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October 01, 1986 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-01

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OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, October 1, 1986 The Michigan D ily

She Mic tgan Bat4ly
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No. 20 420 Maynard St.
Ain 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.

University

needs

a

code

4

Requiring respect

THE UNIVERSITY should
require faculty to respect the
religious holidays of all
students. Currently, the ad-
ministration requests ob -
servation of this courtesy; some
schools, such as LSA, send out a
bulletin listing Jewish and
Islamic iholy days, as well as
Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Though faculty is urged to
respect these and other days ,
every year students face
conflicting test times, paper due
dates, and even hostility from
faculty.
Most public institutions
revolve around Christian,
holidays. From grade school on
through college and beyond,
Christmas and usually Easter
are celebrated with calendar
days off and abundant de -
coration. The attention these
holidays receive can make
minority groups feel un-
comfortable. Many people don't
celebrate or agree with the
ideology of these holidays,
especially when their own be-
liefs are ignored or shrugged
aside.
The. case of the marching
band and the ° Michigan-
Michigan State football game
played on the Jewish high
holiday of Yom Kippur in 1984

illustrates this point. Some of
the band members explained to
the band leader that they
wouldn't be able to play at the
game because they would be
fasting and attending services
all day. The band director later
punished the students with
extra work after the game. One
of the students finally took the
case to affirmative action, and
the situation was resolved.
To first year students
arriving at a big liberal'
campus like Ann Arbor, such
an experience, while perhaps
indicative of the 'real' work
world, is unnecessarily shock-
ing. For all students, such
treatment is degrading. It un-
dermines basic respect and con-
sideration of others.
The diversity of students at
the University requires that
their differences be appreciated.
No one is being singled out for
preferential treatment when
minority religions are re-
cognized as meaningful and
valuable. Considering the
serious commitment indi-
viduals feel toward their
religious beliefs, honoring such
commitment would be a good
way for the University to show
its support for minority
students.

By Donald Rucknagel
The statement entitled "Conduct Code
Unnecessary" (Daily, 9/10/86) by the
three student members of the
University council argues that "no-one
has yet given justifiable response to the
question, Why Code?" I would like to do
so.
Two years ago when the University
Council was reconstituted we decided to
start anew and asked what were the
problems that needed addressing. We
then entered upon a long exercise in
fact-finding, interviewing numerous
knowledgeable persons on the campus.
We arrived at a list of problems that fell
into three categories: life threatening
emergencies (rape, physical assault,
arson, and murder); a broad group of
less than emergent conflicts between
persons or between individuals and the
institution (theft, sexual harassment,
intimidation, threats of assault,
vandalism, embezzlement, fraud and
forgery); and acts of political dissent
(sit-ins, withholding information from
students, disruption of classes, noise
and pranks). The council minutes of
March 20, 1985 state that "Lee
Winkleman (student member)
suggested the council work on the areas
first where everyone is in agreement
and then concentrate on the areas of
disagreement." We proceeded to do just
that, completing procedures for dealing
with emergencies that threaten well-
being on April 18, 1986. We have
submitted a mechanism in which we
have attempted to protect the University
community and yet be fair to all
concerned, allowing appealsaall along
the way and providing a specific means
of due process. Students, faculty and
administration have worked amicably
and long on that document. The fact
that all have invested as much time as
they have is evidence enough that they
recognized the existence of problems.
From the testimony that the council
received it was evident that some of the
problems outlined above are derived
Rucknagel is a professor in the
Department of Human Genetics
and Internal Medicine and the
Faculty Co-Chair, 1985-86,
University Council.

from the nature of this University. We
are equivalent to a small, congested,
somewhat impersonal city of over 30,000
inhabitants. We come from diverse
backgrounds, and competition
engenders a modicum of tension.
Under these conditions stress and
interpersonal conflict are inevitable. I
do not intend to create the impression
that our campus is a warring camp, but
neither is it idyllic. A second source of
tension is the emotionally ill among us
who have difficulty coping in this
setting, resulting in dysfunctional
behavior. That there are problems in
that regard is evident by the two
murders and two cases of arson in
recent years, one of the latter resulting
in the destruction of a whole building.
Those are admittedly extreme
examples, but the fact remains that
short of those extremes are a wide range
of disruptive behaviors that frequently
presage more serious acts. There are
those who insist that society has ample
means for dealing with the mentally
ill. Not so, the streets of Ann Arbor bear
ample witness to society's failure to
care for those people.
A second argument is that the faculty
and administrators on the council do
not react favorably to students'
questioning the need for a procedure.
Of course, they disagree with the
students.
Another contention in the article cited
above is that all disputes on campus
should be sent downtown to the courts.
The law students on the council and the
attorney from the community that
advises them promote "the aggressive
use of the existing criminal; justice
system." Whereas that may be good for
the incomes of the local attorneys, I and
other members of the council have some
difficulty with that for the following
reasons. University communities, and
especially this one, have been cast in
the role of being the messenger that
brings the bad news to society. In the
not too distant past, I believe there were
many in the community who would
have liked to meddle in our
governance, the Board of Regents
notwithstanding. I have in mind the
Vietnam War protests and the Black
Action Movement Strike. As a general
principle, I would like to be able to

