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February 12, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-02-12

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OPINION
Page 4 Tuesday, February 12, 1985 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

A new approach to the code

Vol. XCV, No. 110

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

_

Awareness lives

T he current wave of conservatism
on the nation's campuses has been
the subject of much debate in the news
media. Feature stories and news
programs have theorized that young
people have become more right-wing
for a variety of reasons ranging from a
quest for economic security to a mere
political apathy.
Last week, however, there was
evidence that today's post baby-
boomers are not lacking in awareness
nor opinion of world events.
A three-day conference held at
Columbia University in New York
City, the Conference on International
Strategic Affairs, was the most recent
example of college-age Americans
with a concern about the events that sh-
ape U.S. and Soviet military policy.
It is not so much that one event in far
away New York is a herald for a new
period of student political concern, but
it is evidence of a dormant tendency in
college students to form inter-univer-
sity contacts. The Columbia conferen-
ce may have been small-45 un-
dergraduates from universities across

the nation-yet it does present an
example of concerned students
working together on national political
issues.
Opinions of individuals involved in
the conference, which heard and
questioned a host of defense and
foreign policy experts, ranged from
both extremes of the political spec-
trum. For the most part, however,
these students were not gathered at
Columbia to convince one another of
their opinions. Instead, they gathered
to discuss such issues as defense policy
toward the Soviet Union, Reagan's
Strategic Defense Initiative, and the
plight of Western Europe.
This is the type of positive approach
to world politics that is a necessity in
this generation-or any generation-of
young adults. This conference was a
glimmer of hope in a young population
that has been cast by the news media
as unaware and unenthused.
Hopefully, it is also a turning point that
will drive college students in the direc-
tion of knowledge and awareness in-
stead of acceptance and neglect.

By Paul Josephson
In all discussions with the administration
concerning the various drafts of the
proposed code of non-academic conduct, it
has become obvious that one of the main con-
cerns of the University is the lack of judicial
procedure for reprimanding residents of
dormitories who are guilty of vandalism or
other non-violent crimes in the dormitories.
At present, the only punishment that can be
levied against resident offenders is lease
revocation, or the threat of revocation. In
some cases, dormitories can gain restitution
from offenders for defaced or destroyed
property, but lacking a clear procedure,
restitution is not always sought.
The Student Rights Committee of the
Michigan Student Assembly has proposed a
system of autonomous dormitory councils to
dorm government leaders and housing of-
ficials to combat this problem. Although
many organizations and individuals (in-
cluding MSA) have pressed for rejection of
the code, this proposal marks the first
positive proposal as an alternative to the
code.
Such autonomous councils would protect
due process and other basic civil rights
guaranteed in this nation's judicial system,
which all proposedcodes have lacked.
The councils would be comprised of
residents randomly selected by lottery, much
like jury duty. Councils would be presided
over by a Hearing Officer appointed by, and
possibly from, the dormitory government.
The officer would be permanent and thus

have full comprehension of the system's
procedure and rules. Complaints from
Resident Directors and Resident Advisors
might determine the council's agenda.
The benefits from such a system are
numerous. First, establishment of councils
would foster a more positive attitude among
residents towards their housing. Now residen-
ts are simply lessees of University property
with little direct responsibility for preser-
vation of the dorm and dorm property. But by
giving residents a role in governing the dorm,
such a responsibilty and respect would have
to follow.
Second, the all-or-nothing punishment
system (either the resident is thrown out of
the dorm or no action is taken) has proven
ineffectual in deterring minor offenses like
torn-down posters/art and loud noise after
quiet hours.
Unfortunately, the system has also not
deterred serious offenses such as arson, as
proven in the rash of trash fires in South Quad
over the past five years. No visible reminder
that certain offenses will not be tolerated
exists, only a list of Housing regulations
rarely regarded by residents, and the presen-
ce of R.A.s and R.D.s. Implementation of an
autonomous system and functioning councils
would remind potential offenders of the con-
sequences.
As a previous dormitory resident (Bur-
sley), it becomes clear that not all residents
and resident advisors see eye-to-eye on all
matters. This leads, at times, to a belligerent
attitude between the two, and may lead to
malicious destruction of the dorm or the idea
that the R.A. is "out to get" the resident.

