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September 19, 1988 - Image 6

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4

OPINION

Page 6

Monday, September 19, 1988

The Michigan Daily

4

Econ.

Dept.

fosters

elitism

'Solving the problem of underrepresentation of Blacks on university faculties will require,
among other things, a revolution in Blacks' attitudes towards higher education comparable
to that among white women in the last two decades.'
- LSA Dean and Prof. of Economics Peter 0. Steiner (L.S.A. Fall Newsletter, 1987).

By Mark R. Greer
Professor Steiner's quote does much to
reveal the nature of institutional racism
and sexism within our University.
Universities go out of their way to legit-
imize the most oppressive institutions in
our culture, and one way they do so is by
promulgating ideologies denigrating
Blacks, women and the economically dis-
alvantaged.
As many of you have probably heard a
thousand times, the University views it-
self as an "elite institution." An "elite
university" differentiates itself from less
prestigious ones by integrating itself with
major political and economic institutions
more than the latter do - an "elite
institution" possesses credentials and re-
sources beneficial to these institutions. An
"elite university" is adept at attracting re-'
search funding from major corporations,
the military and well-financed "think
tanks."
It also has professional connections
.with the highest echelons of government.
An example of the valuable service that an
"elite university" performs for the
government is the -University's bending
Greer is a doctoral candidate in the De-
partment of Economics and Vice-President
ofRackham Student Government.

over backwards to legitimize U.S. foreign
policy and honoring Ferdinand Marcos,
Jeane Kirkpatrick and the Shah of Iran
with honorary doctoral degrees in the
humanities.
As you can imagine, this atmosphere
places a considerable premium on research
and publication apologizing for the status
quo, and social critics are persona non
grata on the faculty here. For example, the
University once expelled economics pro-
fessor Lawrence Klein because he was
previously a member of the Communist
Party-USA. (This purged economist
subsequently won the Nobel Prize in Eco-
nomics, and the University has never had a
Nobel Laureate on its faculty - ever.)
Since minorities and women tend to be
more conscious of racism and sexism in
our culture than white men are, their
scholarship has a greater propensity to
criticize existing institutions than that of
white men do. They consequently fall into
the underworld of heretics and humanitari-
ans, and are unwelcome on the faculty of
"elite institutions." The absence of mi-
norities and women on the faculty deprives
women and minority students of role
models and mentors in the "intelligentsia,"
making the University a difficult institu-
tion with which to feel an identification.
You may find this account for institu-
tional racism and sexism overly simplis-
tic. However, an excellent example of how

this mechanism works is provided by
recent faculty hiring decisions right here in
the University's own economics depart-
ment, a department with no women and
only one Black holding full-time profes-
sorships. Like many orthodoxies in the
social sciences, mainstream economics
provides an ideological support for racism
and sexism by asserting there is
something wrong with minorities and
women that causes them to earn less than
what white men earn.
According to orthodox economics,
women earn only 60 percent of what men
with an equivalent level of education earn
because women generally put less effort
into their jobs than men do and are thus
less productive than men are. (If the reader
finds this too silly to believe, see Gary

equal." Lipsey, Steiner and Purvis, Eco-
nomics, eighth ed., p. 18.)
Given the racist, sexist overtones of
mainstream economics, we should not be
surprised that very few women and minor-
ity economists take it seriously and that a
disproportionate number of them are crit-
ics of it. Their tendency to be critical of
orthodoxy recently undercut efforts to hire
two Black economists here at a time when
the department had several faculty posi-
tions open.
Of these two economists who applied
for a University economics faculty
position, one is already a tenured, full
professor of economics at Stanford Uni-
versity and an author of forty published
scholarly works. The other recently re-
ceived her doctorate from M.I.T., the most

'Like many orthodoxies in the social sciences, mainstream eco-
nomics provides an ideological support for racism and sexism by
asserting there is something wrong with minorities and women
that causes them to earn less than what white men earn.'

economists, critical of the theories of ins
come inequality mentioned above.
Inaction on this matter by the highest
executive officers of the University calls
into question their claims that they are
making a serious effort to rectify their
dismal minority recruitment track record,
Even though they were warned beforehand
of the serious obstacles of institutiona.
racism the potential recruit from Stanfordi
faced, University President (then Vice-t
President and Provost) Duderstadt andLSA
Dean Peter Steiner refused to take any,
action whatsoever to ensure that he would
have a fair shot of landing a job here.
Evidently, the administration has decided
to deal with institutional racism and,
sexism by setting aside money for th&
hiring of minorities and women, theni
leaving it up to the departments to make
sure that none actually are hired.
Given that any graduate student wishing
to study why it is that Blacks and womeg
earn less than what white men earn woul4
have to study the material examined ear;
Tier, we should not be surprised that verWf
few minorities and women have chosen t1
pursue a career in academic economics, a@
least within its orthodoxy. This pathetid
state of affairs, in conjunction with the
crackdown on unorthodox approache'
presently going on within the University's
economics department, leaves students in.
terested in wage inequality with no choice
but to take a course taught by a whitd
male and attributing such inequality to tha
inferiority of Blacks and women. Smali
wonder that so many minority student(i
decide to go elsewhere.

