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November 10, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-10

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Thursday, November 10, 1983
LaBan
PU-rTN (IDEALS' TO PRACT)C-EA r iF .

The Michigan Daily

Vol. XCIV-No. 56

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

U NIVERSITY PRESIDENT
Harold Shapiro said yesterday
that taking over a research laboratory
is an "inappropriate" action in a
university community. The message
is not a new one.
It is inappropriate for students to
hold any authority, to exercise any
power at the University: This seems to
be the administration's bottom line.
And as long as they continue to hold
that line, sit-ins, like the one in Prof.'
Thomas Senior's research laboratory
this week, will be necessary for studen-
ts to have any real voice in University
policy.
It is a long established University
policy that students don't get a say in
decisions, even if those decisions affect
them most. Sure, students can give as
much advice as they want. They can
speak at public hearings, they can talk
at committee meetings, they can even
meet with administrators. But there is
little guarantee that anyone will listen,
much less take action as a result.
As long as students have no formal
pull, they will be forced to exert
pressure by working outside the

system. They have to change the
system by jamming it, and turning up
the publicity heat until it behaves dif-
ferently.
Students have to harness power from
outside the system to get a real voice,
and this is what the Progressive
Student Network's sit-in has started to
do.
They have succeeded in stirring up a
good deal of publicity. Most of the state
papers picked up the story, as well as
at least one national radio station. And
through this publicity PSN has rallied
a small amount of campus support, at
least enough to keep the military
research issue smoldering, if not bur-
ning.
Perhaps this demonstration will
have some small effect on the Univer-
sity's attitude toward questionable
projects such as Prof. Senior's. In all
likelihood, however, it will not unless
debate continues after the event is
forgotten.
But at least these students have
made an appropriate statement-a
statement with some punch to it.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

PSN aims at 'ill-conceived goals'

Democracy in the pink

"M< EWS OF my death has been
Ngreatly exaggerated," some-
one was overheard as saying the
other day. The speaker? Why, none
other than Ms. Democracy.
Certainly, if you've been taking a
gander at various political situations in
the world these days, you'd think that
if Ms. Democracy wasn't dead or
dying, she was very ill. She had stop-
ped breathing a long time ago in
Eastern Europe and almost all of Asia.
She is being suffocated in the Philip-
pines and Afghanistan. And President
Ronald Reagan felt he needed to give
her a helping hand in Grenada.
There are other examples pointing to
Democracy's demise; most of the
news hasn't been good for her. It
wouldn't be unreasonable to conclude
that she was only surviving in her
traditional homelands, the United
States and Western Europe, along with
a few other holdouts.
But the lady got two doses of much-
needed medicine recently when
Turkey and Argentina held long-
overdue elections that yielded vic-
tories as important for the winning
parties as for the democratic process
in both nations. The success of these

elections goes a long way toward
proving that the people of Turkey and
Argentina want and are capable of
caring for Ms. Democracy.
In Turkey, more than 92 percent of
eligible voters voted in the first elec-
tion there since a military coup three
years ago. They voted a majority of
the 400-seat parliament to Turgut
Ozal's conservative Motherland Party.
The military's party finished a distant
third, despite the endorsement of
Turkey's president.
In Argentina elections brought an
even more stunning result. The
Peronists suffered their first defeat in
an election ever. Raul Alfonsin, a
moderate, won a six year term as
president. He promised to curb the
military by curtailing the draft and
opening the files on more than 6,000
missing persons many suspect the
outgoing military regime murdered.
Alfonsin faces a difficult economic
road; inflation is running rampant and
if he doesn't bring it under control he
won't become the second president in
53 years to complete all six years of his
term.
The good news, though, is that Ms.
Democracy is making a recovery.

To the Daily:
There are times when issues
and events threaten the Univer-
sity as an institution. One such
current issue is the campaign to
prohibit military-sponsored
research at the University, as
dramatized by the Progressive
Student Network's occupation of
Prof. Thomas Senior's
laboratory, which according to
quotations in Tuesday's Daily
("Protestors support PSN sit-
in," November 8), is apparently
endorsed by the Michigan
Student Assembly president and
vice-president. A related issue is
the attempt to place before the
voters a referendum prohibiting
all research in Ann Arbor even
remotely related to nuclear
war; including, for example,
research on improving com-
munication with submerged
nuclear-powered submarines, the
least vulnerable leg of our
nuclear deterrent. Broadly in-
terpreted, it might also prohibit
the pro-arms control activities of
the Office of International Peace
and Security Research.
There is not space in this letter
to debate all the issues raised by
these matters, but I feel strongly
that I must go on public record as
opposing these ill-conceived
goals and the methods being used
to coerce Prof. Senior to remove
himself and his research from the
University.
There is no reason to ban any
kind of research from our cam=
pus so long as it is non-classified,
open, and consistent with the
goals of the University to further
and transmit knowledge. These
goals include widely agreed upon
notions of morality but must and
do allow for informed
disagreement concerning how to
preserve peace and security. The
military has a role to play in
these matters, and military-
sponsored research, like
technologically related research
generally, sometimes contributes
to a better, safer world and at
other times exacerbates the dif-
ficulties associated with self-
preservation and cultural advan-
cement.
There are those, I know, who
would ban basic research in
elementary particle physics (my
primary field) on this campus
because its principle funding
agency is the Department of
Energy, half of whose budget is
concerned with the development
and production of thermonuclear
bombs. There are those who
would ban the ROTC from the
University as somehow undeser-
ving of a place here or as incom-
patible with the University's
goals rather than as a means of
providing the nation with college-
educated military officers from
anreec nr ha hn the miliB

