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September 08, 1988 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-08

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 8, 1988 - Page 17



on student


Daily reporter Ryan Tutak inter-
viewed new University President
James Duderstadt last summer while
he was still provost and vice presi-
dent for academic affairs.
D: Graduate student teaching
assistants have said the tax on their
tuition waiver is a burden. Some ap-
parently will discontinue their stud-
ies here because it's too expensive.
I've heard two proposed solutions:
one, to raise the salaries of these stu-
dents sufficiently to cover tax costs;
and two, to reclassify the tuition
waiver in tax-exempt terms, such as
a grant or a fellowship. Why hasn't
the University chosen one of these
two courses of action to resolve this
crisis as other Big Ten schools have?
JD: First, there's a third you
have not mentioned, and that is get-
ting congressional action, which of
course has been the route we have
taken. A year ago we had it in place
and it fell apart in the last minute
rush of the federal budget deficit re-
duction. We've continued our ef-
forts, and the University has pro-
vided leadership in Washington. And
out of that we think we will get at
minimum an extension of last year's
waiver through 1988. There's still
some haziness about what will hap-
pens in 1989. We have been working
both with external General Counsel
and indeed interacting with GEO to
look at issues of reclassification or
whether in fact we need to withhold
or not. Part of the difficulty (of
reclassification) is that, unlike most
other universities, the GEO agree-
ment does have a contractual nature
that's quite specific. Nevertheless, if
we can get assurance from Counsel
that we can do as other institutions
do, we will cease withholding and try
to move off that. We will probably
over the longer run have to change
the way we package financial aid,
simply to make certain that if
Congress changes direction again,
ewe won't be caught.
D: A related question: LSA limits
the number of semesters for which
graduate students can receive teach-
;ing assistant support at ten terms.
Prima facie, this policy seems good
- it's a strong incentive for students

to complete their studies. However,
many students - noticeably women
and minorities - begin their Ph.D.
programs with academic defi-
ciencies. To fulfill the requirements
of a program, they may be forced to
take classes they missed or were ad-
vised not to take as undergraduates.
Time devoted to such classes burns1
up the ten terms when they receivej
funding. This added pressure may be;
a reason few women and minoritiesj
enter the academic arena, and it
therefore seems counterproductive to
faculty recruitment programs.
JD: This really requires a re-
sponse on two different levels. First
of all, it has to do with the ten-term
rule itself, which is really an LSA.
policy matter and was put into place
in LSA because of a genuine concern
that graduate students were beingr
abused; they were being overutilized
as teaching assistants, which wast
prolonging the time for their degrees.
Graduate student support for teach-
ing assistants is frequently not thet
optimal form of graduate studentI
support because it encourages them
to divert a significant part of their
workload from their dissertationI
work. On the other hand, there may}
be some units in which that's the
only form of support. The ten-term
rule is something that has been im-
plemented with the understandingt

that any department that wishes
waivers from it can receive this favor
simply by asking. I don't understand
enough about where it's a serious
concern - that there has to be some
flexibility in this because of unusual
needs of the graduate students
whether it be women, minorities, or
simply because of the programatic
nature or whether there is a genuine
concern that some students are being
abused by being asked to devote too
much of their time to teaching and
not enough to their dissertation. I do
think there is a serious issue we are
asking many of our units to look at:
that the length of time to degree may
be excessively long in many majors.
It seems to be getting longer and
longer, and some majors the length
of time to Ph.D. is beginning to inch
up to nine or ten years, and that
seems excessive.
D: The University refuses to di-
vest completely from South Africa,
you have said, to maintain its au-
tonomy from the state. Why does this
principle override a moral imperative
to boycott apartheid?
JD: The great strength of this
University, in my own belief, has
been determined by its autonomy -
its ability to set its own standards,
and to be decoupled to some degree
from the political environment,
which characterizes most public in-
stitutions as any other feature. If you
look at the University, you will find
that our level of state appropriation
per student lags far behind that of
many institutions around the country
- institutions that nevertheless have
not achieved the quality of this Uni-
versity. That the divestment was
triggered by specific legislation tar-
geted at the University - and not for
example at the state pension fund or
other state investments - really did
challenge the autonomy of the insti-
tution. And for that reason, the
University felt it was incumbent
upon itself to defend that autonomy.
We attempted to respond to the mo-
ral issues associated with divestment
by divesting the vast bulk of (the
University's) portfolio. I suspect that
if the autonomy issue can be re-
solved, there seems to be some evi-
dence to suggest that theremainder

