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January 11, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-01-11

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, January 11, 1989

The Michigan Daily

Chemical and Biological Warfare in the University:

Research

Institution?

By Arlin Wasserman
This is part two of a series on chemical
weapons.
As students at the University of Michi-
gan we should all hope that the Paris
Conference on Chemical Warfare leads to
an elimination of chemical and biological
weapons (CBWs). Beyond the destruction
these weapons can inflict during times of
war, there are also general safety concerns.
"The release of only a few of the 40,000
tons of CBWs the United States has
stockpiled could result in plague or famine
brought on by laboratory-strengthened
diseases and agriculture toxins. Already in
the United States there are "national sacri-
fice areas" that have been permanently
contaminated by CBW testing. But beyond
these risks to all world citizens, there are
still more risks specific to research
universities, particularly Michigan.
While many of us were on vacation this
past summer, the Reagan administration
began to publicize an initiative to con-
struct federal laboratories dedicated to
CBW research and development.
Construction on the first of these new fa-
cilities began in Arizona. This raised the
CBW awareness level in Congress leading
Arlin Wasserman investigates military
research at the University for the Michigan
Student Assembly.

Don Riegle to look into CBW research at
the University of Michigan. Not surpris-
ingly, he discovered that CBW research is
being conducted on the campus and that
small quantities of mustard gas were in-
deed stored on campus. What Riegle went
on to discover, however, is that there are
no standard safety measures for dealing
with CBWs in research facilities and that
while the researchers at UM may have
been highly competent, the University
community is not adequately prepared to
deal with CBW agent accidents.
"Adequate" safeguards may include the
ability to quarantine and seal laboratories
as well as evacuate surrounding popula-
tions and high levels of security to prevent
theft of the toxics.
Several projects that the Department of
Defense has sponsored on our campus
during 1988 include projects by Isadore
Bernstein on chemical blistering, Oksana
Lockridge on the basic structure of
cholinesterase and Willfried Schramm on
biosensors. Ostensibly, all of these pro-
jects deal with the prevention of CBW-in-
duced suffering and damage. While I will
not begin to debate the technical merits of
these and other research projects in a few
paragraphs, one can make several general
observations that reflect the general nature
of the Pentagon-university connection
concerning CBWs.
First of all, one could question the
principle motivations of the Pentagon to

develop preventative measures and anti-
dotes. The Pentagon has already used
CBWs in Vietnam and Cuba (source: New
York Times) as well as numerous other
countries and provided these weapons to
repressive governments in El Salvador, the
Phillipines and Israel and Afghani rebels
within the past four years. It is unlikely
that the Pentagon would then proceed to
distribute newly found antidotes to the
victims of these attacks. More likely, the
Pentagon's primary interest is in further

bankrupt and demoralized country.
The connections between antidotes and
acts of aggression are further emphasized
when we realize that even with highly
successful research, it is unlikely that the
U.S. government could effectively immu-
nize its own citizens against a CBW at-
tack. There are at least several hundred
proven CBW weapons in this planet's ar-
senal with countless more being developed
in secrecy. Unless we received a few dozen
immunizations each day during times of

'So we as students at the University of Michigan face health risks
from CBW agents on campus and from the fact that further re-
search and development of CBWs makes our government's use
of these weapons more likely than ever before.,

the CBWs of aggressor nations. If we
move beyond the reality of soldiers having
to receive hundreds of vaccines, some of
which could have temporarily debilitating
effects or limited periods of effectiveness
to a situation where biosensors can swiftly
and accurately identify CBWs being used
in the battlefield, many CBWs are harmful
within minutes and fatal soon after. Ad-
ministering one of a thousand antidotes to
thousands of soldiers in the battlefield
within minutes of detection is an
unrealistically difficult task. Antidotes'
could only work if the soldier immediately
knew which CBW s/he accidently encoun-
tered and have the correct antidote in hand
and this type of knowledge is associated
with the soldier having released the CBW
in the first place.
So we as students at the University of
Michigan face health risks from CBW
agents on campus and from the fact that
further research and development of CBWs
makes our government's use of these
weapons more likely than ever before.
Also, CBW projects on campus will
bias our classrooms against discussing the
ethical considerations of such research
when the professors receiving funding
from the Pentagon are also our teachers. In
the third part of this article, I will examine
the impact of CBW research on the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin.

