4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 26, 2003
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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
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necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
There was a
lot of, 'Do you know
who I am. I'm Glen
Campbell ... I
shouldn't be locked
up like this."'
- Police Sgt. Bill Niles, on arresting
country singer Glen Campbell, on
charges of drunken driving and hit and run,
as reported by The Associated Press.
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SAM BUTLER 'iE SOAPBOX
Mary Sue, can you live up to your own rhetoric?
ARI PAUL I FOUIT TII LAW
President Coleman, it
seems that you and
have something in com-
mon: You both recognize
the health care crisis in this
country. Last October, you
gave a lecture telling Uni-
versity students that, "(The
health) care crisis is an intractable problem that
has persisted for many years. Being without
health insurance often implies a decline in quali-
ty of life." You strongly reiterated that, "This is
a crisis - it cannot continue," and "we need to
get this (issue) back on the national agenda."
GEO President David Dobbie told the
Daily last week, "The problem with health
care is the rising costs. This national prob-
lem needs a national solution and it could
You are both correct. As I learned in your
wonderful history department this year, 43
million Americans currently lack health insur-
ance. In our post-industrial, post-Fordian
economy, companies are no longer providing
American workers with such vital necessities.
As our nation stands alongside the rest of the
industrialized democracies, that statistic
makes us look relatively pathetic. It is not a fit
situation for the 21st century, and I appreciate
that in your words, that you agree.
But I must warn you, President Cole-
man, that talking about fixing national
health care isn't enough, and you aren't
living up to this ideal.
Firstly, this just in, you are the highest
paid public university president in the coun-
try, and in the club of highest-paid presidents
among all American campuses. Let's put that
into perspective. Are you trying to tell me
that the president of the University is paid the
same as the president of Harvard, a $20 bil-
lion money bag and richest university in the
country? Can a considerably larger public
university with far few assets afford to pay
its president like Lawrence Summers?
With a yearly salary over $475,000 with
an eventual raise to $677,500 and benefits to
boot, and not to mention that prime, newly
renovated real estate on South University
Avenue, your exorbitant compensation
makes it hard for one to believe that this
school is in a budget crisis.
Meanwhile, some of the hardest working
and most vital employees at this institution,
the graduate student instructors, were
stunned to find that, in violation of their con-
tract, the University wanted to reduce their
health care coverage, a vicious labor injustice
you have purported to deplore.
I'd like to know two things, President
Coleman. One, how could you say our health
care crisis "can't continue," and then turn
around and help perpetuate it? But more
importantly, I'd like to know how you
worked up the nerve to cut health care bene-
fits to these essential workers who earn a net
income of $10,000 a year, many of whom
have small children, while your own salary
grossly exceeds the national norm.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm symbolically cut
her own salary in order to ease Michigan's own
financial troubles, showing that if you're going
to cut corners to fit budget constraints, you obvi-
ously cut the biggest ones first. And, President
Coleman, I do believe that what is good enough
the Michigan state government is good enough
for the University. Sure you gave $500,000 in
internal donations, but you have yet to address
the systemic problems of internal overspending.
There is no reason why you, as the Uni-
versity president and an accomplished schol-
ar, should not rake in some serious cash, but
if your salary were reduced by even 10 per-
cent, you would still rank wealthy among the
nation's university administrators, and that
would leave the University with much more
As of right now, there are 50 University
employees Who make more than a quarter of
a million dollars a year. If they all took even
a 5 percent salary cut, that would make a
remarkable dent in our fiscal woes, and GSIs,
who technically are paid poverty wages,
wouldn't have to be thrown to the wolves of
the national health care crisis.
But, on the good side, things aren't going
as bad as people anticipated. GEO voted
"no" on a grade strike, and settled with the
University yesterday. These are positive
signs for a decent outcome for both sides.
However, the hypocrisy and disregard
you have shown by even considering cutting
health coverage to GSIs - in the middle of
their contract, I might add - will give Uni-
versity workers no reason to trust you when
you come out sympathizing with their eco-
nomic struggles, when you haven't addressed
the excessive compensation of those on the
University's highest executive payroll.
