The Michigan Daily Thursday, October 13, 1988 Page 5
BY SANDRA STEINGRABER
An open letter to my students and
to President Duderstadt:
Last Thursday afternoon I missed
my office hours. At the time I usu-
ally reserve to meet with all of you I
was lying in a University Hospital
emergency room with a head injury
sustained (as they say in medical-
legal parlance) at the presidential in-
Or to put it more directly, I was
hurt when a police officer picked me
tip and dumped me on my head. My
colleagues three stories up in the
Natural Science Building heard my
head hit the street.
I know that many of you saw my
photo in the Daily on Friday - a
body in the street surrounded by
police and paramedics - and it
frightened you. Some of you even
clipped the photo and sent it to your
parents. I'm glad you did this. It's
important to get people talking about
the relationships between students,
teachers and the police.
Unfortunately, I won't be in class
on Monday. Yesterday I learned that a
warrant has been issued for my arrest.
Monday afternoon I will be arraigned.
for disturbing the peace and assault
and battery against the police officer
who caused my injury. Thus, I join
the ranks of the three other protesters
arrested last Thursday while demon-
strating against the inauguration.
All of us are students. All of us are
journalists. Two of us are teachers.
I will try to find someone else to
teach our class on Monday. I'm sorry
I won't be there. I'm sure you aren't
happy about paying outrageous
tuition in order to be instructed by
But there are some lessons you can
learn from this that might be more
important than anything I could say
to you on Monday. What happened
to me and the other arrested students
is a culmination of struggles over
police brutality, militarization of the
universities and the lack of democ-
racy in University decision-making.
I attended last Thursday's demon-
stration for three reasons. First, I
object to the fact that President Dud-
erstadt was selected by the regents
with no student input. The President
has been granted supreme authority
over our behavior (through Regental
bylaw 2.01) and yet we had no voice
in selecting who this individual
would be. I happen to think this is
Second, I am a concerned scientist.
I oppose Pentagon-sponsored research
at the University. I happen to think
that research which contributes to the
maiming and killing of human
beings is immoral.
President Duderstadt has conducted
laser weapons research for the Air
Force. He brought more than $19
million in DOD funds into the
Engineering School when he was
dean. What will he do as President?
No law prevents the transformation
of the University into a think-tank
for the Pentagon. I have no other
way of expressing my opposition
except by taking my outrage into the
Third, I oppose the new protest
policy which Duderstadt supports and
The courses I teach focus on
issues: racism, nuclear winter, world
hunger, toxic waste. Many of my
students become activists on campus,
and I have always encouraged them to
follow their conscience when they
encounter injustice. Maybe some of
you will choose this path too.
But the recent restrictions on
political expression criminalize cer-
tain forms of protest. The deputiza-
tion of campus security enforces
these restrictions. I told Mr. Duder-
stadt at last month's Regents
meeting that I didn't want to see all
of you in handcuffs and dragged off
by his private police force for
following your consciences on
whatever issue puts fire in your
And now there is a warrent out for
my own arrest on the charge of
assault and battery.
As a biology teacher, I have tried
to get you to ask the deep questions,
to think about connections. There are
some I would like you to think about
now. Our new president claims to
represent diversity, plurality and
multi-culturalism. What do these
words mean if they do not include the
right to peaceful demonstration?
Shortly after I was injured, my
editor here at the Daily was thrown
to the ground and arrested by a Uni-
versity deputy - the first such arrest
under the new policy. A month ago,
both of us co-authored a Weekend
story critical of deputization. We
exposed the fact that the University
provided funds to send one of the new
deputies to an FBI training seminar.
Do you think there could be a con-
Does diversity include official
Mr. Duderstadt, can you teach my
class on Monday?
Steingraber is an Opinion Page
staffer and a biology TA.
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