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July 07, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-07-07

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4- The Michigan Daily Summer Weekly - Wednesday,July 7,1993

C.he jiftrhignu T-Ilaltn
JOPINIONI

EDITOR IN CHIEF
Hope Calati
OPINION EDITORS
Sam Goodstein
Flint Jason Wainess

Unsigned editorials present the opinion of a
majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other
cartoons, signed articles and letters do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of the Daily.

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

I

For61 yearsUniversitystudentshaveflocked
tothefamous"rock"onWashtenaw Ave.and
Hill St.to paint, party and celebrate. Be it Greek
organizations, the University bird-watching so-
ciety, or a group of rape survivors, students have
had the opportunity to express themselves by
painting their thoughts, emotions or simply their
names on the rock. Now that opportunity is in
jeopardy.Becauseresidents of the neighborhood
adjacent to the rock have complained of noise,
littering, and pornographic material painted on
the rock, the city is threatening toban painting of
the rock and make the it an untouchable monu-
ment.
Sincethecity claimstounderstandtheimpor-
tance of the rock, a few proposals havebeen laid
on the table to "save"it. One proposal is to place
a fountain in the middle of the rock to prevent
people from painting it. Mortal words cannot
properly describe how ridiculous thisideais.The
second proposal is to bronze the rock with a
substance thatcannot be painted on, leaving it as
a tribute to an increasingly defunct heritage of

Save the rock
University should intervene on students' behalf

student activism. Thisproposalisequally absurd.
Therockis not only an object to remind usof our
predecessors activism, but a living sybol of the
voices on campus. Thatis tantamount to conced-
ing that activism is merely a thing of the past and
hasno place in the present. Any compromise that
leaves students without a paintable object some-
where near campus (certainly within a 30 mile
radius) is unacceptable.
This is where our trusty administrators enter
the picture. Because the rock is not on University
property, the administration has no control over
its fate. Our first inclination is to rejoice that
someone other than Maureen Hartford is behind
our troubles. However - for once - students
need Ms. Hartford's help. While the University
has no legal responsibility to intervene, this is a

perfect opportunity to show support for students.
If the University were to intervene on students
behalf, admittedly an unlikely scenario, maybe a
compromise could be worked out. One thing the
University should consider, in the unlikely event
that they offer their help, is moving the rock to
University property, more removed from resi-
dential areas. This would appease the irritated
families, while saving our very important me-
dium of expression. However, when one consid-
ers the fact that the administration will not even
allow us to chalk the Diag, or rally on the grass
surrounding it, it is unlikely that it will be fond of
the notion of us painting a rock on University
land.
If the rock cannot be moved off city property,
all future rock-painters may be stopped. It is,

unfortunately, another episode in the age-old
struggle between Ann Arbor residents and stu-
dents, be'it members of a Greek organization or
otherwise.Complaints that Ann Arbor's children
are wrongly exposed to pornography painted on
therock should fallon deafears-however they
may not. It is a form of free expression to paint
whatever thepaintersodesires,withinthe bounds
of obscenity laws, and a right that should not be
impeded.Furthermore, complaints that the paint-
ing of the rock creates an inordinate amount of
noise and littering are suspect. It is doubtful that
rock-painting creates nearly as much noise, or
litter, as the typical fraternity, co-op, or private
party. It appears that the residents of Ann Arbor
may not be happy until the city becomes asclean
and quiet as an gigantic, quarantined library.
Of course compromise is the premier alterna-
tive. If the rock can be moved to a location that
will not disturb residents, all the better. However
under no circumstances should we see our rock
turn into a fountain, ornament or any other
unpaintable object.

