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February 06, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-06

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,4

OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, February 6, 1985 The Michigan Daily

4

Edite anichigan ui
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 105

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Privacy upheld

T HE MICHIGAN Supreme Court
last week upheld the state's law
which protects rape victims from in-
terrogation about their personal lives.
In the state where shield laws of this
type were pioneered, it is comforting to
know their merits are still valued.
Two cases brought before the court
recently challenged the extent to which
a rape victim's personal life can be
discussed and evaluated during a trial.
In both cases, convicted rapists ap-
pealed to the Supreme Court based on
their victims' alleged prior sexual ac-
tivities. Attorneys for the defense
claimed that the sexual histories, if
reviewed by the court, would have im-
plied the victims' consent to the violent
acts.
The high court ruled against admit-
ting the new evidence, saying that the
victims' past sexual conduct "when of-
fered to prove that the conduct at issue
was consensual or for general im-
peachment purposes is inadmissable."
The rulings were in accordance with
Michigan law, which prohibits courts
from accepting "evidence of specific
instances of the victim's sexual con-
duct, and reputation evidence of the
victim's sexual conduct." This

legislation, signed into law by Gov.
William Milliken on August 12, 1974,
was a breakthrough for the growing
number of people victimized by rape
each year. It was the first such ex-
clusionary ruling in the United States.
Under previous statutes, the past
sexual conduct of the victim was con-
sidered relevant on two issues: consent
and credibility. Attorneys could cross-
examine victims of sexual assault to
determine that, based on their sexual
history, they were likely to have con-
sented to the act of the aggressor. A
victim's credibility as a witness could
also be questioned if previous sexual
experiences proved that she was
"promiscuous" and thus a likely can-
didate for a rapist.
The likelihood a given person will
become a rape victim has absolutely
nothing to do with that person's sexual
preferences, past experiences, or
promiscuity. Rape is a form of violent
assault which can affect anyone at
any time. The precedent set by these
cases should be applauded. Not only do
they reaffirm a pioneering statute,
they also represent a step forward in
the continued struggle for security
from violent sexual assault.

The draft
Paul Jacob, a member of the Liber-
tarian Party and an opponent of draft
registration, was arrested by FBI agents
last December and charged with
"willfully failing to register." His trial
was originally scheduled for January 24
but has now been postponed until May 6.
Last week, Jacob addressed a meeting of
the Ann Arbor Libertarian League at
Angell Hall, and sat down afterwards
with Jerry Markon to explain his feelings
about registration and the draft. The
following conversation is the first of a
two-part series.
Dialoguev.
Daily: How can you be a draft resister if
there's no draft in the United States right
now?
Jacob: Well, there is registration for a
draft. That's what registration is-it's
preparation for a draft in a couple of different
ways. Most importantly, you can't have a
draft unless you have a list of people to send
draft notices to. Draft registration is the only
thing that fulfills this purpose. It takes them
from beingcompletely unprepared for a draft
to being ready to send out induction notices.
This country had a peacetime draft starting
in 1940, and it continued to have a draft after
the war until it was ended by the Vietnam
War in 1974. That points to the fact that not
only when you have registration do you end up
having a draft, but when you have a draft, you
end up having wars. Always, historically,
that's been the case.
D: What are your feelings about war? Are
you opposed to the general philosophy of
nations fighting each other to resolve their
differences?
J: I think that to fight and kill and see
thousands of young people die-you don't
want to do that unless you're defending your
life or your freedoms from obvious assault.
You don't want to travel halfway around the
world to get yourself killed. I'm opposed to
any war that's not fought for self-defense. In
other words, when we travel to Vietnam to
fight a war, I'm opposed to that. We're not
defending our country, we're invading
Markon is a Daily staff writer. Part two
of his conversation with Jacob will appear
tomorrow.

