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January 27, 1988 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-27

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Page 6

Wednesday, January 27, 1988

The Michigan Daily


R1w 3idigan Bailjj
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Institutionalized racial bias

Vol. XCVIII, No. 81

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.
Unpardonable Pardons

THE PERJURY conviction of former
White House aide Michael Deaver is
the most prominent conviction of a
former Reagan administration of-
ficial, and hopefully will not be the
last. But investigations of Poindex-
ter and North currently led by in-
dependent counsel (special pros-
ecutor) Lawrence Walsh may be in
Deaver currently faces a jail sen-
tence for lying to Congress about
his lobbying activities after he left
the government payroll. More con-
victions may follow.
There is a line of past and present
administration officials who are un-
der the eye of independent prose-
cutors because of possible criminal
conduct. The list includes Lt.
Colonel Oliver North, former Ad-
miral John Poindexter, former
White House aide Lyn Nofziger and
Attorney General Edwin Meese II.
Nonetheless President Reagan
has been urged to pardon both
North and Poindexter by advisors
who claim the men acted from
"principal" and not criminal intent.
The President has also received
counsel to that affect from his Cali-
fornia buddy and former National
Security Advisor, William Clark.
The Iran-contra scandal revealed
the extent to which some ad-
ministration officials consider lying
to Congress as acceptable practice.
Neither North, nor Assistant Sec-
retary of State Elliott Abrams felt
obligated to tell Congress the truth
about their actions and those they
conducted in the name of the United
States. During the Iran-contra
hearings, North explained that his
previous lies to Congress regarding
the arms deal were necessary due to
congressional inability to keep se-
Evidently the Lieutenant Colonel
trusted the Iranians more than he
trusted elected American officials.
According to North it was a matter
of "lies or lives" - referring to
American hostages held in
Abrams lied to congressional
committees regarding attempts by
Tell Purse.
once again have to choose between
voting for aid to the terrorist contras
and representing his constituents. In
the past he has chosen to vote for
Tomorrow at 4 p.m., concerned
students and citizens will converge
on Pursell's Ann Arbor office, at
361 W. Eisenhower, to persuade
him to vote against any aid to the
contras. Cars will leave from the
Michigan Union at 3:45 p.m.
The vote will be close, and Ann
Arbor's U.S. Representative Carl
Pursell has once again said he is
undecided. In a meeting with
representatives of Ann Arbor peace
groups on Friday, Pursell said he
was waiting to see "if Ortega was
really sincere" about his recent
decision to negotiate a cease fire
with the contras.

Pursell is looking for an excuse to
vote for the aid, as he has on every
major vote in the past four years.
Indeed, the Reagan administration's
latest plan to place all or part of the
contra aid in an escrow account is
nothing more than an attempt to
provide such a pretext for Pursell

the State Department to finance the
contras via funds from other states
(notably Brunei). Abrams' mis-
leading statements were made when
such activities by U.S. officials
were specifically prohibited by
Congress. Readers may draw their
own conclusions as to why those
statements were made.
Abrams was not under oath when
he lied, it probably never occurred
to the legislators that such action
would be necessary. This
technicality may be all that stands
between him and a perjury indict-
Further, during the congressional
hearings themselves, false testi-
mony was surely given by either
North or Poindexter. While under
oath, North asserted that Poindexter
assured him that the President had
approved the diversion of arms-sale
profits to the contras. However,
Poindexter testified he did no such
Ironically, the spectacle of ad-
ministration officials coming under
the scrutiny of the law for unethical
and perhaps illegal actions has
never been substantively addressed
by Reagan. Not once has the presi-
dent come forward and clearly
stated his opposition to this type of
The progress of independent
investigators should not be
undermined by the threat of pardons
or partisan politics. If it is proved
that those under investigation are
guilty of lying, obstruction of
justice, or violations of the Neu-
trality Act and Boland Amendment,
they should be prosecuted and
convicted as was Michael Deaver.
Talk of presidential pardons for
North and Poindexter is outrageous
and indicative of how little the cur-
rent administration regards the
constitutional processes and
responsibilities of Congress when
they conflict with administration
desires. It is troubling that such
suggestions are even considered.
Let the investigation proceed and
the chips fall where they may.
l1: Vote No
When the talks fail, the aid money
is released.
Pursell's intent to collaborate with
this scenario was indicated by some
disturbing answers he gave to ac-
tivists' questions on Friday.
Pursell was asked, if he were
convinced that the government of
Nicaragua had a better record on
human rights and democracy than
the governments of El Salvador,
Honduras, and.Guatemala, would
he then vote against the aid to the
contras? His answer was an evasive
The very fact the Congress is
debating whether or not to fund a
mercenary army to overthrow a
sovereign, democratically elected
government, shows how little
respect the U.S. government has
for international law. In his State of

the Union address last night,
Reagan talked about other nations
"looking up to America." But no
one looks up to a country that uses
its military and economic power to
brutalize smaller nations and
attempts to rob them of their
independence. This is how the
debate on Contra aid is seen by the

