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January 23, 1996 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-23

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 23, 1996

I

Maynard Street
rbor, M 1 48109 Editor in Chief

JEAN TWENGE THE ERAsABLE PEN
Polite conversatfrn dominates

420 N
Ann A

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

greetng cards

- for good reason

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Dailv's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion ef The Michigan Daily.
MSA should pass GEO resolution tonight

T he Graduate Employees Organization is
dangerously close to striking as negotia-
tions with the University for a new contract
rtrudge along. The current contract expires
Feb. 1, and as the deadline approaches, stu-
dent support for GEO is crucial. At the Michi-
gan Student Assembly meeting last Tuesday,
student representatives passed up their chance
to send a message of support to GEO as the
union continues negotiations. Tonight they
will have another opportunity to back GEO.
MSA must vote to support the graduate in-
structor union.
MSA dealt with the issue ineffectively.
Although GEO's negotiations with the Uni-
versity are nearly three months old, MSA did
not formally consider supporting GEO until
last Tuesday. Rackham Rep. Ray Robb pro-
posed a resolution that would support GEO
and encourage the University to reach an
agreement by the contract deadline. How-
ever, MSA decided to table the proposal until
tonight to give all members a chance to
x review the resolution.
MSA Vice President Sam Goodstein in-
dicated that he cannot, in fairness, force
members to vote on an issue they have not
reviewed. Goodstein is correct. However,
GEO's proposal was issued in October. Al-
most three months is ample time to read a
proposal and vote on it. MSA could have
addressed the issue before January.
Rackham Rep. John Lopez said MSA

might not vote on the issue again because
representatives may not have enough "time
to read the proposal in the next week if they
haven't even touched it yet." Members may
believe that timing matters no more than the
resolution itself. Even Goodstein stated, "I
don't think the position of MSA has a great
impact." On this point, Goodstein is mis-
taken. MSA is the elected student voice. The
assembly has a responsibility to make its
voice heard on the contract negotiations,
which affects a large part of the student body.
Support from the student government would
show the administration that the students -
including undergraduates - ally with GEO.
MSA's support would give GEO negotiators
more credibility.
The University has dawdled in negotia-
tions with GEO - administrators have ad-
dressed less than half of CEO's resolutions
in the last three months. MSA's resolution
would send a strong message: students sup-
port GEO. MSA has the responsibility to
speak on behalfofstudents --failure to do so
would be contrary to the assembly's mission.
MSA has no excuse for further delay.
GEO's contract deadline is too soon to post-
pone the resolution again, and it is the repre-
sentatives' responsibility to consider it be-
fore the MSA meeting when representatives
will vote. Tonight, having read the proposal,
members must vote to unequivocally sup-
port GEO.

I was named after an old friend of my
mother's, an English teacher in the same
small school in Minnesota where my parents
taught.
The older Jean's life has been full of ups
and downs. She and her husband couldn't
have children, so they adopted two boys.
Then Jean's husband was fired from his job
as a woodworking teacher; soon afterward,
he threw out his back and couldn't finish the
contracting jobs he had started to help sup-
port the family. In her late 30s, Jean learned
she was pregnant with the child she thought
she couldn't have and gave birth to a healthy,
bright baby girl.
In her Christmas card, Jean wrote to my
mother about the events of the past year. Her
son Alan, who had decided not to go to
college, was working on the second level of
a construction site when he stepped on a
beam he'd been told to avoid. He fell seven
feet onto a concrete floor and was in the
hospital for more than a week. Only a few
days later, he was headed to a party with
some friends when they hit another car,
landing Alan in the hospital for another two
weeks. Jean's younger son Danny is 17 and
the father of a I -year-old; he and the baby's
mother are getting married after he gradu-
ates from high school.
"I now understand why some people
send Christmas cards and only sign their
name," she wrote.
So do I: It's because the truth is some-
times too painful.

We know this now in late January, the
Month of Reality (here, that means frozen
snow, slushy boots and books read by the
fluorescent glow of library lights during the
long, cold nights of the new winter term.).
But December is different: The same long
cold nights are filled with warm family gath-
erings, stacks of presents and houses draped
in rainbows of colored lights.
The rosy image is continued every year
in many families' Christmas letters. En-
cased in florid prose, they follow not the
Golden Rule of Truth but the bronze Rule of
Resumes: i.e., make something out of noth-
ing. Vacations are described in excruciating
detail. Everyone's housejust got a new deck.
Children have always been elected president
of their class, are going to the best college in
the world and look exquisitely beautiful in
their airbrushed senior pictures. Parents are
happy with their jobs, and getting trans-
ferredto a new city away from family, friends
and schools is always "exciting." Divorced
partners just aren't mentioned at all, disap-
pearing from the Christmas letter one year as
if they'd never been a part of the family.
I much preferred my namesake's letter
- truthful, to the point and reflective about
life and what it can toss your way. One of
these days, though, I want to write the ulti-
mate nauseatingly optimistic Christmas let-
ter, committing all the sins of the genre:
Pseudo-poetic platitude. "As the snow
fell softly outside the window, I marveled
that yet another year had passed." DON'T

