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March 10, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-10

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A

OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, March 10, 1987

The Michigan Daily

i

Et aed sturtstnvtichig an i
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

MS
By St

A should communicate

eL

ve Blonder

Vol. XCVII, No. 108

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

l

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.
Classroom patern alism

A T ANY GOOD university,
students should learn much more
than the material covered in their
course work. In recent informal
interviews, more than a dozen
professors and department heads
admitted a trend toward paternalism
in the classroom.
In addition to teaching academic
subject matter, society expects
colleges to help young people gain
maturity and learn responsibility.
'Many of the parents and taxpayers
who foot the bill for most
University operations and most of
the employers who hire University
graduates probably consider the
development of this -maturity and
responsibility to be the most
important single mission of higher
education.
Yet across the University, there
has been a growth in academic
requirements, such as the new
language requirement for students
who had four years of language in
high school. Furthermore, a
growing number of professors run
their classes in a manner which
diminishes students' responsibility
for their own work.
As recently as four or five years
ago, the typical upper level LS&A
course had few formal require -
ments: an often lengthy reading
list, a midterm, a term paper, and a
final exam. Everyone involved
assumed.that, if ,students skipped
lectures, neglected readings, or
devoted is ufficient effort to paper
writing, their lack of effort would
show up in their performance and
their grades.
This system, which places a
premium on student discipline and
responsibility, is on the decline on
this campus. Where the midterm
and final exams once adequately
deterred student impulses to neglect
the course reading lists, now many
professors administer pop quizzes
(or announced ones) to insure that
students read the books. Where
tough exam questions on material
found only in the lectures kept
most students in class most of the
time, now more teachers take
attendance and subtract points from
the final grades of students who

chronically cut class.
Where, not so long ago, the only
date students had to remember
regarding a term paper was the
final due date, now many have to
keep track of the additional dates
on which their topic statements,
bibliographies, outlines, and rough
drafts are due.
In short, professors are
exchanging reliance on student
initiative and discipline with faculty
coercion and supervision to make
certain that students do the work.
And, they tell us, it's for our own
good.
Most professors, however, are
not ogres who seek to impose petty
requirements upon students to
gratify their authoritarian urges.
Instead, for many faculty mem -
bers, these paternalistic measures
stem more from compassion than
malevolence. When students find
themselves in academic jeopardy
through neglect or poor
management, they often inform
their professors of the dire
consequences which they will
suffer as a result of the low or
failing grade: loss of scholarships,
rejection by graduate and
professional schools, and delayed
graduation.
It is to save themselves from the
agony of imposing these
consequences on students that
many facuty rergnw .
students' hands through tie
learning process
While the compassion of these
instructors is commendable, the
results of that compassion are not
so praiseworthy. Professional
schools and employers generally
demand results, period. They
don't look over people's shoulders
to check on progress.
College is supposed to prepare
students for these demands. By
imposing paternalistic requirements
in upper level courses, University
professors deprive students of the
opportunity to learn how to
function in a results-oriented
world. Many of these students will
now have to learn the hard way by
flunking out of law or medical
school or losing their first jobs.

Information remains a core ingredient
for any democratic system to succeed.
People need to be informed and active
participants; all of the people, not just
about 15 percent.
For the past several years, the
Michigan Student Assembly has been
plagued by large numbers of students not
being involved. Although the students
haven't been participating in large
numbers, the blame does not, and should
not, fall solely on their shoulders. Rather,
the problem stems from MSA not fully
accomplishing its obligation to inform
its constituents about its activities.
Vice presidential candidate David
Vogel best articulated the problem when
he said: "The majority of students on
campus do not know what MSA stands
for. There has been a breakdown of
communication between MSA and the
students."
By no means am I suggesting that
MSA has failed to achieve significant
accomplishments involving campus life.
For example, the assembly has succeeded
in getting the dormitory party policy
repealed and, in conjunction with other
groups, has been an important part of the
movement to increase safety on campus.
Despite accomplishing many
objectives, MSA does not enjoy the.,
campus-wide recognition that perhaps it
deserves. The reason rests on the
organization being extremely ineffective
in communicating its achievements.
After getting the party policy repealed,
for example, the assembly failed to
trumpet its victory to the students. Many
students still believe that they have to
register any gathering of more than ten
people with the dormitory administration.
The students should not have to camp
out on MSA's doorstep to find out what
the major issues before the assembly are.
Rather, responsibility rests with MSA, as
Blonder is a Daily reporter.

