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March 26, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-26

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OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, March 26, 1987

Editd t a n Michigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCViI, No. 120

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

76 years is too long to wait:

Black enrollment goals

PRESIDENT SHAPIRO has taken a
step forward by agreeing to a 12
percent Black enrollment goal
within a five year time framework.
Now Shapiro needs to provide
specific plans to accomplish this
goal because initiatives currently in
place are inadequate.
Black enrollment at the
University increased from 5.1
percent of total enrollment in 1984
to 5.2 percent in 1985 and then 5.3
percent in 1986. At that rate it
would take 47 years for the
University to meet its 1970
promise that Black student
enrollment would become 10
percent of total enrollment.
Meanwhile, the Black state
population has increased from 11
percent as of the 1970 census to
12.9 percent in the 1980 census.
The 10 percent enrollment goal is
now outdated. At its current pace,
the University will need 76 years to
catch up with the 1980 census.
Black enrollment statistics at the
University of Michigan caught the
attention of the Detroit News in a
recent editorial called "Racism at
Michigan." Unfortunately, the rel-
atively lengthy editorial seemed to
parrot University administration
propaganda on Black enrollment
almost completely.
The Detroit News credited the
University administration for
taking action against specific
students for recent racist acts,
previous to his actual
announcement of anti-racist
concessions. Quoting Harold
Shapiro, the Detroit News argued
that the University administration
had "made considerable effort" to
make the University atmosphere
receptive to minorities.
At the same time, the Detroit
News acknowledged that Black
enrollment had declined from 7.7
percent in 1976 to 5.3 percent
today. To explain away the
problem, the Detroit News pointed
out that there was a higher
proportion of Black dropouts when
there were more Black students on
campus: "As a result, many

perfectly good people, who might
have done better at a less high-
powered institution, were made to
feel like failures."
This statement carries the
implicit but unjustified assumption
that the University's requirements
and standards for "high-powered"
students are non-racially biased.
When Black students or any other
group do not graduate at a
proportionate rate from the Uni -
versity, one must make one of two
assumptions: either the group in
question is inherently inferior or
the standards used to evaluate that
group are discriminatory.
It is unlikely that the Detroit
News would openly argue that
Blacks are inferior. In fact, the
Detroit News is not guilty of
explicit racism so much as of a
passing-the-buck mentality: "More
attention needs to be paid to the
quality of instruction black and
other minority students receive at
the elementary and high school
levels."
No doubt some of the ele -
mentary school teachers blame the
nursery schools, parents and eco -
nomic conditions. The economic
discrimination that results in poor
nutrition, inadequate housing and
inferior education, results partly
from discrimination in education -
a vicious cycle.
If logically extended, the
passing-the-buck argument is a
revolutionary criticism of society.
Yet, it is unlikely that the Detroit
News editors are closet
communists that believe Blacks
should overthrow the economic
system in order to obtain equality
in educational opportunity among
other things.
Instead of passing the buck, the
University should recognize itself
for what it is - the last chance for
society to correct the discrimination
in education faced by Black
children. Blacks will only gain
proportionate representation among
University graduates when the
University adjusts its biased
standards, teaching methods and
social atmosphere.

Daily Photo by SCOTT LITUCHY
Student activitism was vital in securing promises of increased minority enrollment.
LETTERS.

Support your local teaching

To the Daily :
As most of your readership
is hopefully now aware, the
Graduate Student Teaching
Assistants of the University are
currently without a contract.
The old contract expired
Monday March 2, but was
extended through Thursday
March 5. This leaves all
GSTAs with an uncertain
future - especially where the
implications of the new federal
tax code are concerned, which
will very likely make graduate
school less affordable for most
of us through taxing our
tuition waivers. But my
purpose in writing this is not
to bandy the minutiae of
economics: I hope to make a
related, but equally important,
statement concerning the role
of GSTAs at the University in
the context of the current
contract negotiations.
For most people
universities are centers of
learning - which implies that
someone is teaching. For most
instructors/professors,
universities are centers of
research, where instruction and
research theoretically mutually
reinforce one another.
However, there are far more
learners than there are teachers
in adequate number to fulfill
the demands of instruction.
Further, instructors/professors
are required to maintain a
scholarly reputation through
publication - which also
competes with the demands of
instruction: lecturing, grading
papers, conferencing with
students, et cetera. A supposed
modus vivendi is achieved
through the employment of
graduate students as teaching
assistants, to whom are given
the responsibilities of teaching
introductory-level courses,
coordinating laboratory
sessions, and grading papers
and exams. In this way
professors/instructors are
relieved of some of the burden
of instruction, graduate
students are allowed the
opportunity to gain experience
that looks toward future
academic employment, and
undergraduates are able to learn
in a less cramped environment.
Or that's how it's supposed to
work.
In practice these duties of
general instruction are shifted
to those without the status of
professional academics, whose
main concern is surviving the
competitive, intellectually rig -
orous, and expensive realities
of graduate school. Some of
these men and women aren't
even guaranteed training
adequate to prepare them for the
tasks of teaching - in many
departments TA training
simply doesn't exist, and in
others TAs are trained without
financial md etmnfneitn In

