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January 30, 1990 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-30

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OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, January 30, 1990

The Michigan Daily

Education

1S

a right, not a

privilege

By the United Coalition Against
Racism
In 1989, a mere 594 Black students
from around the country applied to the
University of Michigan College of Litera-
ture Science and Arts. 404 of those stu-
dents were accepted to the University; ap-
proximately 315 of the those accepted en-
rolled in September. 325 Black incoming
students out of a class of approximately
4500 students is about 7 percent. These
numbers falls dismally short of the 1987
University comittment to strive toward 13
percent Black enrollment and are unreflec-
tive of the so highly publicized promise of
the Michigan Mandate. The Mandate pur-
ports to want to make Michigan accessible
to people of color and it promises to
"strive to achieve permanent and funda-
mental change."
"By 2020 30 percent ( of the college
age population) will be composed of
Blacks and Hispanics...students who have
not traditionally had the opportunity or
encouragement to pursue these knowlegde-
intensive careers ...We must make special
efforts to expand particip[ation] by these
groups ...not just because that is good so-
cial policy, but because we cannot afford
to waste their talents." (Duderstadt
Michigan Mandate) But just as we under-
stand how the Reagan and Bush adminis-.
trations "declared war on" the drug prob-
lem without taking responsibility for per-
petuating it and designed solutions which
punish the victims of the problem, we
must recognize the University's rhetoric as
serving a similar purpose.
On the surface, change is being made at
the University, but the fundamental
change the Mandate calls for is yet to hap-

pen. Meanwhile, the talents of Black and
Latino youth erg going to waste, as they
don't even bother to apply to a place like
Michigan because they have never been
made to believe that it is an option for
them.While the University waves the ban-
ner of multiculturalism, the foundations
upon which this racist and elitist Univer-
sity stand remain unchecked and unchal-
lenged. Exclusionary admissions and re-
cruitment continue to define the student
body. The University admits to no exact
numbers required for admission for major-
ity or minority students except that the
bottom line is comparable to NCAA stan-
dards. Admissions requirements, they ad-
mit, are subjective, but this they argue is
to the advantage of minority students who
can show promise in areas other than the
SAT and g.p.a. However, the bottom line
of admissions is based primarily upon per-
formance in those two areas. Despite nu-
merous studies that have shown the oppo-

judged by the percentage of students which
go on to college. Thus the SAT is playing
a significant if not entirely determinant
role in admissions, however indirect this
role may be.If a student comes from an
academically weak school, he or she is
also disadvantaged on the SAT and there-
fore it would be highly unlikely for that
student to do particularly well on the SAT
without preparation (coaching) which they
most likely cannot afford. In addition, the
percentage of students from a particular
high school who go on to attend college
can be based on many factors other than
the quality of education in the school. For
example, schools in poor areas are attended
by students from poor families who most
likely cannot afford to attend college.
Hand and hand with exclusionary admis-
sions is exclusionary recruitment. The fact
that only 594 Black students applied to the
University suggests that the University

cosmetic changes. It will require revolu-
tionary changes in the attitudes, policies
and practices of the University undergradu-
ate admissions. If fundamental change is
to be made, as the Mandate suggests, it
will require the leadership of students to
"bring the University kickin' and
screamin' into the the 21st century.
UCAR it attempting to provide some of
this leadership through our High School
Outreach Project. This project sends col-
lege students of color into Ann Arbor,
Ypsilanti, and Detroit area high schools to
reach out to our youngers brothers and sis-
ters. We take University applications and
information about other colleges and at-
tempt to motivate students of color to ap-
ply. Our hope is to reach out to the stu-
dents of color from disadvantaged back-
grounds that the University has over-
looked. We offer to help students in filling
out their application and financial aid
forms, and the Office of Minority Affairs
has agreed to help with application fees.
The short term goal of this project is to
increase the number of students of color
who apply to the University, and to force
this school to be more accessible. The
long term goal of this project is to set up
a model of recruitment that reaches across
class and racial barriers to create opportu-
nities for students of color.
UCAR and other student of color
groups are meeting this week with admin-
istrators to determine the level of progress
the University has made to increase stu-
dent of color enrollment, financial aid and
retention.
Students who are interested in participat-
ing in the High School Outreach Project
should contact the UCAR office, Room 2
East Engineering building, 936-1809.

