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March 28, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 28, 1994

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1I did not want to go to a place where someone was pledging
guerilla warfare.'
- Vartan Gregorian, referring to Reg. Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor)
and speaking about why he withdrew himself from the illegal 1988
presidential search at the University

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

4 Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board.
All other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Provost interference

^\ J
LeNg 1D / t . E7T Z A

r ',

bOn March 14, the Senate Advisory Com-
mittee on University Affairs (SACUA)
decided to investigate Provost Gilbert
Whitaker's role in an on-going grievance
procedure against Dr. William Pratt, a pro-
fessor of pharmacology. Provost Whitaker
sent a letter in defense of Pratt to Interim
Chair of the School of Pharmacy Dr. Ray
Counsell on Feb. 11. The letter said that
Provost Whitaker was not aware of any
evidence that suggests that Dr. Pratt was a
racist. He asks that the accuser "either docu-
ment the charge or withdraw it." The letter
concluded, "share this letter with your col-
leagues in the Department at an appropriate
time." Although the letter was sent to Dr.
Counsell on Feb. 11, he did not distribute the
letter until March 1.
At first glance it may appear that the
Provost is only trying to protect academic
freedom by shielding a professor from false
accusations. This is not the case, however.
There are several inconsistencies in the
provost's actions. He claimed to have no
knowledge of any documentation of the
allegations against Dr. Pratt, yet two sepa-
rate examples of such written verification
existed at the time of the letter. Dr. Thomas
Landefeld, professor of pharmacology, sent
a letter to Dr. Counsell Sept. 20 expressing
his concerns over Dr. Pratt's appointment as
minority affairs representative for the de-
partment. In addition to this letter, there was
a formal grievance procedure filed against
Dr. Pratt by fellow professor of pharmacol-
ogy Dr. Peggie Hollingsworth over the de-
nial of her promotion.
Moreover, the provost made no attempt
to investigate the charges. He failed to con-
tact Dr: Hollingsworth, Dr. Landefeld or Dr.
Gerald Abrams, Dr. Landefeld's ombuds-
man in the matter. Secondly, are we to
believe that the second highest official in the
school had no knowledge of an on-going
grievance? According to several sources,
Assistant General Counsel Daniel
Sharphorn, advisor to Dr. Counsell in the
on-going greivance, reports all legal matters
to the provost. It is unlikely that a matter that
may eventually be a legal action was not
discussed at some point.

If we accept that the provost knew of the
pending documented charges against Dr.
Pratt, then we must next ask why he sug-
gested that the letter be distributed "at an
appropriate time." The letter was distrib-
uted on March 1, two full days before the
grievance committee returned its decision
on the Hollingsworth grievance. The letter
was distributed to all faculty of the depart-
ment, including the grievance committee
members. By suggesting that the charges
are not documented against Dr. Pratt, he
suggests to the members of the committee
that the charges are unfounded. As Peggie
Hollingsworth said, "these things do not
happen in isolation." The provost is a pow-
erful official, as well as the final adjudicator
in all grievance decisions involving teach-
ing faculty. By issuing such a letter so close
to the time of decision in the Hollingsworth
case, he contaminated the process, in addi-
tion to prejudicing himself in the event that
he is called on to make a decision concern-
ing Dr. Pratt.
In a recent letter to SACUA Chair Henry
Griffin, Provost Whitaker denied any wrong-
doing in the affair. He again said that the
letter of Feb. 11 was merely a call for
evidence. It is not the provost's job to inves-
tigate into the charges against Dr. Pratt - it
is the grievance board's job. The provost's
lack of knowledge of any evidence is irrel-
evant to the matter. However, because of his
powerful position, his assertion that no evi-
dence exists sends out a signal that the
grievance review board is merely a rubber
The provost is hiding behind the banner
of protecting academic freedom. His ac-
tions violated what was otherwise an or-
derly proceeding. Dr. Pratt was in no danger
of dismissal through the procedure, but rather
the career of Dr. Hollingsworth was on the
line. She was the one who needed the pro-
tection in order to ensure the process was
followed. Although academic freedom is a
necessity, so is the proper redress of impro-
priety. If the University does not treat its
faculty correctly they will go elsewhere,
and the education of every student will


Bad arguments to
justify theism
To the Daily:
I was pleased to see a
letter in the daily by my
fellow philosophy major
Ernesto V. Garcia entitled
"belief in God not illogical"
(3/25/94), on the age-old
topic of theism vs. atheism. I
have great respect for the
seriousness with which
Garcia takes his views, and
the extent of research into
Kierkegaard and other
writers that he has put into
this topic, yet I was
disappointed by the
weakness of his reasoning in
this letter. There are three
problems in Garcia's
reasoning in this instance:
Argument from authority,
creation of a false dichotomy
and lack of positive
argument to the substance of
his point.
The argument from
authority is the claim that the
fact that many, if not most
of, the intellectuals of
(Western) history - as well
as many if not most of
today's top scientists - are
theists justifies theism in any
way at all. The beliefs of the
masses are just that: beliefs

