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January 09, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-09

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OPINION
Friday, January 9, 1981

Poge 4

a -

te stnt sa nihig an l
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. XCI, No. 85

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

Getting to that I
W ANT A FREE trip to Michigan's next Rose
Bowl? Just get yourself chosen Homecoming
king or queen and start screaming about sex or
race discrimination. The University ad-
ministration will gladly pay your expenses to shut
you up.
"Homecoming?" you ask. "Wasn't that last Oc-
tober 25? What does Homecoming have to do with
the Rose Bowl?"
A good question.
"And wait a minute," you continue. "Aren't the
Homecoming king and queen chosen through inter-
views conducted by the University Activities Cen-
ter, a student group? Why should the University be
paying for their Rose Bowl trips?"
Another good question.
We, like you, had a number of questions about
this royal fiasco, especially after reading about it
in newspapers across the country. The story was so
"cute" that national wire services picked it up a

Zose Bowl

-x

I4INLD OF WH r~
W6ANWATi
Ale v TNf

The royal couple

few days before the Rose Bowl.
In fact, the story is anything but,
cute.
It started when Homecoming Queen
Sherry King decided that UAC should
provide her with a trip to the Rose
Bowl as part-of the privileges of her
rank. UAC officers, quite logically,
refused her request, explaining that
Homecoming queens were as good as
pumpkins after midnight of the last
day of Homecoming. ,
Queen King, waving the red flag of
racial discrimination, pressed Univer-
sity officials-all the way up to
President Harold Shapiro-for a free
Rose-Bowl trip. Noone will say exactly
why the administration decided to pay
for King's expenses, although Vice
President Henry Johnson did say that
King was a "persuasive person."
So King went to the Rose Bowl. But
that's only the beginning of the story.
Homecoming King Tim Lee, not to
be outdone by his imperial peer,
decided that he, too, deserved a trip to
the Rose Bowl at the University's ex-
pense. If allegations of race
discrimination worked for King, Lee
appears to have figured, then
allegations of sex discrimination would
work for him. ("What's good for the
goose is good for the gander," Lee is
reported to have said.)
So Lee threatened the University
with a law suit. Suddenly, the failure to
pay for Lee's trip was a "severe over-
gight," according to Johnson, and the
University promptly settled with 'Lee
out of court. The King received $584.
The story doesn't end there.
Once in Pasadena, King found she
Was being treated more like a peasant
than a queen. She was not scheduled to
serve in any official functions as a
representative of the University and
the was not allowed to ride on the Big
e'en parade float. Unrolling the handy
race discrimination flag once again,
the queen called "foul": "I was never
given a good reason why I couldn't ride
on the float, so I just put it down to
prejudice."
Meanwhile, back home in Michigan,
King Lee, if he watched the Rose Bowl
at all, watched it on TV. Lee decided

that the $584 was not erough, to cover
his expenses, so he stayed home to plan
just how he will spend his
money-money that Johnson hastens
to explain did not come from our
tuition dollars.
But wait-we're not quite done. The
story would not be complete without a
little background on the two prinicpal
characters who wanted so desperately
to fulfill their duties as public
representatives of the University.
Sherry King, when her royal picture
appeared on the back page of the Daily
in October, marched right into our of-
fices to complain, red flag in hand.
The Daily was racist because we didn't
publish her picture on the front page,
she wailed.
And Tim Lee, twice-unsuccessful
candidate for student government of-
fices, spat on a dormitory director
during a recent campaign. Because of
that incident, this would-be public en-
voy of the University was forced to
resign from his position as a resident
adviser in Markley Hall.
What did Lee say this week about the
Rose Bowl affair? "I don't care what
they do for next year. Everything
worked out to my satisfaction." That
concerned response from the man
chosen as our Homecoming king soun-
ds amazingly similar to a comment
Lee made after losing his bid for the
presidency of LSA student government
in November: "It's no big deal. I don't
even care anymore."
Surely there's a lesson in all of this,
although we don't know exactly what it
is. Maybe it's that the University, in
these dire times of program cuts,
should not throw money at anyone who
trumps up a charge and cries wolf, er,
discrimination.
Maybe it's that UAC should rethink
the whole Homecoming king and queen
business.
Or maybe, as one thoroughly
disgusted administrator observed, this
entire story is an unfortunate example
of "self-aggrandizement."
That's probably it. The fiasco was
just one big lesson in human behavior.
Well, at least we won the game.

