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October 18, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 18, 1994

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

Jessie Halladay
Editor in Chief
Samuel Goodstein
Flint Wainess

Editorial Page EditorsI
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.

II i [f.11:-g~eii) ±:14411
'To what extent is a man a co-exister with the sys-
tems he creates? And to what extent is a man a
compoment subsumed in the systems he creates?'
- Jamie Sheridan, commenting on the nature of art in cyberspace
TE ' O1LE. WI-b_ AND ho-r ! -FWM ALL E8ALL
TH -__
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- ....
"Y"...." .. 4.
- - - .

Can we amend the code?

Students, faculty and the
t he Statement of Student Rights and Re-
sponsibilities, or the Code, is a document
that details proper conduct for University stu-
dents. It purports to offer guidelines for stu-
dent behavior, which will lead to a university
setting that is conducive to academic studies
..and to adequate and comfortable student-stu-
dent relations. In reality, however, the Code
over-sanctions student activities, infringes on
students' rights and has been flawed since its
The Code calls for at least one public
hearing per academic year to allow amend-
ments to be considered. As of now, there has
never been an official hearing process for
Code amendments. Last year, the administra-
tion made two half-hearted attempts to call a
meeting, both unsuccessful. One was can-
celed due to snow, and the other failed because
it was called at short notice and a quorum did
not attend.
If the administration is serious about up-
holding the amendment process, it will con-
sider the events of last year and make every
attempt to organize a hearing, with a quorum.
The public hearing is overdue and should have
been called already this year, as there are over
onehundredpendingamendment submissions,
most remaining from last year.
The administration sanctioned the Code
hastily two years ago this January, disregard-
ing most student input in the process. Because
there was little student input from the begin-
ning, there had to be an outlet through which
students could amend their own Code.

Women and

'U' need a hearing
The University recognized this need for an
amending procedure and created a forum for
amendments. Currently, the process holds that
the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA), the
Senate Advisory Committee of University
Affairs (SACUA) any Executive Officer of
the University, any person with a petition
sponsored by a student and signed by 500
enrolled students, or the faculty/student panel
charged with amending the Code can submit
proposals for amendments. The Office of Stu-
dent Affairs collects the proposals, and calls a
public hearing to review and to accept or reject
the amendments.
The public hearing panel includes 50 stu-
dents, who are "randomly" selected by the
administration, and at least a quorum of these
students (26 members) must attend the hear-
ing in order for it to be considered official. If
the student panel votes to accept any amend-
ments, they are subsequently submitted to the
Board of Regents, which then must decide on
any final changes to the Code.
All parties have a fundamental stake in
insisting immediately on proceedings to re-
view and, hopefully, modify the Code. The
administration surely would like to ratify its
amendments to the Code, and students need to
shape a document that is acceptable and rel-
evant to student life. If the University is truly
interested in student input about the Code and
is serious about upholding the amending pro-
cess that the Code itself designates, it will hold
a hearing now and begin to offer opportunities
to amend it.

Don't close your mind to a TA with an accent

We read with unease Jaimie
Birk' s personal attack on for-
eign teaching assistants in the
Oct. 6th edition of the Daily.
We recognize his concern
about the TAs in his depart-
ment but we feel he must take
responsibility for the impact
this letter has on the Univer-
sity. We are not making any
assumptions about Birk's in-
tentions by submitting the let-
ter, but we believe that this
letter does perpetuate harmful
stereotypes about foreign TAs.
Birk states, "70 percent of
[his] TAs thus far could barely
speak English!" While he may
have been referring to the Eu-
ropean TAs he's had, the aver-
age student will probably as-
sume he is referring to Asian
TAs, considering that overhalf
of the foreign TAs are Asian
nationals (14.1 percent are
Asian out of 22 percent of TAs
that are foreign). We would
not be more comfortable with
the statement if it were directed
towards non-Asian TAs, but
we believe that because such a
high percentage of foreign TAs
are Asian, his statements have
direct implications and conse-
The student/teacher rela-
tionship is a precanous one. A
negative attitude on either end
will have repercussions on the
learning experience. By mak-
ing such broad, negative gen-
eralities about the teaching
skills of foreign TAs, Birk
taints the educational experi-
ence of students who have ei-
ther been in or are in a class
being taught by a foreign TA.
It is tempting for any student to
blame their failures on their
professor, but because Birk
encourages such reactions on
questionable premises, the po-
Liu is the assistant
programming director for

