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December 07, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-07

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OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, December 7, 1989

The Michigan Daily

abE tiditguant of M
m Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Open letter to the Chair of the Board for Student Publications:
Conflict of interest remains

0

Vol. C, No. 65

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.

i*

Oast Germans speak:
Clamor for socialism

POPULAR DISSENT is sweeping
Eastern Europe at an exhilarating,
speed. Faster still comes the rhetoric
:Western pundits and politicians use to
:dscribe its significance. Cliches like
'the death of socialism" and "the de-
Inand for free-market democracy" have
become, almost without question, a
regular part of news reports. If they are
allowed to take the place of news, these
cliches threaten to set the West on a
,ourse of policy as contrary to Eastern
Europeans' demands as the present
regimes.
The breach of the Berlin Wall has
"released a flood of speculation about
I3erman reunification, the threat it may
pse, the market and labor pool East
Germany offers to the West, and on
anid on. Most of the discussion is idle.
Recalling the German Reich, oppo-
1ents of reunification address the topic
emotionally, forgetting that Churchill,
who often said he preferred Nazis to
Communists, demanded the division
into East and West to build a buffer
ggainst the Soviet Union, not to punish
Germany. He knew the Allied fire-
bombing had already accomplished
-that. Nazism is a painful memory for
Ocrmans too, and there is little evi-
dcnce that it will be reborn in a united
Germany.
- Reunification finds favor in a West
G3crmany eager to grow economically,
,Iot militarily. More than 90 percent of
The people, including Chancellor Kohl,
approve the plan; it is even part of the
their constitution. West Germany,
economists say, has been hampered by
a shortage of skilled laborers; a far-
:right Germany-for-Germans party has
established itself with a campaign
,gainst the Turkish and North African
Workers who make up ten percent of

the West German work force. West
Germans want other Germans to come
work for them. South Africa's white
minority government has similar plans
for exploiting East Germany's work-
ers. Less than a week after the border
was opened, it launched a campaign
calling for East Germans to come to
work in South Africa, listing the skills
and professions most in demand.
So the West wants very badly to hear
East Germans clamoring for capitalism.
They call for no such thing. East Ger-
mans recognize that along with some
higher-paying jobs, the western model
promises an end to free health care and
education and guaranteed employment
and housing. The scramble to shelter
the recent immigrants belies West
Germany's long-standing claim to have
a housing surplus.
A poll conducted by the Wickett In-
stitute in Leipzig three weeks ago
shows that almost every East German
knows someone who has gone west in
search of prosperity, but that the vast
majority of them are certain they will
stay. Why? Fi fty-five percent said they
are "committed to renewing socialism."
The rest of the answerswere mixed.
Most people spoke of an end to one-
party rule, and hoped to put an end to
government corruption.
Since the poll was taken, the consti-
tutional clause which mandates a role
for the Communist Party in the East
German government has been erased,
and the Party's leader for more than
two decades, Erich Honecker, has been
arrested on charges of stealing from the
people. With each day, East Germany
is taking giant steps towards socialism; .
they do not need an acquisitive West to
get in their way.

To Professor Amnon Rosenthal,
Chair of the Board for Student Publi-
cations:
I am writing to explain publicly the fac-
tual inaccuracy printed in the column I
wrote with Cale Southworth, "Board Ma-
nipulates Daily" (Daily, 11/29/89). When
Hillel was contacted a few weeks ago the
Hillel secretary indicated that you were
still presently a member of the board of
that organization. I attempted to contact
Hillel again today but no one was avail-
able for comment. Since the correctjour-
nalistic approach was used to check the
facts I stick by the content and integrity of
our article.
Whether you are presently a Board
member is not relevant however, since
your prior involvement with Hillel and its
effect on your conduct as the Chair of the
Board for Student Publications is the is-
sue. Conflict of interest is a controversial
claim. This article would have come under
fire anyway and it is regrettable that an
inadvertent factual inaccuracy which in no
way alters the serious allegations of the ar-
ticle can be used as a strike against us.
It is also regrettable that the points
raised in the article which were brought to
the attention of the board in a letter at the
November 15 meeting were not addressed.
The student representatives moved to have
these allegations discussed several times
during the course of the meeting. You
have been aware of these allegations for
quite some time and yet you have refused
every opportunity to refute or defend
yourself against these claims. Since you
and the other Board members prevented
discussion of the serious allegations raised
by the student representatives at the Board
meeting it is only logical that I should

come to the conclusion that you have
something to hide. I raised my hand at the
beginning of the November 15 meeting to
explain to you that I had received a letter
from Cale Southworth informing me of
the student concerns about the Board -
including your conflict of interest - be-
fore receiving any information from the
Board. (As a newly appointed member this
was a very troubling introduction to the
Board.) At this time neither you or your

my hand was in fact raised I would have
expected you to correct what I assumed
was a mistake and recognize my right to
speak but instead you proceeded with the
meeting. In another instance you permitted
me to direct questions to a non- Board
member but then asked me to retract my
questions in mid-sentence. After a Board
member referred to me as a child twice for
no reason I raised my hand to express how
offended I was and there was never any re-

'You have been aware of these allegations for quite
some time and yet you have refused every
opportunity to refute or defend yourself against
these claims. Since you and the other Board
members prevented discussion of the serious
allegations raised by the student representatives at
the Board meeting it is only logical that I should
come to the conclusion that you have something to
hide.

