- i ne Michigan Daily - Monday, June 5, 2000
University to hold tobacco comments session
By Laura Deneau
Daily Staff Reporter
The public comments session on the
issue of divestment of the University's
tobacco stocks will be held on June 15
rather than May 19 as originally sched-
uled, in the Regents' Room of the
Fleming Administration Building.
According to a press release, divest-
ing in tobacco stocks has been an issue
at the University since an eight member
committee, formed to review the
University's tobacco stock in
September 1999, concluded "both
tobacco and the tobacco companies'
activities are antithetical to the
University's missions of research,
teaching and service."
The June meeting and the subsequent
decision made by the University Board
of Regents will depend heavily on pub-
lic attendance and comments.
"At the June meeting the Board of
Regents will be asked to consider
whether direct ownership of tobacco
stocks is antithetical to the core mission
of the University:" said University
Executive Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer Robert Kasdin. "The
University will then act in accordance
with their decision."
According to University policy,
endowment investments are based
solely on financial factors such as
risk and return, not the companies
activities. Yet, in 1978, the University
broke from this rule and divested
from companies doing business in
South Africa for ethical reasons con-
cerning the oppressive practices of
the government of the Republic of
Concerning the public comments
session for the 1978 divestment,
University Regent Olivia Maynard said
the meeting lasted five heated hours.
"I don't have the sense that the inten-
sity of this meeting will be as great,"
Although Maynard warned against
hasty decision-making concerning mat-
ters that will reflect strongly on the
University's values, she said she felt
sure this issue has been amply reflected
upon and is fully understood by both
the regents and the committee stem-
"It makes sense for us to divest in
tobacco stocks. It isn't a large holding
for us and we've been looking at thi
issue for years." Maynard said.
But neither Maynard nor Kasdin are
sure as to the direction of the regents'
"There are merits to the arguments of
both sides," Kasdin said.
Kyle D. Logue, chair committee
member and professor of law, said he
was in favor of divesting th
University's tobacco stocks, but t
added "its a decision they (the regents)
will have to make."
Requests to speak at the session must
be sent firstname.lastname@example.org'd
and be received by 4 p.m. June 14.
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Continued from Page 1
these days the burden of cost-sasings often falls on those
who are paid the least to star with.
Highlighting the importance of staffithat hold positions as
janitors, security guards and other lower paving jobs, Jenkins
said that without those workers, the University would fail to
be as renowned as it is.
"You need us in order to stay in the top ten...you can bring
in the best researchers in the world, but if they go into their
laboratory and it's dirty, then they can't accomplish any-
thing," Jacobs said.
In addition to the unease about so many workers losing
their positions, many see these possible job cuts as an attempt
to weaken the labor union.
"You have to wonder ifthe actual intent isn't to undermine
unions in order to make it easier to create a new for-profit
entity that will absorb a number of these facilities, or cream
off the most profitable components," Dover said.
Jenkins said there are numerous incidents in which the
University Administration has been guilty of changing job
titles and offering more money to employees to take non-
"There's no question they want to erode it (the Union),"
Rachel Edelman, a member of SOLE, said the cuts are an
issue that SOLE is interested in getting involved in.
"The U of M is engaged in a union-busting
"You can bring in the best
researchers in the world, but
if they go into their laboratory
and it's dirty, then they can't
- Warren Jenkins
Bargaining Chariman for the AFSCME labor union
campaign...attempts to outsource janitors' positions and
change job positions are unethical and in poor faith, and vi
lates labor law," Edleman said. "My experience with the
University in our work in SOLE has proven that the U of M
has little regard for workers' rights - or much of anything
beyond its own profits. This current situation shows exactly
the same thing."
Despite all of the heat, Jacobs said, while some of the
employees may be laid off, it is not the goal of the hospital to
"We place great value on our employees," Jacobs said.
"They are highly skilled and committed workers and we
would rather not be in this position."
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To participate, you must be over the age of 18.
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