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November 26, 1985 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-26

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Page 4
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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No. 59 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Tuesday, November 26, 1985

The Michigan Daily

The University's

Turnout upswing

thus far this school year have
shown a slight, but noticeable im-
provement in voter turnout over
previous years.
Last week 2400 students voted in
the LSA Student Government elec-
tion, 700 more than turned out at
the polls last year, while over 2300
students voiced their opinions on
MSA's special referendum. In last
month's Rackham Student Gover-
nment election, 91 students voted,
exceeding by 31 the number who
voted in 1984.
Although these numbers are not
impressive considering that over
34,000 students attend the Univer-
sity, including 17,056 LSA students
and 5,958 in Rackham, they do
show a slight improvement in
student participation.
Turnout for LSA-SG increased
from 10 percent to 14 percent while
RSG turnout went from 1 percent
to 1.5 percent.
Part of the reason for the in-
creased voter turnout was the

large number of candidates who
ran for positions on LSA-SG. 40
students for 17 positions and for the
first time in many years, three
parties competed for the presiden-
tial and vice presidential spots.
The students who took the time to
cast ballots should be applauded
for their involvement, but the elec-
tions must strive to be more than a
popularity contest.
Student participation can be in-
creased even more if students are
made aware of the issues they are
voting on and not just the can-
didates. A forum or debate on elec-
tion issues such as teaching
assistant proficiency and campus
safety could produce a more in-
formed student vote.
As the number of students par-
ticipating in elections increases
along with voter turnout, student
government can gain the
legitimacy it needs to better serve
the student body and confront the

By Robert D. Honigman
Second in a series
The institution is never wrong. The most
corrosive part of the modern university is
not in the harsh conditions of student life -
the high costs, overcrowding, poor housing,
boring courses, or distant faculty - but in
the hopelessness of changing anything. It's
the lack of hope that in the end penetrates
students and makes them docile.
An older student usually understands that
all large scale institutions are more or less
self-serving bureaucracies full of phoney
promises and exploitive techniques that use
the individual in the interests of the in-
But the younger student believes that a
world famous university must be a great
educational experience and that their elders
and betters are always right. This is usually
their first time away from home. Anxious
parents want them to adjust and succeed.
They are academically dependent on
faculty for grades and credentials. They
have not yet proven or tested themselves.
Hence they believe that the institutional
authority is always right and are ready to
accept its promises and reassurances.
Them something happens. They discover
that the university is indifferent to them and
they go into a state of shock. They are too
young and naive to question authority, so
they assume that they are in the wrong. The
great poison has taken hold.
Most students react to this unresponsive
environment with apathy. No one's to
blame. It's like the weather, a cold climate
over which nothing can be done. Everyone
is in their own little world, chasing their
own little dreams. The manipulators and
the manipulated, the weak and the strong.
There's no one to help, and there's nothing
anyone can do. You build a shell around
yourself and live within and let the great
Honigman is an attorney is Sterling

world go by.
But some students let unhappiness lead to
self-destruction. If the institution is never
wrong, then it must be their own fault that
they are unhappy. Everyone else is happy
or well-adjusted. Anxious parents want
them to succeed. But they have no close
friends, no interest in their classes, and no
real desire to be wealthy. They are all
alone, and somehow the best thing to do is to
exist as quietly as possible.
Other students, especially males, respond
like adolescents. Since the institutional
parent is never wrong, maybe the univer-
sity is just like a boot camp or pledge week,
a place to separate the winners from the
losers. So adjusting to the university means
becoming "a real man." A real man doesn't
feel pain or feel sorry for weaklings. After
all, the university doesn't like whiners and
complainers who buck the system. If you
cooperate with the university, you'll be on
the winning team, and the winning team is
always right. This type of student is uncon-
sciously masochist and angry and is likely
to join a fraternity, commit date rape or
drink to excess.
A fourth response to institutional coldness
is the Watergate effect. These students are
impressed by the power and success of the
university. The university is successful,
they perceive, because it controls people
through legal authority and public
relations. These students want to become
like the people in power. They are the moral
sharks who cruise among the apathetic
student community. You've met them, and
you know who they are. Most of them are
caught in middle life in some monstrous
crime and become born again Christians.
Lastly, there are students who in a
pathetic and naive way want to reverse the
indifference and coldness of the system by
being perfect. If they are perfect, then the
university will finally recognize and love
them. Anything less than perfect will be
discarded into the rubbish heap. These
students become a specialist and try to firid
some skill or discipline so that the in-
stitution will always need them. If they can

