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November 23, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-23

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 23, 1998

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

It's pretty damn am k
you really think about I: '

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.
Bargaining gan
'U' and GEO should work for compromise

t seems that some University adminis-
1trators have already forgotten the
Graduate Employees Organization strike
late in the winter term of 1996.
Otherwise, the University's counterpro-
posal presented at the graduate contract
negotiations last Tuesday, which made no
changes to the current contract language
regarding wages for Graduate Student
Instructors, would have been much more
The University claims that Tuesday's
proposal was only a tentative attempt to
allocate funds to various GEO proposals.
Although contract negotiations are only
beginning, the lack of a conciliatory spir-
it in the University's proposal is discour-
aging. If a mutually beneficial contract is
to be reached by the time the present con-
tract expires on Feb. 1, both the
University and GEO must actively work
together in good faith toward a genuine
Fortunately, since the negotiations are
still in their incipient stages, negotiators
remain optimistic. If both sides make a
.commitment to reason and frank, open
communication, the negotiations should
proceed quickly and uneventfully. The
University and GEO both have legitimate
concerns that must be taken seriously by
each respective party. The University's bud-
get is not inexhaustible, and it has an oblig-
ation to keep expenses and tuition down,
but it also has an obligation to its employees
and needs to take the complaints of GEO
Many of GEO's arguments are justifi-
.able and need to be considered by the
-University before it begins taking an
inflexible stance on any disputed issue.
According to information GEO is using to

negotiate, rent in Ann Arbor, on average,
currently constitutes 42 percent of a GSI's
average income. This, combined with
additional expenses such as groceries can
make Ann Arbor a very difficult place to
live for graduate student employees.
That GSIs play an integral role in the
fulfillment of the University's education-
al mission is undeniable. Graduate stu-
dents perform a significant amount of the
teaching and research done at the
University, and this vital contribution has
to be recognized in the University's con-
tract with the GEO. A first-class universi-
ty must have excellent facilities, but it
also needs superb graduate students and
faculty. In order to continue to attract
some of the best minds in the world,
incentives have to be offered. Nothing
could be more counterproductive than
sending a message early in the course of
the contract negotiations that GSIs are
only of nominal importance to the
It may be premature to begin consider-
ing the possibility of another GEO strike
, but the University's rash maneuvers at
the bargaining table last week were all too
familiar to those who participated in the
failed negotiations in 1996. A reoccur-
rence of such a scenario could be entirely
avoidable. If both sides maintain a sincere
commitment to communication and com-
promise, a fair contract should be ham-
mered out with relative ease. The conse-
quences for the University, should it con-
tinue to take the hard line on GEO issues,
could be dire. Not only would a strike
paralyze the University, but the message
the University is sending to graduate stu-
dents is not conducive to attracting the
world's best intellectuals to Ann Arbor.

'ramg Gorkiewi, a regular at The Brown
Jugt dscssin i, s ut years in Ann Arbor

S rr wlnS

Partisanship plagues
F or all of Independent Counsel Kenneth
Starr's self-professed "unyielding faith"
and respect for the sanctity of the judicial
process, his appearance as the star witness in
Thursday's House Judiciary Committee's
impeachment hearings did nothing but taint
that very sanctity and spark bitterpartisan ran-
cor in an already partisan hearing. The resig-
nation of Starr's ethics adviser Sam Dash on
Friday, spoke more for itself than did any of
Starr's testimony, which offered no new evi-
dence, information or explanation, but rather
aggressively advocated the Republican call
for impeachment.
Starr's willingness to appear in this inap-
propriate role exceeded his own authority
and intruded on a power constitutionally
given solely to the House. In doing so, he
undermined the very purpose of his office
by overstepping that line of neutrality the
independent counsels are supposed to pro-
tect. A man who should be rooted in the
decorum of the law rather than in politics,
Starr has actively made himself the star per-
former in a politically partisan battle.
The House Judiciary Committee had
already been the most fiercely polarized
panel on Capital Hill. But Starr's biased
appearance tipped the partisan balance
into that of a kangaroo court. What should
have been an objective trial of evidence
dissolved into an incredibly disorganized
and unproductive political circus in which
legal rules were ignored and order was
overthrown by acrimony. The House's
response to this was consistently un-judi-
cious and detracted from the required
objectivity of the proceedings. The deteri-
oration of questions and judgements into
such evident party divide contributed to
the image of Starr and the Republicans in

