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April 16, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-04-16

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Page 4 Tuesday, April 16, 1985 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Columbia attracts. attention

Vol XCV, No. 156

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Alarming statistics

E ach year the statistics on infant
mortality in Detroit raise a
chorus of shocked reactions, yet each
year the numbers remain in-
tolerably high.-
Preliminary figures for 1984 in-
dicate that approximately 22 infants
per 1,000 live births died in Detroit in
the last year. The national average
was 10.9.
The tragedy of such a high rate is
that it could be avoided. According
to statistics released by the
Michigan Department of Public
Health, infants who receive suf-
ficient prenatal care are 86 times as
likely to live a full year than infants
who receive none.
The problem is further
aggravated by the large number of
teenage pregnancies. Infants born to
girls in their middle teens tend to be
weaker and therefore have less of a
chance for survival. Also, many
teenage women are simply not
prepared for the responsibility of
raising a child and are therefore
unable to provide the type of en-
vironment that would ensure their
babies' health.
Experts are advocating ap-
proaching the problem from two

fronts. First, they are calling for
improved education programs
aimed at persuading teenage women
to hold off pregnancy until a later
Second, they are calling for im-
proved health services for women
who already are pregnant. Unfor-
tunately, inner city work seems to
hold little allure for gynecologists
and obstetricians, and so far the city
has not released the funds necessary
to attract such professionals.
A current experimental project
funded by the state legislature will
provide prenatal care for women in
some areas of Detroit and other
cities with high infant mortality
rates, but it does not serve all the
women who are in need.
The problem of high infant mor-
tality rates can be solved, but will
not be until it becomes a priority
with legislators. The experimental
program in Detroit is a positive sign,
but is insignificant in light of the
overall problem.
In the meantime, unless concer-
ned citizens put greater pressure on
the legislators, the problem
threatens to fade from public view
until next year's figures are

By Joseph Kraus
Something is happening at Columbia
At the very least there is a rally taking
place there with over 500 students blockading
the doorway to Columbia's equivalent of
Angell Hall calling for the university to divest
its holdings in companies that do business in
South Africa.
With several other universities already
mustering sympathy rallies, however, '60s
watchers and contemporary political ac-
tivists alike are eager to portray the
blockade as the cradle of a new era in student
The immediate responses to the Columbia
blockade have been impressive. Three
students were arrested at nearby Rutgers
University for organizing a similar sit-in;
Over 100 Students at the University of
California at Berkeley turned a "die-in" in
the front of the administration building into a
blockade that is entering its sixth day; and
almost 500 students at the University of
Colorado have been arrested for taking part
in an anti-apartheidrally.
There have been many sporadic instances
of student civil disobedience in recent years,
including sit-ins at laboratories conducting
research with applications to the military at
Berkeley and here at the University, but the
recent outburst is unlike anything in over a
The protest at Columbia was a long time in
the making. Last year, following years of
research and lobbying on the part of the
Coalition for a Free South Africa, the Univer-
sity Senate composed of student, faculty, and
administrative respresentatives,
unanimously called on the board of trustees to
divest the university's holdings from South
The trustees refused to do so.
Two weeks ago, seven students began a
hunger strike asking for a meeting with
university administrators. Three days into
their strike, a group of approximately 50
students chained the doors of Hamilton Hall
and began the vigil on its steps.
The hunger strike has since come to an end,
but the blockade has gained momentum, at-
tracting letters of support from such figures
as Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, folk
singer Pete Seeger, and former presidential
hopefuls Sen. Gary Hart and the Rev. Jesse
Interestingly, however, it has also won
favor with a large number, if not most, of the
students at the university.
Where smaller protests, such as the recent
sit-ins at military research laboratories at the
University, often create sharp divisions in
university communities, the Columbia
blockade has gone unchallenged by most of
the students and faculty.
One participant in the blockade estimated
that as many as 1000 people had joined in the
civil disobedience action at one time or
another in the first eight days. Beyond that,
many students have supported the protesters
by rallying around the site of the protest.
Faculty members have formed an ad hoc
organization supporting the students, and
many professors have cancelled their classes
or moved them outside Hamilton Hall in
Kraus is the Daily's opinion page editor.
He visited Columbia this weekend to ob-
serve the protests first hand.


Daily photo by KERY MURAKAMI
Columbia University students blockade the doors of Hamilton Hall.

Maybe tomorr'ow
Y ESTERDAY was the deadline displeased at having had to pay
for filing tax returns, and in anything to the government at all.
addition to costing the average Both explanations, however,
citizen a great deal of money, it overlook that procrastination is
provided a fine opportunity to ob- common to many activities other
serve an almost universal human than paying taxes.
trait in action: procrastination. oFrom teenagers who agree to
Government officials estimate "take out the trash next commer-
that as many as 1.2 million cial," to flustered adults who put off
Americans will be late in paying buying birthday gifts until the day
their taxes and will be forced to pay before, procrastination is truly a
penalties ranging from 5 to 25 per- constant of American life.
cent of what they originally owed. Ironically, it is a problem whose
Psychologists and sociologists of- very existence eludes its cure. In-
fer a wide variety of explanations dividuals determined to "do
for procrastination. Some claim that something about being late all the
filling out tax forms dredges up un- time," all too often wind up putting
pleasant memories from the year off any resolutions they make.
gone by that taxpayers would prefer Almost no profession is entirely
to put off the process as long as free from the "I'll do it later" syn-
possible. drome." Even newspapers,
Others claim that late filing is a renowned for covering the news
subtle form of protest on the part of immediately as it occurs, are not
taxpayers displeased with gover- immune. After all, the deadline for
nment use of funds or, more likely, taxes was yesterday, not today.

