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October 23, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-23

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A

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, October 23, 1987

The Michigan Daily

4

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Chair

gives perspective

By Peter Railton

Vol. XCVIII, No. 32

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.

The Daily'sieditorial (10/13/87)
criticizing the Civil Liberties Board's
"Statement on Freedom of Speech and
Artistic Expression" contains, I fear,
several misapprehensions about that
document's content and purpose.
The Board's Statement is a revision of a
set of Guidelines concerning freedom of
expression issued by the Board in 1977
and ultimately approved by SACUA, the
President, and the Regents. These earlier
Guidelines were drawn up in response to
an incident in which an invited speaker
was unable to complete a lecture owing to
clamorous protest, and they therefore are
especially sensitive to the need to protect
the right of invited speakers to be heard.
Events in recent years have led the Board
to think that the 1977 Guidelines need
refinement and supplementation in order to
insure equal protection for legitimate
expressions of protest that might arise in
response to invited speakers. Were the
present Statement to be adopted, it would
amend existing policies rather than
institute a policy where none existed
before.
The Daily editorial describes the
guidelines in the present Statement as "a
thinly veiled set of authoritative mechan-
isms granting the University
administration undue control over the lives
Peter Railton is a professor of phil-
osophy and chair of the Civil Liberties
Board.

of students outside the classroom." I find
this description puzzling. The Statement
creates no mechanisms. I presume that
the Daily is reacting to section 11, which
states:
"Although it is the responsibility of all
members of the University community
and their guests to observe and facilitate
these guidelines, final responsibility for
their application and for the use of
sanctions to enforce them lies with the
President or those to whom he or she may
delegate authority, including judicial
bodies which may be organized in
accordance with Regental bylaws."
The "final responsibility" in question is
nothing that our Statement confers upon
the President, but simply an expression of
the legal structure of University
governance. We could neither give, nor
take away, such responsibility. The Daily
writes that the wording of section 11
"implies the University's intention to set
up kangaroo courts to dictate 'University
Law'." A kangaroo court is one set up in
violation of existing law and procedures,
whereas the intent of guideline 11 is rather
to record explicitly (as the existing 1977
Guidelines do not) the need to respect
Regental bylaws in the establishment of
any University judicial body. Those who
have been worried that a code of
nonacademic conduct might be imposed
unilaterally by the President should
recognize that the wording of section 11 is
meant to draw attention precisely to Bylaw
7.02, which the Board interprets as

requiring that any such code be subject to
approval by appropriate student and faculty
governance bodies. The Board has
repeatedly expressed concern about
possible threats to civil liberties in the
various versions we have seen of a
proposed code of nonacademic conduct, and
recently we advised against the creation of
any such code. It would be curious were
we now to insinuate a code into our
guidelines on freedom of expression.
The Daily argues that "under no
circumstances, no matter how
extraordinary, can the University
administration curtail free speech and4
expression." Our Statement does not
authorize curtailing free expression.
Rather, it is meant to enhance freedom of
expression by improving existing criteria
for assessing whether free expression has
been curtailed (either in the suppression of
an invited speaker or in the suppression of
an associated protest. We have tried to
formulate even) handed criteria that could
be accepted by all segments of the
University community despite conflicting1
interests and substantive differences in
opinion. We have submitted these criteria
to. MSA, SACUA, and the executive
officers for possible approval, and we
invite all members of the University
community to consider our Statement, and
make their opinion of it known to their
representatives. As an additional way of
clarifying the nature of our Statement and
receiving comment upon it, the Board will
hold an open forum in November, the
details of which should be available soon.

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Photo by GREGORY FOX
Protestors marching prior to the Michigan-Wisconsin football game ...

Cause for police review

LETTERS
Tie-dyes, Audis-what do they mean?

WHILESOME STILLQUESTION the
need for a police review board, Ann
Arbor's police department has been
working hard to convince us that
such a board is necessary. This is
the only possible conclusion in light
of their behavior concerning an
incident that occurred a little over
two weeks ago.
Just before the Michigan-Wis-
consin game, the Latin American
Solidarity Committee staged a prac-
tical joke/protest in which a small
group of people marched on the
street in front of the band carrying
signs that said on one side "M GO
BLUE" (the side facing the band),
and on the other side, "NO
CONTRA AID." The group
marched about 100 feet before an
outraged onlooker grabbed signs
out of two of the protestors' hands
and tore them up.
The protesters responded by filing
complaints with the police against
the person who had committed the
assaults. Since a photographer had
gotten excellent pictures of the
whole incident (see above), it
seemed that identification and pros-
ecution of the assailant would pose
little problem.
Enter the Ann Arbor police. The
police report found the event to be a
"non-criminal incident." Appar-
ently the Ann Arbor police depart-
ment is unfamiliar with Michigan's
assault statute, which defines as-
sault as the act of threatening some-
one with physical harm. Since the
assailant did not politely ask the
protesters for their sign, but rather
forcefully grabbed them, this would
seem to fit the textbook definition of
assault.
Nor is it the case that this act can
be dismissed as too trivial to war-
-r

