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November 30, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-30

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A

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, November 30, 1989

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

4

University administration answers LaGROC's demands:
Bureaucratic non-response

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. C, No. 60

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.
Whose planes are they, anyway?
Escalating e U.S. war

S ALVADORAN PRESIDENT Alfredo
Cristiani expressed his outrage this
week when his government claimed to
have found the wreckage of a small
Nicaraguan airplane carrying arms for
rebel forces in a remote area of El Sal-
vador. Cristiani's ARENA government
suspended relations with Nicaragua,
accusing the Sandinista government of
"escalating" the war by introducing
anti-aircraft missiles into the rebel army
of the Farabundo Martf National Liber-
ation Front (FMLN).
U.S. President George Bush has
added his voice to the outcry, calling
on the Soviet Union to lean on Cuba to
lean on Nicaragua to stop helping the
FMLN.
The U.S. and Salvadoran govern-
ments have been trying for 10 years to
establish a military link between the
Sandinista government and the FMLN
irtorder to justify continued U.S. sup-
port ($1.5 million per day) for the war
aginst the popular movement. Numer-
ou$ charges have been quickly discred-
it'd; the link has still never been firmly
established. Questions remain about the
latest plane scare: even if it is estab-
lished that the plane came from
Nicaragua, the connection to the gov-
e;nment is tenuous at best. The FMLN
hNs bought arms from disaffected con-
tras for years; many believe last week's
plane-load was part of that supply-line.
:But unreported and undiscussed in
tpe furor over suspected "export" of
revolution in Central America is the
niassive support for counterrevolution
1lpwing south from the United States.
After the U.S. government spent 10
years beefing up the Salvadoran air
f'rce, for Bush and Cristiani to cry,
foul and speak of "escalation" over a
shipment of a handful of anti-aircraft
missiles represents the height of politi-
cal hypocrisy.
And no one seems to be asking why
tle Salvadoran army has needed an ac-
tive air force - trained, equipped and
piloted by U.S. "advisors" - if the
FVLN never had anti-aircraft capabili-
ties before.
The U.S. right to legally maintain an
official force of 55 "advisors" (though
eten the major media are now reporting
that well over 100 U.S. army person-
nel are in El Salvador) to fight in a for-
eign civil war goes unquestioned be-
cause of the United States' mythical
role of supporting democracy.
:The recent discovery of a group of
fqlly armed, combat-ready Green
Berets in the San Salvador Sheraton
hotel (said to be on a two-week

"training" mission which happened to
coincide with the largest offensive of
the 10-year-old war) should have been
an embarrassment for the U.S. gov-
ernment. But the major media refused
to question their presence, or the pres-
ence of a 200-man Delta Force team
which President Bush claimed
"liberated" the Green Berets, and the
issue was summarily dropped.
. Instead, in a fPeble attempt to show
moral indignation, the U.S. Senate has
demanded a report on the investigation
of the murder of six Jesuit priests to be
completed by February (ignoring
60,000 previously killed by govern-
ment death squads); if the Crisitiani
government doesn't find any scape-
goats by then the U.S.might reconsider
next year's military aid package for El
Salvador.
The Salvadoran military must be
quaking: the last time the United States
cut off aid to El Salvador, after the
death squad murder of four nuns in
1980, the freeze lasted all of one
month.
Even while the Bush administration
insists the war against the Salvadoran
people is just, it constantly evades the
persistent charges of an increase in di-
rect U.S. involvement, including re-
ports of U.S. "advisors" in combat.
These reports now come not only from
the FMLN, but from sources as far
from El Salvador as the office of
Brooklyn Representative Ted Weiss
and independent news agencies includ-
ing the Pacifica news network - who
all claim U.S. pilots are flying the
bombing raids which have killed hun-
dreds of civilians in the city of San
Salvador.
More and more U.S. citizens are'
wondering which kind of democracy
they really support - the democracy
which drops 500-pound bombs on its
poor neighborhoods, forces its partici-
pants to drop paper ballots in clear
plastic boxes under the watchful eye of
armed soldiers, murders its political
opposition, activist clergy and health
workers; or the democracy which pro-
vides medical care to farmers who have
never seen a doctor, grants land to
landless peasants, and educates its
children instead of forcing them to join
the army.
U.S. citizens, have a responsibility
to ask those questions, and the U.S.
government has an obligation to re-
spond. The government's lies and the
major media's conversion of those lies
into news has gone on long enough, at
a cost of too many innocent lives.