Paul can be reached at
Beware candidates bearing myths
JASON PESICK ONE SMALL VOICE
e1levision bom- the head of state cannot avoid the compar- seriously injured man by his lifejacket. The
barded America isons to John Kennedy. "Saturday Night men then swam from island to island, look-
with John Live" cast member Darrell Hammond has ing for one with food. This is how Kennedy
Kennedy specials last said that in order to impersonate Bill Clin- found greatness.
week. Most of them ton, he had to practice giving Kennedy's To find greatness, Matthews continues,
focused on the conspira- speeches in a Southern accent. Democratic "... you need some reading, some thinking,
cy theories surrounding presidential candidate John Kerry has the some soul searching, some instinct."
his death. The mob did it, great hair, the clothes, the money and Mass- Kennedy did well in a superficial medi-
Castro did it, the commu- achusetts in common with Kennedy. Sen. um, but there was substance to back up his
nists, the FBI, even his John Edwards of North Carolina has the style. Too many politicians are eager to
own vice president, Lyndon Johnson "did good looks and the charisma. replicate his television prowess without tak-
it." I can't confirm or deny any of these But as Matthews points out, these super- ing into consideration how events in
rumors or theories, but the way in which ficial similarities do not make a Democrat Kennedy's formative years forged his char-
these television specials portrayed them Jack Kennedy. Kennedy was not just a play- acter and identity.
says something about the sensationalism boy from a wealthy family. The historian If you compare John Edwards and John
that feeds much of what appears on TV. Robert Dallek has in the last few years Kerry to Richard Nixon, Kennedy's oppo-
The most intelligent thing that anyone uncovered documents that reveal that nent in 1960, they would probably come off
said about the assassination had very little to Kennedy was sick from the age of 13. Jef- better than Nixon on TV as well. But do they
do with Kennedy's tragic death. On the frey Kelman, who examined the records, have what it takes to take on the military
CNBC show that bears his name, Chris said on PBS, "He was never healthy. I mean, establishment and not attack Cuba even if
Matthews made a very insightful comment the image you get of vigor and progressive that means jeopardizing the White House's
on the Kennedy phenomenon. After describ- health wasn't true ... By the time he was hold on the government?
ing the Kennedy appeal, Matthews said, president, he was on 10, 12 medications a Television simplifies American politics
"The hero who lived and died on TV is now day. He was on antispasmodics for his and has a tendency to highlight what the
the proud child of the TV tube. But the story bowel, paregoric, lamodal transatine [ph] he Founding Fathers wouldn't have wanted
caught, stored and rerun on television is was on muscle relaxants, Phenobarbital, Lib- highlighted. We should keep that in mind
deeper, stronger, greater ... In Hollywood rium, Meprobomate, he was on pain medica- every four years, as the perennial parade
they call this the back story, what doesn't tions, Codeine, Demerol, Methadone, he was of self-described Kennedy-lites marches
show on the screen. The strength of the Jack on oral cortisone; he was on injected corti- onto the political stage. And we should all
Kennedy back story should be a warning to sone, he was on testosterone, he was on heed vice-presidential candidate Lloyd
those too ready to mime his look and man- Nembutal for sleep. And on top of that, he Bentsen's famous advice to his counter-
ner. So be warned, those looking for leaders, was getting injected sometimes six times a part, Sen. Dan Quayle, in the 1988 presi-
those looking to be one, this medium you day, six places on his back, by the White dential campaign: Because not everyone
ware watching is not, cannot be a window to House physician, with Novocain, Procaine, trying to capitalize off of America's deep
the soul, an X-ray to seek out vision, a just to enable him to face the day." adoration for Camelot is John Kennedy -
searchlight to find greatness." In World War II, the Japanese cut in two most aren't even close.
Just as every Republican presidential the boat that Kennedy commanded. The
candidate is measured against Ronald Rea- future president led his crew on a three-mile Pesick can be reached at
gan, every Democratic candidate vying to be swim to a nearby island, while he towed a firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Graduate students well
paid, Henretty correct in
assessment of GEO
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to commend Aubrey Hen-
retty for exercising good old common sense
in regards to the Graduate Employees Orga-
nization as opposed to blindly championing
a liberal cause for the sake of being liberal
loans to cover the rest of the living expens-
es! That must be a tough life, to actually
have all your living expenses covered by
GEO fighting for fair pay,
graduate students right to
hold University accountable
11/25/03), I imagine that the graduate stu-
dent instructors and graduate student staff
assistants who take second jobs, relocate
their families and work very hard at their
teaching positions - all for the sake of
their education - might disagree.
In fact, I know they would. Because this
semester, hundreds of GEO members united
in collective action and brought the Universi-
ty administration to the table. There, the
administration finally bargained health care
changes in the spirit of our contract. Soon,
we hope to reach an agreement that protects
I--~ i~ ~