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October 01, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-01

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4

OPINION

Page 4 Thursday, October 1, 1987 The Michigan Daily

&.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII, No. 16 420 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.

S.Africa

sanctio

V

Time to build a dorm

t

WITH 112 PERCENT occupancy in
University residence halls this year,
and similar figures in years past,
terms like "converted triple" have
become familiar parts of the student
lexicon. Not only are three people
living in many rooms designed for
two, but some have l i v e d
temporarily in lounges.
Overcrowding seems to have
become the usual state of affairs in
the University's housing system.
Adjusting to dormitory life is
difficult enough, especially for first-
year students, without having to
live in cramped, overcrowded
rooms. This University has the
resources to facilitate students'
development both intellectually and
socially; yet, such development is
undoubtedly hindered if students
are not adequately housed.
When queried as to why the oc-
cupancy rate is so high, Housing
Division officials reply that
projections supplied by the
Admissions Office were inaccurate,
and more students returned to the
residence halls than were
anticipated. But Director o f
Housing Information Leroy
Williams further states that there are
always more residents than
originally planned for.
If the occupancy projections are
always too low, then the all too
obvious solution is to revise the
formula from which they are
*-calculated. Yet, apparently, this has
.ot been done. Certainly Housing
r1ivision officials have recognized
:the problem, so there is little choice
wbut to conclude that the continued
Avercrowding is driven either by
inordinately bad planning or, more
Earthfest n(
EARTHFEST, THE INTERNATIONAL
ecological extravaganza, sponsored
y Greenpeace, the Michigan
Student Assembly (MSA), the
School of Natural Resources, and
a SANE Against Nuclear Weapons
'ook place last weekend. Through
poor publicity and an inadequate
vdistribution of information, the
worthwhile Earthfest was rendered
ineffective since its message did not
reach most of the student, or for
that matter, Ann Arbor, population.
The Earth Festival '87 tried to
bring together environmental acti-
vists and scholars with students and
anyone else interested in order to
promote an awareness of ecological
and societal concerns. Lectures and
workshops presented topics such as
"Student Movements and Social
Change," or "Building Multi-
l Cultural Alliances." The Earthfest
also called for more responsibility
on behalf of protecting the planet
from toxic wastes and exploitation
of natural resources. Efforts of this
kind are sorely needed and much
appreciated.
Unfortunately, the Earthfest pub-
licity campaign left much to be
"desired. The most conspicuous

banner announcing the impending
Earthfest hung by the Diag. It did
not give a specific time or place to
meet, successfully preventing casu-
al sky-ward gazers from attending
without doing some investigative
work. Apathy being a major afflic-
tion on this campus, students
cannot be counted on to go out of
th.er a t fnd te timand naace

likely, the need for excess revenue.
Placing a third person in a double
room, for example, costs the
University very little and brings in
that lease as virtually pure profit.
Multiply the cost of the lease by the
402 converted triples in South
Quad, and the motivation for
overcrowding the residence halls
becomes clear. Money talks.
Expediencies such as increased
revenue do not, however, excuse
the University from its essential
responsibility to the students and
that responsibility includes
providing adequate housing. Since
the private housing market in Ann
Arbor is already nearly completely
saturated, the only viable alternative
is the construction of a new
residence hall. The number of
students now crammed into
converted triples alone is enough to
justify the building of a new
residence hall. No increase in
enrollment, though increasing
enrollments seems to be the trend,
would be needed.
When confronted with the need
for a new residence hall, University
officials cite the prohibitive cost of
such a project. This plea of
financial impossibility, however,
seems rather implausible in the
shadow of the LSA's new multi-
million dollar chemistry building.
Undoubtedly a new chemistry
building is important, but at least as
important to the University's
mission is the need to adequately
house students. Perhaps the money
the University has been making
from all of those converted triples
could be returned to the students in
the form of a new residence hall.

