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March 24, 1982
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Simple solutions to
By Julie Engebrecht
At some point in the last 20 or so years,
"women's problems" went away.
That, at least, is what a number of people
would lead us to think. We tend to believe that
equal opportunity leads to equality, a dictum
that is, unfortunately, not true, nor that simple.
THE UNIVERSITY'S powers-that-be recen-
tly came near 'to suggesting that "women's
problems" more or less had been solved when
they recommended that the Center for the Con-
tinuing Education of Women be reviewed for
possible elimination or major budget cuts,
pending a review of the program's recent per-
A draft of the administration's order to the
review committee reads: "The University it-
self should be more sensitive to and responsive
to the needs of women students ... so that the
need for special advocacy and representation
may have been altered or diminished. Society
at large has made strides in achieving greater
social equity in its attitudes toward and expec-
tations of women . . . therefore, the review
committee should assess whether the Center
has appropriately adapted to recognize these '
changes, or indeed whether the need for the
Center may itself have diminished significan-
tly in light of such changes and other available
Even though many of the legal, social, and
economic barriers to equality of the sexes have
broken down in the 18 years since CEW has
been in existence, "women's problems"
(referred to as such here for "lack of a better,'
more concise description) have not disap
peared. In fact, these problems have presented
themselves as more complicated than society
had previously believed or understood. And, as
surely as some of the old problems have
diminished, new ones have cropped up.
DEMOGRAPHIC data on the women who
have used CEW and the changes in the
pressures and obstacles faced by these women
over the center's history appear to represent
some larger cultural trends.
When CEW opened in 1964, it was one of the
first centers of its kind in the country that
assisted women whose education had been in-
terrupted. It was a time when a number of
universities barred part-time graduate or un-
dergraduate work, and when part-time work
was the only way women with family respon-
sibilities could get or continue their educations.
Most women who used CEW's counseling
services in its early years were married, mid-
dle-class women. The center's counseling ser-
vices and scholarship programs aided and'en-
couraged them to return to school and helped
women students cope with the pressures of
managing both family and work.
CEW ALSO worked to secure more night
classes and sought more equitable tuition
scales for part-time students.
Today, when returning to school is not such a
major step for most women, a more complex
mix of women seek the center's services. Only
35 percent (contrasted to 85 in 1964) of CEW
clients are married; most of the women asking
for help with education, career, or financial
decisions are divorced or single.CEW's clients
now represent more diverse social classes and
face more complex problems.
In greater numbers, women face hard
choices and daily stress created 6y the
pressure to assume dual roles as mothers and
FURTHERMORE, an increasing incidence
of divorce has led to an increase in the number
of female-headed households. The fact is that
most women don't do well economically after
While more women are independent and
working today then in 1964, their overall in-
come and earning power is substantially less
than that of men's. Consequently, many women
are actually sinking into poverty.
A federal budget which demands that the
family take care of its own problems has hurt,
and will continue to hurt, women who are heads
EVEN AT this University-which super-
ficially prides itself on having made significant
contributions to the progress of women-one
can find, without looking too closely, evidence
that women face many opportunity barriers.
" Only 5.8 percent of full professors are
women, up only slightly from 5 percent 12 years
ago. Of all University employees eligible for
tenure, 16.6 percent are women. Women
remain clustered in low-paying jobs in nursing,
education, social work, the humanities, and at
the levels of assistant professor and lecturer.
Because a large number of professors
received tenure in the late 1960s (when money
was more plentiful), and will not retire for at
least the next 10 to 15 years, women have a long
way to go before they get easier access to full
professorships. Also, the diminishing number of
tenured positions currently available at the
University will make this task even harder.
" Women are conspicuously absent from key
policy-making posts in the University ad-
ministration. Women administrators tend to be
assigned jobs as professional mediators-in the
Office of Affirmative Action, for example.
" The history department will not offer a
course on the history of women during the
coming fall term.
