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February 04, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-04

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4- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 4, 1997

(The Libim &dg

420 Maynard Street ....:.
Ann Arbor, MI 481094
Edited and managed by
students at thes
University of Michigan.

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'He has a strong sense of values that earn the respect of
those around him. It is that sense of value that I think
will make him a very good leader.'
- Former University President James Duderstadt of his successor; Lee Bollinger



Unless 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.
Umiting ential
LSA should end its term limits for GSIs


bp ____ Sc9 A. 0

Tuition bills can be an obstacle in the
path to education. Loans and scholar-
ships help fill the gap during undergraduate
years, but options become limited when stu-
dents face the larger expenses of graduate
school tuition. Many students decide to
teach undergraduate classes to alleviate
some of the financial burden. The College
of Literature, Science and the Arts has a
policy that prevents students from having
the option to teach during the entirety of
their education by limiting them to five
years of Graduate Student Instructor eligi-
bility. The 10-semester limit hurts doctoral
candidates who frequently require more
than five years of graduate study. LSA
should rescind the policy - by doing so, it
could provide its students with more experi-
enced instruction while offering graduate
students a means by which to afford their
Ideally, students could receive a doctor-
ate from the University after five years of
course work. However, reality dictates that
many students fail to meet requirements in
five years. As a result, students without fel-
lowships or research assistantships face
large tuition bills. Budget-strapped students
may have to overload themselves with diffi-
cult class work or drop out - impeding the
University's commitment to education.
In 1988, LSA adopted the "10-term
rule" to prevent graduate students from
using teaching positions as a means of per-
manent employment. The rule calls for
graduate program reorganization to make
five-year graduation feasible.
LSA should not mandate that graduate
programs adjust their curriculum to accom-

modate the policy - the policy's call for
students to complete graduation require-
ments is unreasonable. With a large portion
of graduate students taking more than the
recommended five years to obtain their
degree, it is obvious that students aren't the
problem. Rackham should act of its own
accord and reorganize its graduate pro-
grams to ensure the likelihood of timely
graduation for every student - and prevent
people from needing to take an extra year,
or three.
LSA's policy also threatens the quality of
undergraduate education. Experience is an
important trait in a teacher - GSIs with
several years of classroom leadership serve
as better teachers for difficult classes. By
preventing them from teaching during the
height of their ability, LSA is taking a direct
swipe at its own potential for quality.
Undergraduates deserve the teaching ability
and knowledge of experienced GSIs to
improve their education.
Tonight, the Michigan Student Assembly
will vote on a resolution to lobby against
the policy and put a referendum question on
the MSA election ballot to gauge students'
feelings. MSA should do everything in its
power to protect student interest in the
The LSA administration has failed to put
students' concerns ahead of its own policy.
While graduate program changes are neces-
sary, the schools themselves should make
the changes - LSA makes the situation
worse by imposing its own time limit. The
policy should be withdrawn to allow quali-
fied, intelligent students to receive the
degree and assistance they deserve.

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Growing awareness
AIDS Awareness Week offers valuable lesson

A s one of the fastest growing age
groups to contract HIV, University
students should take notice of the events
planned to honor National AIDS Awareness
Week. The University is sponsoring several
programs to make the student community
aware of the rapidly spreading epidemic
and promote understanding. Several
University organizations, such as the
Affirmative Action Office, Lesbian, Gay
and Bisexual Programs Office, Multi-
Ethnic Student Affairs and many more
community organizations are sponsoring
the week's events. The planned programs
are a chance for the student community to
enrich its education on a vastly important
AIDS awareness cannot be a completed
task - individuals must constantly update
their knowledge. The community is contin-
ually discovering new perspectives, devel-
opments and treatments. Students who con-
sider themselves aware have made a step in
the right direction, but should in no way
consider their knowledge complete. The
week's activities are a good example of the
ways in which students can seek out oppor-
tunities and augment their existing knowl-
edge of HIV and AIDS.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on
display Feb. 6-9 in the University Track &
Tennis Building. The display is a valuable
way for University students and community
members to understand the widespread
effects of AIDS. According to Dave Lieber,
member of the Ann Arbor Jaycees
Foundation (a co-sponsor of this week's
events), the quilt helps to put a name on the
endless statistics, as well as allowing stu-
dents to walk away with the feeling that

