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December 03, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-12-03

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E

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, December 3, 1986

The Michigan Daily1

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Lucas

Vol. XCVII, No. 63

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Ml 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.
Out of committees, and into the streets:
Self-fulfilling apathy

BEST INTERLT...
YO'RE WHITE.

I

E

rcp

I

Recent events in the University
community require a new strategy
by student leaders. The fact that
only five percent of LSA students
voted in elections for LSA student
government shows the current
leaders' irrelevance.
LSA-SG's slogging through
endless administration related
committee work has obscured
issues. t ins time for student
University-wide committees. The
committees only serve to deflect
attention from the opinions and
priorities of the leaders' con-
stituents, the students.
The case of LSA-SG proves that
bureaucratic committees are the
surest way to miake a governing
body unknown and unimportant to
the majority of students. Instead of
seeking legitimacy by reasoning
with administrators, student leaders

should mobilize the student body
on important issues.
Former MSA president Paul
Josephson, a hard-working and
dedicated student leader himself,
explains LSA-SG's low election
turnout in a letter to the Daily
("Daily's Data is sound, but logic
faulty," Daily, 11/18/86).
Josephson points out that student
participation in elections for student
government is generall low.s oa
self-fulfilling prophecy of student
apathy by excusing student leaders
for not mobilizing students. When
95 percent of students do not vote,
however, it is time to examine the
student governance system and
student leaders. These nonvoting
students are rejecting the tactics
adopted by current leaders.
Perhaps the voting five percent, by
legitimizing current student govern-
ment, are wrong.

f~<o~e
- . A

I

* x x QUESTON OF TH E DAY * *
Q: IS THiE RE ANY F C E ON FARTIL, OT HER T HAW 8E/LIA(
W/HERE A WAL L I/t1RISONS A CiTY ?
A:. VISIT SOVE TO, AND SE. A MCIA

LETTERS-:

Degree meeting

m isrepo rted

Building movements

* he University and Board of
Regents are currently ignoring
student opinion on major issues -
an honorary degree for Nelson
Mandela, financial aid and retention
of minority students, the code of
non-academic conduct, PIRGIM' s
*funding mechanism and military
research. The resignation of
students from the University
committees concerned with military
research and the movement of
Black students on the financial aid
issue are encouraging develop-
ments. Student leaders should
follow their examnple and devote
more time to educating fellow
students about the issues.
Student leaders who want to
accomplish things by working with
the University administration
should take work-study jobs with
the administration. Students who
carry out administration projects or
legitimate administration ideas are
don't represent students. Such
*work will never serve to bring
about widespread student
participation.
When student leaders do lobby
the administration on issues such
as the snack lounge in the UGLi, it
is their duty to point out when the
University stonewalls. There~ is
nothing more likely to stifle student
interest than a sense of
helplessness because the Univer-
sity is unresponsive to student
views.
Student government only thrives
when a majpority of students takes
an active interest in the issues.
Last year, MSA student leaders
used ridiculous campaign tactics --
Student Rights' attack on the Opus
Cartoon and Meadow's red-baiting
-rather than confronting students
wth the rea isus
Sine te i as.d late 60ine em ns,
students have argued for divestiture

from companies that operate in
South Africa. Across the country,
universities established committees
to discuss the issue at closed
meetings. For over a decade most
universities managed to avoid
divestiture. Suddenly, with a
change in political circumstances
- namely the growth of strong,
militant anti-apartheid movements
within and outside South Africa -~
universities are having to divest.
Students in the '80s are not more
persuasive than students in the
'70s. Administrators responded to
increased pressure on the South
Africa issue. Despite President
Shapiro's claims that students have
influence through good ideas and
not confrontation, it was .the state
legislature that forced the
University, kicking and screaming,
into divesting 99 percent of its
South Africa related holdings. It
was also the state legislature that
brought pressure to bear on the
question of English competency
among TAs.
Student leaders should mobilize
on issues connected with either the
left or the right. The measure of
any student leader should be how
much time the person dedicates to
discussing any issue with students
in the Fishbowl, on the Diag or in
the dormitories.
A fter students become mobilized
thoroughly enough, they can have
real influence on University
committees and "task forces".-
When large numbers of students
become committed to an issue, they
will have more collective
intellectual resources with which to
make persuasive arguments, which
will have the backing of an active
student body. More importantly,
students will not risk the
bureaucratic strangulation of issues
previously centered in committees.

