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March 19, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-19

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OPINION

Thursday, March 19, 1981

The Michigan Daily

l E tigan l ';

PIR GIMfunding could set

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

future of

student activism

Vol. XCI, No. 136

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

By Rick Levick
and Joshua Peck

Creationists in Arkansas

Y APPROVING A BILL THAT
B3 would require public schools to
teach creationism along with Darwin's
theory of evolution, the Arkansas state
legislature has forced education to
take a step 50 years back in time.
According to the bill, any course
dealing with the history of man, such
as biology and anthropology would
have to present "balanced treatment
to creation-science and evolution-
science."
The Arkansas legislators have made
the serious error of confusing scientific
theory with religious dogma. Scientific
theories should be taught in science
classrooms. Religious speculation

Proponents of creationism argue
that Darwinism is not the only ex-
planation given for man's existence
and therefore must not be the only one
taught. It is true that there are many
explanations for man s existence. Hin-
dus and Buddhists, for instance, believe
not in a single creation, but in a
cyclical manifestation of man.
These are religious beliefs, however,
and should not be taught in the science
classroom.
It is unfortunate the Arkansas State
legislature has chosen to ignore the dif-
ference between religion and science
and bow to vocal special interest
groups. Hopefully, a precedent has not
been established.

belontgs in theology or social science
classes.

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Moveslowly on Argentina
RESIDENT REAGAN, in his rush i The Argentina regime has compiled
to re-establish strong ties with one of the worst records in South
rategically important Argentina, has America on human rights. One of the
rgotten several conflicts that the world's larger exporters of grain,
ited States has yet to resolve with Argentina has hampered international
e right-wing dictatorship there. The efforts to punish the Soviet Union for
iited States should not open its arms its invasion of Afghanistan-by refusing
the repressive Argentina regime to cooperate with a large-scale em-
it receives some assurances that bargo. Further, Argentina has
ese differences will be resolved. ignored a request by President Carter
to limit nuclear proliferation, and in-
Over the past five years, the Argen- stead. launched a number of major
na regime has refused to cooperate nuclear projects.
ith U.S. efforts to pressure the Soviet If President Reagan feels improved
pman with an international grain em- ties with Argentine are necessary, he
irgo, to contain nuclear proliferation, should at least push the Argentina
id to respect basic human rights. In leaders to resolve some of these con-
ort, U.S.-Argentina relations haves flicts. We cannot expect a complete
aen somewhat strained, and with turnaround from Argentina, but some
)d reason. cooperation is clearly reasonable.
SETS flunks its own test

Over the next two days, the
Board of Regents may make a
decision that could spell a slow
death for meaningful student ac-
tivism, both on the University's
campus and statewide. The
Regents will decide whether they
should revive and old funding
system we call
"'refusable/refundable" or retain
the current system, known as
"positive check-off."
The former will make it
possible for the Public Interest
Research Group in Michigan to
go on serving the vital interest of
students as consumers, tenan-
ts, women,- minorities, and en-
vironmentalists in the same
vigorous manner we have
become accustomed to over the
last nine years.
THIS IS WHAT the students
want, as demonstrated in 1972 by
16,000 supportive students - the
largest single mandate in
University history - and as reaf-
firmed by 7,200 signatures collec-
ted in just three days last week.
If the positive check-off system,
is retained, big business, utilities,
polluters, and irresponsible lan-
dlords will applaud, as one of the
most effective populist
organizations in the state
becomes permanently crippled.
The "refusable/refundable"
system of funding PIRGIM was
in operation for three semesters
in the mid-70s with few complain-
ts of unfairness or coercion. It en-
tails assessing each student the
$2 PIRGIM fee when he or she
registers, and then offering those
who wish not to contribute the op-
tion of either not paying or
receiving a refund at any time
during the term. A student can
simply put his or her name on the
form included in the tuition bill
and make out a tuition check for
$2 less than the total amount
assessed (this would all be
carefully and clearly explained in
the tuition bill).'
OR AT ANY time during the

term, the student can write to or
visit the Student Activities
Building to get a refund for the
PIRGIM assessment. Under the
current positive check-off
system, PIRGIM must staff
CRISP lines for a minimum of
five months a year with volun-
teers who request students to
tender their contributions by
checking a designated box on the
Student Verification Forms.
One might think the two
systems would bring PIRGIM
approximately the same
revenue. That is not at all the
case. Under positive check-off,
many students who might agree
with PIRGIM's programs may
simply never get the opportunity
to indicate their support.
Registration, we all know, i an
unpleasant' and irritating
process. Students are preoc-
eupied with last minute
schedule changes, upcoming.
final exams, unexpected com-
puter breakdowns, and a dozen .
other major and minor

distrations. It is perfectly under-
standable that many students -
even ones who have known of and
supported PIRGIM's efforts in the
past - may shrug off the request
for the $2 in those busy final days
of the semester.
FURTHERMORE, WE believe
the immepse amounts of time
PIRGIM's volunteers spend
"working" CRISP lines could be
better utilized doing battle with
corporate interests, irresponsible
landlords, women's safety
problems, utilities, and - as in
the case of the massive draft
registration protest in January,
1980 - the military establish-
ment.
Many ,members of the Univer-
sity community,- including the
Daily editorial board, have ex-
pressed general approval of
PIRGIM's ideas and programs
but have voiced disapproval of
the "refusable/refundable" fun-
ding method.-
They point out that
"refusable/refundable" would

