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October 24, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-24

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A

OPINION

Page 4

Sunday, October 24, 1982-

The Michigan Daily

0

Yes is no, less
UNIVERSITY DOUBLESPEAK is alive
and well. Military research is peaceful. ~
Budget reviews are not dangerous. And,
perhaps best of all, the humanities are safe.
The College of Engineering and Vice
President for Research Charles Overberger
teamed up this week for a round of doublespeak
that would have made George Orwell proud. As
the engineering college announced that it iss
considering closing its humanities department, z g .
Overberger announced that the University d
commitment to humanities "has in no way
been compromised."
The engineering college may shut down

is more for

humanities

Billy Frye wasn't eyeing any other departmen-
ts with that look he gets right before things get
cut. To the relief of LSA department chairper-
sons, the administration turned its sights to
bigger game-entire schools and colleges.
While the Schools of Art, Education, and
Natural Resources were sweating through
budget reviews, life in LSA department offices
was returning to normal.
But last week, some 22 LSA departments and
programs got a nasty surprise. The LSA
college, fee ing renewed financial pressures,
announced that those programs-ranging from
the communications department to the more
obscure Foreign Language Pedagogy,
program-would be getting a hard look from
administrators.
Some of the programs are simply up for
regular performance reviews, something
every department must undergo every few
years. But others will be studied with an eye
toward budget cutbacks. Although LSA ad-
ministrators said none of the programs has
been slated for elimination, they conceded that
if any look particularly weak during the
reviews, that may change.
For LSA department chairpersons, who had
been enjoying their temporary.exclusion from
budget talk, the heat is on again.
War on poverty
H ARD TIMES ARE starting to hit harder
in Ann Arbor as local officials scramble to
construct aid programs for the city's growing
number of poverty victims.
In the face of a national survey which found
that "human misery" is rising in Ann Arbor,
the City Council decided last week to spend
$5,000 on emergency hunger relief. Supporters
said the allocation marks the beginning of a
new sense of local responsibility, but that fur-
ther measures are needed to alleviate a serious

problem aggravated by cuts in federal aid
programs.
While committed to ensuring residents food,
clothing, and shelter, however, the council is
divided on the city's exact role in providing
support. Republican Mayor Louis Belcher
favors using local funds as a "catalyst" and a
"safety net"-for times when all other sources
of aid prove inadequate-while Democrats
want a more permanent approach.
Rafael Ezekiel (D-Third Ward) has proposed
founding a Community Development Fund to
determine, based on input by poverty task for-
ces, which needs are greatest and how much
money should be deovted to them.
Disappointed with the narrowness of the
city's response thus far, Ezekiel complained,
"If all we do is throw money toward food and
create some task forces, I'm left waiting for the
indication that we're serious."
Not making the grade
THE UNIVERSITY may be Big Ten, but it
isn't top ten in math and hard sciences, at
least according to one study.
A survey recently conducted by an
Associated Research Councils' committee
ranked none of the six University departments
included in its to pten list. Department
rankings, in fact, fell from those garnered in
previous studies, and standings for faculty
quality hovered in the less-than-outstanding
11th to 31st place range.
University reaction to the poor showing
varied. Disappointment, disbelief, and pleas
for more University support were the common
response.
The chemistry department, which lagged in
31st place in faculty quality, charged that lack
of University support was at the root of the
ratings plummet. Chemistry chairman Tom
Dunn claimed that embarrassingly outdated

0

An experiment in failure?

Overberger: Humanities are safe

humanities because of "serious financial
pressures," said Dean James Duderstadt. If
the humanities are axed, engineering students
would fill their humanities requirement by
taking LSA courses. Thus, the savings will be
less then they appear, since engineering will
have to cover the costs of the transfer.
Duderstadt's announcement raised fears.
throughout the University. What if engineering
students get an inadequate humanities
background in LSA? What if "good faith" effor-
ts to relocate humanities prbfessors aren't very
good at all? And, above all, what if the
humanities just aren't very important around
here anymore?
Replies came out of both sides of the Univer-
sity's mouth. "We're very seriously committed
to a broad and liberal education for our studen-
ts," Duderstadt said. An associate dean for

academic planning in the college said
humanities was chosen to be cut because,
naturally, it was considered the least impor-
tant department.
But, as Overberger stressed, the production
of great intellects still has priority over the
need to make money through research.
Big Brother said, "Don't worry,
Everything's fine."
The heat is on
SINCE JUNE, 1981, when the geography
department was voted into oblivion, things
have been relatively quiet around the LSA
Building. Budgets remained tight, but at least

facilities had hurt outsiders' perceptions of the
department. Dunn also said that the depar-
tment has to devote at least 87 percent of its
teaching time to non-chemistry majors-a
University responsibility, but a drawback to
becoming the cream of the crop.
The message chemistry professors sent to
administrators was clear-build us a new
chemistry building and we'll get you a good
ranking. But a new building-estimated to run
a cool 50 million-seems an unlikely formula
for boosting science standings at a financially
beleaguered college.
The Week in Review was compiled by
Daily staff writers Julie Hinds, David
Meyer, and Ben Ticho.

