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January 26, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-01-26

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Saturday, January 26, 1985

The Michigan Daily

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The University's motives

4

Vol. XCV, No. 96

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Shuttle secrets

T he rumors about the recent space
shuttle launch are flying faster
than the craft itself. Will it carry a
communications satellite? If so, can
that satellite detect Soviet troop
movements? Will this satellite and
others like it someday serve as an
early warning system for Soviet missile
launchings? Only a few select Defense
Department and administration of-
ficials know the answers to these
questions-and they're not telling.
Thursday's shuttle launch marks the
first secret military shuttle mission in-
to space. It also illustrates that the
Reagan Administration intends to
move the arms race into space. At a
.time when relations between the
United States and the Soviet Union are
particularly tense, the move into space
could be a detrimental step.
The optimistic negotiations between
the two countries at Geneva make the
Reagan Administration appear com-
mitted to peace. Though the talks are
reassuring, when the Pentagon con-
tinues to develop more effective war-

time methods at the same
State Department discusses
defeats the purpose.

time the
peace, it

It is not that the right hand doesn't
know what the left hand is doing but,
more frighteningly, that the ad-
ministration is perfectly aware of
what's going on. It appears President
Ronald Reagan is more committed to
military superiority than he is to
cooperation and negotiation. It is clear
sincere efforts to negotiate with Soviet
leaders will remain at the bottom of
the administrations's priority list for
another four years.
The threat to the Soviet Union posed
by a 5,000-pound intelligence gathering
device orbiting the earth will not go
unnoticed by that country's leaders.
Unless the United States is willing to
back up efforts to negotiate with ac-
tion, relations between the two world
powers will continue to suffer.
Unfortunately, it also means that the
prospects for slowing of the arms race
will continue to decline.

By Robert Honigman
Third in a series offour articles.
During 1977 and 1978, I decided to read the
Michigan Daily from 1958 down to the present
to discover why the University had neglected
student housing. It was like a detective story.
Student housing was the victim, and the
University was obviously the perpetrator -
The Nature
of the
University
but what was the motive, and were there ex-
tenuating circumstances?
As I read the Dailies I noticed one per-
sistent theme: students, and sometimes even
faculty, regularly charged the University
with placing administrative convenience
ahead of social or educational goals. This was
not a canned accusation, but was made by
students or faculty long familiar with some
particular issue and speaking out of personal
experience. For example, when Mary
Markley was opened as a women's dorm, the
University announced that it was rescinding
senior women's right to live in off-campus
housing. This was for their own good, the
University assured them. A few years later
when the University desperately needed
dormitory space for its expanding freshmen
populations, it quietly dropped residency
requirements for first senior, then junior, and
finally sophomore women - and almost
overnight, two major dorms were made co-
ed, so that male freshmen could find extra
accommodations as well, the relaxation of in
loco parentis went smoothly because it was
administratively convenient.
Gradually, from dozens of issues scattered
over time - each significantly different and
isolated from the rest - I gained the im-
pression that every policy of the residence
halls was based in some way on ad-
ministrative convenience and efficiency. The

dormitories seemed to be like giant machines
built around the convenience and safety of its
operators. No wonder, despite decades of
complaint, the University refused to abandon
its pre-paid institutional food system in the
dorms. It was the easiest and most forgiving
kind of food system to operate. There was no
point in making the dorms too comfortable
because space was needed for incoming
freshmen. High turnover made the dorms
easier to run.
Gradually four reasons emerged as to why
the University didn't built adequate housing
to match the expansion of its student
population in the 1960s.
First were the economic benefits which ac-
crued to long-term residents of Ann Arbor
(which included faculty and University of-
ficials). Property values doubled and even
tripled during the 1960s. Property tax revenue
rose as well, enabling Ann Arbor to fund a fir-
st class school system - while high rents ef-
fectively kept lower income families out of
the city and out of its schools. Since students
wre forced to find part-time jobs to pay for
high rents, the city had a good supply of cheap
intelligent labor - and the University as a
major employer benefited from this greatly
as well.
A second reason lay in the academic at-
titudes of the faculty. They believed that a
major research and graduate education
university, such as Michigan, shouldn't be
expanding its undergraduate population. The
College of LS & A in the mid-1960s, in fact,
voted to freeze freshmen enrollment. The
faculty didn't want more undergraduates -
so why build more housing for them?
Moreover, University officials themselves
were actively lobbying during the 1960s and
1970s to get the state to change its funding
methods so that the University would no longer
be so dependent on freshmen and sophomores
for revenue. If successful, it meant that un-
dergraduate populations could be reduced,
and the University could concentrate on a
smaller but better graduate-professional
research university.
A third reason for not building a housing
community for students was political. The
1960s were a time of great student activism -
activism that damaged the reputation of
higher education and caused serious criticism
of the research ethos that dominated major
campuses.
Activism arose out of student communities

