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May 23, 1986 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1986-05-23

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Friday, May 23, 1986

Page 6

The Michigan Daily

Vol. XCVI, No. 3-S
96 Years of Editorial Freedom
Unsigned editorials represent the majority views of the Daily's Editorial Board
Cartoons and signed editorials do not necessarily reflect the Daily's opinion.
An inconsistent action

Severe sanctions

THE SUPREME Court's ruling
Monday that it is uncon-
stitutional to give minorities
preference in lay-offs only under-
mines established affirmative action
The Court's 5-4 decision favored a
group of white teachers in Jackson,
Michigan, who filed suit against the
Jackson school board when they, in-
stead of blacks with less seniority,
were laid off. The school board's ac-
tion was part of an affirmative action
program to maintain an equal ratio of
minority faculty members to
minority students, as well as to com-
pensate for prior discrimination
against minorities by the school
The teachers claimed they were
denied equal protection under the law
by being laid off because of their
race. They also argued that such an
action was unconstitutional, citing
lack of evidence of past
discrimination against blacks in the
Jackson school district.
Despite the Court's support of the
white teachers' case, dissension was
significant. The majority dissent,

written by Justice Thurgood Mar-
shall, stated that the gains brought
about by affirmative action hiring
programs must be protected, and
that racial preference in lay-offs is an
effective way of doing this.
Ironically, the constitutionality of
basic affirmative action aims,
previously determined by the
Supreme Court, was also reinforced
in this case. The Court rejected the
Justice Department's position that
the Constitution prohibits gover-
nments from using any preferences
in employment.
In order to realize affirmative ac-
tion goals, as endorsed by the Court,
the school system must retain black
teachers. It is pointless to increase
the percentage of black faculty
through affirmative action hiring
programs if these teachers cannot be
guaranteed a future in the system.
Members of society must be held
accountable for past injustices in or-
der to end a long-standing cycle of
discrimination. Consistent affir-
mative action programs in hiring and
lay-offs would insure an overdue
minority representatione in

S OUTH AFRICA'S raid on three
of its neighbors this week demon-
strates the necessity for immediate
U.S. actions against South Africa's
apartheid system.
The targets of the attacks were
headquarters and offices of the
African National Congress in Bot-
swana, Zambodia, and Zimbabwe.
The ANC, a group opposing South
Africa's apartheid regime, has been
outlawed by the government.
Because the targets were non-
military, the attack served only as a
means for South Africa to intimidate
those countries providing refuge for
the ANC. Such violent action
damages the possibility for
negotiated change which South
Africanblacks and the world have
been waiting for.
The U.S. policy of "constructive
engagement" has given legitimacy to
South African brutality. Botha's
government has demonstrated a lack
of interest in pursuing reform which
would require it to transfer some
authority to blacks. After six years of
working "behind the scenes," U.S.
diplomats have nothing to show for its
A more effective U.S. response
would involve strong economic san-
ctions, such as those recently
proposed in the House of Represen-
tatives. The legislation would ban all

new investment in South Africa and
American bank loans to South
African businesses, among other ac-
In the cases of Libya and
Nicaragua, the Reagan adminis-
tration has invoked terrorism as a
justification for sanctions against
countries which practice it. That
arguement is applicable to South
Africa, which has terrorized its
neighbors and oppresses the blacks.
Severe sanctions would be damaging
to an already-sluggish South African
economy and would put some force
behind U.S. policy. -
Breaking diplomatic ties would
also be an effective way in which to
show American disapproval. The
United States previously recalled its
ambassador in June 1985 after a
South African attack on Botswana.
Recalling the ambassador would
demonstrate to the whites of South
Africa that U.S. support it con-
ditional, and that diplomatic ties
cannot be maintained without
evidence of reform.
The only way to avoid a violent
revolution in South Africa is for the
government to begin good faith
negotiations with the ANC. Hardline
economics and diplomatic pressure
on the South African government is
the political trump card that the
United States should play.


Selective justice

O NE OF Ann Arbor's City At-
torney's has decided not to press
charges against the assailant who at-
tacked the Diag shanty on May 1.
Such a decision is not surprising, in
that it was made by the same man
who prosecuted students for
protesting Carl Purcell's support of
the contra aid bill. The city attorney
has chosen to stifle and punish some
voices while ignoring the criminal ac-
ts of others.
On May 1, Campus Security obser-
ved a man trying to damage the Diag
shanty, built by the Free South
African Coordinating Committee to
increase, coniioni4.awareness

about apartheid injustices. The
suspect was followed to the North
Thayer parking complex and sub-
sequently arrested.
As is normal procedure in such in-
stances, Campus Security turned the
case over to the District Attorney's
office for action. District Attorney
Ron Plunkett, however, dismissed
charges of property damage, despite
receipts from the Free South African
Coordinating Committee demon-
strating the value of the wood used to
build the shanty. Activists on this
campus often feel that the system
works against them. In this case, they
are correct.

iT\ UNION !!
n"~~ i
gas I114t'

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