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April 23, 1986 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-23

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OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, April23, 1986 The Michigan Daily

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No. 139 420 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.

Committee jolted on Mandela

Anti-apartheid action

FTHE UNIVERSITY should call
Pretoria to determine whether
Nelson Mandela could come to the
May 3 graduation ceremony. By
4oing so, the University will show
their desire to honor Mandela even
if' they can't waive a by-law.
Meanwhile, seniors, their
families, and friends should attend
the alternative ceremony at 10 a.m.
on graduation day in Rackham
Ainpitheatre. At that time, an
honorary degree will be presented
Jo Mandela.
The University has expressed
hatred of apartheid, yet their ac-
tions consistently contradict this
position. They have divested all but
One percent of stocks invested in
Corporations that operate in South
Africa because they are
challenging a state law which
prohibits such investments. Regent
Itoach has said that the question of
University autonomy may be more
hnportant in 100 years than apar-
theid is today. This statement
betrays insensitivity to the issue
and how it relates to non-white
dents who already experience
te University as a racist environ-
*
AIDS I
R EPUBLICAN gubernatorial
candidate Colleen Engler's
1mments regarding Acquired
fltmunity Deficiency Syndrome
SIDS) reflect a frightening at-
titude. Engler has said that
l4 mosexuals should be excluded
npm state-funded AIDS counseling
rd education programs. William
W Buckley Jr. went even further
lit month in an anti-gay article by
proposing mandatory sterilization
aid tatooing of AIDS victims. His
hdaas are echoed by scientists at
"nford University's Hoover In-
tute who suggested that the Pen-
t*Egon consider "Star of David"
oaert identification of homosexuals
,Jith AIDS.
EAIDS research and education
l:iave accurately informed most
iricans about the disease. This
iformation should dispel AIDS
I4steria and the unjust blame put
b homosexuals for AIDS. AIDS af-
1ects more heterosexuals than
lmosexuals and an equal number
ctwomen as men worldwide.
In light of such knowledge, and

ment. It is difficult to imagine
anything worse than apartheid
today, except, perhaps, apartheid
tomorrow. University investments
help keep apartheid secure.
The Honorary Degrees Commit-
tee has not considered Mandela
for a degreee because by-law 9.03
prohibits the granting of honorary
degrees in absentia. Debate has
arisen over this by-law, which
should be waived. More importan-
tly, the Regents should demon-
strate their dedication to a free
South Africa by putting pressure on
Pretoria to allow Mandela passage
to the United States and acceptan-
ce back into his country.
The University is a respected in-
stitution. When it acts, others
follow. If the University makes a
statement, others listen. The
University has an obligation, as a
responsible defender of human
liberty, to divest the remaining
$500,000. By informing the South
African government that they are
considering Mandela for an
honorary degree, the University
will have taken a stand against
apartheid in South Africa and
racism at home.

By Joseph Pigott
Since Nelson Mandela's nomination for an
honorary degree, there has been a lot of con-
fusion about the Honorary Degree commit-
tee's handling of the affair. As the student
representative on the committee, I feel
obliged to inform the student body of what
has been done with this controversial
nomination in the committee.
Typical of wide support the nomination
has received is a letter written by
Economics Professor Warren Whatley,
"The case for the nomination need not be
made, for Mandela is a world-wide symbol
of unwavering determination for human
freedom, not only in South Africa but
throughout the world. One does not often
find the issue of human freedom so clearly
put forth as it is in South Africa. One does
not often find the moral choice so easy to
make. And one does not often find the con-
dition of human suffering so clearly per-
sonified as in the case of Nelson Mandela."
A common question that arises over the
Mandela nomination is that although he is
the symbol of a just cause, does he deserve a
degree for what he has done? Mandela, in
addition to founding South Africa's first
black law partnership and leading the battle
against apartheid in the 1950s, has spent 22
years in prison, many of them in solitary
Pigott is the student representative to
the Honorary Degrees Committee.

confinement, as part of a life sentence. After
several offers of release by the South
African government contingent upon his
compromising his sworn ideals, he has
steadfastly refused, stating, "I have fought
against white domination and...black
domination. I have cherished the ideal of a
democratic and free society in which all
persons live together in harmony and with
equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I
hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs
be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to
die." The summary of his career may not
amount to political success, but it does
amount to moral success of oppressed
against oppressor, and the strength of ideals
over injustice; something the University
should be proud to honor.
Because of an obscure by-law requiring
honorary degree recipients to be present at
a commencement, however, the Regents
have ruled out great men such as Mandela
from ever receiving such an honor. This by-
law strikes me as contradictory to the whole
purpose of awarding honorary degrees. The
intent of the tradition of giving honorary
degrees is not to have prominent figures
grace commencement exercises with their
presence. According to literature given to
the committee, the intent "is to celebrate
the significant contributions these people
have made to improving the quality of our
civilization, and to pay tribute to individual
accomplishments in the common wealth of
knowledge and understanding of which this
University is a part."
During the committee's March 6th
meeting, we were informed of the by-law,
and decided to put aside further con-

