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February 13, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-02-13

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OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, February 13, 1982

Weasel

di e dstuidegtatTheUnive ar ili
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCII, No. 111

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Halting financial aid cuts

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F THERE EVER was a time for
student protest and activism, this is
the moment.
The Reagan administration's
sweeping cutbacks in federally-funded
student financial aid should provoke
more campus unrest and student
discontent than almost any other event
of the past decade.
Reagan has cut back ruthlessly on
federal student grant programs for
higher education. Pell Grants, Sup-
plemental Education Opportunity
Grants, and State Student Incentive
Grants all have had their funds slashed
by the current administration. Some
federal proposals already call for the
elimination of the Supplemental
Education and State Student programs
by 1914. Funds for the Pell Grant
program are to be cut, under current
proposals, almost in half.
Federal loan programs are also
facing sudden elimination. Graduate
and professional students soon no
longer will be eligible for Guaranteed
Student Loans, and further restrictions
are in store for undergraduates. The
National Direct Student Loan program
also is scheduled to be eliminated from
the federal budget by 1984.
Defiling c
MEMBERS OF Congress, through
a subcommittee, proposal, are
currently waging a :dirty. campaign to
substantially weaken federal clean air
regulations.
The House Energy and Commerce
subcommittee is considering a
proposal, sponsored by Rep. Thomas
Luken (D-Ohio), that offers several
revisions to the Clean Air Act of 1970.
Luken claims his revisions are merely
simplifications, designed to improve
the anti-pollution act by finetuning
existing regulations. He also concedes,
as a subtle aside, the revisions may
contain some economic ramifications.
Improving the environment,
however, is a poor cloak for the bill's
true objective. The stress, instead,
should be placed solely on the proposed
benefits for industry. Luken's amen-
dment would serve industry .by
relaxing costly emissions standards
for motor vehicles, delaying industrial
cleanup programs, and permitting the
introduction of pollutants into several
areas designated "clean" by the
government.
Support for the bill comes from two
major sources. Manufacturers,
seeking relief from clean air standar-

These examples only demonstrate
the administration's callous neglect
for higher education. Reagan has
decided that higher education is not a
priority for this nation, and now he in-
tends to act on that decision.
Cuts to student financial aid will
represent a serious danger to the ac-
cessibility of higher education for the
nation's youth. The potential academic
growth that has been offered for so
long to the country may now be
threatened with extinction. The reduc-
tion of funds to higher education could
lead to a disastrous gap in the nation' s
ability to teach and train its
population.
Students at the University, and
around the country, should voice their'
protest over the injustice of the
Reagan administration's aid cuts.
Student concern is an important con-
cern, and should be made known.
Apathy, at a time such as this, will only
lead to an increased governmental
readiness to sacrifice higher education
to political goals such as a balanced
budget and increased military spen-
ding. The students of this country must
now take the future into their own hands.
clean air
ds, are wholeheartedly lobbying for the
proposal. The Environmental Protec-
tion Agency, with the .Reagan ad-
ministration's backing, is betraying its.
responsibility by not only backing the
bill, but by calling for further
measures to lessen clean air standar-
ds.
These supporters, however, in their
rush to garner financial breaks, are
ignoring the fact that clean air stan-
dards remain as vital today as in 1970,
when the act was created. The Clean
Air Act, a health-based standard,
should not be scrapped to boost an
ailing economy. The temporary relief
such a move offers industry would not
balance out the long-term damage
wreaked upon the environment.
Too many social and environmental
programs are being shoved to the
wayside as lawmakers scramble to
cure economic ills. Fortunately, the
House subcommittee's chairman has
already denounced the proposal,
saying it would put "a virtual halt to
the air pollution program." The entire
subcommittee can now act positively
by halting the progress of the bill to
protect our clean air from shortsighted
legislators.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

*

GEO offers hope for dece

To the Daily:
Since the University lost its ap-
peal to have graduate student
assistants ruled ineligible to
bargain for a contract on the
grounds that as students they
were not really employees, it has
tried to confuse and confound the
implications this ruling has for
GSAs. Its most recent and blatant
act has been the unilateral action
in increasing withholding taxes
for GSAs.
On Jan. 18, the University
Record printed a misleading ar-
ticle implying that this increase
was a result of the MERC ruling;
thus it appears we are being
punished for gaining recognition
of our employee status. One week
later, the Record printed a
followup which clarifies the
position simply stated as: If you
qualified before, you still qualify
now for your tax advantage. The
increase in our withholding is just
a University harassment tactic.
GEO, with a membership of
over 400 at last count (and cards

