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October 02, 1987 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-02

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Page 4 Friday, October 2, 1987 The Michigan Daily






By Rackham Student


In the best spirit of secrecy and
deception followed by North, Poindexter,
and the like, Peter Steiner, Dean of LS&A
adopted a new policy which will
drastically affect the lives of graduate
students and the entire University
:community. This policy was adopted in
the middle of last summer, without any
advance notice or public discussion.
Steiner announced, in a letter sent only
t to department chairs, that a policy
whereby all graduate students will be
allowed a total of no more than 10
semesters of support through teaching
assistantships or departmental fellowships
,will be strictly enforced. This action will
seriously limit the amount of time that
tgraduate students have to complete their
programs before their major source of
funding gets cut off, in some fields
reducing the amount of time to complete a
4 degree to roughly half of the current
average. Such a move, coming when it,
did, can only be seen as a deliberate attack
on political and academic freedom at the
University, as an attack on the diversity of
the graduate student body, and as an
extraordinary display of contempt for the
inherent value of academic pursuits.
Taking the issue of political freedom
first, it is hard to believe that it has
escaped the University's attention that
graduate students have played a prominent
role in much of the political activism that
Edited and managed by stud
Vol. XCVIII, No. 17
Unsigned editorials represent a major
cartoons, signed articles, and letters4
of the Daily.

has been seen both on and off campus in
recent years. Certainly the strength of the
anti--racist movement as well as the
Central America solidarity movement is at
least in part attributable to the time.
energy, and experience that a number of
graduate students were able to contribute.
By forcing graduate students to rush
through Ph.D programs, the University
will be making it all but impossible for
them to play a significant part in the
political life of the campus and the
community. (In addition to academic
work, most graduate students receiving
University assistantships work from 20 to
25 hours per week to support themselves).
Steiner will not be the first person to
attempt to eliminate unwanted political
activity by tightening academic require-
ments. President Reagan instituted
similiar measures to cut back on activism
on the University of California's campuses
back in the 60's, when he was governor of
A second concern about this proposal
stems from its effect on the diversity of
the graduate student body. Dean Steiner's
experience with graduate school, as well as
that of many others in positions of
responsibility at the University, came at a
time when the typical graduate student was
an upper middle income white male just
out of college. Many had wives who could
be counted on to do their housework,
cooking, laundry, and to provide financial
support and other essential services. Today
the graduate student body is (or at least
should be) considerably more diverse.

There are more women, minorities, and
older students, often with far less financial
resources available than those in Dean
Steiner's cohort. Many people come here
with children to support and look after, or
in some cases they have parents or
relatives for whom they must care. In
cases where students are married it's far
more likely that housework is treated as a
shared responsibility, rather than
something that can be dumped off on a
wife/slave. Under such circumstances, it
should not be surprising that students
might take somewhat longer to complete
their graduate programs. The University
should be trying to foster this movement
towards diversity, rather than trying to
turn it back.
The third issue raised by this policy is
its effect on academic freedom. As noted
above, in some disciplines, such as
history or anthropology, students on
average take more than 9 years to
complete their programs. This is not due.
to the quality or laziness of the students,
but rather because of the nature of these
disciplines. In some fields it is necessary
to absorb a substantial body of literature
and then complete several years of primary
research before one can make a valuable
contribution. To this argument Steiner's
response is, "departments that require more
(than 5 years) ought to carefully consider
whose purposes they are serving." It's
probably fair to say that the faculty in
these fields have already "carefully
considered whose purposes they are
serving" and concluded that most students

will not be able to master the discipline in
5 years. In general the faculty in each
department would probably be better able
to make such a judgment than Dean
Steiner. For him to institute a policy so
diametrically opposed to prevailing
practices in these fields can only be seen
as a wholesale attack on entire disciplines.
It is worth pointing out that even in
Dean Steiner's own field, economics,
while it is certainly possible to complete a
program in 5 years, it is far from clear that
this amount of study will always be
adequate to ensure competent scholarship.
The more pressure there is to get through
the program the more likely will be the
case that students will not take the time to
acquaint themselves with the literature,
and the more likely they will seek a
simple but uncontroversial and
insignificant topic for their dissertation. In
a field such as economics, which is
afflicted with serious methodological
problems, it is very hard to see how this
encourages good scholarship. While
anyone can be shoved through a program
within a set time limit, the question is,
has this person really gained a mastery of
the field and will he/she be capable of
making significant contributions? The
shorter the time that students are allowed
to complete graduate programs the more
likely the answer to both questions will be
The last issue has to do with the general
attitude displayed towards the inherent
value of academic scholarship that