: A fight)
another one. When we send troops to
Greneda, when we send troops to Lebanon,
when we commit ourselves to defend Europe,
and Israel, and the Middle East, and South
Korea, and on and on, I'm opposed to that.
I'm not opposed to war per se. If we are at-
tacked and it's a just cause then I would go
and I would fight. I believe in the right of self-
defense. I'm not a pacifist. I'm an objector,
not so much to war but to the draft, which I
think is slavery, and to the types of wars that
the draft causes.
D: Why do you think the draft is slavery?
J: You're enslaved to the government. It's
forced military service. It's forced labor.
You're taken away from your home and your
family, and put under a different code of
justice. Military justice is much different and
much less free than regular American
justice. You're working for someone you
haven't voluntarily said you'd work for, and
you're doing it 24 hours a day. You're being
indoctrinated. It's slavery in the same sense
as slaves on the plantations in the South-the
only difference is that your master is dif-
ferent and your type of work is different.
D: If the United States had no peacetime
registration or draft, how could the country
defend itself with people coming in right off
the street with no military training?
J: I think that a draft is completely unnec-
cessary for the defense of this country. There
is no threat of thousands of enemy soldiers
landing on our shores, and that's what you
need a draft to defend against. If the Soviets
launched a nuclear attack, then if you have 80
million draftees, that's not going to help any.
The draft has been used not to defend this
country, but to send people to conflicts that
the vast majority of Americans have found to
be unjust, senseless wars. I think that the only
time the draft becomes more effective for
those in power is when they're fighting a war
that's unpopular, far off, and that people are
unwilling to volunteer for. If we get involved
in another Vietnam-style war, then they're
going to need a draft because they won' have
the soldiers to go fight, and that's when they
shouldn't have the soldiers to fight. In other
words, I think that individual choice-people
being allowed to decide that this is a just war,
I will fight it; this is an unjust war, I will
not-will stop the people in power from
thinking they can launch off into a war
anywhere in the world. What you also have to
realize is that those people who register don't
know anything about military training
anyway. The studies that have been done have
shown that advance registration saves at
most a few days. Anyway, the first 6 months
would be fought with people already in the
army.
D: But most experts think that a conven-

or choice
tional war today, at least with the Soviet
Union, might involve a quick Soviet thrust in-
to Western Europe that might be over in a few
days.
j: If the war is over that fast, then draft
registration would have no effect. The Selec-
tive Service says they can put people into the
army in 13 days, then it takes 6 weeks for
them to train those people. If we are attacked
in a lightening surprise-attack like Pearl
Harbor, I think there would be millions of
men enlisting within 13 days. That's exactly
what happened with Pearl Harbor, and I think
it would happen again. I think that anybody
who is afraid we won't get enough people to
defend this country has a view of young
people that is insulting and just degrading,
because they view us as a bunch of cowards
and we're not! We will defend this country if
it's attacked, but what we are arguing against
is being forced to fight in wars that we think
are unjust. If I think a war is just, I still don't
want to force someone who doesn't to fight in
it.
D: You said that you don't think we should
commit ourselves to defend Europe and the
other places where our troops are stationed.
Do you think, then, that the perceived Soviet
threat against these countries as well as
against the United States is a myth?
J: The first thing I would point out is that
the Soviet Union uses a draft, as do almost all
communist countries and military dictator-
ships. Surprisingly, some of the penalties that
draft resisters get in the Soviet Union are less
than in the United States. A lot in the Soviet
Union get sentenced to like 6 months in jail
and so on, while Ben Sophner, the first draft
resister indicted here since Vietnam, was
sentenced to 2 and a half years. The Soviet
Union, I think is a tremendous threat to
Afganistan, to the countries that they border,
and to the people undeF them- their own
citizens-and I'm afraid of that threat for
those people, but I don't think they're a threat
to invade our country. There is a nuclear
threat,but they're just not a threat to come
over and occupy this country.Militarily,
that's just not feasible.
D: What about our alliance with NATO?
J : I think our alliance with NATO would
tend to drag us into a nuclear war because we
have committed ourselves to launching a 4
nuclear war if the Soviets invade Western
Europe. I think it also allows Western
Europeans to pretend that they're well-
defended because they've got us pretty much
saying "hey, we'll do whatever's necessary."-
But I don't think when it comes down to it that
the American people are willing to do
whatever's necessary-to launch a nuclear
war, or to send thousands of Americans over
there to be killed. I think that the sooner we
make Western Europe defend itself then the
sooner they'll be on stable footing.

Good Morning

YOU HAVE TO get up pretty early
in the morning to fool Mother
Nature, and Associate LSA Dean
James Cather wants to do just that.
Under a proposal Cather outlined at
this week's LSA faculty meeting, star-
ting times for classes on Central Cam-
pus would start one half-hour earlier.
Although it would apply only to LSA
classes, the time change would un-
doubtedly force the other colleges on
Central and North Campuses to adjust
their schedules.
Cather's goal is to save money. The
buildings must be heated up to a com-
fortable temperature by 8 a.m., when
the faculty and staff begin work. Very
few classes meet between 8and 9 a.m.,
but after 9-a.m. over 90 percent of the
classroom space is used.
The new plan calls for classes to
begin at 8:30 so that the last classes of
the day would be over by 4:30 p.m.
That would allow the University to turn

down the heat 30 minutes earlier,
resulting in hundreds of thousands of
dollars in energy savings, according to
Cather. The early morning class
schedule would be changed to avoid
7:30 a.m. classes.
The change would necessitate a
similar change in the North Campus
class schedule because classes have
different starting times to allow for
travel between the campuses.
Students seem receptive to the idea,
although after a long night of studying
or drinking every extra minute of sleep
is valuable.
A half-hour sleep is a reasonable
donation if it will held hold down the
University's utility costs and conserve
energy. The change would not be im-
plemented until 1986, and there is a
great deal of research to be done
before the schedule is changed. But if
such a change can be worked out and
will actually save money and energy,
it's a good idea.