rant arrest and prosecution. Our lo-
cal police department and county
prosecutor have shown themselves
willing to spend thousands of per-
son hours arresting and prosecuting
individuals for simply standing in a
building. When protesters have re-
fused to leave Carl Pursell's office,
or University buildings, neither
Pursell nor the University had to
fight with the police and
prosecutors to have the law en-
forced. The police had a clear
understanding of who they had to
be responsive to.
Obviously there is a double stan-
dard at work when the police will
unhesitatingly enforce the trespass
law in cases where absolutely no
damage to person or property is at
issue, but refuse to enforce the as-
sault statute, when there has been a
violent attack.
From the point of view of public
policy, there is an added reason for
prosecuting, since the assault was
committed with the intent to inter-
fere with the First Amendment
rights of the victims.
The University has held that the
right of political expression should
not be interfered with. It should use
its considerable influence with the
Ann Arbor police (based on an
annual subsidy of several hundred
thousand dollars) to insure that this
right is protected.
As for those on our city council,
including Mayor Jernigan, who still
oppose a police review board, one
can only speculate as to what would
happen if someone ripped some pa-
pers out of their hands at a council
meeting and tore them up. It's a
safe bet that such behavior would
be seen as a violation of the law.

To the Daily:
Even as we speak, plans are
being carried out to change the
name of Ann Arbor to Tally
Arbor, but only after putting
roofs over the main shopping
areas
The Grateful Dead becoming
mainstream is bad enough, but
have you seen some of the
people wearing tye-dyed shirts
lately?
Has anyone noticed a couple
more Saabs and Audis than
usual? Is it possible to learn
proper values (although I can't
pretend to know what "proper"
values are when privileges are
expected rather than earned?
Please share this with only
those you can trust: I like the
University of Michigan; yet
have limited to no interest in
attending football games.
Few things are more nau-
seating than the mounds of
Band responds
To the Daily:
I would like to comment on
the letters from Mr. Trubow
(Daily, 10/19/87) and Mr.
Slaton (Daily, 10/2087). As a
member of the Michigan
Marching Band, I feel that
these people and others who
agree with them must realize
the Band's strenuous schedule
this year. This past Saturday's
home game with Iowa marked
the end of six straight
performances. Learning a new
show and new music every.
week gives little room for what
Mr. Trubow and Mr. Slaton
consider creativity. I understand
that the crowd would like to
see more movement in the
shows, but there is only so
much the Band can learn in one
week. Also, because of the
Band's lock-step style of
marching, we certainly cannot
be expected to be as mobile as,
for example, the Wisconsin
Band, whose step is not as
physically demanding. In a
direct response to Mr. Slaton's
letter, the "intent" of the fun
show (i.e. the props, script,
etc.) is not to make the show
easier, but to add a little twist

pigeon droppings alongside the
pillar of the walkway south of
the Grad.
In considering dining out at
the Pantree, the issue to m e
isn't so much the sexual pre-
ferences of those patrons that
were harassed, as much as
whether I would eat somewhere
the management allowed
friends to vomit or spit o n
me. Two questions come to
mind: what exactly was friend-
ship based on? Also, what did
the vomiters eat?
In-state students have trouble
comprehending how much
more out-of-staters pay for the
same education. Reasonably
enough, out-of-staters must
compensate for the fact that
they do not pay taxes that help
fund this fine institution.
However, now that state

funding is decreasing, and there
is less for out-of-staters to
compensate for, will out-of-
state tuition decrease? I think
not (therefore, I am not).
The integrity of t h i s
University is not questioned
enough in the area of sports. Is
it ethical for admission stan-
dards to be compromised so
that we may compete ath-
letically with the rest of the
Big-10? Money talks, some-
times with superior grammar
to various students admitted as

a result of what it says.
East Quad is East (ever so
slightly) of campus. West
Quad is in the western part of
campus. What is South Quad
south of? West Quad? Who
named it South Quad and why?
Few things bother me more
than those two stupid dots on
top of the E in that neon sign
on State Street - you know,
the one with a restaurant be-:
neath it. How are we supposed
to pronounce "Fresh" anyway?
-Jack Nahmod
October 21

The Daily welcomes letters from its
readers. Bringing in letters on personal
computer disk is the fastest way to publish g
a letter in the Daily.

Zinn

WHAT (efZ.GOO ~Tha.UGH.
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