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November 28, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-28

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, November 28, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Blacks and the

corporate personality

4

By Robert Honigrran
The University's failure to achieve a
10 percent black enrollment after more
than a decade of effort is not based so
much on the difficulty of recruiting or
retaining black students, as it is on the
economics and values of the University.
One has only to look at the football and
basketball teams to realize that the
University can recruit and retain black
students when it wants to.
Why then is the University's program
so unsuccessful?
THE OBVIOUS answer is cost. It
costs money to recruit and retain black
athletes, but at least black and white
athletes bring back money at the ticket
office and in alumni donations. Or-
dinary students don't. Although the
black drop-out rate is something like 40
percent compared to a white drop-out
rate of 25 percent, black retention is not
a high priority for the University.
Should the University spend more on
its black students to achieve a 10 per-
cent enrollment both undergraduate
and graduate? Yes, because the
University discriminates against
blacks in at least two major ways. The
firts is in the University's competition
for taxpayer dollars - money spent on
the University is money that is
unavailable for head-start programs,

K-12 education, job training, civil rights
enforcement, etc. As a tax supported
institution, the University's goal should
be to eliminate and reduce racial
inequality rather than to perpetuate it.
To do that it needs to take - out of its
own responsibility - affirmative ac-
tion.
A second major way in which the
University perpetuates racial
discrimination is through its use of
grades and testing to provide job
credentials for its students. Although a
great many studies have shown no
correlation between grade rankings
and later success in life - assuming
that one is qualified to master the basic
material and skills of a profession -
most students, faculty members, and
the public seem to think that test and
grade rankings somehow entitle
students, at the expense of others, to
greater job opportunities and advanced
training.
IN FACT, the people who created and
run the SAT tests have argued that only
minimal scores should be used to set
entrance requirements to colleges and
universities, and that above minimal
entrance scores, other criteria should
be used. Grades themselves are often a
measure of docility and institutional
loyalty since to get high grades a
student is often required to sacrifice
social life, hobbies, leisure-time in-

terests, and recreational time.
Studies have shown that students
with high academic motivation, the so-
called "grinds," get the least out of
their college experience outside of the
classroom - probably because they are
isolated from their peers - and show
the least personality development of
any student group. So the University,

by hiring MBA's and other executive
recruitees based on grade rankings and
advanced degrees which are qualified
by SAT-like tests, Dow is able to ac-
complish the same thing and circum-
vent fair employment laws - thanks to
the University.
EVEN STUDENTS who are
academically bright and successful are

'The University, for reasons of its own, en-
courages a narrow and institutionally
dependent personality ... the G.I. Joes and
Barbie Dolls who populate our singles bars
and corporate offices.'

maternal organization, like the terry
cloth doll in monkey experiments' is a
false parent.
It's sad to see students believe the in-
stitutional line about how bright and
wonderful they are because of the high
grades they get and the good jobs they
line up. They begin to believe that the
world really owes them a good life - as
long as they kiss the institutional boot of
whatever organization they happen to
work for. They become keenly sensitive
to who's getting ahead and who's falling
behind in institutional politics and to
the differences between people -
nuances of complexion, hair style, and
dress - since the institution wants
everyone to be alike. They substitute
mental agility for human relations
whenever thay can - and their human
warmth atrophies behind a plastic per-
sonality. They are the GI Joes and
Barbie Dolls who populate our singles
bars and corporate offices.
The real world is not kind to people
who have been narrowly trained and
taught to expect some kind of reward
for institutional loyalty and obedience,
much less to people who arrogantly
demand it.
The real world is largely non-white,
and even a substantial portion of the
white world - the Communist bloc - is
ready to kill us at the drop of an ICBM.
The soft-sell of the University that hit-

ting the books as hard as you can will
save the world or even your own career,
is the same kind of big-sell that car
companies use to glamorize and sell
their products. It makes the University
wealthy and powerful, selling house- I
broken students to other big in-
stitutions. But white students have
got to grow up and gain a sense of real
connection to the world, hopefully a
friendly connection spent with people
who are different from them in
cooperative activities during their un-
dergraduate years, such as sports,
hobbies, and social events. At the very
least, white students would learn that
the larger world beyond the University
is very different from the University
and plays by a different set of rules. In
my view, for all of its harshness, the
real world is more forgiving and life-
giving than the University, and we all
have the capacity to love and share this
world with people who are different
from us, and to learn and grow from our
differences.
Universities have moral respon-
sibilities that are much more than
being a research institute or an advan-
ced training center. It's time to start
healing some deep wounds in our
society.
Honigman is a University alumni
and an attorney in Sterling Heights.

for reasons of its own, encourages a
narrow and institutionally dependent
personality.
If Dow Chemical were to administer
an SAT-like test to incoming executive
recruitees, and the effect were to weed
out blacks and other minority groups,
the fact that the test is unrelated to job
skills and future potential for success.
would be fatal under present law. But

ill-served by the present system
because it builds up a false sense of self-
confidence and expectations. Reality
will ultimately replace the Nerd per-
sonality with a more realistic and
humane set of values and goals. But
often, for the most idealistic students,
there is a tragic mid-life discovery that
one is still living a childish, in-
stitutionally dependent life where the

