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September 03, 1996 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-03

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September 3, 1996






oursel bM
If you want to camouflage yourself
on this campus, just wrap yourself in
some orange mesh and sit on any
street corner. You'll fit right in.
Wrmer University President James
Duderstadt may have thought a face lift
would give the University a new soul.
Even parts of Wolverine Access, the
computerized student records system,
bear the label "Under construction."
My class - the class of 1997 - is
marked by orientation statistics as the
only class not to have a construction-
free semester, Until graduation, we
will have the pleasure of buzzing and
#ming. Of oversized hunks of
~~b age flying past the upper-floor
windowvs of Mason Hall. Of 9 a.m.
fires in East Engineering (purporte'd to
gullible orientees as "East Hall").
And - my personal favorite -
detours. This summer, they blocked and
boarded the West Engineering Arch.
Now I have to - gasp - walk around.
What they did to the steps of the
Grad last summer nearly caused me
* r trauma. I innocently strolled
o o the Diag to meet my roommate
on the stairs that hold students smok-
ing, chatting or protesting - she
found me whimpering next to a giant,
fenced-off hole in the ground.
"Sorry. I forgot to warn you," she
said, ushering me away from this sym-
bolic destruction scene.
'They'd better put them back," I
-They put them back, having saved
i individual step; it gave the original
stairs a renewed foundation. With my
favorite spot restored, I can concede
that it's not destruction if the Grad's
broad steps will last for classes to come.
Our campus has a stability that cre-
ates a picture of insulated life.
Although the UGLI was ugly (you
may not believe me, but they were
thinking about declaring it a National
sore Monument), it remained
Aiding in hideous glory while I
underwent renovation.
At the same time, the Law Quad's
serene beauty will keep you sentimen-
tal enough about your alma mater to
give and give and give and give (they
start harassing you by phone winter
term of your senior year).
. At graduation (yes, I know that's at
least four years from now, but I'm try-
ing to give you good advice. Pay atten-
E!), they will speak about the mark
leave on the University - that's
why the administration recruits the
"leaders and the best."
Since orientation, all you've heard
about is the competition: Everyone in
your classes knows something, maybe
more than you. Toto, we're not in high
school anymore. Wow.
Now that we're over that, I'll give
a hint. It's not what you can do for
AWr University - it's what your Uni-
ersity does to you. You'll come out a
specialist on some field of study (hope-
fully not botany) and on yourself, after
four-plus years of construction.
But wait, you know everything. You
got to college, you're away from your
parents, on your way to 21 and you
know what classes you're taking this
term - you just have to figure out
which house to rush and what to fill in
t spot labeled "Undecided." (You're
tlisted for 12 credits? No problem.)

At orientation some charismatic idiot
talked you into walking through the
fountain. Your trustworthy orientation
leader told you that newly christened
alums lift their black gowns and plunge
toward Rackham - and then without
pausing, offered you a bridge over the
Salt Lakes, decorated with the same ivy
that covers the Law Library.
d ut I digress. So you walked through
fountain, you braved the "Deep
Waters." Don't feel sheepish. I did too.
It seemed very new and exciting - you
wanted to plunge into tradition.
Triton's watery seat is a frequent
resting place for me. I anticipate the
resumed flow each var When I look

3 After walkout,
GEO looks to
better contract
By Zachary M. Raimi
Daily Editorial Page Editor
For most of last winter, the University community was bit-
terly divided. The administration and the Graduate Employees
Organization were embattled in a nasty labor dispute.
Throughout the semester-long bargaining, a strike loomed. As
tensions grew, faculty and undergraduate students were torn
between sides. At the last minute, just before a strike, the two
sides reached an agreement.
The yellow GEO buttons are no longer visible. The white
picket signs have disappeared. But the ugly wound that divid-
ed the campus has only begun to heal.
GEO, the graduate student union, represents about 1,600
graduate student instructors, 1,200 of whom belong to GEO.
Graduate Student Instructors, formerly called Teaching
Assistants, teach most of the undergraduate discussion cours-
es that accompany large lectures.
GEO and the University began working on a new contract
in October 1995, meeting a few times each week. Among
GEO's 37 proposals, a reasonable wage increase and better
treatment of international GSIs were most important.
Although the contract expired Feb. 1, 1996, GEO agreed to
extend its contract instead of striking - an act they repeated
several times. By late March, both sides were still far apart.
cGEO members voted to hold a two-day work stoppage. Most
GSIs did not hold class during the stoppage; instead, they
formed picket lines in front of University buildings.
k"Our goal is to shut this university down for two days,"
GEO Spokesperson Pete Church told The Michigan Daily at
the time. "It is not a protest. It is a picket line. If you cross the
picket line, it's not a neutral statement. It's a statement against
the individuals who are fighting for a living wage and a fair
contract. It's a matter of social justice."
GEO encouraged undergraduates not to cross the picket
lines and the faculty to cancel classes. But the University said
it would dock the pay of those faculty members who canceled
class, exacerbating the ten-


Although many students
did not attend class, some
were annoyed by the work
stoppage, especially with
final exams just weeks
away. LSA first-year stu-
dent Allen Mikhail told the
Daily: "I pay out-of-state
tuition, and I came here for
education," Mikhail said.
"(GEO is) using us as
pawns for bargaining. ... I

GEO deserves
for its
during the
contract talks.

J"N"T"N LU '/ Diy

r' j ky ,

think there are other ways they could have shown their dis-
Some GSIs disagreed with the stoppage. Political science
GSI John Squier told the Daily, "I'm not against GEO, but I
think it's a very ill-considered decision on their part (to walk
He added, "I think it's going to hurt CEO's credibility....
I agree with the fact that we should have a union, but it's a
serious tactical error to portray (GSIs) as workers in a Chrysler
plant or something.
After the work stoppage, the two sides met with a state
mediator and finally reached a three-year agreement.
GEO deserves commendation for its patience during the
contract talks. The union agreed to several short-term contract
extensions while the two sides were bargaining - proof of its
commitment to the undergraduates and the University com-
munity. And, during the work stoppage, GEO never heckled
students who crossed the picket lines; instead GSIs passed out
brochures that explained the dispute and why students should
support GEO.
The new contract is better than the old one, although it is far
from perfect. On average, a GSI was paid about $850 per
month under the old contract. Such little money is hardly
enough to live on, considering the high rent in Ann Arbor.
CEO's request for a raise to about $1,200 per month was very
reasonable - it amounts to little more than a cost-of-living
Please see GEO, Page 2B

LSA senior Danielle Frank shows
her support for GEO by staying out
of class and lending a hand in pick-
eting in front of Angell Hall during
the two-day walkout in April. (top)
Protesters rally against the Code
for Student Rights and Responsibil-
ities on the Diag. (left)
Wendy Ware (left), Tanya Mulhol-
land and Matt Austin (right) work
on an AIDS quilt. (above)

Regents face weighty task: finding a president

By Erin Marsh
Daily Editorial Page Writer
When James Duderstadt stepped down from
his nosition as Iniversity nresident on July 1.

input from students, faculty, staff and alums.w
Though relatively few students attended, 7
their voices were strong and their contribu-
tions valuable. The students made passionate 1I

he next university
resident should always

Affirmative action
benefits all ...............







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