01

colleagues offered to set the record straight
for me.
I was very shocked that parliamentary
procedure was not followed at the Board
meeting. The letter I received challenged
the credentials of several Board members,
including yourself. According to parlia-
mentary procedure, a challenge of creden-
tials must be addressed before any other
business, since allowing members who are
not legitimate to vote makes the meeting
and the Board a farce. Yet you refused to
even open up discussion on the question
of credentials.
On one occasion my hand was raised
and you chose not to recognize me before
moving to a vote - a direct violation of
the parliamentary procedure all University
committees are supposed to follow. When
some of the other members mentioned that

quest that she retract her statement. I see
these instances as blatant attempts to si-
lence my input as a student member of a
Board whose membership is already prin-
cipally non-students.
It appears that you are unwilling to dis-
cuss these issues at a Board meeting or
any other public forum. It is your respon-
sibility to students and to the publications
which you supposedly serve in your posi-
tion as Chair of the Board to respond these
concerns. Since I still believe that the
Board is not committed to the students or
to a free press I would like to express my
willingness to meet outside of the hostile
Board environment for discussion.
-Elisabeth Wilson, undergraduate
student representative to the Board
for Student Publications
December 3

Board should formulate "thoughtful policy":
Chair has no conflict

SFruit of exploitation
Aa

By Alan Woronoff andRoss
Jacobs
On November 29, 1989, the Daily
printed a review of the Student Publica-
tions Board (SPB) by Cale Southworth
and Elisabeth Wilson. The review reads
like an intriguing tale of conspiracy, and
was interesting. When examined for fac-
tual content, however, the essay revealed a
string of falsehoods and irresponsible ac-
cusations.
Throughout the essay, Southworth and
Wilson dispute the legitimacy of the chair
of the SPB, Dr. Amnon Rosenthal. The
crux of their argument involves Rosen-
thal's alleged involvement in a "conflict of
interest." They falsely assert that he is a
member of Hillel's governing board, as
well as SPB. This statement is simply un-
true. Dr. Rosenthal has not served on the
Hillel board since April 1989. Therefore,
there is no "conflict of interest" since he
currently serves only on the SPB.

formulate policy. While the presence of a
variety of personalities and viewpoints
may make it difficult to come to agree-
ment, it is in fact this variety which can
contribute to the most thoughtful policy.
We can empathize with the difficult sit-
uation in which Southworth and Wilson
describe themselves. We find it distress-
ing, however, that they have chosen to
solve their problem by falsely attacking
the committee chair on the Opinion page
of the Daily. Attempting to silence an op-
posing viewpoint in this manner certainly
can not be in the best interests of a free
paper, nor is it proper conduct for mem-
bers of the BSP.
In addition, Southworth and Wilson
falsely accuse the Hillel Foundation of try-
ing to "pressure the Daily" and of possess-
ing "an anti-Daily political agenda." These
accusations are most definitely false. On
November 9, 1989, the Hillel Founda-
tion's only public statement regarding the
Daily was published. It states: "The Daily

MACH YEAR, imported produce ap-
pars in Ann Arbor markets a little car-
ler. Vegetables grown in Mexico have
peen on sale for more than a month;
Chilean soft fruits are due any day.
Pesticide-laced and the fruit of barbaric
exploitation, they are to be avoided.
:Purchasers at supermarkets blame
consumers for demanding out-of-sca-
son produce, forcing them to look for
Imports from warmer regions. One
buyer at Farmer Jack says that he tries
to avoid Mexican and Chilean
sippliers, but that he is forced to buy
whatever looks best because that's
what the consumers want. At this time
of year, California no longer produces
seedless grapes, so most grapes (and
plums and peaches and nectarines and
apricots) are bought from Mexico.
Distributors encourage markets to buy
Latin American imports year-round.
village Corner even boasts that it sells
Mexican tomatoes, which are picked
green and flushed with ethylene gas to
simulate ripeness, when U.S.
iltematives are available.
The U.S. consumer's need to have
$varm-weather produce even in the
ead of winter, coupled with first-
world economic policy, have a devas-
tating effect on Latin American work-
ers. In the early 1980's, the Interna-
tional Monetary Fund told Chilean dic-
tator Pinochet that he would have to
boost Chilean exports to get more
loans. Since agricultural production re-
quires little technology, Pinochet chose
to plant ochards, fields of summer
fruits, and table-grape vineyards. Since
1983, exports of Chilean fruit to the
United States have doubled annually.
small farmers have been chased off
their own land by the military to make
way for the large fruit plantations.

