Page 26-Friday, September 10, 1982-The Michigan Daily
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LOCAL HARE KRISHNA devotees, Dasarath, Candrasekhara, and Barry play and chant at the city's art fair last month.
Members passed out free literature and discussed their philosphies and lifestyles.
Krishnas return to city
after four-year absence
By JERRY ALIOTTA
Shunned by some as a religious cult,
praised by others as true seekers of
spirituality, the Hare Krishnas are
back in Ann Arbor-to mixed reaction
from the community.
The local Krishna culture center,
which shut down four years ago after
losing its manager, re-opened last mon-
th at 606 Packard, according to
Dasarath, the center's current
THE KRISHNAS, Dasarath said, are
glad to be back.
"There are many open-minded
people in this city," he said. "Ann Ar-
bor has a friendly atmosphere."
Some members of the community
have welcomed back the group with
"I don't think there is anything wrong
with people trying to satisfy their
spiritual needs," said local resident Avi
Erlich, of the Krishnas' return. "One
has to respect the freedom of choice of
OTHERS, however, have been shar-
ply critical of the group's eccentric
habits and lifestyle.
"I think the Krishna religion is a cult;
dancing around and chanting in public
is so different from the norm," said
Craig Halberstadt, an LSA senior. "I
think they can be categorized in the
same group as the Moonies."
Krishnas are not troubled by such
critics. Themembers of the group,
whose flamboyant manner of dress,
diet, and public chanting consistently
has aroused the public's curiosity, point
to the 5,000-year-old Indian tradition of
their lifestyle and the contentment it
DASARATH, a former member of a
rock band, said he joined the group 12,
years ago after experiencing a "high"
"From chanting I experienced real
pleasure that links me up to God. The
pleasure received from sex isn't
anything like it," he said.
Roughly two dozen members curren-
tly frequent the center, which doubles
as a classroom and a home for many
followers, Dasarath said.-
The Krishnas hope to reach many
people in Ann Arbor through classes
and free-at the center-dinners, and
by distributing literature.
"We feel that in college towns people
are very receptive and we only talk to
people who are interested," said Can-
drasekhara, the center's cook.
Several students, though, charge that
the Krishnas are too isolated to effec-
tively reach the community.
"YOU CAN'T change the world by
isolating yourself; That is, dressing
strangely, wearing paint on your
forehead, and prancing your kids up
and down the street. It's horrifying to
people," said Kathy Kaplan, a summer
student. "If they want to spread their
peace they have to integrate."
"I think they are brainwashed and
are trying to brainwash other people
that are mixed up in their life," said
Julie Ann Gersin, a senior nursing
The followers of Krishna, however,
explain that their lifestyle is simple and
direct. Krishnas are strict vegetarians
and abstain from four basic things:
" meat, fish, and eggs;
" intoxicants (including coffee, tea,
" premarital and extramarital sex.
"If the money spent on these four ac-
tivities was avoided, billions, and
billions of dollars would be saved and
no one would go hungry," said Can
Chanting, or calling out the names of
Krishna, is another important facet of
the group's philosophy, Dasarath ex-
plained. Chanting relieves pain, ten-
sion, and anxieties, he said.
KRISHNAS shave their heads and
mark their foreheads with yellow clay
as a sign of renunciation, he added.
"It marks our body as a temple of
God, where God is in our hearts,"
The free Friday meals and pamphlets
are financed by a cookie industry in
Hawaii and health food industries in
California, Pennsylvania, and
Colorado, he said. Other money comes
THIS FALL,, Candrasekhara added,
the Krishnas hope to start' a vegetarian
cooking class at the University.
Although Ann Arbor residents may be
puzzled by the conspicuous group, most
admit that they are willing to live sid
by-side with the Krishnas.
"They've never bothered me in all
the years that I've been living here,"
said local resident John Joseph.
"I don't think anyone has the right to
persecute them just because they dress
funny...and sing badly."
This story was reprinted from toe
Daily's summer edition.
' officials defend student defaults
By FANNIE WEINSTEIN
Student loan default rates often are
misunderstood, misrepresented, and
thus unfairly place student loan
programs in a poor lightsaccording to
"It (the default rate) is by no means
as bad as it's been reported," said
Thomas Butts, assistant to the Univer-'
sity's vice president for academic af-
fairs. "I think it's very important to try
and counter the attempts to discredit
IN FACT, according to Butts, the
Do you have lock itch,
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Volunteers needed with any fungal
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$25 paid at completion of study along
with free therapy.
Contact U-M Department
of Dermatology 763-5519
latest government figures on the
National Direct Student Loan (NSDL)
Program show that the rate of defaults,
or failure to pay back loans, has shar-
ply declined since 1978.
Two rates are computed by the
government, a default rate for schools
and a potential loss rate for the federal
government, Butts explained. The
government rate usually turns out to be
slightly less, Butts said, because the
government usually collects at least
some of the funds.
Figures released in June, 1981, for the
$180 million NDSL program list the
default rate for schools at roughly 11
percent and the potential loss rate for
the government at a little more than 15
percent, according to Butts.
THESE FIGURES show a significant
decrease from the 17.4 percent rate
recorded for both schools and the
government in 1978.
Butts said that default figures
frequently have been misrepresented
by the Reagan administration. Default
rates released by the administration
last year did not present a complete
picture, he said, because they were
calculated on a cumulative basis over
20 years, which inflates the resulting
The University's NDSL default rate
was almost 7 percent for the 198081
loan year, according to Richard
Taepke, collection supervisor for the
University Student Loan Office. The
University's current NDSL program
involves roughly $2.2 million. :0
IN THE Guaranteed Student Loan
(GSL) Program, bank default claims
averaged about 10 percent nationwide
and 8.4 percent for the state .of
Michigan, according to figures releashd
by the University earlier this year.
A loan is considered defaulted when
any one payment is 120 days overdue.-
There has been a sharp decline In
student loan default rates in recent
years, according to Butts. "The treo
has been down," he said. "We began an
initiative in 1979 to crack down on loans
It's been getting'better.-I hope it
stays that way."
"SCHOOLS ARE doing a better job of
collecting. . . There were some schools
that never sent bills," he added.
Harvey Grotrian, director of the
University's office of Financial Aid, at-
See 'U' OFFICIALS, Page 27
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