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February 12, 1990 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-12

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 12, 1990
Wtiz Airbiguu Bailyg
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

'U' ignores the tradition of one graduation


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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.
R /. Fro m t hesr Ia iy .i.
Ruling will help fight discriminatory promotion

By Daniel Quick
When you heard about last year's gradu-
ation commencement ceremonies, you heard
one of two things. Most every senior said,
"Yeah, it was great! Beach balls, friends and
some beer... what more could you want!"
Yet most every parent or newspaper or
University official had quite the opposite
view: "This debauchery and drunkenness
must come to an end. Students can't even
hear the commencement speech!"
The University has responded by split-
ting up graduation ceremonies along col-
lege lines and by moving the time of the
ceremony up in order to avoid partying.
What we have here is a failure to communi-
No matter what year of school you're in,
you've seen movies, heard stories and had
visions about what college graduation is all
about. It's standing with your best friends,
throwing that cap into the air, sharing that
one last relatively carefree moment before
reality sneaks up on you. On a more somber
note, it's a time to reflect on how far you've
comeand to wonder what in the world lies
ahead. And it's a great time to look like the
best thing since sliced bread to your overly-
proud parents.
What graduation is not, however, seems
to be exactly what the University pictures it
as. Their decision to split the ceremony
along college boundaries shows a lack of
understanding about what graduation means
to the students psychologically. No one really
Quick is an LSA senior.

cares that the president of the University
stands at a podium and piles accolades upon
them. How well does Jim Duderstadt really
know you?
No one really cares about a commence-
ment speech from someone who no one has
even heard of. It's not a matter of being rude
or insensitive, as the University charges. It's
a matter of priorities. And frankly, comrade-
ship wins out over pomp and circumstance.
The format of last year's ceremony was
nerfect. Ten thousand hlack robes. all shar-

are they assuming that all of my friends are
in the same college as me? They might as
well have split us up alphabetically. What's
worse is that this division will fundamen-
tally alter people's memories. Gone will be
the remembrance of a sea of black robes
filling the football stadium. Gone will be the
memories of standing with your best friends
if they so happen to be engineers while
you're graduating in psychology. In its place
will be a colder memory, a more detached

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Court handed down a ruling that dra-
matically affects faculty promotion at
colleges and universities and gives
valuable ammunition to those combat-
ing sexual and racial discrimination on
campus. In a unanimous decision, the
court - which recently has had a con-
troversial record on civil rights issues
- ruled that universities subjected to
job discrimination complaints are re-
quired to relinquish confidential faculty
tenure files for examination by federal
While the 9-0 ruling is a disap-
pointment for universities such as
Michigan, which mandate strict confi-
dentiality in peer evaluations of their
tenure candidates, there is no question
tmt the decision will help expose bla-
tant discrimination in cases where it has
conspired to snuff out the drive for a
sexually and culturally diverse faculty.
Certainly the importance of the rul-
ing is not lost on the University of
Michigan community, which has seen
more than its share of controversy
surrounding faculty hiring and tenure
processes. The action of the Supreme
Court may serve to explain several of
the dubious tenure decisions made at
the University.
In its decision, the Supreme Court
ordered the University of Pennsylvania
- which had refused to yield the
tenure files of former associate Prof.
Rosalie Tung to the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -
to release its documentation. Tung,
now a tenured faculty member at Wis-
consin, was denied tenure at Pennsyl-
vania's Wharton School of Business in

1985; she subsequently protested to the
EEOC that she had been discriminated
against on the grounds of being both a
woman and a Chinese-American.
When the EEOC subpoenaed her
records, as well as those of her male
colleagues, the university refused to
produce them, saying the files were
protected by the First Amendment
guarantee of academic freedom. Penn
claimed this freedom allows universi-
ties to disregard subpoenas for docu-
ments in job-discrimination lawsuits.
The justices disagreed, and in a
laudable move against discrimination
upheld the authority of the EEOC to in-
vestigate complaints based on the 1964
Civil Rights Act and its 1972 extension
to include academic institutions. By
making the sticky tenure process re-
sponsible to reviewing by agencies like
the EEOC, the ruling will unquestion-
ably aid the advancement of female and
minority professors as they work to
overcome discrimination in the nations'
Hopefully, this decision will also
serve as a stepping stone to more open
tenure records in all cases. Universities
have long restricted efforts to make the
reasons for faculty promotion public,
but perhaps the court's ruling is an
indication that they will have to be
more accountable in the future.
Still, the court's ruling affirms in-
dividuals' rights against discrimination
by universities. As Justice Harry
Blackmun wrote in his opinion, "If
there is a 'smoking gun' to be found
that demonstrates discrimination in
tenure decisions, it is likely to be
tucked away in peer review files."

