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December 09, 1984 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-12-09

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0

OPINION
Page 4 Sunday, December 9, 1984 The Michigan Daily

Protesters face tough jail

sentence

41

1l Ar .

I ost students were still in bed Monday
around the crack of dawn when 150 anti-
nuclear protesters gathered outside the gates
of Williams International Corp. in Walled Lake,
the third largest defense contractor in the
state. But the students weren't the only ones
hanging around outside the company's entran-
ce on a cold December morning: About a dozen
police officers were waiting with a paddy
wagon. After the group sang peace songs for
half an hour as the plant's empolyees began to
arrive for work, 13 protesters, including five

University students, stepped onto the firm's
driveway holding two banners and blocking the
entrance. Five minutes later, they were
arrested.
Later that afternoon, however, the three
women and ten men were released from jail
pending their trial Tuesday. At the trial, the
judge found them guilty of violating a circuit
court injunction prohibiting a blockade of the
firm's entrance, but said the protesters could
go home for three days until he formally sen-
tenced them.
Anticipating a jail sentence, some of the
protesters wore old clothing and extra pairs of
socks and underwear to the courtroom. And
some were angry that the whole process had
been so drawn out.
"If (Oakland County Circuit Court Judge
Francis O'Brien) wants to put me in the f-----
jail, why doesn't he just do it?" LSA senior
Maria Ringo asked her friends after the trial.
Finally, the protesters were sentenced
Friday to either life imprisonment or volunteer
work with the Salvation Army until they
promise not to block the plant's gate again.
Only one demonstrator, David Braun of Ann
Arbor Twp., chose the community service. The
rest said they would best serve the community
by staying in jail and protesting the production
of nuclear weapons.
Most people couldn't fathom spending the
rest of their lives in jail, even to protest against

the threat nuclear weapons pose to humanity.
But the protesters aren't yet ready to give in
and promise a judge that they won't block the
plant's entrance again. Some plan to appeal the
judge's sentence, others expect Williams to call
for their release, or some might follow the
example set by Carphon Foltz.
Foltz is a 77-year-old Pontiac man who was
put behind bars on Monday for demonstrating
at Williams for the fourth time this year.
During his time in jail, Foltz consumed so
much spinach that he developed diarrhea.
Prison officials were forced to let him go home.
As Popeye (the fictional cartoon character
who gulps down spinach for strength) would
say: It does the job every time.
An unfulfilled goal
Fourteen years ago, the University made a
commitment: Increase the campus's black
enrollment to 10 percent. Administrators such
as Lee Jones in the dental school were hired to
help schools recruit more black students and
meet that commitment.
But today, Jones is in danger of losing his
position as the dental school's part-time ad-
missions counselor, recruitment officer, and
student advisor.
The reason? Budget cuts. The dental school's
budget priorities committee is facing a $700,000
deficit. And, as a result, it has decided to make
some "difficult decisions" about reducing the
size of that deficit.
So, the school has planned to assign Jones'
job to two dental school faculty members. The
two faculty members will teach full course
loads as well as counsel, recruit, and work on
the retention of black students.
But there's a problem with this reasoning.
Jones, who says he works at the dental school
from 2-6 p.m. every day and often devotes his
weekends to the job, believes that giving his
responsibilities to two full-time faculty mem-
bers will hurt the program since they won't be
able to put in as much time as he has.
Right now, black enrollment at the Dental
School is 6.5 percent. This year's entering class
has a black enrollment of 7 percent. And, the
University still has not reached its 10 percent
commitment.
Controversial commission
Word leaked out last week that the Governor's
Commission on the Future of Higher Education
wants to propose state-wide elections for policy

0

I

Anti-nuclear protesters held banners and formed a human chain last
Monday in an attempt to block the entrance to Williams International

Daily Photo by JEFF SCHRIER
Corp. in Walled Lake. The company is the third largest defense con-
tractor in the state.

