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March 20, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-20

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, March 20, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No. 137

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

The
While exiting fro
week's Ann Arbor
two fellow patron
behind me. "Well,
film is dead."
"Ain't it the tr
panion.
I regret to say
merit. The questi
Apari
By Christop

m Winners' Night at last
Film Festival, f overheard
s commiserating gloomily
"said one, "The American
uth," lamented his com-
their observations have
on is, does it constitute a

A vote against PIRGIM
is a vote for democracy

declining state of the arts

r g
bher Potter

HERE ARE TIMES when it's
;r tough to be a Regent. Like this
morning, when the University's gover-
ning powers have the weight of
" freedom on their shoulders and must
vote either for or against democracy.
' At least that's what supporters of the
'Public Interest Research Group in
'Michigan told the Regents yesterday.
A vote against PIRGIM is a vote again-
st democracy, they solemnly warned
the Regents.
Actually, a vote against PIRGIM is a
- vote for democracy, or at least
majority rule.
The Regents will vote today on a
PIRGIM proposal to change the
group's method of collecting funds.
Currently., if you want to support PIR-
GIM you check off a box on your
registration form at CRISP and the
University assesses you $2 on your
tuition bill. If the Regents approve
PIRGIM's new negative check-off
plan, you will automatically be billed
$2. If you don't want' to support the
group, you will have to actively in-
dicate your opposition, probably on a
form that will be enclosed with your
tuition bill
The issue, then, comes down to the
burden of responsibility: Should it be
PIRGIM's obligation to solicit funds or
studen's olig w,&arefuse them?
Clearly,- the bnurdefn should fall upon
I PIRGIM. The Urji rsity has no place
; compelling students to support a
special interest group, or even
providing a convenient collection ser-
vice for it (through tuition bills). The
Spartacus Youth League or the People
; United for a Human Future get no such
special treatment; neither should
PIRGIM.
" PIRGIM supporters argue they
represent all students and conduct ac-
tivities in the public interest and
should therefore be entitled to Univer-
sity help in collecting funds. Certainly
PIRGIM is a fine organization - as
State Rep. Perry Bullard (D-Ann Ar-
bor) outlined to the Regents yesterday

it has worked for such beneficial
legislation as the Bottle Bill, the
Freedom of Information Act, the Truth
in Lending Act, and tenants's rights
bills.
But PIRGIM has also taken a num-
ber of political stances - such as op-
position to nuclear power and selective
service registration - as part of its
"public interest" work. We happen to
oppose these issues also, but it is by no
means certain that all University
students share similar sentiments. It is
hardly fair, then, to bill all students $2
to support PIRGIM:
PIRGIM supporters have gathered
7,000 student signatures on petitions
this week purporting to show support
'for the negative check-off plan.
However, there is good reason to
question whether all 7,000 of those
students fully understood the issue.
PIRGIM workers badgered students to
sign the petitions much as they badger
students at CRISP, with slidk talk
about the attributes and not much
mention of the drawbacks.
If students don't always understand
what they are being asked to support at
CRISP - that's the argument PIRGIM
gives against having to collect funds at
registration - then there is an equal
chance that they didn't understand
what they were signing on petitions.
Eleven years ago, PIRGIM collected
an impressive 16,000 petition
signatures favoring establishment of
the CRISP check-off support system
and the University complied,
reasoning ghat any group with such
widespread support deserves Univer-
sity assistance in fund collecting.
Today, only one-fourth of University
students support PIRGIM with a
donation - a significant erosion.
If the Regents are really voting on
democracy, as PIRGIM advocates
maintain, then they must acknowledge
the will of the vast majority of students
who do not choose to support PIRGIM
and refuse the negative check-off plan.

