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January 29, 2007 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-29

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Arts, 5A



(t446F eit c i n at 1

Ann Arbor, Michigan


Monday, January 29, 2007
Lecturers begin
contract talks

Union calls for
more pay,
uniform job titles
Daily StaffReporter
Wearing T-shirts that said
"What do all Michigan teach-
ers deserve?" members of the
Lecturers' Employee Orga-
nization began negotiations
on a new contract with the
University administration on
The current contract of
the 1,300-member union of
non-tenure track expires in
July. LEO members worked
last semester to identify spe-
cific problems with the last
contract, which was the first
collective bargaining agree-
ment between the union and
the University.
"First contracts always
have problems," LEO Presi-
dent Bonnie Halloran said.
The organization has five
primary platform issues:
increased base salaries, the
same title for all LEO mem-
bers, greater transparency in
employment reviews, better

health care and more flex-
ibility in working off-campus
while employed by the Uni-
A University spokesper-
son declined to comment on
the negotiations.
Cedric de Leon, a sociol-
ogy lecturer and the griev-
ance chair of the Ann Arbor
LEO chapter, said the orga-
nization seeks equal pay
for lecturers at each of the
University's three campuses.
Base paydiffers fromcampus
to campus, he said.
While a lecturer at the
University's Ann Arbor cam-
pus makes at least $31,000 a
year, lecturers at Dearborn
have a base pay of $25,000
and those at Flint make no
less than $23,000.
"We think no teacher at
the University of Michi-
gan should make less than
$35,000 as a starting sal-
ary," Halloran said in a press
release. "Even in hard eco-
nomic times, the University
should be paying all itseteach-
ers a decent wage."
De Leon said the Universi-
ty has created asystemwhere
some lecturers are treated as
second-class citizens.
The University ranks lec-

turers on a 1 to 4 scale. Lec-
turers 1 and 2 only teach,
while lecturers 3 and 4 may
also serve on committees
and usually teach a more
advanced class schedule.
To move from class 1 to
class 2, a lecturer must teach
at the University for three
years and pass a faculty
To move from class 3 to
class 4, a lecturer must teach
for four years and pass a
There is no official bridge
from class 2 to class 3.
De Leon said the system
of ranking lecturers divides
lecturers unfairly.
"It creates a sort of
inequality,"' de Leon said.
At negotiations for LEO's
first collective bargaining
agreement in 2004, the orga-
nization asked for a uniform
title for all lecturers but was
"We'd rather have it flat
we do have," de Leon said.
De Leon also said there is
currently little or no trans-
parency in the faculty review
"In some departments
See LEO, page 7A

Young Americans for Freedom members LSA junior Sarah Ledford, LSA junior Clark Ruper, LSA sophomore Justin Zatkoff and LSA sophomore
Andrew Boyd wear tin foil hats to protest a speech by Sept.11 conspiracy theorists in the Michigan Union Ballroom last night.
Conspiracy theorists stir
controversy at Union

student group
lampoons event
Daily StaffReporter
Three men came to the
Michigan Union last night
and argued that the govern-
ment's investigation of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was
flawed and that the admin-
istration may have been
involved in them.
Among those who spoke
was Robert Bowman, a
member of Scholars for 9/11
Truth, a group that travels
the country arguing that the
government either allowed
the attacks to happen or even
perpetrated them itself.
Bowman described what
he called inconsistencies in
initial investigations into
the Sept. 11 attacks. He said
the construction engineer
of the World Trade Center
buildings considered the
impactofplane crashes while
designing the building. The
building's engineer said the
"building structure would

remain intact" in the event
of a direct plane crash, Bow-
man said.
"There are no experts in
tall building fire collapse,
because it doesn't happen,"
Bowman said. He described
reports by several observers
that before the collapse of the
buildings, they heard a series
of pops, or what sounded like
secondary explosions.
Many eyewitness reports
included descriptions of
puffs of smoke reminiscent of
professional building demoli-
tion, Bowman said.
But Popular Mechanics
magazine, in a March 2005
cover story that refuted
much of the evidence cited
by conspiracy theorists,
quoted a structural engineer
who said the puffs of smoke
came from the collapse of
each floor as pressure built
up from above.
Claims like Bowman's are
"absurd," said Ryan Fan-
tuzzi, vice president of the
University's chapter of the
Young Americans for Free-
dom, a far-right group that
protested the event.
About a dozen YAF mem-
bers stood wearing tin foil

