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April 07, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-04-07

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OPINION

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Page 4

Thursday, April 7, 1983

The Michigan Daily'

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

WTRtD UTS
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FRECH PTRADITON OFOUINSSS.. RIDEPENDENT
?OUT~Ic A T1LITY 1w INSTY

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Vol. XCIII, No. 148

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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ALTHOUGH A committee of U.S.
Roman Catholic bishops toned
down its anti-nuclear arms statement,
the revised version is still a long-
overdue, and forceful anti-nuclear ar-
ms statement. If the bishop's commit-
tee can agree finally on a draft of the
letter, the task will be to use the
statement to form a unified stance
toward achieveing the ultimate goal of
disarmament.
The new 150-page draft of the letter
backs off of the previous versions' total
opposition to any use of nuclear arms,
but repeats its call for total opposition
to nuclear war and first strikes. The
bishops stood firm on their resolve to
protect noncombatants from any
nuclear attack.
The letter also makes a major con-
tribution to the discussion on nuclear
arms and nuclear war because of its
concern for the welfare of the masses
of people who would be killed in a
nuclear attack. The statement
distinguishes itself from most other,
commentary on the likelihood of
nuclear war - which has focused

primarily on the conflict between the
Soviet bloc and the West.
If the bishops maintain that con-
cern for people, rather than political
entities then they probably have the
best chance for contributing to the
push for disarmament. But if they get
themselves mired in the political
debates, their statement could be
doomed to become simple rhetoric.
Keeping politics out of the bishop's
letter will be a difficult task because
the impact the bishops seek is largely
political itself. Nationally, the im-
mediate goal of the statement has to be
to persuade the Reagan administration
to soften its position on nuclear arms
negotiations. Internationally, the goal
is to demonstrate to the Europeans
that U.S. citizens want to end this
nuclear madness, with or without the
support of the government.
It is too much to ask that one
statement, no matter how eloquent, be
able to accomplish all that it sets out to
do. Thatis why the bishops need to con-
tinue their work toward disarmament
long after this letter has yellowed at
the corners.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Cutting humanities: The price is high'

Forsaken ideals

W HEN ROBERT MUGABE was
elected prime minister of
racially divided Zimbabwe more than
three years ago, he received instant in-
ternational acclaim for preaching a
theme of national conciliation. Now,
Mugabe is more and more backing
away from political dialogue and back
to violent political conflict.
After years of struggle and great
bloodshed, whites and blacks in Zim-
babwe (then Rhodesia) agreed in 1979
to lay down their arms and work
together to form a black majority
government. The settlement was
hailed as proof that bitter political and
racial divisions could be worked out at
negotiating tables, instead of on the
battlefield.
Recent events have changed both
that perception and the political
climate in Zimbabwe. Violent conflicts
have broken out in one province where
several whites have been killed and
just recently, Mugabe's one-time ally
and now chief rival Joshua Nkomo,
fled the country under threats from the
government.
In his quest for a one party state,
Mugabe has increasingly ignored or

attempted to trample on dissent, be it
from the white minority or Nkomo's
rival faction. While much of the strife
has arisen out of deep political and
ethnic division, instead of trying to
allay fears and alienation, Mugabe has
embarked on a hardline course. in
which he asserts that only military
force can bring about a resolution to
the recent conflicts.
Clearly, the embattled prime
minister has forgotten the past, has
forgotten how he himself forged a
workable compromise in the war-torn
nation. Now he talks of war, instead of
negotiations. And rather than form a
coalitional government or invite
Nkomo -or his associates into his
cabinet, Mugabe has booted them out
and further polarized the nation.
If Zimbabwe is to survive as an
example of successful and useful
political dialogue in an extremely
volatile situation, it will only do so on
the basis under which it achieved in-
dependence. But if its leaders refuse to
follow the path they originally set for
themselves, Zimbabwe will join the
long list of other nations who have for-
saken their original revolutionary
ideals for authoritarianism.