Resilience is key to
for adolescent abu.

This is the second story of a two-part
series examining the abuse of teenagers.
The first part appeared in yesterday's
Daily.
BOYS TOWN, Neb. - Adolescents who are
abused at home are typically considered
passive victims. Many are, to be sure, but
some teens devise ways out of intolerable
situations that show ingenuity and resolve.
Their examples, coming at a time when
decreased public funds will likely be
available for youth services, are hopeful signs
in an era when things look increasingly bleak
for youth..
One of the best-publicized examples of tur-
ning adversity into strength is Lisa Cobbs, a
California teen who in 1979 was given the
Rockefeller Foundation award for youth
leadership partly because she worked at Taco
Bell to help pay attorney's fees to emancipate
herself from abusive parents.
BUTOTHER stories abound. Rick, a St.
Louis teenager who suffered repeated
beatings at his father's hand, lived a fearful
life. But he decided to make the best of it, and
started lifting weights, hoping to build him-
self up to defend himself. That irked his
father, and he scheduled the boy's day with
chores from dawn to dusk. Rick merely star-
ted rising at 4 a.m. to work out.
"There's a lot of room for continuedagrowth
alongside injury. We can ta~ke an adverse
situation and turn it into a fairly positive ex-
perience by our reaction to it," says Dr. Ira
Lourie of the National Institute of Mental
Health. "The great majority of abused
teenagers make it through okay. The human
personality is rather flexible."
One reason many abused youth survive so
well is that they tend to be strong to begin
with. One of the oldest maxims among those
who counsel families is that the person whom
the family thinks has the problem is usually
its healthiest member. "A kid is often
scapegoated and abused because he is strong
enough to acknowledge his own problems. So
the family dumps all their problems on him,
too," adds Lourie.
SEVERAL CRITICAL factors determine
whether a youth will be able to overcome
abuse and go on to a healthy adulthood, ac-
cording to Dr. Robert Friedman of the
Florida Mental Health Institute.
Most important is a relationship with
someone-boy or girlfriend, friend's parent,
teacher, counselor, or coach-where the
youngster can practice "being likeable."
Also, having an area of competence, some
way of winning approval or earning money
helps. "The kids who fail at school, who don't
have friends, who aren't really interested in
"anything, are the ones we worry about," says
Friedman.
Many abused youths have unusual qualities
of resilience from dealing with difficult
parents or being saddled with extraordinary
home responsibilities.
SOME RESPOND by trying to spend as

By Gwen Gilliam

The Michigan Day'
J S I tA'f1ihe5,wc uTe ,
TeAMA
-- 9
for the whole thing. If your parents, who are
supposed to know you pretty well,bsay that
anything, you just believe them. You think
you must deserve to be abused.''
FRIEDMAN, OF Florida's Mental Healtli
Institute, says, "if a kid can realize that his
family is screwedipthat this is not the way
families should le and. despite how jnuch it
hurts, leave it behind, he'll be better off than
if he keeps trying to make it work, coming
back for more hurt and abuse."
Rick, whose father used to beat him, was
trol by recognizing theiresource "Ife oeon~
would laugh at me because of my bruises,;
used to beat them up. Then they'd have t~
come to school with bruises and get laughe.
at and I just said, 'Hell, I'm just doing to them~
what my dad's done to me.' So now I jusl
walk away."
Anita realized she had married a man whN
filled the role of her abusive mother. "It wai
more or less a conscious decision that :r
needed someone to punish me. Then I realizet
'Hey, I'm okay. It's my husband and my mont
that are .sick.' " She filed for divorce whe'q
her husband started abusing their son. ;
sUE, WHO LIvES in St. Paul and whos

