Page 4 Thursday, March 26, 1981 The Michigan Daily
looks at life in
Zbzislaw Najder, a resident of Warsaw,
Poland, is the editor of the literary journal
Tworczose. He is touring the United
States this month as a guest of the U.S.
government, through the International
Visitor Program. He is a member of the
Polish labor coalition Solidarity.
What follows is a partial transcript of an
interview Najder held last Friday with
Daily staff writer Steve Hook, in which he
described life in Poland.
* * * *
Living in Warsaw, Dr. Najder, you must be
experiencing the social problems there that
have given rise to Solidarity.
Najder: When I get up, say around seven or
seven-thirty in the morning, I have to im-
mediately run down to get milk, because if I am
a little late, I won't get any. Bread expires
more or less, about eight. If I don't get bread by
eight, then I have to wait for the next transport
to come, which is about one in the afternoon.
But if I want to get butter, I have to either
have a friend stand in line for two hours, or be
lucky, sheer lucky. The same applies to other
basic foodstuffs - oil fats, meat. I can get meat
in restaurants, but it's comparatively expen-
What I can get without waiting is Chinese tea,
pickled mushrooms, canned peas, and
macaroni, but very little else. I can get fresh
vegetables, but in limited supply and limited
choice, because it's winter and we don't import
foodstuffs. But they are very expensive.
Eggs are in limited supply, but otherwise it's
Is there a tendency for people to hoard these
People do try to stock up, but you cannot
store everything, even if you have a big
Are the conditions as bad - in terms of the
food situation in Warsaw - as we read and
hear in the American media?
Yes, they're quite bad, and they are getting
Housing is also reported to be a major
problem in Warsaw and other large cities in
I've heard complaints about the housing
situation in some American cities. An average
waiting time for an apartment in Poland, for
which you pay in installments, is now 10 and a
half years. You pay for 10 and a half years, then
if you are lucky then you get this apartment.
What you pay in an installment, right now, is
one-fifth of an average monthly salary. And
you pay it for 10 or 15 years before you buy the
apartment, and equally as long after you've
The mass-transit system in Warsaw is quite
effective, but what about private transpor-
Cars are definitely more expensive in
Poland. The cheapest car would cost you
something like almost two years' salary.
Are you concerned with the public health
situation in Poland?
Conditions have been deteriorating for a
number of years because of the national health
service. Almost everyone is covered by the
national health service, and it is deteriorating.
It's underinvested, understaffed. There are too
few hospitals. Patients lie in corridors for
To tell you a personal story, I went to Poland
a month ago. My father was very ill. His health
deteriorated and he was taken to the hospital.
He spent three days and nights on the corridor
and he died on the corridor. There was no place
in any of the rooms, and the rooms were over-
crowded. There are too few hospital staff
members, and this is one of the things that
Solidarity is protesting.
What other areas of public health do you feel
are especially problematic.
There is a lot of alcoholism in Poland. The
government raised prices of alcohol three days
ago, but it was at the insistence of the trade
unions. Solidarity demanded closing very
many shops with liquor in Poland. Rural
Solidarity demands withdrawing vodka from
rural inns and restaurants, because people
drink a lot and it affects their work.
Are the general working conditions in Poland
a primary problem, a primary complaint of
This is one of the problems, but it varies from
place to place, from industry to industry.
Working conditions in some industries - the
textile industry for example - are very, very
bad. It hasn't been revealed until recently, but
women in Poland were very,
often losing their sight because of very poor
ventilation. In this industry and others, the
mining industry for example, Solidarity has
Edited and managed by students of The University of Michigan
Vol. XCI, No. 142
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109
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by Robert Lence
PAssA1 N THE BtBA.E
WHR 1"SASYo> ir.Y t
DAY ! FRIDAY, MARCH
support for Lesbian & Gay
cjyil rights by wearing denim
. homophobia by not wearing
Full input needed in
Ga rs and4bue eans
homophobics. According to a flyer cir-
HE ANN ARBOR Gay Liberation culated on campus, "Demonstrate
Front has declared tomorrow Ito support for Lesbian & Gay civil rights
be "Blue Jeans Day." According to the byy wearing denim. Demonstrate)
decree, those students who wear blue Homophobia by not wearing blue
jeans tomorrow support gay rights, jeans."
those who do not , wear denim are Most student, after they drag them-
homophobics (persons with a fear or selves out of the shower in the mor-
hatred of homosexuality). Although ning, simply grab the first clean pair of
the Gay Liberation Front's efforts to pants within reach-usually blue
rally the University community in jeans. Few students tomorrow will
support of gay rights is commendable, pause at their dresser to consider the
the blue jean gimmick it has adopted is ideological significance of their choice
not the most effective, of clothing. It would be ludicrous
A display of armbands or a similarly tomorrow to point to those students
dramatic symbol would be a more ef- wearing corduroys as homophobics or
fective statement showing support for applaud those students wearing denim
gay rights. But, blue jeans are simply as supporters of gay rights.
too common. The Gay Liberation Front should be
Also disturbing is the Gay Lilieration commended for standing up in support
Front's polarization of the campus into of gay rights. But a "Blue Jeans Day"
gay rights supporters and is not a very effective step.
