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April 15, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-15

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 15, 1997

a1jz Eidi~gz &ztilg

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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
Ovelo mfkAND&

'The legislature cannot mlcromanage the
University or mandate any plans the University
may have for Its employees.'
- Sen. John Schwarz (R-Battle Creek), supporting State Attorney General Frank
Kelley's decision to grant universities autonomy in negotiating employee packages
ire ~/s Alof , rrex7 KCpr /AJ 1v. feopc r IT WAS
ON 0D6'( 4Gtrvt s.' -3'AC.KiE 126ae snAJ

GSIs face unfairly heavy workloads

I n University foreign language classes,
students are no longer the only ones say-
ing "no comprendo.' Foreign language
Graduate Student Instructors do not under-
stand why their workloads exceed the allot-
ted 16 hours per section, per week. On
Wednesday, more than 20 GSIs graded
homework assignments outside LSA
Associate Dean John Cross' office in the
LSA building. The protest effectively illus-
trated their point - overworked GSIs can-
not teach at their maximum capacity.
In high school, graded homework is
assigned nightly. This is unnecessary in
higher education - University students
should be self-motivated. However, romance
language classes continue to hold students
by the hand. As in many other courses,
instructors could give ungraded assignments
daily and administer examinations two or
three times per semester. Grading each
assignment is unnecessary and will not help
students more than assigning ungraded
homework; those students who do the home-
work will do better on the exams.
GSIs must routinely grade formal com-
positions, workbook assignments, journal
entries, class participation and oral exams,
along with holding weekly office hours. It
is easy for instructors, under these condi-
tions, to become disillusioned and lack-
adaisical. Jarrold Hayes, a romance lan-
guage associate professor, accurately
assesses the situation by saying that "it is
impossible to have a proper foreign lan-
guage education when GSIs are over-
The cost of hiring professors to fill GSI-
held positions would be enormous. GSIs get
very little compensation for competently
and effectively instructing their classes. The

University should be grateful for their ser-
vices they deserve administrative support
and backing. Cross should address foreign
language GSI workload problems immedi-
ately - however, he has failed to do so.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Teaching
Load, a group of romance language GSIs
supported by the Graduate Employees'
Organization, met with Cross to discuss
their concerns in December and demanded
a response by Jan. 8. When no response was
given by February, they sent Cross the
results of an external review on reducing
GSI workload. Cross still has not responded
- and a series of grade-ins will be held
until he satisfies their requests. Cross and
his fellow administrators, by failing to ful-
fill their responsibility to expeditiously
respond to teachers' concerns, are unneces-
sarily putting themselves at odds with GSIs.
It is good to see that, in spite of adminis-
trative mistreatment, GEO has decided to
employ positive protesting practices. Like
last year's organized walkout, the GSI
grade-in is another example of GEO's effec-
tive demonstrations. Undergraduate stu-
dents should recognize GSIs' value and give
them the support they deserve.
The administration should revamp
romance language classes. The curriculum
imposes too much graded work, placing an
unnecessary burden on teachers and not,
allowing students to pursue their academic
goals independently. Moreover, the adminis-
tration has delayed for four months in
responding to a complaint that it should have
addressed immediately. If administrators do
not work toward fostering a better relation-
ship with GSIs, they will increasingly be
unable to give students the high-quality edu-
cation they expect from the University.

Across state lines
Registry would help control gun trafficking

The federal government and the
National Rifle Association have
always been at odds when it came to the
issue of federal versus state gun control.
However, a new congressional study, using
information from the Federal Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, provides
information that is sure to lend credit to the
need for federal regulation. The study
shows that only a handful of states with lax
gun-control regulations are putting firearms
in the rest of the nation's hands.
The details of the study give conclusive
evidence that federal gun control is a neces-
sity in order to protect the whole nation.
The report showed that, of guns seized in
states other than where they were sold, 25
percent could be traced back to only four
states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and
Texas. Ten states with the loosest gun-con-
trol laws are responsible for selling 54.2
percent of all the guns traced to 1996
crimes in states other than the place of sale.
The selling states are primarily in the South
and most of the guns are exported to the
North on major highways such as Interstate
95. Because this study shows the flow to be
so one-directional, interesting points arise.
First, because certain states serve pri-
marily as gun exporters, where they exist,
gun-control laws appear to work. This is the
first study that conclusively shows that gun
control works; states with weaker gun-con-
trol laws are exporting guns to states with
tougher gun-control laws. For the federal
government to be able to trace guns used in
crimes throughout the nation to a few states
c~nan.. an vnF ' a rso:nn : 4m-12-n- ev

