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September 29, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-29

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, September 29, 1984

The Michigan Daily

4

The University's interest before

justice

Y

By David Holtzman
The University of Michigan, in its un-
stoppable rush to adopt a conduct code
and start a court system, is disregarding
what ,Americans call injustice as it
pursues its own interests. The code
should serve justice, but the University
has a reputation to protect.
The American conception of justice is
a well-known combination of penalties,
procedures, deterrence, and safeguar-
ds; when there is justice, we can sleep
at night. Our moral sense would like
codes of conduct to be motivated by
justice. If we look at the code, as it now
stands, to see what the Regents and the
administration have in mind, we do not
find justice at the top of their priority
list; we find more selfish concerns.
Fortunately, there is still time for
change.
IN A LETTER to the Daily on March
30, Student Legal Services director
Margaret Nichols mentioned the
argument (not hers) that "the Univer-
sity needs a code. . . so that the
University administration can avoid
having to have students prosecuted in
criminal courts with all the consequent
potential for a life-wrecking criminal
record."
Why should the University ad-
ministration care? It's obvious: A
criminal prosecution doesn't just hurt
the arrested student; it reflects badly
on the University. A university usually
wants to keep its students out of real-
world court. Is doing so just or proper?
No. The university may be helping
students get away with crimes. Would
the proposed code allow that to happen?
Yes, very often.
I was an undergrad at Princeton
University and am familiar with the

operation of its "code." Princeton ad-
ministrators would readily admit that
their disciplinary system assured the
local police that "problems" with
students were being "handled" by the
university. They were pleased to keep
police off campus.
STUDENTS, then, could get drunk
and get into brawls or break windows
and street lamps or harass minorities
with little fear of a criminal record. The.
code seemed to protect vandals and
other evildoers of the drunken asshole
variety. If you think you might slip one
day and fall into a drunkenm asshole
mode, you should support the proposed
code.
A code shifts the focus of attention
from the courts to the university justice
system. After some intoxicated studen-
ts in Princeton's (club-license) Pub
harassed and threw things at a group of
gays, most of the news was about what
sort of penalty the University might
dlish out to the offenders. That penalty
would be issued quickly, although not
publicly. To students, it assumed more
importance than a real-world sentence
would have.
Why? Students may not admit it, but
they cherish their relationship with
their university. Their school provides
them with an education and a
reputation to use even long after
graduation. In appreciation of that, and
to maintain or enhance their alma
mater's reputation, many alumni
voluntarily give money and other gifts
to their school. Furthermore, alumni
and current students alike give great
weight to the institutional decisions of
their university.
TO A STUDENT, it comes as quite a
blow when his or her school acts in
violation of his or her moral standards.
A student may go as far as to publicly

protest university actions, as did the
students in last year's lab sit-in. It
doubles the blow to find one's self, along
with one's morals, in direct conflict
with the university.
Yet as a university effects a code of
conduct to avoid what it perceives as
damaging publicity, it thrusts itself into
an adverse relationship with many of
its students. Lots of students approach
college with the ideal that their school
will be a starting point and a training
ground for their efforts at positive
social change. Likewise, there is a
common attitude that drug use is a

University President would select
eligible members from lists provided
by student and faculty politicos and
the Vice President for Student Services.
Many faculty members play politico
because they think it will help them get
tenure. I need not mention how many
MSA members go to law school. These
people are institutionally likely to con-
sider their own interests, and Univer-
sity interests, when they render
"justice." You might say "these people
are the most likely to 'sell out' to the
University."
At Princeton; no one on the judicial

'A criminal prosecution doesn't just hurt
the arrested student, it reflects badly on the
University ... The University might be
helping students get away with crimes.
Would the proposed code allow that to hap-
pen? Yes, very often.'