Because students would be introduced into
the process of determining guilt, no R.A.
could purposely harass a resident. Yet at the
same time, R.A.s and R.D.s would still serve
the function of trying to mediate any dorm
conflict, and would not submit a resident to'
the dorm council unless all attempts at con-
flict resolution failed.
Judicial procedure matching that of the
court system in general would be overseeen
by Housing authorities, but offenses would be
determined by each dorm or hallway, just as
they are now voted on at the beginning of Fall
Term. To return to the system of punishmen-
ts, the council could not revoke leases; this
would and should still be handled by Housing.
However, restitution and work duties in the
dorm would be adequate punishements, and
would be constructive in not only providing
punishment, but also in actually restoring the
dorm to its previous condition, at the offen-
der's, rather than the University's cost.
This plan is being circulated to housing of-
ficials and dorm governments. John Heidke,
associate director of housing, will present it to
building directors and has expressed ap-
proval in such a system; he has seen it fun-
ction elsewhere effectively. Rather than sim,
ply antagonizing the administration, this plan 4
can only work with student and ad-
ministration cooperation. Such cooperation
has moved code discussions back to the
University Council, and is a positive solution
to the present stalemate between the two
groups.

Josephson, an LSA sophomore, is
editor of the MSA News and a member of
MSA 's Student Rights Committee.

1

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Fuel for the fire

Letters
Consider seeks discussion on issues

S outh African Prime minister
Botha's recent scheme to improve
his government's reputation with
many western critics appears as if it
might have backfired.
.Last week Botha told Nelson Man-
dela, the jailed leader of the outlawed
African National Congress, that he
would be freed if he renounced his call
for violence in combatting Apartheid
rule. Yesterday, Botha's daughter
read his refusal to a crowd of 9000 sup-
porters in the city of Soweta.,
U.S. human rights activists have
stepped up criticisms of Botha's
mostly white government since Ronald
Reagan's reelection. The South
African government pursues a policy
of segregation which has resulted in an
unequal distribution of resources as
well as diminished civil rights to the
black majority.
Botha had hoped that by attaching
Mandela's release to a renunciation of
violence, he could justify his continued
imprisonment as an anti-terrorist
measure.
In making his offer to Mandela,
Botha has succeeded on one level in
linking Mandela's name with
terrorism, but on another level-a
level of inspiration for the oppressed

black citizens of South Africa-he has
harmed his own cause by giving the ar-
ticulate Mandela a chance to play a
dramatic revolutionary role.
In the statement read by his
daughter, Mandela said, "I cannot and
will not give any undertaking at a time
when I, and you the people, are not
free. Your freedom and mine cannot be
separated."
Public acts of self-sacrifice for a
revolutionary cause can be inspiring to
a people whose anger has been fermen-
ting into revolutionary fervor. U.S.
Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale
provided one of the most famous
rallying crys for the revolutionaries
when he declared to the British
soldiers hanging him, "I regret that I
have but one life to give for my coun-
try."
The situation in South Africa
remains tense, and Botha may have
won some respect with western human
rights activists for his offer to release
Mandela, but he has also granted
momentum to Mandela's movement.
Confronted with having their leader
labelled a "terrorist", South African
revolutionaries can repeat, "I cannot
sell my birthright... Your freedom and
mine cannot be separated."

