Sunday, September 19, 19829
The Michigan Daily;
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State makes promises; Regents play
A RE PROMISES from the state made to be
That's what University administrators are
trying to figure out. In a budget-balancing
move this Wednesday, the state legislature
passed an executive order that will mean a $7
million loss in state aid to the University. In-
cluded in the order, however, is a promise that
the money will be paid back next summer--
when' the state has an economic recovery.
A recovery? In Michigan? State budget
makers promise that the outlook is bound to
become rosier next year. But several Univer-
ters of the School of Natural Resources took
their complaints inside. A 40-member group
marched into the Regents room to defend the
school, which currently is being reviewed for
budget cuts and possible elimination.
Those poor Regents. If it's not one thing, it's
Daily Photo by DOUG McMAHON
Insult and injury: Non-faculty staff protests University pay plan.
Sity officials suspect the state is making
promises in the dark.'
Besides the fact that the state may be in no
better position fiscally next summer to give
back the money, November's elections may
provide an added obstacle to repayment. Once
Gov. Milliken retires, the state's new governor
may not honor the agreement, legislators fear.
I GNORANCE IS BLISS.
So goes the old saying, and it applies all too
well to the University's chief policy-making
body when it comes to morals.
- The Regents, who several years ago gave
themselves the first and last word on Univer-
sity policies, showed last week that they didn't
understand how the University handles
questions of social responsibility in investment
After the Daily disclosed that the University
votes millions of dollars in stock in favor of
many preposterous corporate positions, the
Regents admitted they didn't know what the
University was supporting with its vote. To
their surprise, they found out that the votes
they control support the production of nuclear
bombs and the sale of oil to a racist and op-
pressive South African military.
So the Regents don't know what they're
doing, and the administration doesn't want to
do any more than the Regents know, and the
University is stuck with advocating bigger and
better ways to blow up the world.
Regent Thomas Roach, a Democrat from
Saline, said he didn't think the Regents should
take the time to consider such minor issues as
morals and ethics.
But a Regent from Detroit, Nellie Varner,
called on the administration to begin studying
the situation. She asked for a report on how
other universities handle ethical matters.
Well, Mrs. Varner, here's a hint. Most other
academic institutions have set up faculty,
student, and/or administrative panels to watch
over each school's social responsibilities.
_ As for the University of Michigan, the Regen-
ts rejected such a committee a few years ago,
when they announced that they alone knew
enough to decide University policies.
So much for infinite wisdom.
H ERE IN ANN Arbor, nuclear waste is no
big deal. At least, that's what the
Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Com-
mission fined the University $1,500 for ex-
ceeding radioactivity discharge limits in a
University hospital laboratory.
No one on campus seemed especially concer-
ned about the matter, which started back in
January when the University found it had
goofed by discharging too much of some
glowing, slightly radioactive stuff.
The NRC got a little upset about this
disclosure, although they weren't worried
about any possible health dangers. The leak
was minor, they said, but nonetheless the
University was fined $2,000 for its indiscretion.
Never an institution to leave well enough alone,
the University appealed the fine and had its bill
reduced to $1,500.
The radioactivity was released in the dispen-
sing of NP-59, a drug which is used to treat
diseases of the adrenal gland.
The University hasn't decided whether or not
it will appeal this fine yet, but once again, no
one seems too concerned.
Oh well, another triumph for the forces of
Shut up and drink beer
THE IRON GRIP of security is putting a
damper on two sacred campus
traditions-beer at the game and chatter in the
Soon, the only people who get blitzed at the
stadium may be the players on the field. Fans
will no longer be able to carry coolers or large
bags. (i.e. six-packs) into the game. This new
policy presumably is designed to keep coolers
Pair of protests
SOMETIMES IT can be lonely at the top,
the Regents discovered last Thursday. All
they wanted to do was hold a meeting, but two
groups had to go and spoil it with a protest.
About 90 University employees, including
some professors, gathered at Regents Plaza to
lash out at the University's proposed pay plan.
Under the plan, faculty members get pay
hikes, while non-teaching staff members get a
Some University employees, however, said
the insult was worse than the injury to their
pocketbooks. "I think the bitterness comes
from the discrimination of the faculty getting
raises and the staff not," said one secretary.
