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September 24, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-24

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Page 4- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 24, 1991
3b Sibigan 1Bai1

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editor

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.
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Regental 'indifference
Board members should take more interest in V community

- EoR 1Thlo±'i& P/?lE-e4


n any representative democracy, public officials
chosen by the voters hold definite responsibili-
ties to the people. Foremost among those is to
search out and act upon the opinions of their
constituents. This may seem like a lesson from
elementary civics, but it has seems the members of
the University of Michigan Board of Regents could
use a refresher course.
One only needs to spend a few hours at one of
the regents' monthly meetings to see how out of
touch the University's top brass have become. The
regents sit slumped in their chairs - fighting to
stay awake - as they rubber-stamp President
Duderstadt's initiatives. Most do not even bother
to question the president's directives, and it is a
rare event for a regent to come to a meeting with
aggressive new ideas.
For most of the Regents, their monthly meetings
are their only visits to the campus. It is impossible
to get an accurate picture of the campus by merely
sitting through the hour-long public comments
session at the close of their meetings. Board
members should make an effort to get in touch with
the campus by scheduling periodic question-and-
answer sessions in the Union, or by simply walking
around campus talking to people.
The University's regents have neverbeen known
to take serious interest in campus events, but their
apathy has become so severe that it warrants re-
newed attention. Allhave very important careers in
other fields - Regent Shirley McFee (R-Battle
Creek) puts in double-time as the owner of a guitar
string factory and as Mayor of Battle Creek.
Similarly, Regent Philip Power (D-Ann Arbor)
owns a suburban Detroit publishing company. So,
spending time ontheAnnArbor, Flint and Dearborn
campuses is simply not a priority for them. This
must change if the regents hope to be responsible,
responsive University managers.
Under 21?
Drinking age inconsistent with
A t the age of 18, it is legal for someone to vote,
to be drafted and to be married. But it is not
legal for that same person to consume alcohol for
three more years. The 21-year-old drinking age is
obviously inconsistent with our perception of
adulthood, and it creates more problems than it
The federal government ensured that most states
would raise the drinking age to 21 by withholding
transportation funds from states that did not com-
This blackmail is clearly a violation of the
rights of local government. For instance, in Ann
Arbor, and especially on campuses where few
people drive, the law is in conflict with the realities
of student life. Changing the drinking age to 18, or
at least allowing local municipalities to determine

The current system for regental elections en-
courages the regents' sloppy work habits. Candi-
dates are selected from the ranks of Democratic
and Republican party hacks who have paid their
dues to their respective parties by organizing
campaigns and fund raisers over the years. Election
to the Board of Regents has become almost a
ceremonial appointment - a bone thrown to a
loyal party member in exchange for party loyalty.
It is easy to see how the students' concerns can fall
on deaf ears with a candidate selection system that
seems skewed from the start.
The University student body, however, shares
some of the blame as well. While the candidate
selection process is controlled by the party bosses,
campus leaders could mobilize students to vote
and exert some influence in the state-wide election.
A united student vote would send a strong message
to the regents to pay more attention to campus
Another possible way to bridge the impasse
between the student body and the regents would be
to create an ex-officio student regent position.
While existing board members would be reluctant
to give this position real voting power, the popu-
larly-elected student representative would, at least,
have access to all regental meetings and documents.
This board member would also provide a student
perspective to the other regents, and remind them
that student concerns must be a priority in regental
Whatever the case, it is clear that the current
regents must try harder to solicit opinions from the
students - the real consumers in this education
industry- and take amore action-oriented attitude
toward their position. The regents have been
charged with running this University. Getting in-
volved in the University community would only
enhance their job performance.