with any other representative group, to
actively inform its constituents.
The Michigan Daily has served as the
primary mouthpiece for MSA. If MSA
wants the Daily to comunicate to the
students for the assembly, the least they
can do is pay for an big, expensive ad
listing their weekly agenda and
accomplishments.
While the Daily reaches most of the
University community, MSA should
explore other avenues of communication.
MSA needs to maintain the responsibilty
for making its actions visible to the
students and bringing attention to itself.
These are not responsibilities of the
Daily.
Even members of the Daily staff have
misgivings with the paper's role as MSA
mouthpiece.
Daily editor-in-chief Rob Earle said,
"I'm not comfortable with the number of
times the Daily comes up at MSA
meetings as the means to communicate."
Perhaps MSA needs to devote some of
its resources into developing alternative
methods of communicating with the
students and getting more students
involved. Vice presidential candidate and
current MSA member Becca Felton
expressed this idea when she said, "We
can't just rely on the Daily, we need to
make our own efforts (to publicize what's
going on)."
One measure of how involved students
are in MSA is the voter turnout in the
annual MSA elections.
Last year, 15 percent of the total
student population voted in the MSA
elections. This apallingly low figure is
about the norm. The 18 percent turnout
two years ago was regarded as extremely
high.
Several students do not even know that
MSA elections will be held next week.
Many of those who are aware that the
elections are coming up do not know that
they are eligible to vote.
When asked whether she would vote in
the upcoming MSA election, one student

replied, "I can't vote in MSA elections,
I'm not registered to vote in Ann Arbor."
This student's ignorance does not
appear to be unique.
Current information about the
upcoming elections is limited. Most of
the information that the candidates have
put out does not directly deal with the
issues. Students need to know more than
the fact that the proposed code of conduct
is an issue. Why should anyone vote for
one party over another when they all hold
"no-code" positions? Just as students
should not have to go to MSA to find out
what they are working on, students .
should not have to go and beg the
candidates for campaign information. 4
Most of the campaign information that
is nowiavailableijust announces the,
upcoming elections, and does not,
effectively state candidates' positions.
If the students do not possess all of the,.,
information necessary to make an.
intelligent decision in the MSA elections,,
they should not vote. An uninformed
decision is certainly worse than no
decision. Illinois voters demonstrated this,
last year when they nominated two,,.
disciples of Lyndon La Rouche on the
Democratic Party ticket out of ignorance,,.
Students must not make the same type of
mistake here at the University. One less.-.
student voting because he does not have
all of the information will not have a-;-
significant impact (unless that student is,.-
in the School of Library Sciences where
only one student voted last year!).
Most of the MSA candidates agree that
more students need to get involved in the:<
assembly. However, unless the candidates,
can get themselves in gear and focus o.
informing the majority of the students
about the major issues, the students
ought to send MSA a message by not
voting and actively petitioning MSA to
make the necessary information easily,
accessible and available.
MSA should represent all of the
students, not just an arbitrary 15 percent.

LETTERS

Eggers do not represent

protesters

.
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1 i
_I

Immigrant internment

IN A "THREATENING SITUATION"
the Immigration and Naturalization
Service will confine all
non-citizens to concentration
camps within twenty four hours.
The INS is ready to violate the
rights of all non-citizens at a
moment's notice.
Previous Actions
The INS arrested Palestinian and
Kenyan residents of the United
States for violation of the
McCarthy era McCarran-Walter
Act that prohibits distribution of
Communist literature.
The INS also inters those "unde -
sirables" who enter the United
States in contradiction with current
U.S. foreign policy. Many Haitian
and Cuban refugees arrived in
Florida in the past two years. The
INS helped the Cuban refugees
escaping Communism and placed
Haitian refugees emulating the
Cubans in concentration camps
where INS officials physically and
psychologically intimidated them
and told them thev not to annlv for

