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April 18, 1994 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-18

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It Ai


One hundred three years of editorial freedom

Thousands used in 1950s 'U' radiation research

Most experiments involved radiation levels
that posed little or no risk to human subjects

The University of Michigan used
more than 1,500 people - many of
them children - as test subjects in
1950s radiation research, a review of
University records shows.
Some of the people underwent
therapeutic treatments. Some were
used in medical diagnosis. And some

were healthy individuals used as test
Yet all potentially fall under the
scope of a nationwide, federal inves-
tigation into the use of humans in
radiation testing.
Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary
announced the inquiry late last year
following published reports of 18
people who were unknowingly in-

jected with plutonium in the 1940s.
Since then, a Department of En-
ergy hotline has been besieged with
22,000 calls, roughly 40 percent from
people claiming they were used as
radiation test subjects, said depart-
ment spokesperson John Donnelly.
"It's available for people to call in
and say they have possibly been in-
volved at some time with plutonium
or other nuclear experiments in the
past, and they are asked to document
what happened," Donnelly said.

The Michigan Daily reviewed the
archived records of the University's
Subcommittee on the Human Use of
Radioisotopes, established in 1952 to
approve all radiation research involv-
ing humans.
Three boxes contain some 6,300
pages of documents dating back to
the early '50s. They offer the first
extensive look at the University's ra-
diation procedures, policies and test-
ing over the past 42 years.
Most of the research posed little or

no risk to the test subjects, several
radiation experts said upon viewing
some of the dosage levels.
But for federal investigators, the
tests raise similar questions about
whether people used as test subjects
gave full consent.
O'Leary told a congressional sub-
committee in January that lack of
consent was a disturbing feature of
some Cold War-era radiation tests.
"It is not clear that all subjects
were properly informed of the pur-

poses or risks associated with the ex-
periments in which they were partici-
pants," she said.
University policies on consent re-
main unclear prior to 1956, when the
subcommittee began requiring vol-
unteers to sign consent forms.
This action came a decade after
widespread radiation testing com-
menced in the 1940s, and years ahead
of strict federal regulations requiring

'U' receives
highest credit
.ratimg ever
The University earned top marks for its financial
strength, as indicated by a high credit rating often
reserved for private schools.
Moody's Investors Service has given the University
the highest credit rating ever to a public university.
Farris W. Womack, the University's executive vice
resident and chief financial officer, made the an-
nouncement at Friday's University Board of Regents
Yet Womack criticized Moody's for not giving it a
higher rating, citing what it calls "a bias against public
"It should be Aaa and it will be," Womack told the
regents. "We believe its a bias against public institu-
tions on their part."
Moody's raised the rating of the University's debt
(rvice from Aa to Mal last month.
The next highest rating is a Ma. Six universities
currently have the coveted Aaa rating.
"They are all private institutions," Womack said.
They include Harvard, Princeton and Stanford.
Womack did praise the upgrade.
"This is the first time Moody's has assigned a rating
higher than Aa to a public university, reflecting,
See RATING, Page J1
*Regent criticizes
'U' for failing to
curb bathroom sex
Seizing on published reports, Regent Deane Baker
'harply criticized the administration for failing to curb
illegal sexual activity by gay men on the University
campus and urged President James J. Duderstadt to put
in place "an aggressive policy to reduce or eliminate
acts of 'gross indecency' and sexually related acts on
the University campus."
At Friday's meeting of the University Board of
Regents, the Republican regent from Ann Arbor distrib-
uted and read parts of a article that ran in the April 11
Michigan Daily that detailed illegal sexual activities by
*ame-sex partners in the Mason Hall first-floor restroom.
In a five-minute statement to the regents, Baker
criticized the police for inaction.
"If the University can ticket teenagers (as it does) for
skateboard use on campus, it should be able to arrest
those who commit felonies in University toilet stalls,"
Baker said.
Regent Baker requested that the University's De-
partment of Public Safety (DPS) "arrest those who
violate the State Criminal Code Sections 338 and 339
oss indecency) by their actions on University prop-
He added, "Unfortunately, the climate of political
See REGENT, Page 2



bold 'Agenda
for Women'

