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March 11, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-11

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.

OPINION

i

Page 4

Thursday, March 11, 1982

The Michigan Daily'

e atutsa ntchigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Getting rid of

geography

with no administrative skill

I
.

Vol. XCII, No. 125

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

It's

time to kill the Beast

of defense research

Geography Chairman John Nystuen
will no longer have a department come
July 1. Nystuen, whose department was
officially eliminated by a Regents' vote
last June, will be transferring to a position
at the College of Architecture and Urban
Planning.
Nystuen spoke with Opinion Page
Editor Julie Hinds this week, reflecting on
the department's long and bitter review
and his new attitude toward the Univer-
sity's administration.

T HERE COMES a time when you
have to put your foot down and
scream "No more!" for all the world to
hear.
A time when scientists talk of sur-
viving a nuclear war, politicians talk of
limiting one, and the military talks of
winning.
A time when we lose all possible per-
spective on what it means to obliterate a
city - let alone a country or the entire
world -- because it is simply beyond
the realm of our imaginations.
A time when we could be vaporized
in the next instant, without even being
granted the dignity of a few seconds to
compose a final thought such as "God
help us" or "They really, finally did
it" or even "Damn, I just washed the
car."
That time is now. And perhaps the
strongest gesture we as students can
make is to demand that all research
being conducted at this University for
the Department of Defense be stopped.
Enough with hair-splitting distin-
ctions between classified and un-
classified research, between weapons
research that leads directly to the
destruction of human lives and basic
research that leads indirectly to the
same end. Enough with token student
committees and token faculty commit-
t'es and token student-faculty commit-
oversee and review and
scrutinize and analyze the propriety of
individual research projects.
We must finally and unabashedly
acknowledge the underlying truth
about all defense research-it will
inevitably lead to death.
Extraordinary times demand ex-
traordinary measures, and who could,
deny these are extraordinary times
when the world is only minutes away
from destroying itself?
To argue that banning defense
tesearch violates the sanctity of the
ideal of academic freedom - under
which every professor is supposed to
he free to do research in virtually any
3 rea - is to argue that dead men
should get tenure. For what good is
academic freedom to any of us when
we are all tiny little radioactive ions

floating somewhere in the galaxy?
Let us not lose sight of the forest for
the trees-let us not get caught up in
petty mental exercises about
pragmatism and academic freedom
when our lives are at stake.
How can we continue to tolerate a
world in which we as individuals have
absolutely no control over our
destinies? Slowly, gradually, in
Europe first and only in recent months
here in America, have individuals
begun to mass together and demand an
end to the absurdity of nuclear
weapons.
Maybe if enough people sign
"nuclear freeze" petitions, maybe if
enough people stage "die-ins," maybe
if enough people refuse to continue
supporting the government depar-
tment charged with destroying us -
maybe then there is some small sliver
of hope.
God knows there are no simple
solutions. Even if we demand an end to
defense research here, other univer-
sities will pick up the slack. Lots of
research not even commissioned by
the defense department may even-
tually lead to our destruction - who
knows, for instance, whether some
University-made robot might one day
be used to guide a warhead toward
Moscow? And then there's the ROTC
- should we not also demand that it,
too, be kicked off campus? Even the
Daily itself directly supports the death
machine, by accepting recruiting ad-
vertisements for corporations that fill
contracts for the defense department,
not to mention ads for the armed forces
themselves.
Yes, that awful beast Pragmatism
looms overhead, threatening to reduce
any initiative to futility. "Why do
anything, since you clearly can't do
everything?" the Beast laughs at us.
But we can smile back at the Beast,
we can smile the desperate smile of the
damned. And we can-take one small
step, however impractical and
unrealistic and ultimately futile, and
at least be vaporized with clear con-
sciences.

Nystuen: In our case, once the review
decision was made, the rest of the procedures
were only a matter of form. We couldn't influen-
ce the administration once they announced
they were considering cutting us.
Daily: What did you learn about dealing
with the administration from your experien-
ce?
Nystuen: I think the administration demon-
strated that they don't need to pay attention to
the faculty at all. By discounting the faculty
vote in support of saving geography, they
(administrators) showed they have the
ultimate power and authority to make these
decisions alone. And they did with us.
Daily: Will eliminating geography be worth
it economically? Will it save money?
Nystuen: The announced savings are not
very significant. Last year they needed $1.2
million that LSA was unable to come up with.
They chopped about $200,000 of that from
geography. That means they'd need to cut
five more geography departments to achieve
nammmmNX mmm se ewa"

0
0

Daily: What mistakes do you think the
University administration made during the
geography department review?
Nystuen: The worst thing they did was
secretly target the department for
elimination without giving us a chance to look
at the material, the statistics they used to
finger us.
Daily: Do you feel you didn't have time to
prepare a defense?
Nystuen: I feel that by the time we were in-
formed that discontinuance procedures were
underway, a great deal had already gone on
to which we had no privilege. By the time they
announced discontinuance possibilities, the
administrators had their minds made up. It
put us in an awkward position.
Daily: What about your department? Did
you make any mistakes? Would you do
anything differently now?
Nystuen: I don't think we could have done
much once they started discontinuance
review. Once procedures were underway,
we tried every avenue we could to save
ourselves, and we were thwarted on every
approach.
Daily: Do you think once a review decision
is made elimination of a department or in-
stitute is a foregone conclusion?

now? }
Nystuen: Be more political. Get more in-
volved in college affairs. Get onto the
Executive Committee and into the dean's of-
fice.
Daily: Is it who you know at the University;
rather than what your department does that
ensures safety?
Nystuen: With geography, it was a political
matter-an arbitrary, capricious act. It was;
not adequately Justified by the evidence,
presented. So how can I suggest to other units0
that they rely on facts and expressions of sup-.
port? They-didn't save us.

