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June 29, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1994-06-29

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OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday. June 29,1994'

EDITOR IN CHIEF
James M. Nash

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan.
Unsigned editorials present the opinion of a majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other cartoons, signed articles and letters
do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Daily.

EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS
Patrick J. Javid
Jason S. Lichtstein

As textbook prices continue to skyrocket,
forcing students to scrimp for the
semesterly buying bonanza, the state Legis-
lature has commissioned a study of the issue.
State Rep. Kirk Profit on June 17 announced
the creation of a committee to study textbook
prices at state universities.
"I think students are victims of excessive
pricesintextbooks,"Profitsaid.TheYpsilanti
Democrat and his colleagues in the Legisla-
ture took a wise, if overdue, move to rein in
runaway price hikes. But as Profit himself
admits, the committee can do little more than
investigate the issue. A solution to the prob-
lem lies more with students, professors and
retailers than with elected officials in Lan-
sing.
Muchof the price increase can be traced to
the buyback procedure. Many professors do
not submit book orders for the following
semester before the buyback deadline, pre-
venting students from selling back their used
books. In fact, according to Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly Rep. Mike Christie Jr., only

Textbook Travesty:
Will the 'U' help?
MSA proposal would save students money

10percentofbookordersare turnedin in time
for buybacks. The result: only 20 percent of
books sold to University students are used,
and thus relatively inexpensive.
It would be easy to scapegoat idle profes-
sors as the cause of high textbook prices. But
professors here are burdened by a cumber-
some reporting procedure, one that hinders
buybacks and ultimately drives up prices.
Instructors must send lists of books for the
next term to the Textbook Reporting Service,
which covers the campus' three major book-
stores. However, the service has suffered

from a recent loss in membership, complicat-
ing reporting procedures for professors. In
the case of the Shaman Drum Bookstore,
instructors walk to the store to submit orders
in person.
Clearly, there is a better way.
Christie, chair of MSA's Academic Af-
fairs Commission, proposes a reporting sys-
tem modeled after one at the University of
Illinois. There, professors turn in textbook
orders to the Office of the Vice Chancellor
for Academic Affairs, which turns them over
to the Illini Bookstore. The bookstore then

distributes orders to the other retailers. As a
result of this streamlined reporting syst*
70 percent of instructors have their orders ir
by the fall semester deadline. Shifting re-
sponsibility for textbook orders to the univer-
sity - and hence to a more formal procedure
- encourages professors to report on time.
Regrettably, the University of Michigan
is balking at Christie's proposal, which he
voiced to lawmakers in recent hearings. A
$40,000, instituting such a centralized re-
porting system is too expensive, adminis@
tors claim. Associate Provost for Academi(
Affairs Susan Lipschutz said, "We have a lo
of other projects that are on the docket tha
would be ahead of that."
How unfortunate. The University appear
willing to pass up this opportunity to relieve
students from spiraling textbook costs be
cause of $40,000 - spare change for at
institution with a budget in the billions.
support Christie's proposal, and offer a mes
sage for the administration: take $40,000 ou
of the budget and put it to a better use.

Med School racism?

Domestic violence

Minorities suffer as Mandate is unfulfilled The unacknowledged tragedy

0

TheUniversityof MichiganMedicalSchool
suffers from a ravaging disease: racism.
Recent interviews, complaints and letters to
the administration have highlighted this si-
lent dilemma, an apparentfailureofthe Michi-
ganMandate in acrucial sector ofthe Univer-
sity community. The most distressing aspect
of the situation is the fact that both the Medi-
cal School and the University administration
have shunned this criticism in hopes of sav-
ing face.
True, the Medical School has standards
that faculty and students must adhere to in
order to be successful. But it appears that
these standards are drawn differently for cer-
tain groups of individuals. The population of
students up for academic review each year is
disproportionately overrepresented by mi-
norities. Moreover, numerous allegations and
lawsuits have surfaced that document tenure
and job placement discrimination. Finally,
the underrepresentation of minorities among
Medical School faculty is apparent to stu-
dents and faculty alike. Although minority
medical students have been expressing dis-
tress over the Medical School's lack of sen-
sitivity through letters to the dean of the
Medical School and to University President
James J. Duderstadt, the allegationsofracism
continue to infect the Medical School, and
only recently have steps been implemented
in an attempt to curb such racism.

Unfortunately, discriminatory practices
such as racial remarks during lectures, sepa-
rate standards for minorities and lack of sup-
port for minority students are locked up in the
administration's concern for public image.
The administration is pretending to believe
the problem is under control by setting up
dialogue groups and an associate dean of
minority affairs position that was never per-
manently filled. The administration seems to
think that by giving minority students an
outlet to express their frustrations, the prob-
lems of racism will be cured. But in this way,
the true germs that lead to racism - utter
ignorance and lack of communication, to
name a few - simply are not diagnosed.
A minority student should never feel as if
faculty and peers expect failure from him or
her. The thought that a professor might not
like a student because of her color should
never enter a student's mind. When help and
guidance is needed, minority students should
never have to hesitate to contact someone in
the administration. Finally, a minority stu-
dent should never feel that skin color influ-
ences test grades.
Unfortunately, all of these "nevers" have
been documented by medical students at this
university. The University, the Medical
School and its students and faculty must
search for the real causes of racism, and work
together to kill this dreaded disease.

.his editorial is not about O.J. Simpson.
Rather, it is about the real victims of
domestic violence -the millions of women
who are abused by their partners annually,
including the late Nicole Brown Simpson.
The recent O.J. Simpson debacle has been
successful in highlighting the tragedy of do-
mestic violence. Two weeks ago, far too few
Americans ran the terrifying thought of a
beaten wife or a dead girlfriend through their
minds. Now, from the cover of Time to
national TV newscasts, domestic violence is
finally receiving the attention it deserves.
Domestic violence is a problem, and a
sick one at that. Every year, 3-4 million
women are abused by their partner. Of these
women, 1 million require medical attention
because of the severity of theirwounds. Nearly
1 in 3 women will be assaulted by a domestic
partner in her lifetime, and violence will
occur at least once in over two-thirds of all
marriages. An epidemic describes domestic
violence well; as Secretary of Health and
Human Services has described it, domestic
violence is an unacknowledged epidemic.
Five years ago, police were witnesses to
an incident in which a beaten Nicole Brown
Simpson ran out of the bushes yelling "he's
going to kill me." She was later treated in a
hospitalbut attemptedto dropchargesagainst
her husband. Although the charges were not
dropped, the perpetrator was given only a

slap on the wrist - he paid a fine and somi
community service. He was even allowed t<
receive his required counseling over the
phone. He described the incident to ESPN a,
one in which "we were both guilty. No on
was hurt." None of these things prove tha
O.J. killed his ex-wife, but they illuminate the
immense, potentially deadly problems
domestic violence and show the nation tA
tougher laws and programs need to be imple
mented to fight the problem.
As domestic violence makes its way ou
of the closet, we can only hope it stays in thf
national attention beyond the trial of Mi
Simpson. There are encouraging signs tha
this will prove true. Last week the New Yorl
legislature acted to force police officers t(
arrest abusive spouses, even without the u4
ing of the victim. In Colorado, a law that take
effect this week compels police to take abus
ers into custody at the scene of violence an
mandates arrest for any violation of a re
straining order. Just as significant, a portio
of the anti-crime bill that is now being de
bated in Congress would make domesti
abuse a violation of a woman's civil rights
thus making the woman eligible for comp1
satory relief and punitive damages.
Domestic violence is the true tragedy c
our society. And the true heroes are thos
women who must live with, cope with an
survive domestic violence.

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