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March 20, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-20

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, March 20, 1986 The Michigan Daily

U1ie MiEp 3aan tat
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

2 police violate civil rights

Vol. XCVI, No. 115

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board

Pension conflict

W HEN the University decided to
divest an additional nine per-
cent of its investments in cor-
porations that do business with
South Africa, there was some hope
that the University's power-
brokers were beginning to under-
stand the political realities of cor-
porate investments in the apar-
theid-ridden nation.
Corporations have a vested in-
terest in apartheid. As long as
there is apartheid, there will be no
minimum wage laws nor political
power for a vast majority of South
Africans to improve their living
and working conditions. Cor-
porations will be able to continue
making profits without fear of legal
strikes or government regulations
defending workers's rights.
To trust corporations to push for
real political change is naive.
Many supposedly liberal cor-
porations point to the Sullivan
Principle which do improve con-
ditions for their black employees in
South Africa. But they neglect to
say that less than one percent of
black South Africans work for
these corporations, and the prin-
ciples themselves apply no political
pressure on the government to give
power to the blacks.
Another myth about apartheid is
that reform is possible. The whole
problem in South Africa is that
whites, who make up a small yet
privileged population in the coun-
try, hold all the political power.
This leads to significant, yet secon-
dary problems such as poor
working conditions, and systematic
segregation which could be slightly
alleviated by reform. But these
problems will not end until the fun-
damental problem of blacks being

ruled disproportionately by whites
ends.
On Tuesday, it was disclosed that
ithe University's faculty con-
tributed $15 million and the
University added another $31
million last year to a national pen-
sion plan that holds over six billion
in South Africa-related investmen-
ts. James Brinkerhoff, the Univer-
sity's Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer sits on the
program's board of directors.
When asked about his and the
board's stance, Brinkerhoff said
they opposed divestment because
they thought it was ineffective.
By keeping their power in the cor-
porations as shareholders, they
could push the corporations for
reform.
What Brinkerhoff does not un-
derstand is that corporations, even
if they achieve some relatively
minor changes in their own work-
place, help support the political
system of apartheid through taxes,
political legitimacy, and the selling
of such products as computers to
the government.
TIAA-CREF, the national pen-
sion plan, has filed shareholder
resolutions with several cor-
porations asking them to either
sign the Sullivan Principals or to
pull out of South Africa. Pulling out
of the pension program would lead
to stringent financial penalties for
faculty and staff at the University.
But faculty can take a stand
against apartheid and the
misguidedness of University ad-
minstrators by urging TIAA-CREF
to file a different resolution with
corporations: Leave South Africa
or faculty at America's univer-
sities will divest.

By Peter Rosset
I am a friend of many of the 39 courageous
Ann Arborites who were arrested yesterday
at the vigil at Rep. Pursell's office. They
committed a difficult act of conscience,
protesting Pursell's record of voting for
death and destruction in our names in Cen-
tral America, and his refusal to hold a
public meeting with his constituents on this
issue, something he promised to do last
year.
As a friend of those arrested I felt that
someone should be at City Hall while they
were being booked, in case they should need
bail or a lawyer. My lawyer informs me
that it is common practice for friends of
people who have been arrested to wait for
them at City Hall, which is also the police
station. The lobby is normally open 24 hours
a day, so that citizens can contact the police
for any reason.
I arrived alone at about 7:30 p.m., asked
the desk officer, L.D. Stearns, if the people
had been released yet, and he said that they
hadn't. I then sat down quietly in a chair in
the deserted lobby to wait for my friends.
After five to 10 minutes a policeman, Officer
Ehnis I believe, came out and the following
conversation ensued:
* Ehnis: Are you with the people arrested
at Pursell's? * Myself: Yes.
s Ehnis: You'll have to wait outside
" Myself: Why?
" Ehnis: The building is closed to you
people.
" M: But this is the police station, and I'm
a taxpayer and voter of Ann Arbor.
b E : It's only open to people with police
business.
" M: I'm on police business, I'm waiting
for people who are being booked.
" E: Look, if you don't leave immediately
Captain Klinge will come out and read you
the trespass act, and you'll be arrested.
" M: I'm going to call my lawyer.
At that point I called my lawyer from the
pay phone in the lobby to ask if they had the
right to throw me out of City Hall. He said
he'd never heard of anything like it. At this
point two other police officers came over and
stood by me, informing me that I would be
ejected as soon as my phone call was over.
My lawyer told me to ask the nearest one
her name, which I did. She responded
"badge 9". He insisted I get her name, so I
Rosset, a graduate student in Biology,
is co-author of the Nicaraguan Reader.