University President James J.
Duderstadt unveiled an ambitious plan
aimed at promoting the success of
women at all levels of the University,
in a news conference Friday after-
The Michigan Agenda for Women,
an initiative created to address the
problems women face throughout the
University, is a multifaceted plan in-
tended to achieve proportional repre-
sentation and participation for female
students, faculty and staff by 2000.
DraftedabyDuderstadtbwith the
help of more than 100 others at the
University, the Agenda maps out spe-
cific actions the administration will
take to achieve this all-encompassing
The Agenda promises a variety of
noteworthy changes at the University
- from increasing education about
violence against women to restruc-
turing the faculty tenure policies.
Duderstadt said that he is prepared
to be held accountable for the
initiative's achievements.
"I am deeply committed to this
agenda and intend to devote a great
deal of personal time to this issue," he
Duderstadt explained that in re-
cent years the University has made
some progress in creating a support-
ive environment for women, but it has
much room for improvement.
See AGENDA, Page 2

News Analysis
puts stamp
on proposal
At times proud and often distinctly
apologetic, President James J. Duder-
stadt held a rare news conference Fri-
day to express his deeply personal
commitment to the long unmet needs
of women on campus.
"It's taken me a long time to rec-
ognize the need for this kind of pro-
gram," said Duderstadt, in introduc-
ing his "Michigan Agenda for
Women." He noted that he is the fa-
ther of two daughters preparing to
enter the world of academia.
Throughout the hour-long ques-
tion-and-answer session, Duderstadt,
flanked by top female administrators,
referred back to his belief that the
current University and the world
around him was shaped by white males
for white males.
"The University culture was de-
signed by white men to benefit white
men," Duderstadt said, as those around
the table nodded in agreement.

$12M gift to support new
North Campus. Bell Tower

A generous gift to the University will support
the construction of a 160-feet tall landmark-to-
be on North Campus - the North Campus Bell
The University Board of Regents approved
the site and design for the bell tower and accepted
a $12 million commitment from Ann Lurie of
Chicago, which will be allocated to fund new
campus buildings on North Campus, including
the carillon tower.
"The Bell Tower has been designed with the
intent of creating a significant landmark that will
greatly enhance the character of the North Cam-
pus for the next century," Farris W. Womack,
University executive vice president and chief
financial officer, told the regents.
The gift by Lurie will be used to establish the
Robert H. Lurie Fund in the name of her late

In making the gift, Lurie said, "Bob cared
about The University of Michigan and the intel-
lectual and professional capabilities nurtured by
his experiences in Ann Arbor. We discussed at
length our mutual intent to express his gratitude
and affection for this fine institution."
Lurie, a member of the College of Engineer-
ing Class of 1964, was a successful entrepreneur
and part owner and member of the Board of
Directors of both the Chicago Bulls and the
Chicago White Sox.
Lurie added, "Our family's involvement with
the new carillon tower is a very significant,
personal pleasure."
This is the second highest donation ever to the
University and the highest by a woman, said
President James J. Duderstadt.
The bell tower will be located west of the
See TOWER, Page 11

Kevorki Ian faces new
trial for assisted suicide

DETROIT (AP) - Dr. Jack
Kevorkian admitted it right on the
evening news: He helped Thomas
Hyde commit suicide.
He lugged the canister of carbon
monoxide out to his old Volkswagen
van. He laid a mattress in the back to
make Hyde, weak from the debilitat-
ing nerve disorder called Lou Gehrig's
disease, more comfortable. He deli-
cately placed the clear plastic mask
over Hyde's nose and mouth.
Parked in the van on Detroit's

scenic Belle Isle park last summer,
Kevorkian watched the 30-year-old
man take his last breath.
Kevorkian's confession was on
videotape. He gave prosecutors cru-
cial evidence and practically begged
to be arrested and charged.
It sounds like an open-and-shut
case when the so-called suicide doc-
tor goes on trial Tuesday, charged
with breaking Michigan's law ban-
ning assisted suicide.

Rivers to announce bid for

'M' hockey goalie struggled to keep


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