primary motivation behind my
personal commitment to the
development of an un-
dergraduate course on nuclear
weapons and nuclear war; a
development which has, by the
way, been supported by the
Department of Physics and the
College of LSA.
I am much encouraged by the
concern among students and staff
Peterson's
To the Daily:
I was shocked to pick up today's
Daily and read the way your
reporter coveredmy remarks
("Protesters support PSN sit-
in," Daily, November 8). My
phrase, "vote the bastards out,"
was intended to be a purely sar-
castic comment on a position ad-
vocated by one of the hecklers in
the crowd, and was in no way in-
tended to express my view of
Rep. Carl Pursell or President
Ronald Reagan.
Although it is very difficult to
undo the damage done by
misreporting, let me try. (In-
cidentally, I represent the First
Ward, not the Second, as you
reported.) One of the several
loud hecklers at my brief talk
pestered me with questions about
Profs: P
To the Daily:
We have just heard that the
laboratory of a prominent
University research scientist,
Thomas Senior, has been
blockaded by students. We un-
derstand that this blockade is in
protest of his research in the field
of nuclear weaponry and of
military research at the Univer-
sity in general.
This blockade is the logical
outcome of the failure of the
regents to ratify democratic
processes in the University
earlier this year. After extensive
consultation and debate last win-
ter and spring, the Senate
Assembly voted to extend the
guidelines for classified research
to non-classified research, with
the intent of preventing such
research from destroying human
life. This vote by the elected
representatives of the University
faculty was vetoed by the regents
last summer, possibly under
pressure from the White House.
In light of this, it seems that the
student action is consonant with
the decision of the Senate Assem-
bly. Accordingly, the blockade
requires that the faculty call for
renewal of the Senate Assembly
BLOOM COUNTY

on this campus over these issues,
but am beginning to worry that
normally healthy student ac-
tivism may contribute counter-
productively if it threatens the
fabric of the University or
challenges the rights of in-
dividual faculty to pursue
research falling within certain
broadly-defined goals. I urge
colleagues and students not to sit

silently by and allow this to hap-
pen.
In closing, I appreciate and en-
dorse the editorial concerning
"The Day After" ("Preventing a
real day after," Daily, November
8).
-Martin B. Einhorn
November 9
Einhorn in a professor of
physics.

'bastards' rates sarcasm

who really runs the federal
research budget, I responded
that the president and Congress
did. He then insisted-or at least
that is what I heard over the ob-
noxious shouting of the other
hecklers-that, in truth, the only
thing we citizens can do about
U.S. policy is to wait until elec-
tion time and vote the incumben-
ts out of office. I responded by
invoking the silly, misguided bat-
tle cry of so many groups, right-
wing and left-wing, to wit,
"vote the bastards out." I used
this phrase as a sarcastic gibe at
what I think is the futility of the
all-or-nothing approach apparen-
tly advocated by the heckler. We
can do much more than just wait
for elections, work to elect or
defeat a particular candidate,

and then sit on our hands for the
next two or four years.
"Democracy is too important," I
went on to say, "to happen only
every two years." I pointed to
the important successes of the
civil rights movement, which
used direct action-between elec-
tions-to make its gains.
I do think we need a different
congressperson and a different
president. I did not intend,
however, to stoop to the level of
some of the hecklers, and to start
calling people names. I sincerely
hope that any misunderstandings
that might have resulted from the
mistake in reporting in today's
Daily can be overcome.
-Lowell Peterson
November 8

I
6

SNsit-in logical. .

initiative. It also requires the
faculty to ask a more satisfying
response to the issue of military
research from University
President Harold Shapiro and
other responsible officials.
-William Alexander
Bert Hornback,
John Reiff

Michael Taussig
November 7
Alexander and Hornback
are professors of English;
Reiff is a professor in the
Residential College; and
Taussig is a professor of an-
thropology.

THIS TS 14E PEN THAT
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Religious leaders agree

. . .

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To the Daily:
The following is an open let-
ter to University President
Harold Shapiro:
The elected faculty represen-
tatives in the Senate Assembly
voted last spring on a guideline
which would have extended the
ban on research aimed at the
destruction of human life to in-
clude non-classified as well as
classified research. The
Michigan Student Assembly had
also endorsed this extension.
The regents of the University,
however, voted against this
policy at a time when many
students and faculty were away
from campus. The act of civil

disobedience in which a group of
students is currently engaged is a
clear indication that this issue
will not go away.
As campus ministers, we call
upon President Harold Shapiro to
seek the widest possible
discussion of this issue
throughout the University com-
munity and to ask the regents to
reopen the question.
-Michael Brooks
November 9
This letter was cosigned by
24 other members of the
Association of Religious
Counselors at their meeting
the morning of November 9.
by Berke Breatsed

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