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January 29, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-29

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 29, 1997

UlSritg A ig.

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'What's really unusual is the governor has proposed a
major revolution in public education every year for four
years. After so many revolts, it becomes revolting.'
-State Rep. James Agee (D-Muskegon), referring to Gov. John Engler'
proposal for the state takeover ofparticular school districts

Greeks are no
diferent than
the Romans
O ne must use light hands when
,dealing with the Devil.
Or at least that's what I think they
are. e
If you talk to the vast majority of

Untess otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Quality contro
Improved evaluation forms will benefit 'U'



people on this
campus, you
would think that
fraternity mem-
bers are the most
horrible folks ever
to crawl out of a


it's common for University students to
feel like their social security numbers -
the unwieldy bureaucracy 'fosters this
impression. At the end of each semester
these "numbers" get a rare opportunity to
speak as individuals - students evaluate
their teachers with the Center for Research
on Learning and Teaching evaluation forms.
Recently, CRLT increased the depth of the
evaluation to improve the feedback process.
Many faculty members expressed enthu-
siasm for the new forms - an opinion
which should increase the forms' credibili-
ty. For example, chemistry Prof. Thomas
Dunn, chair of the faculty's governing body,
criticized the old forms and complimented
CRLT on its latest effort.
Previously, parts of the forms were inad-
equate. Grading laboratory instructors, sec-
tion leaders and lecturers on the same scale
was an unreasonable but standard proce-
dure. Furthermore, many of the questions
were too vague to answer with a bubbled
correlate. CRLT created new forms to make
distinctions between the size, type and level
of class. Now, the University has a more
accurate means with which to evaluate
tenure, merit pay and promotions for
However, CRLT can always further
improve the evaluation process - and so
can students. Many students ignore the
forms to leave class early, or feel that their
comments will have no weight. Or, in small
classes, some students may not write addi-
tional comments on the back of the form for
fear of discovery; despite the sealing of the
envelope until after grades, students may
have the professor again, or may want to
procure an unfettered recommendation.
A perpetual concern with evaluation-

based decision-making is how to account for
societal biases. For example, female instruc-
tors, especially in the "hard" sciences like
chemistry and physics, consistently rate
lower than their male colleagues. Often,
women in these disciplines must be more
aggressive than their male counterparts to
achieve stature in traditionally male-domi-
nated fields. As a result, students may per-
ceive them as cold or impersonal, but this
does not necessarily mean they are poor
To evaluate instructors for pay raises or
tenure, the University must take these soci-
etal prejudices into consideration, along
with the other inevitable problems with the
Moreover, many faculty members told
the Daily that CRLT forms are not enough
- the University must seek other mecha-
nisms of evaluation. Education Prof. Valerie
Lee said, "If the University is serious about
evaluating the way teachers are teaching,
they'd better go way beyond the CRLT
Lee is correct: The University's academ-
ic departments must never rely solely on the
evaluation forms - they only provide part
of the picture.
- At research-oriented Universities, under-
graduate teaching can take a backseat to
research. With the CRLT's new evaluation
forms, accurate student input is now more
readily available. Administrators and teach-
ers should use these forms for both self-
improvement and to add the missing quali-
tative element to job evaluations.
In the coming years, the administration
should continually re-evaluate the forms to
make them as current and as accurate as

. -

' '1 ~





Umited democracy
Term limits restrict voters' choices

U .S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn),
the longest-serving member of the
U.S. House of Representatives, claims he
has always been in favor of terms limits.
Dingell, who has served in the House since
the 1950s, facetiously reiterated that claim
last week - he proposed legislation that
would limit members of Congress to only
12 years.
If the legislation were to pass, a signifi-
cant percentage of the House, including
Dingell himself, would have to leave imme-
diately - the legislation is retroactive. But
no member of the House, all of whom have
just begun a new term, would like to send
themselves home. Dingell's proposal is not
an earnest endorsement of traditional term
limits. The bill is a ploy created to make the
most ardent supporters of term limits vote
against the proposal to save their own
careers - and, in the process, contradict
their previous stances.
Dingell's ironic proposal ends up high-
lighting the fact that elections are America's
greatest term limits.
Term limits contradict the democratic
basis of representational government. By
limiting the number of years a person may
hold office, term limits tell voters that they
are incapable of making correct choices on
their own. Voters must be free to make up
their minds on ballots that represent full
spectrums of candidates -not ballots trun-
cated by an arbitrary period of time.
Elections provide voters all the opportunity
to show officials how they feel about job
performance; the public will not re-elect
officials of whom they disapprove.

