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May 12, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-05-12

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n*esdy, May 12,1993- The Mch*sminymmWeky-5
VIEWPOINT
'nvestigating in-class activity is unfair to professors

By JOHN WOODFORD
It would be wrong for any University unit to
investigate Prof.DavidGoldberg on the basis of
the chargesreportedagainsthimin the Michigan
Daily('Studentscallsociologyprof.racist,sexist
inletter'4/9/93). Iarguethis as one who, asl will
explain later, made a similar charge, based on
similar "evidence," against a faculty member.
I assume that, in calling for an investigation,
the students and the Daily have publicized the
"evidence"againstGoldberg thattheythinkmost
dramatically supports their case. That's usually
the tactic in such controversies.
Some students condemned Goldberg for dis-
playing a cartoon which made them uncomfort-
able.Others said they weremadeuncomfortable
byhisanalysisofBlack students' lowerscoreson
standardized tests in relation to those of whites.
The"evidence"suggeststomeanopportunis-
tic coalition that wants to bar Goldberg from
teachingassignedcoursesforpoliticalratherthan
academic reasons. In some institutions in this
country, teachers with high standards are facing
similar harassment charges because they won't
water down their courses or ease their grading.
The University must not allow that to happen
Shere.
Were lower Black test scores the best ex-
ampletoillustratethestatisticalprincipleGoldberg
wishedtoteach?Idon'tknow.Thestudentsmay
wish to sit down with him and discuss that issue.

According to the Daily's first article on the con-
troversy,however,Goldberg said thatchargesof
racism against him rested on a complete misun-
derstanding of the statistical principle in ques-
tion. Students would do well to find out if he's
right. If he's been a bit arrogant and that has
impeded his teaching, he'll figure that out with-
out an inquisition.
In any event such journals as Black Issues in
Higher Education and the Chronicle of Higher
Education regularly report ethnically differenti-
ated testscoresand discuss arange of statistical,
sociological and educationalissues related to the
method of testing and scoring, and to changes in
those methods. As a Black person, when I read
thesescores Iwince. But whatIhope togetridof
is not the reports of the scores but the persistent
test-score gaps.
The heart of the Goldberg dispute, however,
is: If he is investigated, who's next? Whose
cartoon could be cunningly and absurdly
"deconstructed" by the student commissar who
ruled,"Thatcartoonisnotflmnytome!"?Whose
off-the-cuffremark (and perhaps misheard, mis-
construed or misunderstood at that) could land
them before the Investigators? Whose reading
assignments or class discussion -by taking up
discomforting and provocative historicalor con-
temporary facts-would condemn the culprit to
bepluckedouttoftherequiredcurriculumlikethe
offending eye?

Totalitarianismisamasterofdisguises.Itwill
put on the cloak of multiculturalism as readily as
that of racism or True Religion or People's Para-
dise. Think of a university where faculty, stu-
dents, administrators and staff fear to make any
statement, display any image or refer to any data
that could place them at the mercy of mobocrats
dcarging,"Youmadeusuncomfortable."Itwould
be preparing the soil for an American version of
the Red Guards.
Rather than an investigation, it would be far
better for Goldberg's department to arrange -
but by no means require - a meeting between
him and representative student critics. If they
choose,let all parties discuss thematterfully and
frankly. I know this is a better road to take. I
recently read a report of a professor's research
and concludedthatitgaveracistoffense whether
or nothe meant to or even agreed that it did.My
evidence? My authority? What better than my
experienceeas a Black person, which wouldgive
me agut feeling forsuchoffenses,anosetosmell
them out. I communicated these feelings ina
written tirade.My charges alarmed the professor
but,atthesuggestionofhisdepartmentalchair,he
agreed to talk them over with me. Right before
our meeting I finally got around to reading sev-
eral of his research papers that were the basis of
the report I'd read.
Idiscoveredanintellectualsensibility,abody
of evidence and a rigorous argument that were

profoundly anti-racist. Furthermore, his scien-
tificinquiry tookmetoafardeeperprobingof the
phecnmenon of racsm than anyone can readh
withhisgut andnose.Mylifehistory,my volatile
senseof outragemy capacity to feelharassed-
all discomfort to another person and his family.
I urge you anti-Goldbergites to ask your-
selves: What is it that Prof. Goldberg has really
done to us versus what we might do to him?
Humans can feel emotional pain even for an
imagined offense, or a trivial one. The pain of
later realizing that you accused someone un-
justly, however, can be sharper than that of the
offenseyouimaginedevenifithadbeentme!We
nolongerputpeopleinthestocksforloosetalkor
for finding amusement in things unfunny to us.
We don't poison their careers with charges of
heresy.
Goldberg's students should confer with him
andkeeptheireyesontheprizeofunderstanding
statistics. They may find that the realities -the
differences - that are represented by statistics
can describe some painful circumstances. But
theymay alsogaintheintellectualtoolsneededto
expose and refute poor statistics; they may ac-
quire the power to undo the damage that poor
statisticscan bring about.
WoodfordistheliecutiveEditorofMichigan
Today.

