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November 29, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-29

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 29, 1990
et idigau 1ailQ
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Editor in Chief

Opinion Editor

Unsigned editorials represent a mnajority of the Daily' s Editorial Board. A ll other cartoons,j
signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
From the Daily
Favoring research
'U' must rediscover the benefit of good teaching

to Psychology course is well-known,
even to Michigan high school students.
He is both friendly to students as well
as a charismatic lecturer, maintaining
students' interest throughout class. But
his assaults on Freud may not be heard
for much longer. According to
widespread rumors circulating through-
out the Psychology Department, Wes-
ten has not received tenure and will
leave the University quite soon, due in
large part to pressure from the Univer-
sity to more actively pursue research.
It is a sad state of affairs when a
university turns away professors who
are both qualified and interesting. A
majority of students who have attended
his class have left with nothing but
praise for Westen. He makes psychol-
ogy interesting, often illustrating theo-
ries and concepts in terms of everyday
situations. In fact, many of his former
students have become psychology ma-
The University seems to ignore
teaching, and concentrate instead on re-
search and reputation. In the adminis-
tration's view, professors are supposed
to be researchers first and capable lec-
turers second. To clearly deliver the
major concepts and ideologies of the
syllabus to the class is not as important
as keeping up on the latest studies and
initiating new ways of looking at old
research. Therefore, by this theory, it
is better to have professors who bore
their students into a deep slumber in the
classroom than to have able orators
who inspire their class to laugh and ask
insightful questions.
This mentality is absurd. When stu-
dents know their professors actually
care if they understand the material,
they feel more comfortable about ask-
ing questions about unclear areas and
other issues relevant to the course. In
this manner, students better understand
the material presented to them. It no
longer seems simply a weight on their
shoulders, or information to be memo-
rized and regurgitated during finals, but
interesting concepts that may be applied
to life.
If professors are to spend the bulk
of their time performing research, they
will not have sufficient time to plan
such things as detailed lecture sched-
ules, additional meeting times with
teaching assistants, extended office
hours during exam times, and so on. If
the University is asking its professors

to be full-time researchers, they must
consequently alienate themselves from
the students. This situation, especially
in the case of introductory courses, is
especially detrimental, since if a student
fails to clearly understand key concepts
in the introductory class, there will be a
definite aversion to taking upper-level
courses in that field.
In considering research as the pri-
mary factor for tenure, another problem
is brought to light: who decides what
counts as research? Analyzing the
mating behavior of blindfolded seagulls
may be research to one person but not
to another. If the definition of research
is left to the University, some adjunct
professors run the risk of having their
painstaking studies being dismissed as
unqualified and their status as "actively
researching professors" questioned.
Therefore, the University is faced
with two extremes. At one side is giv-
ing tenure to those professors who are
charismatic speakers and explain their
material well. However, these profes-
sors may not be aware of new devel-
opments in their field, thus allowing
their material to become dated. On the
other side, tenure could be granted to
those professors who perform schol-
arly research, developing new theories
in their respective fields. But these
professors may fail to keep the stu-
dents' interest and fail to deliver clear
concepts to their students.
The only viable choice is to weigh
these two factors, but begin to give in-
creased importance to lecturing ability.
The main objective of a university is to
give its students a clear understanding
of a number of different fields.
Research can be conducted at research
firms and think-tanks. Besides, it be-
comes very hard to perform research
that is both enlightening and new in
regular intervals.
Ideally, the University will attract
professors who are successful re-
searchers, well-respected in their
fields, and popular and interesting lec-
turers. But often this is not possible.
By making it policy to give prefer-
ence to professors capable of lecturing
instead of simple scholarly researchers,
the University benefits in producing a
highly educated student body, and
thereby attracting more students to ap-
ply. In this manner, professors like
Drew Westen would stay to further en-
lighten students, instead of being
chased off by the whip of research.


w 8.


Legalize marijuana to win war on drugs

By Andrew M. Levy
Earlier this month, William Bennett
resigned from his post as Director of the
National Drug Policy Administration
("Drug Czar") to become chair of the
Republican National Committee. While
this move received little media attention,
it is symbolic of the failure of the United
States government to deal with what
President Bush one year ago called "our
Nation's highest domestic priority."
The "drug war" fought previously by
the Reagan Administration, and more re-
cently by President Bush's administration,
has proven to be a failure, and its strate-
gies need to be rethought. The only strat-
egy that would work, and the one that
should be adopted, is the decriminalization
of marijuana.
Billions of dollars are spent by the
government each year on drug enforce-
ment, interdiction, rehabilitation, and edu-
cation. A sizeable portion of that money
is spent to combat marijuana use, impor-
tation, cultivation, and abuse. A compe-
tent decriminalization program would refo-
cus the drug war on more illicit drugs,
while increasing the amount of money
spent on rehabilitation and education.
Such a program would consist of three
basic tenets:
Make the sale, possession, and con-
sumption of marijuana legal, regulated
much the way alcohol is. License mari-
juana-vending stores separately, and require
the presence of a police officer in all such
Levy is an LSA first-year student and a
member of the Daily Opinion Staff.