of the masses. Unless some
of those masses have a
cogent justification for their
beliefs, there is no reason
why anyone should hop on
the bandwagon. Ideas and
truth are not democracies;
majority rule is not an
indicator of truth. There are
many beliefs that people in
the past have held, such as
geocentricism, but no one
seriously argues for that
anymore. Besides, history
and scientific consensus is
not as firmly in Garcia's
favor as he might think; there
has always been fierce
debate on this issue. The
current trend towards theism
in intellectual circles is
probably merely a reaction to
the relativism of post-
modernism, driven by a
desire to establish certain
The false dichotomy
posited is that a person has
only two choices: belief in
God or live a meaningless
life. This is represented in
the Einstein quote from
1934. Western God theism is
a very specific belief, but
taking this to mean theism in
general, it functions to apply
an external to the person

universal meaning of life.
This is essentially a lack of
respect for the power human
beings have to make their
own meaning; to live
meaningful lives from their
own goals, sensitivities and
social contexts. There are
countless different ways to
live full and meaningful lives
without religious beliefs.
Religion is not just some
psychological crutch; it is a
projection of people's self-
defined meaning,
"humanity's masterpiece."
However, we can come to
terms with religion as a
reflection of ourselves.
The last problem is the
lack of positive argument. I
saw no reasoning here for
theism, only reasoning
against the certainty of
atheism, and poor reasoning
at that. I myself am agnostic,
I don't want to rule out
realities of which I can't be
certain of. I am open to good
arguments of theism; I just
didn't see any here. If belief
in God is not illogical, then
how is it logical? I'd like to
RC Senior

Party Man
Loud music is an integral part
of male student life. I realized
this when I lived in the dorm my
first year here. Some people had
TVs in their rooms, some didn't.
Some had microwaves, some
didn't. Some people had drugs,
some didn't. But every single
person on my hall had a stereo,
and everyone (myself included)
played their music too loud. One
time, the guys next door (one of
whom we knew only by his
nickname "Party Man"- ah,
dorm life) were blasting their
music even louder than usual.
Everything in our room was
bouncing around from the
boomin' bass, including my
roommate. He wanted to study,
not bounce, so he went next door
to tell Party Man to turn down the
volume. He came back shaking
his head. "I couldn't do it," he
said, "I went-over, and they were
blasting their music, and playing
their video games, and they just
looked so happy. I couldn't do
it." If there was a code of honor
on my hall that year, my
roommate had just invoked it.
Things got more interesting
when I moved out of the dorm.
One of my current roommates
has the mother of all stereos. It's
"The Shrine of Our Lady of Four
Speakers," and it dominates our
living area. It has some weird
logarithmic volume control, so
"0" is the loudest it can get. We
have never gotten even one-fifth
of the way to "0," because even
at "15" it is louder than every one
of those stereos from my dorm
hall put together. I know because
at least once a day, the whole
apartment building gets a
demonstration. Come to think of
it, you can hear it from the
building across the street too. It
probably annoys the hell out of
the neighbors, but we aren't sure
because they have never
complained (directly), and the
police have never paid us a visit
(well, not because of the stereo
anyway, but we can leave my
brush with "The Law" for some
other time). That is no excuse.
All four of us should be ashamed
of ourselves. But we aren't.
The amazingthingis the effect
this big machine has on our
personalities; it makes hypocrites
out of all of us. The owner of the
stereo, the oldest of the four of
us, is an upstanding citizen. To
put it simply, he is enamored of
the law. He likes to get illegal
parkers towed, file formal
complaints against everyone and
generally keep people in line. He
is basically a grumpy old man
who hasn't gotten old yet. But
when he puts in, say, a James
CD, he becomes happy-go-lucky,
and he is instantly transformed
into a menace to society.

Every once in a while one of
the other two guys will blast
something too. I, on the other
hand, never do. I would never
even think of doing such a thing.
I am, of course, the biggest
hypocrite of the lot of us. Sure, I
grumble when I get knocked out
of bed at 7 am by a shock wave of
Beck. But secretly, I love it. I
make a game out of it - going'
down the block to find out how
far away I can be and still hear
the lyrics (a few hundred feet,
even when there is traffic on the
street), pretending to worry what
the neighbors are going to do to
us when they finally catch us in
the hall, buying ear plugs that I
never use, and other things like
I'm not even secretive about
it all the time. While I'll never
blast a song, I still jump around
to the music, because my
roommates usually play good
songs. Somewhere in my
subconscious, I am probably
waiting to betray my roommates
("No Your Honor, I had nothing