0

'The bottom line is that change in the makeup of
the University of Michigan student body is going to
require more than cosmetic changes. It will require
revolutionary changes in the attitudes, policies and

0

practices of the University
sions.'

undergraduate admis-

site, Michigan operates on the belief that
the SAT can be an advantage for minority
students allowing them to show special
"potential."
The University recruits minority stu-
dents from many metropolitan Detroit area
schools, many of which have a reputation
for "low quality" education. The g.p.a. of
students from these schools is therefore
suspect and must be qualified by other cre-
dentials such as high SAT or selection of
and success in advanced placement (AP)
courses. In addition these schools are

has been successful not only in limiting
the number of Black students who are ac-
cepted, but also in limiting the number
who apply. Despite the University's
claims of rigorous recruitment throughout
the Southeast Detroit area, students, fac-
ulty and counselors at many Detroit area
schools expressed disappointment and frus-
tration with University of Michigan's lack
of interest in their students.
The bottom line is that change in the
makeup of the University of Michigan
student body is going to require more than

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. C, No.82 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.
In bed with the Regents

Marx is dead,

Marxism isn't

k m
- AS IF the confused, discredited, and
finally invalidated MSA elections last
fall weren't bad enough, MSA Presi-
,dent Aaron Williams and Conservative
r Coalition campaign manager Jeff John-
son have taken MSA's problems to the
Board of Regents and President Dud-
erstadt.
The Conservative Coalition was
naturally dismayed that the bungled
elections' results were invalidated, be-
-cause the invalid tally (never recounted)
.-.*"showed a victory for most of their
candidates. When the Central Student
Judiciary (CSJ) invalidated the elec-
tions which MSA fouled up, we now
find, Conservative Coalition leaders
ran crying to the administration.
Whether or not regent Deane Baker
or President Duderstadt had any inten-
tion of taking advantage of the student
government's state of disarray, John-
son and Williams handed them a
chance to intervene on a silver platter.
Regent Baker introduced a resolution to
"look into" the elections, which was
withdrawn after Duderstadt announced
an independent administration investi-
gation.
Williams had first asked Duderstadt
to simply overrule CSJ's decision, di-
rectly granting the Coalition its victory.
4Though apparently not concerned about
the legitimacy or morality of such a
move, Williams and Duderstadt were
forced to back down from this course
of action after it became clear that the
move could not be justified under the
Michigan Student Compiled Code. An
"informal" investigation was agreed to,
in open disregard for the validity of the
student judicial process represented by
CSJ.

Why do the students need an investi-
gation by the administration? The re-
gents and the president have a dismal
track record of involvement in the af-
fairs of student government which
shows no sign of improving. They
should not be trusted to act in the best
interests of student government -
certainly not without the consent of
MSA or the students. True to form,
Williams took it upon himself, as did
Johnson, to get in bed with the admin-
istration and the Regents.
The move may be representative of
an ominous trend on the part of the
Conservative Coalition. In the past,
political parties have rarely run for
more than one year. This year the
Coalition ran on the same platform as
last year, building an institutionalized
organization about which students
should be uneasy. If one aspect of the
path to institutionalization is developing
a cozy relationship with Duderstadt and
the Regents, then the trend is certainly
an unwelcome one.
This pattern of behavior by the lead-
ers of the Conservative Coalition con-
tradicts one of the chief roles of MSA:
agitation for the rights of students,
which typically means action against
the administration and the Regents.
MSA must be able to take an uncom-
promising stand against the administra-
tion on such issues as tuition increases,
student of color enrollment, the code of
non-academic conduct, housing rules
and many others.
If the Conservative Coalition persists
on its present course, student govern-
ment on this campus will face an even
greater decline of power and legiti-
macy.

