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April 13, 1990 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-13

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 13, 1990
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
ARTS 763 0379 PHOTO 764 0552
NEWS 764 0552 SPORTS 747 3336
OPINION 747 2814 WEEKEND 747 4630
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 hiding
LSA Curriculum Committee shuts out students

----
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ON&,(VORS UNJ E4 L NIcCLZN(1Atvt~CA LJ t V5 UIESE M4',, "
Cokely takes a good message and taints it. with hate

SINCE 1986, MEETINGS OF THE LSA
Curriculum Committee have been off-
limits to students. As an advisory
body, it has no power to make binding
decisions, but its recommendations to
the LSA Executive Committee are al-
most always accepted. It decides the
way courses are taught, how much
credit they're awarded, and what their
distribution designation should be.
Controversial issues such as LSA
credit for ROTC courses and a manda-
tory class on racism are discussed by
the Curriculum Committee. In practice,
it has more long-term influence on the
educational philosophy of the Univer-
sity than any other administrative body.
;Students have a right to be informed of
-what happens in these proceedings.
To be fair, the LSA student gov-
ernment appoints three student repre-
sentatives to the Curriculum Commit-
tee, but they make up only a small
fraction of the committee. Because the
meetings are closed, there is no way
for student voters to tell what kind of
job they're doing. The committee is
supposed to have an official spokes-
person to answer student questions,
but this post hasn't been filled all year.
The minutes are next to useless because
half of them are missing and the other
half (four years' worth) are chaotically
jumbled together. When they are lo-
cated, they'll say who endorsed or
attacked a specific proposal without
giving details of the argument.
Committee members have made
several (rather transparent) excuses for
their undemocratic practices. Prof.
Herbert Eagle, one of the faculty repre-
sentatives to the committee, complained
that when meetings were open, "early
reporting of issues has alarmed stu-
dents long before any policy changes

have been formally considered or
adopted." LSA Associate Dean Jack
Meiland warned that "the cost of being
misquoted is to alarm students prema-
turely," adding that "committee dis-
cussion takes place over long periods
of time, and does not usually affect
students now in the college."
Reading between the lines a little,
what these administrators really mean
is that they fear mass protestaand want
to keep students in the dark about un-
popular policies until it's too late to do
anything about them. Other committee
members seem to confirm this attitude
when they talk of their fear of being
"hounded" by students. When faculty
close meetings because they think stu-
dents will become "alarmed" and
"hound" them, they're probably doing
something wrong.
Faculty on the Curriculum Commit-
tee were especially worried at the
prospect of reporters from the Daily
observing their meetings. Biology
Prof. Larry Nooden argued that their
presence would interfere with his abil-
ity to speak freely, and Meiland was
afraid that invited visitors would be put
"very much on guard" by the Daily.
Meiland, Eagle, and LSA Assistant
Dean David Schoem were all concerned
about being misquoted.
The above are valid fears; but even
if the Daily had a history of misquoting
its subjects, that wouldn't justify
holding closed meetings. Student rep-
resentation on the Curriculum Commit-
tee is meaningless if they can't see their
representatives in action. Student input
on college policies is worthless if it can
only come after the policy has been
approved. Worst of all, an education
designed to teach students about
democracy will be wasted if democracy
in the College of LSA continues to be a
sham.

"0

By David Schwartz
"Blacks are stupid."
I could say this to illustrate a point.
Right now, that statement - Blacks are
stupid - is sitting there, festering. Many
of you would immediately want to call me
racist for suggesting that Black people are
not intelligent.
I do not, however, think Black people
are stupid. Sure, some Black people are
stupid, as are some white people, some
Jews, and some people of any other race or
religion. But to say Blacks are stupid does
a gross disservice to the majority of Black
people, who are not stupid.
If I were to go out on the Diag and
make a statement like "Blacks are stupid,"
most people would be shouting me off
campus, and justifiably so. Even though I
didn't say all Blacks are stupid, it should
be interpreted as such.
Yet for some reason, that logic doesn't
hold when referring to Jews.
Steve Cokely, whose bigotry I always
assumed was clear, reappeared on campus
Wednesday to "discuss" some things with
Schwartz is the Daily's Opinion Page
editor.