rent, utilities, food, textbooks,
clothing, insurance, payments
on student (and other) loans,
and so on. This does not
include supporting significant
others or children or both, a
responsiblity which
characterizes the lives ofmany
TAs. In light of these
considerations, does it appear
that the University
acknowledges the contribution
of Graduate Student Teaching
Assistants to the ability of the
University to provide a quality
education to all its students?
To the maintenance of the
internationally-recognized rep -
utations of University faculty?
To the certainty that everv
student dollar spent for
education secures as much as it
possibly can? I think not.
I personally like my role as
a TA: I look forward to
interacting with my students in
the hopes that they enjoy their
education as much as I enjoy
Humberto B
To the Daily:
The latest occurrences in the
Latin American debt scene may
be the most radical change in
perspective for both the debtor
nations and the international
lenders since 1982. Last week,
Brazil startled the world's
bankers by indefinitely sus -
pending interest payments on
$70 billion of its $108 billion
foreign debt. Since then,
Ecuador has suspended interest
payments on its $9.1 billion
debt, and Argentina's treasury
secretary suggested that his
country could follow Brazil's
lead.
But even without an actual
moratorium on debt payments,
the Latin American countries
are now bargaining from a
stronger position. Mexico -
the region's largest debtor after
Brazil - is still waiting for
banks to come through with
the $7.7 billion loan they
agreed to provide in September.
To date 330 of the 400 banks
involved in Mexico's loan have
indicated their agreement, with
the remaining 70 small and
medium-sized banks compris -
ing only three percent of the
total package. Despite the
holdouts, the ceremony to sign
the agreement is slated for
March 20.
The agreement would give
Mexico new loans totalling $6
billion, plus a $1.7 billion
contingency credit, depending
on the performance of the
economy. The spread would be
reduced by 0.3 percentage
points to 0.8125 points above
the London interbank offered
rate. This is the lowest rate
offered to a Third World debtor,
and many banks have said that
granting sh aInw rate monkli

assistants
my role in it. When I
contemplate going out on
strike I am saddened, as much
by the thought of interrupting
the lives of my students as by
the intransigence of an
administration that consistantly
overlooks one of its most
valuable academic resources.
But I can't deny that how the
University treats me as a TA
is, in effect, also its attitude
toward its primary clientele:
every student attending the
University of Michigan. I
suggest, then, that the
undergraduates and graduates of
the University, regardless of
their relation to Graduate
Student Teaching Assistants,
takeethis opportunity to
examine the subtleties of this
situation. And I am hoping,
that you will add your voices
to ours.
-Elizabeth Gray
Calhoun
March 6
elli to speak on
about through sociopolitical
means, nor did I believe any
more that Marxism was a true
science.
Yet, after returning to
Nicaragua in 1973 Belli con-
tinued to feel attachment to the
FSLN since:
For so many years it had
been for me the symbol of
heroism and total commitment,
the only force able to deal with
Somoza. Some of my best
friends were in the Frente, and
some of my former best friends
had been killed while in the
Frente.
Again he had a chance to
meet such men ascThomas
Borge and Bayardo Arce,
members of the national
directorate of the FSLN. Yet,
Belli remained in the FSLN for
only two more years. During
this time he was assigned to
teach the new recruits Marxist
theory, a task he was finding
ever more difficult tosperform.
His frustration with the FSLN
increased when he submitted a
couple of articles to the
FSLN's underground periodical
Pancasan, but had them turned
down on the grounds that they
"deviated from the official line
of the organization."
Following the 1979 revolu -
tion, Belli became an editor at
La Prensa, the only inde-
pendent newspaper in Nicara-
gua. His work focused in
particular on church-state re-
lated issues. The 1982
imposition of total censorship
made it impossible for him to
continue his work and Belli,
along with his family, came to
the United States. Here he
founded the Puebla Institute, an
independent, non-profit organi -