Even with what may be only a temporary
suspension of women's history courses, the
department is continuing the tradition of
historians ignoring the contributions women
have made to human evolution. Historians tend
to focus on major events of a particular era,
which, unfortunately,nare not adequate reflec-
tions of the time. When the role of women is ad-
dressed in history courses, the discussion
generally is mere digression from the topic
* Research and teaching about women
receives second-class status.
A portion of Vice President for Academic Af-
fairs Billy Frye's directive to the CEW review
committee, in fact, vaguely refers to the
possibility of transferring some of CEW's fun-
ctions to the University's women's ,studies
program. This suggestion marks a failure on
the part of many academics to consider
women's studies as a separate, legitimate
course of study.
" Despite progress toward equality in men's
and women's athletic programs (in 1973, not
one woman received an athletic scholarship),
women athletes still have plenty to complain
about, including inequities in travel,
scheduling, and quality and availability of
Serious discrepancies in scholarships
remain. Of athletic scholarships awarded in
1980-81, men received 216 scholarships at an
average of $4,560, while women received 81
scholarships at an average of $2,753.
" A cursory check of University publications,
especially research summaries, uncovers only
limitedrepresentation of women professors as
It seems obvious that there are still many
questions as to the supposedly equal station
given women in our society. These questions
merit not only attention, but serious and well-
University administrators, and others,
potentially have much to learn from a review of
CEW-perhaps enough to cause them to
rethink their judgment that the center is less
necessary now than it was 18 years ago.
Engebrecht is a former Daily editor.
Edieb stgat e atl
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCII, No. 136
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
EditoridIs represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
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SOME THINGS, no matter how sane,
are doomed to failure. Even when
the safety of the world - if one can be
so grandiose - is at stake, more often
than not, rational ideas are ignored.
It is under this cloud of ultimate
failure that the University campus
kicked off a statewide drive to put a
freeze on the production and stock-
piling of nuclear weapons. The cam-
paign's supporters hope to place a
referendum on the state's November
ballot calling for a halt to nuclear arms
Though from a practical viewpoint
this campaign may appear useless
before it even begins, support may be.
Because nuclear temperatures are
rising every day, the drive for a freeze
is spreading through the country. In a
compelling demonstration of national
will, hundreds of city councils, town
halls, and citizens'. groups have taken
up the anti-nuclear cause .as their
own. The move to stop making nuclear
weapons has been spontaneous and
unequivocating - people are no longer
hedging their demands by calling for
mere arms reductions.. Nuclear
weapons can destroy us all, people
seem to have rediscovered, so logically
they must be halted.
Even some politicians have
recognized the logic behind a freeze.
Currently, some 150 members of
Congress support a freeze proposal.
But even these legislators agree they
have a lot of catching up to do with
Despite this limited success,
however, the freeze movement has
failed to make a dent where it counts
most - with the leaders of those coun-
tries 'that possess overwhelming
nuclear capabilities. The two actors on
the international scene with the
greatest destructive potential - the
United States and the Soviet Union -
have discounted the freeze movement
through their words and actions.
Soviet leader Brezhnev has proposed
a European freeze of his own, but his
plan seems suspiciously designed to
ensure Russian arms superiority
rather than to defuse nuclear tensiorr.
And President Reagan, has refused to
resume arms negotiations with the
Soviets until the United States builds
up a sufficient nuclear arsenal -
deciding that it is better to negotiate
from a position of strength. These
leaders prefer to ignore the freeze and
exercise their own brand of a rational
nuclear solution-which translates into
making more weapons.
In the face of such pragmatic reality,
the freeze movement may appear im-
practical. It doesn't, in essence, stand
much of a chance of achieving beyond
the symbolic level. It may sway a few
opinions, or highlight a few problems,
but in terms of changing policy, it will
doubtless have little effect.
This, of course, is very unfortunate.
The freeze movement should be
placed at the top of the list of practical
proposals for a lasting nuclear arms
solution. A freeze is the only sane
method of removing man's capacity to
destroy himself. Freeze supporters
have looked at available alternatives
and opted for survival.