4

To the Daily:
In today's paper you quote me
as saying that, "Mr. Insert lacks
understanding of what Consider
is" ("Consider insert," Daily,
February 7). While this is
correct, I would like to take this
opportunity to clarify that
statement, especially in light of
Mr. Insert's remarks.
Mr. Insert said that Consider
should present "multiple views"
and should "welcome his ad-
dition". If Mr. Insert reads Con-
sider, he would know that we

have persistently encouraged our
readers to send us their viewpoin-
ts in the form of both articles and
letters. Indeed, during the
coming weeks we will print
responses to the Nicaragua issue
by readers who have submitted
their views. Why does Mr. Insert
feel that he is above this time-
honored method to which coun-
tless publications adhere?
Consider attempts to en-
courage serious debate on some
of the important issues of the day.
Refraining from a partisan stan-

ce on any issue allows us to
present a forum in which readers
and writers of all political per-
suasions will feel comfortable.
Through this forum, we hope to
get people to begin to think about
various issues. Certainly many
issues are poorly understood, and
it may be that Nicaragua is one of
them. Consider hopes that we can
clarify some of the issues we
present; similarly, many times
the articles discussed in our
pages will bring out the com-
plexity of the issues.
The insert presented an ob-
vious parody of many people's
views on Nicaragua. This is cer-
tainly not a welcome addition to
Consider. We believe thatvthe
Nicaraguan issue is a very
serious topic; satirizing the issue

as Mr. Insert does not increaset
people's understanding of it as he
insists. It serves only to further
obscure the issue.
Of course all this ignores the
impropriety of Mr. Insert using
the Consider name, and presen-
ting his insert as part of Consider.
He appears to have a remarkable
lack of repect for the Consider
staff, our reades, and the entire
University community. But I
imagine that someone like Mr.
Insert, who apparently lacks a
basic comprehension of many
things, doesn't understand this.
-Jeff Spinner
February 7

Cartoon simplified issue

To the Daily:
I am writing in response to a
cartoon by Glenn Bering which
was published on the Opinion
Pagerof the January 31, 1985
pa per.
Bering's sophomoric attempt
at political comment is one which
sadly misrepresents a complex
situation. It is obvious that he has
little idea of the state of affairs in
Lebanon.
To imply that Israel solely
caused hardship in Lebanon is a
blind view to facts. Disregarding
the civil war strife which is the
base of the instability and en-
suing violence in Beirut and all of
Lebanon shows his ignorance of
world politics. Not only does he
miss the underlying reasons for
the violence, he fails to recognize
American, French, British, and
Italian occupation of Beirut.
Their weapons caused a
significant amount of deaths and
injuries.
Bering also seems to be
ignorant of the major con-
tributors to Lebanese suffering;
the P.L.O. and Syria. The P.L.O
Correction
Because of an error in produc-
tion, a line of type was inadver-
tently left out of Prof. Robert
Weeks's letter to the Daily
(«I nA.f.cdrtA..AQlP ill

based their terrorist operations
against Israel in Lebanon, a
country which did not want them.
They, along with Syria which in-
vadedLebanon, incitedaviolence
with their rhetoric and more
directly by their distribution of
arms. They fueled the civil war
and maintained a high degree of
military aggression.
Bering, by presenting a
skewed and incomplete picture of
the situation in Lebanon, has
subverted truth. He should learn
that basing one's opinions on fact
lends more credence to them and
is the proper goal of editorial
comment.
-Kenneth Howard
February 4
BLOOM COUNTY

Spinner is
Editor-in-Chief.

Optimists fear no holocaus

To the Daily:
In the January 25 edition of The
Daily, Amy Ann Angelasstro, a
defendent in the PSN trial, is
quoted as saying, "I feel that this
fear (of nuclear holocaust) is like
a dark cloud over everybody.
People are waiting to die. They
have no hope." I must assume
that she meant "everybody"
metaphorically, as I, for one,
have little fear of nuclear
holocaust and a lot of hope for the
human race. I believe that the

human race, as a whole, has the
wisdom to use the beneficial
results of scientific research and
to control the non-beneficial.
Before anyonerebukes me
with, "I'd rather be a live
pessimist than a dead optimist," -
I will say that I would rather be
the dead optimist. Everyone dies
sometime. At least the optimists
enjoyed themselves.
-Charles Lipsig
January 26
by Berke Breathed

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