PIRGIM VOLUNTEERS STAFF a table at the Michigan union and
encourage students to sign petitions supporting the proposed
"refusable/refundable" funding plan.

force those who disapprove of:
PIRGIM to go to some trouble,
rather than putting the burden on
those who do wish to contribute.
Isolated from other con-
siderations, that argument is not
unreasonable.
BUT, IN THE context of the
other moneys assessed on tuition
bills, it emerges as rather.
spurious. Are students asked
each term if they wish to continue
to support the Medical School, the0
Phoenix Nuclear Reactor, Defen
se Research, or the Athletic Fee?
Can a student with a perfect"
record of health leave the;
assessment for the Student.
Health Service out of his or her
tuition check? More to the point,
does the Michigan Student
Assembly have to devote the*
majority of its time garnering
students' support?
Certainly, PIRGIM's functior(
is different from most of those the
students are billed for man-
datorily. But does the fact that
PIRGIM's work is (necessarily
more political than other campus
operations 'mean it must
therefore suffer financially?
MSA USES ITS mandatory
funding power largely to finance
student cultural organizations,
entertainment, politics, and
religiqus groups. Few 'would
argue that the student gover'
nment should not be funded; bet-
tering the lives of students is cer-
tainly within the prerogative of
that student organization.
PIRGIM's programs take it
outside the bounds of the Univer*r
sity, into the seats of power that
will affect students' throughout
college and on into the rest of
their lives.
We are not asking that al
students be forced to contribute
to PIRGIM, only that the
minority who don't want to con-
tribute be put to a very minor in-
convenience by signing their
names. Under the circumstant
ces, that seems very little to ask.,
Rick Levick is the director
of PIRGIM at the University
Joshua Peck is a former editor
of the Daily's Opinion Page.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:.

XJOU MAY have suspected it for years,
. but finally it was proven this
week. The Educational Testing Service
does make mistakes.
For the first time in its 33-year
history, ETS sent students a copy of
their tests and the answer key. And,
sure enough, a Florida high school
junior proved that the ETS had made a
mistake.
It's refreshing, in a way, to think
ETS may have been making mistakes

all along. Think of the countless
National Merit Scholars sitting in the
University who don't know it, simply
because ETS made a mistake in
grading the PSAT.
But there's something even better
about the whole situation. For years
ETS has smugly sat in its ivory tower
refusing to admit it makes mistakes.
Finally, it had to admit it was wrong.
Makes you think you weren't so
dumb, after all.

Reagan budget neglects many

To the Daily:
Phil Gaglio is not just another
conservative,but another un-
thinking conservative. His letter
(Daily, March 10), "Reagan
budget benefits everyone," sup-
ported Reagan's economic
proposals, demonstrated his
economic illiteracy and reac-
tionary insensitivity toward the
needs of others.
Gaglio ciaims that after the
nation's first 150 years of free
market economics, the United
States was rich and powerful. 'In
case he has not read any history
books recently8 50 years ago the
U.S. was suffering from the worst
depression ever.
Most economists agree that, in
part, the Depression was caused
by the Laissez-faire economic
policies to which Gaglio and
Reagan want to return.
Furthermore, Gaglio's im-
perialistic vision of a rich and
powerful America has for too
long assured the continued ex-
ploitation of, and hatred from,
Third World countries. His inten-
se nationalistic attitude con-

tributes to world tension and can
only lead to tragedy.
Domestically, it is not the poor
who are looking for easy ways to
remain at the same economic
level; rather, wealthy proponents
of the free market system are
looking for easy rationalization
to remain at their economic level.
Gaglio claims that government
spending on social programs
eliminates work incentive.
However, the unemployed do
have an incentive to work as is
well evidenced by recent cases of
manufacturing plants opening
and finding thousands of ap-
plicants lining up for only several
hundred new jobs.
Clearly, Gaglio does not sup-
port direct subsidies to the poor;
does he also- denounce billions of
dollars of tax-expenditures (in-
direct subsidies) to big business?
We doubt it.
Gaglio claims, at the end of his
letter, that Reagan, backed by
America's conservative mood,
can cure our country of creeping
socialism. Typically, only infants
creep.

Perhaps if Gaglio could get off
his knees, he would be able to
reach the shelves on which
history and economic books can,

be found.
-Dan Rothman
Dan Sickel
March 11

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Rip-off in Poletown

To the Daily:
The court decision to allow the
theft of property from the citizens
of Poletown is another coffin nail
in the coffin of individual rights.
It can only be called theft.
I define theft as the taking of
anyone's property against his or
her will. No man or group of men,
however large, has the moral
right to seize property of a single
neighhor. with or without com-

Barbarism has its attributes,
and the acquisition of property
through conquest or superior for-
ce is notably one of them.
Civilization, too, has its at-
tributes, and " the orderly
disposition of property through-
deeds, leases, and other contrac-
tural agreements is definitely
one.
These attributes are falling to
"eminent domain." So what

Unfair basketball attack

To the Daily:
I am writing this letter to.you
out of frustration. Joel Okner,
who believes his civil rights have
been violated by Biology Prof.
Robert Beyer has mercilessly at-
tacked the heart of my well
F--nt hMQ n

my mind and body in a gym-
nasium of meditation, complete
with visions of technicolor
replays. While setting foot oi the
golden, vibrant court, my spirit is
elevated beyond the confines of
most any formalized conven-
tional religion.
A fte,. thrPh ,.c ofrr a..

Afflw -J, ± {)46 ' '

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