say: "It's Christmas Eve and I just remem-
bered that I have to write these stupid-let-
ters."
Travelogue. Name every place yoh4
been since last December, including the trips
to the next town and the drives to see jailed
relatives (leave out the jail part). There are
two key phrases here: "It was a welcome
break" and "... and then it was off to Aruba."
DON'T say: "It's amazing how much you
can save staying at Motel 6. Mmm ... burnt
orange carpet...
Veiled or not-so-veiled comparison.
"It was a wonderful and exciting year fir us
and we hope this letter also finds you anr
your family well." DON'T say: "We're do-
ing great! How's life in that dump with your
lousy husband?"
The kiddie parade. The more, thebet-
ter! They're the smartest and most beautiful
children in the world - AND Timmy was
unanimously elected Hall Monitor! The key
here is lie. DON'T say: "Just between us,
Timmy's nickname is 'Our Little Mistake."'
The truth is usually much more interest-
ing. It also brings us closer together, reali4
ing that we're suffering the same boredom
and setbacks as everyone else. The only
other alternative is only to sign yourname-
a signature on an otherwise cheerful card
that can speak volumes of pain.
- To reach Jean Twenge, don't send
her a Christmas card. E-mail her at
jeant@umich.edu.

MATT WIMSATT

M-oLuE's Du4EmvnA

o- v
~jCO~pk~kzA
AM ER1
,4to 'C~&

NOTABLE QUOTABL
'It's completely
white here and
white students
are very happy so
they don't
understand whyO
we're offended.'
- Sherise Steele, Black
Student Union speaker,
commentingon tIb
University 'sfailure
welcome students of color

Separate is unequal
All-male military academies are outdated

hen Shannon Faulkner first sued The
w Citadel, an all-male public institu-
tion, for denying her admission,,the issue of
gender discrimination returned to the news.
Three years later, the Virginia Military Insti-
tute, the only other publicly funded single-
sex school, is embroiled in a gender discrimi-
nation suit brought by the Justice Depart-
ment after a complaint from a Virginia high
school student. Publicly funded institutions
cannot discriminate, and the Supreme Court
should send the message.
Last week, the court heard arguments on
the VMI case. If the justices side with the
student, anew law would outlaw publicly
funded all-male education.
Testifying for the state of Virginia, ex-
perts claim that single-sex education, par-
ticularly in all-female institutions, can be
superior to mixed gender education in some
situations. Based on this reasoning, they ar-
gue it is in the public interest to keep a single-
sex option open among public institutions.
In this vein of reasoning, VMI attorneys
argue that opening entrance to females would
compromise its rigorous program. VMI as-
serts that it fills a public purpose by subsidiz-
ing a unique all-male learning environment.
As a compromise to young women who want
to participate in the VMI experience, Vir-
ginia must provide for a "separate but com-
parable" female leadership training program

at nearby Mary Baldwin College.
VMI's attorneys miss the point. "Sepa-
rate but comparable" is a novel way ofsaying
"separate but equal" - a phrase with omi-
nous connotations. History has taught that
"separate but equal" rarely means equal."
Placing women in a different program from
men indicates they are inadequate for the
standards of the full VMI program. Women
must be given an equal opportunity to com-
pete with men for positions at VMI.
VMI's single-sex status is outmoded.
Making the nation's three service academies
- West Point, the Air Force and the Navy-
co-educational in 1976 proved women quite
capable of equalling and even surpassing
men in an intensive and physically demand-
ing educational regimen. Today's military
has become gender integrated - if a VMI or
Citadel graduate enters the military, he will
likely serve under a female commander. Fail-
ing to prepare men for this reality serves the
interest of neither the military nor the public.
Single-sex education can be a rewarding
educational experience. However, it does
not belong under the government's control.
The state has no more interest in subsidizing
VMI or The Citadel than it does subsidizing
Brigham Young or Notre Dame. Military
institutions are touted as providers of equal
opportunity or qualified individuals in today's
military. VMI and The Citadel do neither.