of the portfolio would be divested.
D: The promise of the Uni-
versity's future when you're presi-
dent apparently will ride on your
"Michigan Commitment." What can
you say about it now?
J D: If you look at it more
broadly, you realize the students who
will be educated in the University
today or in the next several years will
spend the dominant part of their lives
in the 21st century, unlike those
people who teach them. That 21st
century in this country and around
the world will have characteristics
quite different than we are seeing to-
day. And one of the most important
characteristics will be its pluralistic
and multicultural nature. That's the
reason why we've attempted to ele-
vate the objective of diversity - of
building a multicultural community
on this campus where people learn to
tolerate and respect one another for
their differences as well as for their
similarities - to play such an
important role in the next ten years.
If universities themselves can't
grapple with these issues, it raises
very serious questions about whether
our society can. So we have over the

past year, and we will be in the fall,
launching a number of initiatives, not
simply of an affirmative action na-
ture, to build the number of students
from various backgrounds on our
campus underrepresentative of its
faculty, staff, and leadership, but to
try and work much harder toward
building an environment which
cherishes this kind of diversity and
which respects it. The key in doing
that will be the active involvement of
the majority on this campus - the
majority of the student body, of the
faculty, of the staff and the leader-
ship. We've got to get people
committed and involved. And that is
going to be the biggest challenge of
all. While there have been many
people who have expressed serious
concern, the vast majority of our
campus has been quite apathetic and
has not participated as they should in
moving together toward this objec-
tive of diversity.
D: When you say students are
apathetic, how would you like to see
students become more involved?
JD: What we would like to do is
to see students involved first of all
through formal course work... and

increasingly involved in outreach
activities - through community ser-
vices. We have proposed to the re-
gents setting aside Martin Luther
King's birthday as a day when we
will suspend classes and attempt to
come together to really celebrate di-
versity, to share ideas, to listen and
to learn from one another. We would
like to see students intimately in-
volved in the designing of that day
and participating in it.
D: State law doesn't protect les-
bians and gays from discrimination.
Should the University set a precedent
by including "sexual orientation" in
the regental bylaw on discrimination,
section 14.06?
JD: The University campus is
not a place to discriminate against
people of any background or any
persuasion. And that should be re-
flected in the University's policies. I
think it is reflected now in University
policy. The difficulty in that particu-
lar bylaw, as viewed by the regents,
is the question as to whether the
University has clearly indicated it
will not tolerate discrimination
See Interview, Page 18

.ontest.Contest.ConteSte. Contes t

OK, the honeymoon's over.
It's not (necessarily) that we're
against "diversity," military re-
search, or campus rules to ensure
"truth, honesty, tolerance and re-
spect" - along with handcuff-sling-
ing hired goons to enforce them.
But we think some people might be.
And at a university where a new ad-
ministrative appointment invariably
means a bonanza for the photocopy-
ing and posterboard industries, it's
only a matter of time until someone
figures out a chant that rhymes with
But how much time? That's where
you come in.
Just how long do you think our new

president will last before a prominent
campus organization calls for his res-
ignation? And for what reason? (An

Dump the Dude Sweepstakes. All you
have to do is write the date and reason
for the resignation demand on a post-
card and send it to:
NSE Contest
420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
In case of a tie, please include the
name of the organization(s) you think
will demand his ouster.
The winner(s) will receive a Daily
sweatshirt and a poster-size copy of
this photo - autographed, but proba-
bly not by its subject
Ed. note: As far as we know, entering
(and sponsoring) this contest is not
punishable by any University rules,
codes, policies, or bylaws. Yet.

insensitive remark? A fascist power
grab? Both?)
If you think you know the answer -
and aren't planning to demand his res-
ignation yourself - then enter our
first annual New Student Edition

Contest! Contest! Contest! Contes


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