As staff members gathered outside, suppor-
Quiet times ahead for the UGLi.
and lushes from clogging up stadium aisles.
To keep undergraduates out of the Graduate
Library, the UGLi also is clamping down on its
own set of rules. Those nasty, noisy under-un-
der-classmen, it seems have been pouring into
the Grad when the UGLi becomes too rowdy.
Stricter rules, the University hopes, will put
undergraduates back in their proper place-a
quiet UGLi. To keep the UGLi under control,
security guards will roam corridors looking for
idle talk. If that doesn't work, those rude boysO
and girls may be barred from the Grad
There's a perfect solution, however, to both
problems. The University should allow studen-
ts to bring beer into the UGLi-if they promise
to keep quiet during the game.
The Week in Review was compiled by
Daily staff writers Andrew Chapman, Julie
Hinds, Fannie Weinstein, and Barry Witt.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCIII, No. 10
420 Maynard St.
Anin Arbor, M1 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Fun with nuclear war
4 HE WHOLE thing is just
T ludicrous," said Margaret
Forbes, head of the Board of Selec-
tment in tiny Becket, Conn. "I think
it's the best fun we've had in years."
The fun took place last weekend,
when some 150 residents of Burlington,
Conn, decided to put the government's
plans for civil defense during nuclear
war to a test. The residents-with
varying degrees of mirth and mor-
bidity-traveled by caravan the 60
miles to Becket, the town slated to host
the entire population of Burlington and
three other towns in case of nuclear at-
It all sounded like a barrel of laughs.
Some "evacuees" carried signs which
read "Chicken Little was right"; cars
in, the caravan were decked out in
crepe paper and banners reading
"Becket or Burn"; Burlington guests
joined their Becket hosts for a parade,
a square dance, and a softball game.
But in between the fun and games,
many people took the time to consider
the extreme futility of the gover-
nment's plan. One resident pointed out
that the only time Becket could ac-
commodate four entire communities
would be September or October-after
the tourist season and before the snow.
fall. Becket itself has a civil defense
budget totalling the grand sum of $50,
but the local authorities haven't even
bothered to spend it this year.
One participant said the plans were
"crazy" and that everybody "from the
president on down realizes it."
But that was, unfortunately, just the
point. Not everyone from the president
on down realizes the insanity of
preparations for nuclear war; in fact,
those who are critical of such plans
seem to be having less and less in-
fluence on government policy.,
As the Connecticut protest pointed
out, there won't be much of a world left
to go back to if a nuclear war occurs.
Preparations for surviving such a war
are worse than futile-they can ac-
tually hurt chances for peace by lulling
people into thinking that nuclear war
can be won, or at least survived. After a
nuclear war, the only thing left will be
the charred, radioactive ruins of a
civilization too foolish to save itself.
Given the prospects, maybe the
reaction of some of the residents of
Burlington, Conn. is appropriate: Turn
the whole thing into a joke while you
can. Make a day of it before the bombs
fly, and laugh-very nervously.
thIs the printed word headed for
That question, is troubling a
large number of people in the
book world these days, as giant
national bookstore chains carry
publishing down a path that many
fear leads straight to the
television model: applying
minimum standards to reap
AT STAKE, they say, is the
special universe of serious
writers, small publishers, in-
dependent bookstore owners, and
picky consumers who constitute
the soul - if not the commercial
heart - of reading America.
"The chain approach is to push
books like you would push Fords
and Chevies," says best-selling
novelist Rita Mae Brown. "It's
all commerce. There's no
suggestion of any concern about
But that dire verdict is by no
means unanimous. Others main-
tain that chains actually may
enlarge the U.S. reading market,
although even they concede that
some serious losses will 'be
sustained in the process.
THERE'S certainly no question
that the chains themselves are
expanding. Since its inception
just 15 years ago, B. Dalton
Booksellers, owned by the Min-
corporation, has opened 575 stores
across the country. Current
plans call for another 1,056
outlets by 1987. Waldenbooks, a
subsidiary of Los Angeles' Carter
Hawley Hale, Inc., presently has
750 outlets and expects to
establish 80 to 90 more annually
for the next several years.