Becker, Journal of Labor Economics 3
(supplement 1985): pp. 33-58.)
The lower earnings of Blacks, relative to
whites, supposedly can be attributed to
similar factors, according to certain lumi-
naries within the orthodoxy. (This outlook
led the Professor Steiner to fantasize of
evidence of differences in intelligence
among the races: "For example, many
scientists are not prepared to consider evi-
dence that there may be differences in in-
telligence among races because as good
liberals they feel that all races ought to be

prestigious economics doctoral program in
the world, and was a visiting professor at
Yale at the time she applied for a tenure-
track position. In light of these creden-
tials, there was obviously no legitimate
reason for the economics department not
to seriously consider hiring them. Hiring
these applicants would not have cost the
department a dime of its budget, because
the University has set aside funding for
minority faculty positions. In both cases,
though, the department refused to even in-
terview them, because they are dissident

01 e Mihga aiy
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVI, No. 8 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

EMU

I

'South African poisons

RECENTLY, THE SOUTH Africa-
based organization Chemwatch re-
ported that the levels of the herbicide
2,4,5-T in that country's rainwater
have reached 10,000 times the limit
considered safe in the United States.
This herbicide contains dioxin, the
toxic ingredient in Agent Orange re-
sponsible for the deaths of many Viet-
nam veterans and Vietnamese people
and their children.
In the past year, 2,4,5-T was banned
in many countries world-wide.
According to Africa News, supplies of
the chemical are being dumped onto the
markets of the few countries that have
not banned it.
A South African forest worker said
her job is to spray trees with 2,4,5-T.
Although she herself wears protective
clothing, her fellow workers are left
completely exposed. In addition to the
direct danger to forest workers, the
chemical also seeps into the water sys-
tems and causes a phenomenon similar
to acid rain. In certain areas herbicide
essentially rains from the sky.
No one is sure where the chemical
comes from. Farm Ag, the South
African company which distributes
products containing 2,4,5-T, refused to
reveal the source of its supplies. When
the Weekly Mail questioned the South
African Department of Agriculture, of-
ficials said they could not reveal that
type of information but they believed
that the 2,4,5-T had been bought in
Europe before the chemical was
banned.
It is possible that the chemical comes
from existing stockpiles somewhere.
However a New Zealand company
controlled by Dow Chemical continued
to produce 2, 4, 5-T until the end of
last year, according to Africa News.
Until recently, Dow has had a plant in
South Africa and still supplies herbi-
cides to South African companies, it is

the most likely culprit. Africa News has
called for a complete investigation of
Dow's possible role in the herbicide
poisoning.
Negligence of agencies such as the
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) has long been a concern in the
United States. However, in the Third
World, environmental issues fall under
no definite jurisdiction. If Dow Chemi-
cal is indeed at fault, then the situation
involves an American company cir-
cumventing environmental restrictions
by committing abuses in a foreign
country where they are not illegal.
There seems to be no agency that is
specifically responsible for preventing
such situations.
The EPA does provide an informa-
tional service about toxic substances
for Third World countries. But unfor-
tunately, if the activity in question is
outside the United States, the EPA can
take no action. Likewise, the U.N. has
passed resolutions recommending that
Third World countries be informed
about dangerous chemicals entering
their territories, but these resolutions
are only advisory and have no en-
forcement mechanism.
In countries such as South Africa
where the government does not choose
to pass protective environmental legis-
lation or heed worldwide warnings,
American companies can continue to
abuse this ignorance and indifference
by dumping the toxic chemicals that are
banned elsewhere. It is vital that this
type of situation be placed unequivo-
cally under the jurisdiction of some
agency that is monitored by an impar-
tial, international organization and
backed by the power of law. Other-
wise, the people and the trees and the
rainfall of South Africa will continue to
be poisoned.

