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February 03, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-03

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OPINION
Page 4 Tuesday, February 3, 1981

I

The Michigan Daily

Saving our tuition dollars-for what?

I was talking with a key administrator the
other evening at a faculty soiree to which I had
been invited.
"Excuse me, Mr. Vice President," I greeted
the vice president. "I wonder if I might trouble

Witticisms
By Howard Witt

you for a little wine from that bottle you're
cradling there."
"Why, certainly, young man." The vice
president filled my glass. "This is a very ex-
pensive wine-but don't worry, your tuition
dollars were not used to pay for it."
"I really didn't assume... "
"OH, I KNOW, I know," he interrupted. "We
administrators just like to assure everyone all
the time how carefully we are saving the
University's precious money.'
"It's, interesting you should mention that,
Mr. Vice President," I said. "Did you have
anything to do with those plans to review the
geography department and possibly eliminate
it?" I asked.

"Of course-I was a guiding force in the mat-
ter. Always trying to save money, you know,"
he smiled.
"But what about the professors in that depar-
tment? What will they do? And the students?"
"They'll all just have to realize that
geography is a dead science," the vice
president explained. "I mean, we've had maps
of everywhere for years. And if they build a
new interstate or something, the Motor Club
will tell us about it and we can just pencil it in.
We sure don't need geographers for that," he
chuckled.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE what I was
hearing. "What other money-saving plans do
you have?" I asked a little fearfully.'
"Well, look at those damn savage Indians.
We sure beat the hell out of them last week,
didn't we? We whupped those Apaches, just
like in the movies." The vice president was
bouncing up and down as if he were on a horse.
"Yup, just like John Wayne!"
"Those Indians weren't Apaches," I correc-
ted him. "They were a few Chippewa, Ottawa,
and Potawotami tribes trying to get the
University to provide their children with
educations in return for land they had given us
back in 1817. Those poor Native Americans
spent thousands suing the University for nearly
a decade, finally losing in app'eals court last
week. I'll bet you spent more battling them in
court than it would have cost to pay for their
educations in the first place."

THE VICE PRESIDENT grinned. "You're
probably right. But we have precedents to set.
You don't think any more Injuns'd'be fool
enough to sue us in the future, do you? Think of
al the legal fees-and all the tuition
dollars-we'll save not fighting them anymore.
It's preventive spending."
I was a little confused by his logic.
"But . . . "
"Look," the vice president interrupted me
again. "It's the same thing with that Marwil
guy. You know, that former assistant professor
who sued the University claiming he was un-
fairly denied tenure review. Well, we spent
thousands fighting him in court, when we could
have just given him a simple tenure review and
then denied him tenure."
"So why didn't you? That would have been
cheaper for the University and for him, "I
asserted.
"BUT THEN WE wouldn't have had an
example," the vice president said earnestly.
"See, since we won, the faculty is so scared of
us they wouldn't dare sue the University now.
That.means more tuition dollars saved."
I was suspicious. "If you're so careful about
saving the University's money, how come you
spent a fortune on President Shapiro's
inauguration last year?"
"Now hold on a minute, young man," the vice
president said, raising his hands. "Not one
tuition dollar was used for that celebration. It
was paid for from 'non-designated gift funds.'
And besides, we cut corners to save money. For

instance, instead of a 21-gun salute, which
would have cost a bundle, we just had a few
teaching assistants slam the elevator doors
closed over in Haven Hall 21 times."
"DID YOU PAY the teaching assistants?" I
asked, almost guessing the answer.
"Of course not. They're students, not em-
ployees. We don't have to pay them anything."
Aggravation was coursing through my veins.
Determined to find one tender spot, to-point to
one ill-considered financial decision, I pressed
the vice president. "What about Shapiro's foot-
ball box? You spent a few grand to make that
all fancy. What for?"
"Simple," the vice president piped up. "It
encourages alumni to donate more to the
University. Also, not one tuition dollar went in-
to those renovations."
"How do you know if alumni are donating
more because of a remodeled football box?" I
grilled him.
"WHY, I GOT a letter and a big, fat check
just yesterday. The alumnus wrote, 'I heard
about that new football box and just had to send
off a few hundred thousand to show my ap-
preciation. . . ' "
"Okay, forget the box," I blurted. "What
about paying for a trip to the Rose Bowl for the
Homecoming King?"
"Alumni again. They love it-great publicity.
And we didn't use ... "
"I know, I know, any tuition dollars." I was
starting to panic. "But that Homecoming King
was fired from his job as a dormitory adviser

