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March 15, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-15

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

c . E C t tgtt t tti1

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

Editor in Chief

ON GHvT7i)\J6 bowN "THESEmYPES of
M Li-rA P-S-r YLfWEAPONS' CoMouri& .
':-- , ;

( _ -
. 0 7

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.



Union requests look at
the University Housing Division this
week as the largest union on campus, the
American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees (AFSCME), filed a for-
mal grievance. AFSCME has demanded an
investigation of the work environment for gays,
lesbians and bisexuals employed in campus
residence halls. What began as a minor conten-
tion -when seven housing employees wrote a
letter criticizing the University's use of resources
to "influence ... the sexual orientation" of stu-
dents - has turned into a union battle that could
damage everyone involved.
While AFSCME's goals in this case are
commendable, its tactics are poor. The union
has askedin addition to the investigationthatthe
seven employees receive suspensions. Instead
of focusing on the work environment, union
members have diverted attention from the issue
at hand by demanding their co-workers receive
punishment for thinking wrong thoughts.
The seven employees' opinions expressed in
the letter to the Housing Division signal a com-
plete lack of tolerance. The employees wrote to
"protest the promotion of gay/lesbian lifestyles"
in campus residence halls. They complained

atmopshere for gays
that photos of nude models engaged in what
looked like homosexual acts posted in several
halls were sexually explicit and seemed to have
the Housing Division's approval. But these pho-
tos are no more explicit than advertisements for
Calvin Klein clothing or Obsession fragrances
placed in many magazines. If these ads had
depicted a man and a woman, few would have
even blinked an eye.
The employees are entitled to their opinion,
but it should be noted that these attitudes are
homophobic and outdated. Fortunately, the Hous-
ing Division responded succinctly and supported
its multicultural programs.
AFSCME filed its grievance because it con-
tends that the employees' letter creates a hostile
work environment for homosexual employees in
the residence halls. Investigating discrimination
seems to be a good idea, but AFSCME's com-
plaint takes the wrong approach. AFSCME is
filing the grievance against the Housing Divi-
sion, ignoring the fact that the Housing Division
has repeatedly stated that the employees merely
offeredyrivate opinions. Clearly, somethingneeds
to be done about discrimination against gay and
lesbian employees at the University. But
AFSCME is taking the wrong approach.


_ ,




'U' unreasonable in GEO contract talks

Detroit cops, media, Jalen Rose, 'U'foul out

by John Devlin
Rackham student, GEO member
Last Tuesday the Daily published two
comments reportedly made by first-year
undergraduate students about the contract
negotiations between the TAs and the Uni-
versity administration. According to the
Daily reporter, the students said:
(1) Many TAs do not deserve a salary
increase because they are unqualified teach-
ers; and
(2) TAs are not required to have a teach-
ing license, making them students, notteach-
ers. They are people who want to make
money; they are not people who want to
educate others.
We do not know if the Daily's attribu-
tions are correct. It is easy to be misquoted.
Nor do we know whether, if made, these
comments represent the considered opinion
of the students named. Anyone can make an
ill-considered comment in haste. In any
event, some of these remarks are not worth
a serious reply. But given that they have
appeared in print, the time seems ripe for
some clarifications.
No one who teaches at the University is
required to have a teaching certificate in
order to do so. TAs are, however, the only
people teaching at the University who re-
ceive formal training before they undertake
their duties. TAs do not receive this training
because the University has insisted upon it,
still less because the University has offered
it. TAs receive this training on their own
time and without pay because they fought
for it at the bargaining table over the objec-

tions of the administration. This does not
speak well for the administration's com-
mitmentto undergraduate education. Itdoes
speak well for the professionalism and com-
mitment of TAs.
TAs are not asking for a raise. In fact,
they have offered to accept a cut in real
(inflation-adjusted) wages. What, then, is
the issue? Under the current contract, TAs
may choose from amongst ten indepen-
dently managed health insurance plans. The
choice of plans is important. It allows TAs
to match their health insurance with their
particular needs, which may vary depend-
ing on, among other things, their age, sex,
marital and family status, and medical his-
tory. Moreover, the choice protects TAs
from getting locked into a plan with declin-
ing benefits or rising costs. If one plan
ceases to be attractive, there are always nine
others to choose from.
Now the University is asking TAs to
give up that choice and accept a plan de-
signed and controlled by the administra-
tion. They call this plan "GradCare." As
presently constituted, GradCare would cost
TAs more and offer them less than their
currentoptions for health insurance. Worse,
the administration would retain the right to
eliminate benefits or raise costs further at
any time without notice and without nego-
tiation. The day after TAs sign that contract,
GradCare might be nothing more than an
annual free blood pressure check-up in the
This is not a contract that TAs are going
to sign. TAs are not interested in being
forced into GradCare now, they are not

