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May 17, 1983 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1983-05-17

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PTPINION
Page 6 The Michigan Daily Tuesday, May 17, 1983

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The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 6-S
93 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by students of
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
An-Obligation
IF UNIVERSITY President Harold Shapiro
believes discriminaton is abhorrent then he
must extend the rights protecting minorities to
include gays on campus. If this protection is to
be comprehensive it must come in the form of a
change in Regental bylaws.
Although other types of policy statements are
possible, none would have the strength or
provide the recourse that a Regental bylaw
would. Such recourse would include not only an
appeal procedure within the University, but
also allow for appeal to the U.S. courts.
A change in bylaws would mean that the U.S.
military, which has legally established its right
to discriminate against homosexuals, would be
barred from recruiting on campus. If the
military is unwilling to change its practice of
discriminating against homosexuals then they
should not be allowed to recruit on campus.
A criticism of a Regental bylaw change is
that it would be premature for the University to
change its policies regarding sexual orientation
before the state or federal government have
enacted such legislation.
This argument ignores the obligation the Un-
iversity has to its students, faculty, and staff to
pursue actions which are fair and morally
sound. The University's ability to implement
and enforce such guidelines is simple compared
to such a change at the state and national level.
As University president, Shapiro has an
obligation to the faculty, staff, and students to
take a strong stand against unfair treatment of
homosexuals. A Regental bylaw will fulfill this
obligation.
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French students hit streets

By Jon Stewart}
PARIS - Tear gas wafting
through the Latin Quarter,
helmeted police beating back
phalanxes of students with water
cannons, youthful mobs hurling
cobblestones into the night -
these have long been signs of
spring in Paris. But not every
spring is the same.
In the political topography of
France over the last 15 years, the
peaks that rise most visibly are
May 1968, May 1981 and May 1983.
The first two dates recall
decidedly political landmarks: in
1968, the revolt of left-wing
students and workers against a
stultifying educational system
and the widest income
distribution gap in any developed
country; and then, 13 years later,
the joyous election victory
celebration for the Socialist
president, Francois Mitterand.
Student eruptions this May, ac-
cording to students themselves,
are decidedly apolitical. That
does not mean they lack impor-
tant political content, however.
Indeed, the prevalent mood of'
today's demonstrators is in such
sharp contrast to the social
visions and optimism - the sense
of possibilities - of past Mays
that some observers believe
these demonstrations may prove
as important as their leftist
predecessors.
Unlike in '68, there are no
linkages today between univer-
sity demonstrators and striking
workers. And while many of the
professionals and small business
people also staging anti-Mit-
terand protests identify with the
right wing, the students claim to
be "independents" who have lost

faith, or never had any, in either
the Socialist majority or the op-
position.
Said Christopher, a 20-year-old
student in Paris, "I voted for Mit-
terand in '81 because I thought
the left represented hope. So did
many of my friends. Now it looks
as if we have less democracy
than before. No one in gover-
nment has attempted to hold a
dialogue with us or our teachers
about the reform."
The reform in question is a new
educational measure, drawn up
by Education Minister Alain
Savary, which is primarily
responsible for the student
protests. The 26-page proposal
represents an effort both to open
the university to greater num-
bers of French youths and to
narrow the gap between
academia and industry.
At present, the universities are
theoretically open to all
graduates of French lycees (high
schools). However, because of
the decentralization of the
universities, achieved in respon-
se to the 1968 riots, each school in
practice sets its own admission
limits. The Savary proposal,
scheduled to be submitted to the
National Assembly May 14,
would reimpose a greater degree
of central authority over the
schools and remove all limits to
admissions. It would then permit
a selection process to occur at the
end of the second year, when

students would have to take
exams to determine who goes on
and who does not. Those who fail
would be given a national
diploma, similar to the American
undergraduate degree, and
denied the opportunity for higher
studies.
For most student demon-
strators, the requirement of a
mid-course exam is a key sym-
bolic irritant. A national poll,
published in a right-wing paper,
showed that 60 percent of studen-
ts favor a different selection
process and that the majority
want it to occur at the entry level.
Half said they would strike their
exams this spring ifa demand for
further negotiations on the
proposal are not met.
Some commentators have
suggested that the recent events
in Paris represent the emergence
of "a new center," growing out of
a "student lobby a
l'Americaine," a reference to the
political apathy of American
youth. Leaders of extreme right
campus groups have expressed
their own frustration over the ap-
parently apolitical nature of most
students.
Thus, in this most political of
societies, the "apoliticals" are
creating the politics of the
moment.
Stewart wrote this article for
the Pacific News Service.

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Unsigned editorials appearing on the left side
of this page represent a majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board.

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