By Sean Jackson
In June 1986 I wrote Senators Bradley
and Lautenberg of my home state of New
Jersey and urged them to support sanctions
against the South African government.
But after a month's travel in southern
Africa this summer, including a visit to
Johannesburg, I wish I had resisted the
popular stampede and opposed the im-
position of sanctions.
Yes, I am now anti-sanctions. But I am
still adamantly anti-apartheid. It is poss-
ible, and I believe right, to support
involvement in South Africa and still
oppose apartheid. The South African
crisis is a complex problem with no
simple, yes-no, black-white answer. But
one definitive point in my mind is this: at
this stage sanctions is a non-policy; it is
an easy way out for an America that does
not want to grapple with the frustrations
and complexities of South Africa and
would rather take a "moral stand" that
accomplishes little than struggle to bring
real change to a troubled land.
Sanctions is a non-policy for a couple
reasons. First, while doing little defini-
tive economic damage, U.S. sanctions has
effectively removed the United States
government from any position of in-
fluence. Sanctions has increased the
outflow of capital from South Africa, as
Gerhard de Kock, South Africa's Federal
Reserve chief admits. But buoyant gold
prices have brought just as much, and
potentially more, capital back into South
Africa, and three percent economic growth
is expected this year. After some years
sanctions will undoubtedly constrain the
South African economy, but wasn't the
whole strategy behind sanctions to spur
the South African regime to action now?
The only tangible result of a sanctions
policy has been the loss of any U.S.
influence on the Botha regime. Granted,
under the Reagan administration and its
toothless constructive engagement policy,
such influence was only at the margins.
This policy has not failed, though; but
rather, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw,
the only thing wrong with constructive
engagement is it has never been tried. A
president who earnestly pursued and
genuinely sought change in South Africa
could make a constructive engagement
policy a reality. But so far sanctions has.
only succeeded in removing the United
States from an active role of influence in
South Africa. More importantly, the
Botha regime or its successor will most
likely refuse to listen to the United States
in the future, regardless of how committed
Sean Jackson is a former Daily reporter.

the next president is to bringing change in
South Africa.
The second problem with sanctions is
more fundamental: what does it hope to
accomplish and more importantly, how.
Reform is the obvious goal, but sanctions
may not be a realistic way to promote
peaceful change. South Africa could sur-
vive any attempt of international boycott
given its resources, industrial power, and
the likelihood that some nations will agree
to trade. The first to suffer from exten-
sive, multi-national sanctions would be
the frontline states, whose economic
survival depends on a steady flow of food,
oil, and building materials from South
Africa. True, extensive sanctions might
cause the cracks in the ruling class
philosophy to widen and make change
possible. But there is just as good a
chance that the Afrikaner's traditional
siege mentality, of standing united in
adversity, could prevail. In the face of
such intransigence, bloody revolution
seems to be the only outcome. The strong
support for the Botha regime in the spring
elections showed such resolve in the face
of international pressure.
To some, reform is not even a viable
option. The leaders of a black student
group, similar to the Black Student
Union, who I met with at the University
of Witwatersand in Johannesburg, see
peaceful change as very unlikely. Sanc-
tions, they argued, must be used to isolate
South Africa to such an extent that the
economic system collapses. They do not
believe capitalism can operate without
apartheid, and to get rid of the latter the
existing economic system must go. They
offered the socialist model as a successor.
As a convinced believer in the capitalist
economic system, with its plusses and
minuses, I cannot support an alternative
that seeks its dissolution to socialism.
And if that is the sanction-supporters' end,
then I certainly cannot support their
means.
For Americans I think the challenge is
this: how can political equality f6r all
South Africans be achieved while
maintaining the vitality of South Africa's
economy, the strongest on the continent.
A constructive engagement policy dog-
gedly pursued may help produce an
answer.
A president who makes the dissolution
of apartheid an issue of personal concern,
who makes it a high profile issue, and
who conimits the global influence of the
United States to bringing change is the
first step towards an effective and earnest
constructive engagement policy. A
president who made majority rule in South
Africa a personal crusade, as Richard

rs fai
Nixon made the rapproachement with
China and as Jimmy Carter sought peace
in the Middle East, could focus world
attention on solving the problem. Such a
president could propose to mediate, to start
negotiations - or whatever it takes to get
dialogue going. The president could
personally appeal to other leaders all over
the globe to join that effort, and a core of
united nations, seeking a peaceful transi-
tion of power that would assure the rights
of all South Africans might make the
difference.
The unknown in all this is whether,
given the chance of a workable plan to
share power that would guarantee the
rights of the individual, would white
South Africans and the government
support it? There is a solid core of
dissatisfaction and dissent among white
South Africans. But there is also great
fear that majority rule will result in
government take over of all private wealth
and a rampage against whites.
Peaceful change will have a chance if a
genuine provision that this will not
happen is made. The bitterness and anger
of black South Africans could understand-
ably make such a guarantee hard to
swallow. But the reality of South Africa
is that peaceful change could be achieved if
such an offer was assured.
With Ronald Reagan in office for another
fifteen months, a president who would
make South Africa a serious concern is at
least that far away. In the meantime other
action can be demanded of the Reagan
administration and Botha regime. Call for
the release of moderate black leaders from
prison and urge American officials to meet
with black representatives of South
Africa's true majority. While we may not
agree with their policies, we can at least
listen. Also, push for economic aid to the
frontline states so they can become
somewhat economically independent of
South Africa and weather the economic
instability that is.likely to follow a major
shift of power there.
We hear very little about South Africa
these days. No one talks about it on
television or the editorial pages; I haven't
seen any campus rallies. The attitude
seems to be that we.have taken our stand;
there is nothing more to do. But the'
reality is apartheid continues and the
United States has no way to bring its end
any closer. If we Americans are not a
hysteric people who only act because of
media hype, then -let us show it by
approaching complex problems like South
Africa in a pragmatic way and taking the
time to understand the complexity of the
situation. Electing a president who emu-
lates this ideal would certainly be a
reasonable start.