al. Elections are the only legitimate way to
remove an unwilling representative from
office, apart from rarely used methods of
The courts will review any term limit
bill that Congress passes; if precedent is the
guide, all such laws will be unconstitution-
al. The only legal way to impose term lim-
its is a constitutional amendment.
That process would take decades, leav-
ing the present proponents of term limits
the opportunity to pursue long careers.
Term limits are a promise that officials use
to appeal to a public hostile to the perceived
privileges of incumbents. Even the most
staunch champions of term limits know that
in all likelihood it is a pledge they will not
have to keep.
Term limits also eat away at the institu-
tional integrity of legislative bodies. The
rules to regulate legislative procedure take
years to learn and many are based not on
written statutes but traditional practice.
Term limits effectively inhibit that system.
Any new legislator would concede that
once they learn congressional procedure,
they will become more effective representa-
tives. Terms limits deny representatives the
time to become seasoned in protocol to gov-
ern the bodies in which they work - and
they eliminate the more experienced legis-
lators who might be able to teach the new
America will not serve its democratic
processes by policies that purport to under-
stand the public better than the people do.
Term limits are exactly this kind of legisla-
tion. Control over elected officials needs to

'U' should
dump food on
Palmer field
Though I am no engineer
or architect, I have a plan that
will likely prove less expen-
sive than that which the
regents have proposed for the
Hill area dining facility.
The regents, as you may
remember, have decided to
build a $15.5-million central-
ized dining hall between
Alice Lloyd and Mosher-
Jordan in order to save
money and make students
What I suggest is that
they merely dump the food
on the center of Palmer Field
and let us students take what
we want.
This proposal has a num-
ber of advantages. Most
important, it would more
than pay for itself in the first
20 minutes of operation, as
opposed to 20 years.
Second, there is no danger
of an employee shortage, as
no employees are needed.
Third, I have been
informed by a number of
cafeteria workers that throw-
ing raw meat, uncooked noo-
dles and live poultry in the
mud would actually be more
sanitary than current cooking
Finally, it would be much
more student-friendly than
the current plan for a vast,
impersonal dining hall; we all
know that impersonal facili-
ties can often be more
unhealthy than Mexican
ITD should
create I Ds for
It's pretty clear that com-
puter assignments at the
Angell Hall computing site
have a few kinks to work out.
Most upperclass students can
remember the smoothness of
the old system of computer
distribution (where computer
staff held student IDs in
exchange for assignment
cards). I understand that we
cannot return to that old sys-
tem because student IDs now
have that fancy M-card chip
stuff. It would be like trusting
the computer staff with cash
So the current problem is
two-fold: We need to create a
system where there is an
organized system of comput-
er distribution (so students
don't stalk open computers in
orer tn har nut other wait-

ex pressi on
Jessica Curtin's seemingly
endless diatribe of propagan-
da exhibits how ridiculous
her and her sheep-like group
of militant lackeys truly are
("Ann Arbor must create a
shelter," 1122/97).
It is ironic that she can
talk of rights in a "civilized
society" while later telling
how her war-like group
stormed the City Council
meeting, causing them to pre-
maturely end the meeting for
fear that their personal well-
being would be in danger.
Obviously council mem-
bers were aware of the
National Women's Rights
Organizing Coalition track
record of stoning those peo-
ple with which they disagree.
I think there might be
more "civilized" forms of
persuasion than brute force.
NWROC's previous exploits
offer no sound reason why
this group deserves the atten-
tion of anyone on this cam-
pus or in this city.
'Evita' gives
new life to
musical films
Do you just let anyone
write what they want? I'm
writing in response to
Jennifer Petlinski's article on
the Golden Globes in
Weekend, etc.("Forget
Argentina: Cry for the
Gn n lonhe" 1/23/971.

cards, and it would be valu-
able for the students to return
the cards.
Because my suggestion is
similar to the old system, the
architecture of the site is
well-suited for this plan.
Each computer already has a
slot to place the ID cards,
and the front desk is not cur-
rently being used for any-
thing really, (besides lost and
If the Information
Technology Division can
sport the money for that
weird yellow flag system
debacle, I think the issuance
of cardboard computer ID
cards seems like an inexpen-
sive solution to return to a
familiar, organized and more
responsible system of com-
puter assignment.

