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September 18, 1991 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-18

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily--Wednesday, September 18, 1991
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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

ANDREW K. GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
STEPHEN HENDERSON
Opinion Editor

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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.

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Research
Recent furor misses biggest spending issues

0

Recently, Washington has scrutinized the Uni-
versity for supposedly overbilling the U.S. gov-
ernment by more than $8 million. Federal auditors
from the Department of Health and Human Services
(DHHS), who spent their summer in Ann Arbor,
claimed that the University was counting expenses
for everything from a Rose Bowl promo to
Christmas decorations under the broad rubric of
research.
The ensuing hoopla, however, has generated
more heat than light - while leaving important
issues that are fundamental to the University's
educational mission untouched and unanswered.
So far, the DHHS investigation has focussed on
the University's apparent negligence or outright
larceny. The University, in turn, has insisted that
overly broad federal guidelines are themselves
responsible for the apparent and glaring discrep-
ancies between legitimate research monies and
how those monies are actually spent.
But this particular problem is readily solved:
the University must keep closer tabs on what it
spends, and the federal government must insure
that it does so by auditing this and other campuses'
research budgets every year.
Nonetheless, while it is important that this
investigation be fully and openly pursued - es-
pecially given the stunning revelations last Spring
concerning billions in misappropriated and mis-
directed funds at Stanford- its focus on spending
details misses the bigger picture.
The real problem with research at the Univer-
sity is the disproportionate percentage of it directed
toward research facilities and highly specialized
graduate programs rather than the undergraduates
who comprise its backbone. As a result, under-
graduate programs get overlooked - never pro-
.a Gycouple

gressing or reaching their full potential.
Few students ever actually use these million
dollar facilities. What is worse, few are even eli-
gible to use them. The sprawling research facilities
on North Campus - which are hard to find and
harder to enter-eatup huge quantities of research
dollars while benefiting few University students.
Their geographical separation from the heart of the
campus is a fitting metaphor for the comparable
distance separating their isolated, specialized
programs from the heart of student concerns and
student life .
The University, of course, cannot solve this
problem all by itself. Even as Washington earm arks
increasingly hefty piles of money for research -
reaching an unprecedented high in President Bush's
proposed 1991-92 budget - it is becoming ever
harder to pry that money free for anything but
defense-related projects.
Still, the University cannot simultaneously ac-
cept federal monies to initiate highly specialized
projects and then blame the federal government for
its own overspecialization. Unless the University
wants to sacrifice its commitment to a genuinely
humanistic, broad-ranging educational experience
designed for all undergraduates, it must invest
more of its resources on central campus and into
the humanities.
Viewed in perspective, this misallocation of
resources makes the current federal investigation
look like a picnic. If the University has wrongly
spent money on the Rose Bowl or Christmas
decorations, then it should be reprimanded and we
can move on. But if the University forfeits its
commitment to the undergraduate experience, it
has sacrificed its very reason for existing as a
public institution.

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Chait is confused
To the Daily:
The Daily may have outdone
itself by running Jonathan Chait's
"New 'U' Policy Makes Sex Pay"
(9/5/91), a "humorous" look at the
University's new sexual harass-
ment policy. Perhaps such pieces
now pass for news in the minds of
Daily editors - there was no
informative substantive articles on
the new policy. Sexual harass-
ment is a controversial issue, and
the University has taken a
considerable amount of time to
enact a policy that is ostensibly
designed to protect all the
members of the University
community.
The humor in Chait's article is
not in his writing, but in his lack
of understanding of the complexi-
ties surrounding the issue of
sexual harassment.
The title alone plays into the
myth that students will use sex to
get ahead. His recipe for the
perfect GPA trivializes this issue
and deals in absolutes, revealing
his ignorance of the procedures
for interpreting and applying the
policy on a case by case basis.
And as for his assertion that
the new sexual harassment policy
is ridiculous, we disagree. This
policy recognizes the inherent
power relation between teachers
and students. It may make a
professor or TA think twice about
becoming involved in a situation
in which no coercion is intended,
but pressure may be perceived by
the student.
Chait might possibly be
forgiven for his insensitivity and
ignorance, but the Daily cannot be
so easily absolved. Running such
a piece may prohibit possible
victims of sexual harassment from
feeling that they can pursue
complaints. The implicit message
is that students consent to being
sexually harassed.
Some of the campus

