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February 06, 1981 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-06

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, February 6, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCI, No. 109 Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Feiffer

*

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

MSA should plead insanity
in committee appointment

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T EMPORARY INSANITY is the
only excuse the Michigan
Student Assembly can plead for its ac-
tion Tuesday night. During the MSA
meeting last week, David Schaper,
who during his 10-year career in
University student government has
admitted to rigging elections and has
been accused of mishandling student
funds, volunteered to reorganize and
rewrite The MSA Constitution and
election code. During their meeting
this week, MSA members, well aware
of Schaper's controversial past,
unanimously approved his suggestion.
Why the Assembly would allow
Schaper to have a hand in restruc-
turing the very election code he has
admitted manipulating is a mystery.
Throughout his long student gover-
nment career, Schaper has been
repeatedly accused of unethically
manipulating his political opponents.
Most recently, some MSA members
and fellow justices on the Central
Student Judiciary - where Schaper
served as chief justice until his
resignation in November - have
privately suggested that Schaper has
played too dominant a role in student
government.
Some years ago, defending himself
against charges that he mismanaged
more than $40,000 of student funds as
MSA treasurer, Schaper said, "I've
fixed elections, I've! screwed people left
anc ight, but I never, never tools any
mopey." This manwill now help guide
M in structuiring future elections
and student government politics.
The MSA election code desperately
eds revision:The document is a
mbled patchwork of regulations and
les, some of them penciled in, many
themneedlessly confusing. But, the
oice of candidates for the project.
rsel olddaefull considoert.s-
True, Schaper probably is more
amiliar with the constitution and the
election code than any other student on
campus. But, there are some
qualifications more important than
familiarity. And, in some cases,
familiarity may be more of a hindran-
.c'e than an asset in objectively revising
sich documents.
Granted, Schaper will not have a
tfree hand in reorganizingdthe con-
titution and the election code. He will
die only one member in a committee of
-Wix. Furthermore, all revisions the
committee suggests must be approved
'irst by the Assembly as a whole.
:. Yet, given Schaper's admitted

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Yet another look ai

Thoughts on abortion - Round Two:
"If you think everybody should have a
chance to live, then you should father as
many kids as you can - just hire yourself out
as a stud," one of my female co-writers at the
Daily suggested a few days ago. Questioning
the moral precision of my anti-free choice

dividual. A person deserving of as much
chance to realize that potential as you or I.
I HAVE NO problem advocating birth con-
trol, even voluntary sterilization-such
methods may well prove the only antidotes to
an already overcrowded, underfed world. Yet
if I were faced with telling a pregnant mother
on welfare with ten children already that she
couldn't abort the eleventh, I would do so.
It is a choice between terminating the
existence of one being in order to- ease the
hardship of another, and the two do not balan-
ce out. This planet may fall far short of Eden,
yet once a human being exists, he or she
deserves the chance to find out whether the
world is tolerable. My belief is hardly scien-
tific, but I hope it is just.

Coming
Apart
By Christopher Potter

Schaper

manipulation of political co-workers
and opponents, it is not unimaginable
that Schaper would play a very
dominant role in the process of
rewriting the documents.
Schaper has said he plans to make no
"substantive" changes in either the
constitution or the election code.
Rather, he said he is interested only
in updating and reorganizing the
documents. If this is the case, it might
seem there is no real danger that the
documents could be manipulated
during the revision. But, even the
subtlest reworking, the most minor
reorganization of paragraphs, the
slightest rewording can dramatically
change future interpretations of a
document.
MSA should reconsider its appoin-
tment of Schaper to the revision com-
mittee. In his place, the Assembly
should appoint a student with a certain
detachment from student government,
whose political history could not
possibly color his or her decisions con-
cerning the revision of the documents
that structure our student government.

column of a week ago, she put me the
following syllogism: "If you can't deny the
fetus in the womb a chance to participate in
the world, then by extension how can you
deny a sperm the chance to become a fetus?"
A LOGICAL ARGUMENT, well put.
If, as the Supreme Court has arbitrarily
proclaimed, life commences at six months
rather than at fertilization, is it any less ar-
bitrary for me to contend that life begins at
fetilization rather than within the atoms of the
sperm itself? Is the act of masturbation any
less a taking of a life than an abortion would
be? How does one draw a line?
One draws it willfully and unscientifically.
My opinions on abortion are arbitrary as hell.
And so are everybody else's. This fact will
never change so long as science and medicine
fail to come up with any precise, error-free
definition of exactly what life is and when it
begins.,
My belief is that human life commences at
the moment of fertilization. An unfertilized
egg or a couple of billion sperm swirling
aimlessly constitute nothing beyond them-
selves; once joined, they become a complete,
soon-to-be-conscious being unique in its
capabilities and potential-in short, an in-
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

