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February 15, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-15

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Monday, February 15, 1993

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editors

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Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, signed articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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Faculty changes should be commended

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Tharassment policy has recently become the
object of much debate. University profes-
sors - after a long delay by the administration
to address the harassment policy - have de--
cided to make it a priority due to the sensitive
nature of the issue. The faculty - concerned
with the policy's vague language concerning
"hostile" or "offensive" behavior in the class-
rom - wisely took it upon themselves to
review and eventually reform the existing in-
terim policy to suit their needs and concerns as'
Although the faculty failed to consult the
student body - which will also be greatly
affected by the policy - they should be com-
mended for their efforts to create a non-intimi-
dating classroom atmosphere.
The Senate Assembly Concerning Univer-
sity Affairs (SACUA) met last month with fac-
ulty to determine which aspects of the policy
need to be changed.
The three main suggestions offered were:
Eliminating the policy; changing the existing

policy; or starting over and devising a new
policy. The teachers voted for the third option,
but are still working on the changes.
The decision to reform the policy is not
intended to breech the faculty's free speech or
inhibit controversial classroom discussion, said
Associate Professorof History and Afro-Ameri-
can and African Studies Robin Kelley. But
professors need to set guidelines fortheirbehav-
ior in order to maintain a healthy classroom
atmosphere and ensure they do not step beyond
the boundaries of appropriate teaching meth-
Previous problems with professors who cre-
ated "racist" or "sexist" atmospheres in their
classes stimulated the creation of the policy.
Without this type of environment, no policy
would have been necessary. However, the Uni-
versity needs a mechanism designed for faculty
by faculty to take care of harassing situations
before they occur. This policy provides protec-
tion for students and for professors. It needs to
be commended and supported by the University

O e y &o w, so wi

r, 1

Letter from Armenia: student's experience*

Act amendment would violate public rights

011 THE RECENT Diag policy to the search
for the next Vice Provost of Minority
Affairs, the University administration
continues to suppress and ignore
student input. But don't count on
our friends inLansing to take action.
Instead of enacting legislation to 7
reverse these dangerous trends, state
Sen. John Schwarz(R-Battle Creek)
has re-introduced legislation that
would exempt state public colleges
and universities from the Michigan
Open Meetings Act in the selection
of university presidents.
If passed, this legislation would Schur
completely ostracize students and
Michigan residents from a process that di-
rectly affects them. Moreover, it would set a
dangerous precedent and allow universities to
chip away at the public's right to know.
The Opening Meetings Act, which requires
meetings of certain public bodies to be open to
the public, was enacted in 1976 in response to
corporate attitudes germinating in public insti-
tutions - all decisions were made behind
closed doors, without public input. Unfortu-
nately, colleges and universities have histori-
cally subscribed to the theory that the public's
right to know endangers administrative deci-
sion making.
Sen. Schwarz's proposed legislation un-
derlies this stereotypical falsehood. Whether
the public's right to know hinders the selection
process of the administration is a moot point.
As long as state colleges and universities are
funded by tax dollars, administrations should
not be allowed to retreat to the country-club
mentality that leaves citizens uninvolved and
uninformed. To insure public institutions make

by Rebecca Morris .
University student doing field
work in Armenia
Dear Marysia:
I'm ashamed to have you look at this
because it's so poorly written. But to be
honest, it's so hard to be able to work
seriously on anything like a funding pro-
posal here. There's something about living
without any heat or electricity in below-
zero temperatures that makes the thought of
doing anything academic pretty absurd.
People here, including myself, have been
reduced to the state of animals. For several
days there was no water at all where I live
because there was not enough electricity to
pump it into the building. And even when
there is water, the possibility of washing is
out of the question because there is no way
to heat up the water, and if you decide to
wash with cold water, there's no way to
warm yourself after you wash. And, of
course, hot meals are out of the question,
because there is no way to heat up the food.
Things have gotten a little bit better in
the last few days because the weather has
warmed up a bit and some of the snow has
even melted.
They say that the pipeline that exploded
should be fixed by tomorrow, so we'll be
back to 12 hours of electricity a day. (How-
ever, even when we theoretically have 12
hours a day, it is quite common to go
without it for many days at a time because
the electric stations are so overloaded that
they frequently explode. Then you have to
wait for someone to come fix them before
you get any electricity back.)
As you may have heard, the repair work
on this exploded pipeline was slowed down

This year, people were able to manage by cutting
down all the trees and buying kerosene. But next year
all of there will be no more valuables left to sell and no

more trees left to cut down.
people will do.