newspaper's responsibilities
include informing students and
promoting an open environment.
Such an environment permits the
creation of a campus where all
members feel free to participate.
In this situation, the Daily has
clearly failed to fulfill its respon-
sibilities to the University
community.
Lisa D'Ambrosio
Leslyn Hall
third-year graduate students
Cops, students.
deserve each other
To the Daily:
Early Saturday morning, a
friend of mine and I ventured out
on South University seeking a
snack. As soon as we arrived,
however, I realized that we had
made a very poor decision.
From the corner of South
Forest and South University to the
door of the Brown Jug, I encoun-
tered one man urinating alongside
the road, numerous burping and
swaggering men, at least four
individuals who were forcibly
pushing everyone in sight into
each other, two screeching cars, at
least a dozen cars with their horns
obviously stuck and enough litter
to fill the local landfill.
Needless to say, we decided to
forego sticking around and
headed for Pizza House -
another bad choice. The crowd
assembled at the intersection of
South University and East
University was even worse. We
squeezed our way through, almost
getting trampled by intoxicated
fools screaming about football.
After we ordered our pizza we
went outside to wait. A huge
smoke-like cloud began to rise
and immediately people came
running past, screaming in pain,
holding their faces in their hands,
shocked. "Oh my God," my friend
said, "they're spraying tear gas."

During these few seconds it had
spread. I started to tear and went
back inside.
Many victims of the gas
followed me in. After one of them
had dried his eyes, he focussed on
my friend telling her that he
"liked her tits and her ass."
"Sorry, I can't help it," he
added.
I'm sure that if pressed, the
Ann Arbor Police would also say,
"Sorry, we couldn't help it."
The Ann Arbor Police were
wrong. Nothing, in my opinion
warrants the use of chemical
weapons.
The Ann Arbor students were
disgusting. Nothing, in my
opinion, warrants such disrespect
for others,
My position, then? They
deserve each other.
What would I have done?... I
would have consolidated all of the
urine, beer and vomit, mixed it
with a lot of muddy water and
sprayed it on the crowd with the
same device that distributed the
tear gas. Then I would have
sprayed it on the cops.
Debbie Rosenstein
SNR junior
The Daily encourages
responses from its readers.
Letters should be 150 words
or less, and include the
author's name, year in
school and phone number.
They can be mailed to: The
Michigan Daily, 420
Maynard, Ann Arbor 48109.
Or they can be sent via MTS
to: The Michigan Dail
Letters to the Editor. The
Daily does not alter the
content of letters, but
reserves the right to edit for
style and space consider-
ations. If you have questions
or comments, you can call
Stephen Henderson at 764-
0552.

Corporations must respect gay and lesbian relationships

C orporate health insurance has rarely covered
e , partners of lesbian and gay employees-who
are legally barred from legitimating theirmonoga-
mous relationships through marriage - under its
definition of family. As a consequence, lesbians
and gays have often been denied the kind of com-
prehensive health program offered heterosexuals.
Last week, however, the computer software
giant Lotus Development Corporation stated that a
husband/wife marriage is not the only criterion for
family and extended its program to partners of its
gay and lesbian employees. This represents a small
step by corporate America in the right direction.

To qualify for health benefits, the "spousal
equivalent" must live with a Lotus employee in a
monogamous relationship and they must share the
intention of remaining together permanently.
But however auspicious, Lotus' decision also
highlights how much in this country's attitude
toward lesbian and gays still must change. The
bottom line is that Lotus' move is an exception -
and that lesbian and gay monogamous relationships
are given little respect.
Hopefully the day will come when what seems
revolutionary today at Lotus will become law
throughout the United States.

