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March 14, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 14, 2002

OP/ED

(Tbz irigu ?at tiI

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
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.

( (I don't want
every American
to have to drive
this car."

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1

- Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), when pointing
to affuel-officient car and voicing his distate
for the vehicle during a senate debate over
higher fuel efficience standards. As quoted
by the Associated Press.

le. s Z omit In . eel

VIEWPOINT
Faculty Grievance Process "a stacked deck"

A

by The Executive Committee of the
University of Michigan chapter of the Ameri-
can Association of University Professors
On Jan. 28, 2002 the University's Faculty
Senate Assembly unanimously passed the
following resolution:
"WHEREAS, the current faculty griev-
ance procedures were recently adopted, with
only minor unit specific changes, by the
Schools and Colleges in 1998, and WHERE-
AS there is now some practical experience
with the grievance procedures, and WHERE-
AS there are many strong indications that
faculty do not avail themselves of the proce-
dures because of a lack of confidence in 1)
the non-determinative nature of the griev-
ance decisions and 2) the lack of objectivity
in the designated decision-maker;
THEREFORE be it RESOLVED that:
The Chair of Senate Assembly request the
Provost to form a joint faculty and adminis-
tration committee, comprised of three facul-
ty-appointed and three administration
appointed members, to draft a modification
of the grievance procedures to address these
apparent shortcomings."
This action served notice that the freely
elected faculty representatives might be
inching toward a vote of "no confidence" in
the present system of appeal for redress
when administration actions leave
faculty aggrieved.
Faculty at the University are in the same
boat as members of the Graduate Employees
Organization when it comes to appealing
administrative fiat, despite what you think.
GEO President Cedric DeLeon has said that
his union's previous contract left the Univer-

sity administration as both "judge and jury."
His organization sought independent arbitra-
tion in grievance appeals for future contracts
and for protection of its members.
We of the American Association of Uni-
versity Professors try to focus sharply on
principles that affect faculty and the vitality
of higher education. We pay heed to academ-
ic freedom, faculty governance, and proce-
dural fairness. Current grievance procedures
at the University provoke us on the latter two
points; but because fair process is at the heart
of our societal liberty, even academic free-
dom is potentially at risk.
The response from central administration
to the alarm sounded by elected faculty rep-
resentatives has been predictably stonewall-
like. In lieu of a working group proposed by
the assembly, administrators were dispatched
to the Senate Assembly Committee on Uni-
versity Affairs to express satisfaction with
present procedures. On Feb. 11, 2002, they
made their points in earnest: Of the last 15
grievances filed under the existing policy,
every one had been concluded in favor of the
administration. What could possibly be
wrong with that, they asked?
Under current conditions, an aggrieved
faculty member faces intolerable odds under
American concepts of fairness. To under-
stand the perversity, it is important to know
that many grievances are lodged against
deans or department chairs who themselves
are appointed by the deans. Aggrieved indi-
viduals plead to tribunals of three - two of
whom are likewise subordinate to the dean
or chair. These Grievance Review Boards
can do no more than make a recommenda-
tion to the dean. A former vice chair of;
SACUA reported that in cases he personally

studied, recommendations were always
rejected when they did not agree with the
administration.
Individuals in the Human Resource office
who administer the grievance process admit
that, as employees of the central administra-
tion, their obligation is to those administra-
tors. In that role, they meet with and advise
GRBs, appeal boards, and the deans and
associate deans in the grievance decision
process in asymmetrical "closed door" ses-
sions that exclude grievants.
Faculty representatives pointed out that
independent attorneys have pronounced the
existing process "a stacked deck." Because
GRBs make only recommendations it is not
worth the risk of opposing a dean. One chair
of a recent GRB even acknowledged that
despite evidence that "inappropriate harm"
may have been done to a faculty member, the
dean's own faculty were unmoved because
"maybe they had to worry about subtle and
not so subtle reprisals."
The current faculty appeal process is
flawed by conflict of interest. Provost and
dean, and dean and chair, are allied by the
implicit contract of mutual loyalty between
them. That this affront to procedural fairness
is thriving at an institution devoted to train-
ing the future generations of America's lead-
ers should alarm every citizen.
(Please consult the minutes of
SACUA and Senate Assembly at
www.umich.edu/-sacua for additional infor-
mation and for the quotations listed above.)

