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November 11, 1993 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 11, 1993

1eg Sibigun atl

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

JOSH DUBOW
Editor in Chief
ANDREw LEVY
Editorial Page Editor

~ Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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Discrimination case is off the mark

I would not be alone, I think, if I
confessed that presuming the guilt of
those accused of discrimination has
become second
nature for me.
Having at some
time adopted the
cynical notionr
that all men are:
disposed to dis-}
criminating on
the basis of gen-:
der, it is difficult
not to prema-
turely render a
verdict. An unfor- "
tunate scandal in our own Political
Science Department, however, is now
challenging that notion.
Assistant Prof. Jill Crystal is suing
the University, insisting that its re-
fusal to recommend her for tenure is
symptomatic of a pattern of sexual
discrimination within the Political
Science Department. Crystal is also
suing department chair Dr. Arlene
Saxonhouse and four male colleagues
for subverting the tenure process, and
Dr. J. David Singer for defamation.
The whole story, as reported by
the Daily and the Ann Arbor News,
seemed to me bizarre, and having
known Saxonhouse and Singer, en-
tirely unbelievable. There is frankly
little evidence indicating that Crystal's
accusations are based in reality.
Crystal told the Ann Arbor News
that she would have received tenure
had she been a man. If it seems strange
that Dr. Arlene Saxonhouse - a
woman, for the unobservant - would

be implicated in a sexual discrimina-
tion suit, it should. Crystal has ac-
cused Saxonhouse of interfering in
the tenure process to prevent recom-
mendation for tenure. For anyone who
knows Dr. Saxonhouse, who is an
articulate and fair-minded instructor,
the charge can be easily dismissed.
But if that isn't enough, as chair of
the department, Saxonhouse imple-
mented the University's first depart-
mental sexual harassment/discrimi-
nation policy. Objective observers
should hear warning bells when a
pioneer in the University's fight
against sexual discrimination is her-
self accused of the crime, or being
party to it. J
The disgruntled assistant profes-
sor has also accused Singer of defa-
mation for remarking on her scholar-
ship on two occasions. Naturally, as
her lawyer must have informed her,
defamation requires the remarks to be
false and driven by malicious intent.
Singer may be brutally frank and
sometimes intimidating, but certainly
not unfair or malicious. Moreover,
academic freedom demands that he
be allowed to comment on the work
of his colleagues free from the threat
of litigation.
Included in Crystal's grievances
against the University is the issue of
salary. Crystal asserts that her pay is
less than her male colleagues' and is
thus evidence of sexual discrimina-
tion, but she overlooks the fact that
salary is often decided by market
forces. When Saxonhouse (or any de-
partment head) hired new professors,

she offered more or less in salary, not
because she held male professors in
greater esteem than female profes-
sors, but because of supply and de-
mand. A cursory examination of the
salaries of the faculty members, avail-
able in the Faculty/Staff Salary List-
ings, will show as much.
But the affair doesn't end there.
Crystal is also attempting to file a
class action suit against the Univer-
sity on behalf of pregnant employees.
She asserts that she had been treated
unfairly, when apparently Crystal re-
ceived her standard one term off for
maternity leave, with pay, and a one
year delay in tenure.
In fact, Crystal's entire case ap-
pears both weak and unfair; so much
so that she withdrew her letter of
grievance against Saxonhouse,}-
Singer, and the others. One might ask
why Crystal would pursue a case in
court, when there isn't enough evi-
dence for a departmental hearing.
It doesn't take a skeptic to see the
implausibility of an elaborate con-
spiracy against Prof. Crystal. The
answer might be just as Vice Presi-
dent for University Relations Walter
Harrison explained it to the Ann Ar-
bor News: our Political Science De-
partment is the best in the country,
and therefore holds candidates to
stricter standards. Crystal simply did
not meet them. If, as the Daily sug-.
gested, women at the University who
have suffered discrimination are
searching for "a new champion for
their cause," they might want to keep
looking.

'Sharp as Toast
not very sharp
To the Daily:
I am writing today in response to
what i consider a poor decision on
your part. The decision of which I
speak is your choice of Jim Lasser
as your editorial cartoonist. One
would think that daily paper of
your great stature would be able to
attract a cartoonist of comparable
quality. Instead you treat your
readers to a daily dosage of inane,
witless and poor caricatures.
Editorial cartoonists are usually
expected to illustrate a somewhat
original idea, hopefully in a
humorous context. "Sharp as
Toast," however, rarely contains a
thought that has no already run
through the head of every reader
and has never brought an interesting
or humorous viewpoint to myself or
anyone else I know.
I've tried to justify your choice,
but I am unable to do so. Perhaps
Mr. Lasser is good friends with
someone on your staff, and that
helped him get his position. I
sincerely hope this is not the case,
and even if it were, a good friend
would convince Mr. Laser to quit
and pursue something at least
partially productive. Or maybe, as
occurs with many "one-hit-
wonders" in the music industry, Mr.
Lasser produced one cartoon of
some quality, a single panel of
inspired humor and artistry that
tricked your staff into choosing him
above all other applicants. Or

people (Americans) are deaf' is
wrong. 23 million people have
some sort of hearing impairment
and 9-10 percent of those people are
deaf. Hearing impairment embraces.
a broad spectrum of hearing loss.
Second, the editorial said, "a
very great majority ... (of these
people)" sign. This is also false,
since those who sign are part of
shrinking pool of people who are
being outnumbered by the oralists.
It failed to mention that there are
deaf people who do speak and do
not know sign.
Third, the editorial portrayed a
biased, negative image of people
who sign and are mute when it said
there are those "blessed with the
ability to speak verbally." This
judgment is based only on the
hearing person's perspective. Many
would say that hearing people are
not "blessed" with the ability to
communicate in this beautiful
language.
I am profoundly deaf. I do not
sign, although I am presently trying
to learn. Time and again I have
encountered people who "expect"
that I know sign. It's time to bring
down those stereotypes.
ELIZABETH RALSTON
Public Health graduate student
'U' salaries are
ridiculously high
To the Daily:
The publication of the salary
figures and percentage increases of
some of the administrators at the

uncommon skills do the
administrators have that are
apparently not to be found among
their colleagues, and that therefore
command such a differential?
5. How is these individuals'
productivity measured in order to
arrive at percentage increases well
above those paid to most University
staff?

0

A sad weekend in Big Ten football

6. Why are these increases far
above the rise in the U.S. cost of
living/inflation index?
7. is it conceivable that the
University could find equally
qualified individuals able to do the
same jobs just as well as those now
in office but willing to accept a
lower salary for doing so?
This all begins to look
suspiciously like a "gravy train" -
and one badly out of control. When
will it be seen for what it is?
JOHN HUMPHREY
Ann Arbor
To the Daily:
The Daily's gun control editorial
("Pass the Brady Bill," 11/4/93),
was the least informed and most
poorly reasoned piece that I have
ever read.
The Daily emphasized that the
forces of gun control are out "only"
to outlaw "handguns, machine guns
and assault-style rifles." They also
state that such a broad law would
"in no way affect hunters."
The Daily is wrong on several
counts.
"Machine guns" have been
illegal for several years now, except
for licensed collectors, and

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Wis-
consin Badgers both had a good day
Saturday (Oct. 30). Ohio State topped
Penn State, while Wisconsin defeated
M ichigan.
But in both Madison and Colum-
I; us, all was not rosy. Both games ended
ini violence, marring what should have
I een a celebration.
Here in Columbus, students were
r iaced when they tried to tear down the
goalposts.
One student was arrested, another
r ceived a broken ankle, and a Franklin

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