outlets (such as is required in package
liquor stores in Ohio) to prevent sale to
Impose a substantial federal tax on
each ounce of marijuana. The revenue
from this tax would be earmarked for recir-
culation into the reformulated drug war,
with the majority of the money for drug
education and rehabilitation programs.
Empower employers to regulate use
by workers. For example, the drug could

"rebellious" motivation to using the drug,
use will taper down significantly.
Many also fear that the society will
overrun by drug-crazed lunatics in impor
tant positions (i.e. a doctor doing an oper-
ation while under the influence). Strict
regulation by employers will curb this,
and in reality the danger is no higher than
that of a society overrun by alcoholics.
Further, people point to the addictive
qualities of marijuana, and the health

The "drug war" has proven to be a failure, and its
strategies need to be rethought. The only strategy that
would work, and the one that should be adopted, is
the decriminalization of marijuana.

not be used in the workplace, but could be
used outside the workplace in the way that
alcohol is today.
Imposing this new strategy would en-
able the government to reconcentrate its
energy on more dangerous drugs, control
the quality and quantity of the marijuana
that is circulated, and take the organized
crime element out of the sale of mari-
There are many arguments that attempt
to diminish this stance. Many believe that
marijuana use will increase once it is de-
criminalized. This may be true for the
short-term; however, when the novelty
wears off, and there is no longer a

threat that its use poses. In fact, there is
compelling medical evidence that mari-
juana is less addictive, less impairing, and
less of a long-term medical threat than al-
The time has come to concentrate the
drug war in areas where it is necessary and
where it will be effective. The current ef-
fort has proven ineffective in all areas thus
far, especially in controlling the use an*
distribution of marijuana. The government
must realize that continuing the futile
farce that is the nation's drug policy will
only ensure its failure. Decriminalize mar-
ijuana now - it will pay off in the future.

Daily ignores positive
side -of Action party
To the Editor:
We have sat back and listened and read
lies perpetuated by the Daily for the past
three months, but in light of the editorial
concerning Action and room allocations,
we feel our silence must be broken
("Office space debacle reflects on Action
leadership," 11/12/90).
To begin with, the room allocation fi-
asco was the sole deliberation of one per-

son, Budget Priorities Committee Chair
Charles Dudley. Dudley is in no way affil-
iated with Action. He acted according to
his own political agenda, which has yet to
become apparent to anyone.
We accept responsibility for Dudley's
decision insofar as we are members of
MSA. However, unlike the University,
MSA doesn't have its own police force to
monitor the moves of every member of
the assembly and it is difficult to know
what Dudley or anyone will do - until,
of course, we read it in the highly sensa-
tionalist articles published by the Daily

the following day.
The situation was rectified promptly
and efficiently by Jennifer Van Valey and
two members of the MSA office staff. Our
apologies to student groups who had to
endure coming to a standing room only
MSA meeting to straighten out the re-
maining logistics. But it is important to
know that in spite of Dudley's unknown
intentions, all groups were allocated
rooms, regardless of their political affilia-
tions or the fact that many more student
organizations requested rooms than last

Perhaps if the Daily would quit push-
ing its (as usual) sensationalist political
agenda, students would have a chance to
read about things MSA is doing for them.
For instance, members affiliated with last
year's Action party have been productive
on the assembly. We have worked relent-
lessly on the fight against deputization and
the Code, networked with other student
groups, helped organize and assemble
speakers and events for World AIDS
Awareness Week, sponsored environmen-
tal rallies, barred styrofoam in MSA,
worked on developing a reusable MSA

Lug-a-Mug for the campus area, sponsored
a women's issues calendar, helped student*
groups flyer, and other relevant activities.
Please don't believe everything or
even a majority of what you read in the
Daily. Like everyone else, it has its own
agenda that it forces upon readers, rarely
giving voice to opposing views.
Paula Church
Corey Dolgan
Jennifer Dykema
Aberdeen Marsh0
MSA members, Action Party


Keep alive protest's
student solidarity
To the Daily:
As activists in the University and Ann
Arbor communities, we were pleased and
encouraged to see so many people at the
anti-deputization protest. It was heartening
to see so many students supporting a
movement for our common rights, repre-
sentation, and protection.
It did not escape our attention that a
disproportionately large number of those
in attendance, and especially those in ac-
tivist and leadership roles, were lesbians
and gay men. These people spoke at the
rally, led protestors into the building, and
helped keep the doors open throughout
much of the protest.

We write this letter to make two things
clear. First, that lesbians and gay men
were out in force in support of this protest
and were glad to do it. Second, while depq-
tization of campus security certainly will
have a negative effect on lesbians and gay
men, as well as everyone else, it is not a
primary focus of a struggle for lesbian and I
gay civil rights.
We do not even have a guarantee of our
rights on this campus and we are illegal in
this state. Lesbians and gay men, in all of
their diversity, willingly give their sup-
port to other movements. We-just hope
that in the future when we put pressure on
the University to include sexual orienta-
tion in its anti-discrimination bylaw that
we can count on the support of you who
stood with us on Thursday, as we collec-0
tively damainiipAtha~t thiv T Tnivemtdo ,i~the

i :i s" iii .. ''




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