boards at the 'big three' universities be
eliminated. Who would appoint regents to
govern the universities if not state citizens?
According to the commission, the governor
would.
Needless to say, this suggestion has many
University Board of Regents members
steaming. Regent Thomas Roach (D-Saline)
says he feels giving the governor such power
would "take away the University's autonomy
that it has enjoyed since 1862."
Regent Gerald Dunn (D-Garden City)
called the proposal "useless" and predicted

that the commission members would remove
the suggestion before it releases its final report
Dec. 13. Apparently, as Dunn noted, this idea
has been recommended in "every major
educational study in the last 20 years" but
never accepted by the members of either of the
political parties.
Though having the governor appoint regents
may not be an original solution to miake univer-
sity board members responsive to their con-
stituents and more knowledgeable about the
functioning and role of a university, the
proposal has stirred up a great amount of con-

troversy.
In the minds of education commission of-
ficials controversy probably spells inevitable
failure. Thus, University regents don't have to
worry about being at the mercy of Gov. James
Blanchard, this suggestion by the commission
probably will be deleted in the final report
issued next week.
The Week in Review was compiled by
Daily editors Georgea Kovanis, Laurie
DeLater, and Jackie Young.

Ii

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 78

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
The Board of Regents:
A real reform 1s needed

TH E THE Governor's Commission
on the Future of Higher
Education is busy proposing changes
in the University Board of Regents, it
should propose some substantive
alterations to insure that the voice of
the University community is represen-
ted on the board.
Whether the regents are appointed
by the governor as the commission
may recommend, or elected state-wide
as they are now, the concerns of
students and faculty will not be
represented without a major reform.
The regents are supposedly respon-
sible to the people of the state and feel
they can use that fact to ignore or
misrepresent the concerns of this
community. In 1982, the regents op-
posed a movement to extend the
University's classified research
guidelines that was supported by the
students, the faculty, and even the ad-
ministration. The University com-
munity deserves to have its ideas
mean something when it comes time
for the regents to vote. Because the
community is so deeply affected by the
regents' actions, it needs to be
represented on the board.
Though the regents are elected by a
state-wide vote, it is hardly a
democratic process. The party leader-
ship determines who gets nominated
and the majority of voters vote on the

basis of party affiliation. In the case of
regents, the "majority vote" is a mask
for those who the heads of the
Democratic and Republican parties
want to see sitting on the board.
The current system is by no means
perfect, but the commission's proposal
to replace the board with an appointed
panel has many weaknesses and would
almost certainly be as unresponsive to
the concerns of the University com-
munity as is the current board. In-
stead of being responsible to the
voters, appointed regents would be
responsible to the governor and would
face a conflict of interest in lobbying
Lansing for increased state aid. The
University should retain its autonomy
and not be, as Regent Thomas Roach
put it, "an agency of the state."
Regardless of the relative merits of
the current system and that proposed
by the commission, the fundamental
lack of University community input
remains. This problem should be ad-
dressed if reforms are going to be
made. The next state election should
include a ballot proposal to amend the
state constitution that provides for
faculty and student seats on the Board
of Regents. Under either system, in-
cluding a faculty member and student
on the board is the only way that the
University community will have its
voice heard.

Banks ch
By Barbara Miner
Just as the new technology has made it
possible to bank from the comfort of one's
home computer, untold thousands are being
forced to forego checking accounts and revert
to cash on the line.
"I closed my account down three years
ago," says Harry Cohen, an 84-year-old
retired policeman here. "I don't want to
stand in line, and they charge so much for
writing checks. I'd rather work with cash"
COHEN IS THE VICTIM of_ the hot-
test trend in banking - service
charges. Across the country, banks are
taking advantage of deregulation and reser-
ving free checking as a privilege for those
able to maintain a minimum balance as
much as $2,000 in some areas. For others, a
checking account often means monthly fees
and charges that can easily add up to more
than $100 a year. For many of them, like
Harry Cohen, it's not worth it.
"For the poor.person, the days are gone
when you could start an account with $10,"
says Dianna Goodwin, 35, who is on public
assistance. "Some banks start with a $500
minimum, and I just don't have that kind of
money."
For low-income people, or anyone living on
a tight budget, the service charges mean
choosing between the convenience of a
checking account or having enough money to
help pay for necessities. In such a situation,
the checking account often goes first. "I
haven't had a bank account in a long, long,
long time," says Mary Sanders, who is also on
public assistance. "Living on the budget I
have, I don't have enough money."
CITIBANK in New York City has been a
pioneer in the field of service charges. It
recently increased its monthly charge up to
$6, and 25 cents a check, unless one maintains
a $2,000 balance. Service improves if one has
more money-a $4,000 minimum buys a
special free checking account that also bears
interest. And those with $25,000 or more on