Now that the workers have no means
by which to grow their own food, they
must work for tiny pittances to feed
themselves.
Huge multinationals, generally the
ones with petroleum money, started
buying land in northern Mexico ten
years ago. The world's largest tomato
producer, ABC Farms in Baja Califor-
nia, has only been growing vegetables
for seven years. And the people of
Mexico are hired as laborers for a few
dollars or less a day on land that was
stolen from them by anonymous for-
eign interests.
Mexico's new agri-businesses have
brought all the latest technology with
them - irrigation systems, harvesters,
and, most infamously, pesticides.
Mexican growers spray defoiliants
such as 2,4,5 - T, a close relative of
Agent Orange, to clear fields. They
dump, on average, five times more
chemicals on their produce than
American growers do. And it is known
that these chemicals are regularly
sprayed while the workers are still in
the fields, with no more protection than
a handkerchief. Dozens of agricultural
workers die each year from pesticide
poisoning, and reported birth defects
are approaching Love Canal levels. For
the past three years, Mexican produce
coming across the border at Nogales,
Arizona has been so tainted that the
underfunded normally lax FDA has put
it under quarantine for a period.
There are alternatives: Peoples Food
Coop and Arbor Farms sell a full line
of organic produce from California,
and local winter crops are available in
abundance. Organics may cost a bit
more, and squash and potatoes may get
boring, but neither has the reek of poi-
son or exploiation.

however, free to couple its views about
the intifadah with anti-Semitism."
This statement does not represent an
"anti-Daily political agenda." It represents
a longing to re-establish a community in
which everyone's rights are respected.
Southworth and Wilson make an accusa-
tion with which we agree. They claim that
Hillel is trying to influence the Daily. It
seems clear to us that Hillel's aim was to
influence the Daily and the University
community. After all, is this not the in-
tent of any letter to the editor? We hope
that the editors of the Daily as well as the
members of the Board of Student Publica-
tions are individuals who remain open to
the opinions of others. This is the key to
a free press.
Ironically, the free press which the au-
thors demand will not be free if their sug-
gestions are followed. As the authors ar-
gue for a free press, they do so by attempt-
ing to silence views which differ from
their own. This is irresponsible and dan-
gerous.
While Southworth and Wilson raise in-
teresting points, their message must be
questioned. Their argument is held to-
gether by a collection of falsehoods, accu-
sations, and name-calling. When an opin-
ion is put forth in this manner, it must be
carefully questioned. The reader must fur-
ther question why the two authors would
use such methods in their argument. The
authors are currently Board members and
should confine their remarks to the realm
of truth.
Alan Woronoff is a member of the lil-
lel Foundation's Governing Board. Ross
Jacobs is a senior in the Residential
College.

'it seems clear to us that Hillel's aim was to influ-
ence the Daily and the University community. After
all, is this not the intent of any letter to the editor?
We hope that the editors of the Daily as well as the
members of the Board of Student Publications are
individuals who remain open to the opinions of
others.

It seems that there are many differing
opinions on the Board of Student Publica-
tions, as well there should be. It is the re-
sponsibility of the members of any board
to meet, discuss differing opinions, and

has taken an editorial position of support
for the intifadah and of condemnation for
Israel's response. We wholeheartedly en-
dorse the Daily's freedom to take such an
editorial position... The Daily is not,

Board should not influence editorial policy:

Board

Chair should resign

By Cale Southworth
It has been brought out that there may
be anerror in the article by Elisabeth
Wilson and myself. Amnon Rosenthal,
the acting chair of the Board for Student
Publications may not be currently on the
Board of Directors at Hillel, in spite of a
confirmation over the phone on November
7 by the secretary at the Hillel foundation
to the contrary.
For the error to come out now, how-
ever, is irrelevant and suspicious.
First, Mr. Rosenthal received a letter
questioning his conflict of interest on
Nnvemher R_ nriinr to he, inc nuhlirRnrd

tral on editorial issues - to address the
Daily's alleged anti-Semitism.
Third, even if Mr. Rosenthal has or does
resign, the conflict between his own polit-
ical agenda and the Daily's editorial free-
dom has been born out in practice. Given
this, he, and the other members of the
Board he had appointed or appointed him-
self because of their antagonistic attitude
toward the paper, should resign now.

Daily is not in question. It should do so,
as it has in the past, by letters to the edi-
tor or by encouraging students who want
to change editorial policy to join the Daily
staff. But to attempt to influence what the
Daily publishes by using the power of a
Board which has pledged never to exercise
editorial control over the paper, is an
unacceptable threat to the Daily's editorial
freedom.

4

Correction:
in yesterday's editorial "Strangling dialogue" the sentence, "Like the Israeli gov-
ernment itself, Zionist groups in the U.S. continually preach the need for dialogue
vet spend their time and money to intimidate rather than to educate." should have

To attempt to influence what the Daily publishes by
using the power of a Board which has pledged never
to exercise editorial control over the paper is an
unacceptable threat to the Daily's editorial freedom.'

0

i

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