tential for a positive teaching
relationship between students
and foreign TAs is threatened.
For example, Birk feels
that heis being taught by "some-
body who doesn't even know
[his] language." TAs for whom
English is not their first lan-
guage have to pass English re-
quirements in order to teach.
They also have to undergo a
series of tests which examine
their teaching abilities in order
to ensure that they can explain
their material in a way that stu-
dents can understand. Those
who are not up to standard, as
well as those who receive un-
satisfactory end-of-year student
evaluations, are not allowed to
Speaking English as a sec-
ond language can be difficult
enough conversationally.
Therefore, foreign TAs teach-
ing in English face challenges.
While we understand the frus-
tration students may feel be-
cause of their TA's accent, the
learning experience is a two-
way street. International TAs
who are admitted to graduate
schools in the United States are
here because they are outstand-
ing scholars.
They are hired by the Uni-
versity to teach introductory
level courses. They are an in-
valuable resource for students.
While their English speaking
skills may not be equivalent to
the speaking skills of a native
English speaker, they are more
than capable to communicate
and educate. What is necessary
in this situation is patience.
What a wealth of knowledge
and experience we would be
losing if we closed our minds to
any voice with an accent.
GEO and UMAASC have
been concerned about the level
of discrimination in the class-
room being reported by TAs.
TAs may be discriminated
against for many reasons, in-
cluding race, gender, disabil-

ity, sexuality and national ori-
gin. Asian TAs are subject to
the most direct, frequent and
unabashed discrimination;stu-
dents have no hesitation in com-
plaining that they "can't un-
derstand" an Asian TA because
of the harmful remarks that
have been tolerated, accepted
and even encouraged by many
on this campus. This fall, GEO
is planning to hold workshops
to specifically address these
problems by teaching TAs
practical strategies for dealing
with discrimination in the class-
Lastly, many foreign TAs
must face enormous cultural
and social barriers while teach-
ing at this University. All of us
have felt the frustrations of
having to communicate in a
foreign language. Imagine the
situation these TAs are in. They
are undoubtedly qualified to
perform research and teach
their field of study but are be-
ing judged as incompetent the
minute they walk through the
door. We are not saying that
every individual foreign TA
on campus is beyond criticism;
however, we must question
why we are so quick to criticize
the competency of a foreign
TA rather than an American
TA, or an Asian TA over a
European TA. While we are
responsible to raise issue with
the teaching skills of individual
TAs, is it fair for us to make the
assumption that allforeign TAs
are unqualified? It is impor-
tant to remember that these TAs
are often times also students.
Their teaching'skills are a re-
flection of the training being
offered by the University ad-
ministration. If there are, in
fact, grave problems with the
teaching skills of foreign TAs
specifically, we should be ad-
dressing the University's re-
sponsibilities to foreign TAs
instead of personally judging
and attacking these TAs.

Tess Harding is a woman wh
has it all. Portrayed by Katherine
Hepburn in the 1943 movie Woman
of the Year, she is a star newspaper
columnist who speaks eight different
languages, grasps the intricacies of
international politics with ease and is
married to a man who dearly loves
her, a sports columnist played by
Spencer Tracy.
The night Tess is to be honored
by the Women's Board as Womanof
the Year, Tracy's character is clearly
uncomfortable. He doesn't like the
thought of watching her bask in glory,
and is flabbergasted that she hasn't
made arrangements for anyone to
take care of the refugee boy who is
staying with them. He's sick of he
not being home, of her still using he
maiden name, and her refusal to cook.
"I should call the Board and tell them
you're not a woman at all," he de-
Success and femininity, in the
1940s as the 1990s, are often incom-
patible. In the early 1970s, psycholo-
gist Matina Horner asked men and
women to generate stories to th
prompt "at the end of the year, John
(or Anne) finds himself (herself) at
the top of the medical school class."
John went on to riches, love and
admiration in the students' stories,
but those asked to tell astory about
Anne had her boyfriend leaving her,
her friends abandoning her, or even a
jealous classmate stabbing her to
Not only are many women torn
between their careers and their fami-
lies, but women who are more suc-
cessful than their husbands oftenfeel
that they have wronged their mates in
some way. The husband who gazes
at his wife with unabashed admira-
tion (a la Nancy Reagan) is still a
very rare creature. Back in the fiftie
pundits warned that women who too
careers outside the home would "lose
their femininity." (I never really un-
derstood this one. How can you lose
your femininity? "Oh no, I can't find
my femininity!" says a woman."It
must be in my other handbag.")
Yet the conflict between femi-
ninity and success has not improved
much with five decades of change
Dr. Joyce Brothers states freely that
men need ego-stroking, but that
women shouldn't get too upset if
their mates don't return the favor. An
ex-boyfriend of mine, otherwise a
fairly liberal guy, wouldn't speak to
me after I made a better grade on a
midterm than he did. When I finally
got him to talk, he hemmed and haw
until I finally asked, "So you're ma
at me because I did better on a test?"
"Well, yes," he replied.
And of course there is the agoniz-
ing choice of a woman who wants to
go back to work but faces putting her
children in day care, or needs to
move because of her career and must
find ajob for her husband as well. As
Betty Friedan argued in The Femi4
nine Mystique (1963), women were
forced to choose between marriage

and children and a career, while men
have always been able to have both.
Imagine reversing the scene in
Woman of the Year, with a husband
receiving a prestigious award and the
wife sulking jealously, wondering
why he doesn't take care of their
adopted boy, or cook, or change hi
name to hers. Either way, it's the
woman who looks selfish.
We have come a long way since
the 1950s, and many men are now
recognizing that they are missing out
on their children's lives when they
work 80 hours a week. But no matter
how liberal we are consciously, it's
easy to feel a little uncomfortabl
when a woman makes more money
than her husband, or receives more
accolades, or wants him to share in
her glory.
The last scene of Woman of the
Vpnr.is. n rnnWhpti-. ,.i . tr.'-tnA