Judiciary Committee
and rise to his defense and tailored their
questions to help him defend himself, his
investigation and his charges, accusing
Democrats of stroking partisan animosity.
Meanwhile, the Democrats challenged
Starr's tactics, motives, agenda and judge-
ment, barbing their questions with mock-
ery and irony, portraying Starr as a fanatic,
agitator and demagogue. They accused
him of ideological obsession, distortion of
fact and prosecutorial overkill, as well as
with maintaining professional and person-
al conflicts of interest.
For his part, Starr had looked forward
to this appearance as his opportunity to
dispel such impressions and criticisms. He
replied at length in an extemporaneous and
rehearsed lawyerly fashion. His oratorical
style was patient, measured, reasoned and
bordering on pedantic. He offered Clinton
a belated and somewhat reluctant exonera-
tion of earlier charges in Whitewater,
Travelgate and Filegate. He cast himself as
the moral avenger, and asserted his belief
that he was acting in response to a legal
mandate, which required him to make such
His goal of improving his own image
through this appearance reinforced his role
of being both unprofessional and inappro-
priate, but was of little consequence. No
one was there to be persuaded. Instead, the
influence of partisanship became infectious
and by the end of the day, both sides had
been reinforced rather than swayed.
Starr lacked the electric impact of star
witnesses at past congressional hearings,
shed no new light and embarrassed his
office. He drained the lake, came up with
a minnow, and has orchestrated it into an
extensive plan to impeach a president.

the U.S.
Although not covered by
the Daily. Vice President, Al
Gore, has caused the United
States considerable embar-
rassment by his recent
actions at the APEC summit
in Malaysia. Gore, as if
embodying the Asian
stereotypes of an arrogant
Western leader, delivered a
provocative speech support-
ing street "reform" demon-
strators of the host country,
defying the standards of this
exclusively economic sum-
mit. His comments are cer-
tain to cause more violence
in a nation recovering from
severe economic crises.
Gore, the only speaker at
the event, abruptly left the
meeting skipping dinner.
The vice president's lack
of diplomacy shocked
American businesspeople
attending the summit, and
Asian leaders as well, both
of whom were outraged by
his inciteful comments. The
White House, on the other
hand, released a statement
supporting Gore. Having
attended the Harvard Project
of Asian and International
Relations Conference in
Kuala Lumpur earlier this
year, I am truly embarrassed
at our government's superfi-
cial understanding and insen-
sitivity toward the people and
leaders of other democrati-
cally elected nations.
I read Jack Schillaci's col-
umn on Nov. 17 ("We are not
our University's Children")
with a great deal of conster-
nation. I know I'm going to
sound like a nerd with a stick
up my proverbial derier (I
hope you don't mind my lan-
guage. Judging from te tone
of Schillaci's article, I doubt
you will. Don't you people
have editors? Actually, I
guess you have. It is quite
disturbing to see that
Schillaci isone of them. I did
not write this letter to com-
ment on the quality of your
journalism, but Schillaci's
use of language in his col-
umn is more than just a bit
appalling. To think this is the
future of journalism!).
Schillaci's concerns, albeit
not unwarranted, are a bit
Whether Schillaci likes it
or not the minimum drinking

