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...and The Sgc?

...and The Sgc? image
Parent Issue
Day
22
Month
February
Year
1974
OCR Text

m "I ate the lettuce because I think the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez are full of shit. They have become a kind of sacred cow - no one attacks them on this campus, but I will." : Thus spake Matt Hoffman, Student Government Council meinber. ; On February 7, UFW representatives carne to SGC to request SI 00 to help in the farm workers' struggle, which ■has recently expanded to include a boycott of Wrigley's. along with A&P. In the midst of their appeal Hoffman, Jim Hudler (feltow "Screw SGC" party member), and two ;other cronies suddeniy broke open a head of non-union iettuce and arrogantly devoured it in the face of outraged UFW supporters, including some Chícanos. ; To add to the insult, Hoffman declared that migrant farm workers make over S8.000 a year and live in coiifor table, clean quarters. U.S. Dept. of Labor figures, however, place pay scales at more like $2,700 a year for a family ïof four, with both parents and children working full-time. This blatant display of contempt and ignorance on the ; part of Hoffman and his sidekicks provoked angry catcalls and expletives from audience members, many of whom later tried unsuccessfully to physically remove Hoffman ;from SGC chambers. : This politically blundersome incident is unprecedented in recent SGC history for the amount of antagonism it has touched off against Hoffman specifically, though it is by no means the first of his shenanigans. He has intro■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ ■ - J '. . " .- f l t r . m m m L m '_paStf.Bi ■ . ■ jduced more than his share of legislation aimed at undermining Blacks, Native Americans, Chícanos-, Asians and the. entire structure and purpose of SGC. Under attack by constituents who regard him as the chief racist and reaetionary of Student Government Council, Hoffman, with his negative charisma, has railied a small following of SGC members who, unfortunately. think the same way he does. But for this one time, the rest of Council members were unfavorable to Hoffman's antics. By and large, they were . as shocked as the audience and voted overwhelmingty to grant UFW the requested aid. A motion even came up to Itry and recall Hoffman from office, but was found invalid jby election provisions in the constitution. According to Marcia Fishman, elected with Lee Gill's Student Rights Party and spokesperson for progressive left jnterests, "The whole thing really floored many of us. I think it was the lowest thing Tve yet seen Matt do, and believe me, I've seen plenty." David Faye leads the largest power faction in SGC (Campus Coalition) which he labels "left of center" and commented that "It was phenomenally bad taste, phenomenally sickening, actuaily. Afterwards I tried reasoning with Matt that the incident was, in essence, about as tactless as having someone wave swastikas in our faces." Yet a week later, Hoffman declared jubilantly that "Althougli others were involved, and I'd planned on even more joining us, basicaüy the whole thing was my idea and I'm proud of it," adding in the same breath that "I do not believe that I'm a racist". However, if actions speak louder than words, the racist overtones of Hoffman's actions drown out his words. What defines this as a racial issue is simply that most of the oppressé'd migrant lettuce workers are not white skinned, but Chicano, and further that their oppression is greater because of their color. There is an angrily scrawled sign over SGC chambers which warns "RACISM RESIDES WITH1N!" lf this is true it is doubly disturbing because SGC supposedly reflects and represents the attitudes and values of the people who elect them. What are the answers? Does SGC truly represent the interests of its consütuents, or only the self-interests of some of its members? Is SGC's record indicative of racist oppression of Blacks and other minorities? Let's delve into SGC history for answers... LEAFLET LYNCH MOB In September, 1973, Lee GUI began his term as SGC president. He initiated progressive, student oriented action' such as the tuition strike and Complaint Board, and was soon hailed as the most dynamic and cohesive force on a Councii which had formerly been going nowhere but down■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■(■...■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■.. hill, racked by political and financial chaos. ':t But Lee Gül was black--the first and on)y black president in U-M's 1 57 year history. And Lee Gili showed potential for being one of the most effective SGC presidents in many years, utilizing SGC's power and money to bring about progressive community change. Within rnonths, following the ugliest and most racist smear campaign this campus has been witness to. Lee Gill resigned. The campaign to poliücally undermine Gilí centered around three slanderous leafiets, two of which originated from George DePue's New Morning bookstore. The third, and most blatantly racist and accusatory of all, is attributed to a right-wing faction led at the time by ex-SGC treasurer David Shaper and present Campus Coalition head David Faye. (Recognize the name? Although Faye now makes a special point of trying to flaunt labels of "left of center" liberalism, SGC records show otherwise.) Faye and his Campus Coalition followers joined with the Screw SGC party to sabotage Lee Gill's name with all the fury of a vendetta. There is tittle that can be done about that now, other than to remember that it did happen, and keep it in mind in the spring elections. Consider yourself forewarned against David Faye as a politically devious and two-faced "wolf in sheep's clothine." The leaflet of Faye and company accused Gill, among other things, of a fantastic 511,375 attempted heist; but investigative, behind-the-scenes probing by both the Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor SUN found Gill exonerated of any crimes, as even leaflet conspirators could produce "no real evidence of wrongdoing." The claims were uncorroborated, unproven, in short, a blown-up lie. It is significant to note that, while under the former SGC administration of Bill Jacobs and Dave Schaper, money often seemed to disappear. unaccountably, and the financial books were in utter chaos, no leaflets ever appeared about them. But no sooner did a black man attain presidency over a 93% non-black and predominantly upper-middle ctass university, than a move was made to discredit and tarnish all of his polilical gains, on charges which were never proven or even evidenced as accurate Given that our "Watergate generation" has learned to expect ftaud and, even 'creeps'like Haldeman and Erlichman are granted prime time to speak their lies on national TV, ask yourself: WHY was Lee Gill not presented with the allegations before the leaflets were distributed, and given some kind of chance to answer them publicly? Indeed why stoop to such an insulting and backstabbing process as unsigned leaflets in the first place? it seems that the likes of David Faye, George DePue and Dave Schaper set