To the Daily:
At this point, I am not prepared
to respond to particular points
expressed in the review commit-
tee's report on humanities depar-
tment of the College of
Engineering. However, I will say
that I do not find the report at all
responsive to the issues. In that
sense it both disturbs and per-
plexes me. That is, the Vice
President for Academic Affairs
and the Dean and Executive
Committee of the College of
Engineering formed the commit-,
tee to seek ddvice on issues con-.
cerning the administrative future
of the department.
The charges to the committee
were quite specific - indeed
overly so in the eyes of a number
of people - but specific
nonetheless. Moreover, the
criteria for evaluating alter-
natives were clear: quality, cen-
trality, and cost-effectiveness. In
their response to these charges
the committee has given advice
which does not really deal direc-
tly with the issues raised in the
charge or with the criteria. They
have given advice not on the ad-
ministrative issues but upon.
curricular issues.
What perplexes me par-
ticularly is the question of how
Vice President Billy Fyre and the
dean and executive committee
can act on advice which is so
heavily curricular. Curriculum
is, after all, the responsibility of
the faculty, not of the ad-
ministration. Thus I cannot
imagine what the administrative
officers will make of the report
which recommends that we cease
offering Great Books instruction
and that we replace it with
Freshman Composition.
Certainly, it is true that the
report indirectly addresses
issues of quality, centrality, and
cost-effectiveness. However,
these issues are really handled
explicitly only in the appendices
of the report, and it is clear that
at least quality and cost-
effectiveness were not major fac-
tors in the committee's thinking.
A lternatives
to the norm
To the Daily:
I would like to acknowledge
and thank all the attendants,
sponsors, participants, and
especially the organizers of the
Alternative Career Fair, held
April 1 and 2. The Fair, held as an
annual event, is a valuable
means of providing information
and access to people and
organizations involved in socially
concious work. The fair gives
students incentive to search out
wavs of making a living after

In short, the committee was
asked their responses on two
quite specific questions and was
given three criteria by which to
evaluate alternative answers. It
appears to me that they have not
really addressed any of that ex-
plicitly in their report.
If we leave aside the question of
how the recommendations of the
review committee might be im-
plemented by the administration,
it is clear nonetheless that-if

implemented-these recommen-
dations would result in a great
loss for the engineering college
faculty and students. If the
recommendations are followed, a
lot Df faculty members and staff
who have served the University
well would be very unfairly
treated; a lot of students would
find their choices of curriculum
diminished. Moreover, we would
have thrown away a program
which has established a solid

national reputation in terms of
both curriculum and scholarship.
The price of the long review
procedure has been high already;
the further price which one can
envision as the possible result of
the review report seems in-
tolerable.
--Dwight W. Stevenson
Chairman, humanities
department
College of Engineering
April 1

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Reviewing Daily coverage

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To the Daily:
I appreciate - I think - the
coverage the Daily gave to the
meeting of the engineering
college faculty meeting at which
the review report on the future of
the humanities department was
discussed ("Humanities prof. at-
tacks review committee's plan"
Daily, April 6). However, two
points about my presentation
must be clarified.
First, I am misquoted - and in
bold face yet. The sentence at-
tributed to me is missing two
words whose omission makes
syntactic hash of what I said; and
since I do, on most occasions, use
the English language with some
precision, I would like to offer the
sentence as I wrote and read it:
"We cannot believe that a single
faculty memberhof that commit-
tee - indeed, of this university -
would personally accept the role
that they envision for us as one
with any dignity or profesional
viability." A poor thing, perhaps,
but mine own.
Second, and more important,
much of theastatement that I read
for the literature faculty of the
department was conditional: that
is, if x, then y. This distinction is

crucial because I did not state
that it was the desire of this
faculty to be transferred to LSA
- the impression left by your ac-
count. Rather, I argued that if all
our students are transferred to
LSA for humanities instruction,
then a good-faith effort must be
made to transfer the faculty as
well. I do not necessarily desire
the transfer of either - nor do
most of my colleagues. I and they
are committed to continuing to do
what we have been doing -
teaching in the engineering
college. The decision about that,
however, is not ours to make; but
if x, then y.
Unconditionally, however, we
urged the rejection of the entire
report because it would result in

an enormous waste to the
engineering college and the
University or our experience,
training and ability. For anyone
interested in the full statement of
our position, copies of it are
available from the humanities
department office.
Finally, I hope it will not seem.
presumptuous of me to suggest to
your reporter that he missed the
real story from this meeting.
That the literature faculty would
urge the rejection of this report is
a case of dog bites man. That one
of the committee members, Prof.
Root, repudiated the report at the
meeting - now that's a case of
man bites dog. Doesn't the Daily
know news when it sees it?
- Prof. Gorman Beauchamp
April 6

Unsigned editorials appearing on the left side
of this page represent a majority opinion of the
.Daily's Editorial Board. Letters and columns
represent the opinions of the individual author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the attitudes or
beliefs of the Daily.

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