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October 21, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-21

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0

OPINION

.
;

Page 4
edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCI, No. 41 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Tuesday, October 21, 1980

The Michigan Daily

6

On the humanity of athletes

There is a long conveyor belt in the West
Quad cafeteria that juts out into the dining
room. The belt-upon which trays of dirty
dishes are placed-passes through a small
opening in a wall and into the dishroom,
where student workers remove the trays from
the belt and wash their contents. Looking
down the conveyor belt through the wall and
into the dishroom, you can just barely see the
hands of the first dishwasher.
I chanced to be sitting near the conveyor
belt at lunch a few weeks ago when a large
Neanderthal brute decided to amuse himself.
He loped up to the belt, a glass clutched in
his paw. Leering, he hurled the glass down

t

a

Some vestiges of petty

politics sur
UST AS THE new Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly is struggling to
shake off the petty politics of past
Assemblies and to embark on a new
course of real student activism, one
vestige of years past is forcing MSA to
grapple with several issues that could
hider its remarkable recent progress.
That vestige is former MSA financial
officer Brad Canale, and the bad habit
has taken the form of a student lawsuit
fi d with the Central Student
J ,ciary charging the new MSA with
a olation of its constitutional appoin-
tInent procedure.
$bme MSA members say the suit is
noliing more than a political ploy; an
at1empt to disrupt the functioning of an
- Asembly dominated by the political
pa.ty that opposes Canale's. They see
Cnale's constitutional wrangling as
*
Carter and I
foreign poli
A T LONG LAST, the major party
presidential candidates settled
d wn Sunday to go on the record with
su stantive comments about theanost
i portant part of their campaign plat-
i : foreign policy. That comes as a
r after the jast months of petty
s ing and misstatement of fact.
onald Reagan raised at least one
reasonable attack on a problem that
has plagued his opponent's ad-
ministration when he observed that
"ae present administration has
been unable to speak with one voice in
foieign policy." He was not as specific
aslie might have been, but any foreign
leader could have expanded on the
fiiistrating lack of control, unity, and
direction among Carter's foreign
plicy spokesmen.
Former Secretary of State Cyrus
Vince, .his successor Ed lyluskie, for-
nr4r U.N: ambassador Andrew Young,
hts successor Donald McHenry, and
N4tional Security Advisor Zbigniew
Bipzezinski have all at various times
swoken for Carter on foreign policy
tters, often at odds with each other.
T president would have done well to
can up that messy problem long ago.
heSALT II issue was the other
in area of controversy in the can-
d ates' speeches Sunday, with Carter
c ing out strongly in its favor, and
gan attacking it.
arter called SALT a "secret

face in MSA
an attempt to meddle in the affairs of
the Assembly that excluded him.
Petty politics surfaced again last
week when some MSA members and
students charged the MSA Permanent
Interviewing Committee with doling
out nominations to the Acting Union
Executive Committee on the basis of
politics, not qualifications.
It is unfortunate that now, when MSA
is making a real effort to address
student concerns, its accomplishments
should begin to be obscured by the
political squabbling forced upon it by a
minority of disgruntled members of a
defeated political party. .
It would be truly sad if MSA were
forced to waste its time and effort waging
political battle against these opponents
rather than continuing to devote itself
to solving student problems.
Reagan swap
cy proposals
weapon" that would limit the number
of . Soviet long-range missiles,
eliminate thousands of extant nuclear
bombs, and boost U.S. intelligence-
gathering capabilities to monitor
Soviet defense system activities. He
termed the treaty the first step in a
process of "gradually reducing the
possibility of nuclear war."
In the past, Reagan has repeatedly
called for U.S. nuclear superiority over
the Soviets. Sunday, he did not refer
specifically to those comments, but he
did suggest that he could only support
an arms limitation treaty if the current
arms balance changes.
From the Soviet point of view,
Moscow has fulfilled its obligation to
negotiate for peace in signing SALT II.
Reagan, however, sees himself scrap-
ping it, embarking on a vast arms
buildup, and then negotiating a new
treaty with the newly-compliant
Soviets.
We'll say one thing for the
Republican candidate: He has a rich
fantasy life.
Unsigned editorials ap-
pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of the
Daily s Editorial Board.

