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April 06, 1995 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-06

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 6, 1995

EFbe dwlwigau talv

JASON LIcHTsTEIN

JASON'S LYRIC

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

I

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMEs NASH
Editorial Page Editors

Hard-core Martin Gore
smoking on a rainy day

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.
Cauting ontrat
TA union brings important issues to table

gainst the backdrop of uncertain state
appropriations to the University, the
union for teaching assistants is demanding a
wage increase. Although the Graduate Em-
ployees Organization has yet to specify its
salary demands, TAs are justified in asking
for more than the 3-percent raise the Univer-
sity traditionally offers. Overshadowing the
simple pocketbook request are a host of new
and reincarnated issues the GEO is bringing
to the table in an attempt to create a more
hospitable academic climate for TAs. These
demands have merit, and the University would
be wise to take them seriously.*
The current TA contract expires Feb. 1,
1996. Representatives of the GEO and Uni-
versity administration plan to begin meeting
in November to adopt a contract for the next
year. Both sides are hopeful they will reach
an agreement without resorting to the threats
that occasionally characterize last-minute
contract negotiations. The spirit of goodwill
should help insulate the negotiations from
thornier issues like the state budget alloca-
tion and performance evaluations for TAs.
But the two parties no doubt will find
areas of disagreement, chiefly salary. The
University customarily offers TAs a raise of
3 percent, barely in line with inflation. That
figure does not account for skyrocketing rent
and other living expenses - meaning that,
barring a fair raise from the University, TAs
find it increasingly difficult just to stay in
Ann Arbor. Yet he University persists in
offering these paltry salary hikes to its TAs
even as public-school teachers' unions rou-
tinely receive raises in excess of 5 percent.
GEO negotiators stress that the contract
talks are about more than money, however.

They correctly point out that TAs are an
undervalued link in the academic food chain,
their inadequate salaries coupled with poor
working conditions and a general disrespect
from the University community. To address
this problem, the GEO has asked the Univer-
sity to upgrade the title of "teaching assis-
tant" to "graduate student instructor." While
the distinction may seem picky or unneces-
sary, it differentiates assistants - whose title
implies an auxiliary role - from instructors,
whose job is actually to teach. The change in
title is appropriate, since many professors'
concentration on research and publishing
leaves TAs with the lion's share of
responsiblity for undergraduate education.
GEO officials are also correct in seeking
written guidelines on class sizes and health-
care co-payments, but they must not let writ-
ten policies impede normal procedures for
ensuring TA competence. The GEO demands
in their present form would not undermine
TA accountability, but they could be stretched
to provide a safety net for incompetent TAs.
Additionally, in a novel plan to recognize the
special needs of minority TAs, GEO is bar-
gaining for a liaison between the union and
the University. This negotiating stance is
well-intentioned but demands further expla-
nation. Will the liaison improve the climate
for minority TAs, or will the position simply
become another rung in the bureaucracy at
the University?
Despite these concerns, on the whole GEO
has crafted a reasonable package of demands
for the upcoming negotiations. If both sides
continue to negotiate in good faith, next
year's contract should provide a model for
years to come.

It's paradoxical to say the least. From
culture-starved suburbs and gated resi-
dences in Florida, Illinois, New York and
Michigan, we travel to a University firmly
in the hands of the Michigan Party Ma-
chine. We young up-and-coming politi-
cians, writers, poets, engineers, physicians,
lawyers and pollsters arrive on the colle-
giate scene undaunted and indomitable,
all at the ripened age of 18. But something
downright twisted happens after three or
four years in Ann Arbor. Maybe it's the
exposure to too many greasy BK Value
Meals or daily doses of pungent incense or
those all-too familiar Masleyesque say-
ings like "the Dental School 3."
But whatever it is or was, my friends,
let me suggest that we tend to lose that
hard core (Martin Gore!) ideological edge,
that black-and-white view of the world,
that moral, intellectual and personal cer-
tainty that we thought we had so thor-
oughly cultivated before we had even com-
piled a mere 30 credits. Developmental
psychology tells us that this is to be ex-
pected as we mature intellectually and
conceptualize the world around us in more
abstract, complex ways. I know that I
came to the oldest public university in the
Continental 48 a fire-breathing, unabashed
leftist radical with a poster of Morrissey in
a bathing suit on my dorm wall. Repressed
but remarkably dressed?
During my first week in Couzens Hall,
at the convening of the inaugural 5th floor
hall meeting, I pronounced myself a "com-
munist," when the rest of the boys were
talking about B-School and frat parties
and how much they liked the Fab Five.

