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September 20, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-20

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OPINION

x

Page 4 Wednesday, September 20, 1989 The Michigan Daily

GEO:

Organizin

By the Steering Committee of the
Graduate Employees Organization
For over a decade, unionized teaching
assistants at the University have struggled
to improve their wages, benefits, working
conditions, and level of respect. The
Graduate Employees Organization (GEO)
has been successful in recent years, win-
ning salary increases, better health bene-
fits, paid training, and full tuition waivers.
Yet, even with the impressive 9 per cent
wage increase obtained in last year's con-
tract negotiations, University graduate stu-
dents remain some of the worst compen-
sated TAs in the Big Ten. You don't need
a long institutional memory to recall the
GEO's struggle with the administration
over tax issues. It took massive protest
and union organization to get the
University to defer tax payments and
establish payment plans; and they still re-
fused to cover the taxes through increased
wages or changes in job categorization.
(We will never know what would have
happened had Congress not come through
for the administration and made tuition

waivers tax-free again. I assume many of
us would be carrying picket signs instead
of grade books if we had to pay taxes on
stipends from already inadequate salaries).
Once powerful unions all over the country
are having difficulty maintaining member-
ship and organizing new workers; TAs
here at the University of Michigan cannot
afford to be complacent.
The University administration has never
been overjoyed at negotiating with union-
ized graduate students. In the past, the ad-
ministration has tried in the courts to deny
the union's legitimacy. But each time,
the GEO and its membership united to
reaffirm their solidarity and maintain their
organization. In fact, GEO has not only
worked for and received better wages and
benefits, but also has helped TAs gain
some control over their working condi-
tions and job integrity. Through contract
negotiations, GEO has mandated that de-
partments must meet with graduate stu-
dents concerning issues of class size, ap-
pointment manipulations (both size of and
total number of), and changes in assign-
ments due to educational curriculum. And
on a day-to-day basis, the GEO's ability to

win grievances has allowed the union to
guard against violations of accepted em-
ployment practices and to protect the level
of dignity and respect T.A.s have achieved.
However, the University administration
has found other ways to limit the TAs'
power. The University has insisted on
drawing a strong distinction between
"academic" related issues and jobrelated
issues. They define policies like the length
of TA support and the manipulation of TA
appointments as issues of academic free-
dom, not TA working conditions. Thus,
they claim that individual departments
have the authority to make such decisions
regardless of TA needs. But reducing sec-
tions while enlarging class sizes clearly
increases the amount of work TAs must
produce, yet maintains or even reduces the
total amount paid in TA salaries. This
method of saving money by increasing an
individual worker's production while re-
ducing the number of employees needed is
known in industrial circles as-a "speed-
up." Under the auspices of academic de-
partmental freedom, the University is be-
ing converted into a factory. But it's not
just the workers that are being hurt.

g for
Consumers suffer as well.
On September 9th, the Big Ten Student
Association compiled a list of "Big Ten
Issues" which included the conflict be-
tween the "Quality of teaching vs. re-
search." In a recent discussion held by stu-
dent leaders concerning what students liked
and disliked about the University of
Michigan, two important problems raised
by the groups were the emphasis on a
"Research" and "Revenue" focus vs. a
"Teaching" focus, and the lack of "good"
TAs. Last year, an undergraduate student
group began a petition drive demanding
smaller class sizes. Clearly students be-
lieve that major universities are short-
changing them on their education.

lAs
will be unable to offer the kind of educa-"
tional assistance they'd like to. TAs and
their students have different complaints:
TAs are overworked and underpaid, and8
students are more interested in a quality
education than the research reputation of
the university. But the source of these
problems is the same, and we can solve it
together.
Tonight is the GEO's first membership
meeting of the semester. We urge all TAs
and SAs to become members and attend.
We may be a few semesters away frdm
contract negotiations, but we must orga-
nize early if we are to confront the admin-
istration on issues of job security ands
working conditions. The meeting will te

'But as TAs are forced to address classes of 25,28, 30, or
more, even they will be unable to offer the kind of educa-
tional assistance they'd like to.'

