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August 12, 1988 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-08-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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BY LISA POLLAK
Welcome, new students, to the University of Michigan - where the
people are friendly and diverse, the lines are long and diverse, and no
campus building lacks a meaningful (if not diverse) sculpture, statue,
acronym, or legend.
If you've been around here for a while, or at least long enough to real-
ize the top of the Dental School doesn't look like a molar, it's probably
also been a while since you travelled to Orienationland, where such
phrases originate and thrive.
Orientationland - where the food tastes almost normal, where every-
one is on a "Hello My Name Is" basis, where videotape narrators assuage
fears ranging from campus crime to computer illiteracy - is the Univer-
sity's great equalizer and synthesizer. Each summer it sends an assembly
line of students rolling through the doors of Alice Lloyd into a land of
fact and fiction, a land whose greatest fantasy is the idea that anything
about the University can be taught in three days.
But Orientationland tries. It confronts visitors with a blend of Univer-
sity academics, issues, and recreation as organized as its parental Orienta-
tionleaders and as neatly packaged as the folders students receive at check-
in - which include one free drink coupon, one time schedule, one list of
"ways to experience diversity," one football ticket order form, and one
anti-harassment policy.
To its credit, there is no other place on campus that spews out as
steady a stream of freshly processed, labelled, and CRISPed students. And
we all remember at least a few of its lessons (even if these include places
to buy beer and not the number of bells in Burton Tower.)
BUT FOR VETERANS, Orientationland holds other lessons.
These lessons, ultimately more important than when the Natural History
Museum lions roar, are found within the two carefully constructed sub-
worlds of Orientationland, fantasy and reality.
For example, sometime after the heat and apprehension of summer
orientation fade, students will realize that standing in a circle and collaps-
ing into each other's laps has nothing to do with making friends in col-
lege. They will see, despite the words of one walking tour leader, it's not
true that "not much goes on concerning you" at the Fleming Administra-
tion Building. They will know words to describe the University's atmo-
sphere other than "diverse."
In fact, after some time here, this summer's crop of Orientationland
visitors will find there are plenty of students who don't elect four difficult
classes every term, even if Bert Hornback told them to at orientation.
They will hear some students think the Diag's shanties are more impor-
tant than its "M" - even if their tour leader only pointed out the latter.
They will discover what another leader meant when he said to walk in
groups of four "because this is Ann Arbor. And, well, things happen."
They will learn that very few students, including Orientationleaders, care
about the legends, statues, and sculptures surrounding campus buildings.
And they will learn that, in college, no one tells you to go to your room
during protests - as this summer's leaders instructed a group of students
when UCAR protested an orientation "diversity workshop" last month.
This first lesson, that of Orientationland's fantasies, is neither very
difficult to learn nor surprising. It is a lesson about how the mind of the
University's administration works and why some people are critical of
what it says and does not,
BUT ORIENTATIONLAND contains its share of reality, most
notably in the form of a new two-hour panel discussion on racism, sex-
ism, homophobia, and other discrimination. And maybe next year this
summer's orientees will get the chance, as I did, to sit in on one of these
discussions and learn Orientationland's second lesson.
The groupI observed contained about 11 first-year students. Their
reactions to presentations on discrimination, facilitators said, were typi-
cal. "I know UCAR is always screaming about nothing," said one. "There
aren't enough qualified Blacks applying here, or else they'd let them in. If
a Black is qualified and wants to go here: it's a well-known University;
they should just apply," said another. "I don't see how they'll get more
Blacks without lowering standards," a student said. "Saying words like
'chairperson' is definitely a real trivial thing; I hate it when women get
touchy over things like that," one woman said. "I think you should be
able to joke about anything," another added.
Unfortunately, the discussions were brief, leaving little time for facili-
tators to challenge ideas, explain institutional racism, show ways to fight
sexism. And until we have a mandatory class on these issues, many of
those students will not discuss them again. Orientationland's fantasies re-
veal the University's mind; its realities reveal the students'.
The lesson? Social justice is harder to teach than CRISPing. And
many new students will learn to ignore Bert Hornback before they learn
what the "screaming" is about.

The Michigan Daily - Friday, August 12, 1988 - Page 3
Theft vexes Tower
Plaza resbnmdents
BY DONNA IADIPAOLO The tenants had been temporarily resident by a contractor from the
Residents of Tower Plaza condo- asked to leave while heat pumps were Flint Local Plumbers Union, who
miniums have charged that their per- installed in the building. was working on the instillation. The
sonal items - including checks - Ron Duprey, director of the Triad contractor was apprehended in Flint
were stolen and tampered with after Realty Corporation - which man- and will be proseeuted, Duprey said,
they moved out of their units at the ages the William Street building - Duprey would not release the
management's request this summer. said four checks were stolen from a complaints.
Tower Plaza managment has also
*rireceived reports of food missing from
freezers and long distance calls
-Under Michigan law, it is illegal for landlords to force you out of your recorded during the tenants' absence.
apartment, unless the owner takes you to court and the court orders you Dupry said the conflict between
off the premises - this is a legal eviction. tenants and management over the is-
-Landlords or building management cannot keep you out of a rental home sue became violent Wednesday when,
without a court order. This is called constructive eviction and is illegal. he said, a tenant assaulted Temporary
.Entering an apartment without the tenant's permission is also illegal. Housing Manager Susan England.
-Senior Citizens and low-income people can recieve free legal help. Dupry would not release the name
For more information on tenant rights, call: of the tenant, and England refused to
Ann Arbor Tenants Union... 763-6876 comment on the alleged assault and
Legal Services of Southeastern Michigan 665-6181 the housing issue.
Student Legal Services 763-9920 The Ann Arbor Tenants' Union
Information provided by Ann Arbor Tenants Union. has been consulting distraught ten-
See Theft, Page 5

Regents
gear up
for fall
elections
BY PATRICK STAIGER
Regents Deane Baker (R-Ann Ar-
bor) and Nellie Varner (D-Detroit)
will battle three opponents to retain
their seats on the eight-member Uni-
versity governing board this Novem-
ber.
Republicans Cliff Taylor of East
Lansing and Alan May of Bloomfield
Hills, both attorneys, and Democrat
Gerald Dunn, a former regent, will
challenge the incumbents.
Baker, a consistently conservative
voter since first elected in 1973, has
angered student groups by actions
such as proposing in 1985 that the
University work on the Strategic
Defense Initiative. Baker also faces
charges from lesbian and gay groups
of being homophobic, resulting from
his vocal opposition to several gay
rights proposals.
"If we can get rid of Baker, the re-
gents will be much more reason-
able," said Rackham MSA represen-
tative Gus Teschke, who said he will
propose a trial regent election at the
University before November.
"If Chile can have a plebiscite to
keep Pinochet, we can have one on
Baker," Teschke said.
Although both voted for contro-
versial protest rules earlier this
summer, Varner has taken less heat,
possibly owing to her less vocal ap-
proach and more liberal voting rec-
ord. Varner was the first University
Affirmative action director in 1972.

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