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March 31, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-31

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, March 31, 1987

The Michigan Daily

Women

faculty

face

discrimination

By Donna Jo Napoli
In the past year I've heard a lot of lip
service to the notion of EXCELLENCE.
But I have serious doubt that people are
giving proper thought to the notion. Yes,
I think the university should strive for
excellence. But the goal of excellence is
not a string of Nobel prizes. Those would
be nice if they came. But they are not the
goal. The goal of excellence is to improve
life on earth. At least, that's my
interpretation. And with that inter-
pretation, there is no sense of
EXCELLENCE that can be devoid of
social responsibility. Life on earth cannot
be of terrific quality as long as there is
racism and sexism and any other number
of social injustices. Eradicating these
injustices is just as much the job of a
university that strives for excellence as
engineering a gene that will eat toxic
wastes. Any university that has as few
women on its faculty and as few
minority people among its students, staff,
and faculty as this one should be em-
barrassed to talk too loudly about ex-
cellence.
At this point I want to tell a story. A
woman I know just got denied tenure here.
She is a well-published person. She has a
good teaching record here. She is by
anyone's measure a superbly organized
This is the second of a two-part series.

committee member and has done more
than her share of service work for this
university. The response she got was
that her work did not measure up to the
academic standards of excellence that this
university upholds. Why not? Are we
to say that the abstract notion of ex-
cellence, which this university defines in
an inexcusably narrow way, can be used to
keep this woman out of the university
when we so desperately need her? We
need her because she is a good teacher,
because she cares enough about her
profession to publish consistently (and in
what I understand to be the best refereed
journals in her field), because with her
time and wisdom and without her we can
be sure that thoughtless decisions will be
.made about students' fellowships or about
admissions' policy or about any of the
other work of the committees she has sat,
on. We also need her because she is not
a white man.
This university is a decentralized place.
And each little unit is hierarchical in a
Byzantine fashion. We have a series of
status classes: either staff or students are
on the bottom, then comes lecturers,
instructors, assistant professors, associ-
ates, fulls, unit chairs, and then finally,
the deans. Each level may offer sug-
gestions to the level above, but, as I see it,
the level above has the freedom to dis -
regard those suggestions. For example,
a department may vote that it wants to
give someone tenure. Then a chair has

the right to voice a separate opinion,
which may well be negative. This is ab-
surd. The chair is not some person who
has special knowledge or wisdom. It is a
person who holds the spot for a fixed
number of years. Before the chair term
begins, the person who is to become chair
is still the same person. After the chair
term ends, the person who was chair is
still the same person. Yet, during the
term, the chair has special powers. A
system like this is based on a division
between those who have power and those
who don't. Any given confrontation
between members of different levels can
turn into an assertion of power. What
often wins is the proposal of the person
higher up the hierarchy, rather than the
proposal that most people endorse or the
proposal that in some other way can be
judged to be superior. Our system main-
tains a status quo, and every status quo
system looks to its own survival. So if
you start with racism and sexism in such
a system, you will remain with racism
and sexism.
And the unfortunate fact is that this
university has both racism and sexism
built into its structure.
If the unversity is serious about
wanting to demonstrate a sense of social
responsibility, it must shatter the
Byzantine structure it has so carefully
built up. Chairs which were not chosen
by their faculties, but, rather, by decanal
fiat, must step down for elected chairs.

Chairs who consistently have failed to
be responsive to their faculties must step
down for chairs who negotiate with
their faculties until they reach a
consensus on problems. Administrators
should not be paid any more than their
nonadministrator colleagues. The full
time work they do is no more demanding
than the full time job of writing articles
and books and teaching classes that the rest
of us have to do. And if the financial
rewards of administration are taken away,
perhaps we will find a new breed of
administrator coming to us: an admin-
istrator who considers the job to be one of
arriving at decisions that reflect the
will of the members of the university
in general.
A person who does not believe there is
sexism on this campus might point to my
very words now as evidence that, in fact, I
am not afraid of anyone, or else I would
never dare to speak so frankly. This
would be an invalid argument. There are
three reasons why I am speaking freely
now. First, I am incensed at the tenure
denial of the woman I described above, so
I finally feel strongly enough to speak
out. I grieve for her and for us, who
allowed this to happen to her. Second,
my program director in linguistics has
told me I cannot teach introductory and
intermediate syntax next year and since
these courses are the heart of my work
at this university I feel there is really
nothing more damaging that he could do