6

Smok'ing's out
Finally, the Michigan Union has banned smoking
e Marlboro man must be spinning in his right tosmoke,buttheirrightends where thenon-
grave. smoker's noise begins.'This is an essential prin-
Throughoutthe United States, local,state and ciple of individual liberty and prohibiting smok-
federalburaucracieshavetakensignificantsteps ing in public buildings is a victory for libertarian
towards limiting smoking solely to the Great democracy.
Outdoors in the pastmonth. Behind the mystical These principlesbecameextremelylucidona
columns of the Supreme Court house came a talk radio program last week. Host Tommy
landmark decision accepting a prisoner's argu- McIntyre, a smoker, went to bat against the
ment that being forced to live with a five-pack-a- SupremeCourt'sdecisiononsmoking.Heseemed
day smoker constituted "cruel and unusual pun- to believe deeply in the rights of the smoker. But
ishment." In Los Angeles, smoking was banned the vociferous McIntyre was at a loss for words
fromallpublicrestaurants.Since July lst, smok- when the airwaves were flooded with emphy-
ing is proscribed in all areas of the Michigan sema and lung cancer patients, slowly relating
Union.Andallwecandonowisbreatheasighof their sad stories. All of the callers had been
relief and say, "It's about time." diagnosedatreputablehospitals.Allof the callers
Smoking has been an acceptedpartof Ameri- had never smoked a cigarette. Most importantly,
can life forcenturies.There wasevenatime when though, all of the callers were dying because of
television advertisements donned medical doc- secondhand smoke.
to proclaiming that 9 out of 10 doctors smoke In light of these facts, the Michigan Union
Marlboro. But times have changed. Over the BoardofRepresenatives dida great service to the
years, people began losing their loved ones to University community by banning smoking in
emphesyma and lung cancer, the number of chil- the MUG. To have a smoking section sitting not
dren bornasthmaticburgeonedandanti-smoking more than 20 feet from Subway and Wendys was
campaigns took totheairwaves. And then, in late unquestionably ridiculous, uncomfortable and
1992, came the straw that broke the Camel's probably unsafe.
back. The Environmental Protection Agency Moreover, the board enlisted student input
(EPA)releasedastingingandcontroversialstudy beforemakingitsdecision, insuringthatstudents
that classified secondhand tobacco smoke as a wanted smoking out of the MUG. However allis
lethal carcinogen. notwellonthestudentinputfront.Indeference to
Even though the EPA is being sued over the campus smokers, why didn'ttthe Union Board of
validity of its study on secondhand smoke, many Representatives gather enlistment on whether or
of the anti-smoking triumphs would not have notstudentsarein favorof spending themoney to
been possible without the EPA's findings. But create a well-ventilated, closed-off smoking sec-
regardlessof whattheoutcomeof thelitigationis, tion in the Union.
banning smoking in public buildings is a needed It is time to realize that smokers are not just
step. Opponents of these bans will continue to hurting themselves. They are hurting the people
produce diatribes on the rights of the smoker. that breathe their smoke-filled air. The Supreme
Unfortunately, these opponents miss an es- Court has realized this, Los Angeles has realized
sential element. We do not want to ban smoking this and, now, the University has realized this.
simply because it is politically incorrect or be- Finally, frequent EntreePlus users can enjoy
cause it smells bad. Secondhand smoke is a the Union without worrying about facing afuture
documented health hazard. Smokers have the Hof lung cancet.^

Conflicting interests?
Questions abound over Duderstadt's role at NSB

besuccessful,scientificresearchmustmain-
tain a fragile balance between integrity and
results. When this balance falters, reputations,
careers and large amounts of money are jeopar-
dized.Tomaintain this equilibrium theremustbe
accountability. That accountability comes in the
formofregulation-which should be fostered by
organizationssuch as the NationalScience Board
(NSB). In the past, the NSB has been viewed as
a watchdog protecting the integrity of scientific
research and sniffing out incidents of miscon-
duct.
But what happens when the dog goes after its
master?
Anallegedconflictofinterestinvolving James
Duderstadt's roles as both the University's Presi-
dent and chair of the National Science Board has
created a situation which could have adverse
effects on the integrity of scientific research. As
chair of the NSB, Duderstadt is in a position to
oversee all federally-funded scientific research
-as well as cases in which federal grant money
is misused. At the same time, he is the president
of one of America's premier research institutions
-an institution that regularly receives millions
of dollars in federal science grants.
Former University researcher Carolyn
Phinney informed the NSB of possible miscon-
duct at the University in 1985. The University
summarily investigated her claim and filed its
findings with NSB investigators. By its own
admission, the NSB had serious misgivings with
the University's report - yet failed to initiate a
federal inquiry. The investigators told the Uni-
versity that a lack of funds prevented them from
pursuing the matter, but felt Phinney's allega-
tions had foundation. As a result, the matter was
dropped.
There is little doubt that Duderstadt's back-
ground and professional affiliations make him
uniquely qualified to chair this federal organiza-
tion,butasthefinalgovernmentaldecisionimaker

on any questionable activity that emanates from
the University,his dualroleisaseriousconflictof
interest.
It is true that no such conflict has yet been
proven toexist-and both Duderstadtas wellas
scientific fraud investigators have stated that
Duderstadtmustremove himself from any direct
involvement with a federal investigation of the
University. However, contradictory statements
issued by officials at the NSB and James
Duderstadt demonstrates a clear confusion over
his role in any University-involved investiga-
tions. Duderstadt stated he has never had to step
aside in a case concerning the University, while
NSB officials affiumed that the University was
targeted in previous NSB investigations of mis-
conduct - during Duderstadt's tenure on the
board and at the University.
It would appear that as chair of the NSB,
Duderstadt has the power to determine whether
or not the board has the resources or the inclina-
tion to investigate allegations of scientific mis-
conduct involving the University.
The integrity of the NSB has been seriously
jeopardizedbyitsdecisionnottoprobethePhinney
case.Furthermore, thereexists the possibility that
Duderstadtmayhavepreventedtheinvestigation
-by direct order or by virtue of his position -
and this sets the stage for a possible conflict of
interest.
TheNSBhasnot clearly definedtherole of its
chair. It must clarify its bylaws to create a way
that allows for investigations of organizations
tied to board members -members thathold the
decision making powers - to avoid the appear-
ance of a conflict.
If the NSB does not take the steps necessary
topreventthisconflict, scientific research will be
put in serious danger. There must be a clear
systemof accountability and until the NSB clari-
fies its bylaws, the current systemnwill be worth-
less.

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