Brute force
not civilized


Madonna's singing was atro-
cious. Every time she opened
her mouth, she sounded like
a whiny little brat. Petlinski
overlooked the fact that this
movie is different than the
broadway musical. She men-
tioned that it was geared to
make you cry for Eva and
Argentina. This is true and is
what makes the musical pure
crap. The broadway show
was completely geared to
make you hate the Perons.
The movie cut out scenes
where Che mentions that
Eva's blessed foundation ran
Argentina into the ground.
They also added scenes to
make you care for her. In one
scene, she gets dumped by
Migala, and sings a song
originally designed for Juan
Peron's previous lover.
Madonna was the com-
mercial appeal added to all
musical movies.
Unfortunately, being the
commercial appeal,.she gets
to be in the light and out-
shine the real talent of the
movie, which wouldn't be a
change that Rice and Webber
made to the show for film.
Daily exploits
Greek stories
I am writing in response
to the wire service article you
published from the Daily
Nebraskan ("Nebraska frater-
nity sets cross aflame,"
1/28/97). I think that the
Daily displayed very poor
judgment running this article
during the week of fraternity
rush here at the University of
Michigan. The article contains
nothing that could be mistak-
en as newsworthy and simply
serves to shed a bad light on
our Sigma Chi chapter.
The ritual of Sigma Chi,
which is one of the best kept
secrets in the country, pre-
dates the Ku Klux Klan by
nearly 30 years and thus has
no basis therein. During my
four years as a member of
Sigma Chi at the University,
we have had Asian, Indian,
Jewish and black members.
Sigma Chi has not grown to
be the second largest social
fraternity in the country
through prejudiced practices
and racist rituals.
Each individual is entitled
to his own beliefs, and the
confederate flags so elo-
quently eluded to in the arti-
cle are a representation of
personal expression, not an
instrument of our ritual.
Each Sigma Chi chapter
is representative of its institu-
tion's surrounding communi-
ty. Everyone knows of the
nni,1'' tendne In oennit

Witness meeting.

poured from the teat that they so hap-
pily bite when they're around their
friends, so they can seem like the kind
of way-cool person that hangs out with
Stephen Dorf and Michael Stipe after
the Pearl Jam show.
It's always the guy with the loudest
mouth about pornography you find in
the front row of the Pussycat theater
with a harem of midgets and a tube of
K-Y Jelly.
I have two amigos who are rushin
fraternities this week, and you would
not believe the amount of crap they
had to put up with. Imagine 30 people
walking up to you in the span of two or
three days and asking you in the most
arrogant tone of voice possible, "A fra-
ternity? Oh man, c'mon. You have to
think for yourself." The exact same
thing over and over again.
How about some perspective h
folks? It's a'fraternity, a social club fo
God's sake, not a Jehovah's Witness
meeting. It's not like they shave their
heads and put bar codes on the backs
of their noggins as soon as they walk
in the door. So they like to wear dirty
white hats, flannel shirts, listen to
Dave Matthews and look a little like
their peers. Big freaking deal.
Walk around East Quad for 10 min-
utes. If you don't see 10 Tori Amo
pictures, 20 Camus misquotes and
Nike ads, I'll give you a table dance.
Most fraternity guys will admit that
part of the allure is the fact that they
enjoy a feeling of commonality with
their friends.
So what? Everybody does. Most of
the nonconformist knuckleheads will
have the coj ones to think that they are
all wild renegades because they all
bought their Ben Harper albums at db
ferent times and they have a copy
"Soul On Ice'" Please.
Think about all the people you know
in fraternities. Stand-up guys, right?
For the most part. At least no worse
than 80 percent of the toads I've met
during my tenure in East Ouad. The

sewer since
Pontius Pilate
browsed the three-
penny nail section;
at the hardware
store. JAMES
Or at least that's MILLER
what I think is
going on. I pride-myself on having a
strong, manly grip on the social pulse
of this campus and I have yet to figure
out the way we all feel about the male
portion of the Greek system.
I am the biggest fan that cuturW
whipping boys ever had. Be itt
homeless, welfare mothers, CEOs,
MSA candidates and congressional
freshman Republicans, I love the fact
that our society can gang up on a class
of people and beat the snot out of them
until Newsweek tells us something
else is "hot" this month. Or maybe that
was TV Guide.
Anyway. I can't figure out the Greek
system. This is Rush Week on the
University campus and the Greek sy4
tem is enjoying a massive kind of pop-
ularity. The first month and a half of
classes are filled with fraternity parties.
Call it advertising. One of the greatest
examples of hypocrisy I have witnessed
on this campus is the snotty attitude
toward fraternity parties. One easy way
to garner a reputation as a real noncon-
formist bad-ass, Sonic Youth-listening
kind of guy is to bash Greeks.
"Oh God, a fraternity, those are
bad. How can you join one of those
things? All those people just want to
be like everybody else. How can you
stand that? If you'll excuse me, I have
to go put my hair in braids like Ani
DeFranco, go stand in line for four
hours for 'Billy Breathes' and buy a
six-pack of Woodchuck for my 'Star
Wars' party."
Look around the next time you find
yourself at an open fraternity pa f
Besides the pledges, the brothers an
their dates, guess who you're going to
Neo-hippie types swilling on beer
It's a fraternity, a
social club for God's
sake, not a Jehovah's



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