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September 21, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-21

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 21, 1995
(Tht art Ir " ti

JUDITH KAFKA

TuE Fv PRINT

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

Being anfare shouldn't

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Faculty sl-hc

Tenure for professors
Faculty tenure - occasionally abused as
a refuge for mediocrity - should have
its limits, several members of the Senate
Advisory Committee on University Affairs
correctly asserted last week.
Speaking for what he called "one side of
the debate," SACUA Chair George Brewer
recommended that the University impose
sanctions on tenured faculty whose perfor-
mance has been deemed inadequate. Sug-
gested sanctions include losses of raises,
perks, office space or salary. Although this
proposal was criticized by some SACUA
members for destroying academic freedom
and demeaning the integrity of the tenure
system, it remains the best hope the Univer-
sity has for maintaining its high teaching
standards.
Brewer claimed that 2 112 percent of ten-
ured faculty were giving "unsatisfactory per-
formances." Although he would not elabo-
rate on what "unsatisfactory" means in terms
of teaching methods, Brewer did say that the
standard for these performances is deter-
mined by a model similar to a bell curve, and
"unsatisfactory" falls at two standard devia-
tions below the middle of the curve.
This translates to 100 people not doing
their jobs adequately, and currently there is
no way of making them improve.
SACUA will continue this debate at the
October meeting, and members have said
that no formal action is expected to be taken
until late this year at the earliest. If the
proposal is implemented, a tenured faculty
Second
Smear derails city
N eal Berlin, welcome to Ann Arbor.
Among the many amenities for the
next city administrator: a nice office on the
third floor of City Hall, an annual salary near
$100,000, proximity to the quaint Kerrytown
shopping district and the chance to work for
11 of the most indecisive, petty and ill-
tempered bosses in town.
Berlin was named city administrator -
Ann Arbor's top unelected position - last
Friday with the minimum number of City
Council votes to confirm him. Six council
members voted for Berlin, three voted against
and two members were absent for what may
be the council's most monumental decision
in months. Berlin's narrow confirmation,
following a nasty campaign to sabotage his
chief rival for the job, bodes very poorly for
the new administrator and speaks volumes
about the council's inability to make tough
decisions.
Berlin may be the right person for the job.
He may have even been the most qualified.
However, his selection is tainted by a smear
campaign against Roger Crum, widely con-
sidered the top candidate for the job - be-
fore a memo was penned by Councilmember
Stephen Hartwell (D-4th Ward) relating a
comment Crum reportedly made during a
small-group interview with Hartwell and
another council member. According to the
memo, Crum said - apparently in jest -
that he vented his frustration by beating his

wife and children. Hartwell, in an apparent
attempt to stoke the emotions of as many
community members as possible, distributed
the memo to a wide range of individuals,
many of whom had nothing to do with the
administrator search. Taking his smear be-
yond the limits of credulity, Hartwell ac-
cused anyone who voted for Crum of com-
plicity in domestic violence.