I really can't imagine what

because Azerj snipers were shooting at
anyone who came near the pipeline. How-
ever, Russia has sent troops to guard the
repair work - or so the story goes - and
they tell us that things should be better
Itis very hard to get any concrete infor-

decisions in the best interest of the taxpayer,
the Open Meetings Act must be upheld in its
current form.
Supposedly, Schwarz intro-
duced this legislation after witness-
ing Michigan, State University
struggle to conduct its current presi-
dential search. But what are uni-
versities doing behind closed doors
that the public cannot know?
Proponents of amending or
abolishing the Open Meetings Act
cite concerns about the need to
preserve the confidentiality of can-
Varz didates vying for administrative
But the Open Meetings Act is designed to
insure maximum possible confidentiality while
simultaneously upholding the citizen's right
to know. Moreover, if the public's right to
know ever comes in direct conflict with a
candidate's confidentiality, it must be remem-
bered that the institution belongs to the people.
Currently, the University is involved in a
lawsuit over the hiring of President James
Duderstadt. The Regents blatantly ignored the
Open Meetings Act during Duderstadt's
This underscores the act's importance. The
University has gone beyond the parameters of
the Open Meetings Act. If Schwarz's proposal
passes, nothing will stand in the way of far-
more damaging University violations. If the
University had worked within the law, and
showed its commitment to public and student
opinions, perhaps we wouldn't have a presi-
dent who hides in his ivory tower, constantly
ignoring the rights and needs of students and
the public.

mation here at the moment. There are no
working phones. The radio and television
don't work - it takes electricity to run
these things. So, nobody knows exactly
what is going on. I was stopped by the
police last week as I was walking home at
night. It turned out there was a curfew, and
I wasn't supposed to be out after dark. I had
no way of knowing that because none of the
vehicles for conveying information were
working. It's pretty spooky.
Marysia, after spending a winter here, I
must say that my attitude toward people
here has softened a great deal. There is just
no way to imagine what it is like to be
absolutely freezing month after month.
Last year, the period without gas or
electricity was relatively short, so people
were able to withstand it. But this year, it
has lasted the whole winter. And there is no
indication that things are going to be any
better next year.
This year, people were able to manage
by cutting down all the trees and buying
kerosene. But next year there will be no
more valuables left to sell and no more trees
left to cut down. I really can't imagine what

people will do.
There is a profound depression here.
More and more people have stories about
neighbors or relatives who have died be-
cause of some cold-related reason. Old
people and babies who get sick are unable
to recover because there is no way to get

I have heard of lots of newborn babies
dying ofpneumoniaor otherillnesses. Also,
the number of fire-related. deaths is grow-
ing. Just a few weeks ago, a whole dormi-
tory burned down because of a kerosene-
related accident. One person died and three
were critically injured. But perhaps the
saddest story I have heard was told to me
last week by a co-worker of mine.
He said that two children in his apart-
ment building were poisoned to death last
week. The cause of their death was poison-
ous gas released by their television set,
which imploded after an electricity surge.
When the electricity goes off here, you're
supposed to turn off all your appliances
because sometimes it surges when it goes
back on, causing explosions. Apparently,
his neighbors forgot to turn off the televi-
sion. They were out of their apartment
when the electricity came back on, and by
the time they got back to the apartment, the
two children had already been poisoned to
It is very heartbreaking to watch what is
happening here.

Army veteran supports lifting military ban on gays

To the Daily:
I must respond to Michael
Wheaton's letter "Lifting ban
could cause conflict," (2/10/
93). I am an ex-U.S. Army
Warrant Officer and UH-60
Aviator who served during the
Gulf War. Nobody, and I
mean nobody, knows what
military life is really like
except those who served and
their families. I resent
someone without any military
experience telling me how I
felt during the years I spent
living in close quarters with
my fellow soldiers.
Let me surprise you, Mr.
Wheaton. I am neither gay nor
liberal, but with many
reservations, I support lifting
the ban on homosexuals in the
military. And I am not alone.
In my experience, attitudes
are changing among the rank
and file of the military.
Bigotry still exists, but it
seems increasingly to be a
protective facade.1Many
soldiers are ambivalent about
sexual orientation unless it