That month I attended two meetings of the
local Trotskyist organization. That rela-
tionship quickly dissolved amid repeated
disagreements over the need for violence
to attain the socialist dream, Trotsky-style.
All I knew about Mr. Trotsky was that he
was assassinated in Mexico City by the
friends of Stalin and that he spent his
interwar days in the lovely city of Vienna.
Still I persisted and I inquired of a goateed
adolescent freedom fighter, "What about
democratic socialism? What about non-
violence?" and they didn't acknowledge
my comments with even a flicker of the
eyelashes. From that point on, the
Trotskyists and I parted our ways.
We were so sure, so certain, so reso-
lute, postpubescent New Republic sub-
scribers. But what do I know now? I know
that (a) I like comfortable clothes; (b) I
don't want to be just another pawn on the
corporate chess board; (c) Thursday night
TV is about as enjoyable as a peaceful
hour with The New York Times; (d) life is
more than A's and promotions and acco-
lades; it is about hot cups of coffee, relax-
ing on a comfortable couch and poignant
songs like Leonard Cohen's "Everybody
Knows"; (e) bickering over politics isn't
that gratifying, which is quite a revelation
coming from a card-carrying ACLU mem-
ber circa 1988; and (f) If I can put all of
these together in a lifetime I'd be one
happy boy scout.
Life, our lives, are what we make of
them. Now I know that an endless number
of people have probably tossed this cliche
your way more times than Sen. Byrd's
twitched, but it's a powerful truth that the

determinists of philosophy courses eter-
nal and the bewildering ying-yanginess of
everyday life tend to muddle up. Folks, we
don't all have to be Lawrence Tribe, a
wealthy radiologist, Joshua Steiner or an
adviser to President Clinton. We can try
our wits at writing, we can pursue more
degrees than Catharine MacKinnon, we
can test-market new and improved pot-
pourri scents, we can get a dozen shots
pumped into our veins and head overseas
as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Human life is both full of incredible
potential for happiness and at the same
time plagued with the realization that it is
virtually impossible to avoid those bouts
of sadness that come like a broken tooth or
a deportation order tr Bob Probert. I've
come to realize this more than anything
else at my tenure in the hallowed halls of
LSA. To listen, to feel, to try to under-
stand, to make it through each day without
Prozac, to try and learn from the day
before is much more of a challenge than
landing an internship in the Renaissance
Center or being able to convince a room
full of people that the GOP is a bunch of
exploitative capitalist homophobes (yet
I'd say that the latter is a tad bit easier).
So take those B.A. and B.S. and B.G.S.
degrees into the real world, but remember
a famous Graylingite's famous line on the
pleasantries of life in the material world:
"Ya know what I like to do ... I like to
come home on a rainy afternoon and get in
bed and smoke a cigarette ... an ashtray on
the windowsill ... you sure as hell can't do
that if you're a corporate lawyer." Damn
straight.

0
0

JNM LASSER
Breathtaking Monuments at
The Ulilerslty of Michigan:
Burton Tower
Michigan Stadium

SHARP AS TOAST
wLIj
rx _
The Michigan Union a
ra.
Tom Collier's Teaching

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"We need to find a
way to stick-
handle around
gender equity."

0
0

Ambassador Clinton
First lady gains new visibility abroad

uring the past couple of weeks, un-
known to much of the country, Hillary
Rodham Clinton has been conducting a 12-
day diplomatic tour of the Asian subconti-
nent. From Bangladesh to Pakistan to India,
the first lady has been given the respect and
titles customary for an official state visit by a
senior U.S. official. And with good reason.
Ms. Clinton is an important representative of
the United States - not simply because she
is the president's wife, but even more be-
cause she is a well-qualified diplomat.
The irony of Ms. Clinton's trip is that she
must travel abroad to receive such respect.
The United States should wake up to the
reality of a vocal and activist first lady and
the eventuality of women in the most promi-
nent positions of government.
Ever since Bill Clinton began his cam-
paign for president, questions abounded over
what role his wife would play in the admin-
istration. Some believed a cabinet appoint-
ment was appropriate, but there was also a
vocal majority that disliked the idea of Ms.
Clinton having any prominence beyond that
which Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush held.
When Ms. Clinton was given the role of
supervising the drafting of the health care
plan, many shouted in protest. When the
legislation as a whole failed - for reasons
far beyond Ms. Clinton's role - many used
the opportunity to deride her: Her leadership
was weak, misguided, too despotic, not open-
minded enough or she simply didn't belong
there in the first place.
Last fall, due to concerns that her unpopu-
lar prominence was hurting her husband, Ms.