. 01

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Daily should
get in real world
To the Daily:
Some of us can remember last
year, just a handful of months
before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait,
when the Daily called for the
dissolution of the U.S. Army.
After all, the Daily argued, with
the end of the Cold War, who
needs an army? Last week, I
picked up the Daily to find the an
editorial calling for the dissolu-
tion of the CIA. After all, with no
Cold War, who needs operational
intelligence? As the Daily says,
"no secrets and no covert opera-
The next time that an invasion
takes place or U.S. lives are
threatened overseas, we'll just
hold a peace march and all plant
flowers. I also place the Daily's
recent opposition to U.S. loan
guarantees to Israel in this same
The Daily's principal objec-
tion appears to be the contention
that the loan guarantees will cost
the U.S. taxpayer. Never mind
that the loans are to be borrowed
from private American banks;
never mind that Israel has faced,
and overcome, similar debt
burdens before. The Daily is
bound and determined to have its
When the facts won't do, the
Daily just substitutes facts of its
own. Like claiming, say, that
"Israel already receives... more
than any other country in the
world" in U.S. aid and grants.
Forget for a moment that the
United States still spends more
than $10 billion per year per
NATO ally in the defense of
Western Europe; never mind that
we also spend nearly as much to
maintain U.S. forces defending
Japan. The $3 billion in military
and economic aid that Israel
receives is still "more than any
other country in the world." Just
take the Daily's word for it.
Please, Daily editors, let us
know when you are ready to join

. us in the real world. You may find
that there sometimes is a need for
such distasteful institutes as a
national military and intelligence
service, and you might discover a
certain obligation of man to your
fellow humans. That includes
even Russian Jews fleeing
from the collapse of communism.
Until then Daily editors, greetings
from earth.
John Blow
Rackham graduate student
Tagar co-chair
Cops can't stop
student drinking
To the Daily:
Providing alcohol to minors is
wrong. So are overcrowding bars
and using fake IDs. These acts are
undeniably illegal and I will not
dispute it. The local authorities
have made a concerted effort to
stop these acts. They are doing
their jobs, and this I will not
What will be the result of
students having limited places
where they can blow off steam in
the manner that they choose? The
first result will be increased
"hanging out" in dorms and
around campus. People will still
drink, but instead of being in a
fraternity house, apartment, U-
Club or bar, they will be walking
campus. This will increase (and
not decrease, as is thought)
vandalism, rowdiness, and "other
alcohol related crimes." If you
don't believe me, remember
South University two weeks ago.
The second result of this new
effort is one I fear. People will
start going off campus. I don't
mean just west of Main Street.
People will be driving to Canada,
Ypsilanti and other places. This
action will increase drunk-driving
and this cannot be disputed.
People where I'm from learn to
drink and drive when they learn to
drive. I was one of the worst
offenders and I'm not proud of it.
I did it because I had no place to

I spent a week this summer
talking to a friend (my best
friend's little sister) while she
cried about a classmate of her's
who was just killed in a drunk-
driving accident. I don't wish this
on anyone, but it will happen
here, too.
The authorities are fully within
their rights to do what they-are
doing. But, if there is just one
additional drunk-driving accident
or "alcohol-related crime" this
year, then maybe - just maybe
- the "cures" for under-aged
drinking and overcrowding bars
are worse than the "disease.".
S. Douglas Touma
LSA senior
D aily





societal standards
the drinking age, would be a more reasonable,
consistent approach.
Undoubtedly, the current law actually increases
alcohol's appeal for many and it certainly dis-
courages them from learning to drink
responsibly. Regardless of the law, very few people
wait until they are 21 to drink. The fact that it is
illegal simply adds excitement and encourages
rebellious behavior.
The 21-year-old drinking age doesn't prevent
teens from drinking; a glimpse ofmost high school
and college social scenes tell us that. And it does
even less to encourage responsible use of alcohol;
rates of teenage alcoholism and drunk driving tell
us that.
Legislators are encouraged to re-think this inef-
fective law.

tl, 4

Join the
Daily staff!