their original goal. I don't think they'll find
many more places to cut without seriously
changing the curriculum of the college.
Daily: If you don't think the savings were
significant, then why were you cut?
Nystuen: It was an exercise in power. It
was a demonstration that the administration.
had the authority to get rid of a department.
Other departments noticed that.
Daily: What advice would you give to a
professor whose department is under review

Daily: Last term one geography professor
compared being relocated to being shot. What
was being moved to a new department like for
you?
Nystuen: I'm not pleased to be forced to
change my profession. I am a geographer and
I was working in a graduate program that
was very successful.
The people where I'm going, at architecture
and urban planning, have been very cordial in;
inviting me in, which means I may get along
all right. I'm reluctant to let go of the
tradition of my department, though. I dou't
think it helps our university at all to-let suc a
tradition slip away. We're getting smaller,
but there's no indication we're getting better.
Dialogue is a weekly feature of the
Daily's Opinion Page and appears every
Thursday.

0

Weasel,

WHA GOINM ORe.
H~AVE s .C6T MY(
MINA?

YOUR tMIND jTTPLA"(L1N&
TRICK(S ON YOU, we&SL..
FMR ~ YtAfRS CRAM4PE iN'T6 j%
NYCN A UMZ f-M Y

GUYS! j(2 6/

By Robert Lence'1.,
ALKIE+IT WEASEL.., IF
YO 'ou~Ecr fNA~r soN6W
T1bMY flN6 rMY
"UN KNOWN (mcM"ou1INE
FOR YOU, TMN L1
womt Do IT! /
-1l

6
6

Watching the stars

OR THOSE OF you who are up and
about today reading this editiorial,
ongratulations. You have survived
te "Jupiter effect" intact.
.Yesterday's rare alignment of the
un, the planets, and the earth's moon,
Lnown as the Jupiter effect, provoked
everal rumors of imminent world
isaster. Soothsayers from China, In-
4ia, and Peru predicted that the event
could set of everything from
pidemics and torrential tidal waves to
ttacks of wild beasts. For some in
Balifornia, recent earthquake
remors were enough to inspire belief
hat the end of the world was truly on
ts way.
But superstitious sorts looking for
:ataclysms have more to worry about
han this odd alignment. One need only
ook at the world around us to find
erious, pressing problems that, unlike
he Jupiter effect, merit more atten-
ion.
One can start looking at the Univer-
ity level. The long-range plans of the
dministration to cut the size of our in-

sure right now of their future status at
the University.$
On the state and national level,
current economic conditions are
enough to spark fears of impending
financial disaster. The budgetary
policies of the Reagan administration
especially have provoked fear among
the underprivileged and minorities
that the country's future holds no place
for them.
The international arena provides
perhaps the widest selection of
disaster. The famines and plagues
that seemed humorous when
astrologers predicted them yesterday
are occurring in fact throughout the
world. And fears of a cataclysm are
hardly groundless when one considers
the destructive potential inherent in
the current international nuclear arms
build-up.
Anyone shopping around for
problems shouldn't waste their time on
astronomical, hazards when so much
potential danger is present in real life.
The problems surrounding us, that

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Polish rule shows little moderation

To the Daily:
Raymond Taras, in his
Dialogue interview (Daily, Mar-
ch 4), sounds like he would make
a good PR man for Gen.
Jaruzelski of Poland.

How can Taras think
Jaruzelski is a moderate and .
deserves more time? In only two
months of martial law, Solidarity
has been disbanded, thousands
have been imprisoned and have

Bring back bowling

To the Daily:
This letter is in response to
your article about the closing of
the Michigan Union bowling
lanes (Daily, March 6). It is a
shame that the Union board
(comprised of 11 students) has
made the decision to close the
lanes for good. A major univer-
sity consisting of 33,000 students
without bowling lanes is hard to
imagine, and will put us into an
elite category. Bowling is the
most widely-played sport in
America, and the Detroit area
has the largest body of bowlers in
the country.

to remodel was only half that
figure.
Also, the article stated that
"only 32 students were interested
in the intramural winter tour-
nament," when in fact well over
100 students signed up for tour-
nament play, and three times as
many people signed up for the
University Activities Center's
mini-course this fall than stated.
As mechanics on the bowling
alley staff, we (as well as other
staff members) are offended by
Dann's statement that, "In fact,
our decision was encouraged by
the bowling alley staff itself."

been asked to leave the country,
the independent student
organization has been dissolved,
strikes have been violently sup-
pressed, and basic human rights
have been abrogated-all under
the direction of the "moderate"
Jaruzelski.
Taras should remember why
Solidarity grew so large in the
first place. Poles, very conscious
of their history, remembered how
past leaders Gomulka and Gierek
betrayed them. So why should
Taras think they will sympathize
with Jaruzelski, who has already
shown he is less willing to
negotiate than the past rulers.
I find it amazing that a politic-
al sociologist would fail to note
the sense of hostility between
Poles and their present leader,
especially after martial law and
Jaruzelski's visits to Moscow.
Undoubtedly, Taras must have
been barred from travel during

martial law, and perhaps before,.
The Polish worker has not seen
an improvement in his condition.
As one Pole told me while I was in
Poland last summer, "What goQd
is a trade union if a pig-headqo
government won't reform? W'
have only begun to fight!"
The academics Tara*
associated with may have bedr
much happier with their new.
freedoms, but the Poli-
workers, who, after all, starfed
the movement, were hardl,
satisfied.
Jaruzelski is bound to face coil
frontation from the workets
because he has failed to face tlh,
reality of Solidarity. As the Poles;
now warn: "The winter is youri
but the spring is ours!"
-Richard Walawender
Polish-American Student r
Association
March 4
'j ph

el

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