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November 03, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-03

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4- The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 3, 1995

Ule frttiiun &atlg

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI1

.,....,,,.-I

Street
48109

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NAsu
Editorial Page Editors

The

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.
s
araining chips
CEO contract talks show hopeful signs

C iting excessive workloads, inadequate
compensation and unclear hiring prac-
tices, members of the Graduate Employees
:Organization held a rally Tuesday on the
^Diag to show the University that their up-
'oming contract demands are to be taken
seriously.
The GEO, the University's union ofteach-
. ing assistants and other graduate employees,
has laid down its demands for a new contract
to replace the current three-year agreement,
which expires Feb. 1. The demands include a
lighter workload, a pay increase, a written
,hiring policy, an increase in minority TAs,
improving training for TAs, limiting class
,sizes and improving benefits. These requests
arejustified, and there is no legitimate reason
the majority of them should be denied.
As their rally demonstrated, many Uni-
versity graduate employees are disgruntled
with how they are treated under the current
contract. And they have a right to be. Many of
these students - who are working to put
themselves through graduate school - are
,"burdened by unexpectedly high workloads
and do not receive sufficient compensation
-on which to live, attend school and often
. support a family. In addition, the current
'hiring practices for TAs are fuzzy at best -
{a written policy is sorely needed to let gradu-
ate students know what standards they will
" be required to meet as instructors.
Meeting GEO's demands would benefit
not only its members, but also the under-,
graduates they teach. For one, if TA training
were to improve, the quality of education
bestowed on each undergraduate would rise

Save Amenica orpi

as well. Another demand that would improve
the learning environment is a limit on class
sizes - quality of education at the Univer-
sity would improve if TAs were able to give
more attention to each student. If TAs had a
lighter workload, they would be able to focus
more on each class, which would in turn
make them better teachers.
In the coming months, the University will
have a chance to prove its commitment to
TAs and to undergraduate education. A 12-
member negotiation team elected by GEO is
meeting with University officials periodi-
cally to work out details of a new contract. In
the past, the University has been less than
open-minded during the discussions, focus-
ing on money and bureaucracy rather than
instruction and education. Doing this again
would be a mistake. In the worst-case sce-
nario, the University would lose its TAs to a
strike, bringing disastrous consequences.
Discussions between the two parties have
started off on the right foot - both negotiat-
ing teams have only positive comments so
far. Good faith on both sides is essential to
crafting an agreement beneficial to GEO.
TAs are a vital reason why the University
runs as smoothly as it does. If not for the
discussion sections taught by these graduate
students, undergraduates would be perpetu-
ally lost on much of the material covered in
lectures. While University professors are
nationally recognized as researchers, many
of them leave much of the actual instruction
to TAs. These assistants are an essential part
of a University education, and deserve to be
recognized as such.

S ega.
Let's get it out of the way right here,
right at the very start. Sega is the problem.
Sega and Nintendo, and Quentin Tarantino,
and the NBA, and Green Day, and those silly
boy-meets-girl shows on MTV. These are
the problems.
These are why we - speaking in the
angst-ridden, Generation-X collective "we"
usually reserved for beautiful people on
meaningless TV shows with clever one-
word names or zip codes - we are referred
to as the Slacker Generation. These are rea-
sons potential employers call us unmoti-
vated. These are why there isn't much pro-
test on the Diag anymore.
Sure, there's a little token protest every
now and then, between 12 and 1 on every
third Thursday. Every once in a while, some-
one stands on a bench and yells about how
the administration is repressing the student
body - who really don't care as long as the
International Finance grades are curved -
or how the capitalist pigs are using psycho-
logical warfare to stop the mobilization of
the masses-who really just want good jobs
and an occasional dish of fettucine alfredo
- or how Romans killed Christ and so the
Christians should retaliate right now by per-
secuting all those with last names like
"Antonucci" and "Spicolli."
How often is the protester a student?
Answer: not very.
Usually it's some older, balding guy with
a midlife crisis and a mission. Like Preacher
Mike, who seems to think that pierced ears
cause all the hatred in the world. You get
your ear piercedyou immediately become a
Nazi. It's that simple.
Or like this guy Robert Stamm, who was
standing on a bench last week, holding forth
on the dangers of Judaism and caffeine ad-
diction.

