Friday, September 23, 1983
U's social ignorance
By Barry Witt
When the University was asked earlier this
year to take a position on the nuclear arms
race, administrators gave their support to
production of the MX missile and rejected a
call for a weapons freeze.
When the University was asked to take a
position on equal opportunity and affirmative
action, administrators rejected the notion that
a company ought to disclose the number of
women and minorities it employs.
When the University was asked to take a
position on the exporting of U.S. goods to the
South African military, administrators said
such a practice was fine with them.
THESE aren't the type of decisions that the
University likes to publicize; in fact, some ad-
ministrators are a bit embarrassed by them.
Nevertheless, year after year, the University
takes formal stands on a variety of issues -
positions which many in the University com-
munity would find abhorrent if they only
realized what was going on.
Each year, the University, as an investor in
scores of U.S. corporations, is asked to vote
with its shares of stock on a variety of cor-
porate social responsibility issues. Concerned
shareholders - some of whom buy into certain
companies only for the opportunity to promote
their causes - place issues such as those cited
above before all of a company's shareholders
to decide company policy.
As the technical owners of a company, the
shareholders are given the opportunity each
year at a company's annual meeting to enforce
changes in company policy on politically sen-
This year, investors asked American
Telephone & Telegraph Corp. to cease
managing the Sandia National Laboratory in
Albuquerque, which is involved in the resear-
ch, development, and testing, of nuclear
weapons. AT&T's management opposed the
shareholder effort, and the University voted for
Likewise, the University voted with General
Telephone & Electric Co. when it resisted a
shareholder proposal asking the company to
find alternatives to its work on the MX missile
project. The same was true at General Electric
Corp., where shareholders asked the company
to reexamine its weapons work and support a
nuclear freeze. The University voted against
At International Telephone and Telegraph
Corp., shareholders asked management to
disclose company records on its affirmative
action program. ITT, which has no women and
only thiee blacks among its 23 management of-
ficers and 44 vice presidents, refuses to
disclose company-wide numbers, unlike many
other companies. The University's position - a
vote with management, against the
An issue raised this year with several com-
panies in which the University invests concer-
ned corporate influence on Congressional ap-
proval of the AWACs sale to Saudi Arabia.
THE NEW York-based American Jewish
Congress asked companies such as GTE, the
Ford Motor Co., and Mobil Corp. to disclose
their lobbying efforts in support of the con-
troversial AWACs sale. Some of these com-
panies had direct stakes in the production of
the planes; others, a financial interest in sup-
porting Arab nations.
/7=_7/ _ -
University support his group's proposals. But
his personal interest makes his remarks no less
The most remarkably backward position the
University took this year involved South
The regents supposedly took a strong stand
last April against the nation's apartheid
policies when they voted to sell all the Univer-
sity's stock in companies doing business there.
But the University hasn't completed its
divestment yet, and when it asked whether U.S.
companies should take advantage of the
Reagan administration's relation of export
restrictions and sell equipment to the South
African military and police, the University
,obligingly said yes.
The government forces happen to be respon-
sible for implementing the nation's racist
policies whieh the University says it opposes.
What is perhaps most outrageous about the
situation is that everyone involved says doing
something about it is somebody else's respon-
sibility. The University administrators who
implement the policy are little more than min-
dless bureaucrats, who deny that it is their.,
responsibility to question University policy.
The University's Regents, who ultimately are
responsible for determining the policy, say
they don't feel it's necessary to act unless
somebody else asks them to do so. But given
that the only people who review the University
votes are the bureaucrats, nothing can ever get
Witt is editor-in-chief of the Daily.
Mobil, for instance, which usually is very
vocal about its positions on national issues.
argued to its shareholders that "no special
report on this subject is necessary." A Mobil
statement said simply: "Our objective is a just
and lasting peace in the Middle East which will
be fair to all of the countries and peoples of that
In its vote, the University supported
management's position that a report on lob-
bying efforts should not be made available.
The University's policy on voting is very
clear cut: Always vote with management -
against the shareholder resolution - regar-
dless of the issue involved.
WITH an endowment now valued at nearly
$200 million, some of those votes can carry a lot
of weight. Administrators acknowledge that
The University of Michigan is the only college in
the country with a substantial endowment that
has a policy that completely ignores issues.
Such a policy is "deplorable", says Will
Maslow, general counsel of the American
Jewish Committee. By ignoring the issues, "it
means (the University) is always going to be a
Of course Maslow has an interest in the
University's apathy; he would rather see the
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCIV - No. 14
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
GONE UP 82o
IN ThE PAST
TREE YEAR5 J
RAIS-E ARE BE-
iOW THE RATE~
OF 1NFL)ATONm .
