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October 28, 1982 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINION

Page 4
Priorities: It's

Wednesday, October 28, 1982-
all business at

t

By Robert Honigman
There is always a conflict between those who
run institutions and those who are served by
them. Those who run institutions seek the
greatest return for their services with the least
risk, while those who are served by them seek
the greatest service at the least cost. Since the
health, welfare, and security of one group are
purchased at the cost of the other, each side has
little sympathy for the problems or needs of the
other.
The conflict between labor and management,
between producer and consumer, and between
the rulers of the state and the governed are well
known. The conflict, in fact, forms major sub-
jects of study within the University-for we
humans have learned our lessons through long
and bitter experience. Yet the University itself
remains a crude caricature of a corporation.
IN THE University there is a pervasive fic-
tion that although students are relatively
powerless, they do not need power because all
decisions are made with their best interests in
mind. The University alone of all human in-
stitutions supposedly has escaped the corrup-

tion of power.
Still, if we divide the University's goals into
high priority and low priority categories, a
curious dichotomy emerges. High priority
categories-research, prestige, graduate
education-match the personal goals and
values of high echelon personnel, the top
faculty, and administrators of the University.
The benefits of these priorities flow directly to
them and then "trickle down" to lower echelon
personnel.
On the other hand, secondary priorities-
undergraduate education, academic coun-
seling, student housing-match the personal
needs and goals of lower echelon personnel,
students, and flow directly to them and are left
to percolate up. Although the fiction is main-
tained that equal weight is given to all Univer-
sity goals, in fact, undergraduate education is
impoverished to provide funds for graduate-
professional education. Teaching is neglected
to reward research and publication. The mun-
dane aspects of everyday life for students, such
as campus planning, class size, housing, tran-
sportation, are neglected so that resources can
be devoted to highly visible and prestigious
goals. The University caters to the nationally

renowned scholars and scientists who are at-
tracted by high salaries, research facilities and
reduced teaching loads. It devotes resources to
the big medical complex that accounts for
nearly half of the University payroll.
THERE IS no doubt that students benefit
from research, nationally-known faculty and
University prestige up to a point-but who
selects the point? Do we leave it up to experts,
the high echelon personnel, or do they have an
interest that disqualifies them from making ob-
jective recommendations?
That is the problem of government in all in-
stitutions, but especially in those where power
resides only in the top of a hierarchical
pyramid.
Perhaps it's my imagination that the modern
university has gone far beyond the point where
the pursuit of prestige, of research, and of
graduate education has been for the
benefit of the lowly student. Those who exer-
cise power in the University will be the first to
tell you that students are only anonymous tran-
sients passing through, unworthy of power or
trust.
BUT IF this were all that is wrong with the
University, then the harm done, while substan-

tial, would be far less than what I'm afraid
really happens in the University.
The basic problem, for higher echelon per-
sonnel here, as elsewhere, is to persuade lower
echelon personnel to cooperate wholehear-
tedly-at worst, not to interfere-in the ex-
clusive pursuit of upper echelon goals. As a
result, passive acquiescence to authority7-
even the adoption of its values-becomes the
central educational mission of the institution.
Robert Pirsig, speaking as Phaedrus in Zen
and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance noted
that "institutions such as schools, churches,
governments, and political organizations of
every sort all tended to direct thought for ends
other than truth, for the perpetuation of their
own functions, and for the control of individuals
in the service of these functions."
THAT IS the real effect of the University's
massive educational program. It seeks to teach
students to accept their role as low echelon
personnel in the hopes that someday they might
become high echelon personnel.
It's the carrot and the stick of university
education. It's an education that began in
grade school and will be continued by large
scale bureaucracies and corporations long af-

ie b tsahnrfig ant
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Sinclair

Vol. XCIII, No. 43

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

'No'

on Proposal B

WHAT'S WRONG with putting the
state police into the con-
stitution? Nothing, according
to state troopers. Plenty, according to
the facts.
Proposal B, a plan initiated by the
state troopers' union, would
create-right in the state con-
stitution-a Michigan Department of
State Police and set minimum staff
levels for it. Troopers say that con-
stitutionally-guaranteed minimum
staffing is necessary to maintain effec-
tive law enforcement even in hard
economic times. Unless Proposal B is
passed, they argue, the police force
will be cut to shreds with cutbacks.
But Gov. Milliken, several citizens'
groups, and even the current head of
the state police himself disagree. The
plan is a rash one, designed to guaran-
tee trooper jobs first and deal with
constitutional consequences second.
The vagueness of the proposal is
frightening. In effect, it would make
the state police an autonomous branch
of government and remove legislative
and gubernatorial control. It would
likely grant the state troopers an un-

specified and undefined level of police
powers.
The practical terms of the proposal
are just as muddled. If B is passed, the
state will have to hire immediately 114
more troopers to meet constitutionally-
required levels. Especially in .the
toughest times, it would tie the ,hands
of state officials from cuttingSback
troopers, except when the state
population shifts. If the state, in fact,
wants to make almost any change in
the state police system, it would have
to make that change through the
laborious and time-consuming con-
stitutional route.
This ill-conceived proposal deserves
to be defeated. It's in danger of
passing, however, compliments of our
"trusted" troopers. They've been
capitalizing with all their might on the
fear factor-warning citizens to vote
for B before crime runs rampant in the
state. Advertisements for the proposal
stress the good name and reliability of
the state police-not the actual merits
of the proposal.
Proposal B should be recognized for
what it is-a job safety plan created by
troopers for troopers.

t
WHAT
No LV !
Em?