shouldn't be absolute
member who appears to be teaching inad-
equately will be evaluated by peers from his
or her field for at least two years. Brewer said
the peer review committee would decide if
the member should be sanctioned, and what
action should be taken.
Student evaluations were not included in
the proposal, mainly, Brewer said, because
the small percentage of tenured faculty who
are falling through the cracks are not teach-
ing classes and therefore have no students
from whom to receive evaluations. However,
it is students -not faculty-who are denied
the opportunity to learn and forced to endure
poorly taught classes. In more concrete terms,
it is students - not faculty - who pay
tuition.
Dissenting SACUA members argue that
the proposal, if implemented, would place
too much emphasis on giving students high
grades. In addition, it would deprive tenured
faculty ofthe opportunity to reap the benefits
of their tenure. "Tenured faculty want to
concentrate on research," said SACUA mem-
ber Tom Dunn, who objected to the proposal
at the meeting. "The role of the senior faculty
is to take on high-risk research, not to crank
the handle of everyday matters."
That is, everyday matters such as teach-
ing. Tenured faculty are still faculty, not
researchers masquerading as faculty to gain
office space. The primary responsibility of
faculty is to teach students, and when that
responsibility is shirked, sanctions should be
imposed.
I choice
manager candidate
Crum, who rated highest in interviews
with city staff, at least deserved a fair shot at
the job. Hartwell denied him that. And the
five other council members - two of whom
had supported Crum before the smear -
capitulated in allowing Hartwell and a small
circle of Democrats to dictate their choice.
Why not Crum? City staff members who
had interviewed the current administrator of
Spokane, Wash., correctly surmisedthe coun-
cil would not offer him the position because
he is too independent. That was precisely the
reason the last city administrator, Alfred
Gatta, left under council pressure. The ma-
jority Democrats on the council have deter-
mined that a maverick administrator - one
who dares challenge them on fiscal and other
issues - has no place in Ann Arbor. In
choosing Berlin, council members confirmed
what many have suspected: they want an
administrator they can easily manipulate,
subject to the desires of the majority.
While the administrator is appointed by
council, and therefore works for the 11-mem-
ber body, that job is not meant as a puppet for
the majority. Gatta stood up to the council,
streamlining the city budget and allowing
Ann Arbor to maintain a healthy fund sur-
plus. Had Gatta been another empty suit in
City Hall, the council likely would now be
faced with a deficit budget and an unappeal-
ing array of cuts. Chaining the administrator
to the whims of the council majority leads to

artificially short terms - as was the case
with Gatta and his predecessor, neither of
whom lasted even three years.
Choosing a city administrator is not a task
to take lightly. Nor should that responsibility
fall to a group of politicians who cave in to a
political smear veiled in unfounded accusa-
tions. With a welcome like this, Neal Berlin
may want to think twice about staying.

he United Nations Fourth Wo
ference on Women came to a
Beijing last Friday.
The delegates left the conferen
produced a document specifying ba
that all women should be accor
though there is nothing in internat
binding any government to the "Pla
Action," at least it provides a sta
women's rights as human rights, an
a point of reference for oppressed
and their advocates.
Probably the most significant it
document -and undoubtedly the n
tested - affirms that women's righ
sede national traditions.
Here in the United States, w
recognize how this concept shou
plied elsewhere: to condemn genita
tion, to ensure women's ability to i
prevent the killing and abandonmen
girls. Gross atrocities against won
in developing nations, poverty-str
gions, backward countries. We can
shake our heads at how far behind
On the other hand, we are a
Western nation. We are fully aware
rights. Heck, we've even got it in ou
tution. (Well, sort of- whatever h
to the Equal Rights Amendment
Oh, that's right, it wasn't necessa
that to Shannon Faulkner.)
OK, so maybe the United St
perfect, but at least our delegatesd
stories about how religious fundam
in their country had abscondedv
rights they once had. Sure, we'
growing religious right, but they an
trolling anyone, it's not as if ourc

obscure womens
rld Con- actually had to fear that people at home
close in would find the conference's final document
too radical or anything.
ce having So some Republicans feel that affirming
sic rights a wife's right to say no to sex is "anti-
ded. Al- family" (we all know how good rape and
ional law abuse are for the foundation of any family
.tform for just ask Susan Smith) and true, both Bob
ndard of Dole and George Bush felt the need to blow
1d creates a little caustic air toward the conference, but
d women it's not as if women and women's issues
aren't taken seriously here.
em in the Look at Bob Packwood. Boy, did the
most con- Senate come down hard on him. Granted
hts super- they were all fine and dandy keeping his
"exploits" (as opposed to his abuses) in the
e readily comforts of a closed committee room, but as
ld be ap- soon as he trod upon party politics by chang-
al mutila- ing his mind and asking for a public forum in
nherit, to which to air out his dirty laundry, he was
ntofbaby forced to resign or face expulsion. Three
men exist cheers for women's rights.
icken re- In fact, leading politicians in this country
all sadly are so respectful of women's rights thata
they are. speech like Alberto Fujimori's, in which the
modern Peruvian president took a stand at the con
e of equal ference against Vatican control in Latin
ur Consti- America by promoting the right of women to
happened use contraceptives, would never have com
anyway? from a U.S. president. For one thing, the
ry - tell United States is not unduly influenced by the
Vatican. For another, not only are contra
ates isn't ceptives used here, but abortion is theoreti
didn't tell cally an unconditional right, at least for now
nentalism There'd be no reason to broach such a sensi
what few tive topic by promoting the idea worldwide
ve got a Besides, the current presidential admin
ren't con- istration was represented at the conference
delegates - Hillary Rodham Clinton was there. O

