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April 06, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-06

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OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, April 6, 1982

Some alternate

It's kind of puzzling. Here the University
'goes and perfo'rms a fancy-schmancy yearly
ritual known as the Honors Convocation, prints
.up an impressive book listing all the people
who've earned straight-A's for five, six, seven
semesters in a row, stamps transcripts with the
majestic title "Angell Scholar"-and maybe
it's all a big hoax.

Howard
Witt.

few courses on subjects you know nothing
about. And you don't get straight-A's semester
after semester by extending yourself.
I'VE MET SOME pretty smart people in my
lifetime, but I've never met anyone who was
perfect all the time. So when I look at a list of
multi-semester Angell Scholars, I don't see a
roll call of geniuses. I see a graveyard of
students who have not exposed themselves to
courses outside their experiences, who have
not allowed themselves to try something and
fail. Who have not taken any risks.
Lest I be accused of anti-intellectualism, let
me state that I, too, was once an Angell
Scholar, back in my freshman year. Before I
knew any better. Since then, I've taken some
risks-and I've got the B's and a few C's to
prove it. But I've also discovered some subjec-
ts I might never have even known existed.
Sure, grades are important. I know that. In
an ever more competitive world, you've got to
be on your toes and do your best to beat that next
guy out of a spot in medical school or that next
woman out of a lucrative job.
BUT DAMN IT, there's more to college than
scratching and cramming for A's. There's
more than distribution requirements and
prerequisites and cognates and majors and
"what will look good to law schools." How

ideas ab
about learning for the sheer fun of learning?
It is in this spirit that a graduating senior
makes a few recommendations to those of you
now fumbling through course guides and time
schedules for next semester.
First off, understand that the motto of this
University is not "Artes, Scientia, Veritas" or
anything else that may be embossed on your
spiral notebook or engraved above Angell Hall.
It's "Look Out For Number -" (substitute
your ID number). Or an alternate version:
"The meek shall inherit the wait-list."
With some 15,000 undergraduates on campus,
you are doomed to mere digithood in the
glowing green bowels of CRISP-unless you
assert yourself. You can float aimlessly
through your four years here, picking intro
courses here and mini-courses there, sitting
through large lectures given by molding
professors and then crowded discussions led by
incompetent TA's, waiting on endless wait-lists
for spaces that will never open up-or you can
search out a counselor you like and trust, sit in
on classes you might like to take, go after
overrides you need. CRISP helps those who
help themselves.
TAKE AT LEAST one course for yourself
every semester-not for law school, not for
your major, but just for fun, as an adventure.

The Michigan Daily
out registration
You may not get an A, but you might learn 1955) whose soft-spoken manner reflects an in-.
something. And if you get in over your head, credibly sensitive understanding of American
don't be afraid to drop. One or two "W's" on a history; Lyall Powers, whose wry and subtle
transcript never crippled anyone's future. wit will prick you out of your complacency as
Three courses every undergraduate should he roves that 19th-century English novelists4
take: Art History 102, Music History 341, and can "indeed be interesting; Daniel Weintraub,
English 367 (Shakespeare's Principal Plays). the entertaining prof with a thousand faces who
Not only are these courses interesting in their takes the mumbo-jumbo out of psychology;
own right, but they provide a basic understan- Douglas Dickson, a math professor who really
ding of some pretty basic culture that you will cares about his students and whose office door is
carry with you long after you forget about who always open; and Werner Grilk, a German
won the Crimean War and what a logarithm is. professor whose warmth and sensitivity is un-
It's nice to be able to go into a museum and fortunately destined to be known by only those
understand what you're looking at, or to few students crazy enough to take German
discover that the sleepy stuff your parents courses.
listen to maybe isn't so sleepy after all (and (Sadly, the above list is all male and all
might even be more intricate than the latest white. Out of some 30 professors I've had, only
from Ted Nugent or the Stones). Or to know one was a woman and none were minorities.
enough about Othello to consider flying out to Hardly a very wide "breadth" and "ex-
New York when you hear that, James Earl posure"-but that's the tenure system for you.)
Jones is portraying him on Broadway:. I'd like to name the six worst professors I've
SIX OUTSTANDING professors I've had, but libel considerations militate against
had-the kind who keep the class as interesting doing so.
and challenging during the last week of the And one final tip: Don't take my word for any
term as it was during the first: Russell Fraser, of this. Go ask your friends, go question some
who with his ever-present pipe and dashing professors-but do something before blindly
green corduroy suit makes Shakespeare come marching off to CRISP to take yet another term
alive on a spartan Angell Hall stage; Gerald of boring prerequisites or easy-A blow-offs.
Linderman, another natty dresser (albeit circa Witt's column appears every Tuesday.

