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March 30, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-30

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, March 30, 1984

The Michigan Daily

.. ......... .

.... . .. .. . ... . - I.

Breaking th
when I suggest that the simple form of
By Robert Honigman governance appropriate to a cor-
poration is not suitable for a university,
and that the checks and feedbacks
I often get the feeling when I talk to developed through American political
administrators or bureaucrats that I'm thought and experience should be adop-
talking to people who live in a bottle. ted - I get back bland stares. "Yes,
It's as if all the realities we take for yes," officials seem to say, "that's all
granted in the outside world, some.3,000 very well on the Planet Mungo, but it
years of human history, the Renaissan- wouldn't work here."
ce, World Wars I and II, and the Viet- Ideas that are common in the outside
nam- War have never occurred, or world, such as labor unions and elected
rather, they may just as well have oc- representatives, are treated as
curred in another universe, long ago dangerous and radical in the bottle. In
and far away, on the Planet Mungo, the bottle time never changes. It's
perhaps, to people called the Zenons always year one. The '60s came and
with five legs, green tentacles, and giant went, and now on many campuses, it's
saucer eyes. 1950 again and in loco parentis has
Inside the bottle there's a different reappeared. Nothing was learned and
time and space than outside, and even nothing has changed.
different rules of logic. One and one THEN TOO, the light that shines
sometimes equal one, or two, or three, through the bottle walls is tinted with
depending on which answer is needed to rays that cause strange transfor-
justify a decision previously made. mations. In the outside world, for
FOR EXAMPLE, when students example, the trustees of most univer-
complain about being neglected by the sities are regarded as good natured
university, they are told that they are Larries, Moes, and Curlies, political
adults who must grow up and accept . hacks appointed to keep an eye on the
responsibility for their own education. university and make sure it doesn't
But when they ask for a greater voice in turn into a bawdy house.
university governance, they are told But inside the bottle, these same men
that they are immature and irrespon- and women are a final authority, and
sible, and had best leave important their words are beyond rational
decisions to others. argument or campus opinion. The san-
Perhaps the hardest thing to get ctity of regental bylaws is a parody of
across to administrators is that they religion and a tragedy of education, but
shouldn't run the place just for them- no official ever seems to notice. And
selves. Every policy they announce when faculty members begin to nod
seems to have an element of their own their heads and say Hoseas, one won-
self-interest in it. The prestige of the ders what kind of education takes place
university is connected to their own in the bottle that has "It's so because
prestige. There's a commingling of the we say it's so " as a private label on the
place, the office, and the person. But side.

- - - -- - -

I-U

I

rougn
I used to be angry with bottle people,
and I wanted once to smash their bot-
tle worlds and make them look at things
in the clear light of day - to drag them
out of their bottles and in front of a
court perhaps where their nonsense and
arrogance would be quickly exposed.
BUT NOW I see that I too live in a bot-
tle, of cultureand time and place, and
that half the world also passes me by
unnoticed and unseen. So I feel kinder
towards other bottle dwellers. In fact, I
feel sorry for them. They are always
trying to make their bottle walls
thicker, to shut out more and more of
the outside world and to eventually
place a cork over the bottle's mouth. I
spend my time now trying to persuade
them that no human bottle has ever
stood the test of time, and that the
thicker the glass, the more pain and
tragedy people suffer when the bottle is
smashed.
I tell them, yes, everything does seem
to be nicer when you shut out the out-
side world. Things run more smoothly,
and people are quieter and more docile
- while outside the world seems to rage
out of control. But the bottle will break.
Human history is littered with smashed
bottles. All that has survived of the past
is a living skin of common decency and
trust, and even that is shed from time to
time.
Sometimes it's terribly clear looking
in through the walls of the bottle that
students are forgetting what their
parents learned at such tremendous
cost - how to be free, how to govern
themselves, and how to shape their own
worlds. Only passive obedience to
authority is taught within the bottle,
only that the strong make the rules and

to

the bottle people

that the rule-makers are always right.
Human experience is preserved in
books, like pickled embryos, still-born
and unused, while massive studies of
minutia and arcane theories float
around as reality. In the bottle of
forgetting, only peace and quiet are
allowed. All dissent and disorder is
suppressed, and the individuals with
their own histories and personalities
are squeezed out under enormous
pressure into smooth and perfect ball
bearings, to look alike, think alike, and
be alike. And this is terrible too, for
administrators and faculty members,
who, at some time in their lives, will
want to redeem and remember their
humanity.
Yet what is so clear to me, is opaque
to all the people within the bottle. The
bottle walls have changed with time,
letting in less and less light and making
the outside world with all its troubles
and opportunities look even more
distorted and dangerous.
So I speak as kindly as I can, tapping
on the bottle walls, and sometimes I can
see a face pressed against the glass
looking at me - but whether it hears
what I say or not, I don't know. If I
press my ear close to the glass I can
hear that wonderful tinny song that
bottle people sing, "Everything is won-
derful in the bottle." Then the light
changes, the bottle walls mist over, and
a million light years separate me from
those inside. I shrug my green ten-
tacles. I blink my saucer eyes.
Tomorrow I will try again.
Honigman is a University
graduate and an attorney in Sterling
Heights.