interested in talking about it a year from
now, and they will not be interested in
bargaining over this issue when the next
contract expires.
TAs have demonstrated their flexibility
at the bargaining table by accepting a cut in
real wages at a time when the average TA
makes less than what the University's Of-
fice for Financial Aid estimates is required
for survival. Flexibility on the part of TAs
deserves to be met with fairness on the part
of the administration. GradCare is not fair.
Over the past few years, TAs have
fought to improve the quality of under-
graduate education. They have fought for
caps on class sizes. They have fought for
access to photocopiers and telephones for
teaching purposes and for a place to meet
with their students so that they can do their
jobs better. Not all of these battles have
been won. But they illustrate that the inter-
ests of undergraduates and TAs are not
opposed. To a large extent they overlap.
The TAs have tried to negotiate with the
administration on principle. They have tried
to put the legitimate interests of both parties
on the table so that the two sides might work
hard together structuring a fair settlement.
These efforts have been met with the re-
buke: "We're not interested in that. You'll
have your reasons for signing acontract and
we'll have ours."
It would be both disappointing and di-
sastrous if TAs had to strike in order to give
the administration reason to sign a fair
This letter was signed by 20 other
students and GEO members.

N 0 ONE CAME out a winner in last
week's ugly JalenRose fiasco. Although
at a press conference Tuesday Rose ad-
mitted receiving a ticket for "loitering where
drugs are kept or stored" in Detroit Oct. 4, the
point guard for the Michigan men's basketball
team had repeatedly denied his presence at the
house where police found quantities of mari-
juana and crack cocaine. At one point, he even
claimed someone else had given Detroit police
his name and address. The media, justifying its
increasingly negative reputation, gave a remark-
able amount of attention to a story that mostly
amounted to a 20 year-old playing video games
with childhood friends. But the biggest loser of
all had to be the Detroit Police Department
(DPD). By burying Rose's loitering ticket and
failing to prosecute him, the department brought
more notice to itself than it would have had it
simply followed through on the charge.
To criticizeRose forvisiting the house would
be unfair. Anyone who has attended a party or
has merely visited other people's homes may
also have been guilty of "loitering" in a house
where illegal drugs are present. No drugs were
found on Rose's person, and he has never failed
a drug test. Nevertheless, if police were to walk
into a social gathering in Ann Arbor where
drugs are sitting in a drawer and start issuing
loitering tickets, those written up would have
their day in court. They would receive little
more than a stern lecture from the judge or
perhaps be forced to pay a fine, but the criminal
law system would have been carried through.

But because Rose delights thousands of people
with his playmaking and his trash-talking, the
Detroit police decided Rose didn't need the hassle
of going through this system. This sort of double
standard feeds the belief that athletes are above
the law.
Preferential treatment for
athletes and other public fig-
ures has always been a prob-
lem. Rose's story was not the
'only national news story last
week about special privileges
for athletes. University of Ne-
vada-Las Vegas officials were
accused this week of pressur-
Roseing acommunitycollege teacher
into giving current Runnin'
Rebels' star J.R. Rider a passing grade so he
could transfer to UNLV. Although both univer-
sity and law-enforcement officials have pledged
to end the practice of granting exceptions to
celebrities, policies like these continues to pros-
The two friends who received tickets with
Rose Oct. 4 will both have to face the music for
theiractions. Rose, a formerDPD employee, gets
to move on without a blemish on his record. But
by exempting him alone in this case, DPD did no
favors for Rose. It attracted national publicity to
a minor story. Maybe the next time an athlete has
a problem with the law, the police will come to its
senses and treat the offender like any other citi-
zen. Unfortunately, history indicates this won't

Clinton should welcome AMA input

Blatant bigotry
against gays
To the Daily:
What was Chris Lunt's
point ("Debate about lifting
ban breeds insanity," 3/4/93)?
After announcing his blatant
prejudices toward homosexu-
als, African Americans, non-
Catholics and vegetarians, and
simultaneously isolating at
least 95 percent of his audi-
ence, he made no clear
What does he want the
military to consist of - white
Catholic mental-handicaps like
himself? Give me a break! The
military needs people who are
physically and mentally able to
preform their job. I think you
and anyone that subscribes to
"Chris Luntism" are the ones
who are mentally unable to be
part of the military.
Stephanie Pinsky
LSA first-year student