solidarity with the students. One professor
even held his class in the lawn in front of
Hamilton and gave lectures on civil
disobedience as expounded by Thoreau and
In conjunction with groups of graduate
students, many professors have volunteered
to tutor students who aremissing classes in
order to maintain the vigil.
Although there have been rumors of coun-
ter-demonstrators planning to disrupt the
blockade, no significant attempts have yet
been made.
The blockade seems to be settling in as a
part of university life at Columbia. In a letter
to the Columbia Spectator, one student who
described himself as an arch-conservative
disagreeing with divestment as a tactic to
fight apartheid, claimed that he and others
like him, would themselves be protesting,
if the "fascist" administration made, an
effort to arrest the protesters.
For the most part, though, feelings
surrounding the blockade have been positive.
Group discussions often focus on the unity of
the protesters and celebrate the attention that
the blockade has been receiving.
Very few of the speeches express hatred or
anger for the administration, but rather a
sense of their misguidedness. The chief
villian for the protesters is Floyd Abrams, the
attorney for the university, followed closely
by university president Sovern, but neither
seems particularly reviled by the students.
In spite of its size, the blockade has not
swallowed up all student political activity at
Columbia. On Thursday 20 students
protested the university's involvement with
JASON, a pentagon sponsored military
preparedness study, and on Saturday hun-
dred of students and community members
took part in earth day celebrations.

The blockade seems to have groomed a full
complement of converted activists, many of
whom would not have taken part in such an
action last month. A few students testified
publicly that they had joined the blockade
only after it had been going on Tor some time,
but that they were now strong supporters of
divestment as well as civil disobedience tac-
Most students seem to have made the
decision to join the blockade as individuals,
only later to find themselves a part of a group.
In one knot of five students piled almost one
upon another as they readied for a night's
sleep only two claimed to have known each
other before the blockade began.
It is impossible to tell whether the Columbia
protest will inspire a new wave of student ac-
tivism, but it certainly presents an effective
model for other universities to follow. By
beginning with exhaustive and popular ap-
peals to the university administration and
moveing only gradually into the realm of civil
disobedience, Columbia students have shown
that large-scale student protests remain a
viable option in the '80s.
In an era that the media has tried to portray
as materialistic and apolitical, the Columbia
protest holds a promise of a change in student
priorities. While there will surely be no in-
stantaneous "awakening" of students, more
and more students may come to realize how lit-
tle they are currently able to impact on ad-
ministrative and political decisions and how
much they are able to do so when they are
willing to pursue any necessary methods.
Whether the Columbia protest will spawn a
lasting student political movement is still im-
possible to tell, but it has already articulated
student desires to affect the decisions made in
their names and can only aid the efforts that
have been taking place all along.

To the Daily: the Un
Student security has always problen
been a pressing issue on campus. been ta
Yet, it has only been recently that make1

good but could be better

iversity has begun to take
that there really is a
m. One measure that has
aken by the University to
its campus safer is the

Rape must be addressed

To the Daily:
Ann Arbor now has the highest-
rape per capita in the United
States. The way in which Univer-
sity officials handle this problem
does nothing to correct or even
acknowledge this problem.
"It's harmful to the image of
the University wants to project."
asserts one administrator.
It is difficult to understand how
politicking can even enter into an
issue like this.
The students ask "too much"
argue University officials.
"Much" is a relative term
though. How "much" is a
significant amount of money if it
manages to prevent a rape? Only
the most cynical objectors would
argue that the money would not
be well spent.
Admittedly, practical
precautions are not inexpensive.
It's hard to see, however, how the
University can shell out millions
of dollars to refurbish the Union

percent of college males admit to
raping a woman, that 85 percent
say they would given the right
circumstances, and 1 in 4 women
will be raped in her lifetime.
Statistics like this seem hard to
ignore-the administration does
an excellent job.
-Karen Knutson
April 3

"Nite-Owl" Bus Service.
The "Night Owl" is a Univer-
sity van which transports studen-
ts nightly from the Un-
dergraduate Library. It runs
every half-hour between 7 b.m.
and 2 a.m., along a route
covering the Central Campus
The problem arises from the
number of students that find it
necessary to take the "Night-
Owl," especially between the
hours of 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
Because of the distance between
my apartment and the library I
am a regular rider, and the van is
always packed. Often up to twen-
ty or more people with bulky
backpacks are forced to cram in-

to the fifteen-passenger van. Not
only is this situation dangerous.
for safety reasons, I believe that
is is discouraging people from
utilizing the service. More than
once 've seen people decide to
walk rather than pile in the van.
I feel that the demand for the
"Nite-Owl" is great enough and
that the service should be expan-
ded. The University should either
provide a larger vehicle or
provide two vans-running fif-
teen minutes apart--especially
during the hours of heavy usage.
Otherwise, the "Nite-Owl" is.a
big step forward in making this
campus a safer one.
-Kris Holappa
by Berke Breathed


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