Second, because differences in gun-con-
trol laws create opportunities for illegal gun
trafficking, legislation should focus primar-
ily on the gun runners. Much like the war
against drugs aims to crack down on drug
dealers, gun control should seek to stop gun
trafficking at the source. To this end, Rep.
Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn) introduced
new legislation that would make gun run-
ning a federal crime. The measure would
make it illegal for anyone to sell five or
more guns across state lines within a one-
year period with the intent of selling or
transferring the guns to another person.
However, a national gun registration system
could be the only way to determine who
sells more than five guns per year across
state lines.
Even though Schumer's legislation is
already controversial and is receiving heat
from organizations such as the NRA, it
could be a necessary step to curb the coun-
try's gun-control problem. In the past, it
would have been difficult to develop and
compile the data that was used in the con-
gressional study. The '80s was a decade of
political pressure to back off national gun
control. But under President Clinton, the
firearms agency has been allowed to
expand its role in tracing guns used in
crimes. Now, with the new information and
conclusive evidence about crime and gun
control, legislators should apply the data
toward stern legislation.
When faced with conclusive evidence
that links lax gun-control laws to an
increase in gun trafficking and crime, the
C.--al-nvrn.-nt hmA t alcs n ctnn

ROTC cadets
are right to
use the Arb
This letter is written in
response to Ronald
Holzhacker's efforts to rid
Nichols Arboretum of ROTC
cadets ("Student wants
ROTC out of Arb," 4/11/97).
What we must remember
in this discussion is that the
Arb is owned by the
University and is intended for
"everyone to enjoy and use.'
Army and Air Force ROTC
cadets (I'm not sure if Navy
ROTC midshipmen train in
the Arb) use the Arb to sup-
plement their training in
valuable exercises. These
exercises allow these hard-
working cadets to prepare for
active duty service in the
U.S. military. The security of
the nation and its allies will
someday depend on these
future leaders.
Besides this, these cadets
should be respected for what
they are doing - serving
their country, something
which is no longer a first pri-
ority of many Americans.
Holzhacker brings up the
fact that he was concerned
about possible paramilitary
group activity in the Arb.
Here's a quick lesson in
how you can distinguish
between paramilitary organi-
zations and the U.S. military:
When cadets or active duty
members are wearing their
battle dress uniform (BDUs)
- the camouflage fatigues
they were wearing in the Arb
- look over the left breast
pocket. If the tape says "U.S.
Army" or "U.S. Air Force,"
etc., you're dealing with the
real thing! It's really quite
What we need to realize
here is that these cadets are
students who work hard to
someday serve their country
on active duty. They are not
people to be shunned and
pushed aside. They should be
respected. As long as these
ROTC training exercises do
not harm the physical plant
and wildlife of the Arb, why
must Holzhacker be con-
cerned? I suggest he find
something else to complain
Affirm ative
action works
for equality
I am writing to express
my support for affirmative
action. Although it may be an

energy. In the familiar con-
text of higher education, it
fuels two principal missions:
No. 1. To avail university
access to individual students
who, as racial minorities in a
historically racist culture,
have been systematically
denied the educational oppor-
tunities of the majority.
No. 2. To increase the
presence, both in number and
in spirit, of minority students
on campus as a means of dis-
placing negative stereotypes
with individual realities, with
the further hope of not only
teaching tolerance but also
cultivating an appreciation of
The first mission seeks to
rectify individual inequities,
while the latter endeavors to
reform, through education,
the system that created the
imbalances in the first place.
The most commonly
articulated argument against
affirmative action is that it is
as racist to admit students on
the basis of their color as it is
to reject students on that
same basis. Some contend
that since there are only a
limited number of spaces in a
given student body, the race-
based acceptance of one stu-
dent is a race-based rejection
of another.
While these arguments
may appear rhetorically
sound, they oversimplify our
present reality. Inherent in
cries of "reverse racism" is a
very particular notion of
what it means for one student
to be "more qualified" than
another. Even the seemingly
most objective standard, the
SAT, is subject to the artifi-
cial disparities created by
professional test preparation
- a mostly white upper mid-
dle class institution - as
well as by the cultural bias of
the exam itself.
In my experience, lack of
easy access to education is at
least as good a predictor of
"success" in college as cor-
rect replies to a handful of
analogies. If we simply began
to appreciate the persever-
ance and ingenuity of stu-
dents who have overcome
society-rooted obstacles such
as racism, classism, disabili-
ty-bias, ageism, sexism and
homophobia (not to mention
acute personal struggles
which lack even the refuge of
a named "-ism") and the
potential value of their
unique perspectives, then we
could dispense of "affirma-
tive action" as a matter of
politically correct policy,
while continuing to make
racially-informed admissions
decisions, simply in keeping
with our values and beliefs.
If we are ever to realize
the vision of a peaceful and
just society then we must
curb the urge to couch
advances in civil rights as
"their gain is my loss."
When one student receives an

