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February 05, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-05

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 5, 1996

e £ibtwigdiHE ltl

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

Editor in Chief
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.
Without a contract
'U' should meet GEO's demands

'I would rather do my teaching. But If we agitate now,
the sooner it'll be over.'
- GEO member Monika Cassel, explaining
why graduate students were protesting Thursday
- --
Viewpoint, unfair to Arabs

Graduate student instructors, holding
white picket signs and wearing yellow
buttons, protested across campus Thursday
for higher wages, more benefits and better
treatment from the University. By meeting
the demands of the graduate students, the
administration will create a better environ-
ment for both graduate and undergraduate
Since the University is primarily a re-
search institution, graduate students are re-
sponsible for most of the actual teaching.
Many undergraduate classes -
such as low-level language,
math and writing courses -
are taught entirely by GSIs.
They also lead many discus-
sion sections for the large lec-
ture classes. The quality of un-
dergraduate education depends
directly on their ability to de-
liver a high-quality perfor-
mance. (4
The Graduate Employee
Organization's contract, which
expired Thursday, greatly un-
dermined GSIs effectiveness.
Currently, GSIs with the most
common appointment earn ap- M
proximately $850 per month. This is far
below the current average cost of living in
Ann Arbor, which is close to $1,200. Fur-
thermore, the University does not provide
health care for GSIs who teach only one
section. GEO is requesting that the Univer-
sity pay fe; part of the cost.
Graduate students, most of whom face big
debts, do not have readily available alternate
sources of income. Thus, if they cannot earn
a decent living by teaching, they are forced to
take on other part-time work - which cuts
down on the time they have to devote to their
teaching responsibilities. The quality of un-
dergraduate education suffers. Moreover,
adequate funding for graduate students tends
toattractthe best applicantstotheUniversity's
programs - and the best teachers.

In light ofthese facts, GEO's demands are
more than reasonable. The union's request
for a 15-percent wage increase amounts to
nothing more than a cost of living allowance,
considering that 50 percent of most GSIs
incomes currently go toward housing and
utilities payments. Also, all GSIs should have
at least some of their health care paid for -
after all, they are employees.
Perhaps one of the largest points of con-
tention between GEO and the administration

is the quality


of GSI training, especially for
international, non-English
speaking students. Currently,
these graduate students are
given three weeks of English
language training over the sum-
mer. However, the University
fails to provide room and board
during this training. Thus, a
foreign scholar has to find a
place to live and pay for it,
though they speak no English.
Against the background of
the negotiations, GEO mem-
bers should be applauded for
acting professionally. Their
efforts to educate undergradu-
ate students and the University

community about the far-reaching implica-
tions of their plight demonstrates a steadfast
commitment to teaching. They deserve credit
for continuing to teach their classes, even as
they protest.
If the University does not settle on a
contract soon, GEO will be forced to strike
-an ugly situation forall involved. Students
will suffer the most, with no one to teach or
grade them. In turn, the students would rightly
blame the University. No classes could result
in lawsuits for the University. And the GSIs
would rather be with their students than
marching in the Michigan winter.
In the end, it's up to the University to
provide both graduate and undergraduate
students with an education, take care of its
employees and settle GEO's contract.

policies hurt
I was extremely shocked
to see that Viewpoint titled
"Israel: A lonely champion
of democracy," (1/24/96),
originally published by The
Minnesota Daily, was
reprinted in our esteemed
Michigan Daily. I cannot
understand why the Daily
editors chose to print such a
brazen pack of lies at this
time. It seems as though this
article came as a response to
heated debate on the subject
of Israel and its Arab
neighbors on the Minnesota
Perhaps The Michigan
Daily editors decided to
spark such a debate on our
campus, too. Instead of
running a fairly accurate and
factua~article on the issues
of the pear East, the editors
chose to copy this brazen
opinion of some ignorant
lunatic who knows abso-
lutely nothing about the
issue in question.
What makes me say that?
Because I have had the
luxury to spend 16 years of
my life living in that "lonely
champion of democracy,"
Israel, or actually in
territories occupied by it.
Having suffered under
occupation my entire
childhood, I have seen the
light. I have experienced
what lies words such as
"democracy" and "justice"
and "equality" carry!
So Israel allows its Arab
citizens to vote in free
elections? Then what about
the million and a half
Palestinians who live in the
occupied territories? I don't
ever remember that we were
allowed to vote in anything.
Oh, we had municipal
elections back in 1980, but
Israel didn't like the results
so they attempted to
assassinate the elected
mayors of some major
Palestinian towns, and then
deposed them and installed a
military administration. Ha!
Israel a champion of
peace? Phooeey! 1956 Israel
invades Egypt. 1967 Israel
invades Egypt, Jordan and
Syria. 1979 and 1981 Israel
invades Lebanon. Even now,