Students want well trained and experienced
teachers who have the time to pay them
individual attention. Often, this kind of at-
tention is only available from teaching as-
sistants. But as TAs are forced to address
classes of 25,28, 30, or more, even they

in the Michigan Union in the Wolverine
Room at 7:30. We also urge undergradu.
ates to get involved. You, too, will aye
to organize and demand reform if you ant
to re-establish teaching instead of resarh
as a number one priority at the Unive sity.i.
If we all stand together, it won't be 1 g

'I

.E irbi anfladg
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

4 4'

Vol. C, No. 10

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

t'

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.
Dow pollutes the 'U'

T HE UNIVERSITY officially opened
its new Chemistry Extension Building,
named after Herbert Dow of Dow
Chemical Co. fame, Friday. Through
his foundation, Herbert Dow provided
a large percentage of the money spent
on the construction of the building.
Though Dow's donation was huge, it
was not nearly as large as the amount
Michigan taxpayers "contributed." It is
an all too commonplace tragedy that
money from taxes and tuition goes to
honor someone whose company has
done so much to harm them.-
For over two decades, Dow
Chemical Co. has pursued reckless and
irresponsible development of its facili-
ties in Midland, Michigan Abuses in-
clude the attempted construction of a
flawed nuclear reactor. Only the dedi-
cated effort of citizens in the commu-
nity revealed the safety risks inherent to
the proposed reactor.
The proposed site for construction of
the reactor was on wetlands. Revised
environmental impact studies predicted
that the plant would have sunk under
its own weight.
Dow Chemical has also polluted 250
square miles around Midland with the
known human mutagen dioxin. Dow
then challenged in court the right of the
Environmental Protection Agency to
monitor its discharges.
Other inventions by Dow chemical
have harmed the quality of life now,
and will have lasting impact on future
generations
Dow Chemical was first to develop
and promote styrofoam, a non-
biodegradable insulant that has perme-
ated our lives. Styrofoam can be found
in everything from building materials to
coffee cups. Because it is not bio-
degradable, styrofoam will remain in
landfills forever. Styrofoam is an undi-
gestable substance and kills wildlife
that unknowingly swallow it. it also
causes allergic reactions in chemosen-
sitive people.
The production of styrofoam releases
ozone-destroying CFCs that contribute

to global warming and increased inci-
dents of melanoma.
It is disgusting that Dow profits
through the development of new tech-
nologies of destruction, such as Agent
Orange and Napalm.
During the Vietnam war, Dow devel-
oped and produced both Napalm, a
gelatinous gasoline that clings to its
victims while burning, and Agent
Orange, a carcinogenic and mutagenic
defoliant used to destroy agriculture in
Vietnam. Dow still has not compen-
sated all the Vietnam veterans exposed
to Agent Orange.
Despite an EPA ban on its use, Dow
continues to sell Agent Orange to Third
World countries as a defoliant for agri-
cultural purposes. Doubtlessly, some
Agent Orange residue still makes its
way into our bodies through the im-
ported fruit and vegetables we con-
sume. Dow also sells the two compo-
nents of Agent Orange, 2,4D and
2,4,5T both domestically and abroad as
weed killers for lawn care.
This past week, Dow stock split two
for one, signifying their confidence in
long term growth and profits. Indeed,
they should be optimistic as long as
institutions of learning such as the
University of Michigan honor and
legitimize their polluting and
destructive ways.
Students should work to prevent the
University from furthering its relation-
ship with Dow. Though Herbert Dow
now has his name on a building here,
the University doesn't owe him any-
thing.
Many students may work for Dow
Chemical in the future, unknowingly
developing misanthropic chemical
compounds. Now that Dow has be-
come a permanent fixture on Central
Campus, the University may feel it
necessary to support research funded
by and for Dow's best interests.
While Chemistry and a new chem-
istry building may be necessary for
improving our lives, Dow is integral in
increasing our suffering and hardship.

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One of the first pictures of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres in Lebanon 1982 was
taken by an Associated Press photographer. These four young men were slaughtered outside their
home. Official estimated time of death is September, 16, two days before this picture was taken.