big chill
win a Nobel prize then all of their childish
hopes and dreams will come true.
But the faculty too suffer from the chilling
effects of institutional omnipotence. They
are encouraged to bury themselves in their
specialties, not to concern themselves with
university-wide problems or the larger
social problems beyond the university.
There is an illusion that wise leaders are in
But if you study the leadership of any in-
stitution you discover that control is an
illusion. The institution is like an amoeba
trying to feed itself. It moves towards
nutrients and away from pain or unrewar-
ding experiences. It selects its own leaders
to serve its needs based on their loyalty and
ability to serve it, and it measures their
leadership by success, not by any social
ideal or moral philosophy.
I've never minded that regents and
university officials have a strong self-
interest in the university reputation, or en-
joy enormous psychic income from its
prestige. Sometimes they're right and
students screaming in the streets are
wrong. But sometimes they're wrong and
even students passing silently in the streets
are right.
Maybe because I'm an attorney what
bothers me is something else. I make my
arguments, I present my case, and then my
opponents make their's. They sound
reasonable and plausible, and they surely
believe in their case - and I appreciate the
fact that an adversary proceeding makes
me sharper and more attentive to good
reasoning and solid facts. But when the
arguments are done, and the parties in in-
terest rest their case, I see my fine and
distinguished opponents in interest don
judicial robes, assemble on the bench and
pronounce judgment. This offends me, as it
should anyone who cares for human values.
The institution is never wrong. What a great
poison that is. In the end it corrupts
Tomorrow: "The administrative
machine. "

Getting together




I Twould... be so bold as to say
that the world has become a
more secure place." This
statement by Soviet General
Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev af-
ter two days of discussions with
Ronald Reagan ennunciates
perhaps the most hopeful con-
clusion possible from the recent
While it is important that the
leaders of the world's two super-
powers know each other as in-
dividuals, the demands for
meaningful arms control
agreements should continue.
The leaders were able to agree on
the relatively minor issues of
cultural exchanges, North Pacific
air safety, and air transportation.
These mark the first accords of any
kind reached between the two
superpowers in the last six years
and should be applauded on those
grounds. The development of
greater cultural ties can only in-
crease understanding, a necessary
element in a lasting peace.
The fact that the two leaders
have met face to face is important.
One of the reasons the Cuban
missile crisis was resolved without
resorting to war was the fact that
Kennedy felt he could anticipate
Khruschev's behavior based upon
their last meetings.
One less heartening result of the
meeting is Reagan's continued in-
transigence on the Strategic Defense

Initiative. Reagan, in his radio ad-
dress following the summit, stated
that he considered it a victory that
the Soviets know we are going to
stand firm on the issue of "Star
It should be seen, instead, as a
lost opportunity to trade on the
Soviet's Fear of U.S. technological
superiority to encourage
significant arms reduction.
Reagan seems to be squandering
an opportunity to avoid the
militarization of space and to pull
back from a weapon that would
bankrupt the United States if its
realization was ever to be
There are other areas in which
arms reductions seem plausible.
Serious negotiations have to con-
tinue on such multiple warhead
missiles at the MX. These are first
strike weapons not suitable for a
retaliatory action and therefore not
This is not to say that human
rights, Jewish emigration, and
Afghanistan should not be
discussed as well.
These issues must be
a part of the negotiations between
the superpowers.
There is a great deal to be
discussed when Gorbachev comes
to Washington next year and
Reagan goes to Moscow the
following year. And a great deal
more than friendship is going to
have to come out.

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V. 9
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Daily anachronistic on ROTC credit

To the Daily:
Once more the Daily has seen.
fit to send down one of its
pronouncements from on high to
us mere mortals, spreading the
gospel of its anti-ROTC drivel,
this time decrying the merest
possibility of nasty military types
getting any vestige of academic
credit for ROTC courses ("Ar-
med Courses?", Daily, Novem-
ber 13). This position is a relic of
the 1960s, when anti-Vietanm
protests caused the revokation of
credit for ROTC courses. Well,
I've got news for you, folks: the
Vietnam war ended ten years
ago. Your peers in the College of
Engineering figured that one out
a long time ago, so it's time for

might think is good for the rest of
us, but allknowledge. A man who
accumulates a vast store of all
kinds of knowledge can make the
most rational decisions on how to
use it. By your logic, we should
abolish credit for lower level
chemistry courses because some
student might take what he lear-
ns and make a bomb with it.
In my case, the situation is
already ridiculous. The one cour-
se I take that really deals with
weapons, Naval Science 201,Prin-
ciples of Naval Weapons
Systems, is already cross-listed

as EECS 250. Therefore, the only
class I take that you would find
offensive under your logic is one I
already receive credit for. So
why shouldn't I receive credit for
other courses I take that have
nothing to do with any kind of
"violence" whatever?
I know it's trendy these days to

complain about a lot of things,
but pick on some other bunch for
a change. We work hard for our
classes, and we deserve credit for
all of them, despite the
anachronistic views of the Daily.
-C.T. Gould
November 14

Letters to the Daily should be typed, triple-spaced, and
signed by the individual authors. Names will be withheld only
in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for clarity,
grammar, and spelling.

by Berke Breathed




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