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October 08, 1983 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-08

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Saturday, October 8, 1983
Stewart

The Michigan Daily

14

Vol. XCIV - No. 28

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

11

Waking sleej
IT IS A SAD fact of life at the Univer-
sity that most students have little
or no concept of what the University
five-year budget cutting plan is.
Equally upsetting is news that a large
majority of student representatives on
various University committees rarely,
if ever, attend their committee
meetings. On top of that, the Michigan
. Student Assembly has had to hire a
volunteer coordinator to help fill
positions for those committees and
t other groups.
1 As much as student activism was
imbedded in campus life in the past, so
student apathy grips the University'
today. The overwhelming number of
students now wander through their
years here, getting little out of this in-
tellectual community largely because
they put little into it. They and the
people around them are forgetting that
they can and should be involved in the
events that shape their lives at the
University.
Today's student apathy has roots
both in the failures of past activism
and its successes. Over the past 25
years students helped fight and., win
battles as important as the civil
rights movement and an end to the
war in Vietnam. They also won many
privileges now considered second
nature such as an end to dress codes,
co-educational dormitories, and ven-
ding machines in the libraries.
When students today look back on
the successes, they see issues on which
there was widespread, if not universal,
agreement. If students weren't in-
volved in a freedom ride through
Alabama 20 years ago, they were at
least nodding in approval. Now many
students sitting in the diag probably
would scoff at a group protesting U.S.
involvement in El Salvador - if they
bothered to react at all.
Students also look back on the
failures of past protests. They con-
clude that such protesting is useless.
What good did anti-Vietnam War
teach-ins and rallies do? They didn't
end the war until 1973. So what good
will protesting the five-year plan do
today?
Protests failed to save 50,000 of their
contemporaries killed in Vietnam.
They didn't eliminate racism. Nor did
they raise black enrollment here to 10
percent. ,
There is a sense among students
today that if they don't get immediate,
recognizable, and concrete return on

ping students

their "investments," the investments
aren't worth the effort. Most students
now are in school to learn some
marketable skill to get a job after they
earn their slip of paper. Many want the
financial success of their parents and
they want it early in life. So they see no
time for, and no value in, arguing about
issues whether the issues affect them
or not.
University administrators do much
to foster this attitude. When policy
decisions that have significant con-
sequences for the University, ad-
ministators pay no heed to the few
students who speak out. The regents,
for example, listen to students during
the public comments section of their
monthly meetings. But listen is all they
do. Similarly, many of the committees
which have student representatives
don't allow those representatives a
vote. The prevalent paternalistic at-
titude among administrators says,
"We know what is good for you no mat-
ter what you say."
Much of this apathy is but a mirror of
the rest of society. Twenty years ago it
seemed everyone had a stake in the
major issues so they were willing to get
involved. Today it seems there are few
major issues touching everyone.
Twenty years ago there were leaders
motivating people. John and Bobby
Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
spoke of the potential-for change. They
are gone, and their deaths are symbols
of lost potential. Who speaks to us
about our potential for change today?
Who are our leaders?
Yet those unanswered questions
cannot become excuses for students to
continue ignoring the problems around
them. Students proved speaking their
minds gets results. They spoke up in
favor of a student bookstore and got
the University Cellar. They argued for
a broad-based liberal arts degree and
got the bachelor of general studies
plan. They even fought for and got
those committee appointments studen-
ts now ignore.
There are problems in need of
solving. The issues raised by the Black
Action Movement over a decade ago
are unresolved. There are programs
that are shaping and will shape studen-
ts' lives here for years to come. The
five-year plan about which fe stud-
ents know anything moves merrily
along.
Nap time is over. Students should
wake up to the world around them.

