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August 12, 1984 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1984-08-12

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OPINION
Page 6 Sunday, August 12, 1984 The Michigan Daily

Vol. XCIV. No. 36-S
94 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Prescription for
responsibility
A REPORTER, somewhat baffled by
University Hospitals' hesitancy to release
information about the recent fatal hepatitis
outbreak, asked a hospital spokesman why his
office had waited almost a week before it
bothered to tell the public anything was

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wrong.
The spokesman's reply: Notone asked. N ucle
it was a bizarre answer, to say the least,
suggesting that the community and the press
are somehow supposed to know that a aim s hi
potentially fatal disease has appeared with
alarming frequency in one of the state's
largest hospitals. The spokesman's stinginess By Andrew Eriksen
both before and after the story broke
contributed to the apparently needless public This week marked the 39th an-
anxi about the situation. niversary of the bombing of
Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Of course the roads weren't clogged with At Hiroshima, 39 years ago, a
people attemptingto flee the city out of fear of few pounds of Uranium were con-
.tverted to energy and a nuclear
contaminaton, but there was public fireball with temperatures
apprehension. The hospital was flooded with reaching 7000 degrees
calls from employees and~ community Fahrenheit. Almost instantly,
.t50,000 people were killed and.
members who feared their health was in 100,000 were injured. By the end
danger. of the week, one third of the in-'
jured had died.
The problem could have been avoided, SERVICES WERE held this,
however, if the hospital had released some week to remember the destruc-
type of statement on-the situation earlier. tion of the two cities and to pray.
for the dead. Some services were
On July 26 or 27, the office became aware a focal point to voice continuing
of the problem: Four people who all worked in concern for the growing problem
the same area of the hospital had become of the arms race.
infected. On July 31, a nurse who was infected Several groups maintain that
died. The following day, a television station the military is at fault for ac-
reported the story on their late-night news. On celerating the arms race; others;
after considerable public put the blame on the politicians
August 2 - a tepossideor on scientists.
speculation about the possible impact of the Peace groups say that unless
outbreak - the hospital had its first, meager we change the military leaders or
news conference. the politicians, we will fall:
But according to hospital spokespersons, the headlong into a global nuclear,
entire release was bogged down by vacations war and the end of human
civilization as we know it.
and a lack of awareness. Part of the delay, WHILE CHANGE is certainly
they said, was caused by the fact that the needed, the greatest threat is
hospital's chief infectious disease control from an uneducated public. Our
officer was on vacation. They say they wanted greatest need is to educate the
public not only about the arms
to consult with him before releasing anything. race but about conflict and
Naturally, any organization the size of violence in general.
University Hospitals is going to have In striving to educate the
communications troubles from time to time. public, we must recognize the dif-
Nevertheless, the hospital has a special ference between short term
reesponsiilitys the citen s of A r s ad political goals and lasting, effec-
responsibility to the citizens of Ann Arbor and tive responses to the arms race.
the members of the University community to An example that comes to mind
inform them of possible hazards as soon as is the proposal to make Ann Ar-
possible. They need to do better in the future. bor a "nuclear free" zone. The
proposal says in part that "no

gar free proposal
igh, but scores low

person, corporation, university,
laboratory, institution, or their
entity shall engage in any work a
major purpose of which is to
design; research; develop; test;
cr produce nuclear weapons."
WHILE THE supporters of this
proposal may be sincere in their
efforts to end the arms race, I
think their efforts are misplaced.
Instead of seeing a "nuclear
free" Ann Arbor, I would much
rather see Ann Arbor become the
home of a peace institute like the
proposed United States Academy
of Peace or of special research
grants in conflict resolution. A
commission formed in 1978 and
chaired by Sen. Spark Matsunaga
(D-Hawaii) examined various
proposals for a National
Academy of Peace and Conflict
Resolution. The committee
released its final report in 1981.
"There is a great feeling of
need for an academy of peace or
some national institution of peace
which could not only serve as a
symbol of the leadership which
this great nation of ours has
played in the past, but also as a
practical tool toward main-
taining, and some say regaining,
the leadership in the area of
peace that this country at one
time enjoyed and, in my mind,
still enjoys. We must firmly
establish our nation as one which
leads all others in the search for
peace-for the security of all
peoples, including our own," said
Matsunaga in the report.
THE COMMISSION felt that
the Academy should be a
federally funded, non-profit in-
dependent corporation.
"The commission finds that the
absence of a coordinated national
commitment to research,
education and training, and in-

formation services from the field
of peace learning has caused
neglect of peacemaking
knowledge and skills to the
detriment of the nation's effec-
tiveness in policymaking and
policy implementation in inter-
national affairs, conflicts, and
war," said the final report.
Some critics of the proposed
academy, however, felt if it was
federally funded that it would
become politicized. But, if such
an institute were established at a
major university like Michigan,
it could be protected by that ar-
mor called "academic freedom."
FURTHER, IT seems that the
nuclear free Ann Arbor proposal
might cause more problems that
it is going to solve. If a resear-
cher is working on a new type of
integrated circuit at the Univer-
sity, that circuit presumably has
the potential to be used in a
nuclear device. Will that person
be in violation of the proposed
"nuclear free" zone? Will this
proposal compromise the concept
of "academic freedom"?
It does not seem likely that the
"nuclear free" proposal will
make the November ballot. While
the proposal deserves a critical
examination, Ann Arbor has a
social responsibility to go beyond
the issue at hand. We need to
engage in a critical examination
of what a positive and effective
response to the arms race would
be; we need positive steps toward
peace more than we need
questionable political gestures.
Eriksen is a Daily staff
writer.

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