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April 09, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-04-09

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, April 9, 1987

The Michigan Daily

I.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

UCAR

continues

fight

Vol. XCVII, No. 1'0

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.

Money from Heaven

RECENTLY THE ELECTRONIC
church has been rocked by the im -
proprieties and scandals of some of
its leading figures. Whether it is
Oral Roberts' heavy-handed fund
raising tactics, Tammy Bakker's
admission of a 17 year drug
addiction, or her husband Jim
Bakker's confession that he paid
over $200,000 to keep secret a one
night stand with a church secretary,
the actions -of these prominent
evangelists raise serious questions
regarding the operation of their
organizations.
One important question is the
matter of financial accountability.
Unlike profit corporations,
television ministries are not
obligated by law to disclose their
financial records. And though
some do, many contributors have
little idea for what purpose their
donations will be used. A recent
report revealed that Jerry Falwell's
organization raised over $3 million
dollars for famine-relief in Africa,
yet actually only $300,000 of that
total ever reached its stated des -
tination. Also as tax exempt
organizations, churches need not
conform to the rigorous constraints
imposed by the Internal Revenue,
Service upon profit-making corpor -.
ations. While this facilitates
donations and provides needed
funds for worthy church outreach
programs, it also opens the door to
very questionable financial manip -
ulations.
In the case of the Bakkers,
questions abound. The couple
owns a $450,000 home in Palm
Springs, a $375,000 condominium
in Florida (decorated with $81,000
worth of furnishings), a moun -
tainside home overlooking
Gatlinburg, Tennessee protected by
a $35,000 stone wall, a $94,000
home at PTL's (People That Love)
Heritage USA complex, and the
entire top floor of the Heritage
Grand Hotel at the same complex.
But since their combined salaries
in 1979 (the last year PTL revealed
the totals) was only $72,800, the
source of their wealth is a mystery.
Other questions concern the

financial magnitude of some
television ministries and the
integrity of their leaders. The three
leading TV ministries gross well
over $100 million a year. That
such heady figures invite a
corporate strategy rather than a
spiritual emphasis is demonstrated
by Bakker's claim that his PTL
organization was the target of a
hostile takeover attempt by fellow
evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. If
proven true, this allegation will dis-
hearten many of the faithful, who
feel that such "Ivan Boesky-like"
tactics are inappropriate activities
for church ministries. Many
already sense the hypocrisy of
individuals standing before an
audience of millions, exhorting
them to live honest, self-denying
lives while not living exemplary
lives themselves.
There is obviously a need for
televised religious services. They
can bring hope and inspiration to
millions and provide spiritual
edification for those unable to
attend in person. But those who
rely upon these ministries deserve
better from the leaders of the flock
and their organizations. These
events demonstrate the need tele -
vangelists have to initiate reform.
No one is advocating govern -
ment intervention in religious
affairs. This could have disastrous
consequences for religious and
constitutional rights. But it should
be the policy of organizations such
as Bakker's "PTL," Falwell's "Old
Time Gospel Hour," and
Swaggart's evangelistic organi -
zation to provide their supporters
with a detailed financial disclosure
statement written in layman's
terminology and containing pie
graphs and charts. In addition, the
strictly commercial operations of
these organizations (such as PTL's
amusement park complex, the third
largest in the country) should not
receive the tax-exempt status they
now enjoy. These reforms will
help maintain the integrity of
television ministries, and renew the
confidence of their flock.