By the Lesbian and Gay
Rights Organizing Committee
LaGROC has received a typical bureau-
cratic non-response to the demands we
submitted to the administration during our
sit-in at President Duderstadt's office on
October 11. The response came from
Zaida Giraldo, the director of the
University's Office of Affirmative Action,
at the request of James Duderstadt. As
listed, these responses cover a variety of
issues that LaGROC has determined to
affect the lesbian, gay male, and bisexual
community on the University campus. Our
demands received acknowledgement,
though no actual response was offered.
We are dissatisfied with the administra-
tion's perfunctory non-response to these
necessary demands. In the president's
inevitable defense of the status quo, noth-
ing is being accomplished. To answer our
demand for a change in Bylaw 14.02 to in-
clude lesbians and gay men, we were told
that "University policy...is firmly com-
mitted to the protection" of these people.
We do not need the Regents' commitment
in rhetoric. We must have the legal protec-
tion that only this specific change in Uni-
versity policy will give us.
Our demands for regular courses in Les-
bian and Gay Men's Studies and for a
mandatory course covering racism, sex-
ism, and heterosexism at the University
were deferred to the "faculty of each of
the University's Schools and Colleges."
We will begin this effort, and we expect
the administration to follow through with
their end of the deal. LaGROC will be in-
terested in obtaining the "regental ap-
proval" for these courses which Giraldo
says "would be the result of" this process.
We were referred to the Assistant Direc-
tor for Collection Management to meet
our demand for the establishment of a
comprehensive literature collection in the
University's libraries. We will contact her
soon, so if Giraldo is correct, it should not
be long before this collection is made
available.
We got no response to our demand for a
lounge or community center for lesbians
and gay men on campus. Instead, La-
GROC was told to use the Michigan
Union. "Its facilities and services are

available for all student groups." Our de-
mand was not for a temporary meeting
place. What we want is a place that could
serve the lesbian/gay men's community as
a permanent 'resource center.' The
suggestion Giraldo gave us is equivalent
to offering an applicant for University
housing a different room at a motel every
night!
University housing is the topic of La-
GROC's sixth demand. We demand a
change in housing policies which include
gay men and lesbians. We were told that
family housing is available only to married
students or to single parents with de-
pendents. Family housing is not available
for lesbians or gay men. This policy must
be changed. Giraldo did say that

immediately - the administration could
easily find at least one openly gay person
to represent the gay community's interest
on the AIDS Task Force. It is important to
have an openly gay person on this task
force, someone to whom the gay commu-
nity can specifically address its concerns.
In denial of our demand for an official
declaration of October 11 as Coming Out
Day on campus, we have been told that
"the University policy on declaring holi-
days or official observances conforms to
national and state laws and declarations."
The administration has told us that they
"do not observe official 'days' no matter
how worthy the cause." Perhaps they have
forgotten their recent recognition of Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. This

'To answer our demand for a change in Bylaw 14.02 to
include lesbians and gay men, we were told that
"University policy ...is firmly committed to the
protection" of these people. We do not need the
Regents' commitment in rhetoric. We must have the
legal protection that only this specific change in Uni-
versity policy will give us.'

University housing officials "are open to
discussions of new ways to define fairly
the concept of 'domestic partner."'
LaGROC intends to assist in this process
of definition.
In the administration's response to La-
GROC's demand for inclusion of 'sexual
orientation' in the Michigan Mandate, we
were told that we will not be part of this
mandate. The purpose of the Michigan
Mandate is to ."respond to urgent state and
national priorities and to the University's
own aspirations for racial and ethnic diver-
sity and equal access." With due respect to
the critical importance of these specific
goals, LaGROC asserts that 'sexual orien-
tation' is worthy of the same consideration
as these other issues.
The eighth demand is for an openly Gay
member on the AIDS Task Force. The
administrative response claims that "a gay
male (sic) was appointed to membership
on it." LaGROC expects this "openly" gay
man (this is the appropriate term for an
adult human gay male) to identify himself.
If he is unwilling to do this, LaGROC
expects that our demand be met

worthy cause has received an official ob-
servation. A recognition of Coming Out
Day would not mean that the University
would be closed for the day, it would sim-
ply be an open acknowledgement that the
University realizes the importance of the
event. This is a demand on which La-
GROC is unwilling to compromise. We
insist that the administration declare a
campus Coming Out Day.
LaGROC awaits action - not rhetoric
- in response to our demands. We will
not be satisfied until the administration
works with us to support the rights of
lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals on cam-
pus. This would logically begin with a
basic statement of support from the Uni-
versity administration. Each of our de-
mands is imperative, and we expect the
administration's full cooperation. We will
continue to work toward these goals, but
we require the positive support of the ad-
ministration. Anyone who would like to
help LaGROC with these goals is wel-
come to attend our meetings at 3100
Michigan Union on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.

120 hours to graduate:
Is class time a f air mneasure?

