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January 24, 1995 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily -- Tuesday, January 24, 1995

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'it is not the consciousness of men that determines their
being, but on the contrary their social being that
determines their consciousness.'
--Karl Marx

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

i

Editorial Page Editors
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.

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ccess, representation
The push for a student regent must be student-led

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Pr frequent readers of the Daily editorial
page, the issue to follow must surely be
starting to become a bore. Still, of all the issues
presently confronting students at the Univer-
sity, the push for student representation on the
Board of Regents remains the most salient -
and retains the most urgency.
It is a debate that is not new. Talk of a
student seat on the Board of Regents has
been tossed around in student leadership
circles for at least a decade. But it has only
been as of late - the last two years, spe-
cifically that students began taking a
different tack. Instead of embarking on the
arduous task of amending the state Consti-
tution, why not try to procure representa-
tion in a non-voting capacity?
Commendably, the Michigan Party leader-
ship of the Michigan Student Assembly has
kept the ball rolling by placing this issue near
the top of their platform.
Students, however, mustn't rely on MSA
alone to obtain representation. Historically,
the Board of Regents has not been the most
responsive of sorts to student interests and
concerns. While improvements have been
made, and while two fresh faces on the board
should re-energize the University's governing
body, December's board meeting made it clear
that the voice of MSA still doesn't command
much respect among the regents. MSA Presi-
dent Julie Neenan was allowed to present her
proposal for student representation on the
Board, but even the normally garrulous re-

gents held their tongue. The only follow-up
discussion to Neenan's proposal commended
her - although slightly condescendingly -
and then quickly moved to make clear that
representation was OK, as long as it didn't
take the form of an actual student sitting side
by side with the regents.
Simply put, this is unacceptable. The fact
remains, the University shouldbe embarrassed
by its reluctance to move forward in the way
every other Big Ten University (save the pri-
vate Northwestern) has. While Michigan State
University has four non-voting student re-
gents, students at the University are blessed
with none. No access, no representation.
The status quo is surely not to change
without the help of students. The Daily en-
courages interested students to e-mail Presi-
dent James J. Duderstadt with their concerns
about lack of representation. Moreover, as
Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen
A. Hartford seems to have placed student
representation at the bottom of her hierarchy
of concerns, perhaps a few messages and
phone calls from students could serve as a
reminder that the status quo just isn't good
enough.
The arguments against student representa-
tion are easily deflated - and often times,
disingenuous. The collective voice of students
needs to come together to remind a sheltered
Board of Regents that students deserve basic
representation. Anything less simply won't
suffice.

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LSA takes a giant leap backwards by gutting
Communication Department

To the Daily:
As a recent University
graduate, I was present when
the initial decision was made to
restructure LSA's Communi-
cation Department. Atthetime,
I had the opportunity to discuss
the decision with newly ap-
pointed acting Chair (John)
Chamberlin, and after doing so,
was relatively confident that the
decisions being made there
would be carefully considered.
Now I hear the majority of the
qualitative communication cur-
riculum, including journalism
classes, is being scrapped. This,
to me, is appalling.
People have told me that,
once upon a time, it was pos-
sible to gain practical skills in
an undergraduate liberal arts

education. You could concen-
trate in a subject area, and then
count on the fact that such
knowledge had prepared you
for something otherthan gradu-
ate school.
The move with the Com-
munication Department is just
another step in the continuing
devaluation of the undergradu-
ate education.
Iwas acommunication con-
centrator at the University, and
most of my coursework was in
journalism. Through this
coursework, I gained not just
an understanding of how re-
porting has been done, but how
I could do it. I learned invalu-
able skills with regard to inves-
tigation - skills that are im-
portantto know before moving

on to a job in the field.
Now, surprisingly, it would
take a trip to the University's
Masters program in journalism
to gain these skills (and, of
course, the additional years of
tuition).
With the cost of a college
education as high as it is today,
don't students have a right to
leave the University with some-
thing tangible? Burying them
with watered-down concentra-
tion programs and piles of dis-
tribution requirements doesn't
help the situation.
I hope Dean Goldenberg
considers this before axing an-
other program.
Andrew M. Levy
LSA '93