- but could be dampened if students were
scattered geographically over a wide area
and were burdened with difficult financial,
transportation, and social problems. Off-
campus housing was a form of Siberian exile
for students in the 1960s.
But probably the most important reason for
not creating and sustaining a student com-
munity was that the University - like other
universities and colleges throughout the
nation - was being operated as a business.
Prsestige supplied the profit motive, and
everything in the University was subor-
dinated to earning prestige.
A business can be an educational experien-
ce. Students can learn good work habits,
technical skills, and how to follow orders. 4
They can enjoy competition and bask in real
world accomplishments.tBut a business is in-
compatible with a community. It has dif-
ferent values and different goals - where one
exists the other cannot.
There is no sound business reason for giving
students good housing or even good classroom
instruction if the money can be better spent
elsewhere - on research and graduate
studies, for example. Only things which help
the University in its competition for prestige
receive top priority funding. Creating a coun- 4
ter-culture, a student community with its own
needs and priorities, would be counter-
productive - like a manufacturing company
encouraging an employee's union.
The principle of the residence halls - that
is, running an institution for the ease and con-
venience of its operators - applies to the
University as a whole.
Prestige is a form of wealth for non-profit
institutions, and the University is as ob-
sessively concerned with accumulating 4
wealth as any business organization.
When I analyzed the role of prestige in the
University, I reached the third level of under-
standing - discovering and tracing the secret
vein of greed that runs through every policy
and value of the institution.
But one troubling problem remained. How
can an institution so corrupt be staffed by
people who are individually kind and sen-
sitive? Why are evil institutions run by good
men and women? That is the most difficult
thing of all to discover.
Honigman, a University graduate, is an4
attorney in Sterling Heights. Tomorrow:
"Students governing quality"

Buckle down

I t will cost twice as much money for
forgetting to wear your seat belt
in Michigan than it does for being
caught with marijuana in Ann Arbor if
a proposal passed by the state senate
passes the House next week.
On Wednesday the Senate voted 25-9
to require Michigan drivers and front
seat passengers to wear seat belts or
pay a fine of $10. The fine would be
raised to $25 next year. That decision
came largely in response to a federal
mandate that requires automobile
manufacturers to install air bags or
similar safety devices in all cars
unless two-thirds of the nation's
population were covered by man-
datory seat belt laws.
There is a fine line that exists bet-
ween proper governmental regulation
of public activities, and interference
with private activities of citizens. The
Senate decision calling for mandatory
seat belts crosses that line.
It is true that seat belts save lives.
The state legislature, however, does

not hold the responsibility to ensure
that individuals heed that good advice.
The state may make information on
the benefits of wearing seat belts
available, but in a country where
rights and freedoms are held sacred,
citizens have a right to ignore that ad-
vice.
In the case of the mandatory seat
belt law, the federal government has
impinged upon the states' rights to
determine their own legislation; and
the state of Michigan has turned
around and impinged upon the right of
private citizens to choose whether to
heed safety precautions.
If the House passes the proposal, as it
is expected to do, the decision will
represent another blow to the freedom
of individuals in Michigan. Those
freedoms must begin with the in-
dividual. Provided a citizen's action
does not interfere with the freedoms of
another, the government does not have
the right to prohibit, restrict; or
regulate that action in any way.

Bering _

I

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y-DoTHAT
...IH EH H EHI..

HI A AILY /?85@
VOO-DOO - THAT YOU DO -"50 WELL
YA' AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!"

I

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Studentsshouldunite against Williams

To the Daily:
I am outraged by Williams In-
ternational's recruiting visit to
our campus on Friday, January
18th. Friday marked the 43rd day
of an indefinite sentence served
by two University students for
blocking the gates at Williams In-
ternational in Walled Lake, the
country's major supplier of
cruise missile engines. Their
nonviolent and momentary

students, Williams is pitting
student against student in a
moral conflict. It is essential that
all students, not just those inter-

viewing through the School of
Engineering, be aware of the
work Williams does, and the
moral implications of that work,

as well as its
fluence on
negotiations.-

destabilizing in-
arms control
--Charlotte Cotter
January 22

BLOOM COUNTY

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