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January 22, 1996 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-22

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 22, 1996

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JULIE BECKER ON THE RECORD
Past, present andf uture meet

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

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

01

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.
Missing pieces
Regents must define consultant's role

The University Board of Regents is fin-
ished hunting for a hunter.
The regents have concluded interviews
for candidates to counsel the board during
the presidential search. Their collective eye
has fallen upon Malcolm MacKay, manag-
ing director of the corporate recruiting firm
Russell Reynolds Associates, Inc. On Fri-
day, the regents chose MacKay from a list of
five search firms. While MacKay possesses
a varied and extensive list of credentials, he
lacks experience in the public sphere and
emphasizes secrecy during the search pro-
cess. With MacKay heading the search, it is
unclear how it will proceed. MacKay himself
admitted last week: "I am still not sure how
I fit in." The regents must provide him with
direction.
Though primarily a corporate recruiter,
MacKay has consulted in searches for the
presidents of American University and
Barnard College. He has helped find direc-
tors of such institutions as the National Gal-
lery of Art and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
museum, as well as for organizations like the
NAACP and the National Audubon Society.
MacKay has emphasized his commitment to
diversity and his wish that the presidential
seatch unearth qualified candidates the re-
gents might otherwise overlook. These state-
ments may have been key in the regents'
decision - at forums, the public demanded
a strong consideration ofmulticulturalismin
the search.
Though MacKay's resume is varied and
prestigious, it does not include experience at
public universities. This may be a significant
point of concern - a successful search at a
private institution does not necessarily trans-
late to a successful search at a public one.
Furthermore, the regents must note that
MacKay is accustomed to recruiting candi-
dates to fill corporate positions. Members of
the University community have expressed a
strong desire concern that the next president
have an academic rather than corporate back-
ground. MacKay must understand that quali-

fications for the University presidency are
very different than those for CEO candi-
dates.
MacKay's admitted ignorance ofUniver-
sity policy on search procedures - specifi-
cally, issues of confidentiality - may harm
him the most. In the interview, MacKay
emphasized confidentiality as the "most im-
portant issue" during the search. He is nei-
ther familiar with the state's Open Meetings
Act nor with the furor that erupted during the
last presidential search in 1988. MacKay
also confessed his lack of familiarity with the
University itself.
An understanding of the University, its
relationships and its procedures are crucial
for a fruitful presidential search. Unlike at
least one competing search firm, MacKay is
not involved in any other projects at the
University. He said he usually conducts only
one university search per year - while this
points to a lack of experience, it also means
that MacKay can devote most ofhis time and
resources to the presidential search here. The
regents rejected other firms because they
spread their resources over several univer-
sity searches at a time. MacKay's concentra-
tion on the University search should ensure a
timely decision on the next president.
Regardless of MacKay's devotion to the
project, the search will not proceed effi-
ciently if the regents fail to specify the quali-
fications for which MacKay should look.
The regents hinted that MacKay should in-
clude lower-ranking officials from all schools
instead of focusing exclusively on university
presidents. However, they have yet to reach
a conclusion.
How can MacKay make a choice, then?
The regents must decide what they want
before they delegate the search to MacKay.
If he walks into this project without specific
instructions, without prior knowledge of the
University and with no regard for the OMA,
he risks a drawn-out arduous and illegal
search - a risk neither the regents nor the
University can afford to take.

There's something about old documents.
Legislation or letters or lists, they in-
variably have an aura of wisdom - if they
only could talk, they'd open doors to all
kinds of knowledge. I felt that way viewing
the U.S. Constitution in Washington; I stood,
transfixed, trying to fathom that this was the
same piece of paper George Washington
had actually touched.
The title of this column is "On the
Record," and as a history major and a jour-
nalist, I've spent much of the past four years
either unearthing old records or making new
ones. I have combed through 1830s court
opinions, diaries of Hitler Youth members
and 1940s school bulletins. And I have put
pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard - on
strikes by baseball players and TAsonPres i-
dents Clinton, Duderstadt and Wainess.
Old records and new ones. I get asked
fairly often why I am majoring in history -
and while there are many answers, most of'
them boil down to my date with the Consti-
tution. Or to a little girl in Topeka, Kann., on
whose behalf Thurgood Marshall denounced
segregated schools before the Supreme
Court. Or to The Michigan Daily from No-
vember 17, 1961, which reported on the
Inter-Quadrangle Council's fight to allow
women to live in East, West and South
Quads.
To major in history is to study the past;
and to study the past is to find a connection
to the present. Discovering that my South
Quad room was meant for men explains why
I never saw more than the top of my heed in

