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September 03, 2002 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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8B - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition

The regents hit ...
Finally, a fall break

Failing grade
Pass/fail deadline too early

The University Board of
Regents, after years of
requests from students,
passed a fall break at their
December meeting. The break
will begin this year and classes
will not be held on Oct. 14 or
15 of the fall 2002 semester.
The regents' major concern
had been that the fall break
would become essentially an,
excuse for students to part y.
The regents were sufficiently
convinced by former Michigan
Student Assembly President
Matt Nolan that such problems
would not be seen an d that the
fall break would be academi-
cally beneficial to the student
While this concern is only
partially valid - it is true that
some students will use the
long weekend as an excuse to
party, others will surely use the
extra time to catch up in class-
es and stud yas the fall break
is designed to allow - that
students have a few extra days
in the fall to blow off some
steam is not the end of the
Indeed, former interim
provost Lisa Tedesco's remark
that she feared a fall break

would lead to "more free time
and more partying" on the part
of the students leads us to ask:
"What's wrong with that?"
While Nolan's political
maneuvering was admirable
(and appreciated), it is hopeful
that he, as leader of the student
body, recognizes that a healthy
dose of partying is not only
safe (though the regents fear
otherwise), but is also helpful
in relieving the stresses of the
Semantically speaking, the
two days are not labeled 'study
days" as are the days before
finals, but instead are labeled
"break." The very name implies
more than Just academics.
The fa 1 break can, should
and will be used as an excuse
to party by some members of
the student body.
At the same time, other
members of the student body
will use the fall break as a time
to study; others will catch up
on lost sleep, still others may
visit family or friends.
We thank the regents for
giving us a fall break, and we
assure them that, whatever we
choose to do, it will be well

Attending to lecturers
Fair compensation for academics


. and miss
Students ignored in presidential

While students can be
thankful to the
regents for the addi-
tion of a fall break in October,
the regents failed students in
their selection of the presiden-
tial search advisory committee.
Only two students were select-
ed to the 15 member commit-
tee, Michigan . Student
Assembly President Matt
Nolan and psychology doctoral
student Lisa Jackson.
The regents selected the 15
member committee from a
pool of 300 nominee-appli-
With 300 possibilities, it is
doubtful that the regents were
only able to pick two qualified
students to serve on the advi-
sory committee. It is also
unlikely that the president of
MSA was the only qualified
representative of the under-
graduate student body.
Lee Bollinger's duties as
university president officially
ended with interim president
B. Joseph White's assumption
of those duties. The need to
fill Bollinger's vacancy has
become markedly more press-
ing with that significant transi-
It is unfortunate that the
University believes that 13
percent of the presidential

search advisory committee be
chosen to represent the
approximately 38,000 students
who make up between 90 and
95 percent of the University
community as a whole.
The University, often
through the regents who are its
spokespeop le, has emphasized
on countless occasions the
importance that the University
places on undergraduate edu-
cation. More than 20,000
undergraduate students attend
the University; clearly under-
graduates make upwa demo-
graphic that will be
significantly affected by the
new president's decisions. The
regents should have recognized
this in their selection of the
committee and both increased
the size of the committee and
the percentage of undergradu-
ates serving.
For the University to main-
tain its proclaimed commit-
ment to the undergraduate
education and the undergradu-
ate experience as a whole, it
must give undergraduates a
larger and louder voice in
major University decisions.
As for the two students that
have been selected, the
regents must make sure to
make their "advisory" role
more than nominal.