choiesofa ge
His most profound points?
"All feminists - including that witch
Hillary Clinton -should shut their mouths,"
he advised an amused but unwilling-to-be-
come-involved crowd. "Bill Clinton should
tell her to get back in the kitchen where she
belongs."
I guess he doesn't realize that the kitchen
access is a privilege reserved for those who
can cook. I severely doubt whether either
Bill or Hillary belongs in the kitchen. Yale
Law School grads cannot cook. They can
revitalize the economy; they cannot cook,
not even macaroni and cheese.
"Break your Snoop Doggy Dogg CDs;
melt your Van Halen albums," Stamm
shouted.
Sound advice - at least the part about
Van Halen.
The point is this: Except for that tiny
minority of students who think that being
part of MSA counts as protest, student activ-
ism is dead. It breathed its dying gasp like
this:
Guy in flannel shirt: "Dude, the Repub-
licans are taking away our medical care,
cutting down our forests and building air-
craft carriers. And the Democrats can't even
spell 'fiscal responsibility,' much less make
it a priority. We should do something about
it, like organize a rally or a letter-writing
campaign."
The response, to add a touch of realism,
differs by flannel pattern.
Guy in nice J. Crew flannel: "That'd be
cool to stop the powermongers in Congress
and save America from becoming a mar-
ginal player in an increasingly globalized
economy, but we have a two-way tonight
with my favorite sorority. We've got to pre-
party, so there's no way we can stop Newt
Gingrich today."
Or ... Guy in a slightly less nice Eddie

7

Sega2i
!erntlon
Bauer flannel: "That'd be cool to stop the
powermongers in Congress and save
America from becoming a marginal player
in an increasingly globalizedeconomy. Let's
do it, but only after we play Sega for a long,
long time."
Or... Guy in a ratty flannel handed down
from an older brother about three years be-
fore flannels were in vogue: "That'd be cool
to stop the powermongers in Congress and
save America from becoming a marginal
player in an increasingly globalized
economy. Let's organize a populist militia,
get some unnecessarily large guns, and make
life safe for camouflage-wearing, shotgun-
toting, white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant males
with American flag tattoos, provincial atti-
tudes and very small vocabularies."
That's why we don't care about the code.
They want to take away our freedoms, we
want to watch TV. As long as section Xl,
paragraph 3 of the Statement of Student
Rights and Responsibilties doesn't contain
an explicit prohibition of watching "Friends,"
we don't care if we're denied our constitu-
tional rights.
As long as we can get a good cafe au lait
at our coffee shop of choice, we don't care if
MSA is forcing a not-very-well-thought-out
medical care plan on us.
As long as Tshimanga Biakabutuka gains
212 yards and beats those patsies up in East
Lansing with a couple long touchdown runs,
we could care less if Bosnian peace talks
produce a result.
Geez, we can spell "Biakabutuka," but
can we identify Slovenia on a map?
Slovenia - is that where Quentin
Tarantino is filming his next flick? Or is that
the new NHL expansion team? I don't re-
member.
- Brent McIntosh can be reached over
e-mail at mctosh@umich.edu.

JIM LASSER
HOW? WELL,
I Qo NATIVE
10% AFR ICAN

SHARP AS TOAST

NOTABLE QOTAI

/m
AMERICAN***

QCN 80'- ENCL15H...

Death with dignity
Assisted suicide should be legalized, regulated

1if.
S0f

}1
I,

'A fool's
brain digests
philosophy Into
folly, science Into
superstition and
art into pedantry.
Hence university
education.'
- George Bernard Shaw

ive years after beginning his crusade for
doctor-assisted suicide, Dr. Jack
Kevorkian has finally garnered some official
support from the medical community. On
Monday, a group of four medical-doctors and
a psychiatrist - known as the Physicians for
Mercy - stepped forward, calling for the
establishment of standards for doctor-assisted
suicide. Monday's events were a major step
in helping to legitimize a process designed to
ease human suffering - a process that has
long been forced underground by paternalis-
tic legislation. The stand taken by Physicians
for Mercy lends a stamp of legitimacy to an
issue trivialized by posturing on both sides.
The controversial nature ofdoctor-assisted
suicide is rooted in the history of the Ameri-
can medical system and the public's beliefs
on medicine. The American Medical Asso-
ciation has always stood firm in its stance
that the main role of doctors is to save lives,
while those in favor of medically assisted
suicide believe the primary role of doctors is
to ease human suffering. While the goal of
preserving lives is a valiant one, ending suf-
fering is often a more humane decision.
The current health-care system prohibits
a dying person in excruciating pain from
ending his or her own life. Even "living
wills" - in which people can express the
desire to be mercifully taken off life support
if they become permanently dependent on it
-- remain controversial. Yet the right to life
includes the right to end it, and the govern-
ment should not interfere in this decision.
Laws against doctor-assisted suicide have
failed to prevent its occurrence. Assisted-
suicide procedures have been pushed under-
HOW TO CONTACT THEM

ground, allowing for abuse of the system due
to lack of regulation. Without firm guide-
lines and official hospital procedures, as-
sisted suicide remains highly dangerous. Hy-
pothetically, a doctor could murder a patient
under the guise of assisted suicide.
For this reason, the Physicians for Mercy's
call to establish standards is a badly needed
step in the right direction. The establishment
of standard guidelines for doctor-assisted
suicide will both safeguard the interests of
patients and help lessen the burden on doc-
tors who must face the ethical dilemma of
how best to help their patients.
The prohibition of doctor-assisted suicide
makes as little sense financially as it does
morally. As patients seek assisted suicide as
a refuge from pain and suffering, forced care
of these patients is imposing costs on an
already overburdened health care system. It
is impossible to put a price tag on a human
life - but if patients themselves wish to end
their suffering, denying them the opportu-
nity to do so is counterproductive.
Although this small group of Michigan
doctors' announcement is important, it is
only a preliminary lunge in a long uphill
battle. Assisted suicide remains illegal both
in Michigan and in the United States. Much
like abortion before Roe v. Wade, suicides
assisted by physicians have been forced un-
derground and are consequently both more
difficult to obtain and more dangerous. The
standardization and legitimization of doctor-
assisted suicide will help serve patients, doc-
tors and the entire health care system, allow-
ing people to exercise the ultimate personal
choice over their lives.

