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September 09, 1982 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-09-09

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OPINION
Thursday, September 9, 1982

Page 4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCIII, No. 1

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

You KNOW, FOR M4E ,
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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Where's

the University's

social conscience?

T HAT THE Regents refuse to show
any social responsibility in the
way they handle the University's
money certainly is nothing new. Their
1978 promise to make sure that
University investment dollars in South
Africa work for social good is
meaningless; the Regents refuse to
demand more than minimal progress
from those corporations.
In that same 1978 resolution, the
Regents also promised to set up an ad
hoc7 committee to analyze issues that
involve "serious moral or ethical
questions . . . of concern to many
members of the University com-
munity." But when 250 people packed a
Regents meeting in 1981 to ask the
board not to invest in several weapons
manufacturing companies, the Regen-
ts ignored the protestors.
Now another investment issue has
come to light. And this one doesn't
even involve a risk to University in-
come.
Lost in the bureaucratic shuffle over
the past few years has been the fact
that the University regularly supports
the production of nuclear weapons
through its votes on shareholder
resolutions. As a matter of policy, the
administration doesn't consider the
implications of the way it votes on
these resolutions.
So when General Electric Corp. told
its shareholders that it was not the
place of a private business to question
government policy, the University un-
wittingly bought the argument.
Through its $1.5 million worth of sup-
port, the University condoned GE's
contributions to the nation's nuclear
weapons arsenal.
The University never considered the
possibility that such production might
be leading the country toward a
nuclear war-something which
millions of demonstrators around the

world have been saying for more than
a year now. The University would not
even consider abstaining on the
question.
Even worse is the fact that the few
administrators who know what's going
on feel no obligation to inform the
Regents of precisely what the Univer-
sity is supporting. The "don't make
waves"' attitude of the administration
serves as a poor example of respon-
sible business conduct.
In the single area that the Regents
have consented that there is a need to
watch the University's investments-
South Africa-the investment office
will vote against companies only on the
most narrowly-defined issues. The
administration will not consider
questions of companies expanding
operations in South Africa or selling
essential products to a repressive
military and police force.
The whole situation is almost
comical: The Regents ask the com-
munity to bring issues to their atten-
tion and then won't even consider the
requests; the administrators closest to
the situation refuse to enlighten the
Regents on which votes are being cast.
The University remains one of the,
nation's few educational institutions
with large investment portfolio's that
lacks a standing committee to watch
over investment ethics.
That situation has to end. The
system of handling questions by
ignoring them is wholly inadequate for
an institution of the University's size
and importance.
The nuclear weapons producers
might think they are not responsible
for the bombs they produce. But the
University should be wise enough to
see that a reevaluation of the nation's
nuclear policy-and the University's
contribution to it-is in order.

'U' must keep ii

By Andrew Chapman
The state of Michigan has been in the
papers a lot lately, and that's a bad sign.
The state's reputation, and the University's
along with it, is suffering under the critical
eye of the media, which claims that Michigan
is going down the drain.
But it took being away from Ann Arbor for a
summer to spot this element of the Univer-
sity's crisis, an element that could have a
much more devastating effect than any single
program discontinuande or budget cut.
I REALIZED for the first time-though
others may have realized long before-that
the public's viewof the school can play an ex-
tremely important part in the school's ability
to educate effectively.
At first, it came to me slowly.
After I told a professor from a small
eastern college that I was from the University
of Michigan, he said with a look of pity in his
eyes, "Jeez, you guys must be in horrible
shape right now."
"What's it like out there?" he asked.
"Because I remember when . . ." and he
rambled on about what the University used to
be.
AND THEN it happened again.
An administrator in a small Connecticut
town was crying about recent conditions
because of the loss of a federally-funded
summer job program. He paused for a
moment, not knowing where I went to school,
and said "but no matter how bad it is here, I
can only imagine what it must be like in
Detroit."