after he spit on a dormitory director. What do
the alumni see in that?"
"They like aggressive Homecoming Kings,"
the vice president shot back confidently.
"The carillonneur up in Burton Tower," I
pumped him. "Why'd you fire him?"
."SAVING TUITION dollars. He was costing
us $15,000 a year. If you want to hear bells so
badly, buy an alarm clock."
Tears of frustration were welling up in my
eyes. "Classrooms are overcrowded. There
aren't even enough chairs in some of my poli-
sci and econ courses ..."
"Saving your tuition dollars again," the vice
president cut in. "The fewer professors we
have to pay, the more we save."
"Okay, okay, okay," I moaned hoarsely. He
had beaten me; I was a mass of quivering
despair. "You. keep telling me about saving all
this money. But if you won't spend it on a
carillonneur to provide beautiful music for the
campus, if you won't spend it on educating
Native Americans who need financial help, if
you won't spend it on hiring more teachers to
alleviate overcrowding, what are you spending
our tuition dolars on?"
"That's easy," the vice president winked.
"We have to pay my salary somehow, don't
we? Another glass of wine?"
Howard Witt is a Daily staff writer. His
column appears every Tuesday.

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.1 -

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No. 106.

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
A blow to human rights

THE REAGAN administration,
with help from archconservative
Sen. Jesse Helms, (R-N.C.), has
stifled one of the few strongly
humanitarian voices in the foreign ser-
vice. Secretary of State Alexander.
Haig last week fired the outspoken
American ambassador to El Salvador,
Robert White, signalling an end to any
serious concern for human rights in
Central America-U.S. relations. It is
sadly apparent that in the future the
only real criterion for economic aid
will be military alignment.
White, in his long career in, the
foreign service, has been a vocal and
influential advocate of social justice
and human rights in South and Central
America. Haig, with strong support
from the Helms wing of the Senate,
ended that career last week, and with
it quelled perhaps the most able
spokesman for responsible moderation
and social progress in American
foreign relations.
Helms has long sought to undermine
White's efforts. In the first months of
last year, Helms delayed White's
Senate confirmation as ambassador
for six crucial weeks, needlessly'
preventing White from beginning work
at his new post during one of the most
critical periods of Salvadoran turmoil.
It was not until Helms finally had the
backing of a conservative ad-
ministration that he could win White's
dismissal.
As ambassador, White used
American influence to pressure the
centrist civilian-military junta to ap-

prove certain social programs, in-
cluding comprehensive land reform
and an end to the killings of political
dissidents, in hopes of defusing the,
growing spirit of violent revolution.
White recognizes that only a popular
government could avoid a bloody
revolution on the left and a takeover of
a more repressive military regime on
the right.
As ambassador to Paraguay, a post
he held before taking over as the chief
U.S. representative in El Salvador,
White used his diplomatic skill to
moderate the policies of South
America's longest-ruling - rightist
regime and helped secure the release
of more than 1,000 political prisoners
from Paraguayan prisons.
Even earlier in his career, White
locked horns with Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger over American policy
toward Chile, again pushing for the
defense of human rights.
White's dismissal is a disturbing in-
dication that the Reagan ad-
ministration intends to return to a Cen-
tral American policy based on the sup-
port of military allies, regardless of
their repressive domestic practices.
The overdue introduction by former
President Carter of human rights as a
consideration in American foreign
policy-making should not be discarded
by the new administration.
It is a new-born philosophy that
should be expanded and developed,
even if the observance of human rights
occasionally diminishes the profits of
America's corporate "vital interests."