To the Daily:.
The letter the Daily
printed, "Debate about lifting
ban breeds insanity" (3/5/93),
was a sarcastic piece. I
apologize for not making the
sarcasm more apparent. A
large number of people have
taken the letter seriously, and
I understand their anger, but I
ask that you discontinue
making threatening phone
calls to my home. You're
driving my roommates up the
I am an ardent supporter
of homosexual rights and
African American rights -
as evidenced by my two-year
involvement in the Univer-
sity Minority Recruitment
student group (the Ambassa-
dors). Reread the letter I
wrote bearing in mind that it
is sarcastic, and perhaps you
will see the effect I was
trying to communicate.
The current argument

against allowing homosexu-
als in the military is that they
will disrupt the integrity of
the units. It was my intent to
demonstrate that similar
attitudes existed when
African Americans were
introduced into the military
(in the form of integrated
units) after World War II. It
was my hope that seeing the
argument against gays used
in another context would
show just how ridiculous
those arguments were. Some
people misconstrued the
intent of my letter, assuming
that it was an honest testa-
ment from a riduculously
bigoted person (really though
people, "vegetable heads"?).
It is my hope that in the
future, people who have
called my home to say "Fuck
you, racist," and then hung
up, will find a more effective
way of challenging the forces
that are working against the

civil rights of all oppressed
groups. If you channel your
anger into more constructive
efforts, the movement will
benefit. Flying off the handle
and making irrational
judgements doesn't do any
good. The person I wrote the
letter in response to, Michael
Wheaton, sent me a very
civilized response over E-
mail, establishing a means by
which to have a civilized
debate over the matter. As it
is, Mr. Wheaton recognized
the letter as satire, and we
were able to discuss the
original problem, that of the
homosexual ban.
I apologize if my letter
was not obvious enough, but
please, in the future, do not
jump to conclusions. If we all
pull together and tackle these
problems like adults, there is
hope yet.
Chris Lunt
LSA senior


Sarcasm intended in previous letter

N A SURPRISING move last week, the Ameri-
can Medical Association (AMA) asked the
Clinton Administration for a seat on the
President's Task Force onNational Health Care
Reform. In return, the association promised to
reverse its long-held objections to many of the
initiatives Clinton hopes to create. However, the
President, in an equally uncharacteristic action,
denied the AMA and otherhealthcare organiza-
tions access to the task force. While it is reason-
able for Clinton to limit involvement of interest
groups in the national government, the Presi-
dent is ultimately depriving the task force of
necessary input.
The President's task force, headed by First
Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, is in the process
of drafting legislation that would greatly re-
vamp our current health care system. The main
goals of the administration's new policy are to
keep health care costs down, alter insurance
regulations, allow citizens more freedom in
choosing physicians and increase the quality of
health care on a national basis. This policy
initiative is one of immense scale, considering
+U,%+Ua on l, n~weirt .ns~ersvr tcQ -114

refuses to divulge their identities of the
committee's 300 to 400 "experts" in the health
care field. Moreover, administration officials
have said the vast majority of the committee
members specialize in health care education at
universities. Thus, it is vague how many mem-
bers have appropriate experience in managing
health programs and caring for patients. This
committee takes the risk of developing a health
care bill simply out of touch with reality.
Indeed the Clinton Administration's stance
may be short-lived. A Federal District Court
Judge recently ruled that all task force meetings
must be announced in advance and information
sessions of the task force must be open to the
public. It remains to be seen how the task force
will adjust to the new ruling.
No one can deny that the nation's health care
system needs drastic reform. With the inflation
rate of doctors' fees and medical costs reaching
three times the national inflation rate in 1992, the
reform must begin as soon as possible. But
President Clinton must work with and not around
those organizations most affected by change.
"i 6...A A - A J n flf __ e .L .- SO__1__A

Societal tolerance, awareness of homosexual issues badly needed

To the Daily:
This is in reference to the
letter by Maria del Coral Reed,
"Homosexuals deserve
tolerance, not endorsement"
(2/16/92). Her letter was a
subtle bashing of homosexual-
ity by camouflaging her
viewpoint using the word
According to the Random
U^'Ic 0^11 m a ini -s .

words, her "tolerant" knowl-
edge of homosexuality is in
terms of promiscuity, child
sexual abuse and bestiality.
Also, she argues that the
editorial "Tolerance in
Birmingham," (12/10/92) was
about promoting homosexual-
ity in the school system. The
article was really about giving
a chi'jIce in the school's

than by misconceptions and
bigotry. Recent studies have
shown that one third of all
teen suicides are associated
with sexual orientation
(Washington D.C.: U.S. Dept.
of Health and Human
Services, January 1989).
Therefore, this concept in the
school system could be a
vehicle to diminish this tragic
rate. This is what tolerance is

for life is reproduction, so
most homosexuals do not
reproduce, but they get
reproduced through their
heterosexual relatives,
because they share similar
genes. In other words, genetic
representation in future
generations (Nature and
Causes of Homosexuality: A
Philosophic and Scientific
Inquire, 1981).

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