Witticisms
By Howard Witt

one of them, made him sick with alcohol,
shaved his genital hair, and left him outside,
naked, in freezing weather for ,almost an
hour. In the name of brotherhood, they
brought the victim back to his dorm and nobly
decided not to put him on display in a lounge.
A CUT DISHWASHER. A doused bar
patron. A hazed freshman. Three isolated vic-
tims of athlete violence-and athletic men-
tality.
Ever since junior high school, when
humanity was first divided into those skilled
in athletics and those not, I have struggled
with myself to resist a general, unreasoning
hatred of athletes. It has been a losing
struggle.
I really want to believe hockey players and
football players are sensitive human beings. I
really want to believe they have feelings and
consciences and sensibilities. Then along
comes news of a brutal hazing incident, and
my desires evaporate. The players make it so
hard for the rest of us to embrace them as
humans.
I DON'T WISH to dwell on the hazing in-
cident; far too many column inches have
already been devoted to that subject. There is
one point, however, that no columnist has yet
examined: the claim that hazing is necessary
and even desirable.
There is a considerable consensus among
die-hard fans and athletes alike that hazing
somehow draws a team closer together; that
it is some baptism of fire that all must share
to be true companions. Hazing is one night of
humiliation, many argue, that prefaces years
of comradeship.
Now I'll be the first to admit that shared
experiences strengthen relationships. Those
of my companions who last summer worked
until 5:00 a.m. pasting bulletins onto an
edition of the Daily shared a common ex-
perience that brought us each closer together.
BUT YOU CANNOT convince me that a
shared experience must be destructive. I'll
never understand why athletes must abuse
one another in some test of toughness before
they can feel close. Why, I ask myself, can't
hockey players or football players (those are
the two types we know practice ritual

humiliation; there may be others) judge and
respect one another on the basis of athletic
achievement? Why can't the playing surface
serve as the proving ground?
Lacking an answer for those questions, I
am compelled to create one: These athletes
are in some way subhuman and sadistic. They
must be so callous and stupid that they can.,,.
think of no other significant common ex-
perience beyond hazing. Again, my desire to
resist popular stereotypes about athletes is
destroyed-they act in ways that only rein-
force my prejudices.
To think of all the special privileges this
university-and our society-grants these
dinosaurs makes me cringe. We entice them
with huge scholarships, we pamper them with
immunity from the law (there will be no
prosecution of those involved in the hazing
assault), we support them with special how-
to-study and how-to-write and how-to-read
academic programs, and we pay millions to
watch them attack their counterparts from
other s 4ools.
SOMETHING IS gravely wrong. We are,
caught in an impossibly hypocritical situation
where we boast of this university's high ,.
academic quality even as we honor the
Wolverines-those shining symbols of anti-in-
tellectualism-with strains of "Hail to the
Victors."
It would riot be difficult to predict that the
University community can not much longer
tolerate this extreme example of negative
capability. The hazing incident may well
prove to be the snapping point.
In my calmer moments, I do realize that all
athletes are not created equally brutal. In-
deed, I have known some far more sensitive
and human than myself.
But none of those played football. Or
hockey. They were cross-country runners.
And tennis players. And golfers.
And none of them ever felt the need to sling
glasses at innocent peers or shave their com-
panions.

along the length of the conveyor. The glass
shattered somewhere behind the wall, cutting
the hands of the first dishwasher. (You could
tell because of the scream of pain and the
blood.)
THE NEANDERTHAL leaped with joy and
ran back to several admiring girls for ap-
proval. They cooed and flirted and squeezed
his biceps.
That mindless thug, a fellow diner told me,
was-a starring player on his high school foot-
ball team.
About a week after the glass-flinging in-
cident, I heard about another athlete-this
one a member of our august football team. It
seems he was in a local bar with some of his
cronies and decided to amuse himself. He
dumped a pitcher of beer onto a total
stranger.
Last week, we all heard about fifteen other
athletes-members of the Michigan hockey
team. They decided to amuse themselves by
hazing their own freshman companions. In
the name of tradition, they assaulted at least

Howard Witt is the
Daily's Opinion page.
pears every Tuesday.

co-editor of the
His column ap-

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Hazing editorial totally one-sided

To the Daily:
Once again, you have printed
an editorial opinion that ignores
facts and written statements, is
totally' one-sided, and borders
on sensationalism. I am referring
to "The Hazing Incident"
editorial in the Thursday, Oct. 16
issue.
In this same edition of the
paper, you have published a
statement by the hockey players
themselves, signed by all 29, in-
cluding freshmen. This
statement conflicts with and con-
tradicts most of the facts upon
which your editorial is based.
The least you could have done.

before writing your damning and
potentially damaging editorial is
to have considered all the eviden-
ce. There are two sides to every
story. But it appears that those
who write opinions for the Daily
don't feel this way.
Anyone who supports the ac-
tions of the hockey players in this
incident is a fool. I don't. You ob-
viously don't. But your reader-
ship is entitled to the straight
truth, not farcical half-truths and
false innuendos. The facts are a
freshman player was hazed. The
facts show that the veteran
hockey players went overboard
with this man. But whose, facts

are we to believe? In your
editorial, you state that "the
player was left naked in freezing
weather for more than an hour,
dropped outside Markley Hall,
and he could have died of
hypothermia had he not been
discovered by friends and pulled
inside." That's your side of the
story.
What is interesting about
these facts of yours is this: In the
same Oct. 16 paper, on the front
page, in a story written by Loren-
zo Benet and Gary Levy, we are
given some other facts to con-
sider. The hockey players' own
statement says, "The player

One point for loutish protesters'

. . .