I laughed unenthusiastically and told him
I'd soon find out.
What would happen, I asked myself, if, in
the middle of all the budget cuts, program
reviews, staff reductions, and tuition hikes,
people actually began to form a different
image of the University of Michigan?
NO LONGER would the University be
viewed as a towering bastion of quality
education at low prices, with other state
schools across the nation keeping their
tuitions much lower. The simple logic of
solvency may have forced the University
beyond the range of many students.'
No longer would the University be viewed
as an institution that turns out outstanding
scholars in many fields, whose recent alumni
are recognized in both scientific manuals and
on the covers of novels, as are the graduates
of Ivy League schools. The University needs,
for purely financial reasons, to churn out
degrees. Quality may have taken on a secon-
dary importance, a concerned mother might
think to herself while pondering the future of
her child's education.
No longer would the University be viewed
as a leader in progressive methods of
teaching, having been long outstripped by
smaller, more concerned institutions. The
University of Michigan just doesn't have the
time or money to worry about how it teaches,
a top-notch high school senior might think to
himself as he thumbs through the pages of
college brochures.
No longer would the University be known
for small-- classes and intimate learning

The Michigan Daily
By Robert Lence
WAS A
F To! HEART To TELL HM
NDt I TH4A JOHN PULL.ES
"0-} WAS SECRETAR( oF STAT
NOW1 VNDER iENHOWER.,
- i-
:5 image
situations. Instead, horror stories would cir-
culate through the academic circuit about
stadium-sized lecture halls and overworked
professors, thus limiting the University's
ability to attract excellent faculty.
AN IMAGE is everything, especially in a
matket where the prospective buyer wants t
emerge with a product that assures success.
A great institution gives great degrees. Great
degrees help students succeed in their
careers and their lives, or so some people
believe.
But if enough people believe it, it might as
well be true.
I do not pretend to offer an answer here to
the University's current budget woes. At
times there seems to be little choice for our
administrators but to slash programs and
save what remaining quality they can. We
must, however, constantly be aware of tile
reputation the University projects, for that
reputation is an integral part of its future.
THE BEST illustration of Michigan's ilt-
repute is the endquote of a recent magazine
article comparing Hartford, Conn.'s love af-
fair with life insurance to Detroit's attach-
ment to automobiles. Michigan's scenario,
the article reads, is the one to be avoided at
all costs.
The root of Michigan's problem? "In
Detroit, they just kept their eyes closed too
long," the magazine said.
Let's hope they open their eyes in Ann Au-
bor.
Chapman is a Ddily opinion
page editor.
'dropout
state. When the administration
gave the members of the hockey
team very light punishments
(they had to stay out of local
bars),. it was discovered that the
president of the Michigan Student
Assembly had thefpowerto
r prosecute members of the hockey
team under sa seldom-used
University rule.
Instead of trying to put an end
to the practice once and for all,
then-President Marc Breakstone

let the assembly decide for him
whether he should prosecute, and
they bravely decided he
shouldn't. About a year later
MSA set up a committee to study
the matter.
4) Mandatory funding actually
use-rather weakens the power of MSA. With
om students mandatory funding, MSA simply*
io stoen does not have to listen to the
o choice. wishes of the student body. The
ightly more student body holds no control
entina. Well, over MSA's funds or actions. All
e-but in no students can do is vote-and most
resent the students don't care enough to do
e last MSA that, whether they agree with
:actly, 3,578 what MSA does or not.
Moore won The turnout sends the message
1,553 votes. that MSA is an organization
dents atten- which claims to represent 35,000
,hich means students but which can only in-
tudent body spire slightly more than 3,000 of
MSA. Even those to express any opinion of
ed for the what it does. That's a message
je assembly that does not exactly make the
members' administration quakein its boot$.
ring, the Were the assembly funded by
sembly isn't voluntary contributions,
r represen- however, things could be quite
different. If, as the assembly
punction, of claims, its work is supported by
oney from the student body, it would have
University nothing to worry about. It would
receive all kinds of contributions'
-and it could claim every con
ernment and tribution as a vote of support fdr
tax like one, its programs.
lobbying But there is a second senariQ
obbies the which seems to strike genuine
ation, it lob- fear into the hearts of student
ent, it sends politicos. What would happen if
sing and very few people contributed to
hank God) MSA, and its revenues plummet