the Daily staff - by discuss, Cokely
meant he wanted to preach to us. He ac-
cused the Daily of "subjugating Black stu-
dents" because we criticized him in an edi-
torial; he said he has never attacked Jews
as a whole, as the editorial asserted.
I asked Cokely how he could say
things like "Jewish doctors inject Black
babies with AIDS" and not be attacking
Jews as a whole. "I never said all Jews,"
he responded. "I just said Jews."
I asked Cokely why Jews were respon-
sible for the portrayal of Blacks in Ameri-
can cinema. He said, "The Jews control
Hollywood." I told him that was news to
me, because I've never seen any of the
profits.
Cokely's hateful preaching and skewed
logic would not be so terrible if people
recognized it for what it was. But Wednes-
day, at least 75 members of the Black Stu-
dent Union cheered his every word. It as-
tounds me that people who have for so
long demanded tolerance could be so intol-
erant of others.
Cokely and his followers will tell you
that everything they say is backed by
facts. They'll pull out articles and books
and say "This is where I got my facts. Can

you refute them?" Sorry, but I don't carry
around a book saying Jews don't inject
Black babies with AIDS.
It's not surprising that someone wrote
a book attacking Jews - anyone can write
a book. What's surprising is that so many
people will blindly accept these readings
and preachings.
I try to be tolerant of others. I'm al-
ways willing to listen. I only called
Cokely an anti-Semitic asshole once on
Tuesday, which I thought showed a great
deal of restraint. But I'm frustrated because
I keep coming across people who are in-
tolerant of me.
Cokely says many important things,
and the whole of his message should never
be condemned. He preaches about striving
for Black empowerment and equality for
everyone, ideals which must certainly be
praised. But Cokely's message is inter-
twined with bigotry, and his followers
should separate the truthful from the fan-
tastical.
I don't see why we are always getting
into arguments about who's responsible
for oppressing whom. Especially Blacks
and Jews, who have both been the brunt of
oppression far too often, should not be
stupid enough to turn on each other.

Thth 's poll tax
Britain's policies continue to hurt poor people

IN YEARS GONE BY, BRITISH GOV-
ernments would judge the fairness of a
tax by people's ability to pay it. In the
Thatcher years, the emphasis has
changed; not content with slashing the
top income tax level by 43 percent -
shifting the burden of taxation away
from those best equipped to bear it -
the conservative government has now
introduced a poll tax.
Replacing the local property tax, the
poll tax is a flat rate tax which every
adult citizen will be expected to pay,
regardless of income. The tax will be
"fairer" because the burden of local
government spending will now fall
equally on both paupers and million-
aires.
Not surprising, the announcement
of the tax caused widespread protests
throughout Great Britain, culmimating
.in the violent demonstrations in Lon-
:don last week. However, the poll tax
must not be seen as an isolated example
of conservative ill-judgement; it is the
latest element in a well coordinated at-
tack on the poor and disempowered.
In this case, the target is the demo-
cratically-elected Labor local govern-
,ments, traditionally the ally of the
Thatcher revolution's victims. Their
commitment to maintaining a decent
level of social services has been trans-
lated into "socialist high-spending" in
,the emptiness of Thatcher rhetoric,
which coldly ignores the vastness of
-the problems her policies have created.
The income levels of the poor have
consistently dropped, homelessness
has increased by 122 percent in the last
decade, and the crime rate continues to
increase. In response, the government

rants at the local authorities who try to
combat this, and then blackmails them
into lowering their expenditures by
extorting taxes from those most in need
of help.
The depth of Thatcher's unpopular-
ity - she is rated the most unpopular
prime minister since polling began -
shows that rhetoric can't paper over the
cracks any more; her extremism is even
alienating her from her own party; a
flurry of local conservative politicians
have resigned from the party in protest
of the poll tax. Thatcher's attacks on
high spending ignore the fact that her
own party's local government officials
are spending only 4 percent less on av-
erage than their Labor counterparts.
Similarly, Thatcher's support from
middle-class homeowners, plagued by
both record interest rates as well as poll
tax payments, seems to be steadily
evaporating. More than three million
people in Great Britain are behind on
mortgage paymentsrencoumged to buy
property they find they can no longer
afford.
As the Thatcher era stumbles to a
halt, the myth of Thatcher's "economic
revolution" can be seen more clearly.
Britain has the same economic prob-
lems it had in the '70s: the highest in-
flation rate in western Europe, the
highest interest rates, and the highest
trade deficit. Meanwhile, the poor are
poorer, and the social services are be-
ing drastically underfunded to pay for a
spending binge for Britain's richest.
Margaret Thatcher, and her poll tax,
exhibit a level of social callousness that
the British people are no longer willing
to tolerate.