hats in the hallway around
the entrance to the Union
Ballroom last night.
Audience members enter-
ing the ballroom for the
speech could not help but
notice the outlandish-look-
ing protesters. In addition to
the hats, one carried a sign
saying "Jedi ascertain the
Sith did it." Others chanted
"Bush Causes Cancer" and
"Bush Killed Kenny."
The purpose of the sar-
castic protest, according to
members, was simply to poke
fun at claims they thought
were absurd.
YAF members described
all sorts of government con-
spiracies through which the
government controls the
Protesters jokingly said the
foil hats would protect them
from harmful mind control
rays sent by cell phone tow-
Fantuzzi said the pro-
test might remind audience
members of what YAF mem-
bers felt were more realistic
explanations of the 9/11 ter-
rorist attacks.
"Humor is a useful tool,"
be said.

Audience members filed
past the protesters, accepting
cards at the door on which to
write questions for Bowman.
Few seemed deterred by the
protest, and most passed by
chuckling at the protesters'
Many members of the audi-
ence seemed to agree with
the speeches. They nodded
and whispered after several
of Bowman's points.
Kevin Barrett, an associ-
ate lecturer at the University
of Wisconsin at Madison and
Kevin Ryan, a former scien-
tist for Underwriters Labora-
tories, also spoke.
Although the members
of YAF and the speakers
disagreed, the two groups
didn't come to a confronta-
The event and protestcome
just before YAF is scheduled
to host a controversial event
of its own.
The group plans to have
what they bill as three former
terrorists speak at Rackham
Auditorium Tuesday night
about the roots of terrorism
and what prompted them to
stop committing acts of ter-


Sophomore Ralph Rosso performs on the stationary rings as the top-ranked men's gymnastics team took
on two-time defending national champions Oklahoma. The Wolverines defeated the third-ranked Sooners.

. Gandhi's grandson:
Bring conscience back


Washington Post
journalist, others
talk at conference
Amid a thunderous cheer,
a slight, graying figure
made his way slowly to the
podium. He looked out at
the anticipating crowd and
introduced himself The
man was Rajmohan Gandhi.
Gandhi, the grandson,
of celebrated Indian leader
Mohandas Gandhi, spoke
in the Michigan Union Ball-
room Friday aight as part of

SAAN 2007, a conference
sponsored by the South
Asian Awareness Network,
a University student group.
Gandhi asked the crowd
of about 200 to bring "a con-
science back to life in the
United States."
This conscience should
stem from his grandfather's
teachings of forgiveness and
peace, he said.
He told a story about his
grandfather from Aug. 15,
1947, the day India gained
its independence from Great
After Mohandas Gan-
dhi led a prayer gathering
that attracted over 500,000
participants, the statesman
retreated to his room and

wrote a letter to one of his
oldest friends in Britain,
thanking her for her friend-
ship through trying times
and asked that she send love
to all of Gandhi's friends in
Like his grandfather,
South Asian-Americans
should try to reach out dur-
ing times of unrest, Rajmo-
han Gandhi said.
With animosity toward
Muslims in the United
States, and toward Ameri-
cans in Islamic nations, this
advice is particularly rel-
evant today, he said.
"People are being con-
demned for their birth, their
blood, their DNA," he said
See SAAN, page 7A

College to expand
For the Daily
In Intel's 2005 survey of wire-
less Internet access on college
campuses, the University did
not make the list of the 10 most
wireless campuses.
It didn't even make the top 50.
Now, though, the University's
largest school or collegeLSA, is
going completely wireless.
LSA announced last week a
plan to expand its wireless net-
work to cover all 23 of its build-
ings. The $1.5-million endeavor is
expectedto take about two years.
That means if you're sitting
See WIRELESS, page 3A

Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright performs Friday af the Ann Arbor Folk Festival at Hill Auditorium.


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Controversy surrounds appearance by "three ex-
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)2007 The Michigan Daily
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. . 2A ARTS...................... - 5A
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