By Barbara Ransby
In covering the increase in instances of
blatant racism on campus and students'
anti-racist responses, many University
publications and local media have
erroneously referred to the administration's
six-point initiative on racism (3/23) as a
negotiated "settlement" between admini -
strators and students - a "resolution" of
the problem of racism at Michigan.
Granted, the administration did make
some concessions to students' anti-racist
demands; however, the United Coalition
Against Racism (UCAR) in no way sees
these concessions as a resolution of the
problem. It would be dangerously naive
for any of us genuinely concerned with
combatting racism and bigotry to think
that such complex and pervasive problems
could be so neatly and quickly resolved.
In fact, the suggestion that UCAR and
the administration have or should attempt
to make some sort of "deal" on our 12
demands is itself racist. This formulation
implies that racism is a partisan issue, a
two-sided issue to be negotiated through a
series of concessions on both sides. We see
the dynamics quite differently. Racism is
not a partisan issue; it is a moral and
political issue and everyone has to make a
choice as to where they stand - including
the administration.
If the administration wants to take a
truly anti-racist stand, it should not only
meet all 12 of UCAR's demands but
should eagerly address the demands of
groups like UMASC, BAM III, and the
newly formed Hispanic coalition as well.
Even these demands in their entirety only
represent a start.
However, if President Shapiro and the
regents really do want to change the racist
climate on campus, and not simply curtail
student protest, the implementation of
UCAR's 12 demands would be a useful
beginning. The bottom line is that while
UCAR recognizes the University's decision
to grnat an honorary degree to Nelson
Mandela, to establish an Office of Minority
Affairs, and to try to increase Black
enrollment as limited victories for our
movement, we cannot be satisfied. And to
those who whisper the question "when will
'they' ever be satisfied?," our response is
that no decent person on this campus or in
our society should ever be satisfied until
racism is eradicated. Racism is non-
negotiable and therefore the University and
all of us should do everything we can to
fight it, not just the minimum.
UCAR sees the continuation and growth
of the student anti-racist movement on this
campus and nationwide as a critical factor
in guaranteeing the implementation of
what the University has already agreed to
and the realization of our unmet demands.
We recognize that it is not a suddenly
"enlightened" administration that has agreed
to implement some new anti-racist poli -
cies, but an administration under pressure
from unrelenting student activists.
It is a sad testimony to how this
institution works that students had to rally,
rant and rave, take over the administration
building for 18 hours and invite Jesse
Jackson to campus before the University
would listen and respond (however
minimally) to our concerns. After the
WJJX incident, several racist threats and
two physical assaults on Black students,
the problem of racism was not even placed
on the March agenda of the regents
meeting. Students had to forcefully
demand an open meeting on March 20th in
order to get an "audience" with the
President and three of the regents -
outside of the restrictive one-way mono -
logues that characterize the 60 minute
public comments section of the regents'
monthly meetings. The lesson of these
past few months, if nothing else, is that

students have the power to build the kind
barbara Ransby is a leader of the United
Coalition Against Racism (UCAR).

4

4

Daily Photo by SCOTT LITUCHk
United Coalition Against Racism pledges to remain vigilant in the pursuit of racial justice
on campus.

of progressive anti-racist coalition on this
campus that will make a difference, and if
we don't no one will.
While we realize that the struggle at
Michigan is not culminating, but begin-
ing, we must also pause to evaluate the
limited victories that have been won and
how they can be expanded upon. Actually,
the University has only agreed to one of
UCAR's demands, unconditionally. That
demand is the honorary degree for Nelson
Mandela. The University has partially
addressed an additional four demands, agreed
to consider four more, and rejected three
outright. The following is a list of the
entire platform of demands, the status of
each one and why each one is important in
fighting campus racism.
Demand 1:
Honorary Degree for Nelson Mandela
Granting the degree will help to keep
international attention upon Mandela and
other South African political prisoners.
Also, this gesture represents not simply a
reactive condemnation against apartheid,
but a proactive statement of solidarity with
the freedom struggle. Finally, recognizing
Mandela at this year's commencement will
remind some 20,000 people of the on-
going suffering and struggle in South
Africa.
Status: The University has met this
demand after 2,000 petition signatures, a
sit-in and letters of endorsement from
literally around the world.
Demand 2:
Increase Black Enrollment and Retention
Substantially
Despite a promise of 10 percent Black
enrollment in 1970, Black students are still
only five percent of the total student body.
Because Black students are so few we are
more visible and vulnerable targets of the
anger and frustrations of others. A more
diverse campus community would enhance
the ability of all students to understand the
diverse (and yet unequal) world we live in .
The question then is how? Because of the
tragic legacy of American racism, it is not
enough for the UIniversity to be passively
color-blind. It must be actively anti-racist
in order to create a more diverse com -
munity. After all, it was only one genera -
tion ago that many schools in this country
were legally segregated and most high
schools are de facto segregated today.
Overcoming this reality requires con -
sistency and commitment.
Status: The University has partially met
this demand by expressing its "aspiration"
of reaching 12 percent Black representation
(comp'arable to the proportion of the Black
population). There have been many goals
and promises on this issue for the past 17
years and little action. We therefore refuse
to believe that there are only 1,800 Black
students in the entire country "good"
enough to attend the University.
Demand 3:
An Office of Minority Affairs with a
Supervisory Commission Elected by the
Minority Campus Community