The Michigan Daily
he 'U
ter students leave the University.
The institutional role stresses uniformity,
machine-like stamina and reliability, faceless
service, and dependence on institutionalf
decision-making for large areas of one's life.
The individual-with his or her fragile psyche,
spontaneous needs, and desires, and the self-
confidence of a hard-won maturity-is not wan-
ted in the institution. It is the ghost in the
machine.
IF ENOUGH isolated ghosts get together and
form a union, they will stop the machine and
the flow of benefits to upper echelon personnel.
This is what has happened time and time again
in human history.
But the ghost in the machine is you. You are
receiving an education at the University out-
side of your classroom. You should consider
what kind of an education it is.
Honigman is a University graduate and
an attorney in Sterling Heights, Mich. He is
the author of The Destruction of the Student
Community in Ann Arbor.
I!
_a
NCT - 4
(CONOMY

the future
office me that these students don't care
cilitation, about the future of our society. It
ital to all parents and students don't read
offers op- their tuition bill, then maybe they
Lnd learn better start. PIRGIM, unlike the
cur whole University, gives us a choice ani
tells us where our money is going
GIM and -David Guttchew"
GIMw October 20'
al shows
tion for disaster
it disap- concedes-seriously underpaid.
ion of the It offers significant concessions
Jniversity (to the University) on language. I
the con- It restricts the ability of the
reventing membership to raise grievances,
out their by keeping copies of the contract
under the from them. Were this contract to
r tuition be ratified, GEO would almost
rc. In the certainly face a decertification
ctIins he campaign at worst, and apathy
gaveo and and lack of support from the
gave a membership at best. Indeed, we
would deserve no better were we
uilding on to ratify the contract, because we
d in the would have won nothing for the 4
at they membership but a rank sell-out.
iich GEO
us are not It is for these reasons that fully
ng to a one-half of the GEO Steering
Nere paid Committee has endorsed leaflets
y wanted, urging GSAs to reject the con-
y realized tract, and why members are
hat it one currently in the process of soun-
nated the dly rejecting it. Indeed, the
for GSAs. danger of articles like those in the
in com- Daily (and the anonymous leaflet

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
PIRGIMfee: A stake in

1 _---__-_-_- -_- - - - _--i

GOSH, THAT TYLENOL POISONING STORY HAS

REALLY BEEN SCARY
{ s
-.3
~l - PS .
. -y'.A reI 4 .r i4 r~ 'r
aq r

To the Daily:
Attackers claim that
PIRGIM's new proposed
refusable/refundable plan is un-
fair. Opponents say this plan
takes advantage of the lazy and
ignorant.
I think before one can attack
PIRGIM they must look first at
our own University ad-
ministration. Does our ad-
ministration tell us exactly where
our tuition money goes? Are
students told that in 1966 the
Regents voted that students
would pay $10 a year for 30 years
to pay for Crisler Arena? Crisler
is primarily an Athletic Depar-
tment building, not a student ser-
vice-but we have payed for it
and don't even know it.
Why can't the Athletic Depar-
tment with its spiralling budget
pay for this building? They have
enough money during our
economic "crisis" to be planning
to build a new $1.5 million pool for
Athletic Department use only.
Are students told they pay for
the Michigan Union renovation?
A renovation that is more incon-
venient than helpful and that has
caused our student bookstore to
move out? Did students have any
say in these projects even though
they are and will be paying for
them? These are only a few
examples of what the University
does now that opponents claim
PIRGIM will do.

but surely will reap the benefits
when PIRGIM is helpful in win-
ning new gains for society.
PIRGIM offers an opportunity
for students to broaden their ex-
periences beyond classrooms and
libraries. PIRGIM offers credit
through Project Community to
gain valuable skills such as
GEO contract
To the Daily:
With the commentary in Satur-
day's paper ("The new GEO con-
tract: Reasons to vote 'yes.'"
Oct. 23) and the editorial in Sun-
day's ("Ratify the GEO con-
tract," Oct. 24), the Daily has
weighed in on the side of the
University and those committed
to the destruction of the Graduate
Employees Organization. For, as
a letter distributed within one
department on campus by that
department's steward noted, to
ratify the proposed contract
would be to sign GEO's death
warrant.
In its editorial, the Daily
claims that the proposed contract
offers "some significant gains for
GEO", but fails to mention a
single one. Moyer and Sullivan
were bolder in their commen-
tary, offering a list of so-called
gains that, when compared to the
existing contract actually

research, organizing
management, group fac
and others that can be v
lines of work. PIRGIM c
portunities to work on a
about issues that affect o
society.
The opposition to PIR
its new funding propos
: Prescrip
job related conduct
proves of; the eliminati
clause obligating the U
to distribute copies of
tract to GSAs (thus p
GSAs from learning ab
rights and obligationst
contract); a three-yea
and stagnating pay; et
give-and-take of neg
GEO's bargaining team
the University took.
The Daily speaks of bt
the concessions offere
contract, stating th
"provide a base on wh
can build." But some oft
interested in reverti
situation in which we v
whatever the University
in which the University
we had so little power tl
year unilaterally termit
tuition waiver program:
We are not interested

I

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