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September 29, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-29

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OPINION

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Page 4

Tuesday, September 29, 1981

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The Michigan Daily

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I.-

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

One year and $50,000 later

Vol. XCII, No. 17

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Education gets a break

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, ad-
mninistrators, and faculty
breathed a collective sigh of relief last
week when the state senate
"discovered" an extra $20.8 million to
help spare the state's schools and
colleges some of the severity of an-
ticipated budget cuts.
The funds were reclaimed from an
extraneous account containing some
$23 million collected as "railroad
delinquent taxes" and set aside to pay'
for such projects as bicycle paths and
recreational land improvement.
While such intended uses for the fun-
.ds are understandable, the Senate
must be commended for its continuing
efforts to eliminate the state's $135
million deficit at minimal cost to
education.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Billy Frye has said that cuts at the
state level are the leading cause for the
UJniversity faculty's meager 5:5 per-
-cent salary raise, a cut the University
can ill afford.
At a time when Michigan's leading
industry is slipping quickly down the

financial tubes, taking the state's
over-all economy with it, it is
refreshing to see that legislators
recognize the importance of the
University in formulating new
economic directions.
A respected, productive faculty
draws funds into the state, including
tuition payments and research grants,
which would otherwise not be
available. With the University being
seriously examined as the primary
center for robotics research
nationally, higher education in
Michigan may well be a contributing
factor in the state's economic tran-
sition toward advanced technology.
Even this slight easing of legislative
pressure on the state's schools to cut
back on already scant budgets signals
a change in attitude that must be con-
tinued.
Education in Michigan in a valuable
resource and the need to preserve its'
quality should continue to be a top
priority for state legislators. Ex-
cessive cutting today may only lead to
disaster tomorrow.

What do you do after you've sued the
University for a million bucks and lost? If
you're Jonathan Marwil, you get a job in a
fish market making filets. And you teach
part-time for a while. And you work
feverishly to finish the book you are writing.
It's been a year now since Jonathan Mar-
wil, once an assistant professor in the
humanities department of the engineering
college, lost his million-dollar suit against the
University.
ACTUALLY, WHAT he was seeking was
a tenure review-that all-important
assessment of a professor's work by his
Witt {
colleagues that determines whether he will
enjoy the lifetime job security that tenure
brings. The million dollars was just a side
issue.
What he got instead of a million dollars or a
tenure review was two years of legal agony
and $50,000 in legal bills.
Jonathan Marwil thought he was entitled to
a tenure reyiew back in 1979. After all, he had
been teaching for six years as an assistant
professor without tenure, and it was pretty
much standard procedure to get a review af-
ter that length of time.
THE FACULTY'S grievance board agreed
with Marwil. So did the executive committee
of the faculty Senate Assembly. So did a num-
ber of his colleagues in the humanities depar-
tment.
But the higher-ups there didn't like Jon
Marwil-they said he was too "abrasive,"
that he wanted to change things too much,
that he just didn't fit in well, that his research
wasn't up to snuff.
They could have taken the easy way
out-just given Marwil his review and then
denied him tenure. That's the smoothest way
to get rid of someone you don't want in your
department-it's secret, it's legal, and it hap-
pens dozens of times a year throughout the
University.
BUT FOR SOME reason the department
leaders decided against this answer. They
simply denied Marwil a tenure review and