There must be a University office with
responsibility for combatting campus
racism and increasing Minority representa I
tion. This office must also have the
resources and power to implement innova -
tive and aggressive programs. There are
currently several offices within the
University servicing "Minority problems"
with vague mandates and inadequate
resources. An elected supervisory com -
mission would guarantee that the Vice
Provost's office be responsive and account -
able to the Minority campus community.'
Status: This demand has been partially
met. However, the University has agreed
to an appointed Advisory Commision,
rather than an elected supervisory com -
mission. The latter model would represent-
a more democratic structure and would give
the new Vice Provost enough autonomy to
act as critic of University policy when:
necessary. Sharing power with the Minor -
ity community on matters that concern us
is the real issue here, not simply plugging.
a Black administrator into an already,
problematic bureaucracy.
Demand 4:
Create a Financial Aid Appeals Board so
that no Student is excluded from Michigan
for Economic Reasons.
The University has the policy of offering*
decent financial aid packages to students for,
their first year and reducing that package in" '
subsequent years, even as tuition rates
increase and students' family incomes
remain the same. This has forced many
students to drop out of school or transfer to
a less expensive institution. Since Blacks-
have historically and continue to have''
fewer economic resources as a group that
their White counterparts, this problem
affects us most sharply. A financial aid
appeals board with student representatives
sensitive to the economic aspects of racispI;
would provide a "safety net" to address the'-
problem of Minority retention.
Status: The University is considering but
has not agreed to implement this demand..
Demand 5:
Mandatory Workshop on Racism for aft:
Incoming Students
This workshop would be a positive
introduction to cultural diversity for many
White University students from all-Whize
communities with no previous exposure to
people of color except through narrow and:
often negative media images. The purpose:
of this workshop would also be to set An.
anti-racist tone for the campus and to makoe
it clear that racist "jokes," "pranks" and
"threats" are not funny and won't be
tolerated.
Status: The University is considering this:
demand.
This is the first of a two part series. Als.,
join today's rally and vigil against racisk,4
at Palmer Field (behind MoJo dorm) at7
p.m.

Prisoner of conscience

S INCE JANUARY 29, STACEY
MERKT has been imprisoned at the
Federal Correctional Institution in
Fort Worth, Texas. Stacey's crime
was to care more about morality
than legality.
Merkt has been incarcerated for
the heinous offense of aiding
refugees fleeing from war-torn
Central America. Despite gross
evidence to the contrary and a
recent rebuke from the Supreme
Court, the Reagan administration
has consistently refused to
recognize the legitimacy of Central
American applicants for political
asylum.
Merkt, along with other workers
in the church-based Sanctuary
movement, have attempted to
provide the haven from persecution

of their ethnicity, religion, or
political beliefs and have not
employed violence. Although
Amnesty has drawn attention to
many prisoners around the globe
over its 25 year history, the human
rights organization has rarely
designated United States citizens as
Prisoners of Conscience. The
exceptional nature of Amnesty's
action has served to dramatize the
injustice of Merkt's imprisonment.
Merkt's situation is further
dramatized by the fact that she is in
her fourth month of pregnancy.
Amnesty International and other
concerned people are conducting a
letter-writing campaign in support
of Stacey and in an attempt to, at
least, obtain community service as
an alternative to her further

LETTERS

Retain the 'kill-maim'

clause

To the Daily:
The recent debate over
whether Professor Theodore
Birdsall's project on detecting
sonar signals underwater vio-
lates the end-clause. Without
this clause, also called the
"kill-maim" clause because it
prohibits classified research

University? Birdsall himself
admitted that his project will
have possible anti-submarine
warfare applications in the near
future. A Scientific American
article underlies the signif-
icance of anti-submarine
warfare, "the result of improved
undersea surveillance capabil-

aware of and prevent the ways
in which it contributes to the
escalation of the arms race and
the "killing/maiming" of
human beings. The Regents
will decide at their April 16
meeting whether or not to keep
and/or extend the end-use to all
research and thereby, the

CORRECTION
The review commission and
the research review boar
mentioned in yesterday's end- 4t
use editorial referred to theĀ°
Research Policies Committee.
For a classified research project
to pass, a majority of the RPC
members must vote to accept.
it. But before the research can:
take place at the University,*
Vice President for Research>
Linda Wilson must accept the
project. B
The Board of Regents asked

i

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