asked again. She again replied "badge 9." I
then walked up to her to read her name tag:
"Officer D.A. Ceo." My lawyer then said I
should file a complaint with the desk officer
that my rights were being violated by polic-
e officers. So I went over to Officer Stearn
at the desk, and had the following conver-
sation:
* Myself: I would like to file a complaint
please.
. Stearns: I don't accept complaints.
" M: What do you mean, you don't accept
complaints?
" S: I'm under orders not to accept any
complaints.
So I went back to the phone, and called my
lawyer again. He said of course they accept
complaints, that's why the police station is
open at night, and that's why there is a desk
officer. By this time three other people had
entered without any problem, and were
talking to the desk officer about a towed car.
I waited behind them for my turn, and told
them what happened. When I told them
what Officer Stearns had said, he piped up
and said "that's a lie, I never said anything
about 'orders', I just said I don't take com-
plaints." I couldn't believe it, I felt like I
stumbled onto the set of Brazil, or Orwell's
1984.
When my turn came, I told him that my
lawyer said they had to accept my com-
plaint. He replied that he was a patrolman
and didn't accept complaints. I said that
someone must, and finally he said "only a
command officer takes complaints." So I
asked to speak to a command officer, and he
said "I'll see if he'd like to speak to you,"
and made a phone Zall. He then told me to'sit
down, that an officer would come out "when
he had some time." Irasked to borrow a pen
(because I wanted a record of the Officers'
names), and he said he didn't have any ex-
tra. I then pointed to a cup on his desk
holding pens and pencils, and asked if I
could borrow one of those. He looked at
them, and then said "no".
I sat down again to wait quietly for the
command officer. At this point other friends
of the arrestees had arrived, and were wait-
ing outside in the cold. Someone who had
nothing to do with us then tried to enter, and
was told that the building was closed. She
said she comes every night at 9:00 PM to
wait for her friend who works upstairs, and
always sits in the lobby. The Officer at the
door, Ms. Ceo, replied that she was sorry but
the building was closed tonight. The woman
said "does this mean that I'll never be able
to wait for my friend again?" and Officer
Ceo replied "only tonight." The Ann Arbor

News reporter then tried to enter the
building to interview the police, I think, and
was denied entrance. She was furious!
After about half an hour Officer Car-
nahan, apparently a "command officer"
came out to take my complaint. He im-
mediately started asking questions like,
"so, are you the coordinator of leader of
this group?" I said that I was just a friend,
wanted to file a complaint, and didn't come
to be interrogated. He replied, "don't get
smart with me and I won't get smart with
you." He then took my complaint, which
has 2 parts: first, that my right to wait in
the City Hall lobby for friends being booked,
a right other citizens apparently have, was
being denied without reason by a police of-
ficer. Second, Officer Stearns had made a
strong attempt to deny me my right to lodge
a complaint, which I was finally able to do
only because of my persistance based on en-
couragement from my lawyer.
Officer Carnahan took the complaint in
distinctly bad humor, and then told me
they'd "get in touch with me." He then star-
ted to interrogate me again, asking "so let
me get this straight, what is your title with
this group?" I replied "I don't have a 'title'
with any group, I'm just a friend of people
who have been arrested."- He left.,
The police were apparently chagrined
enough by my filing a complaint that they
did not carry out their threat to arresttme,
and I was then allowed to remain in the lobby
until all of my friends were released, while
everyone else had to wait outside in the cold.
What is going on in Ann Arbor? It seems
like the police, the University and :Rep.
Pursell have lost their minds. Last week
police and campus security followed studen-
ts across campus after a peaceful protest
had ended, seemingly to intimidate them.
And Rep. Pursell prefers to have his con-
stituents arrested rather than meet with
them. The insanity goes beyond Ann Arbor,
of course, with the President shrilly calling
all opponents of aid to the Contras "un-
American, un-patriotic." Are we reliving
the KucCarthy era, ghoulishly combined
with the early sixties? In the 1960's ours
countrywas marching inexorably into the
quagmire of an unwinnable and immoral
war in a poor country, Vietnam. Police in
Chicago, Madison, Berkeley, Washington,
D.C., Kent and Jackson State, and yes, Ann
Arbor, rioted against peaceful protesters.
The signs are all here again, as our in-
volvement in Central America escalates
daily.

