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October 17, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-17

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OPINION7

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Friday, October 17, 1980

The Michigan Daily'

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCI, No. 38 Ann Arbor, Ml 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of The Daily's Editorial Board
The icers write a letter

Weasel

by Robert Lence

YOUE WRITNtr FOR
I7.jI$N SNS LAW 410? E.
i iAD'TOVR

( ]IS5ft IIREALLY Ky&E ~rIN&'
Jt~tf 1I

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SO NOW THE hockey players have
given their side of Sunday night's
hazing incident.
, They have explained in a letter that
the assault of five freshman Michigan
hockey team members was not all that
bad; they have clarified the "facts"
surrounding the particularly brutal
treatment one player apparently suf-
fered.
They even have the signatures of the
humiliated players on the letter to
testify to its veracity.
The letter is, quite simply; in-
credible. (It is reprinted on the right
side of this page.) To read it is to see
chilling rationalization in action.
Indeed, the precise explanations that
the players give-obviously intended
to serve as vindication-actually
describe in vivid detail the events of
the horrible incident.
Sources have indicated the freshmen
players were forced to drink gin,
vodka, and beer- But "the intent of the
drinking was not to force the freshmen
to become sick," the letter says.
"The freshman (who was the subject
of news reports) did not have his entire
body shaved," the letter says. That's
true-they left some hair on his head.
The letter explains the shaved and
naked freshman was brought outside
twice to vomit. How kind of the
assailants; they wanted to keep clean

the house where the players were
hazed. The sick player "was, brought
back inside and had towels placed over
him," the letter says. Towels. Not
blankets. Or his clothes.
"After it was apparent that he was
indeed sick," the letter says, "he was
taken straight home." The assailants
had to make sure the player was "in-
deed sick." Wouldn't want to end the
fun if he were merely a little queasy.
The player was "able to walk to his
room on his own," the letter says. The
picture we are supposed to get from
that statement is of a young man
waving good night to his friends, who
have just dropped him off at his dorm.
Forget that the player was naked, par-
tially shaved, and sick.
"We did not want to take him into a
(dorm) lounge and make a further
spectacle of it," the letter says. That
statement requires no comment.
The University community may
never know the real truth about the
hazing incident. The hazed players
may not have been as badly treated as
earlier reports this week have in-
dicated.
We must not, however, lose sight of
the central issue here. Five University
students were abused by some of their
peers. They were hazed. They were
hurt. They were humiliated.
And little, it seems, is being done
about it.

_________________________________________________,.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Leaders failed us in hazing incident

To the Daily:
A stupid, criminal act of
brutality has been committed in
our community. If we had leaders
in the community who were truly
and responsibly leaders, we could
depend on them to investigate the
matter and take appropriate ac-
tion to insure that such things
don't happen again. Unfor-
tunately, this is not the case.
The athletic director will say
only that "sanctions" have been
"taken," that the people who
committed this particular act
have "apologized," and that "it
will not happen again." The
Michigan Daily (October 15)
refers to this act of violence as
part of an "annual hazing ritual"
practiced against freshman
hockey players. In the absence of
anyone's honest denial of this
allegation, we must assume that
hazing is indeed an "annual" af-
fair; that the allegation cannot be
denied. Further, we must assume
that neither the hockey coach nor
the athletic director has done
anything to stop such brutality in
the past-and therefore we can
neither trust them to stop it now
that it has become public
knowledge, nor accept an

apology from the players in-
volved this year as an end to the
matter.
If the hockey coach and the
athletic director haven't known
of this "annual hazing
ritual"-which is hard to
believe-they have been culpably
less than diligent in the perfor-
mance of their jobs. If they have
known of it but have done
nothing, they as well as the
players involved this year are
guilty, and must be exposed as
such. To let the guilty punish the
guilty-and. secretly, as the
athletic director proposes-is
just another form of hazing.
The athletic director isn't the
only leader who has failed us in
this instance, however. The
president of the University, ac-
cording to the Daily, first said
that "the incident was not serious
because no one was seriously
hurt," and only later asserted
that "the University finds the
behavior totally reprehensible."
The president's initial respon-
se-if reported correctly-is it-
self reprehensible. The Univer-
sity cannot afford such behavior
from its president. And given that
initial callousness, it cannot trust