The Nobel Prize

Arafat, Rabin and Peres
n Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was
awarded to Shimon Peres, Yasir Arafat
and Yitzhak Rabin for their efforts in moving
the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward.
';The Prize committee has been criticized by
many for this decision, especially for Arafat's
Arafat has spent most of his life leading a
terrorist organization dedicated to the destruc-
tion of the Jewish state. Though the past ac-
tions of Arafat and other PLO leaders were
militant, their recent actions have produced
strides towards peace. Arafat, Peres and Rabin
have all put their reputations on the line in their
quest for an agreement between the two sides.
Their recent actions alone make the leaders
worthy of the Nobel Prize.
This is not the first time the Nobel Peace
Prize Committee has given the award to a
leader with a militaristic background. In 1990,
Mikhail Gorbachev received the award for his
work in helping to change the oppressive
police state of the Soviet Union. Yet his past
included the attack of Afghanistan, killing
thousands on both the Soviet and Afghan
sides. Furthermore, F.W. deKlerk was awarded
the prize after leading an apartheid state for
decades. The Nobel Prize is awarded, in large
part, based on efforts to end conflicts and
achieve peace, not only on a life-long commit-
ment to peace. While it is true that some
recipients, such as the Dalai Lama, fit this
criteria, clearly it is not a prerequisite, nor
should it be. This year's admirable efforts by
the three leaders should not be contested be-
cause of their pasts, however violent and pain-
ful they are.
Though Arafat, Peres and Rabin have been
working continuously toward peace, the pro-
cess is far from complete. Arafat is pushing for

are worthy recipients
but must overcome many obstacles to reach
this goal. The peace talks have been hindered
by extremist groups, especially by the Muslim
fundamentalist group Hamas. The group's
recent kidnapping of an Israeli soldier led to a
failed Israeli attempt at trying to free the
soldier, eventually causing a blood bath that
threatened to derail the promise of carefully
constructed peace negotiations. Though
Hamas' members are Palestinian, their ac-
tions are not entirely Arafat's fault, as the
Israeli soldier was not being held in his do-
main - the Gaza Strip. The Israelis, however,
are justified in their position that continued
terrorism by Hamas may jeopardize the peace
Unfortunately, Arafat may be helpless in
controlling the radical fringe group. Hope-
fully, he will continue on the course to free
elections and allow the Palestinians to finally
exercise their right to self-governance. With
these elections, the people will, hopefully,
deny Hamas and its supporters the baton of
leadership. Arafat's best hope in quelling ter-
rorism, and furthering the peace process, will
be to allow the Palestinians to govern them-
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been
among the most menacing and irreconcilable
in the world, with great suffering on both
sides. For peace to become a reality, many
more steps need to be taken. If an agreement
can be reached, the Palestinians and Israelis
will serve as examples for other conflicts
around the world. While the end of the Cold
War is hardly bringing on a Pax Americana,
peace between Israelis and Palestinians will
demonstrate to the world that painful differ-
ences can be put aside. Dedication to this goal
surely qualifies Arafat, Peres and Rabin as

Sig Eps
deserve what
they got, and
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to
your Friday article on the
Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity
turning in their charter.
I believe a more appropri-
ate headline would have been,
"Sig Eps give up and run."
The former chapter has
clearly shown the IFC, GARP,
Sigma Phi Epsilon headquar-
ters and the entire University
community that instead of fac-

the ex-brothers will be allowed
to stay in their house. The Al-
pha chapter's alumni board,
who owns the house, should
take a stronger stance. How can
Sig Eps alumni sit back and
watch theirchapterbe destroyed
and then let the offenders con-
tinue to live in a house alumni
Finally, I believe the ac-
tions taken by the fraternity
headquarters and the sanctions
by the IFC and GARP were
reasonable and fair. Hazing can
not be tolerated. It is a danger-
ous activity with potentially
serious consequences. The Sig
Eps discovered two of these
consequences: a pledge being
hospitalized and punished from
their governing bodies.

Keep up the
good work!
To the Daily:
I wanted to compliment you
on your Weekend edition car-
toonist, Eric Benson. I found
the comic run on Oct. 6 so
profound that I had to go find
the previous week's edition.
The strip has such an impact
and such a fresh view that I was
very impressed. This cartoon
is a great improvement over
the regularly published comic
by Jim Lasser. Please keep up
the good work!
Hank Tseu

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