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October 21, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-21

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OPINION
Tuesday, October 21, 1986

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

SANCTIONS AG6MWS

Vol. XCVII, No.34

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.

Stronger by degrees

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HONORARY DEGREES fulfill a
valuable purpose of the University:
to provide intellectual and moral
enlightenment for the larger
community. Thus, it is somewhat
surprising that the administration
has assembled a committee that
would consider doing away with
honorary degrees. This committee
is "prepared to consider a number
of options, from a reaffirmation
of current policy or discontinuing
the honorary degree policy."
To either reaffirm the current
policy or discontinue the awarding
of honorary degrees would be a
serious mistake.' The conferment
of honorary degrees allows the
University to recognize and
support contributions to the
betterment of humanity. These
degrees are often the greatest form
of peer and popular recognition
granted to those who endeavor in
the under-appreciated fields of
academia. Honorary degrees can
also be awarded so as to make
strong moral statements in favor of
humanitarian causes.
Unfortunately, the existing
honorary degree policy has often
impeded efforts to reward worthy
degree candidates. Indeed, the
existing system for choosing
honorary degree recipients, has
several times resulted in shameful
selections. Among the
University's illustrious list of
honorary alumna are Ferdinand
Marcos, Sukarno of Indonesia, and
.Emperor Haile Selassie of
Ethiopia. Each of these men was
awarded an honorary doctorate of
civil law by the University. This is
highly ironic, considering that each
displayed contempt for civil law.
-Marcos abolished civil law and
established martial rule in the
Philippines. Sukarno ended
parliamentary rule in Indonesia and
presided over a dictatorial "Guided
Democracy." Haile Selassie never
respected civil law, being a feudal
emperor who ruled by decree.
Among those recipients whose
merit for an honorary degree is
questionable are Madame Chaing
Kai-Shek, wife of the Chinese
tyrant; Queen Juliana of the
Netherlands; Lyndon Johnson and
Robert McNamara, architects of the
Viet Nam War; former UC-
Berkeley President Clark Kerr,
best-known for his repression of
student dissent; and Betty Ford,
First Lady of the United States."
Some of these people are not
especially objectionable, but neither
are they exceptionally deserving of
honorary degrees.
On the other hand, some people
especially deserving of honorary
degrees have been denied, by
various means, of the University's
recognition. Two prominent
examples are Raoul Wallenberg

and Nelson Mandela. Raoul
Wallenberg risked, and possibly
lost, his life in a crusade to save
European Jews from death at the
hands of facists. Nelson Mandela
has been a leader and spiritual
symbol of the struggle against
apartheid in South Africa.
Initiatives to grant an honorary
degree to Nelson Mandela and,
hence, support to the anti-apartheid
movement have resulted in the
recent evaluation of University
policy. This may also account for
the administration's sudden
ambivalance about the value of
honorary degrees.
Both Mandela and Wallenberg
have been denied honorary
degrees, obstensibly, on the basis
of a by-law precluding the
conferment of such awards in
absentia. Wallenberg's death and
Mandela's imprisonment under the
repressive apartheid regime prevent
both from accepting an award in
person. Since neither can accept in
person, the administration, citing
its cherished by-law, has deemed
each ineligible for honorary degree
recognition. This is the height of
bureaucratic intransigence and
absurdity. It is obvious that
exceptions should be made, and
degrees confered, when a worthy
person cannot attend the conferal
ceremony.
And exceptions have been made.
Four times in the, last 25 years,
degrees have been awarded in
absentia. Two people, who died
subsequent -to being offered
honorary degrees, were awarded
degrees pothumuosly. Two others
were prevented by accident or
illness from attending the proper
ceremony, but were awarded
degrees nevertheless. This
demonstrates that the exclusionary
by-law is not compulsory.
Yet, the administration has
chosen to treat this by-law as
compulsory. In another case,
President Shapiro has threatened,
with regent support, to ignore a
more significant by-law that
prevents adoption of a disciplinary
code without Michigan Student
Assembly (MSA) approval. It
seems that the administration
considers itself able to arbitrarily
choose which rules it will and will
not honor as sacred.
The "rationale" behind the, by-
law prohibiting conferment of
degrees in absentia is that lack of a
recipient's presence would detract
from the graduation ceremony.
Yet, meaning derives from the
merit of the honoree. Substance is
more important than ceremony.
And principle is more important
than policy. The honorary degree
policy should be suited to the
principles of the University
community, not vice versa.

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LETTERS:
Excerpts from consumers 'complaints.