in those under that ace. Instead
the drinking age should be
lowered (in Puerto Rico, where
I'm from, the drinking age is
18) and parents encourged to
teach their children to drink
responsibly (I am mindful of
European children who, from
an early age, are served wine
with their meals. I have never
known the few of my friends
who were raised this way to
consume dangerous levels of
alcohol. Rather, they do it saf-
ly and under control and their
"binges" rarely result in "head-
splitting, sense-numbing hang-
overs"). If this were so,
tragedies such as Courtney
Cantor's and Bradley M MCue 's
could be avoided in the future.
It seems to me that Schiliacis
anger is misdirected. Instead of
complaining that the
University and the AAPD are
infringing on his rights, per-
haps he should redirect his
efforts towards a campaign of
re-education on the use of
alcohol. This way he will
sound more like the cone rned
student he wishes to sound like
and less like the foul-mouthed
binge drinker he ends up
sounding like instead.
proposal is
I'm writing in response to
Jesse Miller's comment on
state Rep. Judith Scranton's
(R-Brighton) proposed legis-
lation ("'Moronic
Legislation' should not
become law," 11/18/98).
Miller suggests that the
revoking of driver's licenses
is not a fitting punishment
for underage drinking simply
because those who are given
MIPs are probably "walking
from party to party." What
Miller fails to consider is that
a punishment is most useful
when it deters someone from
committing the crime. I think
the revoking of a license does
that. I'm sure many people
under 21 years of age cherish
their licenses enough to not
place themselves in a situa-
tion that could end up revok-
ing their license. Therefore,
Scranton's solution would be
a deterrent and fitting.
Don't get me wrong, I
think the AAPD is reacting
with misguided impunity and
aggression with respect to
handing out MIPs to students.
I think underage drinking is
prevalent, but I do not think it
is a cause for overzealous leg-
islation. But the proposed leg-
islation that Miller has
pounced upon is logical in ori-
gin and sensible in its solu-
tions. A new bill is subject to
approval by our elected offi-
cials - have faith in hem or
run for office: Personally, I
have neither the time nor the
inclination to run for office,

An open
letter to Rep.
I feel insulted by state
Rep. Judith Scranton's (R-
Brighton) comments as pub-
lished by the Daily on Nov.
17. "Minors'according to
you "are unable to handle
the responsibility of drinking
(as demonstrated by) the high
number of accidents involv-
ing kids using alcohol." How
would vou feel if I said that
all politicians are incompe-
tent clowns that could not
care less about the welfare of
their constituents?
Obviously this would offend
you, sice I m sure that you
work very hard at defending
the interests of the people
that got you elected. In the
same w ay, I'm offended by
your gross generalization of
all "kids" as irresponsible
It is a fact that most col-
lege students drink alcohol,
but this isn't by itself a nega-
tive thing. First, there are
many of us who actually like
the taste of certain alcoholic
drinks. Furthermore, alcohol
can, in many instances, serve
as a useful social lubricant.
I'm sure that many of your
colleagues in Lansing like to
finish a hard day at the
Capitol with a round of
drinks at a local bar. Contrary
to popular belief, not all col-
lege students drink to get
Please explain to me,
Rep. Scranton, why I should-
n't be allowed to drive if I try
to buy a beer or if I drink at a
party, if I'm not anywhere
near a car. Does my liking of
alcohol mean that I'll be a
bad driver, even if I'm not
driving under the influence?
It is ridiculous to punish
someone for merely drinking
by taking away his or her
license. The purpose of dri-
ver's licenses is to make sure
that people that drive a car
know how to do so responsi-
bly. It isn't to punish them for
actions completely unrelated
to driving.
As a final note, I urge
everyone to think about our
future. If we want to make
sure that people in our soci-
ety drink responsibly, we
need to start educating them
about alcohol from an early
age. Nothing will be gained
by painting alcohol as the
devil in a bottle. Remember
that this country once
changed its Constitution to
forbid the use of alcohol and
was forced to change it back
becauseprohibition simply
did not work!
Please look at the coun-
tries in Europe. Their alcohol
laws are much more lenient
that the ones over here. The
center of student life in
Europe is the student bar,
where drinks are often subsi-
dized to accommodate stu-