gave him notice of his termination. Marwil
sued, a complicated civil suit followed, and
most everyone involved got a little dirty.
That, in a nutshell, is the celebrated Marwil
case. It doesn't really matter now who did
what to whom, or whether Marwil's research
was deficient, or whether he was
abrasive-as Marwil says, the case is behind
him now.
What does matter are the sticky
questions-still unanswered after a
year-that the case left behind. Questions
about due process in the University. And
about grievance procedures. And about what
a faculty member can do if he feels he has
been wronged-short of filing a costly (and
usually futile) lawsuit.
AS MARWIL LEANS back in his chair,
talking about the odd jobs he has taken in the
past year to support himself, it is hard to
imaginethat this amiable, balding 41-year-
old was ever the evil, aggressive upstart he
was made out to be by the University's
lawyers during the trial.
He's been applying for teaching jobs in the
humanities without success-there's not
much demand for history professors these
days. Especially history professors with lots
of experience-it's much cheaper to hire
someone fresh out of graduate school.
And then there's the problem of 'being
blackballed. While Marwil can't point to any
specific case in which he suspects the Univer-
sity. has blackballed him in the academic
community, he knows his suit can't be helping
him as he applies for jobs at other schools.
AFTER ALL, WHY risk hiring a potential
troublemaker? With hundreds of applicants
for any one job, it's much easier to simply
discard Jonathan Marwil than to take a chan-
ce.
Marwil knows all this. He knows it's publish
or perish. That's why he's been devoting most
of his time to a book about Frederic Manning,
a little-known Australian novelist. He hopes to
find a publisher for it soon; with a fresh book
under his belt, he will have a better shot at a
teaching job.
Surprisingly enough, Marwil has been on
the payroll of the University since losing his
lawsuit. He served as a judge in the Hopwood
Essay Contest. "I got my check," he smiles,
"so apparently the machine that makes out
the paychecks didn't go 'tilt.'"
DOES HE FEEL he was tilting at win-

0
6

Jonathan Marwil

dmills, suing a University that rarely fights in
court unless it is sure it will win?
"No, not at all," he answers quickly. "I cer-
tainly think about the case , at times, and
sometimes, thinking aboutsindividuals and
situations, I feel a rush of anger. But it's notO
something that lasts. I'm glad I did it; I have
no second thoughts.
"I'm glad the case is behind me, but I'm a
little sad it seems the case is behind, the
University. The financial problems of the last
few years have overwhelmed people to such
an extent that other problems-like the lack
of an effective grievance procedure-have
gotten very short shrift."!
IN THE END, Marwil concludes, the case
came down to a question of tolerance, or the
lack of it. A university, he says, thrives on dif-
ferences of opinion and differences in per-
sonality-otherwise it will dissolve.
"If you haven't got a high rate of toleran-
ce-not love-just simply tolerance for
strange birds, then the university setting is
not for you. Because the world of the univer-
sity, the world of the mind, the world of in-
tellectual action is always going to be a world
of strange birds. You are continually going to
meet people you might not like."
I like Jon Marwil. And I can't help thinking
the engineering humanities department
might have been a slightly better place had a
few administrators been willing to tolerate
him.
Witt's column appears every Tuesday.

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ndermining arms talks.
aS.T WEEK, the United States and that in order to negotiate successfully
he Soviet Union announced that with the Soviets, one must negotiate
finally had agreed to begin from a position of strength.
iations to control nuclear forces It is in order to achieve this position
urope. While the announcement of strength that the administration has
inly comes as good news, there embarked on one of the largest
ins a question of how much the military buildups in history.
'rs can accomplish in the -But there are problems with the
tiations, given their increasing 'notion of first attaining superioity in
of antagonism toward each other order to later attain arms reduction.
gent months. Negotiating from a position of
ations between the two nations strength is a pleasant enough idea
eroding even before Jimmy Car- when dickering over the price of a used
ft office, but with the ascendency car, but it just doesn't work like that
)nald Reagan to the presidency, for bombs. A condition of superiority
tions have become considerably 'can create a tremendous incentive, in
fact, for one side or the other to ac-
tually not negotiate.
charges and counter charges When a condition of superiority
have flown back and forth bet- exists, the side 'which is inferior
Moscow and Washington in doesn't want to negotiate so long as
t months have been especially there is a possibility it can catch up.
-and frighteningly reminiscent For the stronger of the two, there is a
rhetoric of the Cold War. desire to take advantage of
even more troubling than the superiority, to be extremely reluctant
words is an attitude, which in negotiating away what it has already
s to be more and more widely ac- attained.
d in Washington, that America . Hence the Reagan administration,
d strive for military superiority by attempting to take some sort of ad-
he Soviets. vantage over the Soviets in order to
argument of some of the mem- expedite negotiations, may, in fact, be
of the Reagan administration is setting them back.

