
outlook looked perhaps most bleak, as
the administration took the first steps
3oward possibly eliminating an entire
academic department, Milliken of-
fered some hope for somewhat im-
roved financial times ahead.
Monday, in the thew proposed state
budget, Milliken advocated a 12.4 per-
cent increase in state appropriations to
the University, an increase that would
significantly help the University in its
struggle to prevent a serious erosion of
academic quality. Although University
Vice President for Academic Affairs
till Frye warned that, even if the
proposed increase is approved by the
gislature, cuts will still have to be
ade, those necessary cuts would ob-
ously be less severe in the future. The
crease might, at the very least,
revent the total elimination of
cademic departments, as is currently
being planned.
But a last, and major, stumbling
lock remains between this week's
proposed budget and next year's ac-
*ual appropriations-the state
egislature. Last year, Milliken
The Nativei
HE MICHIGAN COURT of Ap-
- peals added another chapter to a
164-year-old story Tuesday when it
decided in favor of the University in
the suit brought by three tribes of
native Americans for alleged violation
f a treaty. The American Indians
claim that the agreement, signed in
817, was meant to grant free
ducation to members of the Chip-
ewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes
.n exchange for land the American In-
Kdians signed over to the government.
ome of that land went to the forerun-
ter of the University, and the Native
Americans maintain its worth ought to
ave gone toward creating a trust for
he descendants of the signers.
The Appeals Court ruling affirms a
aimilar one issued by the Washtenaw
tounty Circuit Court in April, 1979. The
laintiffs can now seek recourse in the
ichigan Supreme Court, though it is
ot yet clear whether they wish to pur-
ue it any further.
The lot of this country's earliest
esidents has certainly been a
iserable one-at least, since the
hite man first appeared. Poverty,
literacy, and alcoholism have
lagued the Native Americans in
tonishing proportions.

proposed a nine percent increase in
state funds for the University over the
previous year. But, by the time the
proposal fought its way through state
legislative and executive com-
promises, the funds slated for the
University were smaller than the year
before by three percent.
State officials attributed the 13 per-
cent slash-from the originally
proposed figure to the final ap-
propriation-to the ailing Michigan
economy. The state's economy is still
enduring hard times and potentially
threatens to force a similar reduction
in state funds to the University again
this year..
Yet the economy has showed signs of
improvement and economists are
predicting that the worst is over, and
they expect a gradual recovery. State
legislators must realize that unless
they act now to approve the proposed
budget, the University will have to
make deep financial cuts that may
take many years to restore. State of-
ficials may find that the relatively
small investment of $17 million next
year-the proposed 12.4 percent-is a
wise financial decision in the long run,
when faced with the task of restoring
some degree of academic quality at the
University in the future if drastic cuts
are allowed to be made.
k merican suit
Yet the problems of the Native
Americans, severe though they may
be, do not in themselves justify their
interpretation of the 1817 treaty. Two
courts now haye ruled that, since the
treaty does not explicitly spell out that.
the state is obligated to educate the
Native Americans for free, the Univer-
sity does not have to make good on that
nebulous agreement.
In the wake of the Appeals Court
decision, University Attorney
Roderick Daane remarked, "Our
position has never been that assistance
to Native American students should be
denied. The University awards
scholarships and other financial aid to
qualfied Native American students,
and will continue to do so."
It is relieving to hear a University of-
ficial express that sentiment. Although
the 'court has established that the
University is under no legal obligation
to provide for the cost-free education of.
the Michigan Indians, the University
cannot forget its moral obligation to
promote the educational opportunities
for disadvantaged residents. To fulfill
this obligation, the University must
make every effort to provide increased
financial assistance for those mem-
bers of the Indian tribes that gave their
land 164 years ago to the University.