mother beat her with canes, coat hangers,
and knives until the girl ran away at age 11;
recognizes she has retained some problems~
dealing with people."You get so used to get.
ting beat up, where if you're not being beat up
you don't know what the hell to do. Whenever
I would meet somebody new, I'd do something
really quick to try to piss them off. Then.
would walk away and say, 'I told you. They
don't care about me.' "Often simply
recognizing a problem like Sue's is enough (o
start the healing process.
Lisa holds her problems inside. As a young
child in Omaha, Neb., her parents dropped
her off for an afternoon at grandma's that
turned into seven years. They took her badk
only to bounce her back and forth after their
divorce. Finally, because neither wanted her,
they committed her to a state reform school;
At 17, she's developing ulcers.
To relieve the pressure inside, Lisa, now ,
ward of the state, occasionally informs her
probation officer that she's taking ofd.
Trusting the girl to return, the officer doesnti
reports her as a fugitive. Meanwhile, Lisa
takes a bus until she hits a deserted area.
Then she gets off, sits around and thinks for a
day or so, and catches a bus for home whet
she's through.
Only by putting the pain behind them cap
abused -youth get on with the business of
growing up. As she puts it, "You can't walk
around forever with these parents in your
head beating you up all the time. You ca;
grieve, but grieve and move on. Just don't g~t
stuck there."
Gwen Gilliam is the co-author of Uri
derstanding Abusive Families. She wrotf
this article for the Pacific News Service.
7f l- rn ncva bm

much time as possible away from the house.
Tara got involved with school clubs and took a
job to stay away from her incestuous father.
Anita, 16, volunteered to do drug counseling
and visited rest home residents in her home
town of Joliet, Ill. ,She would even clean-
people's houses in exchange for transpor-
tation just to get away from her violent,
alcoholic mother.
Another method is appeasement. Anita
made sure she was home half an hour before
every curfew, to try and avoidtbeatings.
Tami, of St. Paul, Minn., whose father would
"ground" her for minor housekeeping lapses
like a dirty glass, saw to it that dinner was
ready and on the table when he came home.
For those who do leave, independent sur-
vival requires even more adaptability.
DAVID, WHO grew up in New Jersey, lived
in mortal fear of his police detective father,
who had beaten the boy and often threatened
to shoot the entire family. So David, at age 16,
ran away. He engineered his departure six
months in advance, working as a restaurant
bus boy to save money for camping equip-
ment. He took several camping trips before
giving himself a four-day lead one long
weekend as he headed for the West Coast.
That was six years ago, and he has yet to con-
tact his family.
Teenagers on the run have some big odds
against them. They often stay on the move if
police are looking for them and the jobs they
find tend to be minimum wage at best. Often
they take refuge in the only sector that will
accept them: an illegal netherworld
economy. Justine Wise Polier, retired New
York State family court judge, has written
that common crimes by runaways, such as
transporting drugs, passing bad checks, and
prostitution, are ways to adapt to a hostile
world that offers no legitimate means of sup-
port.
SOME HOMELESS youths survive for
years on little more than their wits. Mark
was thrown out of his Encinitas, Ca., home at
the age of 12 after a series of fights with his
new stepfather. He spent his teens living on
the streets and beaches of Encinitas, hiding
out after dark to avoid getting picked up for
curfew violations, sleeping in deserted
houses, following the milk truck around town
and stealing orange juice and milk from por-
ches for breakfast. When he was 22, Mark was
still a transient, drying his only socks over a
beach bonfire, talking about his new job as a
night janitor. He was elated that he would
then be able to sleep on the beach during the
day, instead of at night when it was more
dangerous.
To really break away from a life of
mistreatment, however, a teenager must
bury his parent's crippling attitudes that
produced abuse in order to regain some
measure of self-respect.
"Otherwise," says Dr. James Barbarino,
who did research on adolescent abuse at Boys

Handling program cuts
W UOM, Recreational Sports, Sum- While these cuts are necessary, in
mer Commencement, and a host making them, administrators must
of other non-academic programs may realize they are treading on thin ice.
be placed on the chopping block thanks Each cut that is made must be handled
to a $3 million shortfall in the Univer- with sensitivity and care. Faculty and
sity's general fund budget. student input cannot be ignored in such
Unlike those at many other state decisions.
universities, University of Michigan As the University executives make
administrators have opted to handle these cuts, until-now unknown suppor-
this dilemma through non-academic ters of many of the programs being
program reductions rather than slap- reviewed will begin to come out of the
ping students with a mid-year tuition woodwork. Regardless of who sur-

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Adv ni ,,cnri to" f m ",c,

I

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