exempt from the disease.
In addition, several informational speak-
ers, programs and workshops will take
place on campus this week:
" Dr. Powell Kazanjian will speak about
"Advances in Treatment for HIV/AIDS" on
Feb. 4 at the School of Public Health II.
* "Jeffrey," a feature film based on the
award-winning play, will be showing at the
Michigan Theater on Feb. 4.
" A brief service titled "Spiritual
Strength for Survivar' will precede a can-
dlelight march, music and poetry readings
in the Michigan Union on Feb. 4.
* On Feb. 5, LGBPO will host a safer-
sex workshop, addressing women who have
sex with women and men who have sex
with men.
" In the Union, on Feb. 5, poet-activist
River Huston will discuss her personal
experiences living with AIDS.
Students and community members
should take advantage of opportunities to
gain more knowledge about HIV and AIDS
this week - there is no excuse to plead
ignorance when so many easily-accessible
programs are available so close to home.
AIDS matters to the University commu-
nity - it is the No. 1 killer of people
between the ages of 25-44. Of immediate
local concern, Washtenaw County reports
the second highest number of AIDS cases
in the state. Students are responsible for
informing themselves - they can never
know too much about HIV and preventative
The events of National AIDS Awareness
Week remind us that HIV remains a threat.
By acquiring information about the disease
and knowing how to prevent transmission,

language is
necessary for
unity, access
There is a much larger
issue at hand that is ignored
in the editorial entitled
"Common language?"
(1/28/97). Regardless of
whether this law to make
English the official language
of Michigan passes, the fact
remains that large portions of
the population are unable to
understand and be under-
stood by other portions of the
population. This is not about
"oppression" or violation of
the First Amendment, it is
about trying to empower peo-
ple to give them access;
access to more opportunities,
higher income and higher
education, to name a few.
Without the ability to speak
and understand English,
access to these things
becomes much more elusive.
Being able to communi-
cate with each other is quite a
leap from "homogeneity."
Encouraging all residents to
learn to speak English does
not equate to condoning
intolerance of other lan-
guages or cultures.
My mother came to this
country with very poor
English skills. While my
father went to work, my
mother's job was to watch
television to strengthen her
language skills. I firmly
believe that this has con-
tributed a great deal to the
quality of life my brothers
and I now have. Does this
mean that we have forgotten
our cultural heritage?
Absolutely not. I am
proud of my Chinese heritage
and my family's ability to use
the English language to share
it with other Americans is a
wonderful thing. Those who
think cultural identity and
pride are defined by language
need to look deeper.
Diversity is a beautiful
thing, but so is communica-
tion. Without a common lan-
guage to unite us, we risk
becoming no more than sepa-
rate groups contained and
confined in various compart-
ments of society. We have so
many divisive issues at hand
already, how can we ever
hope to understand each
other if we can't understand
each other? We need to be
able to communicate on the
surface before we can ever
hope to communicate on a
deeper level.
Language is a powerful
tool, too powerful to go
unused in our fight to reach
common ground. We must
empower, not shelter.
Whether this law is the
answer is not clear to me, but

Hill" (1/27/97). I found the
review rather enjoyable until
I came to the paragraph that
covered the Drop Caps per-
formance, which featured
vocalist/bass guitarist Mike
Gordon of Phish.
I was shocked at the
downright rude comments
that surfaced. It was made
explicitly clear that Smith-
Lindall is hardly a Phish
"phan," but the ill-mannered
and petulant avowals about
Mike Gordon's performance
abilities were beyond inap-
propriate for an otherwise
satisfactory review. I didn't
read the article to see a
multi-talented, dedicated and
experienced musician verbal-
ly slaughtered.
Despite my growing ire
over reading about Mike
Gordon's supposed
"unschooled vocals and
blandly plodding bass line"
and "meandering bass solo
that bogged down whatever
energy had been created" I
"plodded" my way through
the remainder of the review
to find nothing but glowing
comments for every other
performer at the festival. I re-
read the introductory para-
graphs and again found only
honey-dripping comments
suffused throughout. The
only askew remarks in the
entirety of the article were
within the Drop Caps para-
graph and they certainly
weren't directed at the other,
non-Phish members of the
band. In fact, the other band
members, in their two words
of glory granted by the
author, were shown to pos-
sess "skilled musicianship,'
but this was only when Mike
Gordon stepped aside.
It was insinuated that
Gordon performed poorly,
dragged the Drop Caps
down, and was not
"schooled" enough to play at
this festival, leaving the read-
er to conclude that it was
Gordon's fault that the band
"tried to groove but did not
The goal of this article
seemed to be to sing the
praises of the festival and to
illustrate what a "diverse and
entertaining evening" it was.
Aside from the one negative
paragraph, it did just that.
While I see a concert
review as a means of cover-
ing an event in both fact and
opinion, I find it very unpro-
fessional for a writer to put
in his or her own personal
dislikes in such an extreme
and derogatory fashion. If the
intent of the writer was to
cover "an outstanding
evening of performances'
perhaps Smith-Lindall could
have put less energy into
making Mike Gordon look
incompetent and more energy
into promoting the Drop
Caps, who were clearly left
in the dust to make room for
personal repugnance directed