the pious rhetoric which marks
the president's later statement.
If we are to survive as a com-
munity, we must do more than
cry "shame!"-or "too,
bad!'"-at such brutality as was
committed against one of us last
Sunday. Fifteen people kidnap-
ped and assaulted a member of
our community. If our leaders
don't want to know why this hap-
pened, or how acts like it have
become '"annual" affairs among
certain athletes at Michigan, we
must ourselves ask these
questions. We need to ask them,
not of the fifteen people involved
in this single act, but of the people
in authority whose conduct of af-
fairs allows such a pattern of
behavior to develop in our midst.
College athletic programs are
supposed to build charatter: Is it
possible that, under it, present
leadership, Michigan's athletic
program does the opposite? And
we must question the per-
spicacity-if not the integrity-of
a president who would dismiss

such an incident as this as in
significant, and by sucl
dismissal condone both the single
act and its annual recurrence. In
our community, must someone
be "seriously hurt" before
criminal acts are criminal-or
can we live instead by the prin-
ciples which would guarantee
community?
If we don't raise these
questions, and insist on serious
answers from the appropriate
people, and act according to what
we find, we will be the guilty
ones, finally. Our guilt, however,
will not be so simple as kidnap
ping and criminal assault; we,
will be guilty, rather, of failing
ourselves as a community. And if
we fail in that way, the president
is right: There is nothing at all
serious about stupid brutality and
criminal violence.
-Bert Hornback
Leo McNamara
Professors of English
October 15

Unriorim nnl hnainc,

It's

io longer the question

Distinguishing Christians

O NE FAVORITE method high
school teachers have of befud-
dling their students is the recitation of
this little curiosity: "The laws of
aerodynamics indicate that a bum-
}blebee cannot possibly fly ... But the
bee doesn't know that, so it goes ahead
and flies anyway."
Ridiculous as that might sound, a
conundrum very much like it has baf-
fled the seriots scientific community
for years. In fact, Doctors James
Cronin of the University of Chicago
and Val Fitch of Princeton have just
earned themselves the Nobel Prize in
Physics by proving that it is possible
for the universe to exist, despite the
prevailing evidence that the cosmos
simply shouldn't be.
Previous knowledge indicated that
every bit of matter in the universe
ought to have 'been destroyed im-

mediately upon creation by an
equivalent speck of anti-matter. That
would have proved rather constraining
to the development even of immobile
bumblebees, let alone intelligent life
forms.'
For their part in straightening out
the confusion, Cronin and Fitch cer-
tainly deserve humankind's heartfelt
thanks. Life is complicated enough
without being deemed scientifically
impossible to boot.
Unsigned editorials ap-
pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of The
Daily 's Editorial Board.

To the Daily:
My thanks to Christopher
Potter for distinguishing, in his
article on Jerry Falwell (Daily,
Oct. 12), between the "Christian
Right" and the "Christian Left."
Not all Christians believe in the
theocracy that Jerry Falwell ex-
pounds. Whose side is God really
on? I suspect that only God truly
knows the answer to that
question. Neither reciting the
words "one nation under God"

nor the slogan "in God we trust"
guarantees us any special rap-
port with Him. A special rapport
comes only to those who seek to
emulate Jesus ' Christ in the
inimitably lacking manner that is
characteristically human, and
not through human-conceived
boundaries of nations, as Jerry
Falwell seems to believe.
-Stephanie Helbeck
October 15

English 'story insulting

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-W

To the Daily:
Sunday's lead article on the
"Black English" case (Daily,
Oct. 12) was highly laudatory of
the efforts of the tutors and the
Green-Glacier Community Cen-
ter. It was insulting and
damaging to the parents of the
plaintiff children.
It should be recognized that the
basic purpose of the suit was to
hold schools accountable for the
educational well-being of all
children. Because that goal is
still far from reality for many
children, particularly those poor
and black children here and
throughout our land who are con-
sistently ill-served by our
schools, will continue to need
tutors; HOWEVER,
acknowledgement of the service
provided by tutors need not and
should not be accomplished by
belittling the important and
courageous role of the parents.
Every reference to the plaintiff
parents implied that they are
inadequate and that they acted
out of self interest. As someone
who has known these parents for
many years and who was very
close to the developing law suit, I
would like to make several com-
ments.
1. The parents are caring
people who read with their
children. They ive books in
homes where there is little money
for anything but the most essen-
tial items. Books are one of those
items.
2. Manv efforts were made by

