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September 04, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

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40

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, September 4, 1986 The Michigan Daily

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, 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.
Learn more than books

Respect 'No Code'

In a democratic nation, it seems self-
evident that decisions should be made by
those they affect. But in the University's
political structure, only administrators
have power to set policy. Students can
merely make suggestions, somewhat like
slaves asking masters for vacation time.

Students should have more
decision-making power

unrelated to schoolwork. Administrators
say the University's current rules are inef-
fective and have never been used. But
students respond that additional rules are
unnecessary in light of the police, and that a
University judicial system would violate
certain civil rights. For example,
prosecution by the University as well as the
civil authorities would represent "double
jeopardy."
A code could also discourage political
dissent on campus. At worst, a student
could be expelled or suspended for taking
part in a sit-in. More likely, the threat of
such sanctions could be used to intimidate
would-be dissidents.
While other campus political issues have
divided "liberals" and "conservatives," the
code has not. Both the "liberal" Daily and
the "conservative" Michigan Reviev. have
taken editorial stances against the code.
And while in-fighting between "liberal"
Student Rights Party representatives and
"conservative" Meadow party represen-
tatives, has crippled the Michigan Student

Assembly, both sides think the code is un-
just.
Despite this bi-partisan opposition,
University President Harold Shapiro has
threatened to implement the ad-
ministration's version of the code without
MSA's approval, possibly this fall. Such a
move would violate the student gover-
nment's authority, giwven by the Board of
Regents, to veto any changes in the current
rules.
Shapiro's threat exemplifies the imbalan-
ce of power at the University. Students'
main input into policy-making is serving on
University committees that advise ad-
ministrators. If administrators dislike the
proposals or grow inpatient, they can ignore
the committee.
Students should have some actual0
decision-making power. But for the time
being, this seems like a pipe-dream. Until
students win a greater role in University
decision-making, they should stay informed
about the code, and continue to express
their opposition.

Welcome to the University of Michigan.
Here you will meet brilliant professors who
teach fascinating courses. You will also meet
teaching assistants who barely speak English.
Your mind will be opened to a variety of dif-
ferent ideas, and you'll find yourself questioning
many of your previous beliefs. You'll also en-
counter racism and sexism.
You will have fun and meet interesting people.
You'll also toil alone in the library, your mind
and body wrenched by the coffee you poured into
your nervous system.
The good. The bad. And the UGLi. You'll read
about it five mornings a week in your completely
student-run newspaper, The Michigan Daily.
The Daily brings you the issues you're concer-
ned about and the issues other people think you
should be concerned about. Whether it's the
latest idea for rules governing student behavior
("the code"), the most recent salvo in the debate
over military research, or another rally against
apartheid, the Daily will be there-because it's
important to you.
Just because something doesn't have ear-
thshaking significance doesn't mean it's not im-
portant, though. Our reporters also follow the
social convolutions of rush and Greek Week, the
Tomorrc
A long-awaited report critiquing the College of
Literature, Science, and the Arts is blunt in its
criticism of the undergraduate program here.
Pointing out existing problems, rather than the
solutions they suggest, may prove to be the most
valuable product of the Blue Ribbon Com-
mission's work, however.
Many of the criticisms-students have too lit-
tie contact with faculty; undergraduate coun-
seling leaves much to be desired; the,
distribution is not guaranteeing a quality liberal
arts education-is nothing new to un-
dergraduates. But it is very comforting to hear
faculty and administrators recognize that
problems exist.
Even is none of the many recommendations in
the report are adopted, an increased awareness
of the college's problems is sure to be of some
help.
The committee propses some appealing ideas,
though. For example, their central proposal for a
large system of courses teaching un-
dergraduates critical thinking is very attractive.
The plan, as laid out in the report, is innovative
and stands a good chance of meeting its goals: to
provide a true liberal arts education and to take
advantage of the research excellence of the
faculty.
Since it is the central proposal of a major
commission, it is almost certain that it will be
Today's
The Michigan Student Assembly seems
genuinely interested in working out its internal
problems and getting on with the business of
representing students. The fall offers a new op-
portunity for the assembly, both for new
progress and serious backsliding.
The mediation the assembly brought in this
summer seems to be making a positive differen-
ce and the future looks optimistic for MSA.
Returning members who did not share in the
summer's healing process should be careful not
to reopen the wounds caused by the conflict bet-
ween President~Kurt~Muenchow and the leaders
of the opposition.
The assembly brought the problems on itself
through childish antagonisms, many with their
roots in the mudslinging election campaign of
last March. Assembly members correctly
deduced that an outside mediator was the best
way to iron out their differences, but the fact
remains the students paid for MSAs own
negligence.
Only if the improvement continues will the cost
have been worth it to the students. If the return