A

BERKELEY, Calif. -
Burned, ripped to shreds, and
mailed back to the government
by countless young Americans, it
was a universal symbol of protest
during the Vietnam War era.
Now, 11 years after it was done
awayrwith, a draft card of sorts
has returned to the national
scene. And once again, it is
generating controversy.
MEN who register for the
military draft this fall are being
issued wallet-sized "registration
acknowledgement cards''
designed to replace the form let-
ters previously used as proof of
registration. The information on
the card includes the registrant's
name,, current, and permanent
addresses, phone number, Selec-
tive Service, and Social Security
numbers, date of birth, and
signature.
Federal officials deny that the
change adds up to a comeback for
the draft card. "This card is not
really a card because it's not as
thick as a card. It's a slip of paper
they can carry with them volun-
tarily," said John Lamb, a
spokeswoman for the Selective
Service System in Washington,
D.C. "It's a handy little thing we
designed for their convenience."
But opponents of Selective Ser-
vice registration charge that the
difference between the old draft
card and the new slip are
academic. Said Jon Landau, an
attorney with the San Francisco
office of the Philadelphia-based

Draft cards
are back,
so is protest

By

Laurie Goodstein

made no prior announcement of
the change.
"I think there will be a strong
reaction when people realize
what Selective Service is plan-
ning," he predicted. "It may well
come to burning some of these
forms."
During the Vietnam War,
protestors organized mass draft
card burnings on the steps of the
U.S. Capitol, in New York's Cen-
tral Park, and on college cam-
puses across the nation.4
"The draft card back in the 60's
was always a way to have
something in your pocket remin-
ding you that you aren't a free
person," said Bruce Dancis, 35,
of Pleasant Hill, Calif. It was a
very powerful symbol of social
control. That is why Congress
passed a bill making it illegal to
destroy a draft card."
In a highly publicized protest,
Dancis tore up his own draft card 4
in 1966 and returned it to his local
draft board. The gesture earned
him 19 months in a federal prison
in Kentucky.
The new version of the draft
card, charged Dancis, is a way to
"get the draft one more step in
through the back door, without
having Reagan take the political
consequences of actually an-
nouncing the reinstitution of a
draft."
Goodstein wrote this article
for the Pacific News Service.

Central Committee for Conscien-
tious Objectors: "There are ef-
forts now to further restrict the
rights of draft-age men. These
(efforts) will go hand in hand
with the requirement that you
constantly show this card."
According to Landau and other
Selective Service critics, the new
documents will make it easier for
the government to enforce the
recently enacted Solomon Amen-
dment. That law denies federal
college financial aid, as well as
employment under the new Jobs
Training Participation Act which
went into effect Oct. 1, to any
draft-eligible man who has not
registered.

Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-N.Y.)
the author of the amendment, is
working on a second bill which
would deny welfare benefits to
draft-eligible men who cannot
show proof of registration.
SELECTIVE Service
spokeswoman Lamb confirmed
that many lay enforcement agen-
cies now ask for draft
registration numbers before they
will hire a young man.
In Landau's view, "The
registration acknowledgement
card moves us a step closer
toward a national identity card."
He believes that public response
to the new card has been muted
because the federal government

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Daily didn 't do phys. ed. homework

I

I

U'g

I I

To the Daily:
I would like to react to the
Daily's editorial entitled "Punt
physical education" (September
22).
I am a strong advocate of
freedom of the press. I am also a
firm believer in the right of any
citizen to be heard and that ap-
propriate forums be made
available in order that this may
take place. My concern centers
on the point made that the un-
dergraduate program in physical
education is an inappropriate op-
tior, for students enrolled at the
University. I believe the wording
used was "mickey mouse"
program. I might not have had
this concern had the person who
wrote the editorial taken the time
to research the undergraduate
curriculum and then, based on
his or her research, completed
the editorial.
My assumption is that
creditable journalism requires
reasonable inquiry. The Daily,
besides being a valuable in-
strument for disseminating in-
ternational, national, and local
news, serves as a training base
for future journalists. It is in this
context that I raise the fnlInwing

with faculty from other
disciplines has been that this
concept is supported and actively
promoted at Michigan.
In my 17 years as a member of
the Physical Education faculty at
this University, I cannot recall a
more vicious treatment of any
academic or non-academic
program by your publication.
However, in all fairness, I must
state that I have not read every

edition of the Daily these past 17
year.
I am particularly saddened by
the impact this editorial must
have had on our undergraduate
population, which is in excess of
300 students. How demeaning this
must have been for them.
During the past decade, our
undergraduate curriculum has
been evaluated by various groups
of professionals, external to the

...........
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xx

University. In every case, our
program has been praised for its
quality, its rigor and its sen-
sitivity to sociological and
educational change.
S.J. Galetti
October 3
Galetti coordinates un-
dergraduate studies in the
physical education depar-l
tment.

Unsigned editorials appearing
on the left side of this page
represent a majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board.

4

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