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November 02, 1989 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-02

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OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, November 2, 1989 The Michigan Daily

S1ie £itbirni &dilg
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. C, No. 42 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.

Fund

more

delegations

By Luis Vazquez
In response to all the recent criticism of
the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA)
for their funding of student delegations to
El Salvador and the Occupied Territories, I
feel compelled to respond, particularly to
the letter by Adam DeVore ("Why fund
Delegation?," Daily, 10/26/89), and to the
recent actions of MSA President Aaron
Williams and representative Gene Kav-
natsky. Contrary to Mr. DeVore's asser-
tions, none of us went on any trip resem-

MSA's money was well spent, in my
opinion, considering that the El Salvador
delegation's cost ($4,000) was only
slightly more than what MSA spent to
bring Arthur Schlesinger to speak at the
University ($3,000). MSA President
Aaron Williams and rep. Gene Kav-
natsky's attacks on Peace and Justice
Commission do not serve the student
body, or reflect any attempts at achieving
"fiscal responsibility". Aaron and Gene are
spending more time and energy on what

Peonle of color enrollment and retention:

Access
THIS TUESDAY'S Daily editorial
showed how the University adminis-
tration and its mouthpiece, the Uni-
versity Record, manipulate enrollment
figures for people of color to create an
image of a University that is open and.
accessible to all. Manipulation is neces-
#,!s ary, since the programs the University
lhas in place to increase people of color
.enrollment are inadequate to increase
t ,enrollment and improve retention.
The subject of accessibility to the
University for people of color will be
discussed at a forum held by the United
e;Coalition Against Racism (UCAR),
- .tonight at 7 p.m. in the Stockwell Blue
*Carpet Lounge.
Recent reports in the Daily document
that the University recognizes financial
aid as the key element in recruiting and
1Xretaining students of color. In spite of
"'Ihis, financial aid packages have been
C"'and continue to be inadequate for many
"-potential and current students of color.
m Financial aid packages for enrolled stu-
dents of color have consistently been
changed. Students now receive fewer
sgrants and scholarships and more loans
and work study jobs. Additionally, the
' parental and student contribution part
of financial aid packages has increased
disproportionately, due to cuts in the
r unding to the University's Opportu-
nity Program - the main source of fi-
nancial aid for students of color.
After cutting back the Opportunity
Program, the University administration
recently restored funding to previous
levels. From the administration's we-
never-fail perspective, this is called
"progress." Restored funding is not
enough. While recognizing that finan-
cial aid is critical to people -of color
enrollment and retention, the University
has never provided the needed aid.
The University's other programs for
recruiting and retaining students of

denied
color are just as ineffective. The admin-
istration congratulates itself for reor-
ganizing the Office of Admissions to
make the recruitment of minorities a top
priority for each admissions counselor,
claiming that admissions counselors are
now contacting more potential minor-
ity student applicants that ever before.
What the administration doesn't say is
that each admissions counselor has a
quota of students of color, and that
after that quota is reached, recruitment
of students of color ceases to be a pri-
ority - leaving untouched the still vast
pool of potential recruits.
As the University's own statistics
make clear, although total student, of
color enrollment is up, enrollment of
first year students of color is down.
The University has not increased the
pool of students of color in the country,
it has simply taken them from other
colleges.
Without adequate financial aid, the
University cannot recruit or retain
larger numbers of people of color. This
under-representation contributes to a
campus atmosphere in which people of
color are isolated and under attack.
In the past, the University has taken
steps to recruit and retain students of
color, but only when pressured by the
student body. Goals for student of
color enrollment were adopted by the
Regents after the Black Action Move-
ment of the early 1970s, and increases
in funding for student and faculty of
color have increased in the 1980s only
after student protest. This year, UCAR
has made accessibility at the University
a top priority, and brought its failure to
the public eye. As the University ad-
ministration sees its image tarnished by
reports of institutional racism in the na-
tional media and elsewhere, it will be
forced move toward providing the re-
sources needed make the University
truly open and accessible.