sideration of the nomination until after the
next Regents meeting. Committee Chair-
man Harold Shapiro said he would ask the
Regents at that meeting if they were willing
to waive the by-law for the Mandela
nomination. The week before the Regents
meeting, however, Shapiro openly said that
he would not approach the Regents about
the by-law, as he had said, and Vice-
President Kennedy, a committee member,
said that the committee had decided not to
give Mandela a degree at all.
These comments must have confused the
other committee members, who were
unaware of any committee decision since no
decision, positive or negative, had been
made. It seems that Shapiro's decision to
suppress the subject was his own, not the
committee's. The Mandela nomination is
stuck at the committee level, and will
remain there until the Regents make a
decision about the by-law.
I was disappointed by the Regents' recent
decision, made with full awareness that
many members of the University com-
munity feel indignant by the shoddy han-
dling of the affair, to create a committee to
discuss the institution of offering honorary
degrees. Honorary degrees are an integral
part of the University's role to recognize
people who make substantial contributions
to society. The problem is the by-law which
prevents giving degrees in absentia. By
creating this committee, the Regents have
side-stepped a salient issue on campus
which must be addressed. Until Mandela is
recommended for a degree, I hope students
will continue to pressure them and keep the
issue alive.

Wasserman

hysteria
reasonable preventive steps taken
by homosexuals, Engler's
Buckley's, and the Hoover Institute
scientists' ideas are even more
dangerous. They are using gays as
scapegoats for a disease which is
not sexual-orientation specific.
Tax laws apply to homosexuals
as well as other Michigan residen-
ts; therefore, the programs funded
by these taxes should help
homosexuals too. Engler's ideas
for punishing gays are not befit-
ting of a governor who should
represent the entire citizenry.
Besides threatening the c :vil rights
of homosexuals, Buckle: s and the
Hoover Institute scientists' at-
titudes cannot help but bring to
mind past eras of hateful in-
tolerance toward others who are
consideredwdifferent. Through
educated understanding and
respect for the civil rights of all
Americans, such alarming ideas
should be eliminated as were their
predecessors in previous civil
rights movements.

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LETTERS:
Sugarman clears up scholarship case

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To the Daily:
In response to the two articles
that appeared in the Daily
(Friday, April 18 and Monday,
April 22), in addition to the repor-
ts appearing in some of the other
local papers and on various news
broadcasts, I wish to make clear
a few points that have either been
ignored or overlooked in the
media coverage:
1. Essentially, my grievance
over the matter of being denied
the Power Exchange Scholarship
is directed towards the Power
Foundation. Out of legal
necessity, the civil complaint had
to be filed against the University
because of their involvement in
the selection process, which I
have charged is discriminatory.
The Eliott Larson Civil Rights
Act requires that charges be
made against an institution of
public accommodation. My
feelings about the University
remain positive - I have had a
great four years - and aside

reasons, I hope that the Power
Foundation will continue to offer
one of comparable nature, that is,
one that does not in any way
discriminate against applicants.
Their refusal to comply with
modern morality and standards,
and instead sticking to empty
tradition, can, I think, be soon
forgotten with an immediate
change in the rules. But such ac-
tion, of course, is their
prerogative (at least at this

point).
3. These charges of
discrimination do not, as far as I
know, extend to any other aspects
of the University. When I
disclosed my marriage plans af-
ter receiving the scholarship, it
was the Power Foundation that
finally decided to refuse to extend
their offer. The University, I do
not think, had any problems with
my marital status at that time, or
at any time in the future.

4. Finally, I do not seek any
monetary award from the
University, except for $1.00 in
compensatory damages, as a
token of the change in the rules
which would allow married
students to apply for such
scholarships, and in order to take
my fiancee (Tammy Karp) out
for an ice cream to lessen the
severity of the emotional stress
this whole matter has put her
through. -Gary Sugarman
April 21

Nat'l Guard necessary for defense

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To the Daily:
Recently your newspaper prin-
ted some letters questioning the
reason why the Michigan
National Guard deployed an ar-
tillery battery to Honduras to
conduct its annual training. I
would like briefly to explain the
reason why the Guard is training
not only in Central America, but
Europe, South Korea and in, a
total of 44 different nations.

this cap will continue for the next
several years and possibly much
longer because of the severe
fiscal constraints in supporting a
larger standing army. The
National Guard is growing and
expanding from approximately
420,000 troops in 1983 to over
500,000 in 1990. This is a benefit to
our taxpayers and to our country,
due to the fact that expenditures
sfnr the... rC rvP ne q nlyn

the Guard and Reserve that in-
cludes at least 20 other Michigan
Guard units conducting their
normal training in a different en-,
vironment so that they can learn
the conditions and many dif-
ferences involved in different
areas. In addition, they receive a
great deal of logistical training in'
moving and transporting their
equipment just as they would
hav t (in in a mnh1i7atinn ina

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11

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