By Jim Poniewozik
A few years ago, when home video
games were still in the fetal stages before
Nintendo, a software outfit came out with
a Space Invaders clone game, the exact
name of which escapes me, but which had
to do with "communists from Mars."
The designers of the game were proba-
bly - I hope - laughing up their sleeves
at the paranoiac satire of the name. The
sad fact is, however, that, to most Ameri-
cans, communists might just as well be
Martians.
In spite of the fact that we've been
trained to view it as Uncle Sam's greatest
antagonist of the 20th century, most of us
are damned if we know what communism
actually is.
Most likely, we think of it as some
vague, shadowy nasty, an agglomerate of
everything bad. Communism is every-
thing we - the ideal we - are not. If
we're gentle, it's cruel. If we love free-
dom, it despises it. If we are trim and
healthy and go to the beach, it is fat and
grey and wears a fur hat all year round.
Well, apparently, the movers and shak-
ers in the country's media attended the
same mediocre high school civics classes
we did. At least, that what is implied by
headlines proclaiming "the death of com-
munism."
Our media has somehow become con-
vinced that, in the past year, when Eastern
Europeans were demonstrating for and
achieving the return of personal liberties
and self-determination, what they were ac-
tually doing was killing communism. Re-
porters and pundits treat it as a given that
socialism and communism have been deci-
sively rejected by Europeans, never to re-
turn again. None of them bother to raise
the question: Did Eastern Europe really
kill communism?
Well, did it?
Let's define our terms for a minute.
First, "death." To stay in context, let's
consider deposed Romanian leader Nicolae
Ceausescu. Along with his wife, Ceaus-
escu was shot by bullets fired from guns.
These bullets pierced his flesh and vital
organs, disrupting his system to the point
that it was no longer able to function. He

ceased breathing and his heart came to a
standstill.
In other words, Nicolae Ceausescu is
Now, "communism." I'm going to
give you a ridiculously oversimplified def-
inition because any real detail would take
far more room than I have. In essence,
communism is an economic system which
advocates the abolition of classes and the
collectivization of means of production.
Beyond that, communism becomes
harder to define, because it is a general
concept with many theorists, like capital-
ism or Christianity. There are many
points of view on how a communist state
should be established and organized, and it
is possible to reject any of them and still
be a communist. Though Lenin's theories
on communist government have had the
greatest number of adherents, they are not
inseparable from communism.
So, for example, even though most
communist governments in history have
maintained power by limiting civic free-
doms (notably, communist governments
have been democratically elected in Italy),
there is nothing inherent in communism's
nature that says a communist government
cannot have free elections or free expres-
sion.
The upshot of all this is that when cit-
izens toppled the governments of East
Germany, Romania, and so forth, they
toppled communist governments, not

But communists and socialists will
still have the same ability to be politically
active there as capitalists. Many of the
pro-democracy leaders, after all, are, con-
trary to the media's picture, communists
and socialists, but ones who want their
countrymen to choose them freely. In
other words, communists and socialists are
still able to be active in Eastern Europe.
Nicolae Ceausescu, on the other hand,
is not likely to be active anywhere. As
you'll recall, this is because he is dead.
But to say that communism died because
people overthrew dictators is like saying
the Republican Party died in the '30s and
'40s when the Democrats monopolized
Congress and the White House.
Still, this probably sounds like nit-
picking. After all, if socialism in Eastern
Europe isn't dead, it's at least rather ill. If
the media hypes it up a little, isn't that
just a matter of semantics?
Well, no. Firstly, it's simply sloppy,
simplistic reporting. The USA Today-
style tendency to turn complex issues into
catch phrases makes for a stupid public
that can't make sense of the world in the
long run.
Secondly, it's manipulative. By equat-
ing the push for democracy with the abso-
lute rejection of communism, the media
supports a fallacy pushed on Americans
almost from birth: that communism is ab-
solutely and unalterably equal to dictator-
ship and evil, and that to oppose the latter,
you must oppose the former.

the media supports a fallacy pushed on Americans
almost from birth: that communism is absolutely and
unalterably equal to dictatorship and evil, and that to *
oppose the latter, you must oppose the former.'

communism itself. They overthrew gov-
ernments which deprived them of freedom
in the hopes of establishing ones that
would allow freedom.
The governments they have established
since then have been largely non-commu-
nist, and it is very likely that after future
elections, communists and socialists in
these countries will have a smaller role in
their government, if any role at all.

Communism may be bad or good. But
in any case, in a democracy, it has as
much right to exist as any other idea. And
the people of that democracy have the
right to evaluate it for themselves, using
information not slanted to force them to
choose one side or another.
This right, I believe, has something to*
do with this "freedom" thing they've dis-
covered in Eastern Europe.
mbing a So don't recycle anything,
trees. students. Use up all there is
!They and waste all you can. Don't
ground- let people tell you thiere will be*
ith used nothing left -- we will live in

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f,
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Recycling
stinks

vocating for the right to live
buried in our own garbage.
Have you seen the pile of
trash on the diag today? What
a beautiful sight. If nobody re-

of surprises than clir
mountain of rocks and1
Landfills are great
produce contaminated
water which I mix w

r

J z lL ,,/di .

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