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Co-op article does disservice .

. .

To the Daily:
I feel that Debi Davis' article
(Daily, Feb. 1) entitled
"Cooperatives offer mix of per-
sonalities, lifestyles" does a
great disservice to the twenty-
two houses of the Inter-
Cooperative Council. Davis ap-
parently made a brief and cur-
sory visit to one cooperative
house and then made
generalizations regarding all of
the ICC co-ops.
It is wrong to imply that
many of our houses have a
radical atmosphere. Our mem-
bership is representative of the
student population. Co-op mem-
bers subscribe to both radical
and traditional political and
economic ideologies. Members
find this exposure to a wide
variety of views to be one of the
many positive aspects of

cooperative living.
This diversity is made
by our unique open me
policy. We do not select
prospective members;
they decide to join u
assortment of people le
large variation in the c
of each of the ICC
Therefore, it is nece
examine a number of r
order to make an
assessment of life in an
op.
As correctly stated b
each co-op is owned
trolled by its current n
Each house is also
operated by its memb
means that not only do t
bers make policy and b
decisiofis, but they als
cooking, cleaning, book
meal planning and all ot

needed to run a house. This small'
e possible work commitment of four to six
mbership hours per week enables us to
or screen maintain our low cost while
; rather, providing high quality housing.
us. The The bat problems which were
eads to a mentioned are a thing of the past
character in the ICC. In 1979 we received a
co-ops. $1.3 million loan from HUD for
ssary to the renovation of twelve of our
houses in central campus houses. Our Nor-
accurate th Campus Co-ops were built in
i ICC co- 1970 with a similar loan from
HUD. A visitor to any of' our
y Davis, houses would find them in better
and con- shape than most of the rental
nembers. properties available in Ann.Ar-
totally bor. In addition, all of our houses
ers. This and kitchens are regularly in-
he mem- spected by the City and the
udgetary University.
o do the It is true that our North Cam-
kkeeping, pus Co-ops have vacancy
her work problems. I am confident that
Debi Davis did not make an effort
to solicit the opinions of current
. . North Campus co-op residents
regarding the quality of life in

their homes. Instead, she relies
on Randy Schwartz's opinion that
the houses have a "dorm like ap-
pearance so the environment is
not as homey." This is one per-
son's opinion, and it would better
serve the Daily's readers to
report what current residents
think about their home. If Debi
Davis had taken the short bus
ride to our North Campus co-ops,
she would have found that mem-
ber operation and control enables
those co-ops to be quite homey
'and to have li tle in common with
a dormitory.
I would enco age anyone who
wishes to get a b oader view of
student housing co eratives, to
visit the ICC office ,4002
Michigan Union or to attendan
informational meeting this Sun-
day at 1:00 p.m., in the Michigan
Union's Kuenzel Room.
-Ralph Mason
Membership Chair
Inter-Cooperative Coun-
cil
February 2

1

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... through its bias .

To the Daily:
Your reporter's bias was pretty
obvious in the article on student
co-ops (Daily, Feb. 1). On the
front page we read that the
radical tradition survives in the
co-ops, that we've got bats, and
that we've got trouble filling
spaces! Your reporter didn't
report on the excellent physical
condition of most houses (we
spent $3,500,000 on structural

of heat, sub-standard housing,
month-and-a-half-rent security
deposits, or sub-letting. In a town
where most leases are for 12
months and most apartments are
in gross violation of the housing
code, the co-ops are a bargain
with excellent facilities and 8-
month leases.
Most importantly, I like living
in a co-operative environment.

. and inaccuracies

To the Daily:
I did not find your article about
Michigan Co-operative House
very well balanced or well infor-
med. The article failed to men-
tion, among other things, the
principles of cooperative living
and how a co-op works, that rent
is $200 a month for room and

reporter), that the house is made
up of a wide diversity of people
(by no means is everyone in the
house communist, nor even
leaning very far to the left), and
that every member of the co-op is
responsible for working four
hours a week for the house.
Instead, the description of

1

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