I
I

Daily Photo by TOD WOOLF
" ... the bottle will break. Human history is littered with smashed bottles.
All that has survived of the past is a living skin of common decency and
trust, and even that is shed from time to time."

LaBan

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCIV-No. 143

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Push and shove politics

STATE SENATORS have been
playing rough this week, pushing
and shovinig each other over a funny
thing called a tax rollback. The object
of the game, as seen by some senators
in the Republican-controlled Senate, is
to push a plaything called income tax
as far back as possible and as soon as
possible - without concern for how far
it may push the state into the mud. Af-
ter the Senate debate Tuesday, one of
the Republicans leading the shove
back campaign, Sen. Kirby, Holmes,
began huffing and puffing saying that
the final rollback proposal was "not
enough soon enough," and "too little
too late." But the Senate proposal, as
most House Democrats and the gover-
nor can see, is actuallly "more than
deadly enough" and "too much too
fast."
The bill, which must make it through
the House, would drop the state income
tax from 6.1 percent to 5.35 percent on
July 1 and then roll back the rates to 4.6
percent in 1985. This move is not only
"devastating" to higher education, but
it would force cuts in law enforcement
and human services while destroying
the state's credit rating and overall
financial reputation.
Yet one can see why Senator Holmes fin-
ds it necessary to be pushy, afterall, he
got shoved into an office on a wave of
hysteria which thrust two Senate
Democrats out of their seats on the
basis of one vote' - a vote for Gov.
James Blanchard's tax increase which
saved the state and this University

from financial devastation. Senator
Holmes may know little about the
state's fiscal condition, and he may
care little for this University's long-
term health, what he obviously does
know a lot about is political oppor-
tunism. His opportunity arose and he
waded on in. Now he is using scare tac-
tics to convince other senators to
follow his credo of "one vote, one
mouse," as Sen. David Holmes of
Detroit characterized it.
House Democrats will not be so
easily baited by such fears. They will
undoubtably look at the longer term ef-
fects of such a physical (fiscal?) en-
durance test.
Those who believe the Senate's
proposal is fiscally responsible should
recall the state's economic condition
less than two years ago - Michigan
was known as the basket case of the
states. This type of recall thinking
might be more effective. Legislators
can be expected to act more rationally
and thoughtfully when they are not
being tugged and pulled during a game
which could potentially cut and bruise
so many precious sectors of this state.
Governor Blanchard has shown that he is
flexible and is willing to work con-
structively to curb state spending as
long as it doesn't damage the state.
The Senate's muscle flexing might be
impressive to some, but the governor's
plan to accelerate the tax rollback by
three months to 5.35 percent Jan. 1,
1985 will be a less violent approach to
the situation and will insure that there
are fewer casualties.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Code debate raises good legal issues

To the Daily:
First, I find great en-
couragement is seeing so many
people within this University
community discussing issues like
"reasonableness" and "due
process" with regard to the
proposed code of non-academic
conduct.- People have had to
wrestle intellectually, if not
really, with the compromises en-
demic to a system of justice
which attempts to balance the
rights of an accused against the
right of a community to expect
reasonable behavior of its mem-
bers. Debate has focused on
problems such as who should be
responsible to write such a code
and whoshould implement it.
There has been discussion of
what constitutes fair notice as to
what behavior will get one into
trouble with the code and as to
standards of proving alleged
wrongdoing.
If nothing else, all this debate
may have the salutory effect of
educating its participants and
observers in the values of our due
process guarantees within the

proposed code will be amended
sufficiently so as to remove my
many concerns.
I am concerned, for example,
that the code may be used to ad-
dress alleged criminal behavior
while the same behavior also can
be the subject of criminal court
proceedings. This is a form of
"double jeopardy" made all the
more difficult for me to accept
given that one argument that has
been consistently advanced f or
why the University needs a code
is so that the University ad-
ministration can avoid having to
have students prosecuted in
criminal courts with all the con-
sequent potential for a life-
wrecking criminal record. I also
have concerns about the
proposed evidentiary standard
and the standard for the jury to
convict.
Other staff and some members
of the Board of Directors of
Student Legal Services have
detailed areas of concern that
BLOOM COUNTY

they each have with the proposed
code. As an organization, there
has been spirited debate over the
code and we are not of unanimous
opinion on this matter. I cer-
tainly do not presume to speak
for the organization in this letter,
but I do believe that the many
concerns that have come to light
in the weeks of debate over this
issue deserve the careful con-
sideration by students, the ad-
ministration, regents, and all
others in the University com-

munity. At this juncture all of us
need to get beyond the sometimes
heated nature of this debate and
take a dispassionate look at the
real concerns of many sincere in-
dividuals that the proposed code
would not be a positive attribute
of this institution.
--Margaret. Nichols
March 26
Nichols is the director of
Student LegalServices.

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Letters and columns represent the opinions of
the individual author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the attitudes of the Daily. Unsigned
editorials appearing on the left side of this page
represent a majority opinion of the Daily's
Editorial Board.
by Berke Breathed
1 1 Y65 it Y Hy 6,Or YOUR

1 AP 5 7HeJ iANY
CHARNCE IMAT THE

7-rEgATCNC.

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