I

4

The AAUP is the union that represents university
professors. Read more about the grievance
procedure and the problems that faculty have
been having with it in David Enders' page one
story, "Profs who sue U' allege retaliation "

,,

a

Open your eyes.
DAVID HORN HORNOGRAPHY

tt*

esterday the Unit-
ed Nations passed
a resolution that
supports the formation of
a Palestinian state. I am
not hopeful. It is a fright-
ening reality when the best
anyone can offer two
feuding sides after decades
of conflict is, "Can't
we all just get along?"
Please don't mistake this column's hon-
esty for naivete.
I don't want to write about Israel. It's a
nasty desert populated by two tribes who
refuse to behave like humans. Neither the
Palestinians nor the Israelis deserve my
attention right now. They don't deserve the
world's attention until they demonstrate
responsible behavior. You don't deserve
help until you help yourselves.
But I can't turn my eye from the newspa-
pers and television. I try to, though. Over the
past weeks, as violence has escalated in
Israel, I have tried so hard to ignore the reali-
ty of what is going on. It is a destructive and
demoralizing,battle from which nothing
good will come and my inclination has been
to refuse to let it get me down. Call it denial.
I am a Jew. I am not a passionately blind
Zionist, but I am a Jew. I can only look away
and ignore for a time; the hurt
starts to find you.
It found me a few nights ago, when I
came home and jumped on the web after a
very stressful day during which I managed to

come down with a head cold. All I wanted to
do in the world was make myself a cup of
tea, see how the Mets did in spring training
and crawl into bed. I signed online and real-
ized that part of me - I don't know if it was
the Jew or the columnist or the responsible
human being - was saying, "Stop ignoring;
face the music: Open your sheltered Ameri-
can eyes. You can only hide in Ann Arbor
for so long."
These tribes - they're both so wrong
and so right. It's hard to find groups of peo-
ple in the world that have been pushed
around as much or as long or by as many
other groups as the Jews and the Palestini-
ans. Before an American ever visits Israel, it
is difficult for him or her to understand how
valuable land is there. That point was driven
home for me last week when I spent my
spring break in California, driving all over a
state that is 20 times larger than Israel. I was
in Israel a few years ago and remember the
sensation of, "Holy shit. They're arguing
over a track of land about the size of my
backyard." If you haven't been to the
region, you have to find a way to understand
the stakes. It is nothing an American can
quite comprehend.
Everything I read says the people want
peace; it's the leaders of the two sides that
are warmongers. There seems to be this
bravado there among Israeli and Palestinian
leadership that makes Bush and Rumsfeld
look like hippies. I didn't want to believe
that the people dying on both sides are vic-
tims of irresponsible governance, but then I

saw former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu speak when he was in Southeast-
ern Michigan a few months ago. I'm sure the
man has had his frustrations in dealing with
the other side, but I don't think I can forgive
him for his blindly hawkish approach and
war-loving rhetoric. I hope that he is not rep-
resentative of his colleagues back in the
Middle East, but I fear that he probably is.
In my study of this conflict, the only con-
clusion I have reached is that there is no
right answer. If you aren't familiar with the
issues at hand (then you probably stopped
reading a while ago), do yourself a favor and
become exposed to both sides. Pro-Israeli
and Pro-Palestinian activists and advocates
in this country (and on this campus) do a
great job championing their respective cause
with well-conceived, fiery rhetoric. Do listen
to both sides, but find objective means of
approaching the situation (that may mean lis-
tening to the little voice inside your head,
rather than anyone else's).
Hate breeds hate.
I am fearful of this situation. The more I
read and the more I watch, the more I fear. I
wish I had some greater insight on the con-
flict - some resolution never before consid-
ered. All I have, though,-is my perspective,
from which I hope you can draw empathy.
I have no grandiose final thought; no
clincher to provoke or satisfy you. It's scary
over there. Open your eyes to it.

6

6

David Horn can be reached
at hornd@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Unions fight to ensure
all people have decent
treatment on the job
To THE DAILY:
I am writing to thank LSA sophomore
Kyle Meteyer for his letter of support
(Undergraduate population should not cross
picket lines, 3/13/02), but also to gently cor-
rect one of his central premises, which is
that it is because GSIs are highly educated
that we are valuable members of the Uni-

wage. With other Graduate Employees
Organization members, I walked a picket
line in protest of this change two summers
ago.
As the chief negotiator for GEO, I can
only bargain a contract for graduate
employees. But it's not education or skill
that gives people the right to decent treat-
ment on the job or to the best contract they
can win at the negotiating table. Anytime
the University treats any employee as
expendable, no matter what his or her level
of education, it is a concern to GEO and-
should be a concern to everyone.
Aiv4SA PIC'ARD

Arbor Islamic Center last Friday (Hateful
messages left on cars, 3/11/02). Such acts of
intimidation against ethnic and religious
minorities tend to flare up in a social climate
of aggression and fear. When no action is
taken to change that climate, these pathetic
acts of hate-filled individuals can do even
more damage than was intended. Incidents
like these need to be brought to the attention
of the public quickly and accurately.
Law enforcement personnel need to be
vigilant and extend extra protection to vul-
nerable groups. Most importantly, students
need to work together to create a climate
wxhe'~re tolesrance. indAprda~ndinca nd cinnrt

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