The chain-store trade now ac-
counts fornearly.one-fourth of all
book sales in America, according
to BP Reports, an industry
newsletter. By five years from
now, predicts Northern Califor-
nia Booksellers Association
president Andy Ross, "the
market share for the chains could
easily climb above 50 percent."
Independent bookshop owners
like Ross, who runs Cody's
Books in Berkeley, Calif. say the
impact on their business already
is devastating. Among other
things, the chains can afford
publicity, managerial, and support
indepen den t
By Frank Viviano
publishing houses. He and the
Northern California booksellers
have taken that charge to federal
court with an antitrust suit,
alleging that the Hearst Cor-
poration's Avon Books Division
offered secret, illegal discounts
to chain buyers.
In sum, competitive disadvan-
tages and the sheer proliferation
of chain outlets have cut deeply
into independent book sales. The
problem is most acute in the
realm of best-sellers, which
traditionally have been the chief
source of bookstore profits. Ross.
claims the concentration of chain
marketing on such books "has
left independents with the
toughest, least profitable part of
the market - the books that sim-
ply don't command a large num-
ber of buyers.'
Between the recession and
the chains it is really hard times
for the small shops," observes
literary agent Michael Larsen.
"Rumor has it that 75 percent of
the membership of the American
Booksellers Association is slowly
going out of business."
BUT THERE is more in-
volved than their livelihoods, say
bookshop owners. "From the
point of view of the 'culture
business,' " argues Ross,
national chains threaten to
produce 'a monolithic bookselling
structure that limits thenmbehr
Not all chain franchises con-
form to the "limited inventory-
mass taste" generalization,
however. B. Dalton stocks an
average of 25,000 titles in its
stores, including a fair sampling
of serious literature and high-
"THE CHAINS aren't really as
monolithic in their buying as the
stereotype has it," adds Michael
Larsen. "At their best, they can
be very helpful to small
publishers: They give them
something to aim for, and a
reason to be more efficient. The
chains will take a look at a good
piece of non-fiction, even if it's
Nevertheless, many in the
business agree that chain expan-
sion dramatically endangers at
least one species of author.
"When it comes to fiction,
anything that's not 'm.o.r.'d -
middle-of-the-road- or doesn't
already have a track record, is in
trouble," says David Godine, a
Boston-based publisher. "You
can't blame the chains for doing
what they do best in terms of
their own corporate strategies.
There's nothing evil about it. But
books that don't have sales
promise, and especially new fic-
tion, will suffer."
The experience of Rita Mae
Brown offers a case in point. The
chains showed no interest in her
novel, "Ruby Fruit Jungle," until
it had registered more than
100,000 sales by independent
bookstores in five years. The
Press, then was able to sell rights
to Bantam, and 'Ruby Fruit
Jungle" cracked the chains.
Today, with some one million
copies in print, it is a blockbuster
"MY generation of novelists.
may be the last one that had half
a chance," remarks Brown, who
is in her mid-30s. "There were'
still independent bookstores
around to take a chance on us."
Ultimately, that is what
worries so many book people:
The consolidation of bookselling
under profit-conscious chains
could narrow opportunities -
making it harder for the new and
different to win an audience.
Indeed, B. Dalton and Walden-
books already are modifying
their inventory plans to meet the
threat of Crown Books, a newer
chain that focuses almost ex-
clusively on tried-and-true best
sellers, offering discounts which
are beginning to eat into the
bigger and more versatile chains'
profit margins. Book lovers
wonder how so many franchise
stores can compete for the mere
$26 per capita that
Americans spend annually on
books and still leave room for
specialized local bookshops.
"Off the record, the chains
have been pretty good to me
financially," says one New York
publisher who prefers to keep his
name out of any public debate on
their impact. "But sure I'm
scared about what's going on. In
a business that involves the care
and dissemination of ideas, con-
solidation is just not good. We'll
always need the broadest
possible range of ideas, and the
largest possible market for
Viviano wrote this article
for Pacific News Service.
CRANU OR I
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