By Nicholas H. Steneck
A month ago, the LSA College Execu-
tive Committee, following recommenda-
tions of the College Curriculum Commit-
tee, voted to make contact hours the main
consideration for approving credits for all
courses except laboratories, studios, semi-
nars, and independent study. Beginning in
Fall 1991, one credit hour will signify one
hour spent in class each week for an entire
term.
The University currently requires 120
hours for graduation. If you ever wondered
where this figure came from, it was estab-
lished 110 years ago. At the time,
"elective courses" were becoming an im-
portant part of every student's education.
To ensure some standard across the cur-
riculum, it was decided that a student had
to have 24 "full courses of study" to grad-
uate and that a full course of study was
equal to "five exercises [class meetings] a
week." Multiply 5 times 24 and you arrive
at the magic number, 120.
A century ago, the majority of time
spent in class was devoted to "exercises,"

i.e. reciting and discussing material that
had been prepared in advance. Lectures
were not unknown, but they were not the
main form of teaching in undergraduate
classes. Reading lists were short, perhaps
one or two basic texts. It was 120 credit
hours of this type that the faculty felt a
student should have for graduation.
Classes and teaching today are obvi-
ously far different. In-class hours are often
the smaller part if the time spent "in" a
particular course. Reading lists are lonf er,
outside-class assignments, such as term
papers, can require a considerable invest-
ment in time. Such changes raise two ob-
vious questions that students should ask
themselves as they think about LSA's
new rule:
-Is in-class time really an accurate measure
of the experience you have in your courses
and therefore an appropriate measure of the
investment you have made in your degree?
-If in-class time is to be used as a measure
of course credit, should 120 hours still be
required for graduation?
The LSA Executive and Curriculum
Committees are saying that it is perfectly

reasonable for any student to take, for ex-
ample, five history courses, or their equiv-
alent, each and every term. It is reasonable
for students, in 14 weeks, to attempt to
master the history of ancient Greece; a ma-
jor period in U.S., African, or Latin
American history; the War in Vietnam;
the Holocaust; and modern China. It is
reasonable to read 1-3 books a week (not
to mention textbooks and miscellaneous
articles, to research and write 5 or more
term papers, and to take 5-10 term exams
and five final exams, in one week.

If it strikes you that this may not be
reasonable, you might want to take a
closer look at LSA's new rules on credit
hours and how it affects the education you
are getting at the University. You also
might want to contact your representatives
on the LSA Curriculum Committee (Kim
White, Jen Clough Alec Neff, and
Matthew Fox, alternate) or the LSA Stu-
dent Government (David Boris, president)
to make your views known.
Nicholas H. Steneck is a professor in
the History Department.

0

Inhibiting productive . discourse

By Michael Heilbronner
The Daily has often been criticized for
its radically liberal viewpoint. I have no
problem with a student run newspaper that
takes a controversial position on any is-
sue; in fact, I think it is the duty of any
newspaper, more specifically its editorial
staff, to do so. However, when the un-
signed editorials and signed columns on an
editorial page are too radical, or even racist
in some instances, free and productive
speech is indirectly impeded. With regard
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the
Daily editorial staff has written or ap-
proved the printing of some material that
meets this criteria. The editorial staff has
printed editorials and columns that might
be extensions of free speech on one level,
but is so offensive to some that it serves
na a hindrance tn onan discussion on an.-

the Opinion Page. In its left-side editori-
als, the Daily has consistently sided with
the Palestinians in their struggle to gain a
homeland. The Palestinian intfada is an
issue that should be considered and dis-
cussed not only by the editorial staff but
by anyone in the campus community.
Last month, the Daily editorial staff
approved the printing of a column by
Mark Ellis ("In the service of the state,"
Daily, 10/13/89)0 The overtly racist and
anti-Semitic column elicited many con-
cerned responses from the campus com-
munity. Since I like to know who my en-
emies are and what they are saying about
me, I am glad, in one sense, that the edito-
rial staff approved the printing of the edi-
torial. Also, a good First Amendment ar-
gument can be made in favor of printing
such a column.

In the future, I would like the editorial
staff to make sure that in editorials
supporting the Palestinian or any other
cause it does not make any more
dangerous generalizations and substantiates
all claims with solid, cited evidence. I also
hope that the editorial staff will approve
an equal amount of signed columns that
represent both sides of any issue,
especially the volatile and relevant Pales-
tinian-Israeli issue. By printing too many
columns or editorials that are overtly bel-
ligerent or even racist, the Daily editorial
staff exercises its valuable First Amend-
ment rights. Unfortunately, in the process,
the editorial staff so alienates a large seg-
ment of the campus community that free,
productive speech is hindered. Since more
free, productive speech is needed on this
campus, I hope that the editorial staff

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