01

I4 1

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

Vol. XCIII, No. 40

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

1WTKEST RA{f~s AE CO!M~IX~WNf

Editorialsrepresent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Ratify the GEO contract

kCL;tN~

0 A

N OT EVEN the most vocal
supporters of the proposed new
contract between the Graduate Em-
ployees Organization and the Univer-
sity suggest the contract is perfect. It
isn't. It represents, however, some
significant gains for GEO and deserves
to be ratified by the membership.
The proposed contract, which was
negotiated during the summer by
members of the GEO bargaining team
and University representatives, has
run into opposition from some GEO
members. While many of the concerns
of those opposed to the contract are
just, we feel that the contract
represents the best that GEO can ob-
tain from the University at this time
and that rejection of the contract
would serve to weaken the position of
the union.
Opponents of the contract want more
money-but, who doesn't?
Realistically, do those opposed to the
contract really expect the University
to grant teaching and staff assistants
salary increases which are greater
than those being given to the faculty?
Some suggest that GEO might be
able to extrace greater tuition benefits
from the University, but that
argument isn't altogether convincing
either. With the University becoming
more and more dependent on tuition
dollars to support the general fund, the
University's willingness to give GEO
breaks in this area has decreased sub-
stantially.
Sure, GEO members deserve more
mone than they are getting now or

than they will be getting under the new
contract. As opponents of the new con-
tract point out, the salaries of Univer-
sity teaching assistants rank em-
barrassingly low when compared with
those at other universities. Never-
theless, the way to achieve the salaries
they deserve is to pass this contract
and continue to build the strength of
the union. Eventually, through diligent
efforts and the passage of time, the
union will gain enough power to force
the University into greater con-
cessions.
The same is true in other areas as
welt'. The University-predictably-
didn't yield a great deal in affirmative
action in the new contract. But the
University did make concessions, and
those concessions will provide a basis
on which GEO can build in the future
as it gains strength.
But almost important as the
ratification of the contract itself is the
need for as many GEO members as
possible to vote. Beyond the
democratic niceties of a large turnout,
a large number of voters will serve to
strengthen the union against any
challenges it may face from the
University or from its own ranks.
The contract, admittedly, is flawed,
but the way to correct those problems
is through building a stronger GEO af-
ter ratification-not through rejection
of the contract. Rejection of the con-
tract now-or ludicrous hints at a
strike-will serve to transform GEO
into a feeble union, or worse, no union

-

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Why to vote no' on GEO contract

To the Daily:
In recent weeks there have
been several publications
(several articles in the Daily and
an unsigned leaflet entitled
"Where is your pay raise?") that
have caused significant confusion
over the proposed GEO contract
and warrant a detailed response.
Supporters claim that the con-
tract guarantees wage increases
(up to $350 for each TA this year)
and provides "accountability"
for class size. In response to the
first point, considering that the
average TA has a .3 fraction, and
given that at least six units of
tuition must be paid by all TAs,
then the average TA would
receive a raise of about $15 (this
figure does not take inflation into
account).
In addition, it must be remem-

in real dollars if we were to ac-
cept the contract. This should be
nothing new to TAs, whose real
wages have decreased each year
since 1976.
In response to the second point,
the proposed contract could not
empower TAs to have any say in
the determination of class size
limits, but simply allows TAs to
see how the University arrives at
its decisions. All other aspects of
the contract such as grievances
for TA's working more hours
than their fractions, or health
benefits, were provided for in the
old contract, and are therefore
nothing unique to this contract.
The major issues which make it
necessary to defeat the proposed
contract are the following:
" The fact that the contract is
for three years and has no
guaranteed cost of living

contract on a year-by-year basis.
* The proposed contract con-
tains a clause which would allow
for the firing of TAs who behave
in such a way as to interfere with
the orderly and efficient
operation of the University. This
includes off-duty behavior. The
University does not need such a
clause to fire TAs that are not
performing their duties. The only
plausible reason for its inclusion
in the contract is as a tool against
"undesirables."
" The present contract contains
no stipulations regarding the im-
plementation of affirmative ac-
tion programs. Although the
University is required by law to
have an effective affirmative ac-
tion program, over the last ten
years enrollment of black studen-
ts has decreased dramatically.

The GEO membership stipulated
that an affirmative action clause
was a high-priority issue, yet the
University has steadfastly
refused to make any concessions.
There are many other issues,
such as a complete tuition waver,
that the University has also
refused to negotiate. Although
collective bargaining requires a
give-and-take between both
sides, in the proposed contract
GEO has done all the giving and
the University all the taking. If
we reject this contract we can go
back to the bargaining table and
have a new contract by Decem-
ber-if the University is willing to
bargain in good faith.
Vote, but vote no.
-Hugh McGuinness
GEO steward
October 20

'S

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