latest victory of the Wolverines, or the hottest
new band in town. When interesting people do in-
teresting things in Ann Arbor, the Daily is there
and so are you.
Whatever your interest, cause, or pet peeve,
the University is a place to get involved.
If the Latin American Solidarity Committee's
focus on U.S. involvement in Central America
turns you off, maybe the quality of dorm life will
concern you. Or, if the University's stance on
military research makes you yawn, maybe the
big parties of Michigras and homecoming will
wake you up.
The Univerity, the students, the country, and
the world are all inexorably tied - economically,
politically, and socially. Your relationship with
the University doesn't sto when you pay your
tuition bill or finish CRISPing, and the Univer-
sity's relationship with the state doesn't stop
when the Governor signs the budget. The Daily is
part of this network, even as we tell you about it.
Student decision-making, campus safety, the
Middle East, Chile, exams: all are issues that
do, will, or might affect you. Keep informed and
stay involved through both the Daily and your-
self.

No campus issue demands self-
determination, and exemplifies the vast
imbalance of campus political power, more
than the proposed code of nonacademic
conduct.
There should be no code. For three years,
students and administrators have debated
the need to govern student behavior

Supporting democracy abroad

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LSA

tried in some form, despite a price tag of over $1
million for the whole package. If the proposal is
fully implemented, it will significantly change
undergraduate education, giving it a theme and
some new valuable content.
After that recommendation, however, many of
the other proposals seem to be only feeble
solutions for difficult problems. They offer few
concrete ideas for implementation and no plans

Word spread rapidly around campus last'
winter when United States planes bombed
Libya. Political arguments raged on the
Diag, as students postponed their studies to
support or condemn the raid. When
Congress rejected President Reagan's plan
to aid the Nicaraguan Contras, campus ac-
tivists hailed the decision, while conser-
vative students protested.
Though it sometimes seems that Univer-
sity students are glued to their schoolbooks,
international issues play a major role in
campus life. Students from all political per-
spectives debate everything from Chilean
independence to Palestinian autonomy. And
the Daily in particular devotes much of its
editorial focus to international issues.
Throughout the world, authoritarian
governments are threatening the civil liber-
ties Americans have come to expect. The
Daily's editorial board strongly believes in
governments based on popular consent. A
nation can fairly reflect the will of its people
only by respecting civil rights,
tolerating political dissent, and allowing
free press.
TherSandanista government in
Nicaragua, for example, though it claims to
be democratically elected, has closed
valuable opposition newspapers and in-
vaded religious privacy.
But the Contras, American puppets in the
guise of popular revolutionists, are cer-
tainly no better. They represent an insult to
Nicaraguans who helped overthrow the dic-
tator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.
Composed in great part of former
Somozan officers, the Contras have
violated human rights on an often ghoulish
scale.

In South Africa, however, the ad-
ministration's actions are cloaked in
hypocrisy. The Botha regime has, with
American support, ignored internal violen-
ce, international pressure, and even its own
promises of reform. Modest gains like the
end of South Africa's notorious "pass laws"
mean nothing when political opposition
remains banned, blacks face intolerable
discrimination, and the press has been
strangled.
While President Reagan mouths moral
condemnations of apartheid, his ad-
ministration's attempts at "diplomatic"
pressure have proven a miserable failure.
The United States government should
acknowledge the inevitability of
revolutionary change and initiate contact
with the African National Congress, the
black group most likely to provide effec-
tive leadership.
In addition, punitive sanctions seem an ef-
fective step to register moral disdain for a
government that violates every American
principle of liberty.
Even the democratic Israel has not been
exempt from these repressions of
democracy. By delaying an investigation in-
to the scandal surrounding the Shin Beth, its
security agency, the Israeli government has
compromised much of its moral integrity.

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4

P. W. Botha

Proposed changes are
encouraging

Though the United States should not aid
the Contras, American policy should en-
courage a popularly-elected leadership that
truly represents the Nicaraguan people.
Such a collective government is also a
must in Chile, where General Augusto
Pinochet has exercised a virtual dictator-
ship since 1973. Though Chile's constitution
calls for him to step down in 1987, Pinochet
has indicated that he may subvert the elec-
toral process and stay on for another term.
The Reagan Administration has correctly
pushed for new elections to give the Chilean
people a voice in their government.