:t publicized
Earthfest publicity campaign was
also with the content of what few
posters and banners were put up.
Almost all indications in the banner
led one to believe that the Earthfest
dealt only with saving the
ecosystem. This, however, was not
Earthfest's only concern. It also
expanded its scope and intended to
make people aware of issues
involving women, racism, Native
Americans, nuclear disarmament,
and a host of other things. The
Earthfest flyers misinformed people
about what really was going on.
The campus' largest environ-
mental awareness group, the Public
Interest Group in Michigan
(PIRGIM), did not participate,
though not because it was mis-
informed; it was obvious the
Earthfest dealt with environmental
concerns. Rather, at about the same
time MSA sent invitations to
participate in the Earthfest last
spring, the newly elected MSA
leaders turned against PIRGIM on
the money appropriation voted for
in a student referendum. MSA's
internal squabblings certainly did
not encourage PIRGIM to parti-
cipate; although, one can only
speculate what the real reasons were
for PIRGIM's non-participation.
Whether PIRGIM could have
mobilized an effective publicity
campaign for Earthfest as it did last
winter during student elections, is a
useless question. PIRGIM didn't
show up, and the Earthfest was a
publicity disaster. Hopefully next
year there will be an Earthfest as

LETTERS:

Men: put yourself i women s shoes

To the Daily:
I'm writing in response to the
letter entitled: "Defendant is
victimized in rape trial" (Daily,
9/30/87). I have some ques-
tions for the writer of this
letter, Mr. Tim Gresla.
If you were raped, would have
the courage to try and prosecute
the rapist? Would it ever occur
to you, if you had not been
raped to try to prosecute some-
one just to slander his name?
Let's suppose for a minute
that you, Tim Gresla, have
been raped. And, after a good
deal of serious thought you
decide to try and prosecute the
rapist. During the trial it is
established that you have
suffered two tears in your rec-
tum wall. But the defense
suggests that it is entirely
possible that these injuries
happened prior to the rape.
What would you think? How
would you feel?.
It is impossible for me to
believe that anyone would cry
rape for the sake of slander. It
is equally impossible for me to
believe that a woman would
Stop litter
To the Daily:
Ann Arbor has a littering
problem. On Tuesday, Sep-
tember 29, it rained most of the

want to have sex if she had
tears in her vaginal wall.
I know that we live in a
society where a person is pre-
MSA -:PIRGII
To the Daily:
I would like to respond to the
MSA's decision to support
PIRGIM funding. I think this
is an outrage. The MSA does
not have the right to decide
what organizations the student
body should support. What
will keep other perhaps more
controversial, organizations
from obtaining the same type
of student-wide funding? I

sumed innocent until proven
guilty. Unfortunately, I also
know we live in a society that
has not yet come to terms with
the fact that acquaintance rape

is a serious problem that needs
to be reckoned with.
-J. Baker
September 30

does not deserve money

4

realize that I can get m y
seventy-five or so cents back,
but it is a hassle and a waste of
my time to do this for such a
nominal fee. But if everyone
thinks that way PIRGIM will
get a lot of money! I have
donated to PIRGIM in the past
because I wanted to support
their current activities, not
because the MSA has stepped
outside its bounds as a student

governing body. Although it
will be a hassle, I am going to
take the time to fill out the
paperwork to get my money
back because I don't believe in
this "tax." I would like to
encourage the Daily to pursue
this issue in further articles. I
would surely be interested in
other opinions.
-Sheryl L. Williamson
September 24

Zinn

}t4,DOt CVi'Lt 1w
OTRISTRIAD'F~yE IN

I

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