Maybe most of those very same students
whom the University holds up as Heros of
Academe are in fact the least deserving of
praise in a school that stresses "breadth of un-
derstanding" and "exposure to different ideas
and ways of thinking," to quote the LSA
Curriculum Bulletin.
My reasoning goes like this: You don't
develop breadth of understanding unless you
extend yourself, take a few risks, enroll in a

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Weasel

Vol. XCII, No. 147

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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Protecting
T 'S OFTEN HARD to tell the good
guys from the bad guys in the
covert world of the Central Intelligen-
ce Agency. Soon, however, it may be
legally impossible.
Last week the Justice Department
pressured U.S. Attorney William Ken-
nedy to resign from his job, then
threatened him with dismissal if he'
refused to.step down gracefully. Why
was Kennedy being hounded from of-
fice? Because he tried to prosecute a
"bad" guy who turned out to be a
"good" informer for the CIA.
The Justice Department came down
hard on Kennedy when he attempted to
indict a former Mexican security chief
on felony charges. The CIA, protesting
the investigation, said the Mexican
was too valuable an agency source to
be prosecuted, even though he was
suspected of funneling some $8 million
worth of stolen cars into the United
States.g
Prior to this event, the Justice
Department had freely prosecuted
criminal CIA sources. This process
started in the 1970s, when the depar-
tment broke a longstanding agreement
to protect CIA informants, regardless
of their affiliation with the intelligence
agency. But now this open policy may
e reverting back to old protective
S:abits. Crime may once again start
paying-if you are a friend to the CIA.
And the trend to cover up more and
more of the agency's operations is

CIA sources
spreading. A law now pending makes it
a federal offense for an official like
Kennedy, or even an ordinary citizen,
to disclose a CIA agent's name.
The CIA's gross abuse of power
should warn against adding to its
already broad cloak of secrecy. The
CIA certainly merits some discretion
ih performing" its activities. But the
agency too often has turned discretion
into an easy way to hide embarrassing
or illegal acts. Just how many petty
criminals and smugglers may now be
protected by their status as an agency
source is unknown, and rather
frightening.
Thus it is necessary to keep a sharp
eye on CIA actions. Putting intelligen-
ce activities under wraps-through
pressure on legal investigations or
through gag laws-is a sure way to
make it impossible for authorities to
monitor any sordid misdeeds. The
agency needs a legal watchdog, the
kind that is being subverted by the
Justice Department's current policy,
reversal.
The CIA itself can't be allowed to
decide who's a good guy and who's a
bad guy when it comes to prosecution;
its standards rely too heavily on who's
good for information. That decision
should be given, back to the proper
authorities, like U.S. Attorney Ken-
nedy, who can serve as a crucial check
on the CIA's potentially abusive prac-
tice of secrecy.

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By Robert Lence
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
El Salvador vote:

Message offear

To the Daily:
-Your editorial, "A vote in El
Salvador," (Daily, March 31) is
one common interpretation of the
Salvadoran elections, but never-
theless a rather shallow one
reflecting a certain ignorance of
Salvadoran history and contem-

porary realities.
In explaining the allegedly high
voter turnout, you fail to take into
account the climate of fear per-
petuated by the military junta in
the country that in a sense coer-
ces people to vote. Salvadorans
must carry identification cards