developing the effectiveness of these
weapons.
One way to increase the effectiveness of
CBWs is to immunize one's own forces
against there effects. Thus, attacking
forces could gas a village or contaminate
its water supply and immunized soldiers
could then attack once the disease has dec-
imated the population; one country could
destroy a neighboring country's agricul-
tural industry while protecting its own
crops and livestock and then attack a

war, immunization programs would be
ineffective. Moreover, it is unlikely that
our country could or would want to under-
take a public health program of this scope
given our inability to provide adequate
medical care to all citizens in times of rel-
ative peace. It is unlikely that the Pen-
tagon is developing these vaccines for its
citizens. More likely they are being devel-
oped for our soldiers.
But they are not developing vaccines for
soldiers so that their bodies can ward off

4br £irbigau &tiI.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Farley is not immune

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No.72

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.
Athletic accountability

THIS WEEK Michigan hockey coach
Red Berenson learned that four of his
players are being charged with sexually
harassing two women. One of his re-
sponses to this was, "I've been
through these kind of things before and
we're not going to wash our laundry in
the newspaper like the (Detroit) Red
Wings do." (Daily, 1/10/89). From this
statement two conclusions can be
drawn. One is that Coach Berenson's
players have been accused before of
what is at the least questionable behav-
ior. The other is that Coach Berenson
would like the incident to be kept pri-
vate.
The privatization of violence against
women and the exclusion of women
from the process of responding to
crimes committed by men isolates and
disempowers women.Women are made
to fear the consequences of speaking
out against violence. Men are vested
with the power to identify and redress
the acts of violence which they
themselves have committed.
This kind of power is exemplified by
the comment from Bruce Madej, Di-
rector of Sports Information, who says
the issue is a "team matter." It is ludi-
crous to accept the idea that women
should trust the very people who they
are accusing to determine the guilt or
innocence of the individuals involved.
Members of the team and the coach
indicate that their primary concern is
not the violence which may have been
committed against two women but
rather the image and success of the
team. Hockey player Rob Brown said:
"This really hurts the team. It's just too
bad. We are a team that's on it's way
up, and this could really hurt our
chances."
Berenson asserts, "when you're an
athlete, you're more vulnerable, you

live in a glass house." This statement,
however, shifts the focus away from
the real issues. These men are not
being charged with sexual harassment
because they are hockey players but
because they allegedly sexually
harassed two women.
The two women say that the men
followed them on to the Diag in their
car and pursued them into Stop and Go
- two very public places. Asking for
responsible and safe behavior from
these men hardly means that they have
been put in some kind of "glass
house".
Berenson claims that the men are
more closely scrutinized because they
are members of the hockey team. Yet
he is part of an institution which
perpetuates the cult of privilege by
providing exclusive treatment for these
men simply because they are athletes.
The institution of organized sports
affirms violent and competitive
behavior between men. Locker rooms
and playing fields provide a forum in
which communication between men
occurs. The implications of this kind of
institutional exclusion of women are
sexist.
The institution of male organized
sports has the power to shield its
members from accountability, justify
and defend their actions off the playing
field.
Institutional attempts to cover-up
charges of violence against women
both silence women and legitimize the
perpetration of sexual harassment and
assault. The mobilization of the team,
the coach and the sports director in the
defense of the four suspects demon-
strates the power of the athletic institu-
tion at this university. To prevent abuse
of this power, openness and public
accountability is essential.

By Kimberly Smith and
Tracye Matthews
This letter is in response to the columns
"Misguided Criticism" and "Dept. Defends
Prof" (Daily, 1/6/89), as well as to com-
ments made during the December 14
meeting between students in Sociology
303, Professor Reynolds Farley, and
members of the Department of Sociology.
Many of the points to which we will refer
expose the contradictions between the
rhetoric and practices of those who head
the Department of Sociology.
In response to Mary Jackman's letter, it
should again be pointed out that the con-
cerns raised by students were not
challenging Professor Farley's essence as a
person, his moral integrity or his inten-
tions. Very few people will admit that
they intend to racially harass, yet it hap-
pens every day, often in violent expres-
sions of good intentions. The issue, in-
stead, is the effect and influence of his
comments upon a group of impressionable
students and his insensitive and offensive
behavior towards students of color in the
class. Thus, Mary Jackman's testimony
regarding her personal relationship with
Farley is quite irrelevant to the issue at
hand.
Jackman's hope that students and faculty
feel free to express their views is an ad-
mirable one that we would all share if we
lived in an ideal society. However we live
in a racist and sexist society. And as Jeff
Gauthier so aptly stated in his column
"First Amendment: Freedom to Silence"
(Daily, 1/9/89), "Where the historical
conditions of a society are such that the
voicing of a 'point of view' may consti-
tute an act of violent suppression, a com-
munity genuinely committed to freedom
Kimberly Smith and Traceye Matthews
are members of the United Coalition
Against Racism.