To the Daily:
I am writing to correct an
error in the reporting of
Tuesday night's hearing of the
ad hoc committee to review
the honorary degree policy
("Crowd urges 'U' to grant
Mandela degree," Daily
11/19/86). In your article you
state: "Scott asked the
members of the committee for
their opinions of whether
Mandela should receive the
degree, but committee, chair -
man John D'Arms evaded the
committee hasn't debated the
issue.'" The actual exchange in
question centered on a
somewhat different, and more
specific, question. In my
formal remarks before the
hearing I had urged that the
committee recommend
modifying the bylaws to
permit the granting of a degree
in a bs e ntia in those
exceptional c ses where the
fromattending by reason of
coercion: imprisonment, denial
of a passport, denial of
assurance of safe return, or
similar constraint. In the
discussion that followed I asked
how they view the possibility
of modifying the bylaw. I did
not ask for their opinions
about whether Mandela should
55 mph is saj
To the Daily:
To go or not to go the 55
mile per hour speed limit?
President Ronald Reagan is
thinking of trying to pass a
bill that repeals the speed
limit. If the speed limit were
raised to 65 miles per hour, as
Reagan wants, what would
happen? Most people believe
that there would be many
problems if the speed limit was
raised.
According to the Michigan
State Police, 90 percent of the
people driviing on the freeway
travel at 55 miles per hour.
When the speed limit is
increased, many people will be
habits'. e Peope wlhaet
merge at faster speeds. As a
result of this increased
acceleration, the cars will

receive a degree. Though that
question lies behind the
formation of the committee,
Smy understanding is that it is
not a specific part of their
mandate. To say that in our
exchange Dean D'Arms
"evaded" the question is thus
inaccurate, for that is not the
question that I posed..
Monday's meeting was

tense and at times frustrating,
but it was, in the end,
productive. I very much hope
that when the ad hoc
committee has had an
opportunity to discuss the
question of modification of the
bylaw it will convene another
hearing at which we can
exchange views on these
issues, and then move

promptly toward a resolution
that will clear away an
unnecessary obstacle toE
consideration of Nelson
Mandela as a candidate for an
honorary degree.
-Rebecca Scott
Associate Professor
Department of History
November 19

Indians are not thankful

I

To the Daily:
As we prepaks for anter
festivities, I feel it is
appropriate' to reflect on the
plight of a group of Americans
who don't celebrate
Thanksgiving: Native
Americans. Native Americans
today have the lowest life
expectancy of any group in the
U.S. an d the h ighes t
unemployment rate. They fare
well below the national average
housinig, and seducation.o I
addition, they continue to face
the problems of reservation
life, cultural differences, racial
discrimination, and forced
displacement.
It is important to examine
the history of the relationship
between Native Americans and
whites, in order to understand
-, economical
increase is a result of greater
forces acting upon the bodies
of the people in the accidents.
The question of fuel
consumption is another reason
for keeping the old 55 mile per
hour speed limit. While the
world is not short of oil and
gasoline at this point in time,
a consequence of repealing the
55 mile per hour speed limit is
decreased g as mileage.
Automobiles consume more
oil and gasoline when running
at a more rapid pace to move
the car faster. Some other
reasons for decreased gas
mileage are increased air
resistance and drag. The
thatak oil and gasoline" ar
finite. The increase in the
numbers of cars, coupled with
the overall decrease in gas

the reasons for the current
conditions of the Native
American people. When
European settlers first arrived
in North America, they were
welcomed by most Indian
nations. Europeans exchanged
goods for Indian land and
settlement would not have
survived if not for the help of
the Indians. The growth of the
settlements, however, resulted
in conflicts over land. The
bows and arrows of the Indians
were no match for the bullets
of the white settlers.
U.S. policy toward Native
Americans has been
consistently oppressiv nirn h
Revolution to the present.
1828 and the Presidency of
Andrew Jackson marked the
beginning of a tragic era for
Native Americans. Jackson's
goal was the removal of eastern
Indian nations to the west,
which established a pattern of
forcible relocation of the
nations, reduction of Indian
broken teaties.a Thediscovery
of gold in California in 1848
and the westward migration of
thousands of settlers sparked
relentless military campaigns
against the Indians and the
further loss of Indian land.
1871 marked the era of
consolidation of U.S. control
over Indian affairs. The
government ceased making
treaties and began to handle
matters by passing legislation
on matters concerning Indians.
The 1887 General Allotment
reservation land to idividual
Indians, proved a disaster. This
attempt to destroy the Indians'
communal lifestyle and to force

the 1950's, under the policy of
"termination." -Over 100
nations were forced to dissolve
their governments and to
distribute land and property
among their members.
,At present, 72% of Native
Americans live on reservation
their original land), much of
which is polluted and
undesirable. On these
r eser va t i ons, th e
unemployment rate often
exceeds 50% and alcoholism
runs rampant. The U.S.
government is currentty
engaged in several more
attempts to further marginalize
tis opressedsgroup ofg
involves the Dineh (Navajo)
people of Big Mountain,
Arizona, who are facing the
threat of dislocation from their
ancestral homelands. The
reason: corporate interests in
the coal and unranium which
have been discovered beneath
the surface of this land. Big
Mountain people vow to fight
this relocation to the death, if
necessary.
In the words of an
anonymous Indian: "They
made us many promises, more
than I can remember, but they
never kept but one; they
promised to take our land, and
they took it." It's too late to
change history, but we cang
learn from history and work to
correct our present mistakes.
This Thanksgiving is a good
time to reflect upon the past
and to express our solidarity
with the struggle of the Big
idigenous peoples.anIt'so tie
to change the course of history
so we don't further shame
ourselves while destroyingj

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