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December 07, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-12-07

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, December 7, 1983

The Michigan Daily

:

Sinclair

'I.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCIV-No. 75

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Curtain calls

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T HE CURTAIN CAME down on the million
Environmental Protection Agency The
scandal last week when a federal jury is only
convicted Rita Lavelle on several cuts.C
charges of misconduct. Problems, have b
however, remain in the wake of the record
scandal, as EPA Director William defens
Ruckleshaus battles administration of- take on
ficials over funds for the agency. Car
Lavelle, the former director of the plainin
toxic waste program, was convicted on for thr
three counts of perjury and one count their
of obstructing a congressional in- What]
vestigation.tThechargesgrew out of vent en
an investigation into possible It is a
wrongdoing within the agency and in gt iCota
its administration of the $1.6 billion Rucb
superfund for toxic waste cleanup. will h
The investigation forced more than the ag
20 EPA officials, including its director, reques
Anne Burford, to leave. Lavelle, the if the a
only administrator brought to trial and wants,
convicted of any criminal charges, chasin
faces a maximum penalty of 20 years Ruckl
in prison and $19,000 in fines. first t
But problems with the agency ex-EP
remain. Ruckleshaus, Burford's Presid
replacement and the original director TheI
of the EPA, is trying to get the Reagan fective
administration to restore the agency's agency
budget to its 1981 level of $1.35 billion morec
(1981 was the last Carter ad- tually
ministration budget). David Stock- agency
man, director of the Office of battle
Management and the Budget, has ap- credib
proved an EPA budget of $1.14 billion. help
Many suspect that President Reagan, minist
who has final say on what the ad- froma
ministration will ask for, will submit to respon
Congress a request- clos edoi $ ien94' zenta
Researchforum
HE MILITARY research debate, their e
pronounced dead by many the Ur.
University officials even after a recent metho
student sit-in, is still showing signs of campu
life among the faculty. And should that despite
support continue, the result may by a mer n
major conference on the issue. ban we
Such a forum would benefit the It is
University community greatly. confer
rather
Currently, one of the top faculty The i
committees, the Senate Advisory reea
Committee on University Affairs, is resear
Co m t o hU i er it A f ir , s interest
investigating how much support partici
among faculty there is for such a con- probab
ference. The
The forum would be an excellent way ch on t
to educate many who are not informed portan
on the issues of research guidlines and suppor

he wanted last year.
administration claims the EPA
shouldering its share of budget
Other agencies and departments
been cut as well. But in light of a
I deficit and a record peacetime
e budget, such spending cuts
n a different cast.
eer EPA officials are com-
ng - and have been complaining
ee years - that the cuts hamper
ability to enforce existing laws.
Reagan is trying to do is circum-
vironmental law by withholding
ney the EPA needs to do its job.
n effective tool if Reagan can't
ingress to change the law.
kleshaus and other EPA officials
ave to rely on Congress to give
ency more money than Reagan
;ts, as it did- last year. But even
agency gets what its new director
the EPA will have only the pur-
g power it had in 1973, when
eshaus left the agency after his
our as director, according to an
A administrator under
lent Carter.
president's strategy has been ef-
e. Most experts agree that the
y is operating at its nadir - any
cuts and the EPA will be vir-
worthless as an enforcement
y. Ruckelshaus faces an uphill
trying to rebuild the EPA's
ility. He isn't going to get much
from those inside the ad-
ration. Help will have to come
a Congress willing to be more
lsible in carrying out environ-
flaws than Ronald Reagan.
supported
ffects on freedom of research at
niversity. It is also a good
d of reviving an important
is issue which should not die,
e the regent's decision this sum-
ot to adopt a policy intended to
eapons research.
especially important that this
ence by pursued by the faculty
than some other campus group.
ssues deal intimately with
ch, clearly faculty turf. Without
sted professors supporting and
ipating in debate, the issue
ly will fizzle out.
appropriatness of some resear-
his campus is a question too im-
t to ignore. Faculty should
rt this conference.