abortionq
movement. Women have been shafted since
the dawn of creation-enslaved, brutalized,:
dehumanized in nearly every facet of human
existence; and now the most personal human-;
right of all - the right to do as one wants with:',
one's body-is being threatened, primarily by:
those who don't have the same physical-,
emotional risk at stake-men.
Fair enough, as far as it goes. It's easy to
construe pregnancy as nature's ultimate dit-
ty joke on half the population - the man gets
the fun while the woman gets the baby. Would
that our physiologies could be magically
altered or transposed so that men would bear
half the children of our race; only then could
abortion be approached from a truly shared
psyche.
I DON'T PRETEND to know the private in-
timacies a woman experiences during
pregnancy. For some it proves at the very
least a nuisance and at most a traumatic, in-
trusive agony. Yet, for at least as many
others, it is a time of quiet, matchless ec-
stacy. If the pro-choice movement were
merely one manifestation of universal
chauvinist brutality, why do millions of
women populate its ranks-not just those
whom feminists would label "deluded"
housewives, but independent professionals as
well?
The abortion issue transcends stereotyping,
defies pigeonholing its combatants into neat
compartments of good or evil. To dismiss it
as an offshoot of female servitude is myopic. I
don't believe I have ever, even subliminally,
approached abortion from a master-slave
perspective, as though it were a sanctioned
"women's burden." It is everybody's burden.
I don't want to play sexual politics-I would
like to help save some lives.
Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears every Friday *
on this page.

S+PEAXcII4-sOF MO5 TbA46.

There's also the question of abortion as an
extension of sexual tyranny. An irate Daily
reader asserts that it's easy for me to make
moral pronouncements against abortion since
my "body and brain will not have to bear the
consequences of them." In other words,
sexism is the subliminal root of the pro-life

Clerical workers must organize

To the Daily:
The Organizing Committee for
Clericals is scheduled to hold a
union certification election
February 10-13. More than ever
in this time of economic crisis all
university employees should
have real input into crucial
budget priority decisions
(something faculty are beginning
to request), and more than ever
they should have equitable con-
sideration of work load and value
to the institution. In such a time,
clerical workers need the protec-
tion and power of a union.
Disgracefully, in a public
university where administrative
and faculty salaries surpass
those in other Michigan in-
stitutions of higher education,
clerical workers here are paid
less than their unionized peers at
Eastern Michigan University,
Michigan State University,
Washtenaw County Community
College, Wayne County Com-

munity College, Wayne State
University, in the City of Ann Ar-
bor, and in the Ann Arbor School
System.
Toe issue of salary and benefits
is a key issue in our present in-
flationary economy, but more is
at stake in the certification elec-
tion: maintenance of jobs in a
time of high state unemployment;
contracts which will define jobs
so as to protect against speed-up
and compulsory overtime as staff
positions are cut by attrition or
other means; better control over
working conditions (a recent
study reveals that women em-
ployed in clerical and sales oc-
cupations have "coronary
disease rates twice that of other
women"-as the result of dead-
end jobs, non-supportive bosses,
jobs increasingly controlled by
technology) ; a grievance
procedure with teeth in it; union
input into the current University
review of job classifications and

pay grades; and more influence
over state as well as university
budget decisions.
It has never been easy for
unions here. After Michigan
Public Act 379 gave public em-
ployees the right to union
representation and collective
bargaining in 1965, the University
unlike other state universities,
refused to recognize unions until
a series of rulings and a strike
forced it to agree to bargaining
two years later. This policy of
delay and denial continued today,
as the University takes adverse
rulings to higher courts at con-
siderable expense.
For example, despite rulings
by the Michigan Employment
Relations Commission in August
of 1977 and by Judge Sperka in
July of 1980 that Graduate
Student Assistants are employees
and that the University's refusal
to bargain with their union is an
unfair labor practice, the Univer-
sity has appealed the case. They
have also appealed a recent
MERC ruling that they engaged
in another unfair labor practice
in preventing distribution of OCC
material in non-working areas of
the University.
These legal delays are a form
of harrassmeng and an attempt to

costly and time-consuming to
those involved, and they are"
destructive of the morale of the
graduate assistant and clerical
employees of the University.
This is not the time for us to be
indifferent to the needs and rights
of anyone working in this
university. We support and urge
university-wide support for
clerical unionization in the up,
coming election.
-Buzz Alexander, English;
Loreen Barritt, School of
Education; Bunyan Bryant,
School of Natural Resources;,
Ann Marie Coleman, Guild-%
House; Don Coleman, Guild .-
House; Bob Havert, Office of
Ethics and Religion; June..
Howard, English; John Kolars, a:
Geography; Tim McCarthey,-
Philosophy; Al Meyer, Political-
Science; Adrian Piper,
Philosophy; Peter Railton,
Philosophy; Matthew Rohn,
Residential College; Art Schwar-
tz, Mathematics; Rebecca Scott,
Society .of Fellows; Len Suran-x
sky, Center for Afro-American
and African Studies; Val Suran-
sky, School of Education; Mick
Taussig, Anthropology; John
Vandermeer, Biology; Alan
Wald, English; Thomas
Weisshopf, Economics.
hr...rv 3

No room for undergrads

To the Daily:
How many undergrads can find
a quiet niche to hole-up in and can
read or think or even study? Not
many, I would guess, drawing on

I think the space of the law
library ceiling-which must run
up outrageous heating bills that
undergrads as well as grads
pay-could be diverted into many
more floors. Rut. that would be

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