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April 18, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-18

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OPINION

Friday, April 18, 1986

The Michigan Daily

meMt iigan mng
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No. 136 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Researcher misrepresented

4

Save set-asides

THE United States Commission
on Civil Rights has called for
the suspension of federal programs
which reserve contracts for
businesses owned by women and
minorities. The federal gover-
nment, however, correctly suppor-
ts the set-aside programs which
evolved in the turbulent 1960s and
were signed by Presidents Nixon,
Carter, and Reagan to redress
the traditional exclusion of women
and minorities from the market-
place.
As with most federally funded
programs, corruption has been a
problem with the set-asides.
Money has been allocated
to minorities acting as "fronts" for
white-owned businesses. The
commission reports that fraud and
waste are "rampant" in these
programs, which have failed to
help the truly needy and have "led
to financial hardship and bankrup-
tcy for a significant number of
businesses owned by whites."
Actually, less than five percent of
the $170 billion in federal contracts
for business goes to minorities.
Funding is diffused through three
programs : the Small Business
Administration, the Surface Tran-
sportation Assistance Act, and the
Public Works Employment Act
which was upheld in 1977 by the
Supreme Court. The Act earmarks
at least ten percent of its funding
for "minority business enter-
prises."

Ralph Thomas III, executive
director of the National Association
of Minority Contractors, which
represents 3,500 construction con-
tractors and related companies, is
in favor of federally funded set-
asides. He fears that progress
achieved so far would be under-
mined by a cut in the program.
Suspending set-asides would also
send a negative signal to cities and
states that want to promote
businesses operated by women and
minorities.
The federal government should
use its influence to encourage suc-
cessful enterprise for women and
minorities. Flaws in the set-aside
programs are the result of poor
handling of funds, a situation which
does not justify elimination of the
program itself. Parren Mitchell,
the Democratic Representative
from Maryland who is chairman of
the House Committee on Small
Businesses and an original sponsor
of the set-aside legislation, has
condemned the commission's
report as having '...no substantive
value because it was done as part
and parcel of a much larger
scheme to discredit the minority
business community."
Indeed, if the commission were
concerned about the plight of
minorities and women in enter-
prise, it would concentrate on
fixing the problems with competent
administration, rather than
throwing out the entire program.

By Eric Schnaufer
Vice President for Research Linda
Wilson's letter on campus defense research,
classified research and the research review
process is a shocking demonstration of her
ignorance of those topics and of her
willingness to misrepresent her own actions
and the actions of her predecessors (Daily,
4/15/86).
VP Wilson wrote she knows "of no such
University commitment to increase" the
relative level of University Department of
Defense (DoD) research. Apparently, she
forgot that at the November 13, 1985 meeting
of the Rackham Executive Board she said
that her goal was to double the proportion
of University DoD research from 1981 levels
by 1989. We should give VP Wilson credit,
however, for "correcting" the minutes of
the meeting to delete any reference to her
statement.
VP Wilson makes unfounded criticisms of
the Michigan Student Assembly's appoin-
tment of students to the Research Policies
Committee (RPC) and the Classified
Review Panel (CRP). She stated that the
Assembly appoints students to these com-
mittees for only eight months when the
committees meet year round. This is false.
All students are appointed to SACUA com-
mittees such as the RPC and CRP for twelve
months.
Relatedly, VP Wilson claims that on one
occasion MSA did not appoint a student to
the CRP and that her office was kind enough
to ask an unenrolled student to serve on the
committee on a temporary basis. In fact, I
oversaw the appointment of that student to
the CRP. Importantly, VP Wilson and
Schnaufer is the former chairman of the
Campus Governance Committee.

members of her office actively opposed the
participation of this student in the research
review process.
For example, on the day the student
member of the CRP was to give her report
the student was informed that her report
would not be accepted because she was not a
student. Even after she brought verification
of her enrollment to VP Wilson, VP Wilson
and the University research administration
tried to sabotage this student's report,
privately asserting that she was not really
enrolled.
VP Wilson's seemingly petty attack on
student participation on the CRP was not
innocent; it was politically motivated. The
project the student member reviewed in-
volved research which violated at least two
clauses of the regental bylaw on classified
research. (Supporting documentation is
available from MSA.)
VP Wilson states that the government
contract for the project "unexpectedly"
contained classification restrictions. Due to,
the fact that a nearly identical project was
classified the year before, the expectations
of the VP for Research are dubious at best.
VP Wilson also stated that "(s)ince the
nature of the project remained unchanged
from prior years, the conference was
allowed to continue." This is not a proper
basis for approving of a project whose
research included the development of
materials for anti-tank missiles.
First, the guidelines on classified resear-
ch state that every contract, including con-
tract renewals, that potentially has
classification restrictions must be in-
dividually reviewed by the CRP. Second,
the nature of the project was in violation of
the prohibition on classified research whose
result is the destruction of human life. The
University community should be outraged
that the person responsible for overseeing'