Adjunct and other non-
tenured faculty at New
York University have
filed a petition with the
National Labor Relations
Board in hopes of obtaining
union representation. Their
actions are spurred on by the
disproportionately low com-
pensation and benefits they
receive for their work when
compared to others in acade-
mia, such as professors and
graduate student instructors.
In large institutions of high-
er learning, many people con-
tribute to undergraduate
education in addition to
tenured faculty and professors.
These adjunct positions
include associate professors,
lecturers and GSIs.
Unfortunately, the most
undervalued among these are
the lecturers, who frequently
teach heavier course loads than
their tenured counterparts but
do not receive the same bene-
fits and compensation.
A majority of lecturers pos-.
sess the highest degree possi-
ble in their field and many
have already obtained renown
for their professional accom-
plishments. Their teaching
load, equal to professors, if not
heavier, means that lecturers
also have a high degree of
interaction with students.
At present, however, the
compensation they receive
does not reflect the contribu-
tion they make to undergradu-
ate education. Lecturers are
paid too little for the amount of
work that they do. The inequity
of their status is exacerbated as
Queer 4
LGBT comma
n celebration of Queer Visibili-
ty Week, the annual Kiss-In
took place on the Diag Feb. 18
at noon. The Kiss-In is a chance
for the gay communit to come
together and show people that they
are not afraid of who they are and
to express their feelings openly for
people they love. As members of
the same University community,
all students should support the gay
community but also treat with
respect those who will be in the
Diag to protest. Ignoring their big-
oted rhetoric is the strongest mes-
sage the University can send.
The Kiss-In brings attention to
a more salient issue. Everyone
should have equal rights under the
law regardless of their sexual ori-
entation. Unfortunately, this is not
the case.
Current federal law provides
for basic legal protection agrainst
employment discrimination based
on race, religion, gender, disability
or national origin, but not sexual
orientation. The need for anti-dis-
crimination legislation to protect
homosexuals has been called into
question in recent years.
Many conservative politicians
would like the public to believe
that homosexuals are not deserv-
ing of discrimination protection
and that laws are not needed to
protect them. However, this is not
the case. In Missoula, Montana, a
house was burned down that
belonged to a lesbian couple who
were graduates of the University.
This is likely a politically-motivat-
ed attack because the couple has
been named as the leading plain-


they rarelyreceive the benefits,
such as health insurance and
pensions, that are the standard
rewards of most faculty. Lec-
turers deserve the respect and
compensation that are now an
integral part of the new con-
tract that the Graduate
Employees Organization has
brokered with the University.
While some have attacked
the institution of the lecturer as
an under-qualified and inexpe-
rienced shadow of professor-
ship, these concerns are
unwarranted. The lecturer pro-
vides the vital link in the
process to tenure and an
appointment as a full professor.
If the University continues
to treat its lecturers as second-
class academics, the inevitable
result is an environment that
will not attract top-notch lec-
turers. Exceptional lecturers
will not be inclined to remain
at the University when they
apply for positions as profes-
Using lecturers as cheap,
temporary labor disrespects
the important role they have in
the educational environment.
Just as GEO argued suc-
cessfully that they are valu-
able employees that deserve
adequate compensation, so too
are lecturers. They provide the
critical labor that enables
large research institutions to
It is imperative that lectur-
ers should receive the level of
compensation, benefits and
respect that is justified by the
contribution that they ma keto
undergraduate education.
q y
nity still faces
tiffs in a discrimination lawsuit of
employees against the Montana
University system over the denial
of health insurance benefits to
Not only do same-sex couples
need to receive the same health
insurance benefits as heterosexual
couples, their domestic unions
should also be legally recognized.
Besides desiring a more perma-
nent bond between individuals,
civil unions would entitle the part-
ners to the same economic bene-
fits as married couples when filing
taxes and applying for loans. Part-
ners would be eligible to receive
life insurance and inheritances as
well if their unions were recog-
nized by the law.
Homosexual couples are also
denied the same rights in terms of
adoption and parenting. Last week,
the American Academy of Pedi-
atrics came out in support of gay
co-parenting and adoption. T ey
also called on lawmakers to
remove parenting and adoption
obstacles for gays.
The AAP urged the govern-
ment to legally recognize homo-
sexual parents. Sexual orientation
does not equate to whether a per-
son, can be a good parent. Every-
one should have the option to
adopt and be a parent.
The Kiss-In should serve as a
reminder that despite progress, the
gay community is still not treated
fairly. Homosexuals should be pro-
tected from discrimination,
allowed to legally marry and to be
recognized as parents.