'If students and other critics of the delegations choose to remain
ignorant of the connections between what happens at the Uni-
versity of Michigan, and what happens in the rest of the world,
that is a waste and a tragedy. The student movement in opposi-
tion to the war in Vietnam is an example of the power that stu-

$1,000 from MSA to fund my trip -
which incidentally did not cover all costs
of the trip - each University student con-
tributed approximately 3 cents. My only
request of these students, since there are*
connections between the university com-
munity and the world community, is that
they ask their elected officials and the gov-
ernment to return to them what has been
taken away in taxes to fund the war in El
Salvador ($3.5 billion so far), or for that
matter, their portion of the trillions of tax
dollars spent on a defense which makes
none of us secure.
Furthermore, as a fee-paying student, I
would suggest that MSA send a delegatio4
to oversee the elections in Nicaragua, and
one to verify the alleged "democratic
changes" taking place in Eastern Europe.
Perhaps, if there were student delegations
exposing what was occurring in Vietnam
as it happened, the war may have been
brought to a swifter end.
Luis Vazquez is a Daily Opinion page
staff member and a former MSA represen-
tative from the School of Public Health*
He will be speaking about his experiences
on the delegation to El Salvador tonight at
7:30 p.m. in the East Lecture Room, 3F,
of Rackham Auditorium.

dents have in influencing how
acts.'

our own government acts or re-

bling a vacation. In fact, we risked our
lives visiting countries at war.
While Mr. DeVore and other students
have complained about the supposed lack
of new information brought out by these
delegations, not one person has challenged
the facts in the column I wrote
("Salvadorans denied basic healthcare,"
Daily 10/17/89), also printed as a View-
point in the Ann Arbor News the same
day. The facts I discovered on the delega-
tion about the dismal health situation in
the country are corroborated in a report
written by a separate delegation of physi-
cians in the New England Journal of
Medicine (NEJM 10/89). Not only has the
El Salvador delegation received ample cov-
erage from the Daily and Ann Arbor
News, there have been numerous radio talk
show appearances (WCBN-FM, WAAM),
and presentations on and around campus,
with more planned as students' schedules
permit.
If students and other critics of the dele-
gations choose to remain ignorant of the
connections between what happens at the
University of Michigan, and what happens
in the rest of the world, that is a waste and
a tragedy. The student movement in oppo-
sition to the war in Vietnam is an exam-
ple of the power that students have in in-
fluencing how our own government acts
or reacts.

amounts to a vendetta against Peace and
Justice, rather than on concerns of students
on campus.
If students still feel dissatisfied with my
logic and argument, I will gladly refund
that portion allotted to me by each student
out of MSA's fees. Since I received

U.S. funding of the Salvadoran military
Salvadoran people live in extreme poverty;

continues, while the majority of the
and unsanitary conditions.

Repression

in Puerto

Ri~co'

Justice in England?

IF YOU are Irish and arrested on a
terrorist, political type of offence you
do not stand a chance, you just do not
stand a chance," said Gerard Conlon
after a British court freed him and three
other members of the Guildford Four
- Paul Hill, Carole Richardson and
Patrick Armstrong - earlier this
month. They had spent 14 years in
prison, wrongly convicted of two
bomb attacks on English pubs. The
story of the case, revealing acts of po-
lice brutality and fabrication of evi-
dence, proves Conlon's claim.
The four were convicted on the basis
of confessions given under
interrogation, confessions later
retracted. All had alibis which stood up
in court; their lawyers complained of
beatings during interrogation; not one
witness was brought forward; and the
confessions were full of discrepancies.
Despite this, the jury, unwilling to
question police integrity, found them
guilty.
In 1977, evidence of their innocence
came to light when four other -IRA
members took responsibility for the
Guildford and Woolwich bombings.
This, along with evidence confirming
the alibis, led to an appeal. It was re-
fused.
The illusion of police integrity was fi-
nally exploded by a police inquiry team
appointed in 1987 to investigate the al-
ibis. Investigators stumbled upon po-
lice notes made during the confessions.
They found that the statements had
been altered, while Paul Hill's true
statement was repressed.

The parallels between the Guildford
Four and the Birmingham Six, six
Irishmen imprisoned in 1974 for IRA
bombings in Birmingham, are striking.
Their confessions were beaten out of
them and there is evidence that police
altered their statements.
The sorry tale of corruption revealed
by the release of the Guildford Four
demands that case of the Birmingham
Six be re-opened. The British Home
Office has refused. This should be of
no surprise; it characterizes the way the
British government has reacted to
criticism of its security forces over the
last ten years. Thatcher's ploy has been
to extol the virtues of the police, or the
Ulster Defense Regiment (UDR), or
the Special Air Services (SAS) when
their integrity is questioned. Any
dispute is called unpatriotic and a threat
to national security.
On March 6 1988, the SAS shot
three IRA members in Gibraltar. The
night of the killings, the government
told the press that the three had been
shot as they were about to detonate a
bomb with a radio-controlled device.
No such device was found on the
victims; no explosives were found in
the car - evidence suggests that the
SAS knew this. The government
misinformation portrayed the affair as a
success in stopping IRA terrorism.
The. praise that the British
government has lavished on its security
forces has acted as a screen, behind
which continue their extra-legal and
racist actsiagainst Irish people. The
shameful treatment of the Guildford
Four has destroyed this screen. There
have been calls for a wholesale