By Sandra Steingraber
But everyone else is doing it! This mode
of reasoning seldom won us any points
during ethical debates with our parents.
But, strangely enough, this identical ar-
gument has been put forth by members of
the administration to justify its recent de-
cision to deputize two campus security
officers.
Deputization was first formally pro-
posed last July in a memo from then
President Robben Fleming to the Board of
Regents. Fleming stated, "...ours is the
only Department of Public Safety force in
either the Big Ten or among all Michigan
public institutions of higher education
which does not presently have such power
[of deputization]."
More recently, University information
director Keith Molin justified deputization
by noting that it gives the University "the
authority that all other universities have
had" (Ann Arbor News, 9/16/88). And
when asked by the Daily to explain why
the University needed campus deputies,
Sheriff Ron Schebil responded that the re-
quest for deputization on the part of Uni-
versity administrators was "not unusual."
Schebil pointed to Eastern Michigan Uni-
versity which has employed deputized
officers since 1961.
Such arguments, of course, beg the
critical question: why, after 171 years of
not needing campus deputies, has the
University decided to invest itself with
police authority now? Nevertheless, it is
instructive to look at the situation at other
universities that do have deputized security
officers in order to see what function they
serve. Since the letter of agreement drawn
up by the University and the Washtenaw
Country Sheriff's Department was mod-
eled after the one used to authorize
deputies for EMU, it would seem espe-
Steingraber is a Daily Opinion Page
staff writer.

eputies lii
cially useful to take a look at that campus.
According to John Garland, chief of
public security at EMU, all 19 members
of the EMU department of public safety
are sworn deputies. All carry handcuffs and
firearms, and all are required to receive
training as police officers before being
hired as EMU security officers. These
officers have police powers in all of
Washtenaw County.
On campus, these security officers carry
keys to dormitories. Some members are
organized into a substance abuse task
force. In 1974, Garland was sued by a stu-
dent for illegal search and seizure involv-
ing drugs found in a dorm room. The
judge ruled in favor of the student, and the

ke ours?
may be a lot more going on with them
than we're aware." Because of the exemp-
tion of deputized security forces under the
Freedom of Information Act, the Eastern
Echo has been unable to obtain certain
documents about the activities of EMU's
department of security.
"Students here don't have a lot of re}.
spect for them [the deputies]," said Satko,
"They're laughable. They're really incom-
petent. They just don't have the experi-
ence. They're really young - a lot of
them 20 and 21 years old. They want toe,
become cops, so they use this as a train-;
ing ground.... And they just had that offi-
cer who blew the guy away in Ypsilanti."
This reference is to Ypsilanti police

f
'It's more of a personal touch with the officers from the Uni-
versity. It's more like a handslapping. You'd be surprised at how
appreciative students are of that. It works well because students
have grown up with it.'
- John Garland, EMU chief of public security

case was settled outside of court for
$4000.
In an interview with Daily on Septem-
ber 8, Garland said there are two main ad-
vantages of university deputies: It prevents
the negative publicity that inevitably ac-
companies incidents between students and
police, and it gives students the opportu-
nity to "grow up with the police depart-
ment."
Garland's own description of the role of
EMU's deputies serves to clarify his phi-
losophy: "We work with all of the resi-
dence hall staff. We work with orientation
of freshpersons. It seems like every activ-
ity that comes up, we have some input
into it.... A lot of students have never had
an opportunity to meet police officers. It's
more of a personal touch with the officers
from the University. It's more like a
handslapping. You'd be surprised at how
appreciative students are of that. It works
well because students have grown up with
it."
Does this vision of a benevolent police
state seem as creepy to EMU students as it
sounds? Sally Satko, editor-in-chief of the
Ea: tern Echo, said she hears from a lot of
students who are fed up with the campus
deputies there. Moreover, she said, "there

officer Theodore Justice who has been4
charged with manslaughter in the Augusti
15 death of an Ypsilanti homeowner shot(
during an investigation of a burglary. Jus-
tice had previously served as an EMU
campus deputy.
Garland and Satko do agree on one
thing: EMU is not U of M. Both empha-
size that crime rates are higher and politi-
cal activism much less a part of the stu-'
dent body there than here. Neither could
remember a student protest in recent
memory that had resulted in anyone get-
ting arrested by city or university officers.
Since deputization here came about as a
direct response to student protest --as 4
stated openly in Fleming's memo to the
regents - it seems odd for University ad-
ministrators to emphasize the similarity of
the two campuses. After all, when gradu-
ate students asked why the University had
not adopted EMU or MSU's solution to
the problem of tuition waiver taxes, they
were told by Rackham Dean John D'Arms,
that "responses appropriate for one
university are rarely appropriate for ant
other." a
And the central question still remains:.
After 171 years without deputies, why has
the University administration now decided
to invest itself with police authority?

E~ttrst te dio.........

Daily

fix.'...................... . ".. .r.".. """"" ..

Nazi 'rights'," 9/16/88) and the
denial of free assembly privi-

the First Amendment to protect
only that expression which
n,.Prlc nn nrtcn -cnnPrh

practices in promoting minor-
ity employees.

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