The Michigan Daily
President
mourns
'U loss.
To the Daily:
An Open Letter to the
University of Michigan
Community:
It is with great love and
sorrow that I write to you
concerning my feelings about
Regent Sarah Goddard Power
and her recent death. Regent
Power was a friend and
colleague to many of us at the
University of Michigan. She
gave wise counsel, support,
joy and wisdom to students,
faculty, staff and her
colleagues, the Board of
Regents of the University.
Regent Power loved the
University of Michigan and we
loved her back. I feel it is
important now to sustain our
love for her both by recalling
with gratitude her tremendous
contributions to so many
members of our community
and by committing ourselves
and our University to continue
to fulfill the aspirations she
had for us.
It is also important to me
that we all understand that, at
times, a person can be4
overcome by life's demands.
This can sometimes lead to. a
tragedy such as we have all
experienced, even when such
individuals have a special place
in the hearts of so many. My
wife, Vivian , and I mourn
deeply Sarah's passing, as does
the entire University
community. Our hearts and our
thoughts are now with fiei
family. We will always be
grateful for the impact she has
had on each of us and will
forever remember her in our
continuing work for te
University and in our personal
lives.
-Harold T. Shapiro
President of th*
University
March 25
Nicaragua
Sandinista Revolution and Its
Impact on Freedom and

Congratulations!

KEN WEINE, Rebecca Felton and
the entire Students First Party
deserve congratulations for an
overwhelming MSA election
victory. Students First won all the
seats contested except two in the
Engineering School, one in the
Pharmacy School and one in the
Architecture School.
With an overwhelming majority
on MSA, Students First has as firm
a mandate for leadership as
possible. It is up to Students First
to prove that it deserves its mandate
by taking responsibility for
bringing MSA back to the
grassroots.
Students First must avoid the
temptation of settling issues
through bureaucratic and parlia-
mentary maneuvering. Otherwise,
students will not understand issues
at stake and voter turnout in future

the PIRGIM petition.
In the past, MSA has had a highly
publicized problem with factional
bickering. A determined minority
tried to keep MSA aloof from bold
initiatives supported by the
majority of students - e.g.
PIRGIM funding.
Another minority tried to restrain
majority actions on international
issues and ended up wasting
MSA's time. Even former MSA
President Kurt Muenchow tried to
separate campus and non-campus
issues, but not everyone agreed
where and whether to draw the line
between campus and non-campus
issues. This is a natural debate
with no procedural solution.
It is time to stop telling students
what issues they can and can not
bring before MSA. MSA should
simply handle the substance of
issues in as public a fashion as

Christian Faith in Nicaragua.-
The book, Breaking Faith,
does an impressive job of
tracing the development of the
Sandinista movement. The
majority of the book, however,
discusses the implications ,f
Sandinista policies in regardto
religion and cites specific
examples of human rights
abuses by the new governmetic
Although, perhaps not d
complete catalogue of all:
Sandinista atrocities, the bodl:
dispels the myth that any
human rights abuses on their
side are trivial and unsyste*-
matic actions.
The importance of Belli's
visit to the University of
Michigan is in the fact that
students finally can get. ,a
chance to hear a speaker on
Nicaragua who cannot be
labeled as a State Department
mouthpiece or, for that matter;
a Sandinista public relations
man. If indeed the United
States is to conduct proper
foreign policy towards Nicara-
gua it is important that the
citizens are aware of the true
nature of that regime. It is not
unfounded to say that the
present ignorance about events
in Nicaragua, and the support
that some Americans have
given to the Sandinistas has
only further promoted the
oppression of the Nicaraguan
people.
Humberto Belli will
speak at 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 26, in
the Pendleton Room of
the Michigan Union. A
45 minute speech will be
followed by another 454
minuti er n n.ctinnc

I

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