motivations of many refugees
except those from Communist
countries. While the arrivals of
defectors from the U.S.S.R. are
common news features, in the
"Sanctuary" trials on whether or
not El Salvadoran immigrants are
political refugees, the INS initiated
an exclusionary clause ruling that
the politically based fears El Salva-
dorans is not relevant to the trial.
This is ludicrous in light of the hu -
man rights violations and political
executions going on there.
Internment Plan
The INS will seize all visas.
Non-citizens will be reclassified by
nationality. Permanent residents
will be treated like immigrants
arriving only days before. The INS
also will seal all borders in both
directions. U.S. citizens will be
isolated from all others once the
plan takes effect.
There are already camps in
Oakdale, Louisiana and southern
Florida. The mayor of Oakdale
said, "I think that the good to our
neople would far outweigh any

To the Daily:
We represent the law
students who organized the
protest and rally against the
policies of Attorney General
Edwin Meese, held at the law
quad. Over five hundred people
united for that evening for what
was, despite press accounts, a
largely peaceful demonstration
focused entirely on the
Attorney General's abhorrent
policies.
The protest was organized
with four goals in mind. First,
we sought to further educate
the University about the danger
the Meese justice department
poses to our constitutional
liberties. To this end, speakers
representing the National
Lawyers Guild, the American
Civil Liberties Union, the
Black Law Students Alliance,
the Hispanic Law Students
Association, the Women Law
Students Association, and the
Latin American Solidarity
Committee addressed the
protesters at the outset of the
rally. This well-received
speakers forum, and some
carefully prepared literature on
the Attorney General's policies
helped serve the rally's second
aim - to unify diverse groups
and individuals around their
opposition to the Meese
agenda.
Our third purpose was to
send a clear and personal
message of disapproval to
Edwin Meese himself. The
Attorney General has available
virtually countless avenues for
conveying his to the nation.
His visit to Ann Arbor
provided us with the rare
opportunity to communicate
our dissent directly to him.
Finally, we hoped that the
protest would demonstrate that
a large and active constituency
exists among the American
n-n1 fr. ncP nirl

policies, and were gratified to
see that student activism is not
dead in the 1980's. Senator
Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) gave
an encouraging address to the
demonstrators, and other
attendees gave similar
messages of support. To allow
the Attorney General's visit to
go unmarked would have
degraded the University's
image, and sent a message of
insensitivity to minorities,
women, the underclass and the
gay community, who are the
special, though not exclusive
targets of the regressive Meese
agenda. The place where
strongly held political and
social beliefs should find
expression.
By whom and at whom a
couple of eggs were thrown is
unclear. A number of protesters
saw eggs thrown from
fraternity houses across State
Street from the law quad. In a
telephone conversation last
week, President Ford told Law
School Dean Terrence
Sandalow that, despite Leo
Heatley's published assertions
to the contrary, he was not hit
by an egg. Immediately after

the incident, we wrote to
former President Ford to
convey our regret. But the egg
issue is a small one. It is
unfortunate that the media has
seized upon the actions of a
few misguided individuals to
denigrate an otherwise peaceful
and important event. The
Michigan Daily mis-
characterization of the
demonstration as "violent" and
its obsession with the "egg-
throwing incident" are
especially objectionable The
Daily coverage has only
succeeded in blunting the
communication of an
important political message to
a powerful government official,
and to the University.
We believe that the goals
that we had for the protest were
successfully accomplished. We
regret that some demonstrators

and counter-demonstrators
found it necessary to express;
themselves by throwing eggs.
But to concentrate on their-
actions shifts the discussion
away from the important issues
which gave rise to the protest:
- Ed Meese's assault on,
among other things,
affirmative action, a women's
right to reproductive'-
autonomy, and the Miranda
Rule. In closing, we would
like to thank all those who
joined us in telling Edwin
Meese personally that we will
not acquiesce in this attempts
to destroy our constitutional
rights.
-Steve Corliss-
Marty Myers
David Roland
Lisa Blatt
March 8,

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Are you energetic?

Do you want to have

an impact on issues you care about? Write
for the Michigan Daily Opinion Page. Call
747-2814

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