'U' also contributes
to housing problem
To the Daily:
In regard to Amy Harmon's article "For
Rent" (Weekend, 2/23/90), as someone
who's studied Ann Arbor University hous-
ing policies for more than a decade, I can
offer a few more reasons for the Univer-
sity's reluctance to build more student
housing. The reasons below range in order
from the most conscious and well-articu-
lated, to those which are most important,
but largely unconscious:
Land around main campus has long
been too expensive for the kind of self-
funding student housing that the Univer-
sity builds, and it's questionable whether
new housing on North Campus would at-
tract enough students.
The University is a major re-
search/graduate/professional/medical insti-
tution. It sees undergraduates as a source
of resources, but not as a high priority ob-
ject of expenditures. Since it spends as lit-
tle as possible on undergraduates in the
classroom, it makes little sense to spend
very much on them outside the classroom.
It wants to control them outside the class-
room, but it doesn't want to spend money
on them.
The University's current student
housing has been designed and set up for
"machine efficiency" with a pay-in-advance
food system, look-alike rooms, and peri-
odic overcrowding so that it cai be run
easily even by simpletons. The University
has no desire to run a real housing service
for students that in any way would require
more than minimal social and economic
attention.
Large concentrations of stable stu-
dent populations have always formed
communities with recognizable economic
and social interests. Communities of stu-
dents would have both the political power
and motivation to redirect more University
resources towards their needs. This would
upset existing University priorities and its
regime of top-down control (where those

Decent and affordable housing (not
dorms) near campus would empty the ex-
isting dorms overnight and create a real
crisis for the University bond program. As
long as Ann Arbor private housing is high
priced, of poor quality, and/or relatively
distant from the campus, the University's
massive dorms will remain full. Thus, the
University has ample motivation to
uphold an unspoken arrangement with pri-
vate landlords not to disturb each others'
smoothly running housing programs.

ing sexually transmitted diseases.
Both the decision to abstain from sex
and the decision not to have an abortion
are valid and respectable choices, but
women have the right to correct informa-
tion before making these choices.
Dawne Morano
Action Committee Chair,
Ann Arbor Committee to Defend
Abortion and Reproductive Rights

Robert D. Honigman

Don't be tricked by
fake abortion clinics
To the Daily:
All women who care about their repro-
ductive health - beware! In the Ann Ar-
bor area alone there are at least two anti-
choice "pregnancy counseling centers"
masquerading as medical facilities. The
Ann Arbor Pregnancy Counseling Center
at 606 W. Stadium and the Pregnancy
Counseling Center at 2950 Packard are
representative of the over 600 phony
abortion clinics which have been created
by right-wing religious extremists across
the United States.
The sole purpose of these so-called
clinics is to prevent women from making
informed decisions about pregnancy,
which includes the choice to have an
abortion.
The staff of these clinics are not medi-
cal professionals, but untrained volunteers
who use over-the-counter tests to deter-
mine whether or not patients are pregnant.
They lie about the medical and physiolog-
ical consequences of abortion, vastly
overemphasizing the risk of infertility in-
volved in a legal abortion and claiming
that abortion promotes suicide.
Patients are shown lengthy anti-abor-
tion films meant to frighten and confuse
them about reproductive health options. If
rnlflnllflrC. th.oat nat nnt ma nch~e~

Castro not President
To the Daily:
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands
of Cuban exiles throughout the world I am
compelled to write the Daily. In Friday's
edition (4/6/90) the caption underneath Fi-
del Castro's photograph assigned him the
title of President. Many may recognize
him as such, but for the exiled Cuban
community he represents the revolution
that drove them from their island, their
homes, and their families. He is not a
president, he is a dictator.
For the Cuban exiles, the word
"president" is associated with freedom,
simply because it was a President that al-
lowed them the opportunity for another
life in a new freedom. For this reason, to
call Castro a president for a Cuban exile is
unacceptable and painful.
For lack of a more appropriate word,
we call him a dictator. Even in our new
freedom, he dictates our lives with emo-
tional and psychological tortures, because
he still has countless members of our
families. In a stalemate, we just wait. We
want Cuba back, but we also want our
families as well. He remains our dictator,
even in exile. Our president he is not.
I realize many may say I overreact by
devoting my attention to this matter. Yet I
see the miraculous changes happening in
Eastern Europe, like the dismantling of
the Berlin Wall, while Castro states he
will remain the last communist regime

k i

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