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
. .. Apt
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HEREAGAN administration soon
will be forcing government em-
ployees to sign secrecy pledges and
will be requiring all speeches, books,
and articles written by those em-
ployees to be cleared by censors. It
may seem like a bad idea, but there is a
method to the administration's mad-
Many Reagan watchers think the
only reason thewadministration is
pushing the plan is to put an end to
goofs that never have ceased to
stupify, amaze, and amuse millions.
But that just isn't so. The ad-
ministration is having a devil of a time
plugging hundreds of leaks of
Consider the most recent examples:
" During a speech to the U.S. Chamber
of Congress, Secretary of the Interior
James Watt let it slip that a gover-
nment commission under his authority
has "every kind of mixture you can
have. I have a black, I have a woman,
two jews and a cripple. And we have
" Testifying before the House Foreign
Affairs Committee Gen. P.X. Kelley,
commandant of the marines,
described the U.S. troops in Lebanon as
"the marines who went into Vietnam."
After hearing Kelley spill the beans
about the other Vietnam, Secretary of
State George Shultz buried his head in
his hands and appeared to be praying
for an MX missile to fall on the
*hCharles Lichenstein. a member of
the U.S. delegation to the United
Nations, told other delegates
dissatisfied with U.S. accommodations
for the United Nations "seriously to
consider" moving U.N. headquarters
from New York. "The members of the
U.S. mission to the United Nations will
be down at the dockside waving you a
fond farewell as you sail into the sun-
set," Lichenstein said.
This last statement has been par-
ticularly bothersome for Reagan.
Everyone knows U.N. delegates can't
sail into the sunset from New York.
Lichenstein's blunder revealed the
administration's secret plan to reverse
the spin of the earth, forcing Reagan to
cover up by throwing together a new
policy daring the world to move U.N.
So maybe the censorship idea is a
good one. Had Reagan imposed it on
himself during the 1980 campaign
Americans would have been spared the
awful Truth that trees cause pollution.
These days loose lips sink a lot more
than a few ships, with or without U.N.
delegates on board.
THIS !5 AN
OF F CONOM IQ
SOMETHING MUST BE
B1i t t SOMETHING
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Taiiv wrongs nhvs. ed.. unborn children
-4"-ww wwj V- ~-w vrFa4 p 1 w -_14.0,w -w -- w- IV
To the Daily:
Last year I married a woman
who had previously received a
B.S.Ed. from the Department of
Physical Education, The Univer-
sity of Michigan. In a few weeks
we are going to have a baby. I am
so frightened by your editorial of
September 22, ("Punt physical
education"). Does this mean our
baby will be retarded?
You said, of the Department of
Physical Education, "Because of
its non-existent quality, the
program should be eliminated
completely." You also said, "the
program is...a moral blot on the
University." You also called it a
Oh! Some of the things you wrote
frightened me so!
You see, before we got
married, I saw this woman
taking very difficult courses (I
thought). They were in such
things as anatomy, physiology,
kinesiology, psychology, and so
forth. I actually helped edit some
of her papers and thought they
were well thought out and well
written. I know she got good
grades, even an "A plus" or two,
in classes outside the Depar-
tment of Physical Education. I
know for sure she did not play
varsity football! I so wanted to
marry an intelligent person! I
made sure that she read several
non-assigned books every month.
I even checked on the results of
the day-long, personal interview
IQ test given to her by her upper
level tp'sychology class T.A. -
she scored above "genius."
Now your editorial has
destroyed my life. If I'm so stupid
that I'd marry a person with a
worthless degree, from a depar-
tment that has "non-existent"'
quality - then it's inevitable that
our child will be stupid too! Oh!;
What can I do?
What you should do is offer a
formal apology and retraction of'
your negligent and ignorant
statements. You have defamed-
and maligned a large number of ;
intelligent and well educated per-
gearing on the left side
7ajority opinion of the
Letters and columns
he individual author(s)
eflect the attitudes or
Lebanon echoes Vietnam
LEMON WILL NOT EWME
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WILL NOT (3tCOM£ ANoTvjEk
V"ETn1AM. z MEAN LEfSANO/J
V'J1LL NOT 13- ECOAAE ANO"TI ER
To the Daily:
Moving additional firepower to
positions off the coast of Lebanon
and giving local commanders
authority to use it is foreboding,
despite the administration's in-
sistence that U.S. policy has not
changed in regard to Lebanon's
In Vietnam, marine units were
first sent ashore to protect defen-
sive positions of advisers and air-
fields, and only gradually were
expanded and moved on to the of-
to Lebanon by encouraging with-
drawal of foreign troops, the
marines themselves have
become just another foreign for-
ce complicating the war. Such in-
volvement could draw the Soviet
Union into the area, where it has
comparatively little influence at
Let's not repeat our mistake in
- Robert M. Levine
Unsigned editorials app
of this page represent a m
Daily's Editorial Board..
represent the opinions of t)
and do not necessarily r6
beliefs of the Daily.
!' i I i
by Berke Breathed