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December 01, 2003 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-01

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 1, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

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.

He'd filled his
trousers in the truest
sense of the word."
- A police spokesman for the German
town of Olpe, where a man was arrested
Friday after attempting to steal
177 packs of cigarettes from a
supermarket. The man, aided by three
accomplices, had stuffed all 177 packs in
his pants, as quoted by Reuters.


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'She just ... died' AIDS in Africa
W hen I visited dence of HIV in the country, and she told On Saturday, Nelson Mandela put on an
the countries me she had worked at an orphanage there. I AIDS benefit concert with world-famous
of southern asked if she meant an AIDS orphanage, and performers in Cape Town's Greenpoint Sta-
Africa, AIDS was she said yes, but she avoids saying so dium in Cape Town South Africa. It will air
always somewhere because people can be scared by it. globally on MTV tonight as a celebration
over my shoulder. In Stigmas about AIDS are not a uniquely (if that's the right word) of World AIDS
Zambia, there were African phenomenon. People will avoid Day, and will include acts like Beyonce
billboards that instruct- thinking or talking about sexual disease if Knowles, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Annie
ed you to "condomize" they can, and our entertainment and adver- Lennox and Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat
as the third step toward tising industries thrive on carefree portray- Stevens). It will be worth watching to hear
protection (the first two steps said, essen- als of sex. the Soweto Gospel Choir sing, and to hear
tially, never have sex). In Malawi, there It is also hard to depend on leaders, Mandela speak about this crisis, which he
were ads everywhere that showed a warrior anywhere in the world, who deny problems says will require "even greater resolve than
shield against a stark yellow flag and read that are obvious. The Kenyan government was shown in the fight against apartheid."
"Chishango" in bold letters; I asked two denied for a long time that the AIDS-rav- He understands the importance of appealing
men at a bar in the town of Mchen- aged slum of Kibera even existed, though to the conscience of Western nations, and
gawamoto (the Hot Sands Village) what it it holds 700,000 people and sits within though it would be easy for some to shrug
was, and they laughed - it's a brand of view of the president's house. Likewise, off the politics of celebrities, I think they all
condoms. And in the Botswanan town of President Ronald Reagan hesitated to know the importance of what they're doing.
Nata, attendants pumped gas and children address the U.S. AIDS crisis in the '80s The fight against AIDS will not be easy
wearing V-neck sweaters walked to school because he wondered if AIDS "was per- - people will have to change their sexual
everyday under the AIDS billboard at the haps a plague brought down by God behavior, embrace the use of condoms and
main intersection. because illicit sex was against the Ten overcome any number of stigmas against
But to me, an outsider, the presence of Commandments" (this from a Grand victims. But none of this is as important as
the disease was only felt indirectly, Rapids Press article citing a biography the very first step, when people finally start
because no one will talk about it. written in cooperation with the Reagans). talking about the disease. Mandela's efforts
My group's guide in Zululand, a woman But Africa is unique because it suffers are significant for that reason. They are an
in her mid-twenties named Jabu, introduced more than anywhere else. South Africa unequivocal appeal for help from abroad and
us to her family and showed us pictures of alone contains 5.3 million of the 46 million a rallying point for sufferers all across
her sister's children, whom she cared for infected worldwide. Botswana is a prosper- Africa. The proceeds from the benefit con-
herself. Her sister had died a few years ago, ous country by most measurements, but it cert will go to the Nelson Mandela Founda-
and one of us asked, innocently enough, has a 38 percent adult AIDS rate, and its tion, which will only help with AIDS
what she died of. Jabu told us, "She just ... president came to the United States three research and relief within South Africa, but
died." It seemed as if we had intruded on weeks ago to say it needs help. African the awareness raised should help everyone.
something just then. You would think any- leaders have the resolve to combat the In some countries, as many as 90 percent of
one would be compassionate toward an problem, but they don't have the resources. those infected don't even know it. Once peo-
AIDS orphan, but they face a strong stig- The amount of money making its way from ple start talking, maybe things will change.
ma. I met a girl in Cape Town who had just Congress to the continent this year will not
come from Durban, part of the Kwazulu- be anywhere near enough, and Africans are Cotner can be reached
Natal province that has the highest inci- looking to raise awareness in new ways. at cotners@umich.edu.