LETTERS

Michigan fans
should give
Fife respect
To the Daily:
It was a joy for me to read the
article "Unheralded Fife's con-
tributions put game in M' win
column" (1/22/96) in Monday's
sports section. I am happy to see
that Dugan Fife is finally getting
the respect and praise that he de-
serves for the unnoticed things
that he does game in and game
out. It always pains me at games
to see him hang his head as the
crowd yells at him. I often have to
check to make sure that I am in
Crisler Arena, and, yes, Dugan
still is a Wolverine. By the way
the crowd usually treats him,
you'd never know it. Hopefully,
through the coverage of the Penn
State game and finally being
brought to light how important he
is, he will finally get the respect
he deserves.
Jessy Mann
LSA first-year student
'U' must not
force GEO to
strike Feb. 1
To the Daily:
It has been about two weeks
since the end of the graduate stu-
dent instructor's strike at Yale
University. This strike was about
gaining recognition forthe union,
Graduate Employees and Stu-
dents Organization, that had been
unanimously elected five years
ago to represent 1, 100 graduate

student instructors at Yale.
By threatening to blacklist and
fire those participating in the
strike and by changing exam for-
mats to allow convenient grading
without the assistance of teach-
ing assistants ("Yale TAs strike;
grade reporting delayed," 1/ 11/
96), the administration and some
professors at Yale have only.
proved that they are willing to
break the law and to compromise
academic standards in order to
deny GESO as the GSIs' collec-
tive bargaining unit.
The current contract between
GEO, the Graduate Employees
Organization, representing GSIs
and research and staff' assistants
here at the University expires Feb.
1. As an undergraduate, I can
appreciate GEO bargaining in
favor of such issues as including
contract language that makes en-
forcing class-size limits enforce-
able and ensuring such training
as English-language and orienta-
tions to teaching at American uni-
versities for international GSIs.
The collective bargaining of
wages is also important, because
it makes sense that GSIs' wages
affect the quality of their teach-
ing (one of CEO's proposals for
the new contract is to bring up all
the salaries of GSIs who currently
do not make a living wage ac-
cording to the University's own
numbers) and many are forced to
take otherjobs that take time away
from the classes that they teach.
Undergraduates should also know
that GEO is responsible for for-
mal University recognition of af-
firmative action and proposes a
GEO-UM committee to track ac-
cess by students of color to GSI
positions - to make sure that the
ethnicities of GSIs are represen-
tative of the student body.

Because the last thing that
GEO members want is a strike,
they have, in an effort to bargain
efficiently and effectively with
the administration: 1) already be-
gun preparing for bargaining last
year, 2) asked to begin bargain-
ing sessions a month early, 3)
proposed the formation of GEO-
administration work groups that
would develop joint proposals to
bring back to the bargaining table.
In actuality, however, bargaining
has begun only two weeks early
and only one administrative mem-
ber has been assigned to sit on the
four proposed work groups. As a
result, the administration has only
been able to table three counter-
proposals so far. And as Feb.1
rapidly approaches, we can only
hope that the University adminis-
tration will not be willing to force
GEO members to strike.
Benjamin Williamson
LSA senior
Daily's review
of Kenny G
based on the
'ludicrous'
To the Daily:
I was extremely offended by
the Daily music review on Jan.
17 of Kenny G's album
"Miracles" and Kirk Franklin and
the Family's "Christmas." While
I know nothing about Kirk
Franklin, the review's remarks
on Kenny G, in my opinion, con-
stitute some of the most, ludi-
crous music journalism I've ever
read. The reviewer states that
Kenny G is "widely acknowl-

edged for his virtually untouch-
able prowess on the soprano saxo-
phone"! On the contrary, Kenn
G has for years been, in theWcW
of the Rolling Stone Album
Guide, "reviled as a featherweight
and a fake." The review of his
Christmas album twice uses the
word "jazz" to describe the rusic
that Kenny G is spewing. This is
a joke to jazz fans everywhere.
Saying that Kenny G plays jazz
because he has a saxophone is
like calling Joan Baez amasterof
thrash metal because she can
the guitar. To quote the "Alb
Guide again: "What Kenny G
plays would best be described as
'fuzak' - that is, a combination
of fusion and Muzak which ...
manages to be sopoforic than ei-
ther individually."
The review further states that,
"Kenny G's music ... can touch
your soul and fill you with good
cheer year round." Personallf
listening to something thatre-
minds you of hot, overcrowded
shopping malls filled with angry,
shrill parents trying to return the
broken, overpriced toys without
a receipt the day after Christmas
is good cheer, then pass me some
manic depression. I find it diffi-
cult to believe that anyone who
has been forced to listen to Kenny
G in the elevator or while und-
going root canal therapy c
possibly take a reviewer seriously
which claims that he has "rein-
forced worldwide appeal ofjazz's
catchy flava."
In the end, the reviewer states,
"he cannot begin to put into words
the full spiritual impact"of the
albums reviewed. I'm thinking
he shouldn't have even tried.
Anthony Zaret
RC first-year student .

How To CONTACT THEM
University President James J. Duderstadt
Office of the President
2068 Fleming Administration Building
764-6270
e-mail: jjd@umich.edu
Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen A. Hartford
6015 Fleming Administration Building
764-5132
e-mail: Maureen.Hartford@um.cc.umich.edu

11 YOU CAN'T BEAT EM, JOIN 'EM!

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