for meeting costs. Yes, it would be lovely to have
more financial aid, but where will the money
come from?.
Commission members have explained that
their task was huge and their support was
minimal. Some have expressed dissatisfaction
with the report, saying it did not reflect the depth
and breadth of the group's discussions. This is
too bad. In all of the areas touched by the group,
much more work will need to be done.
But the first step to solving problems is always
to recognize that they exist, and this is the LSA
Blue Ribbon Commission did exceedingly well.
MSA-
of the rest of the members, some of whom played
major roles in the antagonism, means a return to
the back-biting of last spring, the money, time,.
and effort spent this summer will be
meaningless.
MSA has proven is can effectively work for
student concerns. While the assembly oc-
casionally gets too philosophical in its
discussions, or even if it doesn't always read
student opinion well, MSA has shown it can run
essential student services and occasionally sway
the regents and administration.
The assembly under Muenchow has to prove
itself as effective as those under past presidents
Scott Page and Paul Josephson. Important
issues like the code of non-academic conduct, the
proposed guidelines for classified research and
campus safety all require a strong student voice.
Neither the students at large nor the ad-
ministration will take seriously an assembly ob-
viously more concerned with winning internal
battles than reasonably addressing issues. The
summer has given MSA a second change - let's
hope they don't waste it.

While a popular revolution is certainly not
necessary in Israel, such a step should be
encouraged in every nation that flouts
freedom. Just as the Philippine people rose
up and helped defeat Ferdinand Marcos, so
should people of other nations with op-,
pressive governments.

Racism around the Ivory Tower

I

Despite the University's ivory tower and
intellectual atmosphere, the campus is not a
haven from society's ills. Subtle and overt
racism have plagued the campus this past
year, and require steadfast opposition.
The first step is to demand the immediate
removal of racist graffiti from University
buildings. This most prevalent form of
racism ranges from anti-semitic statemen-
ts on the stairwells of the Modern Language
Building, to the desecration of a Chinese-
American students' carrel in the graduate
library.
Many students last spring showed they
will not tolerate such defacement by
organizing a cleanup of graffiti in the
graduate library. The University also
scrubbed clean many walls this summer,
but only after racist slogans remained up

for months.
The continued presence of the anti-apar-
theid shanty makes a symbolic statement
for racial equality, although the University
has done little to protect it from physical at-
tacks.
Most racism takes subtler forms than
graffiti, however. Lurking behind the graf-
fiti problem is an underlying racist attitude.
In many cases, this is due to a lack of ex-
posure to minorities.
By increasing minority enrollment, the.
University can increase interaction among
students of different races and cultures. But
the University has shown itself better at set-
ting impressive goals for minority
enrollment than achieving them. While
minority enrollment rose to a University
all-time high of 12 percent, black enrollment

was just slightly more than half the Univer-
sity's goal of ten percent.
In some ways, it's a vicious circle. The
University's racist image makes recruiting
minorities difficult. But there are steps that
can be taken, such as increasing financial
aid and minority recruitment efforts.
The best place to educate students about
racial interaction is in the dorms. Resident
advisors are already screened to ensure
that they understand the importance of
discouraging intolerant attitudes. Many
dorms also have minority lounges.
One idea that should be given serious con-
sideration is a mandatory racial awarenessf
course for freshmen.
The presence of racial intolerance on
campus is itself intolerable. Students should
fight it in their daily lives and pressure. the
administration to increase their efforts.

Athlete -student

Michigan's basketball team will have to
do without two promising recruits next
year. In-coming freshmen Terry Mills and
Rumeal Robinson failed to meet the
academic standards set by the NCAA's new
Proposition 48 rule, and will have to sit out a
year. While it's encouraging that the rule is
being enforced, it's questionable whether
the University should be admitting students
incapable of meeting minimal NCAA stan-
dards in the first place.
Proposition 48 requires that an athlete
receive a combined 700 SAT score and a 2.0
GPA in high school. The rule was designed
to combat the practice of universities ad-
mitting players unqualified to attend their
schools.
Refore the rule. several nlavers were

Although a SAT score is a poor indicator
of ability, especially among students disad-
vantaged by poor public education, it is
reasonable to expect a combined score of
700, which requires answering correctly
only one fifth of math questions and one-
third of the verbal.
The Robinson and Mills cases are an em-
barrassment to a University which prides
itself an academic excellence. But admit-
ting students unqualified to succeed
academically is a crime mainly towards

those athletes who do not buck overwhelming
odds to become professional
basketball stars.
Hopefully, Mills and Robinson will suc-
ceed academically despite their low scores.
The basketball team holds mandatory study
sessions and offers tutoring to players,
which may be some justification for admit-
ting athletes at a lower standard than other
students. But in the cases of Mills and
Robinson, it seems the University has gone
too far.

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