Palestinians remembered

By Tom Abowd
This week marks the seventh anniver-
sary of the massacre of more than 2,000
Palestinians at the refugee camps at Sabra
and Shatila outside Beirut, Lebanon. The
three day massacre of the unarmed civilian
population in the camps went on from the
evening of Thursday September16 until
Saturday morning; it was performed by the
Lebanese Phalange militia with the assis-
tance, support, and compliance of the
Israeli army.
The racist argument that the camps were
full of "terrorists" left behind by the
Palestine Liberation Organization is often
evoked to explain Israel's actions. The un-
fortunate reality, according to Israeli,
Arab, and American sources, is that the
inhabitants of the camps were incapable of
offering any serious resistance to either the
Phalange or the Israeli Defense Forces
(IDF) and were slaughtered in cold blood.
The evidence of the indiscriminate
killing and acts of savagery inside the
camps indicts both the neo-fascist
Phalange and the Israelis who surrounded
the camps. But while Phalange responsi-
bility has been recognized, to this day
many Israelis - including the upper eche-
lon of the military- refuse to accept
blame for their attempt to exterminate
Palestinians on a mass scale.
On September 20, 1982, The Guardian
reported that the Israelis had established
"command posts on top of two high rise

buildings overlooking the camps" prior to
the three-day slaughter. The Guardian
goes on to say that the Israelis not only
sent their allies into the camps in an orga-
nized operation, but also were able to
witness the operation from beyond the
walls of the camp.
On September 16, when it grew dark,
the IDF provided the Phalange with light-
ing to assist the slaughter. The following
day and evening, after several more reports
of Phalangist atrocities became known,
the IDF sent the Christian militia back
into the camps; this time with tractors to
finish off the inhabitants and to bury the
victims in a mass grave clearly visible to
the Israelis.
Even Time reported that when four hun-
dred Palestinians, carrying white flags and
seeking refuge from the Phalange, reached
the gates of the camps they were turned
back at gunpoint by the Israeli army
(Time , 10/3/82.)
Perhaps Noam Chomsky best describes
the role Israel played in the massacre.
Chomsky explains that the IDF gave spe-
cific orders to the Phalange "from the
moment they sent them into the camps to
conduct their murderous operations, to the
time when they were sent back in on
Friday afternoon to complete them, to
Saturday morning when they were with-
drawn because of American pressure." (
Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle.)
The collusion between both the IDF
and its allies in Lebanon goes back severat
years. The massacres at Sabra and Shatila

are barbarous but hardly unique to the
Palestinian experience in Lebanon. Many
camps both before and after 1982 have
been sites of almost unparalleled brutality
by the Israelis and their Christian proxies.
Thousands were slaughtered at Tel al-
Zaatar in August 1976 by Christian forces
using Israeli arms, equipment, and tanks.
Earlier in the summer of 1982 Bourj el
Brajneh refugee camp had been the main
target of the 10-hour, non-stop air raids of
August 12, when, according to Chomsky,
the Israelis poured high explosive bombs
on the camp in an apparent effort to de-
stroy it before Palestinian guerillas began
to evacuate the city( Fateful Triangle.)
The massacres which occurred
September 16-18, like so many others in
which Palestinians and Lebanese are the
victims, have largely been forgotten. Ag
Israeli attempts to erase the Palestinian
people continue, Americans must make it
a priority to stand in solidarity with the
victims of Zionist and fascist oppression.
Not until American taxpayers cut the
more than $4 billion which they provide
annually to Israel will the killings, racism
and genocide directed against the
Palestinians cease. Until then, brutality
like that witnessed in Lebanon during the,
Summer of 1982 will no doubt continu4
and the Palestinians will continue to be
the victims of many more massacres.
The General Union of Palestinian
Students and the Palestine Solidarity
Committee in memory of the victims of
Sabra and Shatila will sponsor a day long
commemoration on the diag October 3.

Opinion Page Letter Policy
Due to the volume of mail the Daily cannot print all the letters and columns it re-
ceives, although an effort is made to print the majority of material on a wide range of
views. The Daily cuts letters and columns for space in both the editorial process and in

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