plight
course initially there was that problem of
t Henry Wu being held in China. Apparently,
some of the very same politicians who more
than a year ago convinced Clinton's hus-
band; Bill, to disregard yet another of his
J campaign promises by maintaining China's
"most favored nation" trade status because
the human rights abuses weren't that big a
deal, were horrified that she would willingly
t step foot in a country infamous in many
s circles (although not big business' nor their
vote-getters') for said abuses. Luckily, Wu
e was released just in time to avoid an ugly
I showdown at the Capitol (although the hu-
s man rights vs. women's rights fight would
e have been interesting), and so the first lady
s was able to speak, relatively controversy-
free, in Beijing.
Not that any of this should detract from
s the sobering fact that women are still treated
e like chattel in many parts of the world, and
that the rape, beating and even murder of
y women and female children is viewed as a
a man's right in some countries.
e The "Platform for Action" will not solve
- these problems, but it is at least a recogni-
n tion, on an international level, that they exist
a and that these practices are not acceptable
e merely because they lie within the ambigu-
e ous context of culture. Nor is the document
e perfect. Some glaring absences - most no-
- tably the item affirming women's rights
- regardless of sexual orientation - do exist.
r. Yet it contains the voices of women from
- 189 countries, and should be respected as
such. Governments can use the document as
- an instruction manual for improving the
e condition of women in their country, even
f - especially - the United States.

MATT WIMsATrT

MOOKIE's Du.EILMA

000,
U - I
Wocu H E AC' A aC MIsWfR, It's O11tW*A~S
IN ENtE BAG oR R ~PfgRsoNAL VP sIAV 'H gRE~

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'For out-of-state
students,
the University
is a private
institution.'
- University President
James J. Duderstadt

L:'IES

'U' vegetation
shouldn't
suffer early
demnise
To the DaIly:
I am writing in response to
Mark West's letter of9/14195 ("A
tree is not a human being"). Our
dear friend from Engineering was
grateful enough to show the en-
tire University community his ig-
norance. He argued that the death
of a tree (or plant) did not com-
pare to that of a human being.
With these few words, he has
exemplified the backwards atti-
tude which our society has had
for many decades: a total disre-
spect for the natural world.
Maybe our friend doesn't
know enough about American
Elms (Ulmus americana). This
native tree is well known for its
majestic drooping vase shape.
This appearance made the tree an
ideal element for urban land-
scapes. Unfortunately our soci-
ety has abused its beauty.
We planted it almost in every
community and on every street
corner. Our urban landscapes al-
most became a monoculture of
American Elms. This might have
looked nice, unfortunately the
American Elm is susceptible to
Dutch Elm Disease (DED). This
disease which is a fungus carried
by a beetle, clogs the phloem of
the tree. This has a similar effect
to cholesterol in human arteries.
Ultimately, the tree becomes
weaker, and it is more susceptible
to breaking.
Trees afflicted by DED are
distinguishable by a long white/

