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October 03, 1984 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-10-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4

OPINION

Page 4 Wednesday, October 3, 1984 The Michigan Daily

Torn between action and distraction

4
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By Cheryl Baacke
Friday night some friends and I were
sitting in our living room trying to find
a party or something to do that evening.
There wasn't much going on so it took a
while to come up with anything.
"If we'd been here fifteen years ago,
we'd all be sitting around smoking
pot.",
"Yeah, wow, I would have been four
years old."
EXACTLY. Fifteen. years ago,
almost every undergraduate at this
University was younger than seven
years old. So why are students today
almost obsessed with the way things
were then? The Big Chill, a story of
seven University alumni who were here
at the height of student activism, was
probably the most popular film on
campus last year. And just about
every party you've attended since
school started this term has featured
music from the early Jacksons, the
Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and the Tem-
ptations.
In some contorted way, all of us seem
be wishing for the early '70s to return.
It must have been such a glamorous
time - marches in Washington, class
boycotts, hunger strikes. But actually,
students today seem to be more ob-
sessed with what people were like then,
than with what they did then.
If we had been here fifteen years ago,
not only would my friends and I have
been sitting around smoking pot, we
would probably. have been involved in
the sit-in which resulted in a non-profit
bookstore for students, or discussing a
plan of action for forcing the University
to increase black enrollment.
BUT INSTEAD of doing any of those
things, we went to happy hour at the

From Deadheads...

major in philosophy and English -
traditionally "unmarketable" fields -
enjoy what's going on in Ann Arbor, and
take a job for less than $20,000 a year
before deciding that an M.B.A. is the
only course of action that could possibly
make you happy for the rest of your
life? Interviewing for jobs in the junior
year, worrying about the perfect
resume, and reading volumes about the
best law schools on the Eastern
Seaboard takes time away from too
many other things - like smoking pot
and drinking and organizing protests, to
the pursuit of classic knowledge and
simply having fun.
In the course of the discussion, one of
my friends said, "We're the envy of the
world. Here we are at a Big Ten school,
it's a Friday night, we have money in
our pockets, but we can't find anything
to do."
It is a privilege to be at Michigan. All
through junior high and high school we
followed the football team on national
television, even staying through half-
times to watch the five-minute profiles
on the school. We couldn't wait to get
there, where we actually could sit in
Michigan Stadium and walk through
the ivy-covered law quadrangle - just
to be part of the whole college at-
mosphere.
WELL, NOW we're here. And now we
watch the six o'clock news saying, I
can't wait until I'm that established
lawyer running for public office, or in-
vestment analyst on Wall Street, or
physician isolating a virus strain.
Certainly it's wonderful to have high
aspirations. And no one can argue the
fact that the tail end of the baby
boomers must work hard to get even to
the middle, let alone to the top.
The problem isn't that people are

more unaware of what's going around
them than students were in the '70s.
Most students have heard of . the
proposed code of conduct, and everyone
is quick to offer their opinions of what is
wrong with the University. But it's dif-
ficult to live in a society where people
are thinking about careers at such a
young age. It's hard to set priorities, or
do anything well, if while you're
studying you feel like you should be
gaining experience with a part time
job, or if while you're working you feel
you should be studying to bring up your
grade point average.
Remembering the protests of the '70s
or wondering what life will be like in

Baacke is a Daily managing editor.

4

another 20 years is important from a;
historical point of view, but those things
interfere too often with things that
could be accomplished today - like
having fun or protesting the code.
Maybe people in the '70s sat around,
every weekend wondering what to do.
We'll of course never know because we
weren't there. But what happens when
these future doctors, lawyers, and
bankers decide they wish they were
back in college ... you know, the good
old days when there was nothing to
worry about but what to do on a Friday
night?

Holiday Inn and discussed what kind of
drinks help make the right impression
when you go out for a business lunch.
We weren't worrying about what's
going on at our campus right now - the
fact that the University still hasn't met
the quota for black enrollment, the
danger that the Voter's Choice proposal
might pass and cause our tuition to
skyrocket in the middle of the term, or
the fact that the administration and
regents are oil the brink of adopting a
student code of conduct with virtually
no student input. Instead we talked
about how much money we could make
someday, what it takes to "make it to
the top," and how to impress prospec-
tive employers.
Not only did our discussion center
around the professional world, it was
also conducted in a place frequented

not by throwbacks to the flower
children of the '70s, but by yuppies who
are notoriously interested only in clim-
bing the corporate ladder and knowing
the proper time to drink Perrier as op-
posed to California Coolers.
The point isn't that students should
necessarily go back to the age of
protests, standing up for anything that
resembles a "cause". The point is that
students are caught between yearning
for the return of those days of protest
and planning for their futures as
executives.
ENJOYING drinks at a semi-elite
restaurant and talking about which
graduate schools are "the place to be"
points to the fact that students today
are so concerned about their futures
they don't have time to think about the
present. Why would it be so bad to

4

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... to pre-meds. Are students out of touch with their radical roots, or is the
rebellion of youth only hidden behind a veneer of professionalism?