To the Daily:
I'd like to comment on the
"loutish protest" at the "Peace
Corps celebration," because it
WAS seen as merely a disruption
without a clear point. The point
of the demonstration was that
U.S. foreign policy is on the whole
directed toward the wrong ends,
not just a bit off course, as
Sargent Shriver's speech seemed
to imply. There is a difference
between disrupting a forum and
exposing a spectacle of half-
truths; the protesters weren't
just being rude. In fact, the
"celebration" disrupted the
demonstration as much as the
reverse, when, before any of the
speeches, the band was ordered
to drown out demonstrators'
chants. Tracye McArdle's letter
and Secretary Muskie's commen-
ts on the protesters are typical
non-responses of those whose
unreal world is crashed by
reality: questioning opponents'
sincerity.
Why the Peace Corps? The
Peace Corps is a part of a policy
that as a whole must be condem-
ned. Though it is conducted in our
name, U.S. foreign policy is not
conducted for the benefit of the
American people, but for the

multinational .corporations. The
effect of this is that the U.S. sup-
ports repression and exploitation,
not freedom and equality,
throughout the world.
How does the Peace Corps fit
into this? The Peace Corps has in
some cases served as a cover for
the CIA (it was thrown out of
several countries because of
this), but this is not its' major
role. The Peace Corps serves to
co-opt energies for change, both
here and in the Third World. In
the Third World, people are
taught that the way to improve
their lives is by improving their
technical skills.
A poor peasant is taught how to
eke out a little better living on his
small plot of land, when the real
problem is that all the best land is
taken by large plantations that
grow cash crops for export. What
he really needs to know is how to
organize to solve the real
problems of his society. In the
same way, well-meaning
Americans want to help poor
people in the Third World, so they
go overseas to provide technical
assistance. They could help those
poor people infinitely more by
changing U.S. foreign policy.
In the same countries to which
the U.S. sends Peace Corps

volunteers, the U.S. supports and
instigates repression when the
people of a country try to take
control of their own lives and
become independent of the
multinational corporations.
My high school chemistry
teacher had been a Peace Corps
volunteer in Brazil during the
1960s. In 1964, the CIA instigated
a military coup that overthrew
the elected government of Joao
Goulart. Since then, the U.S. has
supported the military gover-
nment in Brazil, among othey,
things training the police in tor-
ture and assassination
techniques. The police have used
this training to suppress political
opposition to the government and
labor's opposition to big business.
The people of Brazil, and of -
America, would have been better
served by a person's work to turn
U.S. policy away from supporting
the "stability" of a "good climate
for foreign investment," than by
the good a person did in a rural
village improving sanitation and
agricultural methods.
That's why the Peace Corps
celebration was and should have
been a target of "loutish
protesters."
-Dave Kadlecek
October 15

was taken into the lobby . .. not
dumped on the hall doorsteps, in-
coherent and unable to walk."
Following this comes the senten-
ce, presumably gathered by your
reporters, "Markley residents
confirmed this statement."
Responsible papers don't print
editorials without considering all
the evidence. They seek out the
truth, research the facts, -And
then, based on their findings,
write opinions. There is no
question that the players deserve
every bit of the punishment they,
get, whatever that may be. But
you people at the Daily are
creating an issue by altering fac
ts, hoping to achieve whatever
objective you want. I don't know
what it is. Yet based on your sen
sationalistic practices of late, I1
can only assume that you strive
to be another National Enquirer.
How hard was it, Daily, to fall
that low?
--Lee McAllister
October 17
State -m ovie
theatre hit
To the Daily:
Having been a moviegoer for
over 30 years, I had an un-
pleasant "first" on Monday
night, Oct. 13, at the State Movie
Theatre. I had difficulty parking
and was 10 minutes late to see
Hopscotch so I waited after the
film ended to see the first ten
minutes. An usher informed me
that I was to leave. I explained
that I had missed the beginning
and had paid $3.50 for my ticket
and that I would like to see the
beginning of the movie. He said
he would have to explain to the
manager. A second usher ap-
peared with a similar message.
Finally the manager arrived
and after telling me that I had to
leave, informed me that if I did
not leave, she would call the
police, who would forcibly eject
me.
At this point I hasten to point
out that I am a middle-aged
woman. I was sitting quietly,
merely waiting for the movie to
begin.
It didn't quite seem worth it to,

... and one point against them

To the Daily:
The mentality of activist
groups on this campus never

None of these groups could
convince me otherwise,
-nen manywhn thpv trv to shout

carrying hecklers "just like to
hear themselves talk." It ap-
nne a aainrit o f etiidpntc

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