Appeasing the
angry GSIs e
read in the news the other day that a
Ibunch of angry GSIs out at the
University of California are planning a big
revolt. It will paralyze eight college cam-
puses and affect tens of thonsands of stu-
dents. The insurrection promises to be
serious - papers will go ungraded, sec-
tions will go untaught, and material may
go unlearned. To my horror, I learned late
that some of
their chalk- t.
wielding "
brethren are even
lurking on this
campus, plotting
exacting retalia-
tion against the
University for
laughing at their
simple requests SCOT
for more pay. HUNTER
You guessed it: .u AlO I
All across the III " l
nation, GSIs are
pissed off.
Though unwritten rules of profes-
sional conduct prevent them from dis-
cussing their deep-seated animosity in
class, it's pretty evident that our gradu-
ate student instructors are just plain dis-
gusted. Just catch their cold, icy glare
hear them muttering academic slurs at
us under their collective breat, and
harken an ear to the deafening swoops
of angry red pens deducting points all
over campus.
And why shouldn't they be ticked
off? They lead such a thankless exis-
tence, everyday facing the wrath of
undergraduate students who have the
attitude of the CRISP lady and the
patience of Ike Turner. Can't you jus
see the GSIs shiver with fury at alli
trifling little undergraduate complaints?
"What do you think you're doing giv-
ing me a C+'?! My parents could buy
and sell you like cattle."
"Like, the only reason, I'm like fail-
ing chemistry and stuff is 'cause I can't
understand my GSI. She can't, like,
speak English right!"
"I know I haven't come to section
once all semester, but what do you thin
I'll have to do to get an 'A'?"
But don't feel too bad, undergradu-
ates: It turns out that our crabbiness is
not the only thing ticking off this
nation's graduate student instructors
nowadays. Their livelihood - grading
our papers and teaching our little dis-
cussion sections -just isn't paying the
bills anymore. And besides, they need
more compensation to endure all the
psychological and emotional abuse we
dish out.
That's why our own GSs are on edge
- they're trying to negotiate bigger
salaries. Out in California, it's gotten so
bad that after Thanksgiving, they're
planning to throw down their dry-erase
markers and strike until the University
of California system recognizes them as
a legitimate bargaining entity - that
way it'll be easier for them to haggle for
more money when the time aises.
Looking'at all the nationalunreO
among the GSI population, I've been
forced to reflect deeply over my 2 1/2
years of experience with graduate stu-
dent instructors. And I've asked myself:
Do we really need GSIs? I mean, are
they really necessary? Wouldn't the
University be just as well off expanding
its budget for Scantron machines and
outdated videos to show in sections?
During some semesters I would have
been all for the University purchasi
the latest in Scantron technology
favor of paying another GSL. But, all in
all, it's pretty evident that universities

- and my OPA - need happy, placat-
ed GSIs to function well. (No, this is not
a completely shameless and transparent
attempt to scheme extra points in my
physics class ... This is all for my
biochem grade.)
Just imagine what this campus would
be like if, angry and militant, our GSJ
stormed out of discussion sections an
refused to solve one more equation, read
one more paper or grade another exam.
This place would shut down in a heartbeat
... who would run the place?
Certainly, the professors wouldn't do
it. They have already gone to school for
years to earn three or four degrees. And
the fine print on each of their diplomas
states in explicit terms that they have
earned the right not to ever interact
directly with students on a-one-to-o
basis (though most of them do, any-n
way). Instead, they can spend their time'
on more scholarly activities such as.
authoring textbooks and working on
research projects. Plus, it's. pretty evi-;
dent that they don't like undergradu-
ates either (If you think I'm lying, go
take an organic chemistry exam). -
This leads you to only one conclu-
sion: GSIs are a vital cog in here at the
University of Michigan and at just abo
every other university - especially io
the undergraduate world. More than
anyone else, they've got their finger on
the pulse of the academic climate here.
Without them, students would havo
hardly any means of getting material
clarified and would have no avenue to


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