The Michigan Daily -Monday, October 8, 1990 - Page 3
parking lot, stages
'rally for homeless
by David Rheingold
Daily Staff Reporter
The dispute over the Downtown
Development Authority's (DDA)
use of tax dollars erupted once again
when a group of Homeless Action
Committee (HAC) members
blocked cars from entering a park-
ing lot behind Kline's Department
Store Saturday morning.
Ann Arbor police surveyed the
situation, but said City Administra-
tor Del Borgsdorf instructed them to
allow the group to remain in the
Borgsdorf was not available for
HAC members protested the
planned construction of a parking
structure next to the lot, which
would require the demolition of
three houses already there. Instead
of building the new parking deck,
the group feels DDA funds should
be used to construct 1,500 afford-
able housing units.
"We're not talking about general
fund money at all, which is where
salaries and all that comes from;
we're talking about the DDA for
development downtown," said HAC
member Laura Dresser, a third-year
"We're saying, 'You want to
put it into this $9 million parking
structure; why don't you build $9
million worth of housing?' It
doesn't ever affect the city budget.
The city will tell you that they
} don't have money, but they're talk-
ing about the general fund. They're
not talking about DDA money,"
Nearby merchants refused to
by Matthew Pulliam
Daily Staff Reporter
comment on the incident.
HAC members felt the city
council has preferred business inter-
ests over the homeless in the past,
whenever it has opted to build park-
City council member Terry Mar-
tin (R-Second Ward) said businesses
have a strong influence over the
spending of tax money because they
pay the bulk of property taxes.
"The taxpayers in this town are
paying a very high tax because their
assessments are very high, because
we have so much property that's
not taxable, like the University of
Michigan," she said.
Martin added that at least 50 per-
cent of the property in the city is
Council member Mark Ouimet
(R-Fourth Ward) felt the city alone
doesn't have the power to resolve
the issue. "The homeless situation
is not going to be resolved by a lo-
cal city council," he said.
Ouimet stressed a joint effort be-
tween the government, the private
sector, and the homeless them-
Federal funding for housing,
however, has been cut by 80 per-
cent since 1980, according to a
brochure distributed by HAC on
Later that day, approximately
120 people attended a rally in the
lot which featured live music and
free food. Sixteen speakers also ad-
dressed the crowd about such issues
as AIDS education and discrimina-
tion against the homeless.
"I think the upshot of this is go-
Bowing to pressure from student
activists, the Michigan State Uni-
versity administration has ignored its
own ordinances and allowed shanties
in "People's Park" to stand for a
second straight week.
The shanties were erected on
Sept. 23 as part of a protest led by
the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) -'
an MSU student organization -
against MSU ordinances that limit
freedom of expression.
According to Michigan State
University regulations, structures are
only allowed in People's Park during
the day. The regulations require that
all shanties be disassembled after 9
The FSC is now engaged in talks
with MSU officials, including Presi-
dent of Student Affairs Moses
Turner. Mark Fisk, coordinator for
the FSC, said the talks have not re-
sulted in any binding compromise or
Turner was not available for
"The FSC feels that they have to
negotiate, but I don't think that
much will change," Fisk said.
Fisk said the MSU administra-
tion will attempt to use the current
Persian Gulf crisis to its advantage
in any negotiations with the FSC.
Said Fisk, "I think that they're
also taking any possible war in the
Middle East into account. They want
to stop protests, and will use a na-
tional crisis to sway opinions in
Shanties in People's Park are
covered with messages criticizing the
MSU policies and in particular, the
armed police force of the Board of
Last spring, five students were ar-
rested by MSU police while trying
to defend their shanties from destruc-
tion. The charges, which were later
dropped, included "camping" and
"standing with intent to camp."
"I would say that most students...
are indifferent, but the minority that
really cares is overwhelming in their
support," Fisk said about student's
reaction to the issues.
MSU first-year business student
Dan Dunigan emphatically de-
nounced what he sees as "oppression
"Basically, (MSU) wants to con-
trol what students think and say. I
think that no person, no matter how
powerful, should be able to decid,
what a person can or cannot say,"
said Dunigan. "I wholly support free
Mike Pratt, a sophomore in the
College of Business, expressed nei-
ther support for the MSU adminis-
tration nor the opinions of the FSC.
"I am unbiased. I feel that they
(FSC) have every right to express
themselves," Pratt said.
Summing up the FSC's struggle,
Fisk said, "The FSC is the most po-
litically significant solidarity
movement at MSU in the last 15 to
20 years. The struggle against our
administration has clearly demon-
strated that they are against student -
Richard Keller was one of approximately 120 people who protested the
city's funding of a proposed parking structure instead of 1500 affordable
housing units, in the parking lot behind Kline's on Saturday.
ing to be that we really pissed off a
lot of people in the business com-
munity, and they're going to put a
lot more pressure on city council to
get moving quicker with the
houses," said HAC member Jen
Rubin, a graduate student involved
with community organizing and
school social work.
Foreign faculty find frustration, fulfillment at 'U'
Wy Jesse Snyder
Like many at the University,
Patrice Som6 is a long way from
home. An assistant professor in
French language literature, Som6 left
his home of Burkina Faso -
formerly Upper Volta, French West
Africa - only a month ago.