case of murder or collaborative suicide?
PERHAPS THE MERE threat of President
Reagan's merry hatchet men chopping up the
face of American arts is as debilitating as the
future reality. What in the world became of
the Film Festival we used to cheer, jeer, and
openly adore?
A dreary, austere imposter lurked for six
days last week in the cavernous recesses of
the Michigan Theatre. Though it billed itself
as the 19th edition of a rite that has gradually
attained national and even world prominence,
its vital credentials had clearly been filched.
This was a festival without a soul. Where
were the traditionally gauche. acoutrements
and decorations? Where was Pat Olesco?
Where were the crazy cinema-Dadaist lobby
collages which used to practically lunge at
theatergoers as they strolled past? Where
was the seasonal cadre of drifters, dreamers,
and grand eccentrics, who would
ceremoniously come out of the woodwork at
festival time, do their thing, then drift just as
mysteriously off into the night?

THIS YEAR'S FILM Festical seemed shorn
of such trademarks, its rituals and per-
sonality dulled by an unspoken sense of doom
which even several hun dred red, white, and
black baloons faired to conceal. One never
remotely sensed the spontaneous, manic
energy which would normally build
throughout the week. Even when normally
massive crowds - depressingly absent the
first four days - finally did materialize, the
sensation seemed comparable to waiting in
line at a bus station.
Perhaps this tire of anonymity was
inevitable in a sudden era of belt-tightening
and Jelly Bellies; perhaps it was inescapable
that imagination and style would falter along
with shrinking bank accounts. The new
economics, which hung over this festival like
a guillotine, had long since begun to wither
our most expensive of all the arts.
1981 MARKED SOME-fifty fewer movie en-
tries than last year; those that remained
displayed a quantum reduction in abstract
experimentation, in free-flung expressions of
personal vision. It's a matter of bald
economics - documentaries sell, dancing
geometric spheres don't. Freedom is impor-
tant, but so's food on the table every night.
Things seem certain to get much worse
before they get better. The Reagan economic
gurus want to cleave in half all federal sub-
sidies for the arts - eventually they'd like to
lop off the other half as well. Though the
debate over the nature of this support has
raged for years - politicians complain that
most funding recipients are too elitist for
public accessability, while those within the
arts accuse the funding of being too lowbrow-
oriented - the fact is that government sub-
sidies account for a relatively small portion of
arts collateral.
Washington's primary function is sym-
bolic: Its grants serve as ideal prototypes for
private benefactors, exemplifying where to

donate as well as if to donate at all.
WERE THE NEW administration to cast
the arts adrift, the spiralling effect would be
philosophically catastrophic. If the gover-
nment doesn't give a damn, why should
anybody else?
If we're about to enter an age bereft of such
basics as food stamps and rent subsidies,; why
should a private patron regard the art of the
motion picture as anything but a self-
indulgent frill in an era of hardship?
Indeed, the day may soon be at hand when
even the most talented novice filmmaker will
find himself without a benefactor either in the
federal or philanthropic sphere.
Such deprivation would bring few tears to
the Reagan crowd, whose anti-intellectual in-
clinations ("I may not know art, but I know
what I like") was surely an influencing factor
in its proposed cultural disengagement.
Even so, federal subsidization is a less than
clear-cut liberal-conservative issue. The
Soviet Union lavishes support upon its artists
and poets (as does an adoring public), yet
retains an iron control over content; the
American artist has freedom of expression,
but lacks both a mass following and a regular
paycheck. In essence; he becomes as much a
slave to standard tastes as does his under-the-
thumb eastern counterpart; his freedom is
increasingly the freedom to conform or star-
ve.
Maybe we're in the initial stages of a tran-
sfdrmation into a spartan society - no non-
sense, no extravagance, certainly no film
festivals.Such a society would have no use for
the iconoclast -- yet some day, amidst all the
drudgery and sterility, some of us may mour-
nfully recall that it was iconoclasts that made
America work in the first place.
Christopher Potter is a Daily staff mem-
bet. His column appears every Friday.