Our long, slow
Trek toward
gender equity
warps ahead
"Thank you, sir," says an en-
sign to his captain during the pilot
episode of "Star Trek: Voyager."
"Despite Starfleet protocol, I don't
like being addressed as 'sir,"' an-
swers Captain Kathryn Janeway.
"I'm sory ... ma'amT' says the
flustered ensign."Ma'am' is ac-
ceptable in a crunch," says
Janeway, "But I prefer 'captain."'
Thus Star Trek enters the mod-
ern era, with a woman at the helm
of its flagship for the first time in
its 30-year history. As an optimis-
tic vision of the future, Star Trek
has always been a symbol of eth-
nic and gender equality on televi-
sion, able to show powerful
women, minorities in command
and Americans and Russians work-
ing together when such things
couldn't be found anywhere else
on the dial. Yet it has been a long
and difficult journey getting there,
laden with the symbolism of a
society still uncertain of its beliefs
and values.
By today's standards, the origi-
nal Star Trek episodes are obvious
in their sexism, with Kirk and
McCoy leering at any passing skirt
before speaking condescendingly
to the woman wearing it. Yet it
didn't start out that way: The first
strong woman of Star Trek ap-
peared in its original pilot episode.
NumberOne, a female first officer
played byMajel Barrett, was calm,
logical and in control. There was
only one problem: Audienceshated
her. To paraphrase Newt
Gingrich's mom, they thought she
was a bitch. So Gene Roddenberry
axed the character, transferring her
calm logic to Mr. Spock and turn-
ing Star Trek into a buddy movie
to the stars.
Yet the show still managed to
break a few barriers,portraying an
interracial crew who worked to-
gether well. Still, some of the ac-
tors felt they had only token roles;
Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieu-
tenant Uhura, was ready to quit
after several episodes of saying
nothing but "Channel open, Cap-
tain." That same week she went to
a dinner and was introduced to Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. When she
told Dr. King that she'd decided to
quit, he urged her to continue -it
was very important for people to
see Black role models on televi-
sion, he told her earnestly. Need-
less to say, she stayed.
Captain Kathryn Janeway is
also a role model, one of the few
women on television who is in a
position of power. The Trekkie
crowd I watched the episode with
wasn't quite sure what to make of
her. She carries the burden ofpower
well, almost effortlessly, until gen-

der is not a central issue and she is
not -a woman in command, but a
person in command.
Almost. It's the little hints of
womanhood which make Kate
Mulgrew's performance interest-
ing, and speakto the real meanings
of gender in the 20th century as
well as the 24th. The first time we
see Janeway, she is standing on an
embankment with her hands on
her hips. After Voyager is dam-
aged in a plasma storm, Janeway
stumbles through a smoky corri-
dor-and quickly tucks her way-
ward hair back into abun, provok-
ing a laugh from the Trekkies.
Yet for the most part Janeway
is a captain, gender indeterminate.
Her mannerisms, her speaking
style, and many ofherwords could
just as well be Jean-Luc Picard's
ofNext Generation fame. The con-
fidence in her stride is obvious,
and she smiles on only the rarest of
occasions. In many ways, she plays

*

Minimum wage, revisited
Congress should pass a minimum wage increase

Serpent's Tooth represents our worst qualities

+ W~f hen Bill Clinton ran forpresident in 1992
he promised to push for an increase in
the minimum wage. Now, in 1995, after the
unfortunate Republican victory in the mid-
term elections, the issue has finally risen to the
top of the president's list of things to accom-
plish. The wage raise, alternately being pro-
posed by Sen. Kennedy and the president as
moving from either $4.25 to $5.00 or $5.50,
has been publicly supported by the Demo-
cratic leadership in Congress and Vice Presi-
dent Gore. The President is expected to make
a formal announcement in his State of the
Union speech tonight.
Whenever there is talk of raising the mini-
mum wage, the same arguments surface in an
attempt to squelch the measure. The discourse
of late has been no exception. Politicians, and
the economists that support their views, have
already began the chant: "Think of the outra-
geousjob loss! Think of the phenomenal infla-
tion!" Just as these arguments have been
disproven when the minimum wage was raised
in the past, so they should be ignored again.
Recent studies from Alan Kreuger and
David Card, economists at Princeton Univer-
sity, have shown that the arguments of mini-
mum wage naysayers are unfounded. In the
past, when theminimumwagehas beenraised,
there has been some job loss - but not any-
thing approaching the astronomical numbers
suggestedby opponents ofthe measure. Econo-
mists predict this raise, of a very considerable
18 percent, would result in the unemployment
of less then 1 percent of the work force. The
increase in total income overall would offset
any possible rise in consumer prices, resulting
from minimum-wage related costs employers
could push onto consumers.
Even if the opponents claims were valid,
now is the best time to raise the minimum
wage. Currently, the United States' economy

going to have to be raised sometime -- as the
cost of living rises. So what better time to raise
it then when the economy can most easily
swallow the unlikely negative consequences?
Further, there are more reasons to support
raising the minimum wage than reasons not to
- and they are more economically sound.
First it will raise the number of families above
the poverty line, thereby decreasing the bur-
den on the Federal welfare system by increas-
ing the incentive to work. Contrary to popular
belief, the majority of people in minimum
wage jobs are not teenagers. Two-thirds of
minimum wage earners are adults and 45
percent of those earn at least one-half of their
families income. Raising the minimum wage
by the proposed 18 percent will significantly
increase those families' incomes. Studies also
show that a raise in minimum wage causes a
ripple effect in salaries up to 50 cents over the
new wage.
So, raising the minimum wage will make it
possible for a large group of low income
families to live above the poverty line.
Secondly raising the wage will increase
incentives forbusinesses to provide their work-
ers with opportunities for increasing their skills.
If acompany has to pay more per hour it is only
logical that they will want to get more from
each worker in that hour. If they are paid more
it is in the companies' best interest to make
them worth more. The United States' com-
petitive edge in the global market is most
definitely not low skill/low wage workers. In
fact, there is no way we can compete with
developing countries in this department. Our
strengthis ahigher skilled, and therefore higher
paid work force. Raising the minimum wage
will give companies, and workers, further
incentive to increase their skills and efficiency.
Now is the most opportune time to raise the
minimum wage. Right now the economy is