ing in the same anxious joy, packed into
Michigan Stadium, a place already laden
with so much emotional energy for most
students. Champagne bottles were every-
where; it was one big party. At the given
moment, you and all of the others in your
class stood for joint recognition. This was
the key. Graduation is not about ceremony,
but joint recognition for all of your travails,
and joint anxiety about what's next. No one
stands alone at graduation.
The University's decision to split the
ceremonies by college seems arbitrary; why

Which is not to say that this year's cere-
monies,despite the University's efforts, will
notbe fun. Many students feel cheated out of
something that should be legitimately theirs.
And many are determined to be purpose-
fully obnoxious at this year's ceremony: one
final thumbing at the University for its deci-
sion. Unfortunately, this is probably as much
as students can do. Nevertheless, it's a shame
that the University, which has extracted so
much from each of us over the years, now
seems prepared to deny us even one last
great memory.

University needs to preserve decorum

Barriers to entvy

Senate repeals a leftover
proved a repeal of a provision of the
McCarren-Walter Immigration Act. The
act was instituted by Congress in 1952
to provide guidelines for the exclusion
of visitors to the U.S. and those seek-
ing to become residents. This law,
passed during the height of the Mc-
Carthy era, was intended to prevent the
entry of communists and others of
"subversive ideology" from entering
the country, and thus "protect" Ameri-
can citizens.
The law has since been used to bar
numerous authors, artists and politi-
cians from entering the U.S., and it has
remained in effect long after the Mc-
Carthy era's anti-communist paranoia
had abated. Among those denied entry
to the U.S. under the act are Gabriel
Garcia Marquez, Pierre Trudeau, Gra-
ham Greene, and very recently Yasser
Arafat, who was prevented from ad-
dressing the United Nations in New
The partial repeal, sponsored by
New York Senator Daniel Moynihan,
will stop the current practice of denying
short-term visas to people the Immi-
gration Service deems politically or
ideologically subversive. However, the
amendment makes no change in the
regulations regarding applications for
;residency or citizenship in the U.S.

restriction on visitation
This portion of the McCarren-Walter
Act is now under legal attack in the
case of a group of individuals popu-
larly referred to as the "L.A. Eight."
The U.S. Immigration Service has
been attempting to deport seven Jorda-
nians and one Kenyan, charging them
with membership in the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine, which
the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.
A federal judge has already barred the
deportation, maintaining that four sec-
tions of the McCarren-Walter Act are
unconstitutional and a restriction of the
right to free speech.
The Senate's repeal will not have
any effect on this trial because the L.A.
Eight were permanent residents, not
citizens. The freedom of speech is one
of the most basic rights guaranteed by
the Constitution, and it is unfair for the
U.S. to deny this right to resident
The other remaining provisions of
the McCarren-Walter Act continue to
restrict entry, for example of people
believing in polygamy or people with
"deviant sexual practices." It is time
this act, an unfortunate remnant of the
McCarthy-era hysteria, is overturned
and rewritten to exclude such narrow-
minded restrictions and limits on free