not a week passes without us
hearing about Israel sending
planes to bomb lonely
Lebanese villages, in an
effort to bring down the
valiant resistance of the
Arabs to its expansionist
And did that biased
article say anything about
how Israel came into being?
About how Israel drove
away hundreds of thousands
of unarmed Palestinian
civilians (my own parents
included) out of their homes
and took over their lands
and their country? Or how
Jewish terrorist groups that
massacred hundreds of
Palestinians in villages like
Deir Yassin in 1948 later
became a central part in the
structure of Israel's govern-
ment? (Yt:s! People such as
Yitzhak Rabin or Menachem
Begin were terrorists.)
Did it say how Israel,
after occupying most of
Palestine in 1948, eradicated
entire Palestinian villages
(hundreds of them) in an
effort to change the charac-
ter of the land and "alter"
history to its benefit?
I can go on and on and
on, but if the Daily really
wants to fulfil its educa-
tional purpose, I suggest
they go beyond Israeli
propaganda and run a fair,
accurate and well-re-
searched article on the Near
Arabs are
victims of
In a recent edition of
your newspaper, you
decided to print a biased,
misinformative editorial
from a Minnesota Daily
writer by the name of Joe
Roche ("Israel: A lonely
champion of democracy," 1/
24/96). This editorial
contained a huge amount of
erroneous information about
Arabs, portraying them as
"backward" and barbaric
nations. As an Arab
American, I am used to
experiencing racism from
much of the American
population, however I never

expected it to be supported
by the Daily. I am sorry to
say that it seems the Daily
does not thoroughly
investigate the validity and
accuracy of the articles it
prints. This is not a minor
issue; it is a major offense to
all Arab Americans. I would
hope that when publishing
articles concerning contro-
versial topics in the future,
the Daily could check its
facts and sources before
smearing an entire ethnic
group. I highly doubt the
Daily would act with such
irresponsibility when
dealing with other minority
groups. I demand a public
apology from the Daily for
perpetuating stereotypes and
irresponsible journalism.
Please note my concern.
M ideast
I am an officer with the
Arab-American Students
Association. The campus
Arab community is shocked
by the Daily's printing of an
editorial last week titled:
"Israel: A lonely champion
of democracy" (1/24/96). It
is clearly biased, but more
importantly, factually
inaccurate. The author, Joe
Roche, was obviously biased
toward Israel, which is not
the problem. However, he
presented the Arab countries
as tyrants. His portrayal was
totally inaccurate. It was
clear that he was writing on a
subject that he was not fully
educated about. Even in an
editorial, as the editors of the
Daily know, one must be
aware of all the facts in order
to present a worthy opinion.
Joe Roche's freedom to say
what he wants is valid, but
his presenting of false "facts"
is intolerable. We are
currently in the process of
meeting to determine what
our action will be in this
situation. The Arab Ameri-
can does not deserve to be
portrayed as dictators and

The privilege
of laughter
T he four of us like spending time
together partly because we
rarely invite men along. One evening
we were walking down State Street
in pairs, enjoying each other's com-
pany and an evening out. My arm
was linked through the arm of the
woman I was walking with, and our
bodies touched in several places. I
was enjoying my friend's closeness
and her willing-
ness to make her
affection explicit
in the bright street
lights. The Michi-
gan Union rose
above us, sprawl-
ing, like shelter-
ing arms.'
"Lesbians," a
man muttered as
he passed us. We KATE
could hear his EPSTEIN
We all laughed
and I squeezed my friend's arm. We
walked taller, if anything.
The situation did not feel threat-
ening. It wasn't very late or very
dark, and we were all together. The
man hadn't raised his voice orturned
to watch after us or followed us. We
were walking on our own campus.
We felt safe, and this is part of the
reason we could laugh.
Our laughter was expressing real
pleasure. In accusing us of being
lesbians, the man was admitting that
he felt threatened by us. Whether he
really thought we were lesbians I
have no idea, but he seemed to be
responding to the fact that we were
plainly showing, at least for the
evening, we didn't need men. He
benefits from society's ordering of
the sexes, in which women need
men in order to be valued by them-
selves and others, and he perceived
us as a threat to that order. We were
laughing partly because we resent
that order, and liked the idea of
being a threat to it.
We were also laughing to prove
we were not afraid to be called les-
bians. For the same reason, we did
not pull away from one another when
he called us that. We were not
ashamed of anything we were doing
or feeling, even enjoying each
other's physical and emotional af-
fection. We were not afraid that
anything we were doing meant we
were lesbians, and would not have
been ashamed if it did.
In fact, all of us identify ashetero-
sexual, and two of us have serious
romantic ties to particular men. To
some extent, it would have been
even easier for the four of us to
laugh at being called lesbians if our
sexual relationships weren't with
men. The four of us have a bond that
depends partly on shared gender. It
is of a kind that men cannot have
with us, and, as such, can easily be
perceived as a threat by our roman-
tic partners. There are things men
cannot understand about us because
they are men, although our relation-
ships with men may be among our
most intimate. Because we are
straight, we have to try to make our
romantic partners accept that there
are things they can't share with us
because they aren't women. The
man on State Street was a reminder
of how difficult that can be.