Ann Arbor takes some adjusting
to, Som6 said. "American culture is
ilesigned, enjoys, and is notorious
for being hard to adjust to." But, he
added, things are getting better with
time. Right now Some is busy "just
trying to get into rhythm with the
general dance of this institution."
Cedomil Goic has been here
much longer, but he still doesn't feet
completely at home. A native of
Antofagasta, in northern Chile, he
first came to the University in 1974
Os a visiting professor. The political
situation in Chile, primarily the
military control of the University of
Chile, forced him to return in 1976.
He is now a professor of Span-
ish-American literature and the third
person to hold the honorary chair of
Domingo Faustino Sarmiento.
"It was hard to adjust at first and I
didn't know it at the time, but my
children experienced difficulties," he
said. Prof. Goic now feels accepted,
but admits, "I do feel a little isolated
As foreign professors, Som6 and
Goic are not a rarity. Pat McIntosh,
University personnel analyst, said
that as of October 1989 there were
341 foreign professors at the
University, up from 311 in 1987.
Karen Shill, foreign faculty/staff
employment coordinator at the
International Center, said, "If you
count resident aliens, there are over
1,000 foreign faculty members."
In some ways Som6 and Goic are
not reflective of the majority of
foreign faculty. Shill, whose job
includes helping foreign staff obtain
the appropriate visas necessary for
their long term goals, said the
majority of foreign faculty are from
Korea, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan,
and the Peoples Republic of China
and are primarily based in the fields
of engineering, science, and
"Regrettably, there are not
enough American Ph.Ds in the
engineering, science, and mathe-
matics fields," said Shill. "If not for
foreign faculty, this University
wouldn't be able to function."
"Not only are the majority of
graduate students in these fields for-
eign, but we put out more foreign
Ph.Ds than we do American," Shill
Foreign faculty depend on the
University as much as the Uni-
versity depends on them. Graduate
student Ravi Vaidya, for example,
came to Michigan for the "higher
academic standards" which were not
available in India. Many professors
come for the same reason.
"Universities in underdeveloped
countries just don't have the equip-
ment, computers, or the finances
needed to hire assistants for these
professors," said Shill.
While most visiting professors
stay at the University only a few
years, very few return home. Many
remain in the United States as
permanent residents. Prof. Goic, for
example, taught at the Universities
of Texas, Wisconsin, Quebec, and
Berkeley between 1964 to 1973.
There are problems inherent in
the use of foreign faculty. Other
nations often resent the brain drain
of their brightest individuals. The J-
1 visa, or exchange visitors visa,
helps to lessen this impact on
underdeveloped nations. With a J-1
visa, a person can train or teach in
the U.S for three years and then is
obligated to return to his or her
homeland for a minimum of two
years to upgrade their field of study.
Another problem is one of
adjustment. Shill said students in
other countries are often told what
classes to take, what schools to go
to, and what jobs to take after
"The element of choices here
astounds people," said Shill. "They
are not used to free speech, not used
to arguing in class. To them the
professors speak gospel."
Of course, there are language
difficulties. While foreign students
are subject to language requirements,
professors are not. This can create
resentment among American stu-
dents who do not understand their
"It's hard enough learning cal-
culus anyway," said Shill. In
addition, language difficulties do not
help the feeling of isolation many
Shill said another problem is
minority resentment toward for-
eigners who are taking advantage of
job opportunities minorities have
waited a long time for.
"The position of minorities has
not been appropriately addressed,"
said Shill. "It's a difficult issue. You
can't ignore the fact that some
people are unhappy, but some
remarkable people are foreigners."
Som6 has noticed this resentment
as well. "Blacks feel themselves at a
lesser educational level than white
Americans," Som6 said. "And then
it's always an African who is
succeeding. They feel they didn't get
what they deserved while newcomers
"Black Americans have to learn
how to utilize themselves to carry
themselves out to a higher level,"
Som6, who applied for an job
opening in Third World Studies and
Literature, is encouraged by the
interest American students have i:
Africa although he knows it has
only developed recently. Som6 said
it gives him a "sense of usefulness."
One of the biggest differences
between American culture and
Some's culture, he said, is the
western idea of time enslavement, or
the unspoken desire to break out of
the bonds of work.
"At home, work and relaxation
are the same thing. A half dozen
people would cultivate while two
people would be drumming the
whole day," Som6 said. "Singing
and working, it's a totally different
Taken by a priest at age fr
educated in Europe, Som6 retur
his family and found he co
speak his native language. He
through a double initiation, g
ation from the schools of Et
and initiation into the culture
under consideration by Harpe
Row, with Paramount Pi
interested in a movie version, s
plans to go home once a ye
keep the ties with his people.
"I can't be American,"
said. "But I can be a bridge."
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Jewish Feminist Group's Potluck1
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PIRGIM - contact Mary Faber
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Writers Series - 8:30 p.m., 802
Monika Maron: Reading from
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p.m., Room One Career Planning
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Program Open House --4 p.m.,
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Faculty Carillon Recital -
MargoHalsted, 7:15 p.m., Burton
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Workshop in Gender Stereo-
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Greek Dance Class - 8 p.m.,
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