By John H. D'Arms
Commencement, ideally, is richly-mean-
ingful academic ritual, where ceremony and
celebration balance each other in fine equi-
librium. When, in full academic regalia,
universities simultaneously bid farewell to
their graduates and welcome them (in the
traditional wording) "to the company of
learned women and men," the emphasis is
upon congratulation of graduates, in sight of
their families and in close community with
fellow students, faculty, university officers,
honorary degree recipients, and regents.
How can the University of Michigan
make the ceremony of spring commence-
ment most meaningful to the participants-
particularly, to the graduating students, their
parents, and other members of their fami-
lies? This was the question which President
Duderstadt charged the Task Force on Uni-
versity Events to answer. This Task Force,
appointed nearly a year ago and composed
of students, faculty, and members of the
administration, quickly came to unanimous
agreement on a number of points:
The single University facility capable
of accommodating the more than 30,000
who normally attend spring commencement
is Michigan Stadium, and this facility has
major drawbacks. First, owing to the dis-
tance between the graduates (seated in the
stands) and the platform party (positioned
on the field), the stadium works against
creation of a "contained" space, and thus
also against the sense of connectedness, and
close community, which commencement
exercises require to be meaningful.
Second, this is a very uncertain time of
year: in case of last minute rain or snow, the
ceremony shifts to Crisler arena, where only
13,609 can be accommodated. How do the
thousands of other disappointed ticket hold-
ers feel about that?
Besides, there is the matter of decorum.
After years of fall Saturdays in Michigan
Stadium, should any of us really be sur-
prised that football stadium enthusiasm
persists in an arena designed for that, and
where most graduates have never seen any-
thing else happen?
For commencement to be meaningful,
graduates should feel themselves to be per-
sonal participants in the exercises, not merely
witnesses to a spectacle. But the large
numbers of graduates from more than a
dozen schools and colleges are simply too
many - normally more than 4,500 gradu-
ates are in attendance - to permit individ-
ual recognition of each one; and so in the end
the symbolic meaning of the event is corre-
D'Arms is dean of the Rackham School of
Graduate Studies and chair of the Task
Force on University Events.

spondingly diluted for all.
Attempts to create a more meaningful
graduation experience have been going on
for years in most schools and colleges -
proof (if additional proof were needed) that
University-wide commencement exercises
leave many of us feeling dissatisfied, and
rather incomplete. Separate ceremonies,
planned and organized by the individual
schools and colleges, and focusing upon the
individual recognition of graduates, have
helped to create a communal atmosphere in
which students, their families, and college
faculty members experience a shared sense
of personal, even intimate, involvement.
For all of these reasons, the Task Force
recommended to the president and regents
that for the next few years at spring com-
mencement, we attempt to combine some

traditional elements of a University-wide
ceremony with a more decentralized ap-
All of the members of the Task Force
continue to believe in the desirability of a
University-wide spring commencement that
would meaningfully unite the entire aca-
demic community. Institutions change and
evolve; with students advice, assistance,
and commitment, we will be reviewing our
progress with this extraordinary academic
pageant. Meanwhile, we hope that this year's
experiences will lift the personal and sym-
bolic meaning of commencement to a new
level, one at which graduates, their families,
and their professors remember and reflect,
take pride in shared effort and achievement,
and also celebrate.


University not prepared for commencement changes

Conduct codes should protect free expression

In universities across the nation, well-
intentioned efforts to quell the tides of
racism, sexism and homophobia have in-
fringed upon free speech.
But Penn State has reinforced the
essential commitment to the First
Amendment by revising its Acts of Intol-
erance policy to specifically include free
speech. Though not all expressions are

because the University still guards against
harassment - defined as the subjection of
a group or individual to physical harm or
alarming them of theat threat - under a
separate code of conduct.
Universities such as Michigan and
Tufts have tried to fight intolerant atti-
tudes by restricting free speech. While the
intent behind these restrictions may have

By Amy Berger, Michelle
Lands, and Tod McMillen
At first, we thought the idea of each
college having individual graduation cere-
monies was a good one. As students in the
School of Education, having a ceremony
structured around our career goals sounded
more meaningful and rewarding than the
large ceremony that previously took place
in Michigan Stadium.
There, the only recognition that we re-
ceived was when our three small rows
were allowed to stand. This small number
is deceiving because the students who were
enrolled in other departments but were also
receiving teaching certificates were not
recoiznized for this at Graduation. Thus, the

committee had decided about when and
where their ceremony would take place.
Our problem seemed minor compared to
most. We simply needed a larger facility.
The committee had not taken into consid-
eration the approximately 150 certification
students who are not enrolled in the
School of Ed. They assigned us to a small
auditorium with 50 students in mind,
when in actuality we have almost 200.
It seemed that until the graduate school
had finalized its plans, Rackham Dean
John D'Arms, chair of the Task Force on
University Events, was unwilling to allow
the School of Ed. to change the room. We
were also told that if they accommodated

are the honorary degrees being conferred at
this graduation, but the most prominent
speakers who have been invited are being
funded by the whole University. The un-
dergraduates are the majority at this uni-
versity, but are being given a back seat to
the graduate students, who are now receiv-
ing all the benefits at graduation that were
traditionally University-wide.
The School of Ed. was up against a
wall which would result in either exclud-
ing some of the certification students,
most of the faculty, or limiting the gradu-
ates to two guests per person.
The bureaucracy that people have to go
through to get a simple thing like a room

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