LETTFERS

Farrakhan no
good for black
community
To the Daily:
Letter writer Denise R. James
("Daily cartoon belittles unity at
D.C. march," 10/26/95) takes is-
sue with a cartoon depicting Louis
Farrakhan as a devil. I, however,
believe that the cartoon was right
on target. To even have Far-
rakhan's name in the same letter
as Martin Luther King Jr.'s to me
drags the dreams and work of
King through the mud.
IfJames thinks that Farrakhan,
a failed calypso singer, wants to
advance Dr. King's effortsto have
one unified country of individu-
als in a colorless society, she is
sadly mistaken. All one has to do
is listen to Farrakhan's call at his
march for a separate "black" po-
litical party, to have blacks shop
only at black businesses, etc. This
is the worst kind of separatist
rhetoric, and it belongs in the
same trash can as the rantings of
David Duke and others of his
kind. To say that the message of
the march still has validity in spite
of Farrakhan is like saying that
Duke had good points while run-
ning for governor of Louisiana.
Both men have bitter, racist, big-
oted pasts that should disqualify
them from leading anybody.
I believe that the black com-
munity has been the victim of one
of the great hoodwinks ofhistory.

from the march to clean house
and take care of the kids. I felt this
idiotic statement demeaned all of
the capable, intelligent black
women in this country, and I am
shocked that they stood still for it
meekly, like a bunch of sheep.
In my opinion, the media
should increase its coverage of
Farrakhan, so that the entire coun-
try can see what a dangerous fool
he is.
Douglas Hester
Medical Center
SA PA C story
informative
To the Daily:
Thank you for the coverage of
the Sexual Assault Prevention and
Awareness Center's (SAPAC)
ninth annual Speak Out ("Survi-
vors 'Speak Out' about sexual
assault," 10/25/95). We appreci-
ate your efforts to inform our com-
munity about an event that is of-
ten inspiring, enlightening and
empowering for survivors of
sexual violence. The number of
people in attendance certainly
indicates that the event is very
important to the University com-
munity.
Although a quote was incor-
rectly attributedto our director,
Debi Cain (the reporter has al-
ready called to apologize), we
feel the article reflected the em-
powerment many survivors feel
as a result of speaking out about
their experiences. We know each

Affirmative
action critics
misinformed
To the Daily:
Are you kidding me? Mr.
Heeres ("Affirmative action pro-
grams are another form of rac-
ism," 10/23/95) actually believes
his opinion that affirmative ac-
tion is "a matter that many are
silent on"? Come on. After work-
ing this past summer as a diver-
sity facilitatorat Orientation, there
is one thing I heard from students
almost every day: Affirmative
action is a form of reverse dis-
crimination.
I can remember a time when I,
a white man, whined about re-
verse discrimination. Now I am
sick of hearing about it. I did
something that very few white
people seem interested in doing: I
educated myself about racism.
What a concept! I actually read
dozens of theories and articles
dealing with racism and oppres-
sion. I also had many extensive
conversations with minority stu-
dents and gained some under-
standing as to where they're com-
ing from. For several reasons, I
now believe that there is no such
thing as reverse discrimination.
But that'sjust my educated opin-
ion that would take up far too
much space here to explain.
Until people educate them-
selves by stepping out of their
own little worlds and get a clue as
tn what real discrimination is I

implicitly misrepresenting the
predominant position historically
held by Asian American activist
groups and individuals regarding
access to higher education. While
white conservatives since the late
1 979s have continually baited
Asian Americans tojoin theiranti-
affirmative action camp (under
the banner of "equal opportu-
nity"), the principal grievance
held by Asian Americans con-
cerning higher education has
steadfastly been their unfairtreat-
ment vis-a-vis whites - not Af-
rican Americans, Latina/os, or
Native Americans. There has been
and continues to be a tacit ceiling
imposed on the number of Asian
Americans admitted to some col-
leges and universities, even when
their qualifications exceed those
of their white counterparts.
Hence, while we Asian Ameri-
cans should continue to actively
oppose racial discrimination, our
activism should be aimed at the
right target rather than naively
pitting ourselves against other
minority groups and undermin-
ing all progressive efforts in the
process.
Moon-Ke Jung
Rackham student

President Bill Clinton

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