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April 12, 2002 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-12

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STATE

The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 12, 2002 - 9

ASSAU LT
Continued from Page 1
student Maureen Johnson. Johnson is
suing the University and former Music
School Dean Paul Boylan, claiming that
she was harassed by former visiting
Music Prof. Pier Calabria when she was
a student during the 1997-1998 academ-
ic school year. Johnson filed her lawsuit
in March 1999 and after three years of
delays and discovery, Judge Melinda
Morris rejected the defendant's motion
for dismissal last month.
DAAP is playing a strong role in
encouraging students to attend the trial
Monday to support Johnson.
"Sex harassment is a pervasive ele-
ment of women's experiences in school
and poses a major barrier to educational
equality for women," DAAP said in a
written statement.
Johnson also feels this hearing is
about resolving a part of her life which
was damaged.
"There's also a part that wants justice
for myself," she said.
Johnson said that when she was in
Calabria's orchestra, he repeatedly made
advances and offensive remarks to her
and other students. When Johnson
refused to accept his advances and then
later issued a complaint, she said he
retaliated - demoting her first-chair
oboe position in his orchestra and pub-,
licly humiliating her. Johnson said after
filing a complaint and being lead on a
"bureaucratic runaround" by many Uni-
versity officials, Johnson withdrew from
the University in the middle of her first
year of graduate studies. Miranda
Massie, Johnson's attorney, said Cal-
abria was known to have made advances
at students before Johnson complained
and blames Boylan and the University
Board of Regents for not taking action.
"We lay the responsibility and the
blame at the doorsteps of Dean Boylan
and the regents," Massie said. "They had
a thousand different opportunities to

handle the situation."
Massie also said she feels it is
important for people "to recognize that
sexual harassment is a matter of funda-
mental equality rather than respect."
She added that the ramifications of
sexual harassment are a distraction
from a work or school environment
and a feeling of inferiority among
women.
"If an environment is hostile, you
can't focus on the work at hand,"
Massie said. "Women are expected to
play a role of sexual gratification in
respect to man."
University of Michigan at Dearborn
behavioral sciences Prof. James Gruber,
a sexual harassment expert, said stu-
dents in the United States and other
countries say sexual harassment usually
occurs in an environment where there is
a sense of gender inequality in the work-
place. In a university environment, a
higher percentage of tenured professor-
ships and administrative positions held
by men breeds a better chance for sexual
harassment to occur. He referred to Fin-
land, which has one of the largest gender
equalities in workplaces in the world and
very low levels of sexual harassment.
"When you battle gender inequality,
all sorts of things fall into place - one
being lower levels of sexual harass-
ment;" Gruber said.
LSA sophomore and DAAP member
Agnes Aleobua said there needs to be
more of a focus toward combating sexu-
al harassment at the University. She
claims there has been a rise in sexism at
the University over the past year with
several rape allegations and the many
peeping tom incidents in residence halls.
She also said there needs to be a bigger
role for students in investigating these
cases and fighting the administration
who sometimes show a bias toward pro-
fessors.
"The interest of students is different
from the interests of the administrator,"
Aleobua said.

i

Many taxpayers
still need to file
in come tax forms

JESSICA YURASEK/Daily
Rackham student Tom Flores (feet), Art and Design sophomore Inga Headland
and LSA freshman Michelle Lewin relax at Rendez-Vous Cafe.
Planis on how to
evaluate schools
compete, differ

LANSING (AP) - With four days
until the April 15 deadline, Michigan is
still waiting for nearly half the state's
taxpayers to file their income tax
returns, the state Department of Trea-
sury said yesterday.
Among the procrastinators is Gov.
John Engler.
"It isn't the deadline yet. They're
with my CPA, though," Engler said
yesterday. "I don't intend to file them
until, hopefully, five minutes before
midnight from a remote post office."
Treasury Department spokesman
Terry Stanton said the state usually.
gets 5.5 million returns. So far, about
three million have come in and the
state is waiting for 2.5 million more,
Stanton said.
"That may seem high, but generally
a third or more of returns come in the
last two weeks," he said. "This is close
to normal."
So far, this year's average tax refund
is $352.04. That's slightly lower than
last year's average of $359.23, but it
could grow by the time all returns are
processed.
Most of the people who have filed
so far have gotten refunds from the
state, Stanton said. Last year, 71 per-
cent of taxpayers got state refunds,
he said.

A growing number of taxpayers are
filing electronically, Stanton said.
Around 1.2 million taxpayers used the
e-filing option last year, up from
705,000 in 2000. This year, the 1.2
million figure was surpassed in early
April. The state expects nearly 1.4 mil-
lion electronic filings.
"We are very hopeful that we will
have a nice increase over last year's
number," Stanton said.
The Department of Treasury has
been heavily promoting the e-file
option, saying it cuts down on the time
it takes to get a refund. Taxpayers who
file a paper return without errors can
expect a refund in four to eight weeks,
while those who file error-free elec-
tronic returns can get their refunds in
one week.
There will be one more chance to
file this year for taxpayers who owe
taxes that were due before June 2001.
The Department of Treasury is holding
a tax amnesty period from May 15 to
July 1, during which taxpayers can pay
delinquent taxes without fear of penal-
ties or prosecution.
The state is hoping to raise between
$20 million and $40 million through
the tax amnesty period. The state col-
lected $109.8 million during its last tax
amnesty program, in 1986.

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