Ax Clinton's crime bill

The murderer in all of us

The Senate recently postponed Clinton's
anti-crime bill - a package of provi-
sions which is bound to fail in its band-aid
approach to curtailing crime. The distinc-
tive, and dangerous, cornerstones of the bill
include the federalization of a slate of crimes,
increased mandatory minimum sentences,
the much talked about "three strikes" policy
and a significant increase in crimes punish-
able by the death penalty.
The federalization amendment in the
crime bill promises to try any state crime
committed with a gun under a federal court.
This is more of a threat than a promise,
however, as the Clinton administration has
been so slow in appointing federal judges
that the federalization amendment would
undoubtedly overwhelm federal courts.
Historically, the federal government has
played a small role in dealing with crimes
involving drugs and violence. Under the
amendment, it is estimated that there would
be 600,000 new cases eligible for federal
prosecution, totaling the cost of federal pros-
ecution to eight billion a year -money that
is simply not expendable on a proposal that
would do almost nothing to make the streets
safer. Moreover, it is well accepted that
local judges, police and prosecutors are more
responsive to their own communities, and
can more effectively handle crime than an
indifferent bureaucracy.
The mandatory minimum clause of the
anti-crime bill, which increases the mini-
mum time served in prison for drug law
violations and offenses involving weapons,
is equally problematic. Currently, America's
prisons are overcrowded: federal prisoners
more than tripled from 24,000 in 1980 to
90000 last December. New sentencing laws

prison cells at the state level that should be
reserved for violent offenders. Also, the bill
adds 54 new federal crimes punishable by
the death penalty. Even if one accepts the
racist, classist and unjust death penalty as
acceptable, there is no evidence that capital
punishment is a deterrent; there is evidence,
however, that capital punishment clogs the
courts and drains the taxpayer's wallet.
The major pillars of the anti-crime bill
are potentially more dangerous than crime
itself, leaving Clinton's crime bill naked -
with its pledge to federally subsidize 100,000
new community police officers in the next
five years as the only seemingly redeeming
feature. Under observation, however, this
noble prospect proves to be more of an
ailment rather than a remedy to crime. While
100,000 additional cops might seem an enor-
mous number, in actuality the effects will be
practically nil. The plan would only add an
average of four additional cops per depart-
ment - meaning at most, only one addi-
tional cop per shift. This is not enough to
even dent the crime problem. Furthermore,
the allotted five years is enough time only to
hire ill-trained and unqualified officers. And
as cops are hired for life -usually 20 years
plus pension - the five year subsidy will
only cover a quarter of the total cost of the
new cops.
Undoubtedly, America's crime problem
demands an effective and expeditious solu-
tion. Clinton's crime package clearly does
not meet this requirement. Passage of the
anti-crime bill is a crime in itself. The Sen-
ate has already postponed the bill to resolve
Perhaps a termination, and a new begin-
ning on an issue that has always been close

The great theologian
Kierkegaard once said that
there are occasions where
the evidence does not
allow us to conclude that
there is a God of Justice.
On such occasions, he
said, we must simply take
a leap of faith into the
It is appropriate that we
stand here in the darkness
holding small flickering
lights. The darkness is our
reality, the small lights -
some of which were
extinguished even as we
walked - are our hope.
We are here tonight
against our will, because
we have been struck in the
face with violence and
cruelty. We share a sense
of rage at the slaughter of
innocent people in
Hebron, as well as in
Lebanon, in New York,
and elsewhere. We search
for some meaning in these
events. We seek in vain
for evidence that the
Hebron massacre was an
isolated event that will
never happen again. We
want desperately to
believe that the murderer
Baruch Goldstein was an
aberration. And we are left
with a sense of despair.

like the rest of us to leave
us feeling anything but
uneasy. And he was too
much like the BEST of us
to leave us feeling
anything except fear. We
must each wonder if there
is a Baruch Goldstein
lurking inside of us. If all
the evil in the world came
from evil people our moral
judgements would be
simple. We would stand
for the good and repudiate
the rest. But when evil
comes from good people,
we are left confused and
Let us admit the truth,
chilling as it is: Baruch
Goldstein - monster,
murderer, hater of God's
children - was a model
citizen and, to quote his
wife, "a moral man". As a
college student, he was
honored at graduation
with two special awards:
one for outstanding
religious studies and one
for outstanding
community service. He
was a good father, a good
husband, a loyal friend, a
helpful neighbor and a
devoted doctor who would
get up in the middle of the
night to treat those who
needed treatment. Any of
us would be proud to

caused him to believe the
world was filled with
enemies? What caused
him to read Holy Books
and to conclude that all the
ancient enemies of his
people had been
reincarnated in the form of
seven hundred men and
boys kneeling in prayer
before God? And what
caused him to think he had
the moral right - even the
obligation - to
exterminate them from the
face of the earth?
We ask God to stop this
from happening, but we
recognize that God will
not stop us from
disobeying His Law. If our
world is to be saved, we
must save it ourselves.
Let us pledge ourselves
not to turn to hate. Let us
pledge ourselves not to
compound the problem by
creating more victims. Let
each of us carry in our
heart a small child - a
child not of our faith, not
of our nation, not of our
tribe - and pledge
ourselves to love that child
whatever happens.
Let us pledge ourselves
to work for peace and
security for the Palestinian
people, and for all peoples
in the Middle East -

! 1

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