affects performance.
I personally find it difficult
to support such a ridiculous
policy. Perhaps it is not clear
to most people that it is the
admission of homosexuality,
not homosexual acts, that is
cause for discharge.
In fact, Army Regulation
(AR) 635-200 specifies, with
some stipulations, that a
homosexual act done for the
purposes of getting out is not
grounds for separation from
service. Simply put, those
individuals who commit
homosexual acts to dodge
service are more likely to
remain on active duty than
those who simply admit their
sexual orientation.
Additionally, the Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR),
National Defense, Part 41,
which covers separation
procedures for homosexuals,
still maintains that gays are
security risks. Even Chair of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin
Powell, who solidly supports
the ban, admits that this is not

true. Ignorance is the reason
for these antiquated regula-
After I graduated from
high school, I worked for a
firm in which two of my co-
workers were openly homo-
sexual. I nearly quit at first,
but they gradually taught me
about their lives. My prejudice
was replaced with tolerance.
It is this type of education
that will eliminate the fears
and allow the ban to be
reversed without the trouble
you foresee. There are
thousands of homosexuals in
the armed services, and I see
no reason to discharge those
that live their lives with
Neither I nor many of my
peers will ever be truly
comfortable around openly
homosexual men and women,
but that is irrelevant. Homo-
sexuality in the military
doesn't have to be condoned,
just tolerated.
John McFarland
ISRA munr

TV must distinguish ne
LAST MONDAY, GENERAL Motors announced
itsintentionto file adefamation suit against
C-TV in regards to an episode of"Date-
line NBC" which aired last November.
The episode showed a simulated GM truck
crashing into another truck. The GM vehicle
exploded on contact and burst into flames. GM
claimed the simulation was rigged - that NBC
had deliberately set up the crash to prompt the
NBC originally denied GM's accusation, but
changed its position the next day. The network
acknowledged it had attached incendiary de-
vices to the bottom of the truck used in the crash
simulation and misled the public by not inform-
ing the viewers. In a statement on last Tuesday's
enisode of "Dateline NRC" the network cnn-

True musicians,
regardless of
race, follow
their hearts
To the Daily:
This letter is to Scott
Sterling regarding."Who Stole
the Soul?" (2/4/93).
It's a given that musicians
will imitate other musicians,
regardless of anyone's skin
color. If a sound catches on,
almost everyone's next release
will reflect that.
But your little pity party
about how Black artists will
be forced into making
"brown-eyed soul" by white
artists doesn't work. In the
midst of all your whining you
forgot to take the artists
themselves into account.
Any musician worth
listening to will not be swayed
into making "brown-eyed
soul" just because "Michael
fucking Bolton" sells a lot of
records with it.
The bands you talk about
- Funkadelic; Earth, Wind,
and Fire; etc. - made great
music because they played
what they wanted to play, not
just what was selling big.
True musical artists still
make music after their own
hearts, not just what's
commercially successful.
If the "Black bands"
you're worried about have the


ethical journalistic standards. The public, while
looking to networks for news, also expects to be
entertained, and the networks have forsaken
quality to fulfill this need. They have increased
their efforts to report on shocking and disturbing
subjects. This is acceptable as long as it results in
stories which conform to journalistic standards
of truth and fairmess. If stories-like NBC's GM
truck report - create their own journalistic
standards, they are notnews, but sensationalism.
The line between news and sensationalism
must be clearly understood by the networks. If
people are interested primarily inentertainment,
and accept that facts are often shadowy and
manipulated, they will watch any of the numer-
ous tabloid shows that pervade the airwaves. But
neonle who turnnto network news nrorams

Fletcher Hall: 'U' should have talked to students

To the Daily:
The University's proposal
to convert Fletcher Hall from
an upperclass residence hall
into an academic support
center for student athletes
rn.nrnc. nfl tla-hnr :Un-l

Fletcher Hall," (2/8/93) noted
that offices in West Quad may
be converted into dorm rooms,
but it failed to mention where
those offices could be
In orIA -t ..n r -v :- i

Student Peer Counselors.
If the Athletic Department
feels additional counseling
services are needed for student
athletes, perhaps they could be
integrated into existing
.- - - - r~-rvrthi a An

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