curred by the construction cre-
ated an opportune time for the
tree to be removed by the Univer-
sity grounds crew.
Unfortunately, this tree was
not the only one removed. A
healthy American Redbud (Cer-
cis canadensis) was also removed.
This tree had been planted as a
memorial tree of retired landscape
architecture faculty Chuck Cares.
Prof. Cares often comes back to
the school of Natural Resources
and Environment. How must he
feel to see that a tree which had be
dedicated to him has been re-
moved for a simple little wall.
Nice gesture on the part of the
University.
The problem is not with the
University as a whole, as the ar-
ticle suggested, but rather with
the way the University plans its
campus. Most of the planning
around here seems to be done in a
blindfolded manner. The impor-
tance appears to be given to build-
ings and their location as opposed
to the appearance and manage-
ment of the whole landscape.
Whoever did the site planning for
this building had probably no clue
that the little cement wall (which
we could all live without) that is
currently in place, would replace
an 80-year-old Elm. This con-
struction has cost this campus
many trees. By losing this Elm,
not only have we lost a tree, but
we lost one of the few healthy
American Elms on campus.
I approach this situation as a
landscape architecture student.
Most of my peers in the School of
Natural Resources and Environ-
ment would likely give you amore
ecological approach which would
be, if not as, more important than
mine. I sincerely encourage them

CCRB locker
policy unfair
To the Daily:
Last year at about this time I
wrote a letter to Deborah Webb,
the CCRB building director, to
complain about a CCRB policy
that I believed had an unfair and
discriminatory effect on graduate
students like myself whose aca-
demic terms run several weeks
beyond the end of the "official"
University calendar.
The gist of my complaint was
that each April, at the very start of
two grueling weeks of law school
exams, I am forced to vacate my
CCRB locker. Throughout the
academic year, and particularly
during the stress ofexam periods,
swimming plays a vital part in my
attempt to maintain physical and
emotional health. During exams I
have even less time than I nor-
mally do, and though I try to
continue to swim regularly, it is
inconvenient and burdensome to
have to carry wet swimming gear
back and forth to the CCRB. I
choose to pay $52 a year to rent a
locker, after all, in order to avoid
having to do this. No extensions
are granted to graduate students;
we must pay an additional $13 for
a half-term rental even if we plan
to leave Ann Arbor just after ex-
ams.
I conceded in my letter to Ms.
Webb that the rigid adherence to
an "official" University calendar
which ignores the reality of the
schedule of thousands of gradu-
ate students would be entirely
justified if there were someone
waiting to rent my locker for the
spring/summer term. But, in fact,
as I carry my gear back and forth

Doing this during the scheduled
University break is the only way
to provide work crews withac-
cess to all locker room areas in Y
the building without having to
disrupt and inconvenience locker
room users. While this time frame
admittedly cannot meet
everyone's needs it does coin-
cide with the vast majority of
student's schedules."
Herreasoning is unpersuasive.
If the locker clear-out process
coincides with the "vast major-
ity" of students' schedules, how
would the holdover presence of
my tiny minority hamper this pro-
cess at all? Our continuing pres-
ence in the locker rooms would
not, as she claims, deny the work-
ers access to any "locker room
areas." If that were true, how can
the CCRB rent lockers out to
spring users without creating the
same problem? In reality, our
continuing presence would only
deny the workers access to our
lockers themselves. If our num-
bers are so small, as she suggests,
it shouldn't be much ofa problem
for one or two members of the
work crew to return two weeks
later (after our term ends) to clear
out our lockers. If our numbers
are not so small, this could be
more problematic; but in that case
we are no longer a tiny minority
and her reason for ignoring our
needs becomes less defensible.
In sum, if I speak for a tiny
minority oflocker renters it seems
to me the CCRB could meet our
legitimate needs without much
disruption. If I speak for a large
number this may not be the case.
But then how can they defend a
policy that seriously inconve-
niences a large number of rent-
ers?

HOW TO CONTACT THEM
Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid B. Sheldon
Ann Arbor City Hall

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