40

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No surprises in Regents'
minority recruitment report

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Faculty salary cut idea clarified

O NCE AGAIN, the University's
minority recruitment report
showed that black enrollment on the
Ann Arbor campus has declined. Once
again, Regents and administrators
shook their heads and bemoaned the
decline. Once again students told the
Regents something must be done about
the problem.
And like any other year, nobody had
any answers.,
The University' system of minority
recruitment is fragmented at best.
Each school and college has its owne
recruitment program. Support
programs for minority students at the
University are scattered across the
campus. In addition to University
programs such as the Opportunity
Program and the Office of Minority
Student Services, many schools and
colleges have their own counseling and
support systems. Add to that the coun-
tless minority counseling programs in
the dorms. and the frustrating

shown; minority attrition decreased
significantly in 1980.
But if administrators mean what
they say about minority recruitment,
they must establis'h it as a top priority.
At a time when potential budget cuts
loom in every sphere of the University,
administrators must not forget their
commitment to minority students.
A key to dealing both with a
problematic budget and declining
black enrollment lies in centralization.
A central system of recruiting and
support would be financially feasible_
and would help cut through the jumble
of support systems.
Administrators are not the only ones
who must deal with this problem.
Before students rush to put blame on
the University, they must also be
willing to come up with concrete
proposals. All facets of the University
must work to unravel the complex
problem of minority recruitment.

To the Daily:
I am writing to correct a
misunderstanding conveyed by
your front-page article of March
13 on the recent open forum,
"Where's the University
Going?" As one of the speakers
at the forum, I was cited as
suggesting - among other things
- that "the 'University
could. . . save money by
reducing the fraction of the

faculty guaranteed permanent
positions." Such a proposal
makes little sense, and I did not
advocate it.
Apparently your reporter
misunderstood a different
proposal that I did make, as one
of several possible ways to save
money without sacrificing the all-
important goal of diversity in
programs, points of view,
faculty, and students at this

University. seek to earn income f
I suggested that each tenured hal sources (e.g. res
faculty member and ad- ts, or visiting profe
ministrator be guaranteed (from alternatively, one cot
general fund revenues) a frac- free time to pursue
tional appointment of less than research, writing,
100 percent over their full education.
careers. Thus, if the fraction The basic principle
were 90 percent, each person cut hours, rather than
affected would take one their rate of pay), whe
obligatory semester of unpaid to be made.
leave eveFy five years..-Thomas Weis,
During this semester one could March 14
The draft is slavery

fl
e
s
u
n
s

0
rom exter-
arch gran-
ssorships);
ld use the
one's own
and self-
here is to
people (or
n cuts have
kopf

New window problems

To the Daily:
Did you ever wonder how much
fun it would be to smash window
panes? Being a resident of East
Quad, ,I can tell you that the
University's window installation
crew had a great time installing
new "energy efficient" windows
in my dorm during the first two
weeks of last month.
Before I continue, I must in-
form you that I support the in-
stallation of the windows.
However, I do not agree with the
procedure that was used.
Their procedure was to work

carelessness, the temperature in
the dorm had become the tem
perature of the outdoors, causing
discomfort to many students.
After viewing these problems
you might think everything is
now "peaches and cream.'"
However, last week, while
playing frisbee outside in the
courtyard of the dorm, I stepped
on a piece of glass, which cut my
'foot.
I discovered that during the
window installation the workers
had used hammers to knock out
the glass of the old window

To the Daily:
A draft of men discriminates.
against women? The Daily's
recent editorial to this effect is
totally off the wall. Did gassing
Jews discriminate against
Aryans? Did enslaving blacks
discriminate against whites?
The draft is slavery - the draft
is what brought you Vietnam; it
is what enables the government
to carry out interventionist wars
without the consent of the people.

standing of what the draft is,
might be an aid in preventing fur-
ther criminal assault on the Third
World and on our own people.
A recent political cartoon
shows male pigs penned outside
"Uncle Sar's Sausage Factory,"
while female pigs ask, "What's
wrong with us? We're just as
good as males! We should serve
too!"
The feminist movement's
progress is also impeded by the

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