best possible education for their
children.
As the group continued
meeting, many of the parents
from Green Road expressed
grave worries about the school
experiences their children were
having.
During the next years there
were many attempts to establish
dialogue between the parents and
the school.
When the children continued to
encounter serious difficulties at
school and to make little or no
progress, several parents began
meeting with attorneys to discuss
the implications of a law suit. The
primary goal then and
throughout the suit was to
establish the responsibility of a
school district for the educational
well-being of all its students. The
suit was started on behalf of all
children similarly situated to the
plaintiffs, but that was rejected
by the judge.
3. They did not enter the suit
lightly-at each meeting the
lawyers explained the im-
plications of such an action:
Although for legal reasons
money damages were asked, it
was always emphasized that
-there was no likelihood of any of
the families receiving money or,
any other material advantages;
that the families would have to
expect that they would be ex-
posed to a lot of uncomfortable
publicity; and that the suit would
probably be in litigation for years
and any change would be a long

Editor's note: This letter
was written by members of the
Michigan hockeyteam. It was
quoted extensively in a story in
yesterday's Daily. The editors
have chosen to print the letter
exactly as submitted.
We do not condone our actions
but we do feel the facts have been
grossly distorted.
The freshman hockey players
were brought to a house off cam-
pus. The freshman involved does
drink and was given alcohol. As
was the case throughout the
evening no physical force was in-
volved although peer pressure
was evident. The intent of the
drinking was not to force. the
freshmen to become sick.
The freshman involved did not
have his entire body shaved and.
after being outside for the
shaving was brought inside to be
warmed. He was going to be sick
at which time he was taken out-
side to vomit and then brought
back inside. He then said he was
going to be sick again and was
taken outside once more. He was
brought back inside and had
towels placed over him. He was
not, according to reports in the
newspaper, left outside to be sick,
lying on the ground, for an hour
and a half.
After it was apparent that he
was indeed sick, we put him in
the back of a fully heated Duster
hatchback. He was then taken
straight home which took about
six or seven minutes. He was not,
contrary to reports thrown in the
trunk of a car and then driven
around the campus for more than
an hour.
He was then taken into the lob-
by of the dorm. by three of the
players. The players were met by

some twenty members of the hall
at which' timne they were told' to
leave. The freshman involved'
was not according to reports:
"dumped back on his dormstepsC
incoherent and unable to walk'=
He was coherent and able to walk
to his room on his own which he
did.
We did not want to take him n-
to a lounge and make a further
spectacle of it. In attempting to
make sure he was safe in his
room the three players were
stopped by dorm members.
Phone calls later in the evening to
check on him had no success. F
Again we are not trying to con-
done our actions but are merely
presenting the facts as they are.
-Enzo Angimeri
Bruno Baseotto
.John Blum
Paul Brandrup
Roger Bourne
Keith Carter
Terry Cullen
Dave Fardig
Paul Fricker
Gord Hampson
Brian Lundberg
Don Kussman
Tim Manning
Peter Mason
Jeff Mars
Dennis May
Jim McCauley
Kelly McCrimmon
Joe Milburn
Mark Perry
Billy Reid
Steve Richmond
Dave Richter
Ted Speers
Robert Sutton
Jeff Tessier
Brad Tippett
Jamie Todd
Rudy Varvari
Steve Yoxheimer
October 15

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Pursell supporters clean up

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To the Daily:
When former President Ford
visited the University on October
7, I was thrilled at the prospect of
seeing him in person and atten-
ding my first real political rally.
But oddly enough, my biggest
surprise of the afternoon came
after the speech was over. When
the crowd left the Regents Plaza

name just a few, were gone, one
group stayed behind.
A band of students wearing
"Carl Pursell, Our
Congressman" jackets stayed
and picked up the litter which
covered the area, even though
there was very little Pursell
literature on the ground. Now I

i

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