To the Daily:
Arriving in Ann Arbor at the
end of August, I visualized the
overwhelming horrors that
awaited me-sharing a room
the size of a rat's cage with no
one one but two other
strangers. My worries were
fulfilled when I swung open
the door of my new room.
About 9 feet of walking/living
space existed between the
bunkbeds and the single bed.
The three desks were
supplemented by two closets
and one set of drawers.
Looking at the deluge of
clothes, appliances and goods
that I had brought up, the
amount my new roommates
had brought, and the size of the
closets and bureaus, I cried.
We were not the only ones on
the hall or even in the dorm
with this problem. The
obvious solution, short of
murdering your roommates,
was to install a loft. The girls
across the hall were the first to
start this trend.
They called the first ad that
was posted everywhere-lofts
by John. John charged them
$235 for a loft that started to
fall down one week after it was
put up. It also got sawdust
everywhere.
We therefore waited a few
days before we bought our new
loft for $115, including
installation and a smoke
detector (a new requirement for
anyone installing a loft.)
The housing crunch is
bordering on hazardous. I
remember reading in the Daily
that some freshmen still were
not given rooms their first
week up here. There is no
excuse for this type of living.
We are paying to live in these
halls.
The University has several
options available to control
this type of living. For
instance, the housing office
could limit the numbers of
acceptances of incoming
students. Better yet, installing
permanent lofts for the rooms
would provide more living
space and would reduce the
expense of the residents'
installing new lofts every year.
Reducing the amount of
housing preferences given to
athletes would also be fairer to
the rest of the residents. A

take some action on our after most of us have had our cells like caged convicts.
housing crisis. It's tough own room for all our lives. It Hopefully, a change will occur.
enough to share your room is even more difficult to live in -Alyssa Lustigman w
with two complete strangers a new surroundings packed into October 6
Bursiey neeeds buses and newfood

To the Daily:
Bursley dorm for the host
part is a well-run dorm, but
there are some inconveniences
that need to be worked out to
make Bursley more livable for
its residents.
My main complaint with
Bursley is the transportation
system provided to the
students. Since Bursley is on
North Campus the bus system
used now is the best system to
transport students to Central
Campus. With the extra
students using the buses, due
to the moving of some
engineering classes to North
Campus, it has become hard to
catch the first bus that stops.
Sometimes in the morning you
might have to wait for the
second or third bus to get to
Central Campus and as a
result, be late to class.
Another problem with the
bus sytem at Bursley is the
infrequency in which buses
come after 7:00 p.m. The bus
routes to Bursley are slowed
down to one bus every thirty to
forty minutes, which is very
inconvenient-especially if
you have to get to Central
Campus in a hurry. For
example, if you wanted to go
to the library to study for two
hours, you would have to
spend a total of an hour to get
there and back. This causes an
hour of wasted time that a
student could be using
otherwise. It also contributes
to many students' not taking
advantage of the resource
materials on Central Campus.
Students are also subject to
Michigan's harsh climate for
long periods of time. During
the winter, students will have
to wait a half an hour or more
in the cold for a bus to arrive.
Due to the increased amounts
of students using the buses you
might have to wait another
thirty minutes because the first
bus you were waiting for is
already full.
I feel the bus problem could
he easily eliminated by the.

library, but there is always
loud music playing there,
which makes it difficult to
study. This would reduce the
need for students to go to
Central Campus to study.
Even though 90% of Bursley
is kept very clean, the
bathrooms in the wings need to
be cleaned more often and have
hand tissue to dry your hands.
It is a very common sight to
see vomit and other bodily
remains on the floors of the
restroom after a Friday or
Saturday night. Even though
it's not a pleasant thing to
clean up, there is no reason the
students should have to tolerate
this smell and vulgarity until
Monday afternoon.. It's also

inconvenient to wash your
hands and have nothing to dry
them on but your shirt. .
The last of my complaints is
the food at Bursley. There is
always plenty of it, but the'
variety is very limited. I
realize your staff is making
food for 1,200 people, but does.
every other meal have to be
Mexican or have rice in it?
Besides the problems listed;q
Bursley is a well-maintained'
and well-managed dorm. If
these problems could be
eliminated, it would greatly
reduce the inconveniences of
living on North Campus at
Bursley.
James Gery
-October 7

Dorm needs elevators

To the Daily:
I am writing to tell you about
some of the problems with the
elevator service at Bursley
Residence Hall. For
example, when I moved in in
August, I had a lot of
belongings to carry to my
room. I had gone out of my
way to take my belongings to
the elevator, but the elevator
wasn't working. I feel that if a
building has an elevator
available to the public, it
should work.
A friend of mine was moving
in and had gotten on an
elevator that worked. She was
going up to her hall when the
elevator suddenly stopped. It

was situated so that the door
opened about one foot off of
the floor. She had to collect
her things and squeeze through,
the small opening to get to the
floor.. Then, because of the
position of the hall, she had to
carry her possessions down
three flights until there was a'
connecting lounge to her hall.
I think there should be more
people on the maintenance staff
to ensure that the elevators are
clean and functioning. After
all, each student pays for this
room and board. Why should
some students suffer because of
the floor they live on?
-Ian Knauer,
October 1

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Baker should predict

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To the Daily:
Based on his comments on
social security ("Baker: Pursell
cut benefits," Daily, 10/14/86),
we should be thankful that
-Dean Baker is an economist.
Bakler described Pursell's
prediction of the breakdown of
Social Security as "ridiculous
speculation," saying, "where
we're going to be in 2010 is
imnossible to tell."

sterilizing surgical .''
instruments. After all, one A'
cannot be sure that there is'
dangerous bacteria on that.'.
scalpel.
Of course it is difficult to
determine what will be
happening 25' years in the
future. It could be better than
Pursell expects. It could also
be worse. All one can do is to
make their hest iiess and act

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