underlies Steiner's policy. Steiner
explicitly states in his memo that one
should complete the Ph.D degree, "and
then get on with the rest of his or her
life". It appears that he views the process
of learning that one engages in as a
graduate student as simply a means to an
end. It may be the case that Steiner sees
no inherent value in the content of
scholarship-- rather it is simply a means
to obtain a job with a substantial income
and prestige. However, it's hard to believe
that a top administrator at a major
University would seek to make such
values a governing principle for policy.
Most of us view our years as graduate
students as significant parts of our lives in
which we are carrying on academic
pursuits as well as other activities. In
treating them this way we are fully
conscious of the fact that we are
sacrificing income and professional status
to those who view graduate study as
simply a step on a professional ladder. It
is far from clear (if in fact, not clearly
wrong), that we will be making fewer
significant scholarly contributions than
our status-seeking peers. It is shocking to
see that the Dean of LS&A believes that
we should not be allowed to teach (at less
than 1/4 of a full professor's salary) even
if we are "the best available" or even "only
available" person. This policy is an insult
to the graduate student body, the faculty,
the students whom we teach, and the very
ideal of scholarly research that the
University is supposed to support.


ents at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Mi 48109
ity of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
do not necessarily represent the opinion







Desperately seeking buses)



By not providing adequate trans-
portation to and from North
Campus, the University is ignoring
the students' needs.
Last year the new electrical
Sengineering/computer science
building opened on North Campus
~ bringing hundreds of students and
.┬░faculty to North Campus. In
-:addition, the University
:underestimated the number of
incoming first-year students putting
additional pressure on the facilities.
This has severely compounded the
busing problem.
Buses to North C a m p u s
continually run late and are often
::too crowded to accomodate all the
4 students waiting to ride to North
g Campus. Bus drivers often ask
people to get off the bus because it
is too crowded to be driven safely.
In the morning and midafternoon,
one sees over 100 people waiting at
bus stops. Once the Michigan
. winter rolls in, riders will be forced
to endure subzero windchills with
no protection for as long as 45
minutes while waiting to ride the
bus. Clearly, nobody should have
to be subjected to this. Bus service
must be increased and improved
before the cold weather arrives.
x For students fortunate enough to
a have cars, there are only two free,
comuter parking lots. They are a
quarter of a mile from the academic
buildings, unpaved, unmarked and
usually full. With winter on its
way, these lots need to be paved

Daily picks wrong remedy for rents

and expanded before snow worsens
the situation.
There is no justification for
students not being able to get to
their classrooms, libraries, music
practice rooms,art studios, etc.,
expediently and safely. Clearly,
University President Harold
Shapiro is not completely unaware
of the situation, he recently arrived
to a meeting of an engineering
society in a limosine.
Students who live in Bursley
dorm or North Wood Apartments
live under particularly bleak
conditions. Not only do they have
to put up with the same situation as
students going to class during the
week, but are more likely to have to
rely on the bus on weekends. On
Sunday, a ride from Bursly to
central campus takes about a half
hour and buses run once every forty
five minutes. In addition, those
living on North Campus are forced
to leave cental campus at 2:15 AM
with the last bus of the day. There
should not be penalties like these
for living on North Campus. These
students should be able to take full
advantage of all the events on
central campus no matter what time.
of the morning.
Bus service should be increased
to deal with the problem of
overcrowding and expanded to
twenty four hours a day. The 'U'
has a responsibility to provide
adequate transportation to and from
North Campus, now.

