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February 10, 1994 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Unfinished business
It has been nearly eight months
since an anonymous cabal of students
tried to railroad Professor David
Goldberg out of the Department of
Sociology by slandering him with
trumped up charges of sexual and
racial harassment. The chair of the
sociology department who bowed to
the inquisition has since resigned; the
charges have been dropped, and
Goldberg has been allowed to teach
his course, Sociology 510 -although
he has been demoted to teaching only

elective, and not required courses.
Nevertheless, the wound the
Goldberg affair has inflicted on the
University community continues to
Fester. It will continue to do so until
he University apologizes to Goldberg
and takes a strong stand in defense of
academic freedom.
The facts of the incident were con-
tained in a December article for Rea-
son Magazine by Jonathan Chait. In
his class, Goldberg challenged vari-
ous statistical claims, such as the as-
sertion that women make 59 cents to
every dollar men make, and statistics
laiming race is a decisive factor be-
tween Blacks and whites concerning
SAT scores and who gets mortgage
loans. Goldberg found the 59 cent
figure to be inaccurate, and concluded
other factors like income and educa-
ton were decisive in the other claims.
The students charged that
Goldberg conducted these and other
statistical analyses "to vent his own
iolitical, ideological and personal
frustrations on students in the class-
room" and that "the obvious target for
these attacks were students of color
and women."
After hearing these complaints,
and before even considering
Goldberg's defense, Sociology Chair
Howard Schuman barred Goldberg
from teaching his required graduate
course. Later, Schuman split the 35-
erson class into two sections (with
qne taught by another professor) while
giving hardly a thought to academic
freedom.
The arrangement seems to have
worked, other than the fact that a
tenured professor was stripped of his
class because of the content of his
ideas. This point has catalyzed some
members of a normally lethargic fac-
*lty.
In "Muggings," the most recent
outraged faculty article to appear in
the University Record, Professors
George J. Brewer and Thomas E.
Moore lamented the poor handling of
the case and sought apologies to
Goldberg from the dean of LSA, the
provost and the president.
Asked about the .criticism, Uni-
versity President James J. Duderstadt
responded, "Over the course of the
past year we have indeed responded
to this incident in a variety of ways.
Professors Moore and Brewer are
quite wrong." If the University has
responded, it has been in one way:
very quietly, or very privately.
Brewer said in an interview that
the Senate Advisory Committee on
University Affairs (SACUA), which
*epresents the faculty, had also failed
to take a necessary tough stand on the
Goldberg affair. "SACUA has stalled
on it," he said. "It hasn't done any-
thing so far."
Henry Griffin, who chairs
SACUA, said he would like to see the
issue addressed through "normal
channels" at the dean or department
level.
The professors are not likely to be
pleased with Dean Goldenberg's re-
sponse. While Goldenberg firmly de-
fended the concept of academic free-
dom, at a Feb. 7 faculty meeting she
warned that "faculty as well as stu-
dents should be more tolerant of hear-
ing views expressed or having issues