the research review process endorses and, in
fact, participates in the violation of the
regental bylaw on classified research.
Not only does VP Wilson endorse violation
of the guidelines on classified research, but
she also does not understand those
guidelines. Specifically, VP Wilson believes
that the guidelines allow classified research
which might result in the generation of
classified documents if the "scientific
results" but not the "report" of that resear-
ch may be published in the open literature.
A close reading of the guidelines shows no
such distinction between "reports" and
"scientific results". To allow classified
research on campus on the basis of this
distinction is disingenious.
The most charitable reading of VP
Wilson's interpretation of the guidelines
that would allow classified research which
might generate classified documents per-a
tains only to Paragraph 16. This provision
allows classified research to continue if the
government only classifies "numerical con-
stants, equipment parameters" and the like
and if that information is not "essential for
open publication of results." This is a very
precise exemption for a limited amount of
research. VP Wilson tries to rationalize the
wholesale violation of the guidelines on the
basis of this limited distinction.
As is too often the case, an administrator
has chosen to attack students and student
organizations instead of address the issues.
Whenever the University administration is
opposed by those who can show that the
University is acting improperly, it attacks
them on a personal level. Unfortunately;
VP Wilson's is a particularly base example
of this insidious behavior. Since VP
Wilson's letter contains so many basic
misunderstandings of the research review
process, her castigation of students seems 4
ridiculous.

Bering

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TITYKFE BU&LI I T
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I
I

Educating the educators

Finally, education deans from
the country's top universities
admit that their teacher training
programs are inadequate, and plan
to make drastic and innovative
:changes.
Tuesday, deans from 40 top
research universities, including the
University, announced their plans
*to dismantle the undergraduate
:degree programs at their schools in
favor of a graduate teaching cer-
tification program. Their
collaborative report decrees that
the education degree "has too often
become a substitute for learning
any academic subject deeply
enough to teach it well", and calls
for specific reforms in all of the
nation's teacher training programs.
The group advocates five reforms:
phasing out the undergraduate
education major, improving
teaching in liberal arts colleges
which train teachers, adopting a
three step career ladder for
teachers, establishing professional
development schools like teaching
hospitals, and requiring aspiring
teachers to pass competency
tests in their subject fields.
These demands for reform an-
swer years of unfocused criticism
of America's schools. Teachers

have received poor training, and as
a result, the nation's children have
received second-rate educations.
Finally, these education deans
from ten universities, the Holmes
Group, have investigated the
criticism and set concrete
guidelines for those who train
teachers. As is too rarely the case,
these deans expose to the public the
extent of their own failures, and
devise innovative solutions. All of
the reforms they suggest reflect a
thorough understanding of the
problem and a willingness to un-
dertake a complete overhaul in the
interest of quality education.
Colleges that now spit out
teachers as if from education fac-
tories will be distressed to realize
that under the deans' proposals,
aspiring teachers will have to
prove their qualifications. These
colleges may lose revenues
retained through shoddy
programs, and college students
may be traumatized by another
battery of tests, but millions of
children stand to gain im-
measurably.
It is to be hoped that the overdue
reforms advocated by the Holmes
Group will be enacted swiftly,
thereby improving the future of the
nation.

wE NEED A SOL TI
''.TITV OFST V

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I

LETTERS:
Mandela
Dear President Shapiro and
Committee Members:
I write to register the profound
dismay, and indignation, of the
Center for Afro-American and
African Studies over the way in
which the nomination of Nelson
Mandela, and the significance of
Mandela's life and work, have
been handled - and badly, even
shabbily, resolved. The
guidelines contained in an
"Honorary Degrees Policy," of
three pages, offered to CAAS at
the beginning of this entire
project, hardly prepares one for
such shabbiness. Instead, it
speaks of "major.purposes" and
of "major contributions to
society." In its appeal to "our
civilization" and to a "Common-
wealth of knowledge and under-
standing of which this University
is a part,"' the document seemed
to us and to our supporters
world-wide to have been right-

.S

supporters seek fairness

those who worked on Mandela's
behalf, from members of the
Congressional Black Caucus to
the African Literature
Association; from (a moveable)
Nadine Gordimer to students
here at the University, were
clearly based on a reading of in-
tegrity in theguidelines. They
were also based on a quite
reasonable assumption that the
relevant authorities at the
University of Michigan must at
the very least know a number of
things, among them where Man-
dela was and where Botha stood
at the time of the nomination;
and why Mandela, and millions
like him, continue to remain so
far apart from "our civilization"
and from that "commonwealth of
which this University is a part."
Additionally, our expectation and
that of our supporters was that
having demonstrated its under-
standing of the value of divest-

warded to our supporters:
"Recipients are then assigned to
particular commencements on
the basis of balancing fields of ac-
tivity and accommodation to
the recipients' schedules
of activities." The next sen-
tence reads, as you know,
"Nominations are solicited from
as wide an audience as possible."

Under the circumstances, it
seems obvious to us that one
could do much worse things tha
recognize and accommodate
(imprisoned) nominee Nelson
Mandela's schedule of activities.
Lemuel A. Johnson
Acting Director, CAAS
Professor of English
April 17

.... .:: :::.............:."::.:::

4

We encourage our readers to use this
space to discuss and respond to issues of
their concern. Whether those topics
cover University, Ann Arbor com-
munity, state, national, or international

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