unnecessary and unrequested
opinions, especially when
addressing such a large audi-
ence of "phans" here at the
systems are
not the best
Your editorial on Gov.
John Engler's plan to have
the state take over failing
school districts ("Educational
takeover," 1/30/97) was a dis-
appointing and parochial
defense of the American way
of organizing public schools.
It is a shame that more
Americans, especially politi-
cians and newspaper editorial
writers, do not travel more
and learn about how things
are done in other countries.
Too many of us think that the
American way is always the
best. It is not. Our school
system is a prime case in
point. It is dismal in compari-
son with the systems in most
other industrialized countries.
You say, "running a
school district is a local issue
and should remain a local
issue.' Well, in countries
where the schools are better,
running the schools is not a
local issue, but a provincial
or even a national issue. Our
schools would be better and
our school system would be
fairer and more democratic if
the system were more cen-
trally organized. The idea that
each local school district has
to fashion its own curricu-
lum, for example, is absurd.
Children need the same edu-
cational opportunities regard-
less of where they live.
Engler's proposal is not
the final answer. Similar state
takeovers in New Jersey have
resulted in only modest
improvements. Children are
still forced to attend the
schools of the district they
live in, while the state does
not have the power to prevent
the best and most experi-
enced teachers from gravitat-
ing to the more affluent
school districts. But it is a
step in the right direction.
Online Daily
keeps grads

N o two democracies are identical.
Each has its own history, political
institutions and cultural norms that
shape the nature of governance and the
relationship between people and the
state. Germany, since the end of World
War II, has enjoyed an era of what
might be called "militant democracy:'
The German constitution gives the state
power to root out any threats to democ-
ratic order, by
almostany means
effect, the govern-
ment's principal .
task is to ensure
that Germany
never again falls
rule, from the right
tancy is under- SAMUEL
standable. The last GOODSTEIN
German democra- GRAND
cy - the Weimar ILLUSION
Republic - was
not militant enough; it is difficult to
argue that civil liberties should be trea-
sured in Germany to the extent they are
in the United States. Who, after a
would want to see neo-Nazi groups
permitted to freely participate in the
German democratic system?
There is, however, an inherent conflict
in "militant-style" democracy: While it
may be good for Germany (and the rest
of Europe) that the government watches
any groups that threaten democratic sta-
bility, the government is given the power
to decide which groups constitute a
threat. Therefore, the government is
given the authority to decide who pa
ticipates in democracy.
Enter the Church of Scientology.
Developed in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard,
the Church of Scientology is a religion
devoted to - according to its own liter-
ature - "a voyage of self-discovery'
Perhaps best known for the famous
entertainers who belong to the church,
Scientology is growing fast and gener-
ating controversy worldwide. While
Scientology was officially recognize_
as a religion in the United States in
1993, thereby becoming a tax-exempt
organization, a host of European gov-
ernments consider Scientology a cult,
citing the fact that Scientologists prose-
lytize and encourage members to spend
large sums of money on church materi-
al. Nowhere is Scientology receiving
more attention, and scrutiny, than in
Germany - which brings us back to
the notion of militant democracy.
The German government, particular-
ly the southern states of Bavaria and
Baden-Wuerttemberg, has decided that
Scientology poses a clear and present
threat to the German democratic sys-
tem. On the basis that Scientology is a
dangerous cult with fascistic tenden-
cies, Scientologists are no longer per-
mitted to hold government jobs in
Bavaria; in Baden-Wuerttenberg they
are under surveillance. One Germa4
politician called Scientology "a totali-
tarian system and a violation of human
rights."yA confidential phone line has
been set up for people to supply infor-
mation to the German intelligence ser-
vice regarding Scientologist action.
Are you uncomfortable yet, reader?
Maybe you shouldn't be, if there is
any evidence that Scientology poses a
threat to democracy. If it does threaten
democracy, maybe the United States
in more trouble than Germany: Ther
are millions of Scientologists in the
U.S. and only 30,000 in Germany.
The evidence appears to be nonexis-
tent and the closest thing the German
government offers is a statement that
"Scientology can lead to psychological

and physical dependency, to financial
ruin and even to suicide.' This will not
suffice. If Scientology leads to finan-
cial ruin or dependency, it is no diffe
ent from countless other organizations,
if it leads to suicide, than suppressing it
will hardly improve the situation.
We should be uncomfortable - the
German militant democracy is decid-
ing that one particular religious group
(religious, I say, not political) does not
fit into the system; even worse, there is
scant justification for this exclusion.
When one religion is excluded from
the political system, can others be too
far behind? In this case, the answert4
probably yes. It is unlikely that
Germany is on the verge of reverting
to totalitarianism; however, this should
not dampen the alarm with which we
should view current developments. -
Enter Guenter Muenzloher and
Mauro. As reported in Newsday,
Muenzloher's daughter was asked to
switch schools because her father is a
Scientologist; now his neighbors wi
not talk to him. Mauro, a ScientooogiY
entrepreneur, received a letter last
December from the police, asking him
to sign a declaration that neither he nor
his employees are Scientologists and
that he rejects the teachings of
Scientology These stories are becom-


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