Their choice is the most practical
A reflection on, mob violence
By Barry Witt
To-argue that the Daily erred by giving ex-
tensive coverage to Saturday's violence at the
Nazi rally (as several letters to this page have
done) is to ignore the scariest facts about the
world in which we live.
I was among those who stood in the mob,
pushing to get as close to the confrontation as
possible. And what I witnessed brought me
much closer to the appalling reality of this
I MOVED with the mob as it closed in on
that warped group of 15 individuals, most of
whom were teenagers without a clue as to
what the hell they were doing there.
I stood about five-deep in the crowd as
posts, rocks, bottles, batteries, and chunks of
ice flew overheadtoward the cornered gang
When the fight broke out, I turned to get out
of the way along with a substantial portion of
my fellow gawkers. But I saw that to get out
of there, I would have to walk over a woman
who had failed in the rush, and that notion of a
fire in a crowded theater flashed through my
OUT OF THE corner of my eye, I saw that
one of the neo-Nazis had been pulled a few
yards into the crowd. Partly out of a
disgusting urge to see the mob kick the shit
out of him, and partly from a feeling that I'd
gotten this far so I may as well see the whole
event through, I decided to stay. (If a random
swing of a club came my way, I figured I
For my sanity's sake, I was lucky I didn't
see that a Federal Building security guard
had pulled a gun and pointed it at the crowd to
make sure no one got into the building. Only in
retrospect can I imagine the horror of it all if
that guard's trigger finger slipped, or if he
suddenly feared he or his building was in
danger. A stray bullet could have hit a neo-
Nazi, an anti-neo-Nazi, a journalist (including
myself), or even one of the onrushing police.
officers. Should that have happened, all hell
would have broken loose.
I received a few- none-to-friendly nudges
from police nightsticks as I followed the army
of police and neo-Nazis around the Federal
Building. I watched that troop get bombarded
by eggs, rocks, apples, and ice. Later ,I
heard the story of one man who, after
throwing the door of the post office into the
path of a neo-Nazi sliding around the
building, said, "I guess that was a little un-
fair. Was that a boy or a girl anyway?"
WHAT I watched Saturday was a study in
mob violence. Although the police had neither
the time nor the desire to arrest anyone, each
of the hundreds of persons who threw projec-
tiles of one sort or another was guilty of
What I saw was a setting in which violent
actions became acceptable behavior. People
were able to hide themselves in the crowd.
They were unidentifiable to the opposition
when they lobbed their missiles. '
I understand that many of those who came
out on Saturday did not participate in the
violence. I understand the importance of that
afternoon's Rally for the Affirmation of
Human Dignity. It showed that among many
people a hope for a peaceful future still
BUT THE SIGNIFICANCE of that rally
pales in comparison with the events
preceding it. The potential for human
destructiveness-which the demonstrators
were trying to address-was realized in the
actions of Saturday's mob.
Although there is little doubt in my mind
that the confrontation was instigated by those
supporters of world revolution who in some
people's minds rank not too far above the neo-
Nazis, all sorts of people made up the mob
that pressed in on the neo-Nazis. All sorts of
people either threw something or would have
been more than happy to do so if an object had
been at hand.
And, then there were those hundreds of
other "observers"-newspaper and television
people, passers-by who happened to see a lot
of action going on, and the hundreds of others
who just came out to watch the spectacle. All
of us thrived on the violence, the broken win-
dows, the cops and other bad guys under at-
IT'S THAT behavior which is so easy to
ignore, which so manyrpeople want to ignore,
but which we must all face.
As unfortunate as it may be, Sunday's
paper may have been most popular because
readers wanted to be a part of the spectacle
even if they hadn't been there. In that issue,
this newspaper was as guilty as any cheap
television detective show ever is in attracting
an audience through exploiting violence.
The difference, though, is that Saturday's
events were not fiction, and they happened
Witt is a Daily staff writer.
Editorials appearing on the left
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