E- The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 3, 1996
Continued from Page 1B
The new contract guarantees GSIs at least a 2.5-
.percent increase each year. However, the pay
increase is tied to the LSA faculty increase, deter-
mined by the University each year. In other words,
the University will give the same percentage wage
increase to GSIs that it gives to the faculty.
GEO asked for a specified wage increase written
into its contract. Instead, the agreement, said Karen
Miller, one of GEO's chief negotiators, wipes away
GEO's independence. "It is dangerous to hook your-
self onto something that the University will deter-
Michelle Mueller, the current GEO president,
.tsaid the state
GSIs are GEO accept the
indiSpenSible Another GEO'
the victory involves
VENU Sw GSIs. Interna-
adidnlSratiOn tional graduate
students who are
u m ust r0alize interested inh
" ® becoming GSIs
must go through
a three-week "fel-
lowship, or eval-
while the Univer-
shatters glass ceiling
sity assesses their abilities. Previously, they were not
given financial assistance during this period.
GEO was correct to demand a stipend to help the GEO me
international students afford the training, which the Angeil
new agreement includes at $700. To maintain its position
worldwide reputation for academic excellence, the
University must continue to attract the world's best students.
The stipend should ensure this - much of the financial bur-
den has been eliminated.
The University has already tried to backtrack on this agree-
ment. Miller said the University was only going to give the
stipends to those students who came for training in August.
.Miller called this an "imposed restriction" that was "pretty
arbitrary and never discussed at the table."
The two sides recently worked out an acceptable agreement
for the next two summers, but again, the University used its
unmatched power to rework some of the terms of the agree-
mnent, paying little respect to GEO.
Miller said, "It's really stupid and very much about them
-(using their) power over us.... It's very dumb."
In addition, the new contract calls for three joint Universi-
ty and GEO committees that will address affirmative action
mber Beth Chase, a communications GSi, pickets in front of
Ball in April. QEO's two-day walkout was staged to better their
in bargaining talks with the University for a new contract.
problems. This will help guarantee that minority students' con-
cerns will be heard. Moreover, the joint committees will keep
the union and the administration in constant contact and help
to create a cooperative environment.
While there is always some conflict in contractual bargain-
ing, steps can be taken to keep it at a minimum. Dan Gamble,
the University's chief negotiator, said in a recent interview that
the administration and GEO must remain in close communi-
cation during the next three years. "Just talking will help," he
But talking is not enough. The University must remain faith-
ful to the contract it signed. It must respect GSIs and GEO.
GSIs are indispensable - the administration must realize this.
University correct to
stand by Michigan
Michigan Agenda for
By Paul Seriila
Daily Editorial Page Writer
Few phrases in the English language
elicit the intense and polarized
responses that surround affirmative
Critics have always claimed that
affirmative action is simply reverse
discrimination and that systems that
use affirmative action, such as the
University's admissions process, are
eliminating qualified people from
These critics are ignoring the fact
that affirmative action helps combat
the traditional bias towards white,
middle and upper class males, which
has kept racial minorities and women
on the outside - affirmative action
continually promotes a diversified
community that would otherwise be
impossible to achieve.
Despite what many would like to
believe, the effects of past discrimina-
tion have not yet disappeared from the
A large percentage of racial minori-
ties, particularly African Americans t
and Latinos, are stalled at the bottom
of the economic ladder without the
educational or job opportunities need-
ed to move up.
Furthermore, both minorities and
women are sorely lacking in role
models for advancement. Ann Arbor resident
Because they have historically been istration Building in
denied opportunities, they have been action. About 500
shut out of a network that confers ben- Engler spoke to the
efits - left peering up through the began on the Diag,
classic "glass ceiling." concluded with a s
Affirmative action programs
attempt to shatter that ceiling.
Rather than offering unfair advantages, these programs are
designed to build institutions - whether they be workplaces
or universities - more representative of an
area's racial makeup.
At the University, the Michigan Mandate
and Michigan Agenda for Women have Prope
taken steps toward a more-diverse campus.
The mandate, for example, has brought impen
minority enrollment up from 13.5 percent inr
1988, when it was implemented, to 24.2 in actirm
The program does not deny deserving
majority students - if a majority student much n
cannot successfully compete for a spot in
75.8 percent of the student body, he or she is than a
clearly not the most deserving candidate in
the first place.
Furthermore, all students benefit from a
diverse campus,gaining experiences they
would not receive elsewhere.
Presently, affirmative action is possibly under the greatest
attack it has faced in over 20 years. In every corner of the
country - in every institution in which the program has
been enacted - affirmative action is bracing for the battle
that will determine its ultimate survival.
Affirmative action as we know it is defined under the 1978
Supreme Court decision Bakke v. California, which struck
down the quota system at the University of California-
Davis's Medical School, but stated that race could be con-
sidered as one factor of many to further the goal of diversi-
Mark Patrick protests outside the University's Business Admin-
September during a demonstration supporting affirmative
people marched outside the building while Michigan Gov. John
Business School's Growth Capital Symposium inside. The rally
when several hundred students left classes for the event and'
It-in on the Michigan Union steps.
fying the student body.
Properly implemented, affirmative action is much more
than quotas - it is a system of recruitment,
training and education to even out peopld's
experiences and knowledge.
Y Yet, the attacks have not wavered in their
frequency or intensity. Recently, the
*nfieu, Supreme Court supported an appellate car-
cuit court decision - Hopwood v. the St
tiVe of Texas - that declared race an invalid fa''
tor for admissions at the University of Texas
ore Since the high court did not rule on the
case, the precedent set by the appellate court
tAsonly affects the 5th U.S. Circuit district and
public universities in Texas, Louisiana and
Mississippi in that district.
Should the Supreme Court continue this
precedent of undermining affirmative action,
the University may soon find the hiring
admissions practices it has upheld under current law and
even championed as the tools of increased diversity are-ho
longer a legal option.
The University should be commended for its continuing
support of affirmative action, but a disturbing tone has been
sounded by the high court.
The death of affirmative action only means the public edu-
cation experience will again be denied to many deservibg
people. That degrades the experience for the entire educa-
t ed from Page 3
ment. Since the state law does not recognize domestic partners
as a married couple, Horning believes that the University over-
stepped its bounds by extending the benefits.
The nature of the legislature's provision is disconcerting.
Lansing's authority over the University many not extend to dic-
tating specific policies. It is one thing for legislators to express
their personal opinions, but they should not impose their moral
judgments upon the University and those in the University
community. The state constitution guarantees public universi-
ties autonomy from the state in determining their policies.
Authority for governing the University is accorded to the
Board of Regents. This attempt by the state legislature to dic-
tate University policy sets a bad precedent.
Fortunately, the benefits do not appear to be in jeopardy at
the moment. The University currently provides same-sex ben-
efits to about 90 partners and dependents of gay employees at
a cost of $160,000 a year.
Despite the lost funding under the new legislation, the Uni-
versity does not seem willing to end the benefits. That is
a strong message to the state -not only is the University
mitted to standing behind its principles, but it is not inclin
to be pushed around by legislators in Lansing trying to impose
their moral judgments upon public institutions.
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