Ushenng
theater into
the 2 1st
century
By MELISSA ROSE
BERNARDO
and
JASON CARROLL
Artists on their craft
T he self-professed goal of The Colored Museum Project
(CMP) is to generate and further the discussion of "Multi-
Ethnic theater in the 21st Century." While an honorable
goal, some participants of the CMP are skeptical about its ramifica-
tions. Participants like Muriel Miguel and OyamO are optimistic
about the discussions but less optimistic about the anticipated solu-
tions.
The catch phrase "multi-ethnic theater" leaves a bad taste in the
mouth of Muriel Miguel, a Native American actor-producer-play-
wright-director. "Every time I hear it, it scares me, and it's been
scaring me for a number of years now," she said. Past experience has
made her wary of that idea, because she knows that Native Americans
have been burnt, and will always be burnt.
"So far this 'multicultural' - this buzzword - has not worked
for me," she stated emphatically. "It usually means that there are
expectations of what you're going to do and what you should be
doing, and if you don't meet those expectations ... or if you do it
you're own way, then people get upset with you."
But to achieve multiculturalism in theater, Miguel thinks, we
need more than just rhetoric - more than labels like "multi-
trasmission" or "ethnic transmission" or "cultural transmission," a
phrase she heard the other day.
"I don't know if these things have words," Miguel speculated. "I
think that true sharing is true sharing, which means that you listen to
and support other cultures and other types of theater, that you read up
and that you find out. That you work as an audience just as hard in
theater, or you work just as hard if you're a critic, as the people that
are showing you something."
Accomplished African-American playwright and University pro-
fessor OyamO suggested examining our American history for a
springboard for this discussion of multi-ethnic theater.
"We've always had the problem of a multi-ethnic country. Before
the other people came, there were various nations of indigenous
people, plenty of different cultures. They didn't do all the same thing
or act the same way ... so we had a multi-ethnic society.
"But somewhere along the way, someone attempted to impose
one culture, and that's been a source of contention ever since then.
That's why we end up having conferences like this - to rediscover
the multi-ethnicity that this land has always had," OyamO explained.
Rediscovering our multi-ethnicity for the 21st century is not only
restricted to the performing arts. However, OyamO pointed out, the
theater seems to be a natural venue through which we can explore
multi-ethnicity.
"Especially in America where we have so many different people
and cultures, and they're all coming together to work in a common
theater, it naturally lends itself to a kind of multi-ethnicity," OyamO
said.
Miguel, however, sees in the theater what she calls "the white
mainstream," and claims that Native Americans (as she cannot
speak for other groups) must make a place for themselves, without
the help of other groups. "I felt that there really was no place for a
Native theater that did not have beautiful costumes with lots of
See MIGUEL, Page 7

Project fosters multiculturalism

kay, theater connoisseurs,
let's take a little quiz.
Questions:0
1. Can you name one African-
American play/musical that appeared
on Broadway within the last 10.years?
2. How about one Asian-Ameri-
can play/musical? (Note: "Miss
Saigon" does not count.)
3. One Latino play/musical?
("West Side Story" is not an option.)
4. Or a Native American play/
musical? (No points for "Annie Get
Your Gun.)
Answers:
1. Possible answers could include:
"Jelly's Last Jam," "Five Guys Named
Moe," or "Dreamgirls." Any others?
Write us. We'd like to know.
2. Possible answer: David Henry-
Hwang's "M. Butterfly." We can't
think of any others.
3. You've got us on this one. We
don't know either.
4. Beats us!
The point of this little exercise is
to illustrate the point that minorities
are underrepresented in the home of
America's most lucrative commer-
cial theater, Broadway - also known
as "The Great White Way." (Go fig-
ure.)
In effort to ameliorate this situa-
tion, this week Ann Arbor's theater
community will unite to discuss is-
sues surrounding the future of theater
in the next century. It is dubbed "The
Colored Museum Project" (CMP), a
week-long series of dialogues and
workshops at the heart of which is a
production of George C. Wolfe's
play "The Colored Museum."
In a recent interview,
University faculty mem-
ber Julie Nessen, CMP l
producer and director,
described the various
goals of the CMP.
"One is to start a scholar
chin rmaramfor dlldpntc of

ater. "(Since) 'Jelly's Last Jam' closed
on Broadway ... there are no other
Black plays. In my mind, that isn't
right. We have no Latino plays, no
Native American plays - the list
goes on and on. We make the state-
ment 'This is America' and it's just
not."
"The Colored Museum" has a his-
tory of its own at the University. Last
year, the show was presented in the
Arena Theatre for six performances.
"I've always felt that it was an
important piece of theater to do here,"
Nessen said. "By the end of the run,
we were pushing people into the
Arena. There was nowhere to stand,
sit, anything. And these were people
that didn't normally go to the the-
ater."
Although it sold out numerous
performances, the producers felt the
show "was seen by relatively few
people." Therefore, the show is being
remounted this year in the larger
Trueblood Theatre.
"We thought we obviously have a
good show, and we have a show that
people need to see," Nessen remarked.
The idea for the project's expan-
sion came to Nessen while working
See CMP, Page 7

h-u

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