By Mark Williams
The response of the University ad-
ministration to overt racial incidents and
charges of racial bias on campus under-
score what Blacks and concerned whites
have been saying for years - that
discrimination and racism has become in-
stitutionalized, and is now deeply rooted in
everyday attitudes and operations of so-
ciety. The spectacle presented by LSA
Dean Peter Steiner exemplifies this phe-
nomenon and demonstrates that discrimi-
nation and racism are built-in, integral
components of University policy and op-
erating procedure.
Steiner's views on minorities and
education are now a matter of general
knowledge. He lays the blame for Black
educational and economic disadvantages
squarely in the lap of Blacks themselves.
A list of Steiner's insights include such
well-known "facts" as his contention that
"many scientists are not prepared to con-
sider evidence that there may be differences
in intelligence among races because as
good liberals they feel that all races ought
to be equal," that "mental and physical
handicaps (and) ... low motivation" cause
poverty, that Blacks do not choose "to
take advantage of the expanded educational
opportunities that are available to them,"
that they are inhibited by the "absence of a
supportive value structure," that
"something in the environment leads
Blacks ... to be less willing to invest the
time in college," and that there must be a
"revolution in Blacks' attitudes towards
higher education" before the problem of.
underrepresentation of Blacks at universi-
ties will be solved.
As provocative as these statements are,
the response of the University administra-
tion is even more revealing. Last week,
five faculty members of Steiner's all-white
LSA executive committee expressed their
"complete confidence" in Steiner's com-
mitment to affirmative action while others
felt that calls for Steiner to apologize were
unwarranted. LSA Assistant Dean for Fa-
cilities and Administration James Cather
went so far as to label the outcry against
Steiner "ridiculous," and assert that the
United Coalition Against Racism (UCAR)
was "looking for confrontations." Ac-
Mark Williams is an Opinion Page staff

cording to Vice President for Academic
Affairs James Duderstadt, LSA faculty are
"overwhelmingly" supportive of Steiner.
Other than describing Steiner's remarks as
poorly worded, interim President Robben
Fleming's virtual silence in the affair has
been deafening.
To demonstrate just how inadequate the
administration's response has been, con-
sider two incidents which occurred outside
the University. Last year on ABC's
Nightline, Al.Campanis, a vice-president
with the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball
organization repeatedly told a national
television audience that there were no
Blacks in baseball managerial positions
because Blacks "lacked some of the neces-
sities" to be a team manager or general
manager. The Dodger response was swift.
In less than 7 days Campanis was fired.
More recently, CBS terminated the con-
tract of sports commentator Jimmy "the
Greek" Snyder for explaining how Blacks
were "bred" to be better athletes than
whites. After Snyder spurned CBS' request
to resign, he was fired within 72 hours.
Gene Jankowski, president of the CBS
Broadcast Group, called the comments
"patently racist" and said CBS took action
"to categorically dissociate itself from
these remarks."
Although the philosophies of Campa-
nis, Snyder and Steiner were all racially
(and erroneously) motivated, how different
have been the responses of the institutions
they represented. Campanis and Snyder
were fired while Steiner has been defended.
Campanis and Snyder were fired because
officials at CBS and the Dodgers felt their
comments and philosophies did not repre-
sent those of their respective organiza-
tions. This was not a matter of free speech
versus censorship, but rather a clear case
of decency and managerial prerogatives.
While individuals are free to hold any
opinions they wish, the employers whom
they represent are not obligated to pay
them to spread these opinions ih the name
of the firm. Steiner's case is no different.
Many of Dean Steiner's most offensive
remarks were made in his capacity as an
official representative of the University,
yet by its quiescence and defense of those
remarks, the administration signals that it
feels they accurately reflect University
philosophy. Indeed they do.