Despite criticisms, Greek system fosters education and comraderie; members learn valuable lessons

To the Daily:
Greek systems across college campuseshave
continuallybeenassociatedwithnegativestereo-
types.Specificallyspeakingoffraternities,people
give them images of immaturity, homophobia,
hazing, and detriment. What people do not see is
the brotherhood and caring that go with a frater-
nity. In this day and age, especially on a liberal
campus such as ours, fraternities are constantly
looked down upon. This is unfortunate because
fraternities have so much to offer to college
students.
ManypeopledonotchoosetobeintheGreek
system. I have a pledge brother who questioned
whether or not he wanted to be involved with
something that had been given such a bad name.
What he and many others have realized os that
they are now apart of something very special. A
union with other men that have shared the good
times and the bad times as well. So one creed

goes, "a bond as strong as right itself, and as
lasting as humanity."
Apopularmisconceptionandanegativepoint
for the Greek system is the rare occurrence of an
incident involving hazing. This is the fuel for
much ofthe anti-Greek sentiment that is popular
among parents and campus Grtekbashers. Actu-
ally, pledging and the ensuing "Hell Week" are
the time periods of education for prospective
members. This is when the inner workings of a
fraternity are taught. Numerous tests are taken
and much of the secretive oral traditions are
passedon.Thiseducation isessentialtoteachthe
associate member proper respect for the history
of the fratemity. I agree, the few fraternities that
are involved in deaths from haying or pranks
should be discontinued. But many fraternities
have begunnon-hazing programs. The fratemity
I am pledging even offers a phone number I can
call to report any action that I did that might be

construed as hazing. The majority of fraternities
have long, maybe even historic pasts that they
wouldnotsacrifice with something asdumbasa
prank or even hazing of any kind.
If not for the advancement of each faternity
member, the Greek System does much for the
outlyingcommunity. In "Greek Week" alone,
each fraternity and sorority has their particular
organization to which money is donated. On top
ofthat,25hoursofcommunity service was made
a requirement for each team (consisting of two
fraternities and two sororities). Overall, an esti-
mated 50,000 dollars will be made anddonated,
just at this university. Multiply that by theimany
schools in this country with active Greeks and
you cone up with a phenomenal amount of
money. Money that many local charities and
organizations cannot do without.
Another concernwith the Greek systemharpson
the ideas of racism and homophobia that may

exist. As for racism, the Greek System is very
diverse. AlletbicitiesarewellrepresentedAside
frem this, an entire African-Ameriem Greek
System which also accomplishes many chsai-
table underakings, has been formmL This rga-
nizatonobviously reducesthe numbers of Afri-
can-Americans rushing the non-black fratmi-
ties.It alsocauses theintegratedGreekSystemto
look hoemphtbc, because of the few Afucan-
Americans in the non-black fraternity system.
Greeks on codlege campuses have constantly
lived with a negative outlook on what they do.
Many people simply take their preconceived
notionsand fail to look at what the System is al
about.Gmeksdodrnkadparty.Allcollegehde
do this. But look at what else the Greek System
does as a whole and you see what indeed does
separate the average college kidfrom amember
of a Greekfraternity.
LSA first-year student

Writers "deeply offended by the 'Happy 45th Birthday Israel' advertisement" that appeared in the Daily

To The Daily:
We, the undersigned, Jewish, Muslim and
Christian, of American, European and Middle
Eastern(includingIsraceli)background,aredeeply
offended by the "Happy 45th Birthday Israel"
advertisment that appeared on April 19. Some
time agotheDaily publishedan adby"Holocaust
revisionists," who claim the genocide of Euro-
pean Jews didn't happen, to great disapproval.
0 We find the "Happy Birthday Israel" ad in the
same spirit for its failure to acknowledge the
ongoingoppressionofthePalestiniansthatisthe
cost of Zionism's nmplishments.
The admentionsIsrael's status asahaven for
refugees, and its success in "making deserts

bloom."Zionismcreatedoneof theworld'sgreat
refugee problems whenupwardsof700,000Pal-"
estinians were driven from their homes in 1947-
48, by design and circumstance. Half a million
more were expelled by Israel from the territories
it captured in the 1967 war. The refugees that
Israel received were often housed in dwellings
recentlyevacuatedbyPalestinians.Theoliveand
citrus groves and fields that bloom under Israeli
handsonce bloomedunder thehandsofPalestin-
ians.ThecitiesandtownsofIsraelarebuiltonthe
remnantsofPalestinanArabsociety.Israeltoday
continues to discriminate against and dispossess
its Arab citizens, and to absorb and develop the
territories occupied in 1967.

The PLO calls for a two-stale solution and
mutual recognition, even as Israel categorically
rejects a Palestinian state and withdrawal to the
1949 armistice line, and procinims exclusive,
eternal sovereignty over Jerusalem.ThePalestin-
ian delegation is now returning to the "peace
talks"in Washington, asnearly 400 Palestinians
deportees languish in no-man's land in southern
Lebanon.
We callon citizensofthe UnitedStatesandits
govemnenttowithholdtheireconomicandimili-
tarysupportofIsraeluntilitrecognizesPalestin-
ian national rights and negotiates sincerely for
their implimientation. The deportees should be
returned,thosedetainedwitouthjustcauseshould

be released, the torture should stop, the IDF's
undercover death squads should be disbanded,
and the state of siege in the occupied territories
ended.
The peace of conquestis an illusion;onlythe
peace ofco-existence can bring Israelreal secu-
rity.Until twostatesfor twopeoplesexistside by
side,andtwobirthdayscanbecelebrated,srae 's
birthday should bemainly anocasionforrecmg-
nizing the Palestinians, whose national rights
Lsaelcontinues brutally todeny.
_Benjamin M. Ben-Daruch
Kmima Bennoune
Harry F. Clark and 10 others

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