arge chec
deposit are eligible for priority services that
include special tellers-thus avoiding lines
that can take 20 to 40 minutes-and a "per-
sonal account officer."
But Citibank is not alone. Across the coun-
try, bank service charges more than doubled
from 1978 to 1982, from $4.9 billion to $10.8
billion. Basic banking services for the
average U.S. household, according to
estimates by the House Banking Committee,
jumped from $91.94 a year in 1979 to $187.59 in
1983.
Banks also have instituted a number of
restrictions that tend to affect poor people.
Chemical Bank here in New York, for exam-
ple, will not open a checking account for
anyone without a job. Given continuing high
unemployment rates, particularly in minority
communities, such a policy locks a
significant number of people out of the world
of banking.
OTHER RESTRICTIONS can create a Cat-
ch-22 situation where one has a checking ac-
count but no way to cash a check. Some
banks, for example, refuse to cash two-party
checks unless both have an account at the
branch where the check is to be cashed.
Many banks will not cash a check unless one
has enough money on deposit to cover it.
Lack of money is not the only reason people
avoid checking accounts, of course.
"I'm working off the books, so why do I
need a bank?" says Dan U., a 30-year-old
typesetter who has lived here five years. "I
have not technically made any money in New
York City as far as the government knows."
But even if he were working "on the books,"
he would think twice about going to a bank. "I
simply don't like banks. I don't like the lines,
I don't like people making money off my
money. Also, I don't have enough money set-
ting around in one chunk, so for safe-keeping
purposes, I don't need a bank. And to open a
decent account, well, adequate banking
service is not available without paying a price
for it."
UNFORTUNATELY, life without a

king fees
checking account also carries a price. Using
cash is not always possible or safe. Thus
bank-less people are forced to use money or-
ders-which can cost from $1.50 to $3 each.
And when they receive checks, they must go
to a check-cashing office to get their money.
"The check-cashing place is the nearest
thing to me," says Robinson Clara, 48, who
works for the Board of Education here. "But
it's a problem. They take almost $3 out of my
paycheck to cash it there."
Some people have simply learned to adjust.
But those recently bank-less remember the
days of a checking account as a time of af-
fluence. Perhaps their biggest problem is
fear of robbery. Dan has been mugged of a
total of $450 in five years, for example. Cohen
says he has taken out insurance against theft.
"I also carry a .38 at night, and I don't keep
large amounts of cash at home," he adds.
Others rely on luck. "I haven't gotten robbed
so far-I'm keeping my fingers crossed,"
says Sanders. She adds, as many do,
"Besides, I don't have enough money for
anyone to bother."
The rise in banking charges had led a num-
ber of states to consider legislation to ease the
burden, especially for the young and the
elderly. Massachusetts passed a "lifeline"
bill in October that prohibits banks with state
charters to charge for those over 65 and under
18 years of age. Consumer groups in Califor-
nia are pushing for lifeline services for those
earning $11,000 a year or less. And in New
York, a special banking consumer advocacy
committee is working on lifeline legislation
which will be proposed as a tradeoff for banks
that want to enter the insurance business.
Richard Riley of the New York State
Banking Department expects the committee
recommendations soon. "The banks are get-
ting expanded powers, and we want them to
give something in return," says Riley.
Miner is a free-lance writer based in
New York City. She wrote this article for
the Pacific News Service.

0

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Daily editorial board lacks courage

To the Daily:
Has the Daily lost all courage?
A Daily editorial "Troubled
Advice" (Daily, November 27)
hemmed and hawed about MSA's
continuing inability to distribute
a campus course evaluation
guide on time. The closing sen-
tence-a classic in the Daily's

more shocking still.
Over the past five years, MSA
has forced the student body to
contribute tens of thousands of
dollars to a project of dubious
value which has never really got-
ten off the ground. In those five
years, MSA has trotted out every
nnceivabl e euse In vnin

pathy."
The time for these excuses is
over. MSA and Layman can't get
advice out on time because it is
simply beyond their abilities to
do so. To them, as Layman says,
"Ten grand is nothing." It's fun-
ny money for which they are only
. .:n .. TS -

Since students (quite rightly)
choose to ignore these "gover-
nments" rather than lend them
legitimacy with their votes, the
only system of accountability for
these petty bureaucrats is the
student press. Now, with the
Daily's new "hands off" attitude,
MSA is accountable to no one.
Iln rlaa tinaiin n ;+..;_;:_r[

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