a matter of public record. The Univer-
sity should let the accused, the charges,
and the determination to be known. To
do otherwise would not serve justice; it
would obstruct justice.
THAT A University keeps its
disciplinary determinations to itself
does not mean that those deter-
minations cannot be the subject of cour-
troom interrogations: "Ah, Mr. Holt-
zman, are you still a student at the
University of Michigan? No? Why
not?" For this reason, during my
freshman year, 250 or more students (a
large turnout at Princeton) came out
for a demonstration requesting that
Princeton postpone its disciplinary
hearings for several students arrested
in a drug bust until after their "real
world" trials.
Perhaps the University should post-
pone its disciplinary hearings when
other trials are pending. The standards
of evidence required by the proposed
code would convict a student who is not
guilty and prejuctice his or her sub-
sequent legal proceedings. This could
also work the other way around. Lack
of action by the University could be in-
terpreted as a sign of innocence. Either
way, when a trial is also pending, the
University can no longer keep the rest.
of the world from knowing about the
alleged infraction, so the primary goal
of the powers-that-be has already been
frustrated.
Sexual harassment is one area in
which backers of the code promise
justice. But once again, the University
may be creating the appearance of
"handling" the problem, and really not
dealing with it. Even with the proposed
loose rules of evidence it would be hard
to prove violations.
What is most important in a sexual
harassment policy is having

procedures which allow victims to ap-
proach friendly counselors and
authorities in confidence, without filing
charges. Then let the authorities
privately "suggest" to apparent offen-
ders what they must do in order to
avoid even the appearance of
harassment. Formal charges and ac-
tion must, of course, always be a
possibility. This is the gist of a Prin-
cetonian policy which, as a politico, I
helped pass.
Justice is very elusive where
harassment is concerned. It is hard
enough to define sexual harassment,
much less reach disciplinary con-
clusions. One should be skeptical of any
claim that the code will be a panacea
for this problem. Here, a victim and the
University may have a similar desire to
minimize publicity about the case. Un-
der the proposed judicial system, the
harassment may unfortunately con-
tinue, as the stiff, impersonal for-
malities of the code deter the victim
from taking any action.
As it stands now, the code would
create a judicial system run by people
predisposed to sell out to the ad-
ministration. The system would then
act mainly to limit publicity that might
damage the administration's and Univer-
sity's interests. The system would
thereby obstruct, rather than provide,
justice.
The interests and priorities of the
Regents and the administration can be
seen by examining the code. If they put
justice at the top of their priority list,
we will see some significant changes.
Holtzman served on the rule-
making council of the Princeton
University cormunity in 1981. He is
currently a second year student in
the School of Public Health.

natural, manageable part of college
life. But the proposed code is most
likely to be harsh on demonstrators and
drug traders, and indeed on anyone who
might create what the powers-that-be
at the University perceive to be bad
publicity.
What are these powers-that-be at the
University, and who would have power
under the code? How would the code
allow these people to serve the Univer-
sity, and not serve justice?
THE PROPOSED Hearing Boards
would consist of recommendation
hounds and resume builders. The

committee is allowed to hold any elec-
ted office. Michigan should go further
and explicitly prohibit Hearing Board
members from receiving recommen-
dations (for jobs or graduate school)
related to their judicial work or listing
that work on their resume.
At Princeton, results of disciplinary
hearings are not supposed to be made
public, supposedly in order to protect
the judged student, but likely also in or-
der to minimize publicity about
"trouble at the University." One of the
best, most effective parts of real
American justice, however, is that it is

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 21

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Stalling on civil rights

i

Cramer.
YOUR ?NEGO1?AnONS WILL END TJHE O MoWILW ACALN Yoo WILL
ARM5 RACFTTIE ECNOMY WILLMOW AIN.Y WL
BE STRONGER THAN EYER! MW WILD ;INVADE NICARAGUA! 7JE
STOP POLLJTIOH! bU WILL FiCTIT:; l bEI( WILL KILL TE ECOIOIY..
FDR WOMENeS' IGTS...