The United States Supreme
Court announced its inten-
tions last week to review a
case this coming spring that con-
cerns student privacy. Gonzaga
University graduate, Ru Paster, list-
ed as John Doe for this case,
accused his alma mater of defama-
tion, invasion of privacy, breach of
contract and negligence. Paster
charged that the university included
a frivolous accusation that had been
made by Gonzaga faculty members
of sexual misconduct with his tran-
script and passed that same infor-
mation to the superintendent of
Washington state schools. A jury
ordered Gonzaga to pay $1 million
for inhibiting Faster in his pursuit
of a teaching job and the Washing-
ton Supreme Court upheld that
Although the accusation of sex-
ual assault itself is completely
unfounded and has since been
denied by both parties involved, the
issue facing the Supreme Court is
whether the release of the accusa-
tion was a violation of Paster's pri-
vacy under the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act, which it
The Supreme Court should not
allow an institution of hiter lear-
ing, even a private institution, to
disclose any information concern-
ing its disciplinary measures. Such
independent collegiate Judicial sys-
tems are often unreliable and usual-
ly unnecessary.
Like the Statement of Student
Rights and Responsibilities, the
University of Michigan's disrep-
utable non-academic disciplinary
system (formerly known as the Stu-
dent Code of Conduct), Gonzaga's
judicial policy relies heavily on
hearsayevidence. Because discipli-
nary systems like those at the Uni-
versity and Gonzaga tolerate
hearsay and allow various other
violations of due process, these
universities prosecute and sentence

students whil'e ignoring national
legal standards of evidence and the
burden of proof.
Despite the questionable prac-
tices of administering discipline at
Gonzaga University, Pasters status
never surpassed that of the
accused. Apparently, Gonzag a
University considered a simple
accusation enough of an indict-
ment to warrant informing poten-
tial employers. But without prior
knowledge regarding the extent of
the allegation's capriciousness,
employers will likely give the
information undue consideration.
In reviewing Paster's case, the
Supreme Court must realize that
allowing disciplinary records to
pass beyond the University gives
credence to the findings of irre-
sponsible, private judicial systems
that mock the practice and purpose
of federal and state law.
University discipline systems
ignore the fact that a system of law
aleady exists in the United States.
Many cases that are reviewed by
collegiate punitive boards, includ-
ing sexual assault, are concomitant-
ly tried by much more responsible
federal or state judicial systems.
Students are thus placed in double
jeopardy by their institutions, a
practice that violates the very spirit
of a national system of law. e use
of hearsay evidence in decisions
and the disregard for legal stan-
dards like reasonable doubt and
innocence until proven guilty give
their decisions little credibility.
Regardless of the institution to
which they may belong, students
are entitled to a fair trial.
In Paster's case, this means he
has a right to be judged by potential
employers on real credentials, not
frivolous accusations. The Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act
is meant to protect students from
such damaging, personal and unre-
liable information and should be
upheld by the Supreme Court.

As most students just got
back into the swing of all
things academic, the Win-
ter Term pass/fail deadline is rapid-
ly approaches. This deadline
comes less than three weeks after
the first day of classes and leaves
students with far too little time in
which to make these decisions.
Students drop courses for a
variety of reasons: Course loads
turn out to be heavier than antici-
pated, classes aren't always as
interesting as their descriptions
made them out to be or students
don't want to risk earning a low
grade. These reasons aren't always
obvious, though, and students
need sufficient time to decide if
they warrant dropping a class.
As of the drop/add deadline,
there was only 13 days of normal
class sessions. A Monday discus-
sion class would have met only
once thus far, and most classes
have barely moved into the assign-
ments and exams that carry the
most weight. Students are thus
forced to make their decisions

Privacy in peril
University violates students' rights

with little class work completed
and without a firm grasp of grad-
ing or exam styles.
The option to take a course
pass/fail is also an important deci-
sion. Using it allows students
more flexibility in their workload
and eases some of the risk of tak-
ing classes outside of one's con-
centration. It reduces a class'
emphasis on grades and allows
students to focus on learning with
less anxiety. Again, students need
ample time to make this sort of
The current time schedule
often works as a deterrent to tak-
ing diverse or extra classes. It dis-
courages students from taking
risks because it does not allow stu-
dents enough time to experiment
or assess new classes. Dropping a
course or taking it pass/fail is no
small matter. The University
should allow students to make
informed and accurate decisions.
In order to do so the University
should extend the drop/add and
pass/fail deadline.