to punish me for this article, were he
so inclined. That is, I've got nothing
important left to lose that he has the
power to take away from me. Plus I
know perfectly well that the Residential
College, where 50 percent of my
appointment lies, would never think of
punishing me, so at least half of my
appointment at this university is not
threatened. And third, Rachel Gottlieb, a
reporter for The Daily asked me whether
I'd ever experienced sex discrimination
here, approaching me at precisely this
moment, when I feel incensed and unable
to be further hurt. I am ashamed of
myself for having been in the university
seven years before having the courage to
speak out against the sexism I have felt
continuously through the years.
I believe it is the will of the majority
of the people that make up this university
(the staff, students, faculty) that there
should be more minority people on this
campus and more women on the faculty.
Maybe I have to believe that, or I couldn't
justify to myself staying here. But I do
believe it. Let's change the system; let's
stop playing power games; let's throw the
brutal status quo out the window and do
some decent recruiting at all levels.
And let's unite in the responsibility of
making this happen. This University
belongs to all of us. Let's make it
- someplace we are proud of.

i

_4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No. 123 420 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.
Don't ban AIDS victims

LETTERS

Mexican views differ from US

T HE IMMIGRATION AND
Naturalization Service wants to
prohibit people carrying AIDS
from entering the United States.
Rather than achieving public health
benefits, the action will
discriminate against homosexuals.
Initially, the INS cited a clause
that precludes people suffering
from "dangerous, contagious
diseases" from entering the country
to keep out AIDS carriers. This
category of diseases includes
typhoid, bubonic plague and other
highly contagious diseases. AIDS
does not fit under this category,
however, because it is not
transmittable through casual
contact, such as a sneeze or a
handshake.
In the face of strong protest from
several civil rights and gay and
lesbian rights groups, Dr. Otis
Bowen, Secretary of the De -
partment of Health and Human
Services reversed this decision.
The INS could not prohibit AIDS
carriers from entering the United
States on the grounds that they
carried and easily transmittable,
dangerous disease.
People suffering from AIDS can
now be kept out the country if a
physical defect prevents them from
earning a living in the U.S. Health
economists estimate the medical
care given to an AIDS sufferer is

about $75,000 over a three year
period. The INS states it is
doubtful an AIDS carrier could
earn this much money while in the
country before requiring
hospitalization.
Not all people who carry the
AIDS antibody in their bloodstream
actually suffer from the disease.
Many AIDS carmers currently lead
normal lives and may continue to
do so indefinitely.
While the INS promised
homosexual rights groups that
homosexuals will not, be
discriminated against under the
AIDS clause, the INS also stated
that homosexual activity is a basis
for administering a blood test to
detect the AIDS antibody.
Heterosexual activity is not a
reason to administer the blood test
though one third of all AIDS
sufferers in the world are women.
Essentially, homosexuals will be
screened for AIDS and
heterosexuals will not be screened.
There is no clearer case of
discrimination based on sexual
preference.
The INS is trying to exclude
homosexuals from entering the
United States based on a
homophobic practice.
Conscionable citizens of the United
States cannot allow this to occur.

