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January 17, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-01-17

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, January 17, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigarr

Ford's deceptive

address

By Adam Ruskin

Vol. XCV, No. 88

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Improbable cause

T HE SUPREME COURT recently
continued the disturbing trend
toward.: treating students as second-
class citizens by denying them the
same Constitutional protection against
unreasonable search and seizure that
adults enjoy.
Citing "major social problems" in
the nation's schools, the court voted 6-3
on Tuesday to allow teachers and ad-
ministrators further leeway in sear-
ching students who they believe have
violated a law or school rule. Instead
of the stricter "probable cause" stan-
dard which police officers must follow,
teachers and administrators need only
suspect that a student has violated a
rule-even something as trivial as the
dress code-in order to search the
student.
The majority opinion, written by
Justice Byron White, argued that
school officials should avoid "ex-
cessively intrusive" searches, but the
need to maintain order is so important
that student civil liberties aren't as
important as adults' civil liberties.
The only standard school officials
have to follow is that they have to be
"reasonable" about conducting sear-
ches of students and their personal
belongings. The problem with this
argument is that it leaves
"reasonable" undefined. It would be
conceivable, for instance, for an ad-
ministrator to rifle through a student's

purse simply because the student has a
history of smoking in the bathroom.
To be sure, there are significant
problems in the schools, but violating
the spirit of the Constitution will only
serve to exacerbate tension between
school officials and problem students.
Students will resent being treated as
second-class citizens and may use the
unfairness of the situation as a
rationale for being more insolent.
Theoretically, an education helps in-
still a set of social values which reflect
the somewhat hackneyed and tainted
American ideals of democracy and
fairness; the Supreme Court ruling
undermines those values in the very
institutions in which they should be
most respected.
The principal of the New Jersey high
school which originated the case hailed
the decision, saying that "reasonable
searches, the same thing a parent
might do" are appropriate in a school
environment at any level of education,
including the secondary level.
But in loco parentis is utterly inap-
propriate at any level of education, in-
cluding the secondary level.
Schools should have the right to
discipline students who violate school
rules or break the law? However, an
"ends justify the means" argument is
antithetical to everything an education
is supposed to accomplish.

Since many of us are graduating this term,
I would like to share something that I came
across the other day at the Gerald Ford
Presidential Library.
Eleveniyearsrago, Vice-President Ford
delivered the commencement speech at
Crisler Arena to the graduating class of 1974.
Like this year, the date was May 4.
Ford began his speech by criticizing the
protesters in the crowd. This was the height
of Watergate, remember.
He singled out one protestor bearing a sign
that said, "Gerald Ford is a Neo-Fascist" and
made a number of comments about the
protest movement in general.
"When I graduated here in 1935," he said,
"a few of us in the student body were begin-
ning to worry a little about some real fascists,
Adolf Hitler and his allies in Europe and Asia.
"Maybe we didn't worry enough, because
about six years later many of us went off for
four or five years to take on those real
fascists, those old fascists, and not with signs
and shouts under the shelter of the con-
stitution.
"So if Jerry Ford is a new fascist, I guess
we tamed those old fascists fairly well.
"And the exuberant signs, actually a safe
form of telegenic streaking for those who
have nothing to expose but their minds, add to
the excitement of this happy homecoming."
These comments did not appear on the copy
of the speech released to the press.
For those who graduated that day, it was a
meaningful occasion, the culmination of four
years of searching for truth during one of the
most turbulent periods in our nation's history.
Gerald Ford was a favorite son who had
recently replaced Spiro Agnew as Vice-
President. He was supposed to be a politician
in authority whom the people could trust.
But he wasn't. This incident at the class of
19'74's commencement was a deception. Ford
planted that protestor with the ridiculous sign
in the crowd himself.
Two days earlier, on May 2, in Washington,
Warren Rustand, Ford's Deputy Assistant for
Scheduling and Appointments, noted in a
meeting with Robert Hartman, Ford's Chief
of Staff, that he needed to arrange for a sign
that read "Gerald Ford is a Neo-fascist" to
serve as a lead-in to the speech. I recently
foundthe notes from that meeting.
Moreover, Ford's printed reading copy of
the speech contained the remarks that I

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Original documents in the Gerald R. Ford Library revealed his deception during the 1974 com-
mencement address.