by the Puerto Rican
Solidarity Organization
Last week the Daily published a small
note on the recent report from Amnesty
International of human rights violations
around the world. It listed violations in
countries such as China and South Africa,
and then it mentioned the long pre-trial de-
tention of a Puerto Rican political pris-
oner. Anyone not closely following polit-
ical events in Puerto Rico may have got-
ten the impression that the country which
was violating human rights was Puerto
Rico, since the Daily's report did not
name the country. However, the reality is
that, according to Amnesty International,
the United States is the country in
violation of the human rights of Puerto
Rican political prisoners. This is not the
first time that the United States has been
included in Amnesty's report on human
rights violations. Last year, the inhumane
treatment of another Puerto Rican political
prisoner, Alejandrina Torres, captured the
attention of Amnesty International.
Political repression in Puerto Rico by
agencies of the U.S. Government is not a
rare event - it is a daily reality for those
Puerto Ricans who want a free Puerto
Rico. The Puerto Rican independence
movement, with a history of almost one
hundred years, has been a major focus of
repression by federal authorities. In the
first half of the twentieth century, this re-
pression involved the use of military
force. Now the U.S. Government makes
use of more sophisticated means of
political repression, including electronic
surveillance and selective assassinations.
Selective political arrests of the
"independentistas" have been prevalent
since the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico in

1898 and are now on the rise. Historically,
these arrests have taken place during peri-
ods when the movement was gaining
strength. The most recent upsurge began
in 1980 with the arrest of eleven indepen-
dentistas in Evanston, Illinois on charges
of seditious conspiracy. Formally, the
charges entail "agreement among two or
more to oppose the authority of the U.S.
Government by force." No actual illegal
act is necessary to charge someone with
this offence. It is defined very broadly and
therefore it is a handy tool to repress the
independence movement - and, for that

attempt to criminalize the independence
struggle, these hostages were charged with
a broad conspiracy related to a robbery in
Hartford, Connecticut in 1983. One of the
Hartford 15 (as they are called) is Filiberto
Ojeda, the political prisoner who put the
United States on the Amnest4
International human rights violators list
this year. Under the Pre-trial Detention
Bail Act (adopted under the Reagan
administration), Filiberto was held in jail
without the right to bail for almost three
years, the longest pre-trial detention in the
history of the United States.

'The most recent upsurge began in 1980 with the arrest of
eleven independentistas in Evanston, Illinois on charges of sedi
tious conspiracy... Seditious conspiracy is a crime of though
one of the broadest and most severe laws of political repression
in the world.'

matter, any political movement in the
United States. Seditious conspiracy is a
crime of thought, one of the broadest and
most severe laws of political repression in
the world. The U.S. Government has de-
clared that the struggle for a free Puerto
Rico is an act of sedition; it carries a 20-
year sentence.
The growth of political repression
reached its peak in August 1985, when
more than 250 FBI agents wielding
automatic weapons and wearing
camouflage fatigues invaded the homes of
40 Puerto Rican families. In total, 13
people were arrested that night; two others
were arrested later. All of the arrested men
and women were well-known pro-
independence activists. Among them were
a teacher, a social worker, a lawyer, a
student, an artist, and a farmer. In an

Today, dozens of Puerto Ricans are in
U.S. jails for the crime of wanting to end
colonialism in their country. The United
States has declared the 1990s the decade to
end colonialism. Puerto Rico is one of the
few remaining colonies in the world. To-
day, only one quarter of one percent of al1
people in the world live in colonies - a
third of them are Puerto Ricans. It is the
responsibility of U.S. citizens to demand
an end to this senseless repression of those
who, like the patriots of the American
Revolution, fight for a free country.
If you want to learn more about how
the FBI and other U.S. federal agen-
cies operate in Puerto Rico to suppress
the independence movement, come td
a brown bag discussion at noon at the
Baker Mandela Center for Anti-Racist
Education, Room 3, East Engineering.

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I

March

for

and show their support'for ev-
ery woman's right to choose.
The Ann Arbor Committee
to Defend Abortion Rights has

ers that we will not accept
these attacks on our rights and
our bodies. Show your sup-
port for women's choices and

women's rights by marching
on November 12.
-Julie Stapel
November 1

womens
. U 2

-p

rwl

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