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f,

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Daily misinterprets ADVI(

To the Daily:
I found your editorial "Shakey
ADVICE" (Daily, December 1)
so replete with substantive errors
that your conclusions are unin-
terpretable. These errors must
be corrected.
First, I will address the errors
of interpretation in the editorial.
The statement "the evaluations
are obtained from student sur-
veys in registration lines' im-
plies that we do not yet and did
not collect data from any other
sources.
ADVICE has been collecting
data in classes since the fall of
1981, beginning with the Depar-
tment of Political Science. This
has been stated in every relevant
issue of ADVICE. In other words,
we have been collecting in-
creasing amounts of in-class data
for four terms - two years. This
has been done through the Center
foraReasearch on Learning and
Teaching (CRLT) as well as with
our own questionnaire.
The statement that under one-
half of LSA professors have
chosen not to use our questions is
also wrong. About 1,000 of the
course evaluations conductedby
CRLT are not in LSA. (As you
should know, at this time we only
evaluate LSA courses.)
Only two LSA departments
using CRLT do not use our set of
questions. We are negotiating
with these departments to
publish a different set of
questions and we believe they
will agree. Thus, it is likely that
all departments using CRLT
questionnaires will give us access
to the data. Of course, not all
departments use CRLT, so we-
are working with them to change
this or to develop alternative
arrangements.
The Daily was correct in men-
tioning that we are at the mercy
of faculty who choose not to par-
ticipate in ADVICE. In our two
years of experience with in-class
surveying, not zero as implied in
your editorial, we have found this
to be an insignificant problem -
a couple in each department.
Therefore, your statement that
'the quality of ADVICE will be
seriously hampered" carries lit-
tle weight.
By the way, I'm also not
graduating this term - another
error in the editorial.
Before I go on, you were right
in stating that the booklet came
out late and that this incon-
venienced students. This was a
combination of two factors. Fir-
st, we got the booklet to the prin-
ter three days late. Second, the
printer was, eight days late in
delivery to us. If they hadn't
been, ADVICE would still have
arrived on time.
I apologize to the students who
were inconvenienced by the
lateness.

reiterate this for you and your
misled readers but I will
augment it.
We did not collect data at
CRISP last winter but we did
collect LSA data through our
agreements with various depar-
tments. I take full responsibility
for the decision not to publish this
data. It is this decision that the
Daily could have seriously
questioned but didn't.
I felt that publishing an incom-
plete data set would harm the
overall credibility of the project.
You were right in stating that
''more recent information is at
least of equal importance." I
chose not to publish what we had
for credibility reasons; you must
disagree with my own percep-
tions about project credibility. I
wish you would have discussed
your opinions in the editorial.
(My reasoning was discussed in
the unread report.)
If this project is to be fiscally
and qualitatively responsible, it
must employ cost-benefit
analysis in decision-makingeFor
example, before the move" to
complete in-class surveying, our
project ran a $5,000 deficit each
year (this was covered by dwin-
dling course evaluation fund
reserves). With in-class sur-
veying, expenses now meet
revenues. Unfortunately, while
we are switching systems, there
is a short run decrease in quality.
Today, our project publishes
10,000 booklets each fall and win-
ter term for student use at a cost
of $11,000 and no deficit. In
comparison, UCLA's student-run
course evaluation project yearly
publishes a single issue of 6,000
copies at a cost per year of $25,000.
Last year they didn't publish at
all.
I will now offer some
clarifications for your assum-
ptions.
First, although this project is
funded by the Michigan Student
Assembly, it is put out by in-
dividuals, not MSA. To put out a
publication requires skills and
abilities that elected represen-
tatives sometimes lack. It
requires regular contact with
faculty and departments, writing
memos, reading the literature. It
means wanting to improve the
quality of teaching and learning
at the University.
Our project is not political in
the sense that data will be
mucked with by student politicos
(not that MSA is like that). It is
political in the sense that we are
working for change. Ask any
faculty or administrator who is
familiar with our project, they'll
tell you we are diligent, respon-
sible, and more knowledgeable
about faculty evaluation than 95
percent of the faculty.
BLOOM COUNTY