To the Daily:
I enjoyed your editorial in
favor of rent control ("Support
rent stabilization," Daily,
9/23/87). Your editorial dealt
with rent control in its proper
arena (the market a n d
government control of the
market), but you misanalyzed
the opposition and the
Increases in price are caused
by increases in demand. Ann
Arbor and the University are
growing, but no new housing
is being put on the market. In
your editorial you say, "the
supply of new housing is
governed primarily by a
political decision to limit new
development, rather than by
economic considerations."
Economic considerations do
determine the price, and they
are sending a loud and clear
signal that there is a housing
shortage. The solution is to
demand that City Council enact
legislation that will encourage
the creation of more housing.
Supply will increase to meet
demand and prices will fall.
Rent control should not be
used just to cure the symptoms
of the housing shortage. An
artificial ceiling on rent ignores
the signals produced by the

market and inhibits a solution.
However, there is a justified
use of rent control. New
'ousing cannot be created,
overnight. In the time between
the increase of demand and the
matching increase of supply,
rents and landlords' profits
soar. Rent control can be used
to maintain reasonable rents

while the supply of housing
increases. As soon as the
supply is sufficient (vacancy
rate in the normal range), rent
controls can and should be
I have two comments outside
the realm of economics. I can't
wait to see clean new buildings
around the University so I

MSA misinformed, IFC fights

To the Daily:
The Interfraternity Council
(IFC) would like to make it
clear that it wholeheartedly
agrees with the MSA that
education on the issue of
sexual assault is of primary
importance on this campus.
However, the IFC would like
to respond to the Women's
Safety Resolution passed by
the MSA this week. We would
like to set the record straight
on what exactly we have done
to combat sexual abuses here at
the University. The reason that
we feel this response is
necessary is that at no time
was the IFC: 1) notified that
such a resolution was pending
at MSA, 2) consulted on the
contents of any resolution
concerning our organization,
3) asked to participate in the

discussion of said resolution,
or any MSA decision, or 4)
asked what steps have already
been taken to educate the Greek
System. What we find in this
resolution is that it was purely
reactionary and lacking per-
tinent information on the role
of IFC on Sexual Assault
Awareness Education.
The IFC has not merely
taken the role of passive
observer in educating campus
Greeks, as the Women's Safety
Resolution implies. A new
Sexual Assault Awareness
Chairman was appointed in
April of 1987 by the IFC
Executive Board, and is
responsible for the formulation
of programs for the coming
year. For example, a program
was initiated which brought
one fraternity and one sorority

won't have to live in a place
that is twice as old as I am.
An ironic twist to this issue is
that in my introductory
microeconomics textbook,
written by Professor Peter
Stiener, there is a six page
diatribe against rent control.
-Dan Tobocman
September 30
sexual assault
together and educated them on
issues of sexual assault.
Because of the great success of
this program, the IFC i s
planning to extend the idea to
all of the Greek System.
The trend, as you can plainly
see, is not one of inactivity,
but, rather, one of active
response. The IFC is, in fact,
working towards the goal of
increased awareness on the
issue of sexual assault for its
members. The issue of sexual
assault is a far reaching social
problem which is certainly not
limited to the Greek System.
This issue does not solely
effect the students of the
University of Michigan; it is a
problem that needs to be
addressed at all levels of
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, MSA
passed a resolution calling for
the Interfraternity Council to
take action concerning sexual
assault awareness:
"Be it further resolved; that
MSA calls upon the Greek
System and the Interfraternity
Council (IFC) to take special
responsibility to educate
themselves, using the available
university resources, about the
symptoms and manifestations a

Daily prints one sided rape stories

..*,,.. {

To the Daily:
Rape is a sensitive issue on
and off campus. When the issue
is put into print, objectivity
must be observed on a daily
basis. Your article, "Witness
startles jury with testimony,"
(Daily, 9/25/87) was one sided

frankly is irrelevant in trying
someone for rape. It is perhaps
Your Friday's article reported
the events of Thursday,
September 24th. What came out
in court that day seems to have
basically been the defendant's

yourself, "was it the jury that
was startled, or was it your staff
hearing the days events?" Either
way, you need to back up and
take a look at what happened
prior to Thursday and put it all
into perspective on a day to day
basis. You can't be one sided for

- J-~ *1 . . - 1 1 1

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