Wasserman

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F-Mep. WE iUND 11AEWW1VAS
OP. W4EL NAVETo SEND U.5. TROOPS

YOURETWIVImG OF &SENVIN&
U.S. TRDOS ?

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Fizzled peace march

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IT SEEMED like a noble idea.
A peace march from California
to Washington D.C., with over a
thousand people, was to last for 255
days in order to reach its goal. But'
the march seemed suspicious from
the start. Too much glamour and
too many celebrities seemed to be
involved-too much worrying over
how to fly Madonna.: in at the right
time, how to ensure that the pre-
march celebrity dinner would run
smoothly.
Unfortunately, the suspicions
proved correct. Less than a month
after it started, the Great Peace
March is in ruins: its sponsors are
filing for bankruptcy and the
possibility of the march's ever
being completed are slim..
The Great Peace March was not
going to be another product of
grass-roots activism. With the help
of Madonna, pre-march festivities
raised over four million dollars.
This money went to the over 113
paid workers, who worked for
months beforehand in order to get
the march off the ground. For the
march itself, according to the New
Republic, a moving city of 5,000,
was built including six mobile kit-
chens, 2,500 tents, a bank, stage,
meeting halls, and even a post of-

The march was the brainchild of
David Mixner, who expressly kep
the march apolitical. He wanted it
to raise public awareness of the
fact that politicians are failing to
negotiate peace and an end to the
arms race.
On Monday, however, Mixner
was no longer talking about in-
fluencing public opinion and
policy-making. Much of the mobile
city had simply packed up and gone
home. More than half of the
original marchers had also given
up, obviously disgruntled after
having planned to make the
sacrifice of giving up nine months
of their lives for the cause of an
"apolitical peace."
So, the victim of the Great Peace
March isn't the bureaucratic struc-
ture of the Pro-Peace group. Nor it
is Mixner. He will doubtlessly
come back with another
harebrained scheme in the near
future. The victims of the Great
Peace March are the cause of
peace, the public, which was so
easily duped by Mixner and the
celebrities he brought in, and most
importantly, the 500 or so mar-
chers left virtually stranded in the
Mojave Desert, still trying to
figure out a way to complete the
march.

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LETTERS:

BPC letter misrepresents the facts

e

'To the Daily:
This letter responds to the let-
ter by Rick Frenkel, which con-
cerns the ongoing investigation of
the Michigan Student Assembly's
Budget Priorities Committee.
(Daily, March 14.) Unfortunately

and a former Meadow Party can-
didate, and Kurt Muenchow, the
chair of BPC and the Meadow
Party Presidential candidate,
have stonewalled the in-
vestigation in the MSA Steering
Committee while opposing any
release of the findings before the

because Eric Schnaufer, a mem-
ber of MSA, is also a member of
Freedom Charter. However,
other groups which have MSA
members have been funded by
MSA. Frenkel also claims that
the Freedom Charter's liberal
perspective was not the reason

that BPC does not fund projects
sponsored by other student
governments. However, the BPC,
under Muenchow's leadership,
has funded projects sponsored by
other student governments in the
past.

I

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