MSA tax: Pay up or

Our policy

A'S OBSERVERS of the University
community, the staff of the Daily
feels it is in a unique position both to
form opinions concerning the major
issues on campus and to step back for a
moment to address those lighter, more
innocuous topics that are a part of life
in Ann Arbor everyday.
Daily editorials, which appear on the
left side of the Opinion Page, represent
the majority opinion of the Daily's
Editorial Board. Our board is made up
entirely of Daily staff members, and

every board member has an equal say
in our editorial positions.
The right side of the page is open to
any of our readers or staff members.
Columns and letters that appear on the
right side are signed and do not
necessarily represent the opinions of
the Daily's Editorial Board.
Cartoons, either by Daily artists or
nationally syndicated cartoonists, ap-
pear on either side of the page and
should not be construed as represen-
ting Daily opinions.

By Charles Thomson
It's rather humorous when you
think about it.
Here we have the Michigan
Student Assembly, a bunch of
terribly earnest student activists
who are whole-heartedly com-
mitted to clinging to the ideals of
the sixties. They regularly
denounce the University for
taking "blood money" to do
research for the military; they
shriek that the University ad-
ministration consistently ignores
student needs ; they compete with
one another to be the most loyal
supporter of student freedoms.
AND WHERE do these terribly
earnest, terribly serious True
Believers get their money? They
use their supposed opponents, the
University Regents, to abstract a
little cash each term from the
pockets of every student at the
University. No ups, no extras,
and no exceptions.
It raises a rather interesting
question, one which the Michigan
Student Assembly is not par-
ticularly anxious to have asked:
Why is it that we must all surren-
der $1.10 per term to our student
"government" or else not go to
school here?
The standard answer naturally
is that we benefit from and need
MSA whether we realize it or
not-and whether we wish to pay
for it or not. MSA people argue
that mandatory dues allow the
organization to provide the entire
student body with a host of "ser-
vices" without which it would be
left helpless against the whims of
the evil University ad-
ministration.
I, for one, think that is a bunch
of hogwash. Mandatory dues are
a form of organized, legalized
thievery which in the end hurts
the student body as a whole as
well as its individual members.
Allowing students to choose for
themselves whether they wish to

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allocation to various private
student groups.
MSA gives the money to a wide
variety of groups, including
everything from the Spartacus
Youth League to the Midship-
men's Battalion to a group called
the "High Spark of Low-Heeled
Boys."
There's something on the list to
offend nearly everyone. I, for
example, am bugged by the
thought that a small part of my
small MSA assessment gets into
the hands of the Spartacus Youth
League, -and I'm not thrilled by
the Midshipmen's Battalion
either.-
The groups and MSA argue that
the allocation is necessary to
foster free thought on campus.
Free thought indeed; it's "free"
only in the sense that groups have
but to ask for the cash.
We simply don't need a com-
mittee to decide what free
thought we're going to have.
There's no reason to believe that
the members of the Michigan
Student Assembly are any more
able than individual students to
judge what sorts of thought are
right or wrong or what should be
encouraged and discouraged.
Granted, eliminating man-
dtohtrv stuident dues quite

tney nave a g~oou cat
than taking money fro
who have absolutely n
2) MSA is only sli
democratic than Arge
maybe quite a bit mor
sense do they rep
student body. In the
election in April, ex
students voted. Amy
the presidency with
There are 35,670 stud
ding the University, w
4.3 percent of the st
chose the president of
fewer students vot
representatives on thi
itself. For all its
democratic postu
Michigan Student Ass
very democratic or
tative.
But it feels no comp
course, in taking m
every student at the1
It should.
3) MSA isn't a gov
shouldn't be able to c
MSA is really a
organization: It l
University administr
bies the city governm
people to Lan
Washington.
MSA does not (t

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