Control crime, not guns

To the Daily:
It's a very sorry situation: not
only the shooting incident which
occurred last Tuesday in Ann Ar-
bor, but the general reaction of
''gun-control'' advocates who
refuse to hold an individual
responsible for his own actions.
Because of society's frustration
and inability to stop the criminal
element, it must focus on the
easiest target-the inanimate
gun. A gun can be no more
responsible for a crime than a car
can be responsible for an
automobile accident.
The Daily's editorial board
would certainly seem to favor the
complete abolition of all guns to
create a safe, gun-free society
(Daily, April 1). Simply make it a
crime to own a gun-this would
be a very unusual situation to
say the least, since the very
people who are assigned to
protect us from criminals
(police) would themselves be
criminals.
Gun-control advocates talk of
laws to protect the public from
guns. What they fail to realize is
the complete uselessness of gun
control laws in stopping crime.
They talk of banning handguns or
all guns. Any dummy with -a
hacksaw can make a concealable
weapon from a long gun in a mat-
ter of minutes; and anybody with
an ounce of brains and access to a

hardware store can construct a
firearm from scratch in a matter
of hours. Gun registration is
praised{ as being the ultimate
crime-stopper in a gun-owning
society, yet of all the registered
firearms in America, only a few
guns are ever used in a violent
crime, and of these, registration
rarely finds the criminal.
The Daily's editorial board
members talk of the ease of get-
ting a gun in Michigan. Ob-
viously, they have never had to
wait in excess of six months to
receive a permit to carry a han-
dgun while engaged in
recreational shooting, or had to
supply references to be contac-
ted as character witnesses, or
been fingerprinted multitudes of
times.
The Daily speaks of laws and
here I must agree with them, but
laws should be made to punish
criminals, not terrorize innocent
citizens. Due to prison over-
crowding, plea bargaining, and
other weaknesses in our judicial
system, less than 3 percent of all
violent crime results in
prosecution, conviction, and
punishment of the criminal.
Ban guns? Why not? It'll
probably be at least half as suc-
cessful as the prohibition of
liquor was.
- Gordon Lehtola
April 1

and get them stamped after
voting. If one's card is not stam-
ped, that person could be seen in
the eyes of the governmental
(military) officials as a "subver-
sive" and hence fall under the
threat of arrest and possibly tor-
ture or death. Salvadoran Defen-
se Minister Jose Guillermo Gar-
cia even said that to avoid violen-
ce one should get their card
stamped. Each voter used, a
numbered ballot, so that if the in-
formation was not discarded, the
government could find out who
the person voted for.
The Salvadoran election com-
mission promised to be fair, but
given the institutionalized terror
and the history of such promises
by the, government, any
Salvadoran would have reason
to be skeptical. Perhaps this ex-
plains why only 11 percent of the
ballots had a "null" vote on them,
as the rebels instructed voters to
put. Another interesting fact is-
that while it is said there were
nearly one million votes cast,
there were only 800,000 ballots
printed according to the election
commission's claim last week.

And what about the nearly one
million Salvadoran refugees
that fled the- violence? The
didn't vote.
After the people were essen-
tially forced to the polls, what
choice did they have? Would they
choose the "jioderate" Christian
Democrats under whom little or
no reforms have been made and
the levels of violence have
escalated dramatically? Or
would they choose a
"pathological killer" of the
rightist party who said "napalm
will be indispensible"? Many
U.S. congress members agree
that the elections were unfair'
because they excludedthe op-
position-the same opposition
that is recognized as the
legitimate representative of the
Salvadoran people by the gover-
nments of France, Ireland,
Mexico, the Netherlands, Nor-
way, and Sweden. What the Daily
and the Reagan administration
label as "moderates" certainly
have not and will not bring U.S.-
financed repression to a halt.
-Peter Petesch
April 1_

Pon tificating preacher

M

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3
cc"

To the Daily:
As I passed through the Diag
the other day I noticed that
another local prophet has retur-
ned to his University pulpit. Any
prophet has a right to spout
religious rhetoric and I have a
similar right not to listen. But in
this case, Diag rhetoric has now
taken a disgusting turn.
No longer does the speaker
I passed walking to class limit
himself to espousing the virtues
of his religion. Now he resorts 'to

personal attack. He called me,
among others who were passing
thorugh the area, "morally in-
sane." This accusation of in-
sanity lodged somewhere in my
brain, and after I thought about it
awhile, I became livid. I have
never even met the man, yet he
judges me and others with the
certainty of a deity.
Such quick judgments make
you wonder who is truly "morally
insane."
-Steven Taylor
March 29

A

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