As all members of the University comn-;
munity are painfully aware, there is a serious
economic crisis confronting the State of
Michigan. Obviously, this has serious con-
sequences for the University.
Because of severe underfunding of the
University by the state, a process called
'retrenchment' has started. Retrenchment
simply means a shrinkage of the University
budget until enough costs can be saved to of-
fset the lack of state appropriations.
Thus far retrenchment has taken many
shapes; the proposed elimination of the
geography department, devastating cuts in
the budgets of the Botanical Gardens,
Recreational Sports, Michigan Media, and
Retrenchment has been implemented
solely by the University administration with
little input from the faculty and no input from
students or staff. It is inconceivable that the
administration feels a basic redirection of the
University should be carried out without the
formal participation of all concerned groups
In response to out virtual disenfran-
chisement, a coalition of about 25 students,
faculty, and staff has organized the It's Our
University group. IOU is an umbrella
organization containing many campus groups
and concerned individuals all working toward
By Jamie Moeller
the ultimate goal of a democratic and open
budget-cutting process which takes into ac-
count the needs and concerns of the entire
IOU has accomplished much in pursuit of
this goal, A public forum was held to discuss
the process, alternatives to the current ap-
proach, and to ask questions of the ad-
ministration which remained unanswered.
Seven pages of questions have been presen-
ted to University President Harold Shapiro.
The questions range from specific inquiries
about procedures and criteria to general
questions about the future of the University
and the existence of a long-range plan.
On a more specific level, IOU has been able
to set up a student hearing on the Geography
Review Committee's Report. At this hearing,
which will take place during the first week in
April, LSA students will be given the oppor-
tunity to speak on the Review Committee's
A transcript of the proceedings along with a
summary will be forwarded to the LSA
Executive Committee and will be sent as part
of the official discontinuance package to Vice
President Bill Frye and the Regents.
Although this hearing is a form of formal par-
ticipation in the process, it is still only a
beginning and is thus far less than what is
needed if the budget-cutting process is to be
In an effort to formulate some alternatives
to the drastic cuts currently underway, IOU
has gained access to previously secret budget.
information. This information is a line by line
budget including administrative costs and
expense account costs. While this information
will help formulate alternatives, it is still far
short of what is needed. The LSA Executive
Committee will use these departmental
reports to decide which departments to cut.
Although these reports affect every student at
the University and would help us formulate
alternatives, the Dean and the Executive.
Committee have refused our requests for
them. These reports are needed if we are to.
play a role in deciding the future of the, <V
If we are to build upon our early successes
and achieve full participation in the process,.
all concerned people must join in a concerteg.
effort. Only through intelligent and well-.
organized participation can the student voice
be heard in this crucial time.
Jamie Moeller is a member of LSA-
Student Government and the It's Our'-.
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
End sexual orientation discrimination,
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To the Daily:
In July of 1972 the Ann Arbor
City Council passed a resolution
including the category "sexual
orientation" in the city's anti-
discrimination Human Rights
Ordinance. This progressive
legislation enabled lesbians and
gay men in Ann Arbor to seek
housing, employment, and public
accomodation with less fear of of-
ficial, systematic discrimination.
Ann Arbor was one of the first
cities in the country to enact such
a clause. Although it does little to
end bigotry and misunderstan-
ding directly, the ordinance does
allow a legal basis to fight again-
st prejudice against gay men and
Unfortunately, almost nine
years later, the University of
Michigan has still not followed in
the city's footsteps. Though it is
the policy of the"University not to
discriminate on the basis of race,
sex, color, religion, national
origin or ancestry, age, marital
status, handicap, or Vietnam-era
veteran status, discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation
gets the green light.
Faculty members are often
forced to remain "in the closet"
because of discrimination in both
promotions and day-to-day
working conditions. Students
seeking admission to various
schools and graduate programs
often have to omit gay or lesbian
references on applications and
"play it straight" in interviews to
avoid possible discriminatory
A sexual orientation clause will
not end de facto discrimination
within the University (just as the
present statement does little to
end de facto racism and sexism),
but such a clause is an essential
step in changing attitudes and in
moving the University into a
leadership role in the struggle for
equal human and civil rights for
The Regents must receive a
message from the student body
that gay and lesbian rights mat-
ter on this campus. Unfor-
homophobia the fear or hatred
of homosexual people)} prevents
many people, regardless of
sexual orientation, from
March 27, the Gay Liberation
Front of Ann Arbor is sponsoring
the second Blue Jeans Day here
at the University. We encourage
everyone on campus, faculty,
employees, and students, to wear
blue jeans to demonstrate their
support for lesbian and gay
rights. Just as in the past, blue
jeans will symbolize equality and
Whatever one's sexual orien-
tation, wearing denim on Friday
will serve to show solidarity with
lesbians and gay men and:
demand an end to de facto as well
as de jure oppression at this
Many people will avoid blue
jeans like the plague on Friday; a
proliferation of polyester, cor=--
duroys and dresses will demon=
strate the extent of homophobia
on campus. Join us in a demon-
stration of concern for and un-
derstanding of gay and lesbiar
Clean erasers, clean minds
To the Daily:
There's been a lot of com-
These erasers have been ac-
cumulating chalk for years and