Good leadership means taking
one in the wallet for the team
Regarding Aubrey Henretty's Tuesday col-
umn (The union that cried wolf: GEO's fairy-
tale folly, 11/25/03), I would like to share a
story of two administrators. Last year, the pas-
tor of my church, in response to a financial cri-
sis, proposed a revised church budget, which
began with a 6-percent decrease in his salary,
and also included salary cuts taken by the
other ministers. The secretaries and janitorial
staff, however, did not see their salary
reduced. With that in mind, the remaining
budget cuts were relatively easy to accept.
Meanwhile, I received an e-mail from Uni-
versity President Mary Sue Coleman, who is
paid $475,000 and accepted a $200,000 bonus
this year. It stated that budget cuts were forcing
the implementation of a new health care struc-
ture, in which employees would share the costs.
As Henretty points out, my proposed share, as a
graduate student instructor, would amount to
$12 per month (though it will greatly increase in
future years, and is much higher for GSIs with
dependents). Twelve dollars is 1 percent of my
monthly income (and about .03 percent of Cole-
man's pre-bonus salary).
Would I object to a 1-percent reduction in
my salary, were it truly warranted, and if it
applied to all University employees? No, not
even if I had signed a contract forbidding it. But
do I object to the University's high-handed and
regressive method of budgeting? Most assured-
ly. There is a difference between using power
and being a leader, and in this affair the Univer-
sity has shown that, while it may be well versed
in the former, it needs to go back to school in the
GSIs deserve more for the
money they save 'U'
In response to Aubrey Henretty's col-
umn of Tuesday (The union that cried wolf:
GEO's fairy-tale folly, 11/25/03):
Tto .,,+- _ QV ~ r -- +, t-+ .

And yes, this is where the University is
going with its premium plan - anyone
who thinks they would just stop at a 5-per-
cent contribution (Henretty's "$12 per
month") is an extremely naive individual.
Health care would quickly become unaf-
fordable, even on my "living stipend large
enough that GSIs can live comfortably
even in the outrageously overpriced realm
of Ann Arbor apartments." Please. Even if
we are paid too much, as Henretty insinu-
ates, the fact is that graduate students still
make money for the University. Who is
doing the work that brings in the millions
of dollars in grant money every year, any-
GEO's past negotiations
have helped undergrads
While I appreciate the idea behind Aubrey
Henretty's opinion in "Neurotica" (The union
that cried wolf: GEO's fairy-tale folly, 11/25/03), I
would have to disagree with her argument. I,
too, am an undergrad, but I am also a parent
of two children, so it is because the Graduate
Employees Organization made a big fuss
over childcare in 1997 that I am able to
attend the University.
When GEO fought for daycare subsidies,
it made sure that this money was eligible to
all students in the University, not just GEO
members. Thus, because the average cost of
full-time day care in Ann Arbor runs at about
$180 a week per child, and, as an undergrad,
I do have to pay tuition and live largely off of
loans, and what's more, the people who work
to represent me at the University are more
concerned about moving spring break back a
week than real-life issues, if I didn't get the
childcare subsidy the graduate students
fought so hard for I would have to just give
up the idea of college all together. So, in the
end, while I understand the frustration behind
Henretty's thoughts, I would have to say that
until my student government can figure out
that there are many undergraduates at the uni-
versity who are not privileged enough to even
get a spring break, I side with the GEO com-

tant than your children, 03/19102) when I
found her latest polemic against the Grad-
uate Employees Organization on the
Daily's editorial page Tuesday (The union
that cried wolf: GEO's fairy-tale folly, 11/25/03).
Henretty cites a health insurance co-premi-
um of $12 a month as the impetus for GEO's
recent consideration of a grade strike. This
was the figure the administration had proposed
for single graduate students with no depen-
dents. For those of us with spouses and chil-
dren, the costs the administration proposed we
accept were much higher - high enough to
eat up one of every eight paychecks. For
someone who makes $14,000 a year, taking a
13-percent pay cut may make continued pur-
suit of a graduate degree impossible.
If Henretty proposes that I should have
been willing - for my students' sake - to lie
down and submit when the administration tried
to foist this change on me and on my col-
leagues, I beg to disagree. We all teach by
example: Henretty could go anywhere in the
country to learn how to meekly accept whatev-
er her future bosses are willing to give, but as
long as GEO is an active part of this campus,
the University will not be where she learns that
lesson. If she is ever responsible for the care of
small children (instead of merely acting like
one), I hope that she will remember and regret
her casual dismissal of our successful fight for
the benefits (childcare and low-cost health care
among them) that make graduate education
more accessible to everyone.
Former chief negotiator,
Graduate Employees Organization
Though 'U' could do more to
help cover costs, most GIs
'extremely well compensated'
In response to Ari Paul's Wednesday col-
umn (Mary Sue, can you live up to your own
rhetoric?, 11/26/03):
Graduate student instructors are not payed
poverty wages.
The majority of GSIs make $6,427 per
term plus their tuition waivers.
Tuition for out-of-state students is


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