quoted earlier. All that eloquence was not off-
the-cuff. He was not that trustworthy af-
terall.
That Ford pulled a fast one at his Alma
Mater is bad enough. But he also recounted
the incident in his autobiography, A Time to
Heal. There he wrote that he was dismayed
at the vehemence of the protesting, and men-
tioned the sign.
This incident is significant for three
reasons. First, it shows that Ford was not so
clean a politician. His motto, "The truth is
glue" rings a little hollow. All the doubts
about how he was able to survive on the five
dollars a week in pocket money he reported
on his Congressional tax forms seem
somewhat more founded now. It would har-
dly seem below him to have cut a deal with
Nixon after all.
Second, by including the event in his
autobiography, Ford made it an official part
of history. Scholars may already have cited it
in studies of the protest movement. In recor-
ding the story he transformed a lie into an
historical fact.
Third, the intent of the deception was to un-
dermine the validity of the protest movement.
it was already hard enough for young people

to rebel against the sources of power and
livelihood during the Vietnam and Watergate
era. They temporarily forsook their personal
futures to work for a better collective future.
Today, most of us place our personal lives
over the well being of society. That's why we
voted for Reagan and don't care about the
code.
Ask any political hack about the signifigan-A,
ce of this story and he would brush it aside
and say that this sort of thing happens every
day. He would add that dismay over
something like this is a sure indication of
youthful naivete.
In spite of that opinion, I am still outraged
at the entire incident. Let's be sure that we
young "naive" kids set the ethical standards
for our politicians to abide by.
Lastly, I wold recommend doing research
at the Ford Library. The materials there
represent an authentic slice of life from the
highest echelons of society and it's right on
our campus. Perhaps future students will un-
cover even more frauds.
Ruskin in a senior in LSA.

Legal competition

Cramer

T TAKES A college degree, three
years of intense graduate work, and
a license to practice law in order to fill
out the legal forms involved in a divor-
ce case. Often, however, legal
secretaries and paralegals are
charged with filling out the forms for
such menial legal tasks as divorces,
wills, and other minor sales contracts
while lawyers merely "review" the
papers and send them on to the courts
for processing. This delegation of ef-
fort has proved to be a successful
method devised by lawyers to keep
even the most trivial legal matters un-
der the control of their profession. At-
torneys have built a lucrative
monopoly for themselves that should
be-and might soon be-broken.
A 14-member committee working on
President Ronald Reagan's agenda for
the coming year has proposed a series
of ideas designed to reduce "the bur-
den of law, lawyers, litigation, and
legal fees on our society." Among the
committee's recommendations is a
proposal to allow bankers, real estate
agents, and other professionals to
compete with lawyers to provide
common and simple legal services.
Few outside of the legal profession

would argue that the proposal is a good
idea, but its potential for taking money
out of the hands of attorneys will most
likely go over the crowded legal
profession like a lead balloon.
Lawyers will inevitably argue that
the proposal would increase the
amount of mistakes made by
unqualified persons, and thus would
further slow the legal process. But the
fact is, most of the contracts involved
in the proposal are already handled by
paralegals and legal secretaries. The
only difference is that lawyers would
no longer be setting the fees. That
means increased competition, which
can't help but streamline the legal
process.
By giving banks and real estate of-
fices the legal right to file divorce
papers for their clients without an at-
torney's approval, one unnecessary
step in the legal process has been by-
passed. Understandably, lawyers don't
want to think of themselves as mid-
dlemen. In spite of the drastic effect
this recommendation could have on
professional egos and pocketbooks,
with its potential for lowering legal
costs and speeding the legal process, it
deserves serious consideration.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY
'Business as usual'

0

'for the military

LL
to

To the Daily:
I am deeply troubled by
Professor Birdsall's response to
the PSN's protest over his poten-
tially military-related research.
"It's the price I pay for (the
students') freedom of expression
at the University," said Birdsall.
"But it can get out of hand if it
starts to disrupt work" (Daily,
Jan. 15). In other words, freedom
of expression is fine... as long as
it doesn't interrupt business, par-
ticularly military business, as
usual. I believe our race towards
nuclear holocaust is fueled by
:such "logic" - which is to suggest
that my remarks are not aimed
at Professor Birdsall alone.

The recent Geneva talks, as far
as I can tell, were just the inter-
national variation of this same
perversion: we talk arms control
in Geneva while developing Star
Wars weapons at home.
One last example, this one
closer to home and ongoing. The
13 arrested Dec. 3 at the Williams
International plant, Walled Lake,
Michigan, acted; in blocking the
Williams' entrance, they put
their bodies in front of those who
BLOOM COUNTY

build the engine for the horribly
destabilizing cruise missile.
Oakland County Circuit Court
Judge Francis O'Brien was very
happy to allow these citizens all
forms of "freedom of ex-
press ion ''-letters to
congresspersons and
newspapers, rallies, "lawful"
protests-but just don't interrupt
business as usual. The thirteen
who did interrupt 5 minutes wor-
th of Williams' business were

given indefinite sentences.
There is something wrong with
our democracy when the only ac-
tion permitted is the action (in
this case, weapon-building)
deemed proper by the powers
that be; there is something wrongI
with our democracy when
freedom of expression has been
reduced, in the words of Herbert
Marcuse, to "repressive toleran-
ce.' -Peter Putnam
January 15
by Berke Breathed

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