govern ourselves as much as possible,
free of community and police
involvement.
Moreover, to wash our hands of conflict
on the campus and force students to
incur the expense and inconvenience of
taking their grievances downtown is
derilection of this University's
responsibility. A self-governance
mechanism also has heuristic value.
Moreover, students who make mistakes
can be lovingly guided by an,
understanding community and not end
up with police records. A self-
governing mechanism does not- imply
violating basic civil liberties. Indeed,
a procedure including due process may
give administrators less power anc4
prevent capricious behavior on their
part.
One of the issues coloring our past
deliberations is the fear that the process
devised to deal with other disputes will
be used to stifle political dissent. I
believe that I am as committed to
political dissent as any student on this
campus. I also believe it is possible to*
come to a resolution that allows fre
speech and that will guarantee the right
of dissent. The council has therefore
agreed to address this, the most difficult
issue, next in the hope that a
mechanism for resolving the middle
group of conflicts will then fall into
place.
The September 10 statement also calls
for a leisurely pace of vacuous
discussions in the face of what some
consider administration pressure.
am less concerned with pressure from
the administration than the fact that
each time the student composition on the
council turns over we go back to square
one and need to re-establish the needs.
Therefore, if this issue is to be resolved
by the end of this academic year, it is
incumbent upon the council to finish its
work by the end of this semester and
allow time for reaction and ratificatior
by our various constituencies. The fact'
remains that Bylaw 7.02 charges, the
council to "formulate and propose
uniform regulations governing
conduct of students, teaching staff and
administration. We are not just
having a collegial chat every week. I
welcome the challenge of getting on
with it.

.

_4

Midland's cost

C ONSUMERS POWER'S
decision to convert the Midland
Nuclear Power plant to gas
power should be scrutinized by
state regulators. The company
can not be allowed to pass on
large increases in electric rates
to their customers.
The Midland project was
begun in 1967. Since then it has
suffered from a multitude of
safety and engineering
problems. These problems have
led to massive cost overruns.
The cost of the plant so far,
though it is only 80 percent
completed, exceeds original es-
timates by 3.7 billion dollars, a
900 percent cost overrun. When
safety questions and costs
increased to unacceptable levels
the utility was forced to abandon
the plant.
The current revival of
Midland is possible because
Consumers has entered into a
partnership with Dow
Chemical. Given past mediocre
environmental and safety
records of both companies, their
new relationship is disturbing .
The shift to gas power is
beneficial ,however, since it at
least eliminates the possibility of
a nuclear accident.
The partnership is
supportable in that it requires
ownership of the plant by at
least four investors who ideally
should pay for the conversion
enst1 The ven+ +n mti +hce

unnecessary for the state's
power needs, at least Dow will
pay maintenance costs.
It remains to be seen if the
original cost of the Midland
plant as a nuclear facility will
be passed on to customers,
Consumers Power share-
holders, or Dow and other
partners. Though the cost of
conversion differs only slightly
from the cost of building a gas
company fired from scratch,
Consumers isn't converting the
Midland site because it is
convenient to convert a partially
built nuclear plant to gas. At
best the conversion has been
undertaken to decrease the cor-
porate humilation of an
abandoned four billion dollar
investment with weeds growing
around it.
A more insidious possiblity
is that eventually Consumers
will try to pass on some of that 4
billion dollars to its customers.
That would be a serious blow to
the state's poor and elderly and
would bode ill for the state's
business climate.
Michigan needs stricter limits
on electric utilities' fees. Until.
such laws are passed, only
citizen pressure and litigation
by the Attorney General can
prevent the Public Service
Commission from bowing to
inevitable demands for
increased rates. Though the

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LETTERS:

To th
I'jus
to th
for ti

Emergency phones
e Daily: service and the planned f
st want to say thank you expansion of the Nite Owl c
e University of Michigan Service. I, as many on this n
he emergemcy telephone campus find it extremely t

benefitc
rustating to feel as if you
annot leave your dorm at
night without worrying about
he reality of possibly being
attacked. These services are
igns thatthe University is
sensitive to the fears of its
tudents and is trying to
make the 'U' a safer campus
or all of us. Hooray to the

Daily for giving the issues the
front page spotlight!!! And to
the fifty students who held the
sit-in in Mr. Johnson's office
to get more safety services.
Your efforts are greatly
appreciated.
-S. Tuckerman
September24
1

Be objective about Nicaragua,

a
:
s
f

To the Daily:
The Nicaraguan
government shuts down the
onnositiomn newsnner and the

newspaper that boasts of
"ninety-seven years of
editorial freedom." the Daily

I

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