The drunk talk
Study masks real alcohol issues

report from the Univer-
sity's Substance Abuse
Research Center stated
that 51 percent of University
students engage in excessive
drinking. The UMSARC
defines "excessive drinking"
as consuming five consecutive
alcoholic beverages for a man
or four for a woman within a
two-week period. Despite the
reality that the percentage of
students in this category has
remained constant for the past
20 years, the findings still
elicited strong statements
from the University.
UMSARC Director Carol
Boyd responded in a written
statement, "Alcohol use and
its adverse consequences pose
the most serious threat to the
intellectual, psychological and
physical development of tradi-
tional-age undergraduates. We
take this threat to our students
very seriously." While the
concerns of Boyd are certainly
warranted, the efficacy of
such efforts should be ques-
UMSARC's definition of
excessive drinking is unrea-
sonable and troublesome.
Because approximately half of
the student population, by
these standards, falls under
the classification of "binge
drinkers," it marginalizes indi-
viduals with serious drinking
Students who have genuine
problems with alcohol abuse
will view their actionnsas the

selves; it will discourage stu-
dents with dependency issues
from seeking help and dis-
suade concerned students from
getting help for their friends.
The legitimate problems alco-
holics face deserve the full
attention of the University
community. If the University
was truly concerned, about
combating student alcoholism,
it would spend less time pub-
lishing misleading studies and
more time creating tangible
responses. Increased outreach
in residence halls and
throughout campus coupled
with an expansion of services
offered by University Health
Services are important steps
the University should take to
alleviate the problem.
Alarmist studies like
UMSARC's and College Alco-
hol Studies at the Harvard
School of Public Health are
not the most reasonable
method of confronting the
public health problem of
drinking in college. Instead, a
national drinking age of 18
would prevent the most dan-
gerous situations that young
undergraduates face in the
drinking culture.
Due to the strict legal rami-
fications of underage drink-
ing, students are driven away
from situations where they can
safely drink in moderation and
toward unfamiliar environ-
ments, such as house and fra-
ternity parties, where students
nuicklv cnnsunme alcohol

Keep up the activism
Don't let nostalgia, sensationalism define U'

Policing out of bounds
Campus police should not have

recent ruling by the Michi-
gan Court of Appeals has
granted off-campus law
enforcement authority to the secu-
rity officers of Hope College in
Holland, Mich. The officers of
this small, private, religiously
affiliated college now have the
power to enforce laws and make
arrests outside of the campus
boundaries. Not only are these
newly deputized police officers
not government officials, but they
are also employed by a private reli-
gious organization. This decision
could lead to overextensions of

their paycheck comes from a
Christian college could greatly
affect the (officers') actions."
There was a similar incident at
the University of Michigan in
1990, when the Board of Regents
passed a resolution allowing
Department of Public Safety offi-
cers at the University to carry
guns, make arrests and enforce
laws off campus. There was a
strong student movement in oppo-
sition to this policy; many
believed that the University was
just trying to keep a closer eye on
nnD o e n -t hL] 1--- i - t

Generation Y has been called
many things, but politically
astute is generally not one
of them. While buzzwords created
to articulate characteristics shared
by entire generations inevitably fail
to present groups' full complexity
and diversity, the current group of
college students has' been por-
trayed as being especially crass.
Held up as the epitome of Ameri-
can consumerism, Generation Y
has been derided as mindless,
indolent and apathetic when it
comes to political and social mat-
Fortunately, the involvement in
political activism of the current
crop of college and high school
students which make up this gener-
ation has been shown to be much
more more politically active than
mainstream media guessed it
would be.
While Generation Y's activism
has worked to eliminate negative
perceptions of college students as
political wallflowers, questions
remain over what course activism
will take. The current wave of Uni-
versity political activism began in
2000 with the Students of Color
Coalition's Michigamua sit-in and
Students Organizing for Labor an
Economic Equality's occupation of
Deln Shirlev Nounan'q office o n

Incorrect and the O'Reilly Factor.
Such appearances are great for the
University, which is rightfully con-
sidered one of America's most
politically active.
However, such media attention
also presents many pitfalls for stu-
dent groups. When covering stu-
dent activism, the national media
tends to focus on its more incendi-
ary elements and events. With the
memory of more virulent 1960s
campus political activism still
fresh in the national consciousness,
there exists a tendency to live in
the institutional past. Student
activists should never conform to
older, more divisive paradi for
student political activism a will
get them media coverage. Students
should also never view the spot-
light as an end in itself, but must
retain it solely as a means to fur-
ther their causes.
With so much attention focused
on our campus, what University
students would like to see is intelli-
gent activism. With one of the
largest Jewish and Arab student
populations in the country, the
Umversity is a place of focus for
groups in our generation affected
by the turmoil in the Middle East.
If both groups really want peace,
they should rally together for it.
Threatq to one nnnther -fights and

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