I

Wasserman

0ie 3diiqat ldatlyi
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

4

Vol. XCV, No. 24

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent amajority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Coming down on apartheid

ARVARD University decided
Monday that it will keep stock in
companies doing business in racist
South Africa. Although the University
resolved to urge the companies to op-
pose laws restricting where nonwhites
may live and work in the apartheid
nation, this social statement isn't loud
enough. Educational institutions, just
governments, and fair people do not do
business with racist regimes. And in-
deed it is the responsibility of those
who can see the tyranny of racism
from their ivory towers to shout in
protest.
On April 14, 1983 this University
listened to the voices of students
shouting from their towers and the
Board of Regents voted to sell about 90.
percent of the stocks in companies with
apartheid connections. This too,
however, was not enough. Although
the University divested of those stocks
last June, it still retains stock in five
companies because they do a
significant amount of business in the
state of Michigan. Whether or not
those companies employ large num-
bers of state citizens should not be the
issue. The moral values that this
university and others stand for - the
foundation of the ivory towers-are
endangered by supporting directly or
indirectly such corrupt principles.
It doesn't seem inappropriate or

unreasonable that university presiden-
ts, faculty and administrators-as
representatives of a community which
believes in equality of all
poeple-should do all they can to stand
behind the values they try to teach
students in the classroom. Why is it
this University hold on to those tainted
stocks and President Harold Shapiro
hides within his tower, refusing to take
concrete action?
It is apparently because Shapiro is
not alone in seeking shelter. Derek
Bok, president of Harvard University,
said in a statement accompanying
Harvard's decision not to divest of the
stocks, "Much as I oppose apartheid, I
strongly believe that universities
should not attempt to use their power
.to press their political and economic
views on other organizations and in-
dividuals beyond the campus." Such a
statement could just as easily have
come from President Shapiro. Such a
belief is rooted in hypocrisy and un-
dermines the very integrity of the U.S.
educational institution.
This university and Harvard
University are letting their students
down by refusing to stand up for im-
portant principles and worst of all
neglecting to act upon them. After all,
what good is the ivory tower to society
if its occupants refuse to leave it even
for the most pressing cause?

'JIrMAwY GARTER
OVER THE~
OF NAERICA.?
-- -
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NEY- \WNT
CMU V/OUDo??~

Q.
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY

{

Educationalpriorities from the student

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t aicAT -it) "ET WKI Nu 0
GRctO IF IT ML U WAR?
MUT EN WWWA

To the Daily;
In his haste to become a Pied
Piper of undergraduate unrest,
Robert Honigman in "The shor-
tchanging of the undergrad"
(Daily, Sept. 28) neglects some
important facts. For example, he
does not mention that a
significant amount of the cost
discrepancy between fresh-
man/sophomore courses and
graduate level courses can be ac-
counted for by recognizing that
graduate student instructors -
the recipients of those assistan-
tships that Honigman seems to
resent as an unnecessary luxury
- teach large class sections in
underclass courses at a cost to
the university that is a mere frac-
tion of the cost of maintaining a
faculty large enough to carry the
entire teaching load. Without the

available to the students, and is
in fact incapable of an objective
evaluation of the same. It hap-
pens that, along with its'
reputation for quality scholar-
ship, the University is known
throughout the academic com-
munity as a school where
"teaching counts." There is
really no question, then, that the
University faculty is committed
to the importance of quality in-
struction..
The question that should be
asked instead is whether that
commitment is being matched by
an equal commitment to learning
by the students. Merely deciding
to attend a university with a
prestigious name and
reputation for academic ex-
BLOOM COUNTY

cellence is not enough - the
responsibility for earning an
education falls upon each in-
dividual, alone, and requires that
he/she make a lasting commit-
ment to certain- standards and
sacrifices.
Judging from Andrew Har-
tman's editorial "The need to
crack down on cheating" (Daily,
Sept. 28) it is not at all clear that
much of the undergraduate
community has demonstrated
this responsibility. Perhaps a
closer examination by Honigman
and his would-be followers of the
meaning of education and the
processes by which learning and
discovery take place is in order -
small classes and personal atten-
tion from faculty members are

nice, but they are far from a
panacea from the host of
problems that arise from a
failure to realize that education is
an opportunity, never a right, and
that it is up to each student to
take full advantage of that oppor-
tunity.
Before Honigman and the
"shortchanged" students he
speaks to call for a change in the
University's priorities, they
should consider some changes in
their own priorities that would
make them true participants in
and beneficiaries of the academic
community that the University is
trying to create and to maintain.
- Loren Butler
October 2
by Berke Breathed

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