The percentage of women enrolling
in medical schools across the
country has tripled over the past 15
years and the number of first-year
minority students in medical schools
has doubled in the past decade, accor-
ding to an American Medical
Association study. These advances for
women and minorities could all too
quickly disappear if the current
regressive climate for civil rights is
allowed to continue.
The Civil Rights Act of 1984, which
the U.S. Senate voted to consider Thur-
sday, would insure that recent advan-
ces are not lost. The House passed this
bill 375 to 32 last June, and time is run-
ning out in the Senate as Congress
plans to adjourn Oct. 5.
The civil rights bill is opposed by the
Reagan Justice Department, even
though it has 63 co-sponsors in the
Senate, including strong support from
members of both parties. Bob Pack-
woodbR-Oregon), who sponsored the
bill, implied that he didn't think the
measure would pass because of the few
days left before session ends. This is
no excuse.
This legislation is not an
enlargement of federal power, as the
Justice Department officials claim.
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Instead, the bill would restore the laws
against sex discrimination, and by im-
plication those related laws preventing
discrimination by race, age, and
physical handicap, to their full power.
Last February, the Supreme Court
struck a blow to these crucial laws
when they ruled that an institution
receiving federal funds must comply in
one department and yet can
discriminate in others. This went
against two decades of U.S. ad-
ministrations, Republican and
Democratic, forbidding the gover-
nment, and thus taxpayers, to directly
or indirectly finance bias.
. If President Reagan wishes to prove
that he supports fair and equitable
laws, as opposed to those based on
regressive civil rights policies, he
should sign the bill which also includes
a necessary emergency spending
measure, and a crime-fighting
measure that the president himself has
been pushing.
Minorities and women, as well as the
handicapped and the elderly, are just
beginning to make some important ad-
vances, as this week's AMA study
shows. Passage of the Civil Rights Act
of 1984 would make certain that one
administration will not destroy
decades of struggle for civil rights.

MIN G L
LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Leiter
To the Daily:
Who is Brian Leiter and why is
he so upset? "That Malasie
called conservatism" (Daily,
September 13). Judging by his
essays, you'd think that all of us
"functional illiterates" who sup-
port capitalism had burned down

's intellectual intolerance

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his house or something. Just look
at the words he uses to describe
conservatives and capitalism:
"pathological", "frightening",
''diseased'', ''vicious'',
"shameless distortion of
reality", and "mythology".
Leiter can't make up his mind
as to the scope of the enemy. At
one point it's "rich, white,
Christian men". At another point
it's liberatarians who wish to
eliminate the welfare state. At
another point it's conservatism
and Ronald Reagan. And at yet

wrong. What an awful reason for
holding to an analogy-because
you think it's right! Shame.
Shame. Shame. I've never heard
of a liberal who thought he was
right.
Leiter blasts material greed. I
assume he's in law school for
idealistic reasons. Heaven forbid
that he's aware that lawyers
make lots of money.
Leiter says that "few scholars
attempt to adhere to a conser-
vative ideology." Perhaps he's
reading the wrong journals.
Leiter is very concerned with
collective intellectual
opinion-we all know that in-{
tellectuals know everything and
that we the people know nothing.
In Leiter's eyes, anybody who
BLOOM COUNTY

is suckered in by the concept of
economic freedom manifested in
capitalism is an idiot. If intellec-
tualism is defined by Leiter's
ramblings, then I'm proud to be a
moron. Of course, isn't Brian's
claim of intellectual superiority
just a wee bit elitist (and ironic,
considering his denunciations of
elitism)?
If the electorate doesn't agree
with Leiter, he says it's not
because they sincerely believe
someone else, but because the
masses are "functional
illiterates". Brian's right. Me
and most of my University frien-
ds can't read or write too good.
Therefore, we can't comprehend
Leiter's article. Thus, we can't be
swayed by his brilliant argumen-

ts. Therefore nobody will be per-
suaded by his piece, which makes
me wonder why the hell he wrote
it in the first place.
The cartoon condeming in-
tolerances was ideally jux-
taposed. Leiter's article is a per-
fect example of intellectual in-
tolerance.
Leiter makes one relevant
statement: "All one need believe
is that, at any given time, some
descriptions are more useful and
pertinent than some others. That
one can discern between the
somewhat-moderately-credible
and the ridiculous."
I agree. That's why nobody's
listening to you, Brian.
-Steve Angelotti
September 13
by Berke Breathed
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