To the Daily:
I am sending you my re-
sponse to the letter from Michi-
gan Review stafferBakopoulos,
and to all the defensive posing
which recently appeared in the
Review as a result of my brief
letter sent to the Daily at the end
of last semester. The letter from
Bakopoulos was printed in your
Jan. 9 issue, and it is interesting
to compare the meek yet firm
tone of that letter with the com-
ments Bakopoulos posted in his
most recent Serpent's Tooth
column, wherein he made fun
of my name. A copy of this is
also being sent to the Review. I
do this because they like to
fiddle with people's writing,
and I wanted my words to ap-
pear intact in at least one publi-
cation.
Most of the Review's en-
ergy seems to be devoted to
making fun of other people,
usually in a nasty manner. I'm
responsible for my share of sat-
ire, both on the radio and in
writing, but I try and tempermy
statements with a certain
amount of empathy. I do not
detect much empathy in the
writings of Michigan Review-
ers. These are predominately
arrogant young people who
have everything figured out and
anybody who disagrees had
better be quiet or they'll whip
you in the pillory.
Mr. Bakopoulos, of the
Serpent'sTooth column, voiced
disbelief in my objections, say-
ing that I cannot possibly be
talking about the current Re-
view but rather I must be react-
ing to something I read in the
past. I have no idea how often
the staff changes over, and I
don't care. If he is suddenly the
editor of a column which has
pissed me off on a regular basis
for several years, then welcome,

the Serpent's Tooth column.
Michigan Reviewers jump up
and down denying this but lis-
ten I've read your shit and
sometimes it's that stupid and
offensive. This is my opinion.
I'm voicing it.
Sometimes the Serpent's
Tooth column does actually
come across with funny bits. I
thought the entry concerning
an increase in sex among midg-
ets since the truncating of
restroom doors was a funny
bit. Nothing too brilliant, but
funny nonetheless.
What bothers me are at-
tempts at humor which only
end up as horrid blobs of ques-
tionable warpo logic. Again, I
am myself a dedicated warper
of logic, but when I try and
bear in mind that when one
writes something and it gets
published and distributed to
large numbers of people, then
one has essentially planted a
seed in the body politick. One
little misconception can grow
into a chest-thumping lie pretty
darn quick.
Example: Awhileagothere
was a Serpent's Tooth entry
which stated that since Nazis
called themselves National
Socialists, then that means
Nazis were left-wing extrem-
ists because of the word "so-
cialist."This wasn'tfunny, and
it showed tremendously insuf-
ficientthoughtprocesses barely
at work. The key word is not
"socialist" but "national."
You'd think by now people
would recognize the fact that
nationalism is a deadly mis-
take. We've seen it proven in
protracted, bloody wars again
and again. Nationalism is when
a healthy love for your mother-
land mutates into a macho
power trip. You'd think this
would register by now in

iam F. Buckley's National Re-
view? It's the principle of seed-
ing once again. Years ago, these
college Review papers sprung
up in obvious imitation of
Buckley's rag. I believe the
Michigan Review emerged
right around the beginning of
the Reagan administration.
Right? If you're so different,
now, then dissociate yourselves
from the obvious connection
and change the name of your
paper. As it is, the combination
of whatyou call yourselves and
what you spout makes for a
byproduct which I feel is sus-
pect. How to trust you? I don't.
Have you ever seen the
video documentary dealing
with the Dartmouth Review?
How they hounded a professor
of color until he resigned? The
kids responsible were just as
nasty, just as defensive when
challenged as our own Michi-
gan Reviewers. My own per-
ception of the Michigan and
Dartmouth Reviews being
linked to a nationwide chain of
William F. Buckley offshoots
stems from having viewed this
video. In fact, on two separate
occasions, I was the projection-
ist who showed it to an audito-
rium full of students. I wonder,
did they see any similarities?
The Dartmouth dudes, to me,
were indistinguishable from our
Michigan Reviewers.
Finally, let me state that
being insulted personally by the
Review is only a little bit more
unpleasant than being insulted
on a more generalized level by
the overallcommentary. Ifound
it ironic that after stating that
Serpent's Tooth doesn't attack
anyone on the basis of their
religious beliefs, the editorglee-
fully referred to my-name as a
"silly pseudonym."
Listen here: Arwulf is my

II

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