Move will
not improve
This letter is written in
response to the article
"Bollinger announces plan to
move out of Fleming"
(4/9/97). I'd like to address
the decision of President
Bollinger to move the admin-
istrative offices out of the
Fleming Administrative
Building "into the center of
Apparently, Bollinger
feels that this will."symbol-
ize Bollinger's desire to bring
the administration closer to
the student body." To me, it
symbolizes the students los-
ing out to the bureaucracy
once again. In order to
accomplish his "symbolic"
goal, he would have to dis-
place a major section of the
classrooms located on central
campus, in order to fit the
entire administrative staff.
Those classrooms, logic
would dictate, would be relo-
cated to the Fleming build-
ing. So, now the administra-
tion is more accessible, but
the classrooms are not. This
makes no sense whatsoever.
Is this symbolic plan really
more important than the stu-
dents being able to have more
classes on central campus?
Bollinger's desire to make
the administration more
accessible seems like a rea-
sonable goal, but not if its
going to inconvenience more
students in the process.
Especially considering that
no internal modifications of
that inaccessible administra-
tion have been mentioned.
Relocating the offices won't
change what goes on inside
Also, I don't think
Bollinger really understands
the problems students have
with the administration inac-
cessibility. It's not that the
building is located so far
away from campus that stu-
dents don't want to walk all
the way there (it's across the
street from Angel Hall) or
that the architecture is so
imposing that students won't
enter. It is that the current
administrative bureaucracy is
inaccessible because of red
tape and paperwork, not
walking distance or architec-
It's quite clear that
Bollinger's plan to move the
administrative offices is sym-
bolic, but nothing more.
Instead of symbolizing a
change in procedure, perhaps
Bollinger's time and the stu-
dent's tuition dollars would
be better served in actually
. - . -- .

Where have you
gone, Jean Luc
oreign films have long been a
favorite play-thing for the cultural
elite; since the 1930s, social critics,
intellectuals and snobby-types have
enjoyed few things more than pontifi
cating on the latest Bergman, Goddard,
Truffaut and the like. (1 admit! This col-
umn is named for
Jean Renoir clas-
sic, "Grand
Illusion.") But
only recently have
foreign films
become the sole
property of the >
intellectual class;
while Fellini may
have been a
favorite topic of SAMUEL
conversation at GODTN
cocktail parties in GOODSTEIN
the 1960s, he also GRANo
had a following ILLUSION
amongst the non-cocktail-party crowd.
Indeed in 1962, foreign films com-
prised 10 percent of the American film
market. Even 10 years ago, foreigr4
films were a force to be reckoned with
at the box office, taking up 7 percent of
the U.S. market. Their decline since
then has been shocking. Today, foreign
films make up a paltry .75 percent of
the market - an all-time low. This
number is even more telling when you
consider that there has been one rela-
tively big foreign film each of the past
few years (e.g. "Il Postino," "Belle de
Jour," "Shine") that has taken up
good chunk of this .75 perent. Th-
foreign film market is dying fast -
and one hit per year cannot save it.
Of course, fewer viewers translates
into fewer screens for those who still
have an interest. The Economist
(which recently published a fine arti-
cle on this topic) noted that out of a
grand total of 30,000 movie theatres in
the U.S., only 250 regularly play for-
eign flicks - Ann Arborites, o
course, are fortunate to have Th
Michigan Theater and the Cinema
Guild (which, by the way, counts my
father as a past president). As sure as
the screens stop screening, the distrib-
utors stop distributing. New Yorker
Films, once one of the most prominent
foreign film distributors in the coun-
try, has seen their annual distribution
fall from about 50 films in the '60s
and '70s to about one in the '90s.
The decline is undeniable. What i4
the cause? The temptation is to blame
Hollywood. After all, its an easy tar-
get: Hollywood studios generally pro-
duce garbage and spend incredible
sums of money to promote it. Studio
executives' careers depend on produc-
ing major box-office hits, not penetrat-
ing drama, so the tendency is for
Hollywood to dumb-down their
movies. However, these facts have
more or less always been the reality i
Hollywood; they hardly explain the
almost complete disappearance of for-
eign films from U.S. screens. The,
answer lies elsewhere.
One key factor that, when combined
with Hollywood's box-office mania,
drove foreign movies out is the take-
over of the theatre industry by major
companies. Whereas small theatres (a
la The State Theater, Ann Arbor 1 and
2, The Rialto, etc.) once thrived it
almost every city, today's cinema mar-
ket is driven by giant companies (a la.
Showcase). These giants have almost
no financial incentive to screen a risky
foreign film, and - unlike some of

the old, smaller theatres - would.
never show a foreign movie-because it
happened to be interesting. They have
no incentive to be experimental,
because their level of dominance in the
industry has grown to the point tha4
they don't need to take any risks."
Thankfully, foreign films may have
gained some credibility with the.
Showcases of the world this year -
thanks to-"Shine" and a few other fine
movies that were big box-office draws.;
Even the changing cinema market,.
however, does not fully explain the
trend. To a certain degree, one must
assume that even Showcase would'
respond if there were a strong deman
One factor just might be that foreigi
films just aren't that good any more.
This argument is based on the following
logic: Old foreign movies used to grap-
ple with issues such as God's existence,
man's fate in a chaotic world, and poli-
tics. Toda, the argument continues, for-
eign film-makers are falling prey to
what Bernardo Bertolucci called "a hor-
rible neo-conformism ... (where) the
words unique and original are becomin4
insults instead of compliments." This,
combined with the industry-driven
changes in the U.S, could certainly sag
the market.
Finally, it is possible that Americans
just don't appreciate art-in-film like.
they used to. This argument, which I.


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