gtuenshe hig ant,*
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 68

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Ann Arbor Public Library patrons
will not only have to fear the con-
sequences of speaking too loudly in the
library, but will have to make sure
they don't doze off for over 10 minutes
or exercise "extremely poor personal
hygiene." And, if one patron is caught
sexually harassing another, then
library officials can take action, such
as requesting the offending patron to
leave, revoking library privileges for a
month or even a year. Though they are
somewhat restrictive, the behavior
guidelines adopted this month are not
the product of tyrannical librarians.
Instead, they are logical extensions of
general library etiquette, federal,
state, and local law clearly spelled out.
The need for these rules, as it has been
expressed by library officials, also
points to several problems more com-
plex than library misconduct that this
community should begin to address.
Ramon Hernandez, director of the
library, says that, though his staff
doesn't keep statistics, there is a
general sense that there has been an
increase in behavior problems. An in-
crease in these problems has even
required the library to hire a security
guard for the evening hours. In the
past year, several women have com-
plained of being harassed, one high
school woman was sexually harassed,
and a fight broke out between two
patrons last February. Because there
seems to be a link between an increase
in behavior problems and the winter
weather, the homeless or mentally ill
who lack shelter from the cold are the
ones most easily implicated. The new
rules will help develop standard
procedures for dealing with this type of
library patron, yet another solution is
needed to handle this problem.
What the rules will accomplish is to
allow the library director to call in the

police in a dangerous situation when a
patron fails to obey rules, and to
suspend that person if necessary. If the
situation is not dangerous, but poses a
problem for other library patrons, then
the library official can call Community
Mental Health for advice and aid. This
will take some of the discipline
procedures out of the hands of the
librarian, who is, of course, more in-
terested in helping library users find
the book or magazine they are looking
for.
Potentially, these rules could be used
to discriminate against those patrons
who deviate from the norm. But the
library must present a report on enfor-
cement of the rules to the Ann Arbor
Board of Education and library of-
ficials do not seem to harbor any ill will
specifically directed towards the
homeless population. In fact, the
library has a track record of being ex-
tremely sympathetic to the plight of
the homeless library patron.
A library should be a safe haven
where area residents can go to immer-
se themselves in reading and escape
the often noisy, violent world outside
its doors. The new guidelines are just a
step to insure the library fulfills its
purpose. The difficulties with the men-
tally ill and homeless making the
library their resting place, however,
cannot be solved by limiting their
behavior in our libraries. This problem
requires a more complex solution.
Funding levels for programs to shelter
the homeless have been sinking. This
community should realize the impor-
tance of such programs and under-
stand thatsprivate care or public funds
for these individuals is a more substan-
tial and worthwhile cure to the
problem at hand. The library's
situation is primarily reflecting the
larger issue.

Wasserman
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY
KGB murders don't justify CIA murders

To the Daily:
Imagine yourself as a judge in
a courtroom. A case is brought
before you. A man dressed in a
three piece suit is facing a mur-
der charge. You ask him to make
his plea. He says, "Guilty-but
with an explanation!" You ask
for it. He responds with a short
speech. He says that others are
murdering people too... so it's
okay. He asks why he's being
prosecuted and not the others. In
response you say that the others
aren't here right now, and you
think to yourself that they aren't
even under your jurisdiction.
You are somewhat amazed by
the thrust of his "explanation." It
is clear that it is no explanation.
It is a childish rationalization for
irresponsible thinking and violent
living.
Gerald Eisenhower's letter
"More meaningless Liberal
Platitudes" (Daily, November
27) painted just such a picture.
I'm not thinking of a court of law
so much as I am thinking of
relevance and headedness.
The CIA came to campus, not
the KGB. The CIA, an agency

pus as did the CIA. If they had,
the protest would have been
larger. The KGB and the CIA do
the same thing, it's just that
people have a knack for rooting
for the home team.
Before we call ourselves
liberal, conservative, right, or
left, we should look at ourselves
as individuals. Rather than
choose a rhetorical stereotype to
model ourselves after, we should
examine how we think and what

we feel. I, myself, have decided
that I'm tired of superpowers
that are so caught up with their
self importance that they treat
smaller countries, especially
troubled third world nations, like
pawns on a chessboard. It's
people's lives, yours, mine, and
theirs-not a game.
This is not a rightist or a leftists
attitude. I think it's a choice of
life and death. I live in the United
States. People are being

needlessly tortured and killed so
that I, I'm told, can live here. The
domino theory was just a
rationalization. I thought we
learned that years ago. I am
American, so is the CIA. I will
not pull back my accusing arm,
or not cry "murderer" in respon-
se to the whining cry "BUT
THEY DO IT TOO!"
-Eric Goldstein
November 27

Daily concerned with cracking Reagan

T4.
t
tN- QI K; , +

To the Daily:
The editorial "Politics of the
game" (Daily, Nov. 17) proves
that the only thing the Daily is
concerned with is cracking at
President Ronald Reagan. Only
the Daily could find a way to
equate college football rivalry
with international politics. Your
editorial proves only one thing:
the editors' inability to com-
prehend politics and life in
BLOOM COUNTI
I 11F

general.
The Daily starts by condoning
the Michigan-Ohio blood drive,
and finishes by denouncing the
president and his policies. The
ignorance of the Daily is
beautifully portrayed by the
statements about diplomatic
relations. How could any sane
person believe that a president
would confront the Russians and
say, "Anything to kick Russia's
butt is a good thing to do." How

could they even think that a
highly competent politician like
George Bush would use the same
language in a friendly relaxed
atmosphere as he would use in 0
diplomatic situation.
It is just this sort of mentality
that makes the Daily what it is: a
publication dedicated to misin-
forming the students at the
University.
-Eddie Mehrfar
November 17
by Berke Breathed

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