Soviet aid
Grain, not dollars, until democratic reform is evident

n July, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
met with the leaders of the Group of Seven
industrialized nations in an appeal for economic
aid to his struggling country. Until now, President
Bush has correctly remained steadfast in his policy
that the United States should withhold the massive,
restructuring aid which Gorbachev has requested.
Though he likely holds his position for all the
wrong reasons, Bush is correct and should be
supported.
Aid to the Soviet Union may seem appropriate
in light of the dramatic and important changes
which have taken place in the Soviet Union
throughout Gorbachev's tenure. The challenges he
has faced have been enormous; the results he has
achieved often impressive.
But last month's coup notwithstanding,
Gorbachev was not and never will be a genuine
democrat. Like his fellow bureaucrat Boris Yeltsin,
he is a former Communist in democratic clothing
-not necessarily concerned with empowering the
people he claims to serve.
Not that Bush is concerned with democracy. As
his support for China's Tiananmen butchers makes
clear, current U.S. trade and economic relations are
based more on perceived economic advantage for
Washington than any concern for human rights.
Instead, Bush doesn't want to give the Soviets

money because their economy is a mess. A cred-
ible, responsible Soviet Union -one that is capable
of using Western dollars without wasting them -
will be necessary before the Group of Seven turns
on the aid faucet. Whether the Gorbachev-Yeltsin
team achieves this democratically - which still
remains to be seen -is of secondary importance.
Also of secondary importance to Bush- but of
paramount concern to most Americans - is the
United States' own major budget deficit and
mounting domestic problems. Record numbers of
U.S. workers are filing for unemployent benefits,
38 million have no health insurance, and above 3
million are homeless. Until Bush demonstrates
real concern for these problems and a willingness
to tackle them, it is hard to get worked up about
bread lines in Moscow.
A more reasonable course of action at this time
would be to provide the Soviets with humanitarian
aid in the form of grain, rather than with dollars. As
the Ukraine continues to hoard food, many Soviet
citizens are in danger of starving this winter.
With excess food galore, Washington does have
a moral responsibility to help prevent famine - in
the Soviet Union and elsewhere. But given the
chaotic and disturbing pace of events there - and
the economic chaos here at home - it is not
obligated to do anything else.
by Judd Winick

Greeks face hazing head-on

byBrad Miller
As membership in the Greek
system increases, criticism of the
system from non-members is
paradoxically becoming more
intense. This column will attempt
to address some of the problems
inherent in the system. By
exploring these issues, I am
hopeful that fraternities and
sororities can create a positive
basis for change so that the
emphasis of discussion can focus
on the positive aspects of Greek
life.
The most obvious source for
skepticism lies in the traditional
practice of fraternity hazing, an
activity which certainly deserves
criticism. While hazing is defined
as any action which causes
physical or mental discomfort, the
state of hazing on some campuses
has gone much further. Each year,
hazing in fraternities causes
senseless injuries and deaths.
Fortunately, fraternities at the
University have avoided hazing-
related injuries. Hopefully this
will continue to be the case. Yet,
the University is not immune to

quences of hazing - our apparent
luck could run out at any time. It
should be clear that the Greek
system is in no position to take
chances.
As members of the system, we
must understand that an injury to
a pledge or new member could
potentially shatter the lives of all
involved. No matter how tradi-
tional hazing may be, the time has
arrived for change.
Despite the argument from
fraternity members that hazing is
necessary to build a cohesive
brotherhood, hazing is wrong and
in many cases senseless. While it
is true that adversity creates
togetherness, it also creates a
situation in which young, some-
times naive pledges place
themselves in a dangerous
environment that would otherwise
not exist.
In response to criticism,
fraternity presidents and national
leaders have begun to develop
new programs for pledging that
do not involve hazing. To date, 10
national fraternities including
Alpha Tau OmegaT(AT), Tau

In most cases, the new
programs mandate shorter pledge
terms, more education on sexism,
racism, and alcohol awareness, a
renewed emphasis on community
service, and - most importantly
- a pledge (excuse the pun) to
abandon traditional hazing.
This has been a difficult step
for fraternities to take. As a
delegate to my fraternity's
national meeting and an officer in
my house, I have witnessed the
conflict created by the new
programs on both a national and
local level. Many fraternity men
are reluctant to give up on
tradition that, for all practical
purposes, has worked.
Nevertheless, it is time to
follow the lead of other fraterni-
ties in an effort to create a new
tradition that builds a strong
brotherhood without hazing our
members. Unity created around
postive experiences rather than
negative-hazing should be the
emphasis of new member
programs.
Essentially, this is the only
way that Greeks can avoid the

0

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