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Weasel

By Robert Lence,

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Bullard heralds, chance for change

Iv; . 1 I. ( J , l K y / / , ; J / / t / ' 9 /
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KjIi ; . V . "

To the Daily:
Lately, I've been doing a lot of
thinking -about 1982. Not
generally noted for planning
ahead, I now must suffer an on-
slaught of disbelievers. "Why
1982?" they ask.3
Well first, 1982 is the year I
graduate and secondly, the 1982
congressional elections will be the
voter's first chance to revoke a
Republican "mandate," the most
exaggerated. and overworked
concept of our time.
Ann Arbor, given its relatively
intellectual make-up, has the
chance to help avert a conserr
vative disaster and send a
progressive representative to
Washington. One such candidate,
State Representative Perry
-Bullard, has already entered the
race.
I believe the '82 election will
focus on differing concepts of
justice. Mr. Reagan and his
comrades view government
regulation, affirmative action,
and national health insurance as
unjust, while supporting
repressive dictators and the
death penalty are somewhat just.

by usurping the Court's powers of
Constitutional interpretation.
Likewise, conservatives seek to
violate the free exercise of
religion by prohibiting the
federal courts from hearing
cases involving school prayer.
Affirmative action is in 'the'
process of being reversed,
despite, a 50 percent black
teenage unemployment rate and
yet another report displaying
that the wage of full-time
working women is only 50 percent
that of their male counterparts.
Desegregation seems a dead
issue as suits are dropped or set-
tled with only superficial
promises of reform, as
dramatically exemplified in
Houston and Chicago, despite a
recent report from the U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights
stating that busing does help in-
tegrate segregated communities.
The Unjted States appears
destined to remain the only ad-
vanced nation in the world
without a national health
program, despite mediocre
ratings in terms of infant mor-
tality (13th in the world) and

Reagan tax and budget cuts will
only exacerbate these
inqualities, frequently by
literally taking food out of the
mouths of the poor, or ex-
changing it for ketchup or relish.
The Energy Action
Educational Foundation reported
last mpnth that the Republican
initiative to accelerate gas
-decontrol would more than eat up
the Reagan tax cut through 1984
for a typical family earning
$20,000 a year. Families earning
over $100,000 annually, however,
will obviously come out well
ahead.
Implementation of these
proposals combined with
decreases in student aid and
education in generalsmeans a less
egalitarian, less mobile and hen-'
ce a less democratic society. Is
this President Reagan's or Carl
Pursell's view of justice?
Abroad, the conservative view
of justice is equally warped. In
order to battle Soviet influence,
President Reagan has chosen to
back repressive dictators all over
the world. One need not be a
historian to see that when the

more publicized cases in point.
As the administration throws
tens of billions of dollars at the
unusable neutron bomb or an
antiquated bomber, aid to the
poor abroad will be slashed. This
aid was never an overly generous
amount anyway, with the United
States donating only 0.19 percent
of its gross national product; less
than any other industrial
democracy except Italy. Perhaps
El/ Salvador will teach the;law-
makers that stability in the Third
World requires morereform and
less brute force.
As of today, the Reagan ad-
ministration has alienated the
people of Western Europe, Africa
and Latin America, not to men-
tion China. America's greatest
supporters are now the unstable
dictators it keeps in power. Reai
security can only be an illusion if
the United States promotes its
policies in isolation.
I hope the people of Ann Arbor
will avoid viewing their interests
as necessarily antagonistic to
those of other Americans and
work toward the creation of a just
and strong society. Represen-

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