Kuwaiti accord
U.S. military presence unwarranted, inappropriate


Since the first American forces began assem-
bling in the Saudi Arabian desert late last year,
President Bush has continually assured the Ameri-
can public that there would be no long term Ameri-
can presence in the Gulf region. Instead, American
troops would remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait
arid then leave - at least until Bush was able to
find another supposed regional threat in the form
of the Kurdish revolt and, more recently, Iraq's
nuclear weapons capability.
In truth, Bush has continually sought more and
mbre excuses to secure a permanent American
piesence in the Gulf region and has all along
sought to make a series of military alliances with
the various Gulf states. Last Thursday, Defense
Secretary Cheney signed the first of these military
alliances with Kuwait.
While the details of the accord are unknown,
the agreement will provide for the pre-positioning
of heavy equipment, which will most likely be M1-
A tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Cheney
and the President have emphasized that the accord
will not result in a permanentAmerican garrison of
But it may as well do so.
The pre-positioning of heavy equipment will
enable the United States to project its power at a
mbment's notice. At present, the deployment of

troops without heavy equipment is a fairly easy
task. The result will be the pre-positioning of a
heavy armored force without the troops which can
be flown in at anytime.
The absence of American troops in the region
amounts to little more than deceit on the part of the
President. Such an absence enables Bush to bypass
the most difficultproblem ofAmerican involvement
overseas for both Americans and the foreign hosts.
Because troops are highly visible, their absence
allows Bush to paint the new military accord as
something other than the extension of American
military influence.
The Gulf War proved that the movement of land
forces far exceeds that of naval and air forces in
difficulty. One can continually bomb or launch
missiles at military targets, but only land forces can
gain absolute control. It is obvious that Bush seeks
the capability to do just that.
The efforts of the Bush administration must be
recognized for what they are - an attempt to
ensure the long term positioning of American land
forces in the Persian Gulf.
With his foot in the door, Bush is unwilling to
leave. The president's move must be condemned,
and action must be taken to ensure that the peace
dividend ofEurope is nottumed to the GulfRegion,
and reinvested in the form of tanks.

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The bearable li tness of class

In his celebrated novel The Un-
bearableLightness ofBeing, Czech
novelist Milan Kundera joins the
ranks of those wondering why we're
all hereandhow wekeepgoing. But

what sepa-
rates his
book from
this staple
item on the
ist menu is
the courage
it takes for
him to then
insist that
we must in-
deed keep
going -
and that it

novel about class, and it wouldn't
have resonated at all. Not because it
doesn't exist. The papers tell us
almost daily about how the poor get
poorer and the jobs get fewer. And
all around us we see the contradic-
tions at the heart of a country that
has become one of the richest and
most powerful in ths history of the
world by devouring its poor and its
Unequal class relations are at
the very core of American life, and
they're invisible. Buried beneath
the apparently unassailable myth of
the American dream, where every-
one believes they can make it even
as ever fewer do. A part of a culture
insulated from memory, and averse
to pain. Even when Americans talk
aboutcommunity--or try to define
what gives them a collective iden-
tity - they wind up talking about
the country's tradition of individu-
So much for "Solidarity For-
ever," which, when it gets sung in

ally do get shot by the company
they work for. Six months after I
vented my spleen on safety condi-
tions in North Carolina, 25 workers
really did die there because of an
eminently avoidable fire in a chicken
processing plant.
So what? Though a tree falling
in a deserted forest does indeed
make a sound, it doesn't matter
much if nobody is there to hear it.
And though the American working
class is currently suffering depres-
sion-like hardships, nobody is pay-
ing much attention.
I used to blame this problem on
Ann Arbor - that loveable bou-
tique masking as a community that
all of us do the injustice of calling
"home." But deep down, I always
knew better. Ann Arbor is just a
microcosm of the United States,
which also periodically calls itself a
community and then goes about the
business of America - which, we
all learned in high school, is busi-





Nuts and Bolts
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by Judd Winick

does indeed matter.
Being Czech, Kundera's drama
revolved around the 1968 Prague
Spring - that beautiful and tragic
moment when socialism with a hu-
man face met Moscow's tanks, and
lost. If existence in Prague thereaf-

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