Nonetheless, laughing at being
called a lesbian is primarily the privi-
lege of straight women. Lesbians
and bisexual women may have the
option of not having men in their
households and beds without losing
sexual partners, but they do not have
the option of avoiding threats like
the one we incurred that night on
State Street. Ifwe were lesbians, the
four ofus would probably still think
that a man like the one on the street,
who is threatened by relationships
between women, is trying to com-
pensate for his own insecurities.
But ifwe were lesbians, the man's
remark on the street would in no
way seem an isolated incident. It
would be a part of the system of
oppression. A system that might
include our parents disowning us
because of who we were. A system
that includes the state, which would
deny us the right to marry our ro-
mantic partners, and gain all the
benefits involved in state-sanctioned
union. A system that includes em-
ployers who could legally fire us
because of who we loved. A system
that includes religions that would
condemn us as sinners. A system
that includes violent attacks on les-
bians, gays and bisexuals. My
friends and I might not have laughed
ifthis system of oppression affected
us directly.
Like many aspects of privilege,



Healthy legislation
Bill would protect uninsured ill, jobless

The insurance lobby, engaging in a reso-
nant protest, aims to block a promising
new bipartisan effort to reform health insur-
ance. The plan, drafted by Sen. Nancy
Kassebaum (R-Kan.) and Sen. Ted Kennedy
(D-Mass.), would protect policy holders
against the loss of coverage because of pre-
existing disease or illness. It also would re-
quire insurance companies to extend em-
ployer policies regardless of employment
status. By sifting through the insurance
industry's ambiguous self-regulatory maze
and implementing clear guidelines, Ameri-
can insecurities about health-care costs and
coverage would be squelched. Too bad it's
an election year.
Campaign policy and full-force insurance
lobbying threaten to kill the legislation.
Though the co-authors represent both par-
ties, Republicans seem unwilling to allow
President Clinton to bask in any successful
health care reform. In addition, insurance
titans fear regulation. Insurance is somewhat
of a gamble for both the individual and the
company. The business is profitable until
clients actually become ill. For too long, the
industry has been allowed to stack the deck
and selectively choose - or hedge - its
bets. Resisting change through aggressive
opposition, the insurance industry is work-
ing to prevent major changes. The formi-
dable insurance lobby and political maneu-

Workers who fear the loss of coverage are
bound to jobs, limited in self-employment
pursuits and vulnerable when unemployed.
Extending insurance policies in an individu-
alized form is the necessary link to uphold
evolving employees' needs. It is now time
for the insurance industry also to respond to
The industry's suggestion to establish state
supported insurance pools for people unable
to purchase private policies is self-serving.
By collecting funds in an effort to pool risk
and resources, insurance is able to cover a
population. Filtering the ill and the poor out
of the pool creates a windfall profit for the
industry - but isolates the needy. Incorpo-
rating the unemployed and ill into a greater
insurance pool, Kassebaum said, would raise
premiums an estimated 2 to 3 percent. Con-
versely, the state pool would be an inad-
equate, under-funded and over-stretched
puddle. But to preserve resources for the
insurance pool, the government may have to
convert to mandatory health care.
Maintaining health-care insurance regard-
less ofemployment and continuous coverage
are common sense acts of corporate and
individual responsibility. The Traveler's in-
surance group claims: "You're better off
under the umbrella." Yet, under any
company's current policy, without a job or
with a known ailment the unemployed or the


Article provides intense review of rap

I am amazed at the
literary depth of Eugene
Bowen. His article in
Thursday's Daily ("Hip-hop
you don't stop," 2/1/96) was
passionate. angrv. vocal.

was writing about? Was it
Bosnia? Racism? The
sinking of the Titantic? Oh,
I forgot - it was about hip
Yes, all that fuss was
about rap.

the poetry, then join the
legions of hippy wannabes
of alternative music.
In other words, don't cry
for ME Argentina ... I'll be
listening to some classic


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