Letters
Humanities dept. deserves due credit

.406

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To the Daily:
As a former Daily reporter and
editor and as a faculty member of
the College of Engineering's
Humanities Program, I read
your long article, "Engineering
Humanities: Moving to LS&A,",.
(Daily, January 24) with un-
common interest. There were,
however, several misunderstan-
dings and omissions in the article
I would like to bring to your at-
tention.
One of the most misleading
statements in the article appears
early: "A review committee ap-
pointed by the engineering
humanities department
originally recommended the
department's elimination in April
of 1983." A reporter who would
write that sentence-and a night
editor who would allow it to ap-
pear in print-obviously know lit-
tle about a series of major news
events that have occurred over
the past several years at the
University. I refer to the review
process -that eliminated the
Geography Department, has
made major reductions in the
School of Education, not to men-
tion Natural Resources and the
School of Art. A basic element of
the review process is that the
review committees are not ap-
pointed by the units being
reviewed.
An important point omitted
from the article concerns the
original charge to the committee
reviewing theumanities Depar-
tment. The review committee
was not asked in its initial charge
to assess the strengths and
weaknesses of the department.
Instead, ominously, it was asked
to make recommendations
regarding faculty and students
after the dissolution of the depar-
tment. As one member of the

review.
Another seriously misleading
statement: "The committee
proposed that the department
gradually wither away over a
seven-year period since it had
already lost many faculty
members and was facing finan-
cial difficulties."
When the present dean
assumed office several years
ago, the department by almost
any measure-national standing
as measured by peer review,
faculty research, student
evaluations, to name a few--was
probably in better shape than at
any time in its over a half century
of existence.
But today the Humanities
Department is not unlike a police
prisoner who having been subjec-
ted to the third degree over an ex-
tended period appears in court
weak, demoralized, covered with
bruises. The police present the
prisoner to the magistrate ex-
plaining that he suffers from self-
inflicted wounds.
No, the Humanities Depar-
tment's staffing and financial
problems are not self-inflicted.
Nor are they a consequence of a
review of the department. Your
statement is simply untrue that
"a shrinking faculty has plagued
the department since the early
1970s." The entire decade of the
'70s saw the department in good
standing in the University and
among peer institutions.
In the late 1970s, the depar-
tment had the most promising
group of untenured professors it
has ever had, productive resear-
chers and able teachers. But
when the newly-appointed dean
BLOOM COUNTY

urged them to look for positions
elsewhere months before the
department was reviewed, un-
derstandably, they got the
message and left. The same can
be said of the "financial dif-
ficulties" referred to in the ar-
ticle. They appeared subsequent
to the administration's decision
to get rid of the department.
Moreover, theyhresulted from
conscious and purposeful
decisions made by the college
and University administration.
Finally, there are the quoted
comments of six first-year
engineering students, each
critical of the engineering
college's required two-semester
great books course. When there is
an unexpected event, an
assassination or a riot, for exam-
ple, it is sound journalistic prac-
tice to sample opinion randomly
by man-in-the-street interviews.
This is hardly the case with the
Humanities Department.
It is a matter of public record
what students in the engineering
college think of the two-semester
great books course. Each
semester they anonymously
evaluate the various sections of
the course and the results are
computed by the Center for
Research and Learning in:
Teaching. Among other things,
each student in each section is
asked to evaluate 1) the value of
the course, 2) the value of the in-
structor's performance.
Over the years Humanities 101-
2 students have rated the course
high in response to these two key
questions. I am not for a moment
denying that the six students
quoted in The Daily article said
the critical things attributed to

them. Without any evidence to
the contrary, I am prepared to
believe they were quoted ac-
curately. But I can say,
unequivocally that the six stude
ts were far from being a
representative sample of the
hundreds who take the course
each semester. One wonders how
they were chosen.
One last comment. In the years
I have taught humanities to
engineering students, I have
always realized that the Univer-
sity's arrangement of having its4
own humanities department
within the engineering college
was different from the
arrangements in most com-
parable institutions.
Moreover, I have always
believed that although there is
also much-probably more-to
be said for having engineering
students study the humanities
alongside LS&A students.
But this is not the whole
question. There is also what is
call academic due process. Al
department has been in place
functioning effectively for half a
century. Faculty and students
have been generally satisfied
with its performance. If for ad-
ministrative or educational pur-
poses there is reason to recon-
sider such an arrangement, there
are fair and orderly ways for
doing so.
Change is as healthy in univerl
sities as elsewhere. I have tried
to show in this brief statement
that both the process of change
and The Daily's account of it
were in certain major respects
neither above-board nor fair.
-Robert P. Weeks
February 2
by Berke Breathed

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