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4

Sex and the law in the south

Let me begin by telling my readers that by
taste and temperament, I am a southerner.
My fondness for the sunny south grows as the
temperature in and around Ithaca, New York,
drops. When the Black Student Union of
Florida State University invited me to speak
recently on the anniversary of Martin Luther
King Jr.'s birthday, I readily accepted.
Surely the sunbelt would have more to offer
than the chilling climate of fear that pervades
Buffalo and New York City.
Arriving in Florida, it became obvious that
other northern blacks had been returning to
the region in record numbers. Since 1971, the
historic pattern of black emigration from the
South has been reversed. The regional
metropolises of Atlanta, Houston, Tampa
Bay, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Miami have
become the new islands of "economic oppor-
tunity." Right-to-work laws and a philosophy
of endless corporate expansion reinforce
kind of primitive individualism, moralism
and evangelism, both in the public and private
sectors.
I WAS SURPRISED when I read in a mor-
ning newspaper that the Florida Legislature
might kill a state-funded program 4that
rehabilitates convicted rapists. Over ,a 13-
year period the Mentally Disordered Sexual
Offender Rehabilitation Program had treated.
about 12,000 convicted rapists with
remarkably successful results.
Critics argue that the program is too costly.
About $20,000 per year is spent to rehabilitate
rapists over a three year period. This is twice

- - --

By Manning Marable
the cost of simply putting the rapist behind
bars. But as in many things, the benefits out-
weigh the costs. Only 10 percent' of those who
undergo the sex therapy program ever rape
again. This contrasts with 75 percent of all
rapists who finish their prison sentences only
to repeat the crime. However, these statistics
may not satisfy budget-conscious legislators,
who may in the end decide that women's
safety is not worth the extra fiscal expense.
"A successfully treated person goes out and
does not recommit crimes against women and
children," stated John Wright, forensic
programs supervisor for the Mental Health
Program Office of the Florida Department of
Health and Rehabilitative Services. Sexual
offenders Who are simply locked up can
and-usually do-commit more rapes once
released. "What's the moral obligation?"
Wright asks, "How do you spend your money?
What price are you going to put on a rape?"
Evidently, $20,000 for some legislators may
be too high a price.
A SECOND instance of the bizarre and
inexplicable relationship between sexuality
and the Florida criminal justice system was'
,reported in the Florida Flambeau, the student
newspaper at Florida State University. One
inmate at the Union Correctional Institute at
Raiford, Florida, was serving a 30-year sen-
tence for sexual assault. The inmate submit-

ted to extensive psychological counseling. A
staff psychologist met with the 'man in 39
sessions and eventually concluded that "the
subject has a fairly high chance of success in
the free society."
The imprisoned man's appeal before the
Florida Parole and Probation Board was
denied several weeks ago. The reason:
"Chronic masturbation."
The Parole Board declared that the man
"evidenced a pattern of ongoing criminal
behavior evidencing need for mental treat-
ment." Behind bars for over six years, the
masturbating inmate remained in prison for
an additional 33 months. David Mack,
spokesperson for the Florida Clearinghouse
for Criminal Justice, informed the Flam-
beau that this was the first instance of exten-
ding the date of prison parole because of
"chronic masturbation."
Sexuality and the law do not seem to mix
well in the New South. Or perhaps the ancient
patterns of sexism and legal apathy toward
progressive social reform have transcended
their origins in the antebellum era. In either
case, these recent incidents reveal a failure of
the legal system to protect the victims of
sexual crimes and to promote the
rehabilitation of sexual offenders.
Manning Marable teaches political
economy at Cornell University and is a
leader of the National Black Independent
Political Party.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Specialization doomed geography.

To the Daily:
Professors and students of
.geography have greeted the im-
pending elimination of their
department with' 'anger' and
'astonishment.' To the outsider
the reaction may seem justified.
To those of us, however, who
have been keeping abreast of
trends in education, the depar-
tment's astonishment at the
proposed cut comes as a surprise
and testifies to a lack of
awareness of contemporary
educational realities.
For at least a decade
geography has been eliminated
from the curriculums of
American high schools and been-
superseded by so-called 'social
studies.' As a result, geography
lost a majoremarket for its
graduates. Teachers of the
"new" subject were recruited
from among political or social
scientists' and given the new
educational goals have done as
good or bad a job as their ousted
predecessors. This trend has
been as visible as-shall we say-
a demand for smaller cars which
was ignored by the management
of the auto industry and brought
about its present plight.
What, however, could
geography have done at the