Clinton was forced to distance herself from
the domestic political arena. Telling Barbara
Walters that she had been "naive about do-
mestic politics," she apologized to the coun-
try. And withdraw she did. This foreign tour
is the first time Ms. Clinton has made much
news at all lately.
The most unfortunate bit about this whole
episode is that critics did not cite Ms. Clinton's
qualifications as reasons to oppose her activ-
ism, but rather complained that it violated
tradition for a first lady to take a leading role
in government. The argument that Bill ran
for president and Hillary didn't has some
validity. However, this country has long been
troubled by women in positions of leadership
and only slowly is it accepting changing
gender roles in society.
As part of that acceptance, respect should
be accorded to a first lady who has sought to
transcend the traditional role of that title. No
longer are the women of the White House
expected to be the happy homemakers. Why
is it so implausible to see a first lady who will
undertake ambitious government assign-
ments?
. While the past leading ladies played no
role beyond that of spokesperson for move-
ments like the anti-drug or pro-literacy move-
ments - all worthy projects - no first lady,
at least since Eleanor Roosevelt, has played
as important a role as Hillary Clinton has.
Ms. Clinton's efforts to redefine the role
of the first lady are commendable and neces-
sary. After all, if we cannot accept a vocal
and activist first lady, how are we ever to
accept the possibility of a first man?

- Maine

hockey coach
Shawn Walsh

LETTERS

Construction
a gift from 'U'
higher powers
To the Daily:
I am one of the few people
on this campus who absolutely
loves construction. You should
have seen how ecstatic I was
when the poles and fences were
placed around the anticipated
addition to Angell Hall. It sent
ripples of pleasure down my
spine! In addition to this new
construction project, Randall
Lab isn't quite finished yet,
there's still a mound of dirt near
Dennison, and the Michigan
Union will soon be worked on
in the future. The very thought
of these projects makes me shud-
der with pleasure.
Pro-construction advocates
will say that more buildings for
office space and classrooms are
in dire need. In fact, they must
be built immediately because
the idea of "starting a job and
finishing it before you go on to
the next one" is not only absurd
but incomprehensible. I agree
that more trees should be up-
rooted and grass torn apart for
the simple fact that concrete is
much more appealing! After all,
squirrels don't belong in the U

dents should receive free hard
hats and shovels while receiv-
ing construction lessons from
the administration. This will al-
low everyone tofeel. the true
glory of digging up Ann Arbor.
Finally, we should announce not
only to the state of Michigan,
but to the nation and the entire
world, that the University's of-
ficial mascot is no longer the
Wolverine, but rather - the
Bulldozer.
Paul Zaziski
LSA senior
'U' swimmer
chose rightly
To the Daily:
As a member of Michigan's
women's swim team, I am of-
fended by the Daily's choice to
persecute Carrie Zarse for her
decision to attend the Pan
American Games instead of
NCAAs. It is not her "fault" that
we finished second. There is
not one woman on the team who
iesents her for her decision. We
are proud of our performance in
Austin, and of Carrie's at the
Pan-Am Games.
Our team did not travel to
Texas to. win. We went to the
meet to swim fast, to race, to
have fun and to represent the

Carrie's absence from NCAA's
rather than the our team's suc-
cesses. Carrie took home a
bronze medal from Pan-Ams.
Alecia Humphrey ended her
senior year with first place fin-
ishes in two individual events
and helped the 400 medley re-
lay team of Rachel Gustin, Talor
Bendel, and Megan Gilham to
another first. Numerous Big Ten
and Michigan records were bro-
ken. The majority of our team
had all-time best swims. Not
only did we succeed in swim-
ming, but we had fun and learned
about ourselves as a team. How
was this accomplished?
Through hard work and support
for one another. We support each
other in and out of the pool,
even if that pool is halfway
around the world.
We areproud of our team's
accomplishments, and that in-
cludes Care's. In the words of
our coach Jim Richardson,
"They do it for a prize that will
tarnish. We do it for a prize that
will live forever." I just wish
everyone else could share that
attitude.
Unda Riker
Michigan swimmer
Theater review
pettv. Witless

punches in a patently unprofes-
sional critical assessment of the
production's playwright and
director. Furthermore, Ms.
Bernardo sinks to even deeper
levels of tactlessness by saying
of one actor "... a stellar cast
from beginning to end - the
one glaring exception being
who I'm convinced was
cast more for his height than his
acting ability ..." On another
occasion in her article, she used
similar scathing and unneces-
sary language to again mali-
ciously criticize the aforemen-
tioned actor's abilities.
Undoubtedly, I realize full y
that the measure of the worth of
any production and its actors is
a matter of opinion and is purely
subjective. Ms. Bernardo is in
every way entitled to harbor any
opinion she deems applicable
in regards to the current produc-
tion of "Sirens." However, I
would have hoped that she
would have been able to find a
less venomous manner in which
to publicly word her criticisms
(especially those regarding stu-
dent actors). One must remem-
ber that the actors in university 0
productions are only students,
and are at different levels of
development in their craft.
These productions are first and
foremost a means of further de-

Michigan Student Assembly
Flint Wainess, President
3909 Ulnion

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