You state "we hope MSA is
willing to provide the funds and
personnel necessary to run this
project; and run it well - as it did
in creating the guide." MSA
doesn't provide funds and per-
sonnel, students do. Students set
up the committee, if students
don't work on it - no ADVICE. If
students would vote against the
fee - no ADVICE. Fortunately,
neither has been a problem,
despite previous Daily editbrials.
Second, the most important
thing that our project does is
work fpr structural change in the
University teaching/learning en-
vironment. Publishing thousands
of course evaluation booklets is a
means to an end, but only a
means.
Course evaluations will not
result in significant structural
change - they highlight stress
points and promote discussion.
Our committee must begin taking
advantage of the "door-opening"
nature of ADVICE.
I suspect that the Daily and
many others disagree with me on
this point. However, there is a
purpose to this project besides
the publication of reams of data.
This is the kind of
change/promotion students ex-
pect from student government
without any real understanding
of forces favoring and opposing
change (if they even have an idea
about the differences between in-
cremental and structural
change). The Daily continually
commits this error in its own
editorials.
Unlike the Daily, which says
that ADVICE "does have
problems, especially because
Layman, its coordinatdr, is
graduating," I am fully confident
in the people who have agreed to
carry on the ADVICE project.
ADVICE will continue to exist
and they will take this project to
greater heights.
We welcome feedback and
provide evaluation forms in each
issue of ADVICE. We are also
sending copies of ADVICE to all
faculty members so that we can
increase two-way com-
munication between concerned
students and faculty and to obtain
their feedback about the efficacy
of our project.
I do admit to problems with the
project, in fact I am probably its
greatest critic. Yet, only con-
structive criticism, rather than
the convoluted and erroneous
argumentation of your editorial
will improve ADVICE.
In closing, the number of errors
of interpretation in this one
editorial causes me to seriously
doubt the believability of all
items printed in the Daily. If
your research for articles and
editorials is so lame as demon-

'P
~Edata+
strated by this one editorial, howl
can you conscionably publish a)
"newspaper" six days a week?s
Also, if the information ,
provide so willingly to your
reporters is so often taken out of
context or is misinterpreted, why , j
do you even expect me to be,1.,
willing to talk to your reporters?.'
-Richard Layman,,
December ,
Layman is the project direc-
(or of MSA's course ,
evaluation committee.
Sfipping
ton ue
TotheDaily:
My reference to the Native~,
Americans in the document en-
titled "What is W.D.?" was not a,.
"James Watt-like slip of the.
tongue" as the Daily so
thoughtlessly states ("Protesting,
protestors," Daily, November"
17). I have the deepest respect for
the Native Americans and feel
that the injustice done to them by
the West is one of the most tragic
cases of cultural bigotism and
blatant racism on record.
This is made even more ap-
palling, by the fact that the'
majority of the people who now
occupy their homeland seem to*
have little regret and even less
understanding of what their an-'"
cestors did to make their now
comparatively comfortable
existence possible.
No one could now be studying
or protesting at the University
were it not for the atrocities of the
past. These atrocities, of course,
cannot be undone, but we must
always remember them so that
we can do our best not to repeat
them.
The reason for my reference is
simple and has to do with what
Wrong Decade (W.D.) was trying
to do on that Monday. W.D.'s
purpose is to open the minds of
the people through political satire 4
directed both at the right and left.
We are not a conservative
organization as the Daily so in-
correctly stated, My reference to
the Native Americans as "In-
juns" was made in conjunction
with a reference to Whites as
"Pale Face Race." My purpose
was to satirize the James Watt's
and other simple-minded, balloon
brains of the extreme right. I
cannot understand why the Daily
could only see the conservative
side of our satire (was it
paranoia?), but I sincerely hope
they will be more careful in
dealing with the W.D. in the
future. - Robert Hatch
November 17
by Berke Breathed

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