To the Daily:
Hugo B. Margain, President
of the Bilateral Commission
between Mexico and the United
States, was quoted in the
Mexican Paper Excelsior as
calling comments made by
Assistant Secretary of State for
Inter-American Affairs Elliot
Abrams about Mexico's role in
the Contadora Group
"unjustified and inopportune."
Abrams stated that the "false
negotiations" of Contadora are
not positive for either
Washington or Mexico, and
Mexico and Peru have joined as
"leftist forces in Latin
America" against the efforts of
the United States for peace in
Central America
Representatives of the
Halt city racism
To the Daily:
As a longtime resident of
Ann Arbor and a leading
advocate of civil rights, I am
deeply disturbed by the
growing incidence of racism on
the U-M campus. Such actions
are offensive to everyone who
abhors prejudice and hatreds
born of ignorance. Yet these
incidents, deplorable as they
are, are only symptomatic of a
deeper, underlying racism with -
in the University community,
Much of this can be attributed
to the demonstrated in -
sensitivity and callous
indifference of the Reagan
Administration to minority
needs and concerns. This
worsening climate of in -
tolerance and bigotry has
unfortunately become all too
prevalent here in Ann Arbor
with a student body in I
creasingly divided along racial
lines and a University
Administration that seems
unwilling to do anything about
it.
If I am elected to the City
Council, I will do everything I
can to become a voice for
minority concerns and to
involve the city government
more deeply in the fight
against racism - for this is
not just a University problem,
but a problem for all Ann

Contadora group, a diplomatic
body made up of Mexico,
Venezuela, Columbia and
Panama, and a support group
of Peru, Brazil, Argentina and
Uruguay, recently met with the
General Secretaries of the
United Nations and the
Organization of American
States, and are currently
meeting with members of the
European Economic
Community. The expressed
goal of the Contadora Group is
peace through non-intervention
in Central America, and
Contadora has been outspoken
in its criticism of the support
given to Nicaraguan rebels by
the United States.
Jorge Montufar Araujo,
deputy of the Mexican ruling
Institutional Revolutionary
Partly (PRI) and other
members of the permanent
commission of the Chamber of
Deputies had harsh words for
the United States. Opposition
Parties, usually busy attacking
the PRI and each other, rallied
to defend Mexico's right to
independence in its foreign
policy and to criticize the
Reagan administration's attack
on the Mexican peace effort.
For years, the Reagan
administration has promised
that it would not participate in
a war in Central America, but
Abrams said recently that if the

Contras could not overthrow
the Sandinista government in
Nicaragua, it was the duty of
the United States to do so, and
George Schultz later admitted
that he could not say that
American troops would not be
used in Nicaragua.
Not surprisingly, leftist
parties have given the sharpest
criticism of U.S. policy in
Central America and the
remarks made by Elliott
Abrams. Pedro Jose Peflaloza,
deputy of the Revolutionary
Workers' Party (PRT) was
quoted in the Mexico Daily
News as saying "(Abram s')
comments are preparing the
conditions for the United States
to disqualify the Contadora
group and ... only serves to
further the belligerent position
of the United States."
Even the conservative
National Action Partly (PAN)
criticized the U.S. attitude
toward Mexican foreign policy.
Of President Reagan's recent
State of the Union address,
Deputy Gonzalo Altamirano
Dimas said, "(Reagan) speaks
of Communism in Central
America, but says nothing of
the the threat to peace that his
own country is making."
Deputy Reyes Fuentes
Garcia of the Authentic Party
of the Mexican Revolution
(PARM) castigated Abrams for

"justifying the unjustifiable" in
what he alleged is the
American's approval of drug
trafficking to raise drugs for the
Contras.
Meanwhile, Excelsior: has
described meetings between
Secretary of State George
Shultz and the Mexico's
ambassador as "cordial."
-Daniel Blank
February 16
Support UCAR
To the Daily:
The Rackham Student
Government unanimously
passed a resolution tonight
(March. 9) supporting the
twelve demands of UCAR.
Racism, in its various
manifestations has been
allowed to exist and thrive on
this campus for far too long.
The twelve demands set forward
by UCAR are a constructive
first step towards dealing with
the problem. Rackham Student
Government would like to join
with other campus
organizations in calling on the
University to meet these
demands.
-Dean Baker
President, Rackham
Student Government
March 9

/ 175

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