he seasons ofAl
the mirror over the sink and had to reach up
to dial the phone. Great and small issues
alike come out in black and white, pressed
into the pages of the past.
There can be a danger in burying oneself
in those pages: the danger of getting lost.
Many people - particularly on this campus
- speak nostalgically of historical times.
Some invoke "The Sixties" at every possible
turn: Things were better then, they say.
People had passion then, they say. It was an
amazing time, they say.
No doubt. But "The Sixties" are not
some kind of magic spell against the evils of
the present day. Neither are the '54s, which
others consider the prototype for the Ameri-
can dream. High birth rate, few divorces, a
lovely home in the suburbs. Daddy contrib-
uting to the economy and Mommy at home
with the kids. What could be better?
If there is a right and a wrong way to
study history, this attitude - looking for
paradise - is the wrong way. It is cowardly,
a way of hiding in another, supposedly bet-
ter time. And it shortchanges the present by
denying that we too are worthy of record.
In the most obvious way, the past is gone
forever. Individuals pass away, taking with
them their particular qualities and situa-
tions. But in another way, the record repeats
itself continuously - and nowhere is this
more evident than in a university town. It's
why so many University alums come back to
Ann Arbor, again and again: The city, in
order to compensate for a constantly over-
turning population, has acquired a certain

timelessness. If it's a Saturday in October,
you can count on a Michigan football game;
January sees ice covering the 'M' on the
Diag; the end of April brings graduation and
a whole new set of alums. And the next fall
greets another class, rising up to fill the
empty spaces.
It is this round of seasons and classes in
which history is made. Years from now,
people will study us the same way we now
study others. It's difficult to predict what
they will pick out - will it be Jake Baker?
Duderstadt? Northwestern in the Rose Bowl?
Does it matter? When the Inter-Quad-
rangle Council met in 1961, I doubt that
paving the way for me, specifically, to live
in South Quad was on their minds. I doubt
they would have predicted that someone, 35
years later, would be reading about it and
making a connection.
But the connection is there. When you're
a senior, you start to see the past and the
future converging on your present, and you
start to wonder where your connections fit
in. History is all over this place, if you can
look past the construction and find it. It's in
the bricks, the library books, the pages of
Dailies past.
Today's record is tomorrow's history. In
a way, I think, nobody ever really leaves
Ann Arbor. We all drop pieces of ourselves
behind us, waiting for someone to come
along and pick them up.
- Julie Becker can be reached over e-
mail at jhb@uinich.edu.

0

Arbor

0

I

JIM LASSER SHAR
COMmJ SooN:
HILLARY CIdNT14
IEC N I ROK
-
r-

tP AS TOAST

i'
__----
..----
.--
--

NOTABLE QUOTABLEq
'To be honest
with myself and
other people, I
don't have a
clue.'
- LSA sophomore James
Elworth on what career
he will pursue with a
concentration in classics

0

I.

___ R
LETTERS

Zeroing in on welfare
Engler must follow through on plan for jobs

W hile federal welfare legislation re-
mains deadlocked between the Re-
publican Congress and President Clinton,
Michigan Gov. John Engler continues his
pursuit of state welfare reform. His latest
goal is ambitious: achieving zero jobless-
ness among welfare recipients. This initia-
tive has enormous potential - but only if
Engler is truly committed to its success and
provides the resources to back it up.
During his State of the State address last
week, Engler announced a new program,
Project Zero, designed to eliminate unem-
ployment among welfare recipients in six
communities around the state by removing
the impediments to employment. Project Zero
will provide subsidized child care, transpor-
tation, job training and substance-abuse ser-
vices for welfare recipients in certain areas.
The project requires no legislative approval
and will be in place for one year starting in
April. If successful, it will expand to the,
whole state.
The notion behind Project Zero is clear: If
the state removes obstacles to self-sufficiency,
the program will more than pay for itself.
Once recipients are on their feet, the state's
extra efforts will result in less welfare fund-
ing. The program would deny welfare ben-
efits to those who refuse to look for work, but

would not limit the length of time recipients
could collect welfare if they pursue employ-
ment, including factors such as child care
and job training. Recipients who could not
find paying jobs would be allowed to per-
form volunteer community service to retain
their welfare benefits. The obligation be-
tween the state and welfare recipient is shared.
While it is fair to expect those who are
able to work - in the private sector or in
community service - it is equally fair to
expect the state to prepare them for meaning-
ful employment. It will be no small task. The
program will face financial challenges, as
well as the problem of a labor market moving
away from low-skilljobs. However, the costs
of these programs are dwarfed by the costs of
handing out welfare checks. Such a program
could prove cost-effective if it moves recipi-
ents to independence.
Engler has a reputation for placing fiscal.
priorities above people, evident in his elimi-
nation of the general-assistance program and
his dismantling of mental health hospitals. If
he is committed to raising the status of wel-
fare recipients, the program has the potential
to go as far as he will take it. Unless it is more
of Engler's empty rhetoric, it could be an
effective solution to help welfare recipients
reach self-sufficiency.