must express its intolerance of such an
act." Thus the presentation of racist and
sexist stereotypes by a white male profes-
sor, which perpetuate and reinforce the
oppression of people of color, is
unacceptable. Because Farley has been or-
dained by the Academy as having
"scholarly expertise" in the study of race
relations, the Executive Committee of the
Department of Sociology seems to believe
that he is above and beyond challenge or
quC3tion from students of color who expe-
rience the racism of this society daily.
In addition, students who attended the
meeting were accused of using the issue of
racism similarly to the use of anti-com-
munism in red-baiting tactics in the six-
ties. This accusation, coming from people
who purport to be anti-racist and for posi-
tive change, is contradictory and offensive.
Student activism has forced the University
to deal with the issue of racism, and has
encouraged students to feel empowered
enough to challenge racism in a very
alienating and hostile environment. We
should see this as a positive step toward

student harassment policy, the balance of
power in such a mechanism designed by
the University will undoubtedly be un-
equal, favoring administrative discretion.
Thirdly, the issue of freedom of speech and
academic freedom is raised by the Execu-
tive Committee and Jackman, But this is-
sue is raised only as it applies to a white
faculty member's freedom to express racist
stereotypes at the expense of the right of
students of color to be taught in a non-
threatening, non-harassing environment.
The Michigan Daily is one of the few
places where students of color have the
power to express their freedom of speech.
Denial of the use of this resource is denial
of one means of recourse which people of
color have to fight racism. Such important
issues should not be swept under the rug,
dealt with internally and covered up. We
wholeheartedly defend the right of students
of color and anti-racist whites to express
their voice.
Instead of following the University's
traditional approach to handling issues of

'We wholeheartedly defend the right of students of color and
anti-racist whites to express their voice'

j

significant change and not condemn them
for their "untimeliness."
It was suggested that students pursue
channels other than the media to address
their concerns. This is problematic for
three reasons. First of all, the students did
pursue other means, but obviously felt
that their concerns were not being dealt
with seriously. Secondly, the University
has yet to define a proper mechanism for
dealing with such complaints against a
faculty member. And, as in the case of the

racism, that of flowery public relations
propaganda about diversity and whatever
other superficial changes it takes to shut
up students and repair a tarnished image,
the Department of Sociology should strive
to make real changes. The concerned stu-
dent of Sociology 303 are in the process

of reformulating demands to the Depart-
ment of Sociology. If the Department is
serious about its commitment to creatin
an anti-racist classroom environment, i
will strive to meet those demands.

Charges

unjustified

By Rodger Howell and Leta
Kalfas
As students of Professer Reynolds Far-
ley in Sociology 303, we are outraged
with the comments accusing Professor
Farley and feel compelled to speak on his
behalf. The two columns, "Prof s Words
Offensive" (12/12/89) and "303 Offends
Students" (1/6/89), are blatantly one-sided.
The extreme sensitivity of the twenty-five
anonymous students and of Starry Hodge
to the issues discussed in class clouded

minorities and women have been treated
poorly. The examples which Professor
Farley employed were meant to shed light
on these negative views, not to "reinforce
negative stereotypes" as Starry Hodge
claims in her column.
From our own personal experiences
with this classwwe think that Professor
Farley has enriched our understanding of
Black/white relations and minority
discrimination by sparking our interests in
these pertinent issues. After speaking with
him on occasion we feel strongly that

hand is neither Professor Farley nor the
content of his lectures, but rather the pre-@O
mature actions and accusations by the
twenty-five students, who submitted their
detrimental article before trying to solve
the problem through discussion with the
Department of Sociology and Professor
Farley.
The demand by the twenty-five students
that Professor Farley apologize is ludi-
crous. Not only do we believe that this is
an unreasonable demand, but we feel
strongly that these students owe Professor

Daily Opinion Page letter policy
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