are still coming in daily) is
struggling to provide, among
other things, a decent wage for
GSAs. In 1978, the average GSA
who earned $3287 for a term was
required to enroll for and pay
tuition for a minimum 6 credits at
$783 for the term. Therefore a
GSA took home-pre-tax-$2504
for the semester. In contrast, in
1981. the same GSA was paid
$3970, had to return at least $1133
in tuition, and so took home again
pre-tax .$2837. This seems to be
a 13.39% increase over the four
years. But when you take into ac-
count that inflation over the same
period averaged 10.23% per year,
then this same GSA, in constant
dollars, earned only $2067 for that
semester or 17.45% less in terms
of purchasing power. It is ap-
parent that we are not even
keeping up, let alone receiving
any cost-of-living adjustment.
The situation is even more
bleak when one considers that
many GSAs come from out of
state. All GSAs receive a tuition

rebate which appears to be
taxable since it takes the form of
payment of obligations (i.e.
tuition) to the University, and
out-of-state rebates are about
$1220. This GSA receives a total
of almost $6200 in taxable income
while only actually receiving in
pay $2837 for the semester!
Clearly we are paying much
more tax than we ought to pay. If
the University was willing to
remove the enrollment
requirement when it was not
necessary to the GSA's
education, and was willing to call
the tuition rebate a tuition
waiver, then there would be some
financial return to all GSAs in the
form of reduced taxation that we,
as employees, do not even

nt wage
receive.
Contrary to the "callous
disregard" the union is accused
of maintaining, GEO is interested
in providing GSAs- with a
reasonable wage which reflects
their degree of teaching respon-
sibilities. Only through combined
and unified action through GEO
will GSAs ever hope to receive
such a wage. Clearly, over the
past four years when GSAs were
not protected by a contract, the
University has not shown this
same regard for its, graduate
student employees' financial
well-being.
-David Fasenfest
GEO Steering Comniittee
February 10

It 's all Greek to Witt

Order wins over freedom

Tothe Daily:
Mark Gindin's article "Of
students and liberalism" (Daily,
Feb. 5) made some very unfoun-
ded statements. First of all,
freedom to do as one wishes is not
the basis ofrhappiness for most
people. Order and security,
whether they come from in-
dividual effort or from a collec-
tive group, are the sources of
happiness. When faced with a
choice, any rational person will
choose order over freedom.
Centralized government power
did not arise from intellectual
theories that favored the reduc-
tion of freedom, but as a
pragmatic necessity to prevent
the loss of freedoms. As in-
dustrial enterprises grew in this
country, theybegan to gain more
and more power. One reason for
the growth of government was
that a force was needed to balan-
ce the increasingly centralized
power of private industrialists.
One of the effects of "New
Federalism" has been to en-

courage the _centralization of
power in business, as evidenced
by the large number of corporate
mergers in the last year.
Gindin's statement that
freedom has disappeared
because of the egalitarian action
of the government is absurd.
Government action has probably
given blacks and other minorities
more freedom than they have
ever had in this country. The
Keynesian policies of the gover-
nment have also increased
freedom by increasing the wealth
of the people. Gindin should also
remember. that a more equal
society tends to have more inter-
nal stability.
Finally, Gindin's repeated
assertion that today's college
students wish to have
Washington, D.C. run their lives
has no basis. And even if they did,
they wouldn't be as much of an
"insidious danger" to society as
Gindin is.
-Tom Richardson
February 11

To the Daily:
As a member of a fraternity, I
feel qualified to respond to
Howard Witt's column "Thoughts
of a former sorority member"
(Daily, Feb. 9). First I must ask
you, Mr. Witt, what purposes the
column served. Your hostilities
towards the Greek=system are
obvious to any reader; but you
are perhaps the least
qualified-as you admit-to
speak on the issue.
Individuals both in and out of
the Greek system are aware that
Greek life is good for some while;
not for others. As you admit, you
are an outsider, though you give,
some indications ofuregretting
this decision. Are you trying to
justify to yourself that you were
right in not joining a fraternity?
True, there are certain weak
points associated with the Greek
system. Mr. Witt has not failed in
his endeavor to express each and
every one of these. Do you beat
dead horses into the ground often,
Mr. Witt?
Mr. Witttis guilty of bad jour-
nalism in that he doesn't try to
take on or even understand the
other side. There are two sides,
not one, to every argument. I'm
not alone when I say that Greek
life aids in the development of
thousands of young adults

throughout America. I have wit-
nessed over 30 pledges initiate
and I can assure you that there is
a visible difference between the
individual who first rushes and
the same individual after he has
initiated.
There's no doubt that the
degree of levelopment varies
from one individual to the next.
But-"the minimum that any in-
dividual gets out of experiencing
Greek life is a boost of self-
confidence and a sense of
belonging. Since your writing
seems just a different means of
bolstering your self-esteem, Mr.
Witt, it would be absurd to argue
that such an influence is not
beneficial or worthwhile.
The Greek system is used as a
vehicle to better one's social life.
One cannot knock the desire to
meet people, especially on a
large campus such as the Univer-
sity of Michigan.
This is not your first article
which has been highly critical of
certain programs, groups, and in-.
stitutions in thisacountry. What.
disturbs me is that such writing,'.'
had no apparent message or pur-,
pose. For this I applaud your con-
sistency.

-Tim Gerardot..,,
member, sigma Chi
February 10

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