Garcia, Dead
should be
honored
To the Daily:
I'm writing in response to
Daily Music Editor Brian A.
Gnatt's article on the year in music
("The Best of 1995: Music," 1/I
18/96), especially his views re-
garding the death of Jerry Garcia
and the Grateful Dead's musical
"impressiveness." In summariz-
inc 1995. Gnatt comments."The
one good thing about music in
1995 -Jerry Garcia finally died.
People... realized the Dead's mu-
sic wasn't all that impressive, and
they realized any other second-
rate pot-heads like Phish would
be sufficient to satisfy all their
burnt-out hippie rock needs."
First of all. on a humanistic
level, although I realize the Daily
thrives on sarcasm. it is simply
wrong to describe the death of
anyone as "good." This is espe-
cially true when describing the
death of a man such as Garcia,
who both made thousands of
people happy with his music and
donated endless amounts of time
and money to charitable causes
throughout his lifetime. I under-
stand that the Daily and Mr. Gnatt
like to sound "hip" to the college
crowd who couldn't care less
about the Dead and also that I
may sound corny, but a widely
read newspaper is no place to
joke about death; it is simply of-
fensive.
On a musical level, Mr. Gnatt
wrote that the "Dead's music
wasn't all that impressive." I will
admit that the Dead were not stu-
dio experts and that lately their
live performances were lacking a
little inspiration. However, Garcia
and the Dead's music was not
"second-rate hippie rock." They
were true musical pioneers, in-
cornoratincr hhale. rock R&R

What Mr. Gnatt does not real-
ize is the fact that Garcia and the
Dead's music have influenced
many of today's most popular and
impressive bands. This is evident
when in the next paragraph Mr.
Gnatt comments. "The Dave
Matthews Band and Blues Trav-
eler finally got the shots they de-
served in 1995.' Mr. Gnatt for-
gets that both of those bands rep-
licate the Dead's style of impro-
visational ''jamming" and that
both bands would probably be
nonexistent today if the Dead
never formed. In numerous ar-
ticles and interviews.members of
the Date Matthews Band, Blues
Travelr and yes, Phish (who ac-
tually are not "pot-heads" and
don't use drugs onstage), have
credited the Dead with being an
undeniable influence in the for-
mation and performance of their
respective groups.
Fin~lly, I question both how
much of Garcia's music Mr. Gnatt
has actually sat down and listened
to and if he has ever experienced
the power of a Dead show. When
a writer insults both a man and a
band whiich lasted for more than
30 years while praising bands
which probably will be memories
in five, I question the thoughtful-
ness of' the article.
Jerry Garcia and the Grateful
Dead produced beautiful music
and made many people smile, and
these ae facts. To praise the pass-
ing of' Garcia and with him the
Dead as the best thing to happen
to must in 1995 is both foolish
and ignorant.
Michael Goldman
LSA first-year student
Support news
strikers, not
publisher

mer, a newspaper truck was driven
into a crowd of strikers at full
speed, a matter under criminal
investigation.
The Detroit newspapers have
repeatedly refused to bargain in
good faith, a violation of federal
law. The newspapers (which
made more than $50 million in
profit the year before the strike)
want to lower their workforce and
wages at the expense of workers.
They have refused the offerof
newspaper workers to return to
work under the old contract until
the negotiation of a new one.
There is absolutely no merit
tothe suggestion that Detroit Free
Press publisher Neil Shine is an
innocent man in this strike. He
has crossed a picket line of his

former colleagues to go to his
job. He receives a generous sal-
ary and health benefits from th
newspaper while reporters, prin
ers and delivery people huddle
outside warming their hands over
wood burning in garbage cans.
Everyone who works or reads
has a stake in the Detroit newspa
per strike.
You can support the strike by
buying the Detroit Sunday Jour-
nal, published by striking report-
ers, editors and workers.
It is a way to support peopl
wxho are fighting for the rightso'
all Americans to decent jobs and
honest news.
Russell Olwell
Ann Arbor resident

:ter 4 tT

j WHAT'S AFFECTING I
TUESDAY
Michigan Student Assembly meeting
3909 Michigan Union
THURSDAY
Presidential Search Committee meeting
Location TBA

i

U' THIS WEEK
7:30 pm.
2-4 p.m. ;

01

E-mail
the
Daly

0

How To CONTACT THEM
E-mail comments about the presidential search to:
pres.search@umich.edu

I

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