university level to counteract the
discipline's lack of popularity at
the high school level? Is the sub-
ject really worth abolishing? Or
is there something inherent in the
make-up of this discipline that
dooms it to extinction? Looking
at the field of geography today,
the casual observer is over-
whelmed by a bewildering hodge-
podge of sub-disciplines that bear
as much resemblance to the
geography of Herodotus (5th cen-
tury B.C.) as a bull-drawn cart
bears to a Cadillac.
Over the centuries, but par-
ticularly since the 19th century,
geography has been marked by
ever increasing specialization. It
has spawned a heap of new sub-
disciplines that range from
geomorphology and vegetation
geography on the physical side to
antropo-, ethno-, political-, and
urban-geography on the social
side.
The problems that have arisen
as a result of this fragmentation
are three-fold:
(1) The unity of they field as a
whole has got lost.
(2) Physical geographers use a
language derived from the
natural sciences (e.g. geology)
whereas the social geographers
use the jargon of the social scien-

ces. As a result communication
between the field's two branches
is close to impossible.
(3) In our era of specialization,
the 'real thing' is preferable to a
watered-down substitute (e.g. an-
thropology vs. anthropo-
geography). It seems, as if
geography had specialized itself
out of existence.
If over-specialization has
proved detrimental to the field's
future, a reversal of its present "
trends may help its unjustified
and unnecessary death. What I
have in mind is a more general
geography that puts its
educational obligations before its
fragmented self-interests, a
discipline that values the whole

more than its separated parts.
Given this premise, geography
does indeed have a place in our
curriculums. It would once again
become the humanist science it
used to be and its educational
value would exceed that of all
other disciplines in that it was in
the unique position of bringing
together the various strands of
human knowledge. Perhaps its
survival can only be ensured by
eliminating some if its sub-
disciplines. But surely, the con-
tinuation of geography is worth
this sacrifice.
-Gunther Volk
M.A., Geography
January 28

0
0

Shapiro must listen

Watch out, small depts

To the Daily:
Thursday evening, January 22 I
attended a presentation by.
University President Harold
Shapiro on "The University of
Michigan in the 1980s." Over the
course of the evening the
president discussed the
"challenges" ahead for this in-
stitution and took questions from
the audience on what he saw as
the implications for the com-
munity of all he observed and an-
ticipated.
Most disturbing about the
presentation and Dr. Shapiro's
performance as the University's
chief administrator seems his in-
difference regarding the concer-
ns of students, faculty, teaching
assistants, clericals, and the
remainder of the University
community. As w9as evident
Thursday evening and as has been
evident throughout his term as
president, Dr. Shapiro feels he
need not be accountable to his
true constituency. The

greater part of -the community
access to this decision-making
process, Dr. Shapiro and the
University administration must
recognize the right and obligation
of the University community to
contribute to the formation of
decisions effecting University
direction and policy.
Student participation, for in-
stance, cannot be shrugged off as
it was Thursday evening, with
remarks to the effect that student
have neither the time nor the in-
terest to participate in the
University planning process.
Collectively, Michigan students
and employees have both the
time and the interest.
Dr. Shapiro has misconstrued
real fear of cooptation and other
such practices with lack of coni-
munity interest. Again I stress
the responsibility of the ad-
ministration to recognize our
right to help compose present and
future policy here at Michigan.
Since the administration, .

To the Daily:
Esteemed academic traditions
are evidently less important at
The University of Michigan than
the lavish support of a top heavy
and officious administration. This
is the only possible conclusion
that can be drawn from the pen-
ding decision to eliminate the
geography department.
It is said that the decision
would save the university

more than $40,000 by $10,000?
Surely, the savings would be far
in excess of the $250,000 over
three years gained by excising
the geography department.
As far as I can see, the
geography department's major
offense is being small. Small
departments don't have the
political clout to do much harm
when threatened. If there are
other reasons. I challenge the

'4 ,~1Irv

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