Steiner asserts that he has not seen "any
evidence" that institutional racism plays a
major role in keeping Blacks out of higher
education, yet his actions and stated policy
procedures for minority hiring and enroll-
ment clearly demonstrate the opposite..
While Steiner blames Blacks for their poor
educational "attitudes" and laments the
dearth of minorities at Michigan, he warns
against making institutional changes
which would cause minorities to "flock (to
Michigan) in much-greater numbers" and
conveniently finds excuses to denigrate and
not hire Black Ph.Ds from institutions
which succeed in producing them -
Howard and Wayne State Universities.
Although Steiner's remarks are couched in
academic jargon they are nonetheless
racist, and when used as a basis for Uni-
versity policies, the result is institutional
The administration continues to vacil-
late on racism and minority representation,
offering rhetoric and duplicity in place of
constructive efforts to reform. Rather than
acting out the University's mission to ed-
ucation by requiring a mandatory course
on racism, Fleming seeks to punish stu-
dent behavior via a Code of conduct.
Rather than implementing the demands
and goals presented by UCAR (designed to
increase minority representation), the
University, through individuals such as
Steiner excludes minorities from Michi-
gan and blames that exclusion on minori-
ties themselves.
Some recoil when student activists
demonstrate and feel they are
"overreacting". "Why do they always have
to demonstrate rather than engage in posi-
tive activities" ask critics? It is precisely
due to administrative inactivity and
institutional discrimination, that groups
such as UCAR are forced to react to inci-
dents of racism. These groups have a
growing basis of support, for the attitudes
expressed by Steiner and his administrative
backers do not represent those of many,
many members of the University commu-
nity - students and faculty. Indeed,
Blacks and many whites are no longer
willing to tolerate such ignorant, mis-
guided, anti-Black sentiments as a repre-
sentation of their institution. This is a
fact worth pondering. Institutional change
will come one way or the other, and the
challenge to the administration is to be a
part of that change, not an obstacle to it.

Daily has foreign policy double standard

To the Daily:
I understand that the Dai
considers itself to be
publication with a left wi
editorial slant and, as
"liberal," I do appreciate
views on many issues. TI
appreciation, however, w,
brought to its limit when I re,
the Daily's December
editorial about the Soy
invasion of Afghanistan. N
that I disagree with the editor
- I agree with the baE
premise completely: the Sovy
invasion of Afghanistan
morally reprehensible and t
Soviets should withdraw
soon as possible - it was 1
way this opinion was present
that disgusted me.
Yes, the United States
America has very dirty har
when it comes to foreign pc
icy. To this there is no dou
But, was it necessary to ca
logue American foreign poli
offences in order to criticize 1
Soviet Union? To promote
Soviet withdrawal fro
Afghanistan , was it essent
to mention American atrociti
in Chile, Vietnam, Nicaragi
Indonesia and El Salvadc
And when the Daily writ
editorials condemning Ame:
To the Daily:
An unfortunate shadow w
cast over the brilliant and su
cessful march when Preside
Fleming and his entourage d
cided to show up at the mare
What happened to the treme

can atrocities, why is there
rarely (if ever) a similar cata-
logue of Soviet atrocities in
places like Eastern Europe and
A double standard is clear.
Someone on the editorial staff
obviously feels that when the
Daily does criticize the Soviet
Stop attacki
To the Daily:
Walking through the Diag
today I was disappointed to see
that AGAIN the shanties had
been destroyed. I must admit
to being bewildered at the
purpose of this stupid and
much repeated act. Who are
you people that keep attacking
the shanties ?! And why do
you persist in destroying two
of the few truly righteous
symbols we have on this
My point is simply this:
millions of people in South
Africa are going through hell
while we live lives of comfort
and security in the arms of a
free society. Despite the
shanties' role as an "eyesore"
they serve as a much needed
symbol of our solidarity with a
people who are struggling for

Union, it must also criticize
the United States to give its
editorials a better perspective.
It is in this way that the Daily
insults its reader's intelligence.
People do not forget the sins of
the United States when the sins
of the adversary superpower are
being condemned. And one is

not disloyal to the cause of
opposing bad American foreign
policy by writing a Soviet
condemnation that is not, also,
a condemnation of the United
-Steven Susswein
December 11


anti-apartheid shanties

long-overdue freedom similar
to that which we in America
have enjoyed for over 200
years. Such symbols are espe-
cially powerful standing here
on our campus, a bastion of
mostly white, affluent, em-
powered, upwardly mobile
You are succeeding in mak-
ing a statement, but it is nei-
ther a politically constructive
one, nor a "cool" one about
which you can later brag to

your friends. It is a thought-
less, narrow-minded, ignorant,
and insensitive attack on sym-
bols which strongly support
sympathy for those very values
that have made- our country a
great place for you to grow up,
live and go to school in. So
please divert your creative en-
ergies elsewhere and leave the
shanties alone.


-Scott Fedewa
January 10


Why march?

P Zr s
auk On

Yes, like King, we chose to
sacrifice; to sacrifice for a bet-
ter cause-for freedom, for
justice and equality for all of
us. What did Fleming sacrifice
for? A front page photo in the
Daily? Live T.V. coverage? It



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